Alternatives to Rings in 2020

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HenryBurlingame
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Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by HenryBurlingame » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:50 am

So I am finally thinking about pulling the trigger on Rings, but am also concerned a little bit about sounding similar to all the other ambient music out there because it is such a popular module with a unique sound. So I am wondering if there are any good alternatives around yet, I am surprised that rings has dominated this space for 5 years. Any other resonators that you can feed external signals too? Any other good physical modeling modules? I would even be interested in modules that can do karplus strong synthesis, especially if it is analog with a short bbd etc. :help:

Thanks!

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by khyber » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:02 pm

Qubit Surface

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by lisa » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:05 pm

The 4ms Spectral Multiband Resonant Filter is a cool alternative.
909, manic trilling courtesy of Make Noise René and DPO, wavetable bass by Disting and some soft melodies by the Korg Minilogue. I mainly sat and watched it all unfold. :eek:


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what gives?
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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by what gives? » Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:10 pm

Plonk
Mysteron
Comb filters

Not modular, but:
nord drum or software.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by starthief » Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:24 pm

Rings has multiple usages, depending on how you look at it:

1: A plucky, mallet-ish voice a la Lightbath, R Beny etc. Not using the audio input. (There's nothing wrong with this, and also, no reason you can't process it with as much gusto as you would an electric guitar.)

2: A resonator. Feed it audio input, get different audio output. Something like a specialized filter/delay/reverb, depending on the mode and settings.

3: Not most peoples' the primary reason to own the module, but: a 2-Op FM voice (or a twin sine oscillator), or an organ/string machine/chord mode (the easter egg).

There are a few modules that will do #1: Plonk, Surface, Mysteron (in its own weird gritty way), a couple of 2HP modules, etc. as well as a couple of modes in Plaits. Elements too. Which one is the "best" is a matter of personal taste. If it's the kind of sound you like, either you'll have a favorite or you'll want a range of modules with different character anyway.

There are plenty of modules that will do #3. It's more of a cool bonus thing for when Rings isn't otherwise ringing.

#2 is where there is no substitute (except maybe Elements, but the flavor is a bit different; Elements dedicates less DSP to the resonator since it's also doing more with the exciter side and a reverb). For sure you can use other things as resonators: comb filters, delays that go to very short delay times, peaking EQs inside of feedback loops. Best if the delay can handle V/OCT tracking, and modulation without slewing, which some but not all can. At any rate, none of these things will really be a replacement for Rings, because they will have different character; they may offer a wider sound palette in exchange for being more twitchy to set up in many cases. I think instead that Rings and other resonators complement each other very well.

For some reason, with a handful or so of other physical modeling voices that have been released since Rings, nobody else has seen fit to include an audio input. It's like a huge blind spot IMHO :bang:

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by mrbloor » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:26 pm

I would love to eventually get hold of a Mungo d0 after listening to these excellent examples from member Uzala









and also this example

Last edited by mrbloor on Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by AMillionMonkeys » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:29 pm

Pianos have been popular instruments for centuries but people still use them to make music. No one cares if your Rings sounds like the other rings just like no one cares if your piano sounds like a piano.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by Zymos » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:51 pm

^ that’s always my reaction when I hear people complain that Rings sounds recognizable. But if that’s important to someone else, fine....
Worth mentioning that Rings has 7 different modes, and that’s without even using the audio input. So that’s a pretty good range of tones, even if some of them are in the same ballpark.
maybe you’d like to buy some nice used modules? Free cables with purchase!!

viewtopic.php?f=74&t=235367&p=3313562&h ... s#p3313562

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by Arneb » Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:57 pm

starthief wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:24 pm
For some reason, with a handful or so of other physical modeling voices that have been released since Rings, nobody else has seen fit to include an audio input. It's like a huge blind spot IMHO :bang:
WMD Crucible has. It's first and foremost a physical modeler for cymbals, but still.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by skreetis » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:03 pm

Once you start utilizing the audio in, processing it down chain, or modulating the parameters (especially audio rate), you can very quickly get away from what’s typically recognizable as the Rings Sound. It’s capable of WAY more than nice, mellow plinks and plucks.

Run it through a filter, distort it, run a full voice into it and crossfade between it and the dry voice, run one of the outputs into a mixer with a noise source and feed it back into itself for apocalyptic drones. There’s a hell of a lot to play around with.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by zerodivide » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:05 pm

Rings can also sound very alien and crazy with the right modulation shapes into its parameters. haters gonna hate but its my fav module

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by HenryBurlingame » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:06 pm

AMillionMonkeys wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:29 pm
Pianos have been popular instruments for centuries but people still use them to make music. No one cares if your Rings sounds like the other rings just like no one cares if your piano sounds like a piano.
This doesn't add much to the conversation. Of course unique /= good and common /= bad. I didn't say I cared about what other people though, I said what I cared about. People have been using the same instruments for centuries and people have been learning about and exploring new possibilities since time immemorial.

I'm learning a lot from other peoples suggestions and I enjoy exploring the variety of modules available in eurorack. Just thinking about my options before I decide on Rings :).

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by jkanizzle » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:45 pm

+1 on the Mysteron. It's another 'easily recognizable' sound but damn it's an amazing module if you spend time with it. I LOVE using Mutable Branches to alternate trigger signals into the two exciters.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by ModusOp » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:01 pm

Here is Rings in Buchla format sounding very alien...

Granted, it has both Mode and Polyphony inputs to give it even more variation, but still... pretty tasty!

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by starthief » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:17 pm

Arneb wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:57 pm
starthief wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:24 pm
For some reason, with a handful or so of other physical modeling voices that have been released since Rings, nobody else has seen fit to include an audio input. It's like a huge blind spot IMHO :bang:
WMD Crucible has. It's first and foremost a physical modeler for cymbals, but still.
Huh, I never paid it much attention because I don't need cymbals and I assumed it was related to Fracture (which I didn't like). Listening to it a bit in a demo, it seems like it does the horror movie "rubber ball on a cymbal" sort of thing okay, though it doesn't seem like it gets into the Martenot metallic resonator range or more general usage :)

As for Rings sounding like not-Rings, I released an album around the concept almost exactly two years ago :)

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by ModusOp » Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:50 pm

starthief wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:17 pm
As for Rings sounding like not-Rings, I released an album around the concept almost exactly two years ago :)
Rad! Listening now! :sb:

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by djd_oz » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:10 pm

Plonk!

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by Manresa » Mon Oct 12, 2020 11:21 pm

skreetis wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:03 pm
Run it through a filter, distort it, run a full voice into it and crossfade between it and the dry voice, run one of the outputs into a mixer with a noise source and feed it back into itself for apocalyptic drones. There’s a hell of a lot to play around with.
+100

I’m having a lot of fun running rings through distortion, or through distortion and then back into itself. Noisy and utterly unrecognizable as rings.

That said, Surface through a chain of pedals sounds like an opportunity.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by mixxalot » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:22 am

I'd love to make a case full of Mutable Instruments and Intellijel modules as they are just so awesome! That would be an ambience dream. Reading the modular interviews in Patch & Tweak, seems like Plaits, Rings, and Clouds hold the crown for that genre of music thus far. Now to be different, I'd love to break the mold and try out Qu-bit Surface! So not like every other eurorack ambient person.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by joey » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:27 am

i just got a rings in 2020 after having elements and plonk. i had much the same concerns of sound similar as you, and i found that by just making interesting patches it is very versatile. the sound is up to you!

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by noisefor » Tue Oct 13, 2020 12:38 am

Since OP mentions BBD and analogue, I would suggest Doepfer A-188 1024 or 2048 stages. Though it takes patching and relies on external modules for processing audio input, it's one of the most diverse and interesting sounding analogue delays out there. It gets into Karplus territory with very organic and rich feedback, much different from the popular ones mentioned above. The Blacet Time Machine circuit got into those zones as well, as a mysterious and unconventional delay, but it's not likely materializing in Eurorack any time soon...

http://www.doepfer.de/A1881.htm
Last edited by noisefor on Tue Oct 13, 2020 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by HenryBurlingame » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:25 am

Thanks so much everyone, this has been VERY helpful to figure out where things stand at the moment. I think I could go one direction and get Rings or go another and try a delay like the Doepfer mentioned above or something like the CG Products 1022 Delay of Mungo D0. Any other delays similar to these? I have also heard that the mimeophon can get into Karplus-Strong territory? Then there are also other interesting modules like the Random Source Resonant Equilizer, but it seems like it would take quite a bit of work and patching to get the sound where I want it...

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by aber » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:27 am

Zymos wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 3:51 pm
Worth mentioning that Rings has 7 different modes, and that’s without even using the audio input.
7 modes? I thought there were 3 different modes and 3 polyphony possibilities. What are those 7 different modes?

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by djd_oz » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:58 am

This is a good resource for rings alternative modes and tips,

https://www.infinitesimal.eu/modules/in ... ents_Rings

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Re: Alternatives to Rings in 2020

Post by starthief » Tue Oct 13, 2020 6:13 am

Yes, Mimeophon is very good at Karplus stuff or just fully self-oscillating at audio rate.

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