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1200 series intended use?
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Author 1200 series intended use?
qstate
Recently I picked up a couple of 1200 series modules and might get more. One thing I've noticed is that they are not a complete system by themselves.

How were they intended to be used with other formats or manufacturers?

Blacet frac? 300 series?

What are modules that they were designed to complement? Are there magical or classic combinations from a complete systems perspective?

Thanks for any thoughts or history lessons!
slow_riot
I believe that Grant worked closely with John Blacet in the frac rack format, and the 1200 modules were intended as companion modules to the Blacet ones. I believe the 300 was designed in the spirit of the Buchla 200 series, whereas the frac system was a lower entry price modular system at a time where there were only a few people doing it. Blacet (apart from his PS505 supply) deserves all credit for making a great sounding, playable, fun economical system. His DIY kits and documentation are of a very high standard as well.

I think you could fit the 1200 modules into whatever bigger system takes your fancy. Euro, 300, Blacet.

Probably the latter are more suitable (especially regarding the +/-15V supply) . I would think that the 300 would be a more dominant companion with the 1200 relegated to "helper" duties, whereas Blacet's range would be a somewhat more kindred partner.
ndkent
The Frac Rack (short for fractional and rack being rackmount) - format was developed by PAIA from my understanding and they still sell kits (not built modules). Their main system has a complete small modular and MIDI to CV unit fitting in a rack unit as several modules. They have a reputation of not being terribly precise but pretty easy to build.

Blacet really made it into a popular format with more expensive but also more feature filled and higher accuracy modules. They offer kits and built modules and have by far the largest selection and are still available.

The Wiard & Blacet collaboration was the Miniwave which is related to the Wiard Waveform City but sold through Blacet. Great module though be aware it needs to be driven by an external signal. So for instance if you are processing CV you are set but if you want to use it as a waveform generator you need to feed it a an oscillator signal from something else.

I don't recall Grant discussing exactly why he got into his 1200 series. Some factors might be the format is not very expensive and can accommodate larger sized PCB boards that far less easily fit in Eurorack. But as you've found he did not introduce enough modules to make a system, unless of course you use them in a separate rack from your Wiard 300 or buy some presumably Blacet modules.

You can definitely find a list of past and present builders if you hunt around. I think Metalbox is still building adapted CGS modules.

I guess the odd one out is Bugbrand who do a variant format that fits in a Frac Rack but has banana jacks as standard. They did do a limited number of regular minjack frac modules from time to time but I believe have stopped.
drumsofd00m
The 1200s were black and used MOTM-like knobs when Grant started selling them, and he only re-introduced the blue look with griffins later on. Judging from some of his posts back then, the black look and the faster response of the Borg 2 seemed to be concessions to certain demands or negative comments about the 300. This was long before decorated front panels or lopass gates were all the rage.

I disagree that the 300 series tends to overpower the 1200. I use at least two of them in each patch, it's all one system for me. In fact the 1200s have a magnetism on me that sometimes distracts me from the 300, and I bought more than I needed. I definitely use the Borg 2 more often than the 300 Borgs because of the latter's LFO bleed, and once I start to really program the Boogie instead of just using it as a vanilla LPF I have a hard time getting away from the modular.

The NoiseRing is a Buchla 265 high on endorphines and is the big brother of the Classic VCO's "random" output with more versatility up to processing inputs (thanks @slow). Perfect counterpart to the more elusive and "organic" Woggle Bug.

The Malekko line obviously is the 1200 plus parts of the 300 and two new VCO designs to provide just that, a complete system.

On formats again, another factor was that Eurorack wasn't yet an "open" format in 2003, but limited to three European brands, while Frac was far more popular in the US.

I'll definitely order two of Paia's S&H/ T&H some time.
drumsofd00m
P.S. - One thing that looks like a very good addition is the Blacet EG-1 (have yet to buy one). The Envelator doesn't retrigger during the attack phase, and matching AD and AR for an ADSR is a bit fiddly what with two independent attack segments and a bit of difference between the output levels of each mode. The Envelator invites all kinds of experiments tho that you would be less likely to try on other modules.
slow_riot
drumsofd00m wrote:


I disagree that the 300 series tends to overpower the 1200. I use at least two of them in each patch, it's all one system for me. In fact the 1200s have a magnetism on me that sometimes distracts me from the 300, and I bought more than I needed. I definitely use the Borg 2 more often than the 300 Borgs because of the latter's LFO bleed, and once I start to really program the Boogie instead of just using it as a vanilla LPF I have a hard time getting away from the modular.

The NoiseRing is a Buchla 265 high on endorphines and is the big brother of the Classic VCO's "random" output with more versatility up to processing inputs (thanks @slow). Perfect counterpart to the more elusive and "organic" Woggle Bug.

The Malekko line obviously is the 1200 plus parts of the 300 and two new VCO designs to provide just that, a complete system.


Perhaps my view is a controversial one, or maybe personal taste is very relevant. In my set up the 300 Borgs assimilated my 1200 Borgs... I find the bleedthrough generally very manageable, although I did notice it on a larger system recently at some settings.

I used the Boogie as a morphing stereo panner in tandem with a Blacet Super VCA (JAG controlled, of course), most often directly after 2 Anti-Oscillators, followed up finally with a Borg on each side.

But again, for me, the call of the 300 was too great.
qstate
Thank you for all of the replies and perspective. I think I'm properly oriented now.

For for a Waird/Blacet system, does this seem reasonable assuming outside sequencing?
slow_riot
That does seem reasonable indeed!

You may want to squeeze a Miniwave in there too. The Binary Zone (for sequencing), and the Window Comparator (for sounds) are great modules too.
qstate
slow_riot wrote:
That does seem reasonable indeed!

You may want to squeeze a Miniwave in there too. The Binary Zone (for sequencing), and the Window Comparator (for sounds) are great modules too.


Ok, so swap a VCO for the miniwave. Guinness ftw!
chamomileshark
My recollection from the postings on the Wiard list was that Grant moved away from building the 300 series and started to create a full system in Frac format.

Having got so far with the 3 or 4 modules he felt that it was a bit limiting for him in what he could do technically.

Emphasis then switched back to 300 series which he'd never quite stopped building.

Then he decided to have a go again at a smaller format - I believe he offered the designs to John Blacet but he passed so it went to Euro.

That's the history as I recall it.

My personal assessment having all the main modules in 300 series and Frac is that they go well together and compare favourably. The exception perhaps for me is the Borg 2 which for my purposes is not so different from the the Borg 1 filter / lpg.

The Boogie is a fab filter with a huge amount of flexibility once you realise that alternative outputs are out of phase and so mixing them creates all sorts of filters, not just low pass with all sorts of slopes.

I've also noticed that the noise ring is the foundation for alot of sounds and CV in my tracks.
drumsofd00m
This essay of Grant's -
http://mamonu.weebly.com/east-coast-vs-west-coast.html -
seems to say that the Blacet VCO was a Wiard design, if I got that right - can anyone comment?
It does certainly describe his interest in a new VCO design at that time, and I suspect leaving the actual manufacturing and distribution to someone else instead of keeping up the 1200 series himself had to with health reasons that have been mentioned by him and Cary here a few years ago.
Regardless of who decided what, without the move that did follow, the balance between Frac and Euro would probably look very different today!

The Buchla 200e seems to have been another factor for Wiard slowing down temporarily:
www.matrixsynth.com/2007_03_13_archive.html
Frankly that one sounds more credible to me than the criticism of the Frac format that follows. Yes, the rack rails are not as massive as the 300's, but I understand those were a custom job so perhaps there could have been a custom job of a more massive Frac format rack rail... and ironically, the 300 *faceplates* are relatively bendy up to a certain point, much more than Frac modules. It can be 100% avoided, but don't keep using cables with plugs that are extraordinarily thick and hard to insert, and don't ship 300 modules without proper protection. (*)

Finally, while the 300 *is* extremely high on clarity/ low on noise, the modularized architecture with ribbon cables makes it more prone to crosstalk (between theoretically independent modules in the same physical housing) than Frac modules. That's why I prefer the 1200 Borg II.

Anyway, back to topic... I greatly enjoy having a very consistent system in terms of ergonomy, feel and look but with a variety of four (or three, depending on perception) very different filters. I do think I can hear something common between the Borgs, Boogie and Omni, which is probably simply Grant's design footprint or character, but still there's very little overlapping between them in terms of what you can program them to do and to sound like.

(*) P.S.: and don't bolt modules on the rails with soft washers or with very small headed screws.
chamomileshark
drumsofd00m wrote:
This essay of Grant's -
http://mamonu.weebly.com/east-coast-vs-west-coast.html -
seems to say that the Blacet VCO was a Wiard design, if I got that right - can anyone comment?
.


It's late and I can't see where in that text it sugests that the Blacet VCO was Grant's design.

I'm familiar with both quotes because they both seem to have been lifted from his user list posts.

My recollection re discussion of the Blacet VCO is that Grant found a paper re triangle core oscillators that was not patented and passed that info on to John Blacet. I can't remember the original person that wrote the paper but I do know Grant credited him with that work.

The miniwave was his and was an atempt to improve on the Digisound VCDO.
chamomileshark
ok, I've looked at the quote again - I suspect it was a slip of the pen. After all the Blacet Miniwave actually has "Wiard Synthesier's Miniwave" on it - the VCO does not.

as said previously the VCO is John's based on some design ideas that Grant passed to John but did not create.

I think part of the problem with this is that these quotes are taken from his list which was more a conversation with his customers and sometimes fellow designers rather than a properly proof read account for publication.
drumsofd00m
It's Terry Michaels and it's a saw core.
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