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Do I need a VCA right away?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Do I need a VCA right away?
littelspde
I am new to hardware modular and slowly beginning to piece together a rig, I am buying a case and some second-hand modules off a friend (power, 2xLFO and a super sloth) but my current remaining budget is tight.

I intend to buy a Noise Reap Berumda VCO as my first oscillator but this will about hit budget limit for me. Now, from my reading I understand the importance and use of VCA's but I will not be able to get one for a couple of weeks - but my question is am I able to patch the modulated (by LFO and sloth) VCO straight out into my mixer (its an old junkshop one, not worried if i damage it) in order to start generating audio from the start - or should I wait it out and get VCO/VCA at the same time?

From what I've read, the modular out is going to be a lot stronger than the usual line input into the mixer, but I am yet to find someone saying that it definitely can/cant be done.
Thanks
e-grad
littelspde wrote:
From what I've read, the modular out is going to be a lot stronger than the usual line input into the mixer, but I am yet to find someone saying that it definitely can/cant be done.
Thanks


You don't need the VCA as an output module btn VCO and mixer but to modulate the amplitude. W/out a VCA you'll have a nonestop unattenuated audio output which is somewhat boring. Well you can use a fader to vary the amplitude.

A modular output is hot. Pls be careful and turn the fader and volume down when checking your set up. To say the obvious make sure you use a line in.
e-grad
The A132-1 is an economical priced dual VCA. You could use your LFO as CV source. I'm not familar with the Sloth but guess that will do as a CV source for any VCA as well.
Cybananna
Yes, definitely turn the volume all the way down and turn it up slowly. Mess with what you have and you will start to learn what you need based on what you can’t do that you want to do.
littelspde
Awesome, thanks guys - a vca or two are definetly the next up on shopping list (and will be looking at the A132-1 for sure) but it's good to know I can at least have a little fun before I get there, and will be sure to start out with everything at 0 and turn it up slowly.
modularblack
You definitifly need a VCA. I am also on a hard budget, but a VCA is on the top 3 Modules you really need. (The other to are btw a VCO and a (connection to a) sequencer.)

I got both the Bermuda and the 2xVCA from Noise Reap, the 2xVCA is cool, but the lack of a sawtooth wave on the Bermuda is something that annoys me more than I thought, so it might be better to wait and spend a little more money on the VCO.
littelspde
Thanks for the advice.
I think the 2xVCA from Noise Reap looks like a pretty good way to go and will get there eventually - along with the cheapest sequencer I can find. I am aiming at producing ambient/drone to accompany my current tape loop set-up so think that a lack of saw wave might not be such a problem for me (except if I want it for modulation) but I plan on many VCO's so will make sure my next one has all the options - I just can't turn my nose up at the Berumda's price.
Dr. Sketch-n-Etch
You needed a VCA yesterday. Take a look at the Intellijel Quad VCA -- that will get you four for a pretty nice price.
ranix
how come this is in modular synth general instead of eurorack? This is a eurorack specific thread
Blairio
Quite a few Eurorack modules have built in VCAs. I don't have experience of any other modular standard (for which my wallet is eternally greatful), but perhaps they do to?

For instance I have a couple of filter modules with a built in VCA, from Mutable Instruments (Ripples) and TipTop Audio (Z2040). The Z2040 is interesting, not least because with jumpers you can 'position' the VCA either before the filter stage, or after it.

Blair edit: there are also oscillators with VCA stages, such as Modcan's FMVDO, or Mutable's Braids.
thetwlo
yes, you should get a VCA or 12.... but you can do things without one. explore that.
VinceL
ranix wrote:
how come this is in modular synth general instead of eurorack? This is a eurorack specific thread


I agree with you, ranix. There are entirely too many Eurorack-specific threads in this forum.
mskala
VCAs exist in all modular formats and the question of how soon you need one is not format-specific even if recommendations of specific product names would be.
beliefsystemrecords
you def need a vca (or a lpg). to me its as essential as a vco. if i had to build the smallest system it would be a vco, envelope and a vca
PrimateSynthesis
srsly never
Robscorch
The VCA is the heart of your voice if you think about it that way. YOU need many VCA's most smaller systems need at least 4 the bigger you go the more voices and sounds you add the more you probably will need.

MANY oscillators these days have VCAs on board, but in either case you need these and audio mixers more than you will know if you want to do many more things.

The Intellijel Quad VCA is wonderful for the money as is the 4ms VCA matrix. Another amazing combo module is the Double Andore MKI and MKII. This combo is the back end of a voice being an envelope/vca.
dysonant
n/m I am being dumb
selfdestroyer
For me, I put off getting a VCA for a while since my only sound source was the MI Elements, which is gated already. I just did not have a need for one.. 3 weeks later, its a different story since by then I had 3 more modules and needed a VCA.
Mirolab
Well..... if were living month-to-month, and I could have 3 and ONLY 3 modules to make interesting noises, it would be VCO+ENV+VCF. That's plenty of fun right there. I'd rather have a filter than a VCA.
littelspde
VinceL wrote:
ranix wrote:
how come this is in modular synth general instead of eurorack? This is a eurorack specific thread


I agree with you, ranix. There are entirely too many Eurorack-specific threads in this forum.


While mskala does have a point this this is theoretically relevant to *all* modular formats, I was being Eurorack specific - it was my first post and wont make the same mistake again smile

PS: Thanks for all the advice guys, im going to save a little more and order a 2x VCA at the same time as my VCO
Bartimaeus
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
chysn
You're talking about not getting a VCA for two weeks. You'll be fine. In two weeks you can get to know your oscillator, etc., and you can let all these fine folks tell you what VCA to get.
lisa
I got ten modules before I got my first VCA. I made tons of great music anyway, so.. Miley Cyrus

EDIT: To make a more clear point. People saying that you HAVE to get a certain type of module from the start promotes one way of doing things and modular is about the opposite of that. You can forge your own path and find your own voice.

To be fair, the reason why people promote VCAs is that they're often underestimated for modulating modulation but there are tons of ways of doing that if you're even interested in the concept. You don't have to be.
Shledge
VCAs are not just for changing the volume - they can be used to change the amplitude of CV or even do AM/RM, depending whether it is unipolar or bipolar. Built in VCAs in a module are not an excuse to forgo getting VCAs.
npseaver
(or you could get an LPG instead, which is more fun, and save the VCA for w couple modules down the road when you want to modulate CV with it eek!)
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