Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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syncretism
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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by syncretism » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:16 am

BugBrand wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 4:36 am
And I mean unified in terms of module aesthetics and electronic behaviours (signal amplitudes etc - that's a big focus in my system for example)
This can't be overstated; I have friends who have limited their Euro setups to a single manufacturer or abandoned Euro entirely in frustration because one module couldn't reliably trigger another, or another module fried someone else's module because there are some cowboy designs out there.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by MindMachine » Fri Jan 17, 2020 10:01 pm

Serge is fine for a first synthesizer. Not all formats or signal paths or whatever are the same. None are 'standard'. The Ekdahl Polygymist or Kilpatrick Phenol or any modular or semi modular would be great. Just different than the others.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by ndkent » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:54 am

When I started with Serge as my first modular synth in the mid 90s, STS was the only established and active modular builder. Obviously now there are a bunch of ways to go Serge let alone with other authorized or copying builders as well as bananas vs mini jacks. So characterizing is tough. The thing I saw in Serge that I didn't see in Moog, not that I encountered second hand Moog or Roland 100m that I could have bought second hand was that Serge had voltage control on many parameters and that it was less just a set of building blocks for a monosynth, which I have to say some modulars are.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by Rudloe » Sun May 17, 2020 4:22 pm

luketeaford wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:28 pm
When I was in your position years ago and entering modular I knew I would either get Serge or Eurorack. I went with Eurorack purely because I don't even kind of understand how 4U serge power works. But now I have a Eurorack system with the R*S modules and some Doepfer utilities accompanying them.

Lessons learned: even in Eurorack I've come to prefer single manufacturer systems and the work manufacturers do to make their systems cohesive instruments adds a refined quality (reiterating your point, Bugbrand, as a neutral party! :) )

Serge makes sense for noobs and seasoned players alike. I remember thinking a Creature panel was limited, but it's hard to describe anything with an SSG, VCFQ, DTG as limited.

Don't tell my friends in Eurorack about this, but the SSG is at least as versatile as Maths and will teach you as much or more about modular. :tu:
Couldn't agree more about the 'one system' thing. I went crazy on Euro and then realised a lot of it was just not that good or could easily be replicated with software. I then built Serge R*S, Cwejman and Make Noise systems. As much as I love the MN and Cwejman (especially), the Serge is my favourite. I love the tone and everything about it. Not quite sure how using banana cables makes any difference to your experience with Serge, its all about the sound for me, and its amazing.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by KSS » Mon May 18, 2020 3:08 am

syncretism wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:16 am
or another module fried someone else's module because there are some cowboy designs out there.
I'd say a module that killed another module was more of a gunslinger than a cowboy.

Ontopic, not much to add to all the great replies already. Maybe this. When Serge designed the first systems, everyone was a beginner.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by skkatter » Mon May 18, 2020 9:51 am

My first modular was a Serge Animal panel and it took me a while to wrap my head around the DTG (basically a slimmed down DUSG) and even now years later I'm still not 100% on how it works but I still love using the Serge and am up to four panels now. Since then I've also gotten a lot of Eurorack and I think the Serge sounds better, or else I'm just better at making sounds I like via the Serge.

The banana patching system makes it so easy to quickly get interesting things happening. I find myself patching the Serge a lot quicker than my Eurorack.

As for that SSG module, I still haven't figured out the stepped part. Half the time I think it's broken and then I asked my friend who also owns some Serge how he uses it and he said "I think mine's broken, I've never figured it out." :) I actually went to the Serge Wizardry page to go over the SSG again yesterday and managed to get it to to a good staircase CV out which I recorded for posterity:

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by cleaninglady » Fri May 22, 2020 3:10 am

For SSG,
On the Smooth side : Patch IN to CYCLE
If your Smooth side is working ok, you will see the LED on the Smooth side lighting and dimming at a rate selected by the Rate pot.
On the Stepped side : Patch IN to CYCLE
Then...
Patch a Cable between the CYCLE on the Smooth side and the SAMPLE in on the Stepped side.
If everything is ok on the Stepped side, you will see the LED lighting and dimming in a Stepped manner.

Good Luck !

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by Gandalf » Fri May 22, 2020 8:09 am

It depends on how deep you want to go into the whole Serge philosophy and how quickly. You can start with 'standard' modules like VCO, VCF, ADSR, VCA, RING Modulator.... and have all the normal and recognisable building blocks that most EuroRack synths have. Some of them have. Then as your confidence grows having generated some sounds using the regular concepts, you can start adding the more 'Serge' modules like the SSG and USG and start diversifying in to the bigger world, knowing at any time that you can fall back to the basics. This way you have all the benefits of Serge like 4mm jacks, and patchability while still being able to develop sounds from both sides of the fence.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by dksynth » Fri May 22, 2020 12:34 pm

i agree with syncretism about patch programming....

if you need to do it all the time just to get basic functions working it is a pain.
having it for when you need to do something a bit unusual is great.
in that way Serge is sometimes like a somehow more modular "modular".
basic blocks that can be reconfigured into different things.
but sometimes you just don't want to have to THINK about it that much!

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by batchas » Fri May 22, 2020 12:59 pm

I know it's been said already many times, but:
- the Creature manual is great to start with and has very clear explanations.
http://www.carbon111.com/serge/creature_manual.pdf

- Also cool:
http://www.serge-fans.com/wizardry.htm
http://www.carbon111.com/serge.html

- And of course going through patches for instance with the DTG/DUSG in the Gold book might also help:
http://carbon111.com/sergebook.zip

Using an oscilloscope, even a very cheap one, is also something which really helps understanding visually what is happening, if you are discovering the modules.
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bitone
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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by bitone » Fri May 22, 2020 9:49 pm

I am not sure it's the best place to start for a beginner. Bananas are fun though, and I'm glad Tom Bugs spoke up about his brand (bug brand), I would recommend that.

I feel like unless your brain really locks into the Serge philosophy, which is less likely to happen for a new user I think, a lot of the ability and positives about the system can get lost on a new user. This was the case recently with a friend of mine, he bought three really nice panels and sold them 3 months later. Maybe try Serge later down the line?

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by MindMachine » Fri May 22, 2020 10:03 pm

KSS wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:08 am
When Serge designed the first systems, everyone was a beginner.
There you go.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by batchas » Sat May 23, 2020 9:38 am

KSS wrote:
Mon May 18, 2020 3:08 am
When Serge designed the first systems, everyone was a beginner.
+ there was no internet.
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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by KSS » Sat May 23, 2020 11:35 am

But we had snailmail -and the patience to live with it- along with good university and public libraries. Which *did* have dial up access to mainframes.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by Scories » Sat May 23, 2020 12:09 pm

I forgot pretty much everything I've learn with Serge. But it's always fun to get lost in sound.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by cleaninglady » Sat May 23, 2020 6:36 pm

My very first experience with Modular was in 2010 building the Panel #3 (you can find this still on the Best Of CGS Build Thread on Muffs, it's the second one from the top). Over the next two or three years I had completed : Panel #3, BOG, MARSH, SWAMP then later the COA Vintage Voltron Panels 1-4 and my Custom black panel.

It was really a baptism of fire but the incredible community at Muffs helped me a lot.

I never tried very hard to 'learn' as such I just patched. I still don't consider myself an expert but I do love the possibilities and complexity of what I can achieve with Patch Programming.

I sure this could be achieved I a way with Euro and other formats but Serge is really my thing.

I have performed live (usually on a single voice panel and mostly the Panel #3 , BOG or Custom panel...) pretty much from day one back in 2010.

Get out there and do it, don't care to much about what you think might be 'right'.

My motto performing live is : I reserve the right to be shithouse now and again.

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Re: Does Serge make sense for Noob?

Post by wuff_miggler » Sat May 23, 2020 6:51 pm

i have just bought an all doepfer 9 u system - but i have to say - the raw tone of the R*S surge stuff just blows me away...i cant tell if im fooling myself - but - there's such an incredible "acoustic" tone about their stuff that kinda haunts me and slightly makes me regret starting with doepfer :P

the only solution for me is to combine my metasonix, haible and surge in another system :D

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