mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

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iainduncan
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mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 11:02 am

Hi I'm building a brand new system from scratch. I've seen some folks recommend the mother-32 plus a couple of extra AJH oscillators as a great way to get a moog-ish 3 osc synth going. But I also thing the whole AJH MiniMod is the best synth I've ever heard, haha. (I blame Herbie Hancock..) Hoping to get pros and cons here about those options. I'm somewhat worried about "outgrowing" the Mother, and I don't anticipate using the little keyboard much or it's sequencing capabilities (unless I could trick them into being lfos maybe?), but it does seem to pack a lot of bang for the buck and is conveniently sized.

On a related note, what's the practical upshot of racking the mother-32? Is one more likely to say "damn I wish I had more space" or "damn I wish this was in the rack"? ;-)

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by jackpie » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:33 pm

Get a Behringer Model D for the 3osc Moog sound and get eurorack for more wigged out explorations. You could do both for the price of the Mother 32 and 2 x AJH vcos, plus the utilities you will need to make it work. ie mults, mixers etc

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by Synthacon » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:41 pm

The thing with the "3 osc" sound.... tends to be two. Things like the Mini or even a System 15 you ended up using a VCO for some sort of modulation most of the time.
You always want just one more synth

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:04 pm

I have a bunch of AJH. They do sound great and they’re (mostly) a joy to use. The cost adds up.

A friend has the Boog Model D. It’s kind of a piece of crap when you’re used to AJH, but I have to admit it sounds awfully good.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:17 pm

thanks, I'm curious about the "(mostly)", what issues did you hit? They sure sound purdy.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 11, 2020 2:44 pm

The two problems I’ve encountered are:

1) the wide range of the pots on the AJH envelope generators can difficult to make subtle adjustments to (e.g., the decay pot on the DH-ADSR); also no CV control on the DH-ADSR or the Dual Contour
2) some impedance problem (?) means my Gemini 2412 and Make Noise Maths don’t get along

For these reasons, amongst others, I’ve switched to using a Klavis Quadigy for primary envelope duties with my AJH stuff.

YMMV.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:12 pm

That is super helpful to know. Have you had any reservations or issues with VCOs or the ladder VCF? I too would like CV control on the envs in general, though I've heard that the dual contour is ace for replicating the moog sound

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:35 pm

If you want CV mod over the envelopes, then Quadigy is probably what you want. It’s cheap, powerful, and even mimics the Moog retriggering effect. I’ve done some videos on Quadigy (and I use a simple AJH-based voice in the examples):

playlist

The AJH VCOs are a pleasure to use, but they’re also $$$$. I have three of them, but I’ve also mixed in waveforms from other ‘basic’ oscillators to good effect. (For the most part, a saw is a saw is a saw, etc.) The ladder filter is glorious. I also like the Gemini filter a lot, although it’s quite complex. (See DivKid’s video.) I don’t have the Sonic XV, but I’ll probably grab a used one, eventually. I recently added the AJH VCA, and it’s lovely. I resent the gain jumpers on the backs of the ladder filter and VCA—I really wish Allan had just found space for a small switch on the respective faceplates. The Ring SM is terrific, too, although it’s a complicated module with a learning curve. I’m looking forward to adding the phaser and filter bank, eventually. I may even buy some of the CV-modules to accompany them, even though I have most of that stuff already covered.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 3:48 pm

Good to hear, thanks for those tips. I'm thinking of getting at least one of those AJH VCOs but yeah, pricey, so prob not 3. I was thinking of complementing them with something like a Dixie II+. And yes that filter sounds amazing. I will check out the Gemini and the Quadigy, thanks for the tip. Is the Gemini comparable to the Joranalogue Filter 8 or am I way off base there? If you have a suggestions for what other filters sound lovely on the AJH VCO (or vice versa, VCOs you love in the VJH ladder), I'm all ears. I love that moog sound, but am more interested in building a flexible rig than making a perfect Moog emulation. Just getting suggestions from people with the same tastes is helpful!

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:05 pm

The Gemini is a dual SEM-style state variable filter—it has nothing whatsoever to do with Moog or Joranalogue’s Filter 8. If you want Moog, then you want the AJH ladder filter.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by cierny_vlk » Wed Nov 11, 2020 6:51 pm

I'm in love with my Minimod stuff. I've got two VCOs, the ladder filter, dual envelope, dual VCA, and the jumper switch/mult. They have spoiled me to the point that I almost ignore all of my other modules. Haha. Just killer sound and quality.
I'll be adding the AJH S+H/Slew pretty soon.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:20 pm

Good to know. I'm torn about the envelopes.. It's too bad there is no CV control, but I have read they capture the moog punch really well, and damn I don't think there has existed a funkier sounding bass synth than the moog. And I know from softsynth coding at least that gettting the amp and filter cutoff envs right is key to that funky attack. If you have any thoughts on that, would love to know more. (Huge Herbie fan here...)

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by cierny_vlk » Wed Nov 11, 2020 7:51 pm

I'm a massive Herbie fan too. Actually saw him and Kamasi Washington last summer.
I'm obviously not in the same ballpark as Herbie, but the AJH stuff sounds perfect to me (especially the square/PWM sound). It would be nice to have CV control on the envelopes, for sure. Every now and then I'll use Maths or Quadrax for envelopes, but I'm mostly happy with with the Minimod as a semi-self-contained system.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:34 pm

For the MiniMoog sound, you need ADSRs. Maths and Quadrax aren’t going to cut it. Well, technically, you need an ADSD—that’s what the AJH Dual Contour is. If you want no-compromise MiniMod, go ahead and get the Dual Contour. It works.

For the record, I have two AJH DH-ADSRs (elaborations on the Dual Contour) and Quadigy. With a scope, I can very nearly reproduce any AJH EG shape with the Quadigy. Nearly, but not necessarily down the very last detail—at least not without more fiddling than I have patience for. If I use a switch to A:B the envelopes, modulating the ladder filter, the results are very similar sounding, but not perfectly identical. I’m definitely keeping the Quadigy. I will probably keep the two DH-ADSRs, too, unless I trade them in for a Dual Contour.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by cierny_vlk » Wed Nov 11, 2020 8:39 pm

Yeah, I've got the Dual Contour. Eventually I'll grab the DH-ADSR too.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Wed Nov 11, 2020 9:13 pm

Question for you guys, I'm sold on at least one of the AJH VCO, VCF and the dual contour now. How important do you think having the AJH VCA is specifically? I'm wondering if I will get more bang for more buck not going full AJH on everything given the cost on them. As in maybe I get a local and cheaper VCA module and second or third osc. And if this is a reasonable compromise, I'd love suggestions on cheaper VCAs or VCOs that would work well with an AJH core of VCO, VCF, Glide, Contour. Dixie II+ maybe? (he's local and I know Daniel from way back so would be cool to get some of his kit)

thanks fellow synth-nerds

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by cierny_vlk » Thu Nov 12, 2020 5:56 am

Well, the VCA has a unique overdriven sound when pushed (and with the jumper switch engaged). I pretty much leave this on all the time. I also like to run the VCOs into an Optomix instead of the AJH VCA for a different flavor sometimes.
I would say that you don't have to buy everything at once. Buy one or two at a time, explore them, and only add the VCA or other modules if you feel like something is missing. Most non-synth-nerds probably couldn't tell a difference whatsoever, so it's all a very personal decision.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by mdoudoroff » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:42 am

90% or more of the sound is in the ladder filter. That said, the VCA is a more significant factor in the MiniMod sound than the EG. The EG is, IMO, the least important link in the chain (as long as you have a couple ADSRs of some sort). I totally agree that you can proceed piecemeal on this stuff as your budget and curiosity allow. Also note that there’s a healthy used market in AJH modules, so you should be able to save a little buying stuff used.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Thu Dec 17, 2020 8:17 pm

Thanks again for the help everyone. I finally have my setup up and running, and I'm very happy I popped for the AJH stuff, it sounds fantastic. Now I'm eyeing the Gemini 2412 and V Shaper!

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by revaquarian » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:40 pm

This is the thread I've been looking for. I posted about a month ago about wanting to build a Eurorack synth that used the Model D as a jumping off point and all the feedback I got back was how bad of an idea that was (get a hardwired monosynth like the Pro3, or start with a semi-modular like the Boog/m32). Only now am I learning about the AJH modules.

Did you end up going AJH all the way or did you supplement with other VCA/EG? I'd been eyeing the Intellijel Quad VCA and Dual ADSR as potential substitutes.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:55 pm

Funnily enough, I wound up doing something very similar to what you're saying! I got AJH stuff and added the Intellijel quad VCA and some doepfer envs and kit too. I'm super happy with it, for my tastes at least, they are great compliments to each other. The rig is this so far!

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1387613

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by iainduncan » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:56 pm

The only one in ^ that I wouldn't get again is the doepfer VCO, because I don't like the fact that it doesn't have a fine and coarse tuning knob. It sounds good, but tuning it is a pain in the ass.

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Re: mother-32 + AJH vs all modular AJH?

Post by revaquarian » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:30 pm

very cool. I've wondered how VCOs that are a pain to tune would do paired with something like Beast's Chalkboard. At least that could give basic VCOs octave switching capability.

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