Tiny Modular Setup

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B13
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Tiny Modular Setup

Post by B13 » Thu Mar 20, 2008 11:48 am

Hi everyone,
I mostly make really noisy drones and I am looking to put some specific frequencies into my sound. I want to put together a really simple, preferably two oscillator, setup into one of the 28hp doepfer cases. I have been looking at a number of different combinations, with this http://matrixsynth.blogspot.com/2008/02 ... dular.html as a reference point.

I would like to have a filter option, which that setup doesn't have. Also I would like to use VCOs instead of lfos because if anything I've heard about modular is true this will be the beginning of the addiction and I think that would be a little more flexible in the long run. But really I'm open to anything. Since I'm going to be using this for drones, and I already have a mixer to control volume, a VCA and an EG aren't really necessary. Just some oscillators and some filtering options. I would like the ability to get some more distorted tones and since there doesn't seem to be space for a waveshaper a dirty filter would be great.

Here's what I've been thinking:

Setup 1
Dalek Modulator and the Harvestman Polivoks VCF or Doepfer Xtreme HP/LP

Setup 2
2 Deopfer Basic VCO and Doepfer 24db LP (for the two basic VCO's)

Setup 3
Doepfer Quad LFO (i know it doesn't have VC and doesn't have a high range, but 4 pitches would be nice) and Polivoks VCF and a Ringmod

I am thinking that setup 1 is going to give me the most features for the space I'm working with since the VCOs on the dalek can crossmodulate each other and I would get a noisy filter plus CV control in the future (i realize that the dalek doesn't accept 1v per octave but I will never get a keyboard so thats fine).

Anyhow this may be an excessive first post but I am really racking my brain trying to figure out the best way to do this and I really don't have the money to make the full jump into modular right now, but I would like to have a starting point at least.

Thanks in advance,
Brendan

Edit: I didn't actually ask a question, what do you think of these combinations? Is there something I am missing? Is there a small frac case?

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Cat-A-Tonic
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gateway modular... alot better

Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:08 pm

If you are going to go Eurorack I would go with Setup #1 for starters.
You should keep in mind the DIY power supply options if you really have a tight budget.

I chose to go Frac and I am happy that I did.
I may eventually get some Euro too, but it is quite a ways down the road of modular addiction. I am just getting started myself. (on my 3rd Frac)

Blacet makes relatively inexpensive yet quality Frac racks and nice power supplies. I think Blacet is the way to go if you need to save cash in general, but think that you may want to expand later. Frac has tons of options from different manufactureres.

I am using:
1 Blacet VCO
and the dual VCO from Metasonix (highly recommended for organic tones, but limited in function by comparison to the Blacet)

You will want to expand once you realize the power and flexibility each module adds to the functions of the others and that little Doepfer case looks a bit expensive for such a stifling amount of space.

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Post by zerosum » Thu Mar 20, 2008 7:15 pm

Is there a small frac case?
Just one size that I am aware of(5 spaces), but its only $79 plus $99 for the power supply.

You could also just buy the power supply and then build a box and screw the modules directly into wood, which could hold as many modules as you want.

What gear do you have right now? Anything with CV ins/outs?

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Post by sgnhh » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:44 pm

I would suggest avoiding your third setup. You aren't going to get the same sounds out of 4 LFOs that you would out of two VCOs. The first setup is definitely the most appealing to me, but I'd also tell you to perhaps consider the Plan B VCO instead of the Dalek. The Polivoks filter is a great low pass/band pass filter that doubles as an equally great audio source--this could act as your "second" VCO if you really wanted it to. With that in mind, the Plan B VCO has more waveform options than the Dalek does, but it is only one VCO.

But what I really think you should do is take the money you would spend on these modules and buy a Doepfer DIY kit #1, spend a couple weeks putting together your own case, sell your small Doepfer box and then take that money and any else that you have and start buying modules. You'll be glad you have the extra space.

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Post by A Dingleberry Monstrosity » Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:50 pm

2 plan B osc
a couple doepfer BBDs
ring mod
frequency shifter
LFOs
filters, filters filters...

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Muff Wiggler
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:10 pm

if i was building the most minimalist setup possible with droneworks as a primary goal, i personally would be looking at a slightly different setup than you have there

- i think you will want at least one or two lfo's to drive a VCA *very* slowly for your drones. you are wise to think 'might as well get vco instead of lfo', because you can use the vco as an lfo, with lots more flexibility than you would have in a vco. i would be thinking three vcos, or one vco and two lfos

- you are really going to want a noise module, preferably something that can output both noise and an s&h voltage

- you will need a vca to be driven by the lfo to automate the slow rise and fall of part of your drone

- you will really need a mixer module to blend the vco tone(s) and noise along with what's coming from your vca. playing with these blends will probably become a big part of the performance, along with adjusting the quality of the noise and the oscillators

so the most minimal setup i could think of would have a vco, an lfo, a noise module, a vca, and a mixer. I would think of a multi-mode filter as the next likely candidate after these. think multi-mode and not lpf because, again, you want maximum flexibilbity per square inch

it's too bad Dark Star Chaos is getting so hard to find, and is so wide for your needs (there's one on ebay). In one module you get a (not properly scaled) VCO, Noise Gen, Noise Filter, and AD. It's a module that excels at exactly the sorts of goals you seem to have here.

Anyway, food for thought I guess, hope it helps. I think expanding beyond here you would think of a seqential switch, even a very small one (the three step blacet one is tons of fun for this sort of work and simple & cheap) would be great, hopefully something with a clock built-in.

also, even if you go with the most minimalist setup, build yourself a small external joystick CV controller. There's EXCELLENT instructions courtesy of Felix right here in the DIY subforum. It is easy, simple, cheap, and gives you two more sources to drive the cv inputs in your small system

hope this all helps, and good luck! please keep us posted, this is a really great idea and a fun thread - i love it when severe limitations are set out with a fixed set of goals - that's when really creative ideas always pop out. looking forward to how this works out for you.

oh, welcome to the forum! great first post 8)

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Post by Kwote » Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:31 pm

Muff Wiggler wrote:I think expanding beyond here you would think of a seqential switch, even a very small one (the three step blacet one is tons of fun for this sort of work and simple & cheap) would be great, hopefully something with a clock built-in.
can you give some example patches you've created with blacet's three step seq switch? just curious how much juice you can ring out that thing.
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B13
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Post by B13 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:11 pm

I've been mulling it over a lot, looking at other people's setups that similar music to me and I have decided to go with a frac system instead of a eurorack one. I realized that I can just make my own case, or fit two racks in a flightcase if I want something portable. I have decided to sell my piano and I am going to use the funds to subsidize this project and go a little bit bigger than I originally planned. I thought the input was really helpful. So here's what I am thinking so far for a one row system:

2 Blacet VCO's
1 Blacet Quad VCA/Mixer

I definitely want all of the above but I've still got room for two more modules I was thinking maybe a Wiard NoiseRing and a Couple of LFO's but any suggestions would be great. Oh, I don't have any other CV gear either.

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Post by Kwote » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:04 pm

B13 wrote:I've been mulling it over a lot, looking at other people's setups that similar music to me and I have decided to go with a frac system instead of a eurorack one. I realized that I can just make my own case, or fit two racks in a flightcase if I want something portable. I have decided to sell my piano and I am going to use the funds to subsidize this project and go a little bit bigger than I originally planned. I thought the input was really helpful. So here's what I am thinking so far for a one row system:

2 Blacet VCO's
1 Blacet Quad VCA/Mixer

I definitely want all of the above but I've still got room for two more modules I was thinking maybe a Wiard NoiseRing and a Couple of LFO's but any suggestions would be great. Oh, I don't have any other CV gear either.
that sounds great but you should get a filter up in there. if you can go for the Wiard Borg. idealy that's my next filter. reality i'm sure will play out different.
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consumed
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Post by consumed » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:57 am

hi--we could probably make some really specific recommendations for you if we could get a better idea of what noise you currently make and what you think you'd like to make with analog gear.

you cant go wrong with any particular format, but some formats have higher entry costs (euro) because of the power/distribution/case schemes. frac is relatively inexpensive in that regard. all formats have a pretty wide selection of module choices, give or take a couple.

most of us have started out with some level of sticker shock about module prices, so we all think 'yes, ill get started with two modules and that should hold me over until next year's tax return'. but it dont work like that :lol: which is why we are all trying to throw you the kitchen sink about what you will need in your first setup.

another idea for you: check out some of our audio clips in the tunes section, and if you have questions about what it took to make a patch you can post the question to the thread.

two oscillators can give you a lot of tonal capability, but for rippling type noises, you definitely need some modulators (like an lfo or two). those will come in handy for *everything*. for me personally, a wave multiplier module is essential for making rich harmonic overtones in the drone. a wave multiplier can also make your one oscillator sound like many. i would probably push you toward 1 osc, 1 wave multiplier and 1 lfo to start off with. there are other essentials you could pick up later, but using a sin wave into a wave multiplier will give you a lot of filter-y effects (i often dont use a filter in wave multiplier patches). you can add your effects outboard, and bring your levels up and down in your daw or on your mixer.

http://blacet.com/LFO.html
http://blacet.com/VCO.html
http://metalbox.com/modules/wavemult.html

i think you could put off the vca until your next purchase. the blacet quad vca is exponential only, and not as useful for modulating stuff (CVs primarily) as the dual linear vca is. but, all things in their own time.

one more thing--the blacet vco is great for a couple reasons, particularly the built in 'morph' with CV control--just another reason you'll want an lfo.

i could ramble on but ill leave it at that for now. welcome.

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Post by Muff Wiggler » Mon Mar 31, 2008 2:39 pm

Kwote wrote:
Muff Wiggler wrote:I think expanding beyond here you would think of a seqential switch, even a very small one (the three step blacet one is tons of fun for this sort of work and simple & cheap) would be great, hopefully something with a clock built-in.
can you give some example patches you've created with blacet's three step seq switch? just curious how much juice you can ring out that thing.

whoopsie, I sorta missed this question, sorry!

Lots of cool stuff you can do, basically think of a patch where you want a clocked/sequenced sort of change between up to three sounds.

For example, I like to throw a VCO voice into one of the inputs, some noise/rainstorm sort of voice into the second, and leave the third one empty

clocked slowly, you get like a "Bzzzt, Whoosh, Silence.... Bzzt, Whoosh, Silence.... Bzzzt, Woosh, Silence.... Bzzt, Whoosh, Silence...." sort of sequence. Nice with some alalog delay to carry the mutated sound through the silence piece.

just a quick example, hope it helps

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Post by Kwote » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:10 pm

Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
Muff Wiggler wrote:I think expanding beyond here you would think of a seqential switch, even a very small one (the three step blacet one is tons of fun for this sort of work and simple & cheap) would be great, hopefully something with a clock built-in.
can you give some example patches you've created with blacet's three step seq switch? just curious how much juice you can ring out that thing.

whoopsie, I sorta missed this question, sorry!

Lots of cool stuff you can do, basically think of a patch where you want a clocked/sequenced sort of change between up to three sounds.

For example, I like to throw a VCO voice into one of the inputs, some noise/rainstorm sort of voice into the second, and leave the third one empty

clocked slowly, you get like a "Bzzzt, Whoosh, Silence.... Bzzt, Whoosh, Silence.... Bzzzt, Woosh, Silence.... Bzzt, Whoosh, Silence...." sort of sequence. Nice with some alalog delay to carry the mutated sound through the silence piece.

just a quick example, hope it helps
yeah. that's basically what i figured it'd be like. just thought it may be too simple for it's own good with things like the CGS Sequential Switch and Blacet Hexzone out there. but at the same time i also figured it could bring a little flavor to a patch regardless of having a proper sequencer or not. so i'll probably add it to the list. right on.
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B13
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Post by B13 » Thu Apr 03, 2008 11:23 am

Here's some audio samples to get an idea of what I am into, these are both of Land of Lurches by Kevin Drumm.

http://www.staalplaat.com/mp3s/14131-01.mp3

http://sg1.allmusic.com/cg/smp.dll?link ... 3&r=20.asx

I know that he uses a doepfer modular with a vocoder on guitar and vocals, I don't plan on spending that much money but I am hoping to get those drone tones from the second sample.

A couple of other people whose modular use I am impressed by:

Pulse Emitter
Myspace: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu ... ID=6425893
Website: http://www.synthnoise.com/

Monsturo
http://www.myspace.com/monsturo

Anyhow, hopefully this will give a better idea of the kinds of sounds I am trying to create with this setup.

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Post by consumed » Thu Apr 03, 2008 12:56 pm

just listened to the kevin drumm clips.
first, he's using multiple voices in that second clip, especially apparent with the panning. if you want to make somewhat complex stuff like that, you will probably be recording separate parts and sampling or multitracking it together in a DAW.

=i hear a fair amount of frequency modulation, both low and high, in both clips. there is also some slow modulation of phase/pitch/filter cutoff happening in there as well.

two oscillators would be ideal. a filter would be nice but is definitely optional for drones, especially if you have an outboard EQ and can shape/cut your high/low frequencies there. you might consider other modular signal processing modules like ringmod or wave multiplication. having a dedicated lfo to gently modulate parameters would be ideal, especially coupled with a linear vca placed between your modulation source and destination. fitting all this into 28hp? ill have to play around with the modular planner.

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Post by B13 » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:09 pm

I am also open to creating a 1 one row frac rack setup and building my own case or using a flight case

Edit: I am most interested in the pulsing effect on the drone in the second drumm clip, if I can do that plus add in some more complicated harmonics/distortion to them I will be happy.

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Post by consumed » Thu Apr 03, 2008 1:53 pm

frac would probably be more cost effective if you're just getting started.
power and enclosure is a big hump to get over with euro unless you diy, which is still more expensive than a $99 blacet psu that has its own small distribution system built in.

yes, build your own cabinet for frac, you dont even need the frac rack that way. a cabinet to hold 8 2u modules would work nicely and wouldnt be too large for 2' cables to span. an easy way to go about this is to go to a big box retailer like home depot, find a plank of wood around 8-9" deep (more would be better, since you need to account for the psu depth) and have them cut it down to the four pieces you'll need (if you dont have power tools). you'll need a thin piece of wood 1/2 thick to use as a mounting rail for the top and bottom.

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Post by consumed » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:06 pm

here's someone who built a respectable minicase for drones:

http://modularsynth.net/viewtopic.php?t=1254

two lfos, a ringmod and a waveshaper.

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Post by sgnhh » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:49 pm

Pretty sure that guy and this guy are the same person. I post on the same noise board he does, as well.

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