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Serge euro vs Serge 4 u
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Serge euro vs Serge 4 u
Hi guys,
hope most of you won't consider what I ask something stupid but I'm a bit confused about the differences between the Serge modules in euro format and the ones in the original format.
I've read a lot o 3ds about serge modules and the various evolutions during the years.
I've tried the Euro Serge by random Source and a couple of ken stone modules into an euro set up.
I miss to try the real thing but I don't know anyone who owns it to give it a try.
I know there are difference as the 4 u use banana connectors and works with 15v while in euro you can have "banana-like " connections using stackables but the system works with 12v.
Does the system sound different and have a different behaviour running at 15v?
Listening to the patches by djangonfire on youtube the 4 u system by STS seems to me more a musical instrument with its own idiosincrasys.
The euro modules work well in a "serge-like" solo system but don't work that good in interaction with other manufactures.
Another thing I noticed is the R*S Euro sounds really often saturated or in order to distort easily even attenuating a lot...

At the end of the game...
these are the choices:

-Integrate R*S in my euro set up
-Build a 4 U R*S / K Stone set up
-Look for a STS animal or something like that.


thank you for your replies!

Go 4U, it's a far more flexible and ergonomic interface than Euro.

Mixing coherent system like Serge or Buchla with other brand/system sometimes gives you good result, but surely, from which i know, Serge circuit fit wonderfully together, they are made in purpose of each other.
It worth having a full coherent panel R*S/K Stone or STS (not the same price though).

About 15v/12v : R*S/K Stone or STS use 12v because they've been designed for it.

Cheers !
PS : Nothing against Euro obviously, it is great, just doesn't fit to me.
As I'm not webbed yet, i still need space between my fingers.
thank you very much Permette!
I like eurorack, but there is a lot of confusion and it's not sure modules will work well together.
Did you try the R*S for euro and 4u?
is there any difference soundwise?
Do the Ken stone projects sound better than R*S?
Cat Girl Synth
The R*S stuff seems to be more precise than many other Serge builds, the tracking on the R*S modules is very good indeed, I am an STS Serge owner and I don't think my system tracks as well. Whether or not this makes the system sound better is another matter.

I have thought about selling my Serge but I can't ever go through with it. The form factor, patching and overall system design is exceptionally good. You mention the Animal, that is one of the most intelligent and fun analogue synth panels ever designed in my opinion. I think the R*S and Ken Stone Euro modules will be just as good, but as you say it has to be mixed with other Euro modules, some people love that, some hate it...
Thank you Wavecircle!
the main thing I'm trying to understand is if there any difference in audio performance between the euro format and the 4U.
I have the R*S VCFQ and I like it but as I told , using it with euro modules, it's quite easy to saturate the input signal.
I know it's not the classic filter, it behaves like that even in the STS system?
If STS and R*S 4U work the same at 12v, my main curiosity are gainstaging between the modules.
I don't notice any significant saturation on my STS VCQF. If I use the In rather than the AGC input maybe a little bit.
4u ergonomics are so nice and R*S 4x4 format is great... the RS euro modules should perform the same as their 4u equivalents but there are layout compromises and it just doesn't interest me to have serge in euro.

If you can diy the 4u rs modules are easy and you can build a beautiful system for around the same cost as eurorack so it seems like a no brainer going 4u and getting traditional serge layout/nanas. I'm very glad I decided to try a format outside of euro.
To me Euro should be used for the forward thinking modules. I am very tempted to get a digital modular system for sampling/drums, insane rhythms, wavetables, FM and vactrols. Serge and Buchla modules in Euro, meh, it's been done and you can DIY the real thing at a reasonable cost.
I agree with you, and for Buchla I think euro is limited to some few modules.
For Serge , as the voltages are the same (power 12v) , and diy modules are the same, the only thing that make the difference from what I learn from the forum is the layouts/ergonomics.
Am I wrong?
For STS there's no euro counterpart, but for the diy systems both Ken Stone and R*S are the same modules in euro or 4U I've understood.

Eurorack speaking I've tried several digital "forward thinking " modules but I found most of them disappointing, there's no advanced technology used in most of them and at the end of the day the feeling is that you're using a limited bad sounding digital synth.
In that case I prefer using a real "good sounding" digital synth or simply go virtual.
The main thing you will be missing in 4u serge is the lack of limitations in patching. All outputs, regardless of type, audio, cv, etc can go to any input. Audio out into a CV path. If you're into feedback and maximizing modulation possibilities this is a very powerful system.
The 4u format is superb, portable but not too small with the best patching system. The RS modules are as good technically as sts from what I have seen and heard. RS has actually worked with serge and has printed his own pcbs I believe. Loudest warning is also a superb builder, he ports lots of cool stuff to 4u. Beautiful aesthetics too.

The nice thing about serge or buchla is it's far less prone to flavour of the month syndrome, you are forced to just sit down, learn and be creative with a cohesive and superbly designed system. Euro requires you to be incredibly meticulous and disciplined to get to the same place.
I've been building a small 6U EuroSerge system using the Elby modules - they come in banana format or with 3.5mm jacks.
Main reason was to have a portable 'add-on' system to go with an Easel and Plumbutter, as I really love the nanas rather than the normal euro 3.5mm jacks.
Patching is far FAR more enjoyable with nanas, and going with discrete modules in EuroSerge lets you pick the ones you need/want most without having to go to a bigger panel Serge format (or building your own).

The other advantage of doing EuroSerge is that if you do 'really' want a particular Eurorack module in there as well then it is easy to add - just use a small format jumbler to interface jacks together (I have a 6hp panel for this which is very convenient).
Obviously this creates a bit of a hybrid or 'Frankenstein' case - I know this is definitely not to everyone's taste - but to me I just love the flexibility. I can swap out modules and add the odd one-off Eurorack module as needed.
I've even DIY added nanas to some Eurorack modules.

As for sound - I understand the Elby EuroSerge modules are based off the early Serge designs - I've played with a mates Serge system and as far as I can tell (in my limited tests) the sound and functionality is pretty well the same.

Of course -when it comes down to aesthetics, and shear depth of functionality per square inch, then the original Serge format is the way to go - not the cheapest way to do it mind you...

And, having said all that, I would one day hope to get a 3 panel Serge system with the TKB Seq/keyboard in a separate boat
(one day... Mr. Green )
Francesco wrote:

Did you try the R*S for euro and 4u?
is there any difference soundwise?
Do the Ken stone projects sound better than R*S?
Cat Girl Synth

Haven't had a chance to make any comparisons, i've just built a 4U R*S NCOM.
Unfortunately, R*S is a bit expensive regarding my empty purse and so far i've been choosing to make most on my own to save money, so i use Ken Stone/Serge PCB.
That is perfect for me because i learn things and i'm amazed by the sound and the possibility of it (thank you Ken !).

What i've noticed also is that the same circuit with the same PCB could sound a bit different. Analog electronic is so facetious and unpredictable to me.

If you want to mix format, don't be too anxious about gain staging, I would suggest a processor to make the interfacing of CVs with both bananas and jacks for inputs and outputs (

But, as said Happyanimal, in term of mixing stuff, you don't need anything else than a Serge circuit based system.

Cheers mates
I would suggest going, at least with 4U, either R*S, K Stone, COA or a combo..

Personally, I stay away from euro because of ergonomics and I dont like the idea of crammed circuitry.. for various, and perhaps obvious, reasons.

There is the question of patch cables.. bananas are way better, not just for stacking but for inter-connectivity; they have a much larger contact surface than 1/8" or 1/4"..

.. also, I favour STS-only stuff based on my experience when mix/matching my STS rig with other "Serge" panels.. there is also the aspect of STS's PCB design (size, trace size/type, etc..) that, to my ears, plays a role in the system's sound/feel.. could also just be my OCD wink

my $0.02 Can

Hope this helps
Ken Stones designs and STS are based on the same circuits (STS even uses the original Serge PCB layouts) so they should sound the same. Some R*S circuits have been updated, for example using THAT chips in place of the Serge discrete VCA sub-modules or CA3080s. So they'll sound a bit different. I have a Variable Slope filter from both R*S and SMMS and they do sound a bit different.

As far as the VCFQ and overdrive, It's easy to overdrive the input with resonance settings turned up. The filter has a crazy amount of resonance and it's to be expected that the resonant peak will distort at high Q settings. Serge did include a ACG input that adjusts levels as the Q changes. There's also an input level control. I think it has more to do with that than interfacing with other gear.
4u all the way hands down the best I have used euro as well and it has some very cool digital stuff but the form factor of 4u is really perfect, not too big not too small.

Also the Random*Source stuff is just such nice quality, from the panels to the pcbs, to the circuits, to the sound everything is super super complex and beautiful!!!!!!

Banana connectors/cables are basically the most structurally sound connection scheme, I literally have banana cables that are over 60 years old and work perfectly still!!!! It's peanut butter jelly time! My only complaint is nice quality banana jacks can be pricey but u can find deals on the bay sometimes, as well those glow in the dark ones from thonk are pretty fair too
Serge comes into its own in a systemic context. Throwing a couple of serge modules in euro setup probably does not get the best out of them. For example the resonance on the RS VCFQ output, like the STS, is far too loud for most euro mixers. Its brutal. No problem for a Serge 4U but a big problem for all the euro modules I tried it with that are simply not made to deal with those levels.

However, a complete RS Serge system, why not? No bananas is a pity and I think the sound would be a but cleaner and tighter, with the newer VCAs especially. Not identical to STS, no doubt "better" in some ways (DUSG mkll is demonstrably better in some measurable ways). I think its a valid interpretation of Serge.
at least the tip top stackables are a good substitute for bananas if you are going for a euro serge system...I also like how elby and R*S have tried to replicate a colour coding scheme in euro....that is something cool about a complete serge system is that you really have a good sense of how to patch based on colors my experience much much faster and intuitive than text alone..
Elby also make u3 modules with bananas for a halfway house. I'd go for u4 if you're starting from scratch. Especially if you're at all interested in diy
Hello all.
I’m new to the world of Serge and I must say, this thread is very helpful.
I have a couple of STS panels as well as the Elby/Stone euroserge kit.

I am definitely more attracted to the ergonomics of the 4U but it is hard to come by.

If I were to go the way of 4U kits what would be a good choice for quality/design/authenticity?


Are their any electronic components that will make a significant difference in the sound/build quality.

Thank you all.
The CGS PCB's sold by Elby are very good and represent pre STS Serge and these are used in a lot of DIY projects (especially 4U panels that are either the combined functions in a 19" panel or seperate 4U modules)

I have a fair few of these in separate 4U modules and really like them.

Do a search for LW format or CGS and you get lots of results for examples.

Craig Lee (CLEE) and Dustin (J3RK) also do nice 4U designs as do others.
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