Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

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jheronymo
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Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:55 pm

I finished building my 18U Buchla 200r system a few months ago, I'm wondering if I'd do better with a pared-down 200e system.

205, 296, 207
285, 258, 259, 281, 292
257, 266, 248

It's the first large modular system I've owned, I'm realizing I may prefer something easier to transport, easier to get my hands around while playing, and easier to leave patched up (hopefully while maintaining expressivity) And a couple of the modules (296 especially, also the 248) I'm not loving as much as I thought I would.

So I've been wondering if I should go for a 10U 200e system. I'm thinking of keeping a few of my favorites from the 200r (259, 266, 285). Seems like I could save a few thousand $$$ in the process

259e, 259r, 281e, 292e
225e, 223e, 251e, 266r

With one extra space left open for now. Possibilities: 285r, 291e, P/R, swap the 251e for the 250e, maybe the 210e...

My questions are:

For those people who have experience with 200r and 200e, what is your impression of the two systems? Musically/sonically, is the smaller system at a disadvantage? i.e. smaller palette of sounds, or less flexibility?

Any idea how to round out the last slot in the 10U system? I know 12U might be more flexible, I'm considering it, but I like the 10U form factor.

I'd appreciate any advice you all have! :guinness:
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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by architexture » Fri Oct 09, 2020 4:47 pm

The benefit of an e system vs r is preset management.if I were you I would swap the 259 for a 261e and open an extra space, keep the 266r and add a 250e to replace your existing marf. Maybe lose the midi for a 206e so you keep preset mgmt. Then again what do I know, do what works for you

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Fri Oct 09, 2020 4:54 pm

Thanks, that helps! Yeah, I'm getting near to a decision, just wanted to hear the opinions of other Buchla users

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by missingtwin » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:32 pm

You had a voltage processor in your 200r system. You really need one (IMO) for the 200e. Any of these will give you different options: 254e (essential for me), 256e, 257e. You need a way to mix and attenuate CV and pulses. Stick a voltage processor between that 281e and 292e. There are worlds of sounds in there.

Also, the 285e sounds far better than the 285r to me (I’ve had both and sold the 285r almost immediately).

Another thing to note is that the 225e’s pitch out on bus E-H will not put out 1.2v oct. if you were planning on driving that 259 with the 225e - it doesn’t work. You can of course calibrate the 259 1.2v oct banana to work with those 225e busses, but it throws off any other thing you want to put in the 259 keyboard jack. Just a heads up on that.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by levelhead3 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:22 pm

missingtwin wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:32 pm
Also, the 285e sounds far better than the 285r to me (I’ve had both and sold the 285r almost immediately).
Remember there are two versions of the 285r. To the OP, do you know if your 285 is a rev1 or rev2 PCB?

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:29 pm

Yeah it’s a v2, I had it calibrated by a pro and I think it sounds pretty awesome. Supposedly the 285r v2 and the 285e aren’t too different.

The hard part of going 100% 200e is losing some of the pure analog sound modules. One reason for keeping the 285r is to cover for what I thought would be less agile AM on the 259e & 259r. Maybe the 285e would be a fine replacement

On the same note, I’m a big fan of the 259r. I had the 25S and it was close but the 259r is just so smooth and heavy sounding. Wondering about 259r vs 261e...

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by levelhead3 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 8:16 pm

jheronymo wrote:
Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:29 pm
Yeah it’s a v2, I had it calibrated by a pro and I think it sounds pretty awesome. Supposedly the 285r v2 and the 285e aren’t too different.

The hard part of going 100% 200e is losing some of the pure analog sound modules. One reason for keeping the 285r is to cover for what I thought would be less agile AM on the 259e & 259r. Maybe the 285e would be a fine replacement

On the same note, I’m a big fan of the 259r. I had the 25S and it was close but the 259r is just so smooth and heavy sounding. Wondering about 259r vs 261e...
Aye, the difference between the rev2 vs the rev1 and 285e is that the rev2 has an analog internal oscillator. If I was going to keep only one of your r modules it would be that 285, especially if you tend to do a lot of VC internal oscillator freq changes.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by makrel » Sat Oct 10, 2020 2:41 am

I had both the 225e and 206e. For me the 225e clearly wins even if you don’t use its outputs. This is because it understands midi program change commands. So not only can it store your presets, but you can also use a midi sequencer that sends program change commands to sequence any order of preset changes in your Buchla system.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by missingtwin » Sat Oct 10, 2020 5:08 am

Didn’t know the 285r v2 has an analog core - that’s nice!
If you’re going mostly e, I’d go all e except for certain modules not available to the series.

My system is all e except for the 297, 258v, time machine, 275r

Yes, the 225e is excellent. You can use a sequencer to animate the entire synth with the 225e. I only mention the lack of correct 1.2v oct on the busses e-h b/c, at one time I acquired a 259 expressly to use the 225e to control pitch - and that was disappointing. I remember being surprised that no one ever mentioned it. I wish that it could be fixed in a firmware update.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:46 am

Thanks everyone this is helping a lot :tu:

Yeah, I’m a MIDI user so the 225e is a keeper. I’ve read about the 1.2V/Oct issues on the 225e. With the 259r, I figured I can trim the keyboard CV inputs to whatever the 225e spits out, and then calibrate the other CV inputs to true 1.2V/Oct with the pot turned to max.

I’m getting hung up on oscillator choice. Maybe saving a space by replacing the 259r with a 1-width osc is the way to go... then I could throw in a 256e/257e and keep the 285

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by mritenburg » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:59 am

jheronymo wrote:
Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:46 am
I’m getting hung up on oscillator choice. Maybe saving a space by replacing the 259r with a 1-width osc is the way to go... then I could throw in a 256e/257e.
Another benefit if you choose a 259e, 261e, or Studio H DPO, they all receive pitch info from the 225e on the internal bus which eliminates the 1.2v/oct tracking issues.
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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by cyberdine » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:10 pm

I think there are a few considerations here:

1. The ‘r’ modules are immediate. There’s no menu diving. You’re patch programming. Where you leave the knobs and cables when you power down, that’s where they remain. What you see is what you get. Sure in theory presets solve for that, but the knobs won’t tell you the story when you change the preset and in a complex patch you can spend a long time working out wtf is going on.

2. If it’s your thing, ‘e’ range is the real Buchla deal. The ‘r’ range are clones: I’m sure they’re authentic, although never having had any original 200 series modules, only clones, I can’t tell you that’s the case.

3. The buchla format is chunky. If you want a smaller modular, and that’s your thing, maybe euro is the way to go. Heresy? Probably.

4. The ‘e’ oscillators are nothing like (to my ears anyway) the ‘r’ equivalent. Even the 258e, it’s great but sounds very different to the 258r I have. I also have no idea which 258r I have. Sounds great, but nothing like the 258e/DPO).

5. If you want a portable Buchla system, I’d go with a Skylab or an easel.

6. There’s a lot of menu diving in some of the ‘e’ modules. (Especially 223e). I find that one especially to be frustrating: I know it’s capable of amazing things but man, it’s annoying to program.

I have a combination of ‘e’, ‘r’ and some others (the 2TT and 258e plus CSR) and it’s a fantastic mix.

I hope you find your balance.
Last edited by cyberdine on Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by cyberdine » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:12 pm

Oh and; I have a 285e and it sounds beautiful. I love that module. I have never felt like it’s ‘digital’. (I don’t know if it’s rev 1 or rev 2; I bought it from Foxtone in 2016).

The 251e is small and powerful, but again, menu diving. If that’s your thing, then cool. I’m 50/50 on it.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by Happyanimal » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:32 pm

Have some of the e modules for sale. PM
me if you’re interested.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:16 am

Pm’ed you happyanimal!

And thanks cyberdine, for the insight. Yeah with the 200e, the dense CV modules and programming is appealing to me. Needing to constantly tear down and repatch when trying out new ideas/returning to familiar ones just doesn’t really agree with me. Which was surprising, but it’s feeling hard to get anything I like recorded this way. I’d rather spend some time programming something specific, save it and create several “virtual instruments” I can quickly swap between.

With some money freed up from the large system I was even thinking of looking for an Oberheim Xpander, getting further out into the deep end of menu diving.

Yeah also, the sound of the various oscillators... I wish it were clear what to go with

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by cyberdine » Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:27 am

I hear you: there are always trade offs.

If you’re looking for a module to really drive the deep preset approach, the studio.h CSR is worth considering. Todd Barton did a few vids about it recently that showcase what it’s capable of. I’d definitely recommend over the 210e, which has issues that the CSR seems to have overcome.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:50 am

Oh, nice! I wasn’t aware of that module

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by architexture » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:27 am

+1 for the studio h csr instead of an led matrix it has a pushbutton matrix, and the random feature is incredible

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by Vatican2 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:44 am

I’ll plug Dougcl’s CSR and 254e as well. They’re indispensable. And they also kinda bridge presets for the clone world too.

Also certain modules don’t seem to need much for presets. The 266 and 292 really don’t need presets IMO.

I wish Buchla would add presets to the 200 series when they re-release them. That would really contribute something additional to quality control.
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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by architexture » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:28 pm

I strongly doubt they will add preset management to the 200 series rereleases. The way parameterization is stored along with i2c constraints and module hex naming means that a LOT of design work and additional hardware design is required. A 292e might appear to be the same as a 292c but with a "simple recall function" in reality it's an entirely different module due to the preset management.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by jheronymo » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:30 pm

Anyone have opinions regarding 254e vs 256e vs 257e?

It seems the 254e is a lot like four channels of the 257r?

Would the CSR be useful in a 10U system? My favorite feature of this hypothetically would be the audio mixer, for feedback control.

I’m starting to think something like this would be a great 10U system:

Top row: 259e, 258e, 285r (or CSR?), 281e, 292e
Bottom row: 225e, 223e, 251e, 266r, (254e or 257e)

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by Peake » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:36 pm

edit: Oops, architexture already pointed this out along with an extremely likely issue of redesign being required and thus questionable.
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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by mritenburg » Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:04 pm

jheronymo wrote:
Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:30 pm
Anyone have opinions regarding 254e vs 256e vs 257e?
If you get the 257e you can use the slew processors with the 251e to create more MARF-like patches, so that's a bonus.

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by architexture » Mon Oct 12, 2020 7:18 am

I might be willing to part with my 257e if you opt to follow @mritenburg 's advice

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Re: Buchla downsizing advice (200r -> 200e)

Post by LVU » Thu Oct 15, 2020 2:57 am

Very nice discussion, reminds me of a lot of research I did.

By the way boops offers a 16U folding case (viewtopic.php?f=19&t=221649&hilit=LVU). You can carry that one patched around which is a big plus for me, but it's a bit on the heavy side. I transport it with public transport, but sometimes it's a pain. Before that I had a 12U in a hardshell case that I could also transport patched.
I also started with 200r (wouldnt't probably do that again, but at that time BEMI couldn't deliver anything), now got some 200e modules.

My system at the moment:
206e, 223e, 250e, 259r, 266r, 275r, 281r, 291r, 292r, 254v, 258v, 262v, Pendulum Ratchet and in a separate 1U case MUC-810.

So all analog oscillators/filters and e-modules for sequences/modulation/cv.

Some bigger space-takers (259r, 262v, 250e), but can't get rid of them at the moment. A 210e or CSR would be a nice addition to make more complex presets, but then I would also update 281 and 292 to e (maybe even 258, 266, 254 (or even 291, but then I am too close to a full e-system and would also change the oscillators to e-modules - full circle)).

So it's gonna probably stay like that, it's a very powerful system with the best of both worlds.

Good luck with your downgrade/upgrade!

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