Why did YOU go Frac?

Blacet, Metalbox, Synthasonic, PAiA and the rest.... a frac frenzy!

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chris_g
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Why did YOU go Frac?

Post by chris_g » Fri May 16, 2014 2:35 pm

Newbie jumping into the world of modular synths! Though all my friends are into Euro, I've been exploring the other options, each format seems to have a different community! Curious why you all decided to take the plunge with the Frac format? From what I have gathered so far, less module options than Euro, but way more DIY possibilities. What do you think the future of Frac is? Do you use Frac exclusively, or have other formats as well? How do you feel it compares to other formats cost-wise?

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Post by noobyscooby » Fri May 16, 2014 2:45 pm

I ran into three different cheap system purchases that make up about 70 percent of my 15U system and then filled it out with a few expensive items that I really wanted.

There are days i think of selling it or at least the 1/8 inch jack part of it but the modules especially the blacet ones go for peanuts now. Their usefulness far outweighs their worth for me.

I like it more than euro though. Especially the connectors and the usefulness.

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dJ dAb
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Post by dJ dAb » Fri May 16, 2014 8:38 pm

I have 48U of Frac and 3U of Euro. Euro feels cheap to me but I only have 7 Euro modules... Pretty much everything else is built from kit / DIY. Honestly, I love the look, feel and consistency of most Frac modules out there. You can always go with both... They usually play fine together :tu:
Last edited by dJ dAb on Sat May 17, 2014 2:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Hmmm... been dabbling in Electronic music & DJing for 25+ years. Collector & curator of a fairly large vintage recording studio. Ran a couple record labels featuring DJ ESP, Hakan Lidbo, Jacob London, Martin Venetjoki, Vitamin D, Chris Anderson, etc. and licensed to greats like Carl Cox, Dave Angel, Chris Simmonds, etc. Oh yeah, I'm also a builder of D.I.Y. electronics junk, including a mighty fine modular synth.

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Post by Kyhotay » Fri May 16, 2014 9:06 pm

That's easy to explain: around 1999/2000 PAiA created the Frac format and, as far as I knew, it was the only analog modular around, save for vintage synths. I don't know when the Euro and others were created. I do have a 3U Euro rack that isn't fully populated. Euro does have more esoteric modules - "west coast' aka atonal - and there's a new module now ever 5.7 seconds. What I like most about Frac is there modules are big enough to work with and easier to patch. Plus, maybe it's just me, but I think a +/- V power supply is more stable than +/- 12V and gives more voltage headroom, whatever that means. :despair:
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Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Sat May 17, 2014 4:49 am

I started with Frac, and added some Euro.

Frac still covers most of my core functionality.
I have very few VCAs in Euro, but more than enough in Frac.

Euro has more DIY options now than it did when I started.

Frac still has the DIY convenience of 15V,
deep racks for big PCBs,
more regular panel units,
and better power connectors.

Blacet kits are still a great way to get started.
They have really good cost performance.

Euro has a few things that are really nice additions to a Frac system.
Dedicated quantizers for example.
They work really well together.
So you might as well mix and match.

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Post by e-grad » Sat May 17, 2014 5:10 am

I started off with Doepfer more then 10 yrs. I had a rather large systems featuring almost three fully populated G6 frames and a Blacet Time Machine in Frac.

Due to Doepfer's poor ergonomics I didn't like to work on patches. I ended up calling my system 'Tower of Silence'. Thus I gradually changed for Blacet!

Blacet is fun! Most underrated make and best bang for the buck. Furthermore Blacet introduced me to world of DIY.

Currently I have 2 rows 5U modules with mini jacks plus 14 rows of Frac installed and more to come. By now many of my modules are by third party manufacturers respect. DIY projects.

Only downside of Blacet is the detorrating 2nd value. Other than that Blacet rules! Even though the modules might appear rather bread and butter each and every one of them has some nifty features.

:blacet:

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Post by emmaker » Sun May 18, 2014 1:18 pm

I have a strong electronics background and planned to build as much as I can from kits, hacking others boards and my own designs. Blacet offers the best bang for the buck so to speak for the core functionality I need. I don't see the need to design my own basic VCOs, ADSRs, LFOs, mixers and so on. The only thing that I would say Blacet is weak on is filters but there are a lot of other options out there. I can concentrate on other things like wave modifiers, filters and other signal processing type things. Also it's good to see synthcube.com supporting Frac.

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Post by a100user » Sun May 18, 2014 1:34 pm

'Cos that is the format BugBrand uses :party:

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Post by shady smiles » Sun May 18, 2014 3:17 pm

a100user wrote:'Cos that is the format BugBrand uses :party:
Same here!

:bugbrand: :bugbrand: :bugbrand:

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Post by Acid Mitch » Sun May 18, 2014 3:26 pm

I was looking to start a modular around 6 or 7 months ago.
Tried a Euro rack at one of my local stores and hated the panel layouts. Everything felt too cramped and some things felt a bit cheap/flimsy.

I decided I needed a different format and a fellow wiggler offered to trade me some frac modules for a sequencer. (Thanks tib :tu: )
So I've been buying a module almost every month since.
I thought 6u of modules and a UM410 Mult Utilis would do me , but I should really have gone for a larger cabinet to accommodate an extra row of modules.

I've been pretty happy with Frac so far. Even with dense patches you can still reach controls through the cables much easier than with Euro and it sounds v.good.

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Post by rezzn8r » Sun May 18, 2014 5:47 pm

Acid Mitch wrote: a fellow wiggler offered to trade me some frac modules for a sequencer.
:tu:

My first Frac modules were traded from a fellow wiggler for a Future Retro Revolution.
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Post by chachi » Sun May 18, 2014 9:45 pm

at that time you had wiard (loved it but i didn't have the cash), synthtech (i dabbled but ultimately it was just too big), doepfer (kind of vanilla seeming - although i appreciate it now), and blacet with an option for paia. when wiard started expanding into frac, the choice was clear.

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Post by scozbor » Sun May 18, 2014 9:52 pm

When I started it was doepfer or blacet/wiard. Pity frac wiard died soon after :lol:

I love Blacet's designs and the appeal of the single manufacturer system, but now I want portability, cutting edge audio tools, and dense functionality.

I also realised that DIY was a black hole of less music production time!

So I've jumped ship to Euro.

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Post by spacemod » Sun May 18, 2014 11:32 pm

I was lucky enough to be in a band with Michael Firman and Grant Richter. Those guys introduced me to Frac stuff and I had Grants assistant Nick Liebricht build me 2 custom Dark Star Chaos modules with all the modifications to add to 2 Micro LFOs and 2 Dual Linear VCAs. Soon after I purchased a Noise Ring, 2 Joysticks, JAG and a Boogie Filter from Grant. Other Blacet modules rounded out 2 & 1/2 rows of frac. I also have a Frequency Divider and a Time Machine, I made it a point to grab these when they were still available. I also picked up a Blacet I/O. This rig was used on & off for about 8 years. I finally added a couple more out of production Blacet units (Klangwerk & Binary Zone) with a 4th rack and 3rd power supply. Going to get a Oscillator next. Then a Improbability Drive and a Super Amp. Been getting into the studio on a weekly basis and making my version of jacked up techno. Everything on my soundcloud page uses my Frac synth:

https://soundcloud.com/spacemod

:nana:

I knew about Doepfer, Analogue Solutions and Analogue Systems when I decided on Frac. Because I knew Grant Richter and really admire his designs I went with Frac. Michael Firman showed me some possibilities as well. Too bad the 1200 series is done. I still need to get a Borg. Hopefully a used one shows up some day. If I were starting now, I might go with Euro. Between Make Noise, Intellijel, Mutable and Malekko I have seen many enticing modules. I think I will start a Euro Rack at some point, just need to fill out the Frac a bit more. Would love to get a Bananalogue Serge VCS and some Cynthia modules too in Frac!

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Post by e-grad » Mon May 19, 2014 4:11 am

emmaker wrote:The only thing that I would say Blacet is weak on is filters
Even though many people will agree with you, I don't. The Final Filtre is my absolutely fav. filter! By now I've got a Filthy Filtre (and another in the pipeline) as well, and think this one great, too.

However, it is a pity that the Wiard 1200 series is gone. Don't know whether MOTM's frac series is still in production.

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Post by drumsofd00m » Mon May 19, 2014 8:45 am

I started a Frac rack because I have a Wiard 300 and wanted to add the original Wiard 1200 modules (Boogie, Borg II, Noise Ring). Contrary to their Malekko counterparts they run on the same voltages as the 300 so that no separate Euro PSU is required, and they have blue faceplates with griffins. So it was a question of visual uniformity, convenience and cost. Finally, I wanted one of the infamous PSIM-1 modules before venturing into looking for its successor, the CVS.

I found the PSIM, one 1200 seller threw in a couple Blacet mults and two original Frac racks, and I'm quite happy with my 6 U of mixed Frac next to the Wiard 300 (and running from the same Hinton PSU). Will probably add a Blacet EG later on to complement the Envelators (which are very flexible and powerful but can't retrigger during the Attack slope).


P.S. Cheers e-grad, didn't see your post before I hit reply. :)

And P.P.S. - of course the greatest Frac filters are the Boogie (the meanest, thickest filter with the potentially most disturbing resonance I ever heard) and the Borg II, which can be exactly like a Buchla lopass gate but faster = makes for an exceptionally clean, special sounding VCA, and it has the sweetest, most vocal-like resonance to complement.

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Post by rezzn8r » Mon May 19, 2014 10:10 am

drumsofd00m wrote: And P.P.S. - of course the greatest Frac filters are the Boogie (the meanest, thickest filter with the potentially most disturbing resonance I ever heard) and the Borg II, which can be exactly like a Buchla lopass gate but faster
Don't get me wrong, I love my Borg 'n' Boogie, but the Frac format Livewire Frequensteiner is a serious contender for that title, as is the MOTM-1490.
I agree about the resonance, though. :tu:
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Acid Mitch
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Post by Acid Mitch » Mon May 19, 2014 10:29 am

rezzn8r wrote:
My first Frac modules were traded from a fellow wiggler for a Future Retro Revolution.
It was a Sequentix P3 I traded for my Frac modules.I Kinda miss it but I didn't have deskspace for it and the frac modules are awesome so no regrets.

I had one of the bright orange Revolutions (limited edition, can't remember if there was 9 or 13 of them) for a while. I really liked the circular layout but some thing about the sound wasn't right for me. I didn't like the resonance and it didn't really cut through the mix as well as I like.
I also got the impression that the UI had been designed before the features. The FX were a total waste of time.

Sold it and bought an Oakley TM3030 and put the rest of the money towards my something else. The TM3030 sounds much better to me than the Revolution.

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Post by drumsofd00m » Wed May 28, 2014 6:19 am

In case anyone is currently looking, I decided to put up half of my Wiard 1200 in B/S/T to make room for more 300 series. I'll likely never part with the rest tho, just have a few redundant ones.

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Post by chamomileshark » Sat May 31, 2014 12:41 pm

For me it was becaue of Wiard 1200 series. It's a shame it didn't develop further but I got the miniwave, boogie, borg and noise ring. Then banalogue came along. I got some MOTM and Oakley modules but the core is Blacet.

I tend to use my Wiard 300 series more but Frac is also a very nice system.
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Post by drumsofd00m » Sat May 31, 2014 12:51 pm

Interesting, with my Wiard modules it's the opposite - I use the Noise Rings more than the Woggle Bug, and the Borg 2s more than the Dual Borg 1 (mainly because of its bleedthrough issues). Guess the NRs will get even more prevalent once I get the clock input mod so they track pitch easier.

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Building my first modular

Post by FireMouse » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:54 pm

I have electronics fabrication and testing skills and wondered if there were any modular analog schematics/plans online. I stumbled onto info about Blacet kits online, liked what I saw. Over the last year or so I collected a bunch of Blacet and Paia kits. Now that I have some time I'm using the kits to build my first modular in Frac Rack/19" rack format. So far I'm very happy with the fit finish & function of the kits and the end results. :tu:
Euro Rack format for me? Meh. :roll:

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Re: Building my first modular

Post by rezzn8r » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:46 am

FireMouse wrote:I have electronics fabrication and testing skills and wondered if there were any modular analog schematics/plans online.
You may find Ken Stone's website to be of interest;
http://www.cgs.synth.net/
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Re: Building my first modular

Post by knobbyfischer » Sat Aug 16, 2014 11:23 am

rezzn8r wrote:
FireMouse wrote:I have electronics fabrication and testing skills and wondered if there were any modular analog schematics/plans online.
You may find Ken Stone's website to be of interest;
http://www.cgs.synth.net/
Thanks for the Ken Stone link! It had fallen off my radar. :razz:

The article "organ as a source of synthesizer parts" is really inspiring to get into the salvaging/frankenstein side of DIY.

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Post by Cybananna » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:05 pm

Blacet functionality that wasn't readily available elsewhere. Improbability drive, klangwerk, mini wave, at the time

The frac frequensteiner is still my favorite filter. There's something about it. I have two frac and one euro. The frac nose have a little extra special to them. It may only be noticible side by side, but it's there.

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