My first modular

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CervelloAnalogico
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My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:32 pm

IFair warning: I’m pretty inexperienced with modular synthesis, I’ve played several times my friends modulars but am only now getting into it. I actually tried getting into it a while ago but ended up not doing it..
What I’ve been suggested is to have an absolutely clear goal when putting together a modular and this sounds sensible.

I thought about it for a long time and I decided that I wanted my modular to be a natural “augmentation” of all my semi modular synths (which are quite a lot atm: DFAM, M32, Microvolt 3900 + things like the Korg Minilogue XD which can be patched). I want to put together random sequences, make interesting sounds using my other synths and source material and have some FXs as I’m mostly into ambient.
I also decided that I wouldn’t follow the advice of getting a case as big as you can afford and got a small 84HP case because I know this can get quite addictive and I really want to focus on This goal for now, limiting myself to a few modules.
With a budget in mind and a bit of research into things I liked I came out with this list, which ended up being quite Mutable Instruments-heavy.

Plaits, to have an extra oscillator to add different flavors to my semi modulars;
Maths, envelope, LFOs and al sort of things;
Marbles, random sequences and fun gates;
Rings, because I love what it does to source material; Erica Black Hole DSP2 for FX (I also have a good collection of guitar pedals), Doepfer A138-n to keep a mixer handy.

Does this makes any sense at all? Any feedback? Any suggestion for different modules?

Ta

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xcc
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Re: My first modular

Post by xcc » Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:16 pm

Looks like a solid start to compliment your other synths. It it were me I’d add a delay like a Chronoblob or Clouds (which also does reverb).

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CervelloAnalogico
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Re: My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:40 am

Thanks! Here’s a link to the planned system:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/254114

Clouds has been impossible to find for me, at least here in the UK, one pops up on ebay from time to time though..
For Chorus and delay I though of using my several guitar pedals c
To save some rack space..
Someone suggested I miss a VCA but doesn’t fit at the moment.. I could have got the intelligent Quad Which also has a mixer but I already bought the Doepfer:(

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bemushroomed
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Re: My first modular

Post by bemushroomed » Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:49 am

I'd switch out black hole for FX Aid, only 4HP, has way more stuff too and its even clockable, which you really want for e.g delays. its also cheaper so its a no-brainer really. might be out of stock now for some month or so though.

Maybe wait with Rings, Plaits does contain a mini-Rings already.. i'd try that and see if its good enough for your needs.

All MI modules can be found in DIY "mini" versions, so you could save a lot of space there. Search modular grid for micro or mini plaits/clouds/marbles. or μClouds (maybe there's μPlaits too). There's also Reverb and the for sale section here on the forum. If you can't find the modules for sale you can most likely find a builder on the forum that can make them for you.

With eurorack it can be a bit frustrating that you can't get everything at once, that you have to wait for stuff to get in stock or for things to show up as For Sale. But i can recommend to be patient over getting the-next-best-thing fast (which you much sooner than later will want to switch out).

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Agawell
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Re: My first modular

Post by Agawell » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:19 am

I’d want some more utilities - maths is never enough - as once you read the illustrated manual it will become a bouncing ball and you’ll still need all the utilities in it and more
I’d add Links, kinks & a disting
And get a bigger case - 6u!!

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Re: My first modular

Post by Syzygy59 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:42 pm

Hello! First post!!!! I currently went into modular with the 3 Mother 32's and 2 Dfam's. I do enjoy them and have learned. I grew up with a minimoog and other polyphonic synths and always wanted a modular but never had time or finances to consider doing a system. Now as a retired musician, I want to add to this rack. I was considering Maths, Disting, Turing machine. sample and hold, wasp filter, VCA for mixing to augment this setup of moog gear. Currently all 5 of these units going into a Mackie mixer then into the Scarlett interface into Cubase. I do this for my own enjoyment/creativity. Not planning on performing live. I like perform/create melodic, ambient music but I love working with sequences, random sounds. Glad to finally post and interact. Thank you to all that can help advise!

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Re: My first modular

Post by SphericalSound » Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:08 pm

The modules you have choose make a lot of sense. As someone said, maybe let rings out for the moment as plaits has a mini rings. And get a miniclouds: they have different names: typhoon, microcell, moonson, all uses less space and are optimiced versions of the OG clouds.

Clouds itself its a bit ike the saint grial of the ambient

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Re: My first modular

Post by calvinsomething » Mon Jan 13, 2020 6:20 pm

Yeah, take out rings and add something more modulation. Tides maybe?

But you have enough to play with until you figure out what you want to try next.

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Re: My first modular

Post by benofbrown » Tue Jan 14, 2020 5:29 am

CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:40 am
Clouds has been impossible to find for me, at least here in the UK, one pops up on ebay from time to time though..
I'm also in the UK and had this same problem a few months ago, until someone suggested getting Monsoon, a Clouds clone with the blend knob split in to separate wet/dry, stereo, feedback and reverb knobs with CV inputs.

I ended up getting one pre-built from pusherman: https://pushermanproductions.com/product/6687/ though other options are available.

medium Rob
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Re: My first modular

Post by medium Rob » Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:02 am

how does the Turing machine compare to the random voltage/looping feature on PNW? is it more immediate / playable? is the functionality similar? really interested in the Turing machine, but wondering if it might be redundant (at all) with Pamela's NEW workout... any thoughts are appreciated

Pam's random generator/looper seems pretty handy, given the functionality of the module.. are there any marked advantages of using a Turing machine instead (or in combination w/Pam's), aside from its immediacy/direct interface?

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Kattefjaes
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Re: My first modular

Post by Kattefjaes » Tue Jan 14, 2020 8:45 am

CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:40 am
Clouds has been impossible to find for me, at least here in the UK, one pops up on ebay from time to time though..
OG clouds has been discontinued for a while, I think. However, there are loads of alternatives, for example:

https://londonmodular.co.uk/products/monsoon-clouds

If you want the cloudyness, clones may be the way to go.

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Re: My first modular

Post by mat1 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 9:18 am

medium Rob wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 6:02 am
how does the Turing machine compare to the random voltage/looping feature on PNW? is it more immediate / playable? is the functionality similar? really interested in the Turing machine, but wondering if it might be redundant (at all) with Pamela's NEW workout... any thoughts are appreciated

Pam's random generator/looper seems pretty handy, given the functionality of the module.. are there any marked advantages of using a Turing machine instead (or in combination w/Pam's), aside from its immediacy/direct interface?
I have a similar setup, starting with a semi modular and adding an 84hp Rackbrute case. Just started a month ago with similar ideas to you.

The Turing Machine has been man of the match so far. The immediacy really makes it feel like a real instrument and with Scales I can jam for hours with everything in. Pams looks to have a similar functionality but having a quick play around this morning it's not quite the same experience. I wouldn't be happy if PNW was my only way to create random loops. I think you need both. Also don't forget a quantizer/scaler otherwise it'll be spitting out atonal noise.

I think Marbles can replace the Turing machine and the quantizer. Can't say which option is better but Marbles will certainly be way cheaper than TM+Expanders+Scales .

So far I've been really happy with - Turing Machine, PNW, Scales, O/Ax2, Monsoon(Clouds but smaller).

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Re: My first modular

Post by Fastus » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:23 am

You might seriously consider adding a Mordax Data or a Jones O'Tool2 - especially if you're just starting, it's hard to overstate the value that a scope has in learning about CV and trouble shooting patches. The Mordax also includes extra utilities which might also prove useful.
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Agawell
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Re: My first modular

Post by Agawell » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:35 am

I don't know the Turing Machine that well - particularly it's expenders - but from my perspective the random on Pam's is more like the Y out on Marbles than the X outs (which are essentially 3 turing machines with a common set of controls)

I have a Marbles and really like it

Don't forget the utilities - they are generally inexpensive and will do wonders for your patching - I have the Y out of Marbles almost permanently patched to the top section of Kinks

Also if you want to do open/closed hi-hats Branches is a really good module to add a little randomness to the choice of open/closed/no hi-hats

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Re: My first modular

Post by benofbrown » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:41 am

I've not used the Turing Machine, but like you I have PNW and Marbles.

I'm pretty sure the Y output of Marbles is smooth, and the PNW random mode produces stepped voltages, but I might be wrong. Other than that they're similar.

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Re: My first modular

Post by hel1 » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:40 pm

CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:40 am
Thanks! Here’s a link to the planned system:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/254114

Clouds has been impossible to find for me, at least here in the UK
go for a microClouds or uClouds saves space, more algorythms, and available...

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Agawell
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Re: My first modular

Post by Agawell » Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:47 pm

I don't have a PNW either - I was really meaning in terms of the application that I could imagine using it for

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CervelloAnalogico
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Re: My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:40 am

Thank for all the replies, I made a lot more research since my first post, I’m very interested to PNW with the expansion as a clock source (and will possibly include it in a larger system at some point) but I think I’d want it as something extra to Marbles.
Also I was going to get scales but I seem to gather by the comments here that is somewhat redundant if I get marbles?

For the random generation I also saw Qu-bit chance which seems very interesting: better/worse than marbles? Redundant to get both for a bigger system?

Someone mentioned the rackbrute and I’m thinking I might keep going with my 84 hp and eventually plan for the 6U rackbrute, it seems to have a great price..

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CervelloAnalogico
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Re: My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am

Also (sorry for so many questions!!) how useful is to have a dedicated output module to record the modular? Something like the intel intel interface.
If I have a mixer with attenuators (or could use VCAs) can’t I simply do with a mini jack to jack cable?

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Re: My first modular

Post by Agawell » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:47 am

CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am
Also (sorry for so many questions!!) how useful is to have a dedicated output module to record the modular? Something like the intel intel interface.
some people like them - others see them as a waste of money - if you are intending to play out then it may be a good idea to have a balanced output module
CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:42 am
If I have a mixer with attenuators (or could use VCAs) can’t I simply do with a mini jack to jack cable?

yes this will work - depending on what you are sending the output to you may not even need the attenuators - I have a small yamaha mixer - that can easily cope with modular levels

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Agawell
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Re: My first modular

Post by Agawell » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:01 pm

CervelloAnalogico wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:40 am
Thank for all the replies, I made a lot more research since my first post, I’m very interested to PNW with the expansion as a clock source (and will possibly include it in a larger system at some point) but I think I’d want it as something extra to Marbles.
Also I was going to get scales but I seem to gather by the comments here that is somewhat redundant if I get marbles?

For the random generation I also saw Qu-bit chance which seems very interesting: better/worse than marbles? Redundant to get both for a bigger system?

Someone mentioned the rackbrute and I’m thinking I might keep going with my 84 hp and eventually plan for the 6U rackbrute, it seems to have a great price..
in 6u (still quite a small system, btw) I think marbles on it's own is ample random - even more so if you also have a PNW - I doubt i'd want more in 9u to be honest - If you want more random modulation than marbles get a kinks and patch it for an extra 6 related mod outs from Marbles Y output

As for a quantizer with Marbles - maybe - it depends - you may want a quantizer to use on the input for remixing/replacing the scales in Marbles - or you may want up to 3 channels of quantizer for quantizing the outputs to a different scale - but as a beginner I would not worry at all about this

I don't know the Qu-bit Chance module - I would read the manual and see how much overlap there is, but highly likely the answer is - Marbles is probably more flexible in a small to medium sized rack - but once you get to a big rack - 21u or so you may want more random - but maybe you won't

I don't like the rackbrute - I don't like power input modules for starters - and most of the time the tip top mantis works out significantly cheaper per hp than the rackbrute

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CervelloAnalogico
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Re: My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:14 pm

Uh sorry I think I’ve lost you when you said “I don’t like power input modules”. Do you mind exposing what you mean to a poor beginner?

Thank you so much for all your help..

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CervelloAnalogico
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Re: My first modular

Post by CervelloAnalogico » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:31 pm

But whatever case, I like the idea of getting a small 6U, this is what it now looks like:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1101006

I would keep going with the case I have and eventually upgrade when I outgrow it.
I thought about the output modules and I think I would only be interested in them if it was something very expensive like one of those interfaces with usb connection where you could even send modulation from the DAW to the modular, if that’s not the case I think it’s good to keep it without... although sending audio in WOULD be cool..

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