Noob getting into 5U

Moog, Synthesizers.com, MOTM, Modcan, Moon and others..... Go big!

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odditymedium
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Noob getting into 5U

Post by odditymedium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:32 am

thinking of getting a whole system... can anyone TLDR the differences between the many makers?

Modcan / GRP / Moon / COTK ... anything else?

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Faustgeist
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Post by Faustgeist » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:23 am

Well, I just had too much coffee, so let's see... the differences?

Time to deliver
Yes or no half height modules
Big cost variations
Module selection
Sound

I don't own whole systems by these makers, but do have modules from most.

Some of this comes down to budget, patience and desired approach. A DotCom system is a fast, 'affordable' way to start patching and covers many of the basics. I began this way and have no regrets. Personally, I wanted diversity in effects and modulation so added to my system from smaller manufacturers who don't make whole systems (SSL, Grove, ac, Corsynth, +).

One distinguishing feature of dotcom systems is that they do not offer 'half height' modules such as the original Moogs. Look to European makers for that.

Moon, CotK, synth-werk, and ModCan all make gorgeous systems - some for a lot of $. In the case of ModCan and CotK . . there may be a decent wait. As well, each of these companies make a few modules the others don't, such as Club's Bode Frequency Shifter vs Moon's 568 Quad Sequential Trigger Source. If you want to stay with one manufacturer exclusively then use modulargrid.net to see the variations each company offers.

Of course you omitted Moog. You can have a system 15/35/55 delivered in a week these days. :eek:

If you were considering custom systems such as Hordijk, then you are dealing with $$$, a lot of patience and indeed a different design philosophy. <- no personal experience here.

The GRP desktops might scratch your itch but they are semi-modular.

If the differences you are asking about is in regards to SOUND. Then that really is subjective. If you live near Los Angeles - pop into Noisebug and listen to different VCOs. Find a local 5U muff who can let you patch at their place - or read the volumes of reviews, friendly arguments and opinions on the interwebs.

There may be differences in power supplies, custom elements ++ which others can speak on.

~Robin
Last edited by Faustgeist on Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by sduck » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:12 am

Did you leave out Synthesizers.com on purpose? And getting a modcan system these days will be a problem.
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Post by trentpmcd » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:55 am

I do not nearly as much experience as most people on here, but I do have opinions ;)

My first opinion is that the strength of modern modular (Euro as well as 5U) is the ability to mix and match modules from different makers. There are some limitations here, but with a little study, those limitations can be overcome. My set up is built around a dot com base, but I have modules by STG, Corsynth, Moon and Oakley (built by Krisp 1). In the very near future I will have some Mos Labs in there, which brings us to incompatibilities - I have to ad a power converter and the audio signal will be lower than my dot-com gear. But I researched it and can do it. I also use Moog components (CP-251 is great, and a VX-351 allows me to use my Voyager with my modular). I just think that limiting yourself to one manufacturer/builder is, well, limiting yourself.

The second strong opinion is buying a complete system out of the box and building one slowly. If I had bought a complete system, it would not have been anything like what I have now. I also wouldn't know and understand the modules in a quarter of the depth that I do now, not that I know them as well as many people around here. Every time I get a new module, I spend weeks playing with it. I try to "break" it, i.e., use it in ways that may not be obvious. That is what modular synthesis is about, isn't it? If not, just buy a really flexible prepackaged stand alone synth. Also, as i said and learn more about it, my want list changes. Things that didn't interest me before are at the top of my current list, while things I drooled over in the past I just shrug my shoulders about and wonder why I even thought of it.

Anyway, as I said, i have strong opinions. I'm sure you will get a good system no matter how you do it.

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Post by alternating.bit » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:07 am

As one completely guilty of starting new threads I will hypocritically say that this forum is LOADED with questions such as yours, not to mention some stickys that will provide a lot of info.

If you have no bias yet then definitely choose a brand that is in your own country... you'll save a lot that way, trust me.

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Post by odditymedium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 11:55 am

thanks for all the answers so far...

any idea of the price range of a hordijk system as compared to cotk?

just to get a rough idea... cotk is around 3000 euros for a system 15... is a hordijk with similar capabilities in the ballpark, or is it more like twice as expensive?

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Post by josaka » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:08 pm

I would start by looking at what you want to do.. what sound you want..
also POWER.. there are a few different power connectors .com/COTK/MOS-LAB/MODCAN just off the top off my head.. different size modules..MOTM/.com panel sizes are a little difference..

by far the most currently common in both size and power is .com format..
you can get a great range of modules with just this format.. so I would probably go for that.. here are a few of the top companies to research.. youtube is your friend :)

Synthesizers.com
Oakley/Krisp1
Corsynth
Moon
SSL
Suit And Tie Guy
Synth-Werk
Hordijk
MegaOhm
Mos-Lab(needs power adapter.Supplied by mos-Lab)
Happy Nerding
Analog Craftsman
System-X
+ a few others..


GRP only really make a sequencer that you can fit into your 5u set up.. not sure about their A2 synth..

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Post by Ranxerox » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:27 pm

odditymedium wrote:thanks for all the answers so far...

any idea of the price range of a hordijk system as compared to cotk?

just to get a rough idea... cotk is around 3000 euros for a system 15... is a hordijk with similar capabilities in the ballpark, or is it more like twice as expensive?
Hordijk and the Model 15 are not really comparable. There's a very extensive thread here in the 5U forum on Hordijk's unique multifunctional designs, more akin to the Serge or Wiard philosophy. I believe waiting time for Hordijk systems are currently quite long.

In contrast, the Model 15 is a much more traditional subtractive synth, basically a patchable Minimoog with a couple of extra bells and whistles. If you're interested in this you might also consider the Mos-lab Model 15 which is similar to the COTK but a little closer to the authentic Moog sound imho.

3000 euro will also buy a good selection of Oakley and other brands of modular. The advantage of course with the European makes is the lack of import charges and taxas (assuming you're in Europe.)

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Post by josaka » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:06 pm

these are not the cheapest things around.. but perhaps the moogyest.. for non moog money..
https://synth-werk.com/content/custom-standard-systems

I have gone the 3rd party utility(CV control) modules and key sound generating osc/mixers Synrh-Werk for one of my voices.

Also Seb (Mos-Lab ) has new 901's and his 921's are great.. probably the cheapest option for that sound.

Hordijk runs around €375 per module(some less) .. only sells sets of 3's
and is geared to a more west coast sound generally..can be used how you want of course but the hordijk strength lies in that area.

all these options have a wait time.. I think currently it is at least 3 months for these guys.. much more sometimes., SW and ML have new modules so could be more ..

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Post by odditymedium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:44 pm

as someone not so much into moog, is 5u a dead end? i mean, are 5u mostly moog clones? is there an avante-garde of 5u?

i would call ciat-lonbarde avant-garde, e.g...

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Post by kindredlost » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:03 pm

odditymedium wrote:as someone not so much into moog, is 5u a dead end? i mean, are 5u mostly moog clones? is there an avante-garde of 5u?

i would call ciat-lonbarde avant-garde, e.g...
Hmm... an interesting notion. Off hand I’d consider modular synthesis in general to be pretty flexible regardless of the format. It is in the patch where the creativity happens.

The “Moog Sound” is talked about quite a bit more than actually performed most of the time. As a matter of fact pursuing said Sound can be a greater endeavor than just making “avant-garde” music with a modular. Of course there are vendors who specialize in trying to fill this quest for those determined to sojourn, but I wouldn’t worry over making choices about a filter or mixer if your aim is to pursue the outer limits of synthesis. It’s really a matter of HOW you use what you have.

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Post by odditymedium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:00 pm

i am most definitely interested in the outer limits of synthesis ... is 5u the way

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Post by Dave Peck » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:10 pm

Well there is a lot more variety in general in Euro format so if you want to be able to choose from a lot of non-traditional-subtractive-analog-synthesis type modules and go for more 'outer limits' modules that offer things like granular, crazy noise sources, etc., then you would have more choice in Euro format.

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Post by Faustgeist » Thu Jul 05, 2018 4:14 pm

odditymedium wrote:as someone not so much into moog, is 5u a dead end? i mean, are 5u mostly moog clones? is there an avante-garde of 5u?
i would call ciat-lonbarde avant-garde, e.g...
I believe much of 5U began as Moog 'tributes' intent on revitalizing the 1/4inch MU format and indeed reaching for the rich Moog sound. Both formats share some non-conventional modules (RF Nomad, DSUG, Polywav Players, GRISTLE), but euro has a more experimental bent and many, many more companies are developing for the small format.

If you are looking for a quick fix .. the hunt for 5U modules can be slow - Slower than ordering from SchneidersLaden, AH or Control.

I have big systems of both and love them equally. Just a matter of where you want to be.

2cents, ~R

PS: 5u takes up more space module for module. :hihi:
i am most definitely interested in the outer limits of synthesis ... is 5u the way
The outer limits, eh? A personal thing indeed. For some that may be additive vs subtractive for others exclusively software synthesis with a neural interface.

https://www.sound-machines.it/product/b ... neurorack/

Choosing your version of fringe and the format you want to go with should indeed involve self reflection . Asking on the 5U forum if we like 5U, the answer is yes. :)
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Post by odditymedium » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:04 pm

haha nice one faustgeist...

is 5U mostly subtractive? is there a buchla of 5u?

i dont mind hunting around, or waiting etc... i find that i'm attracted to high eccentricity (e.g. ciat-lonbarde) who match their idiosyncrasy with quality - C-L sounds amazing - ... is there anything like this in 5U?

i'm also attracted to 5U cos of the size, meaning the ergonomics... a lot of euroland seems fiddly and bothersome....

is the moog sound that rich after all?

ps thanks to everyone who is replying me in earnest, with thoughtful answers... i'm very much absorbed by what you all are saying...

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Post by hsosdrum » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:59 pm

odditymedium wrote: i'm also attracted to 5U cos of the size, meaning the ergonomics... a lot of euroland seems fiddly and bothersome...
I strongly suggest that you find a way to put your hands on machines in both the Euro and 5U formats to see how much the difference in size, ergonomics and tactile feel may matter to you. Many people here in the 5U forum have both 5U and Euro systems while others are exclusively 5U, and for some of those (myself included), the "fiddly"-ness and small size of the Euro modules is something we just can't get past.

So I would sort out your personal feelings about the physical and ergonomic differences before committing to one format or the other. It could save you a great deal of money and bother down the road.

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Post by odditymedium » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:11 am

hsosdrum wrote: I strongly suggest that you find a way to put your hands on machines in both the Euro and 5U formats to see how much the difference in size, ergonomics and tactile feel may matter to you. Many people here in the 5U forum have both 5U and Euro systems while others are exclusively 5U, and for some of those (myself included), the "fiddly"-ness and small size of the Euro modules is something we just can't get past.
yes yes yes this is what i mean too, euro is too fiddly for me
in sound, as in vision, i gravitate towards large-formats...

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Post by Ranxerox » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:08 am

I would say that in 5U, probably Hordijk offers most 'out of the box' thinking in terms of the originality and multifunctionality of his designs, and in terms of being least wedded to the Moog legacy.

But if Ciat-Lonbarde and Buchla are what the OP is looking for, then why not just buy those two instead of going 5U?
kindredlost wrote:
odditymedium wrote:as someone not so much into moog, is 5u a dead end? i mean, are 5u mostly moog clones? is there an avante-garde of 5u?

i would call ciat-lonbarde avant-garde, e.g...
Hmm... an interesting notion. Off hand I’d consider modular synthesis in general to be pretty flexible regardless of the format. It is in the patch where the creativity happens.

The “Moog Sound” is talked about quite a bit more than actually performed most of the time. As a matter of fact pursuing said Sound can be a greater endeavor than just making “avant-garde” music with a modular. Of course there are vendors who specialize in trying to fill this quest for those determined to sojourn, but I wouldn’t worry over making choices about a filter or mixer if your aim is to pursue the outer limits of synthesis. It’s really a matter of HOW you use what you have.
Totally agree, it's important not to get too hung up on the tools. All formats share the primary elements of VCO, VCF, VCA, waveshapers, mixers, gate logic, sequencers etc. that make up 80% of a given patch.

Whether your music is 'avant-garde' or not depends far more on what you do with these commonplace elements than what your module format look like, or whether you've got this or that fancy digital module in the patch.

If you're after lots of choices of digital modules and sequencers then go for Euro, but other than that, it's a case of your aesthetic preference - as Faustgeist says, we all like 5U here!

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Post by josaka » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:26 am

Ranxerox wrote: Totally agree, it's important not to get too hung up on the tools. All formats share the primary elements of VCO, VCF, VCA, waveshapers, mixers, gate logic, sequencers etc. that make up 80% of a given patch.

Whether your music is 'avant-garde' or not depends far more on what you do with these commonplace elements than what your module format look like, or whether you've got this or that fancy digital module in the patch.

If you're after lots of choices of digital modules and sequencers then go for Euro, but other than that, it's a case of your aesthetic preference - as Faustgeist says, we all like 5U here!
yep.. I would say the difference between the systems are the modulation aspects.. buchla hordijk euro users seem more concerned with heavily modulated sounds 5u users tend to like big thick multi oscillator tones.. generalising of course (you can do all the sounds in all the systems) but look at the demos in the different systems.. most tend to be quite similar in a 'look I can do that sound too' way.. (check the hordijk thread.. they all seem to be blippy modulation type videos.. (I have a hordijk 3 panel :) )
Last edited by josaka on Fri Jul 06, 2018 7:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by odditymedium » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:15 am

can anyone give me a ballpark hordijk estimate?

ae we tlaking 4k euros? 5k? 10k?

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Post by Ranxerox » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:37 am

odditymedium wrote:can anyone give me a ballpark hordijk estimate?

ae we tlaking 4k euros? 5k? 10k?
A single triple-module panel is roughly in the 1000 euro ballpark, plus you need to factor in the case & PSU (I think 3-400 euros for that).

I would say three or four panels would make a pretty complete system, although the modules are so versatile that depending what you want to do, 2 or even 1 panel would give some interesting results...

Why not email Rob with your questions? He is a damn nice fella and will provide costs and lead times obligation-free.

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Post by alternating.bit » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:18 am

kindredlost wrote:The “Moog Sound” is talked about quite a bit more than actually performed most of the time.
I concur.
odditymedium wrote:i am most definitely interested in the outer limits of synthesis ... is 5u the way
The outer limits of synthesis clearly is found depending upon the user... the right person could find those outer limits with a few Korg volcas or some DIY boxes with a few effect pedals, to be honest.

Maybe you should first try a few Music From Outer Space boxes and some effect units, or maybe the Phenol to get a flavor of where you can go. If you just spend around $1,500 on a pile of desktop gear you may get to where you wanted to go without selling the house.

https://www.kilpatrickaudio.com/?p=phenol


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Post by mbleming » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:08 am

odditymedium wrote:can anyone give me a ballpark hordijk estimate?

ae we tlaking 4k euros? 5k? 10k?
A full Hordijk starter system runs 4580 euro plus shipping/duty...though you can always pick it up in person from Rob himself...I just got one after a lengthy wait and it is a really, really fun and amazing system to use.

JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice » Fri Jul 06, 2018 11:15 am

Faustgeist wrote:PS: 5u takes up more space module for module. :hihi:
True, but eurorack costs more per square foot of panel space! :mrgreen:

I agree with what everyone is saying so don't have much to add, but . . . . let me ramble out of my ass for a minute here. :eek: :lol:

If you want to sound just like a particular artist's style, getting the exact same equipment/instruments they used is a good place to start, but no guarantee you'll succeed. On the other hand if you want to sound just like a particular artist's style BUT you want to sound fresh, original and develop your own style/sound, get different equipment then your target artist did and then try to sound like them anyway. :hmm: :spin:

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Post by odditymedium » Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:30 am

mbleming wrote:
odditymedium wrote:can anyone give me a ballpark hordijk estimate?

ae we tlaking 4k euros? 5k? 10k?
A full Hordijk starter system runs 4580 euro plus shipping/duty...though you can always pick it up in person from Rob himself...I just got one after a lengthy wait and it is a really, really fun and amazing system to use.
any videos?

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