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Voyager XL as an entry into 5U modular
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules  
Author Voyager XL as an entry into 5U modular
Shaw
Hi all,

New forum member here... this may be a dumb question so please don’t roast me too hard if so, but...

I’m getting a Moog Voyager XL (I have years of Keyboard synth experience). And I’m getting it primarily because I like it’s tone and capabilities on its own. But I am also getting it because I think it would make a pretty good entry point for a 5U modular system.

Thoughts? Am I misguided here? What components should I get first to complement the Voyager? Would it be possible to put together a second voice to make a more or less duophonic system?

Thanks in advance for the help and advice!

Shaw. Guinness ftw!
JohnLRice
Welcome to 5U Shaw! w00t

I don't have a Voyager but I seem to remember reading that one or more models had tracking issues, either when controlling external oscillators or when being controlled by an external sequencer. I can't remember the details but something to keep in mind if you have a problem down the road, and I believe there was either a fix from Moog or a third party? hmmm.....

What to add first? EVERYTHING! hihi hyper hihi But seriously, I'm a sequencer nut so I'd probably add a sequencer first? There are lots to choose from depending on what you want to do and how you like to work.

Since the Voyager had MIDI out (correct?) you can use various MIDI to CV converters to do duophonic and polyphonic work. For duophonic the Synthesizers.com Q174 comes to mind first, although I haven't used that module myself. https://www.synthesizers.com/q174.html


Edit: also check out http://www.noisebug.net/ since they are the premier 5U dealer in the USA.
Shaw
Thanks for the reply.
I hadn’t read anything about the Voyager having CV tracking issues, but that is good to know in advance. Moog seems to have been pretty good about releasing a steady stream of firmware updates for the instruments, so hopefully if that was an issue, it has been fixed by now. And yes, the Voyager has MIDI out.

I’ve poured over Synthesizers.com, and to me that looks like one of the more economical places to start. Any comments on build / sound quality?

Also, good to know about Noisebug. I’ve seen them listing synths on Reverb but didn’t know they were the premier 5U dealer in the US. Like I said, I am new to all old this.

Thanks again for the reply!

Guinness ftw!
trentpmcd
I started with a Voyager and the VX-351 (also a CP-251, but that isn't part of the Voyager). Not exactly the same as the XL, but there are a lot of CV ins and outs with this combo. I ordered a synthesizers.com entry level system with an upgrade to the walnut cabinet. I think this was a great way to start into it. I've since branched out to a lot of different brands (STG, Corsynth, Moon, Krips1 build of Oakley and very soon Happy Nerding). The dotcom gear is very good, but some of the others are built like a tank. I also think having a variety gives you a lot more flexibility.

My big problem, though, is that I haven't used any sounds from my Voyager for a while. I do use it. I love the Moog envelopes, particularly on the filters for that "phat" sound. I also use the noise, the LFO and pressure. My CP-251 gets even more of a work out, but I use CV from the Voyager a lot. It is not my primary keyboard, but I use midi through so it triggers and such when I play.

I have had a few issues. The pitch CV is offset by, I think (it's been a while) a fourth. The midi is also an octave different, which is one reason I use a different keyboard. Output of the audio is different. I haven't used the VCOs in a while, but using the noise, it is at a much lower level. I've also run into some other quirky things. For the most part, though, it has been fine.

Of course this is just a normal Voyager with a breakout box for the CV outs (it has CV ins built in). Your experience with the XL might be different. Since the patch points are on the instrument itself and not a breakout box, you may use the instrument more.

Have fun!
johny_gtr
Very IMHO but I think that you can buy Mos-Lab/Synth-Werk single voice setup and good midi keys for the price of Voyager XL.
Profit of it:
- Better sound (if XL sounds like regular Voyager)
- Better involvement into MU modular life wink
- Better understanding how synthesis works (cables, separate modules and old book about subtractive synthesis is a great combo)

Cons:
- Hard for live gigs/rehearsals
- Harder to sell
Shaw
trentpmcd wrote:
I have had a few issues. The pitch CV is offset by, I think (it's been a while) a fourth. The midi is also an octave different, which is one reason I use a different keyboard. Output of the audio is different. I haven't used the VCOs in a while, but using the noise, it is at a much lower level. I've also run into some other quirky things. For the most part, though, it has been fine.

Of course this is just a normal Voyager with a breakout box for the CV outs (it has CV ins built in). Your experience with the XL might be different. Since the patch points are on the instrument itself and not a breakout box, you may use the instrument more.

Have fun!

That Pitch CV issue seems anomalous -- did you ever contact Moog about that? I can't imaging that issue wouldn't have been resolved by someone. I mean, the Voyager itself runs on control voltages internally.


johny_gtr wrote:
Very IMHO but I think that you can buy Mos-Lab/Synth-Werk single voice setup and good midi keys for the price of Voyager XL.
Profit of it:
- Better sound (if XL sounds like regular Voyager)
- Better involvement into MU modular life wink
- Better understanding how synthesis works (cables, separate modules and old book about subtractive synthesis is a great combo)

Cons:
- Hard for live gigs/rehearsals
- Harder to sell

Yeah, I could have gotten a good bit of 5U kit for the price of the Voyager XL, but I WANTED the Voyager XL. At this point I see it as 5U modular kit being a possible extension of the Moog. Of course I realize that may one day reverse (i.e. the Moog becomes an extension of my modular system). smile

Thanks so much for the comments and encouragements!

Shaw Guinness ftw!
trentpmcd
Shaw wrote:
trentpmcd wrote:
I have had a few issues. The pitch CV is offset by, I think (it's been a while) a fourth. The midi is also an octave different, which is one reason I use a different keyboard. Output of the audio is different. I haven't used the VCOs in a while, but using the noise, it is at a much lower level. I've also run into some other quirky things. For the most part, though, it has been fine.

Of course this is just a normal Voyager with a breakout box for the CV outs (it has CV ins built in). Your experience with the XL might be different. Since the patch points are on the instrument itself and not a breakout box, you may use the instrument more.

Have fun!

That Pitch CV issue seems anomalous -- did you ever contact Moog about that? I can't imaging that issue wouldn't have been resolved by someone. I mean, the Voyager itself runs on control voltages internally.



When I first started using it with the dotcom VCOs I did a little research and I found a few others that said the same thing, so I think it's normal. It's not a problem, you just tune the VCO to match, but when I was switching back and forth between midi and using the CV, it was a pain. When I asked about it, someone brought up using something like the dotcom Q123 standards module and tuning it there. I like the feel of my Kawai K5000 keyboard a lot better anyway, plus it is bigger (I know the XL has a bigger keyboard than the plain Voyager, but being limited to 3 1/2 octaves is a pain).
hsosdrum
Shaw wrote:

I’ve poured over Synthesizers.com, and to me that looks like one of the more economical places to start. Any comments on build / sound quality?


I've been in the pro and consumer audio industry for nearly 40 years and have owned a 44U Dotcom system since last May, and I think that the Dotcom build quality is first-rate. When I first unpacked my system I was almost overwhelmed by the quality feel of the controls and switches, the solidity of the 1/4" jacks and the overall fit-and-finish. Since then I've added some Moon Modular modules (made in Germany and very highly regarded around here), and I think that the Dotcom products are 100% their equal in build quality. Quite simply, Dotcom represents the best price/quality value in the 5U world.

I would characterize Dotcom as having a sound that exhibits less of an overt "personality" than other 5U brands like Moon and Moog. To me they seem to start from a more neutral place but still provide you with tons of opportunities to create unique and interesting sounds. And Dotcom has a huge variety of modules available, which makes it easy to assemble an extremely flexible 5U system.

To explain what I mean about sound, I have the Dotcom Q107A State-Variable filter and the Moon 517S filter right next to each other in my system, and have done a lot of back-and-forth cable swapping between them. It's very easy to get both filters to sound and behave identically over much of their operating ranges, but I find that it's easier to get the Moon filter to 'misbehave' at its extremes, creating all sorts of interesting out-of-the-box sounds, while the Dotcom filter sticks closer to home even at its more extreme settings. The Moon filter just seems to 'color outside the lines' more easily than the Dotcom.

If you're just starting out in 5U, you really can't go wrong with Dotcom. Then, as you get more experience under your belt, you'll be better able to determine where (or even if) you want to go for different kinds of sounds.

But no matter what, welcome, and don't forget to HAVE FUN WIGGLING! nanners
EMwhite
My first synth of any quality was a Voyager Old School, followed by a Voyager Select, followed by a vintage Minimoog which is where I'm staying.

But the Voyagers are great. And clearly, desert island synths. If you plan on spending much/most of your time with it, getting one is the right move (or if you play a Rhodes + Voyager, etc.)

But if you have 10 keyboards and want modular also, I would vote to pass.

TO answer your Duophonic question, you will want to split the Midi out with local off such that you have an external device (or software) split the keyboard based on midi note range, then send notes from the split point back IN to the Voyager to a designated channel and the other to an external source (could easily be a modular with a Midi-CV).

At least when I had my Voyager, there was no split functionality, only one CV Pitch out, and keyboard electronics which had a note priority scheme which was very much monophonic in nature.

As far as CV scaling, the older Voyagers had a resistor which is unregulated and non tunable directly, however you have two choices; 1 is to use the VX-351 output (the only choice on a standard Voyager) and tune it there; the other is to have your Voyager modded by Moog (as I did) and they will install a resistor/variable resistor (aka tuning pot) so that you can dial in 1V / oct dead on.

I have a pic somewhere and the R value somewhere and can dig it out if you are interested. I would do it on my own, if presented with the situation again but you might want to find a tech that you can trust if not Moog themselves.
Rex Coil 7
I would go Dot Com QKB61 keyboard with ~your choice~ of modules, and add a Voyager Rack for Voyager sounds and patch save ability.

(staying within the Voyager + Dot Com formula).

So with this combo, you still have your Voyager, you still have your Dot Com (or any modular stuff), and you still have your 61 note keyboard.

I've owned a QKB61 for about 6 or 7 months now ..... out-friggin-standing keybed (I've been playing since 1977). Excellent MIDI features that you do not normally find, such as MIDI Merge (it has 2 MIDI inputs which can be merged with one another AND with the keyboard output).

To me, this combination is a better spent $8k ... in fact it may actually get you more for the same $8k than going with a Voyager XL and then adding a Dot Com modular of some sort.
MindMachine
hsosdrum wrote:
Shaw wrote:

I’ve poured over Synthesizers.com, and to me that looks like one of the more economical places to start. Any comments on build / sound quality?


I've been in the pro and consumer audio industry for nearly 40 years and have owned a 44U Dotcom system since last May, and I think that the Dotcom build quality is first-rate. When I first unpacked my system I was almost overwhelmed by the quality feel of the controls and switches, the solidity of the 1/4" jacks and the overall fit-and-finish. Since then I've added some Moon Modular modules (made in Germany and very highly regarded around here), and I think that the Dotcom products are 100% their equal in build quality. Quite simply, Dotcom represents the best price/quality value in the 5U world.

I would characterize Dotcom as having a sound that exhibits less of an overt "personality" than other 5U brands like Moon and Moog. To me they seem to start from a more neutral place but still provide you with tons of opportunities to create unique and interesting sounds. And Dotcom has a huge variety of modules available, which makes it easy to assemble an extremely flexible 5U system.

To explain what I mean about sound, I have the Dotcom Q107A State-Variable filter and the Moon 517S filter right next to each other in my system, and have done a lot of back-and-forth cable swapping between them. It's very easy to get both filters to sound and behave identically over much of their operating ranges, but I find that it's easier to get the Moon filter to 'misbehave' at its extremes, creating all sorts of interesting out-of-the-box sounds, while the Dotcom filter sticks closer to home even at its more extreme settings. The Moon filter just seems to 'color outside the lines' more easily than the Dotcom.

If you're just starting out in 5U, you really can't go wrong with Dotcom. Then, as you get more experience under your belt, you'll be better able to determine where (or even if) you want to go for different kinds of sounds.

But no matter what, welcome, and don't forget to HAVE FUN WIGGLING! nanners


An excellent summary in my opinion.

OP - I am not sure that I would add modules for second voice. I would just consider a Mother 32 or DFAM to be honest.
Synthoholic
Voyager XL would be almost the most luxurious modular controller you could get. With the large keyboard, the Ribbon, Touchplate, and a slew of CV ins and outs, yeah. First Rate choice there and a helluva standalone.

Now pair it with a Moslab System 15 and don't look back.
hsosdrum
MindMachine wrote:

An excellent summary in my opinion.


Thanks for the compliment, MindMachine!
josaka
Quote:
I have the Dotcom Q107A State-Variable filter and the Moon 517S filter right next to each other in my system, and have done a lot of back-and-forth cable swapping between them. It's very easy to get both filters to sound and behave identically over much of their operating ranges, but I find that it's easier to get the Moon filter to 'misbehave' at its extremes, creating all sorts of interesting out-of-the-box sounds, while the Dotcom filter sticks closer to home even at its more extreme settings. The Moon filter just seems to 'color outside the lines' more easily than the Dotcom.


not so sure this is a .com/moon thing I would say it is more likely a 24db oberheim expander thing vs a 12db oberheim SEM thing smile (..what these two are based on..) the .com are for the most part very traditional sounding modules (until you start the crazy patching..) the new ++ modules are bucking that trend though smile
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