Volca Modular - I got one (review / compare with Easel).

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DeanG
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Post by DeanG » Sat Feb 23, 2019 6:36 pm

Awesome! I never said it was a BAD thing :yay:
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:16 pm

DeanG wrote:Awesome! I never said it was a BAD thing :yay:
... I didn't take it that way. :tu:
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Sat Feb 23, 2019 7:19 pm

I've seen a number of videos, I really dig the sound. But this thing scares the hell out of me. I have doubts about being able to understand it.

:hmm:
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Post by zaphod betamax » Sun Feb 24, 2019 2:35 pm

It possibly could supply envelopes to 2 of my Monotribes, but I will
not know until they arrive here in Canada.

With the LPG, I could have both Monotribes set to perma-note on via midi
then route the outputs to the LPGs.
I could then use CV OCD to gaet each of the LPGs.

So on note off on my keyboard the gate will keep the LPGs closed, but on
gate on, I can then use the envelopes.

This Volca reminds me of the 200-in-1 Archer Electronics kit I had in the mid 70s!!

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JakoGreyshire
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Post by JakoGreyshire » Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:53 pm

Wondering if anyone has patched the Moog Werkstatt with the Volca Modular using the little patch wires? Seems like it would work and be fun..... maybe...?

EDIT: might be a grounding issue unless using one of the patch cables to ground the two units together....
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Post by Darkside » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:20 am

Mine is about to arrive in a couple days. It's well on its way and approaching like an evil asteroid.
Before ordering the Volca Modular, I asked myself pretty deeply: do I really need it? To answer this question I took a bunch'o Erica Synths Pico modules and made the following noisy mess of a madness - please take a listen and yell at me if needed, hihi.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ta5qcp7kyb2co ... e.mp3?dl=1

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Post by TimeRaveler » Mon Feb 25, 2019 2:53 pm

Dang Branko, that's one of the nicest west coast tracks i've ever heard, sort of reminds of parts of the Earthbound soundtrack (which is one of the best game soundtracks)!

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Post by Darkside » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:38 am

Yeh, Branko, nice smooth going on that one.

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Post by Orwell » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:07 am

Amazing little box, synth of the year. :hmm:

It’s very organic and mellow at times, a bit different from the easel.
Getting a second one soonish.

Has anyone looked at hacking on a midi out from the little keyboard and seq or cv pitch and gate out?
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Post by dthorn » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:41 pm

kroffe wrote:Realized today that I can patch an external audio signal in through the CV in jack on the Volca Modular. Its reverb sound great on DR-110 drums! :)
I just discovered unipolar CV can be patched through the gate input. Seems like it's pretty much just a half wave rectifier.

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Post by kroffe » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:45 pm

dthorn wrote:I just discovered unipolar CV can be patched through the gate input. Seems like it's pretty much just a half wave rectifier.
Well, the user manual states that the left channel (tip) is unipolar +-5v scaled down to +-3.3v. Right channel (ring) expects a 0 to +6v, 1v per octave pitch control signal.

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Post by Branko » Thu Feb 28, 2019 10:16 pm

Got a 2nd one, and boy...that was a good decision, even if it stretched my wallet!

Here's something more sequencer based. Two Volcas through a delay, played in real time. They lend themselves very well to playing live. There's lots of cross patching on this, but I played it fast so you can't hear most of that. I kinda zoned out when recording this, haha.

https://soundcloud.com/branko-vranic/br ... nic-022819
Last edited by Branko on Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:35 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Post by PLNB » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:00 pm

Branko wrote:Got a 2nd one, and boy...that was a good decision, even if it stretched my wallet!
Hopefully hacks appear that combine two of these units, add midi, and merge the touch plate to a single control.

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Post by Darkside » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:41 am

So yeah, I got the little thing two days ago and while it sounds huge, those pins and points are tiny-winy - Pico is giant next to this! No problem, just another exercize for my fingers, as that's the only thing I can rely on.
So it actually poses again that little question: is it actually more easy or difficult for sighted folks to work with sutch smallness? Does having to peep at those small things make it actually more complicated while also having to work them with fingers? Just curiossity about that sighted way of doing things, nothing else. I don't really like to state the matter in every topic, but again, just in case somebody doesn't get the point - I have no eye sight alltogether, that's why sutch questions.
Anyway, I'm quite positive about what will happen when recording the VM begins, but first some more reading and learning or more correctly, memorizing where is what.

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Post by Blairio » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:12 pm

This is a case study in mission creep - or was it? I wandered into my music store last Saturday to collect my Pre-Ordered Volca Modular. Before pulled the trigger, I tried out a Reface DX, and was smitten.

I really liked the idea of the Volca Modular, but the Reface DX is such a good implementation of 4 operator FM synthesis, with a great (a!beit small) keyboard, that it quickly came across as the more radical option.

Folk who should know better promoted the Reface DX as a reborn DX7. It can't be - at best it is a reborn (4 operator) DX9. However, the variable operator feedback fx and great user interface promote it well into DX7 territory.

It is a bargain for its current circa £255 uk pricing.

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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:29 pm

Blairio wrote:This is a case study in mission creep - or was it? I wandered into my music store last Saturday to collect my Pre-Ordered Volca Modular. Before pulled the trigger, I tried out a Reface DX, and was smitten.

I really liked the idea of the Volca Modular, but the Reface DX is such a good implementation of 4 operator FM synthesis, with a great (a!beit small) keyboard, that it quickly came across as the more radical option.

Folk who should know better promoted the Reface DX as a reborn DX7. It can't be - at best it is a reborn (4 operator) DX9. However, the variable operator feedback fx and great user interface promote it well into DX7 territory.

It is a bargain for its current circa £255 uk pricing.
Especially if you stick this thing on it .....


Image

Image

Image


[video][/video]
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Post by Darkside » Fri Mar 01, 2019 4:35 pm

Heheh, now that's strange, what a funny jump in a topic, but never mind: ReFace DX together with that Dtronics thingie is really a blast! Anyway, I'll be more than probably using them together with the Volca Modular in some track in not so far future ahead.

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Post by starthief » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:17 pm

I got my Volca Modular today. My quick impression is that it's very cool, has a character all its own, well worth the money, and has a lot of limitations.

Some of those limitations are the good kind, which cause you to seek creative solutions and to work with what you're given, and turn into strengths. I'm in favor of those.

Some of the limitations are mostly the other kind.

For instance: pitch tracking with the CV input is pretty poor. I can compensate for it with attenuation easily enough -- but the mod osc tracks very differently than the primary osc. (It's nearly dead-on with internal pitch control.)

The lack of ways to transpose and modulate primary frequency (as opposed to just overriding it with CV) is a bit of a bummer.

The pitch is unstable at 2 octaves above the root, using CV in. It actually sounds kind of cool, but isn't something that happens with that same CV source with any other VCO I have.

Yes, the reverb can be kind of ugly -- but there are times when it perfectly suits the synth at the right mix level though (or articulated by an envelope or negative envelope, or used for feedback, etc.) I do wish there was a way to slow down its clock/delay time, which I'm sure would darken it and make it noisier and that's exactly what I would want ;)

Overall though, the thing is pretty damned cool. Don't think of it as a replacement for any other synth, West Coast or not -- it's its own beast.
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Post by wsy » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:42 pm

Darkside wrote:So yeah, I got the little thing two days ago and while it sounds huge, those pins and points are tiny-winy - Pico is giant next to this! No problem, just another exercize for my fingers, as that's the only thing I can rely on.
So it actually poses again that little question: is it actually more easy or difficult for sighted folks to work with sutch smallness? Does having to peep at those small things make it actually more complicated while also having to work them with fingers? Just curiossity about that sighted way of doing things, nothing else. I don't really like to state the matter in every topic, but again, just in case somebody doesn't get the point - I have no eye sight alltogether, that's why sutch questions..
I have decent eyesight if I'm wearing the correct pair of glasses to the task at hand... but
I also have pretty big fingers (size XXL glove is not quite big enough for comfort). I use
tweezers even for thru-hole parts; yeah big fingers.

So, I can see roughly where I'm poking, but actually seeing the pin and hole - Not A Chance.
I sorta prod and poke and when it goes in then I take my hand away and see where
it went (or twist a knob to see what it did) - and then maybe repeat the process a
couple of times.

So, maybe a little faster for me with vision- but unless I'm patching with tweezers, final
pin insertion is a by-touch operation, not a by-vision. And unless I'm wearing
my waay-close-up glasses or magnification visor, not even that.

- Bill
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JakoGreyshire
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Post by JakoGreyshire » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:11 pm

Are there any labeled patch points on the PCB?
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dthorn
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Post by dthorn » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:07 pm

starthief wrote:The lack of ways to transpose and modulate primary frequency (as opposed to just overriding it with CV) is a bit of a bummer.
I've tried using the utility section to do that, but the result always ends up extremely out of tune.

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Post by Muff McMuff » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:39 am

starthief wrote:I got my Volca Modular today. My quick impression is that it's very cool, has a character all its own, well worth the money, and has a lot of limitations.

Some of those limitations are the good kind, which cause you to seek creative solutions and to work with what you're given, and turn into strengths. I'm in favor of those.

Some of the limitations are mostly the other kind.

For instance: pitch tracking with the CV input is pretty poor. I can compensate for it with attenuation easily enough -- but the mod osc tracks very differently than the primary osc. (It's nearly dead-on with internal pitch control.)

The lack of ways to transpose and modulate primary frequency (as opposed to just overriding it with CV) is a bit of a bummer.

The pitch is unstable at 2 octaves above the root, using CV in. It actually sounds kind of cool, but isn't something that happens with that same CV source with any other VCO I have.

Yes, the reverb can be kind of ugly -- but there are times when it perfectly suits the synth at the right mix level though (or articulated by an envelope or negative envelope, or used for feedback, etc.) I do wish there was a way to slow down its clock/delay time, which I'm sure would darken it and make it noisier and that's exactly what I would want ;)

Overall though, the thing is pretty damned cool. Don't think of it as a replacement for any other synth, West Coast or not -- it's its own beast.
I don't have Volca Modular but the first thing i would do is change the default "tempo" setting to 10 to 600 ( or whatever it allows ) . It really slows down my Volca Keys. I don't know why they don't come set up this way. It will be in the manual under "global parameter settings" or similar.

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Post by Darkside » Sat Mar 02, 2019 3:50 am

Yes, wide tempo setting is cool. Monotribe was probably the only one, where it was turned on as a factory default.

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Post by DeanG » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:30 am

Working with the jumper wire insetion has been challenging for me, and also busier patches make it tricky to access the knobs. I also wish the sequecer clock module could run even if the sequencer isn't. If there's a way to do this I haven't found it. Having said that, I think the sequencer especially the micro tuning and motion sequence are intrinsic to the VM character.

Because my interest is with more abstract sounds, ie old Subotnik etc, and music concrete via microgranny, intonation quirks are kind of a non issue for me. What has me most enthused is how readily I can integrate external audio without boosting the signal via preamps etc, which bugs me on my se-02. The VM is quite thoroughly "west coast" and in a way seems even more extremely so than the music easel, which admittedly I've hand no hands on besides playing with at a shop and the arturia soft version. I am working on a krell patch now and that has me consiseppdering adding a second VM.
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DeanG
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Post by DeanG » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:34 am

correction..."consiseppdering "? I believe I created a new word! This is what the VM will do to you!

:bang: :doh:
I am my own source of uncertainty.

https://soundcloud.com/eanranros

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