getting old in front of the modular.

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MindMachine
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Post by MindMachine » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:00 am

I plan on quitting my day job in a few years so I can focus on what is important (wiggling). I may have to live fairly Spartan, as I did many years ago, and I figure I can sell and buy to keep the endless inspiration flowing.

Hope my ears make it until then. Too many (Melvins are not to blame) shows over the last 39 years as a stupid person to guarantee that.

So far things are working out. What?
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Post by nano_granny » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:19 am

My eyes have started to fade too along with the top end of hearing. Wish I'd had my modular a few years ago when I could have enjoyed the full range of freqs. Think I need to buy an Optivisor, not only to solder but future proof my eyes with the Eurorack

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Flexyflier
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Post by Flexyflier » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:50 am

59 here.......eyes are buggered.......but the hearing is spot on!!
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Post by Gyroscope » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:11 am

Man this thread makes me hopeful for the future (as a young 39 year old). I also went and see the Legendary Pink Dots this week in Montreal. The two main guys are well in their 60s and the show was great! I hope to age that well.

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Post by hippo1 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:57 pm

This thread is awesome to read.

I'm getting older; and, I'm using Eurorack. So, I'm getting older, and still using Eurorack. There it is.

Oh, yeah; having a heluva good time still. (!)

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Post by Dilibob » Sat Oct 12, 2019 2:30 pm

For me its leaning over too much to see the plug holes. On euro i have put that all at eye level since that was the worst, but my 5u has rows bellow waist level. i have now placed a small stool to sit on when i plug things down there, i guess thats my exercise.

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sko87pro
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Post by sko87pro » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:57 pm

What a great thread.

How did I get to 0x37 years in hex, I don’t know - it just crept up on me. In my head I think I’m 2 decades younger. I remember when C programming on green screens was a thing. There’s nothing like the smell of dust on a warm CRT.

I first looked at eurorack 10 years ago when I saw an article in Sound on Sound mag. I got started with Mother-32 and I’ve added 6U since.

I was sad recently when I did one of those YT hearing tests and I couldn’t hear 15kHz any more! Try it here:


Sitting isn’t good for me, it's not good on my lower back. I think I’m going to try a standing-height setup with Mother on top of the 6U cabinet. I don’t think adding 6U overhead is a good idea, so expansion will have to go sideways. (Thanks for the idea about a step stool ^ that’s interesting.)

Must say I love this hobby and the community and the builders. Muffwiggler has been a life line for me.

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Post by MrNezumi » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:48 am

sko87pro wrote:What a great thread.

How did I get to 0x37 years in hex, I don’t know - it just crept up on me. In my head I think I’m 2 decades younger. I remember when C programming on green screens was a thing. There’s nothing like the smell of dust on a warm CRT.

I first looked at eurorack 10 years ago when I saw an article in Sound on Sound mag. I got started with Mother-32 and I’ve added 6U since.

I was sad recently when I did one of those YT hearing tests and I couldn’t hear 15kHz any more! Try it here:


Sitting isn’t good for me, it's not good on my lower back. I think I’m going to try a standing-height setup with Mother on top of the 6U cabinet. I don’t think adding 6U overhead is a good idea, so expansion will have to go sideways. (Thanks for the idea about a step stool ^ that’s interesting.)

Must say I love this hobby and the community and the builders. Muffwiggler has been a life line for me.
A few things about hearing and hearing loss:

First, YT doesn’t allow frequencies above a certain point and that point is well below 15,000Hz, so no one is going to do well on that test.

Secondly, after taking these kinds of tests it is easy to freakout but you need to put it into the proper perspective. Middle C is roughly 261Hz. The highest note on a standard piano is C8 at about 4186Hz. Most of the body/presence of cymbals is in the 300-3000Hz range. The “air” of the cymbals is what you might be missing - it can get up to 25000Hz or even higher. - but even then most of what you hear is below 12000Hz.

I’m in my mid-50s and my hearing tops out somewhere between 10kHz and 12kHz. I wore hearing protection at shows (and on the job when needed) and have taken pretty good care of my ears. If I hadn’t taken a hearing test I would never had guessed that I was missing anything when I listen to music. And with a bit of research I found out what I was “missing” wasn’t all that important in the long run.

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Post by jorg » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:22 am

I'm loving this thread. For me, I have to wear reader glasses when working. I can't hear above 8KHz anymore, so sometimes I have to have somebody else tell me whether a mix is too bright or too dark. But generally, my main problem is getting enough time to actually make music. Maybe that gets better when I finally retire; I hope my brain holds out until then.

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Post by Parnelli » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:42 pm

I hope my brain holds out until then.
Of all the things I have lost over the years, wives, money, guitars, I miss my mind the most! :tu:

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Post by electricanada » Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:59 pm

dubonaire wrote:
wavefold wrote:25. Feeling I should spend more time in the studio in front of my modular and less on clubbing :party:
No man. Go clubbing. Have fun. Don't regret not doing that. In my opinion, if you want to make dance music you will be a way better producer by learning what makes a dance floor go off. And if you want to make more laid back music I think the dance floor experience also helps.
Yeah, enjoy it while it’s still fun. I did for years, then eventually realized that I no longer enjoy being up late with intoxicated people in smoke-filled rooms. But it was a blast while it was.
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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Post by electricanada » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:05 pm

A few things about hearing and hearing loss:

First, YT doesn’t allow frequencies above a certain point and that point is well below 15,000Hz, so no one is going to do well on that test.

Secondly, after taking these kinds of tests it is easy to freakout but you need to put it into the proper perspective. Middle C is roughly 261Hz. The highest note on a standard piano is C8 at about 4186Hz. Most of the body/presence of cymbals is in the 300-3000Hz range. The “air” of the cymbals is what you might be missing - it can get up to 25000Hz or even higher. - but even then most of what you hear is below 12000Hz.

I’m in my mid-50s and my hearing tops out somewhere between 10kHz and 12kHz. I wore hearing protection at shows (and on the job when needed) and have taken pretty good care of my ears. If I hadn’t taken a hearing test I would never had guessed that I was missing anything when I listen to music. And with a bit of research I found out what I was “missing” wasn’t all that important in the long run.
I couldn’t hear anything of the 12K test in that video. I probably blew out my ears sitting right in front of the speakers at that Dead show back in ‘76. I can still sing perfectly in tune though, which is more important to me.
Eléctrica (electric) Nāda (the yoga of sound).

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sko87pro
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Post by sko87pro » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:47 pm

MrNezumi wrote:YT doesn’t allow frequencies above a certain point and that point is well below 15,000Hz ... after taking these kinds of tests it is easy to freakout but you need to put it into the proper perspective. Middle C is roughly 261Hz. The highest note on a standard piano is C8 at about 4186Hz. Most of the body/presence of cymbals is in the 300-3000Hz range. The “air” of the cymbals is what you might be missing - it can get up to 25000Hz or even higher. - but even then most of what you hear is below 12000Hz.
This explains things. Years ago I used to think I could hear the difference between reverb at 48kHz and the same track at 44.1kHz. Surely impossible to hear! But recently I saw a SOS article about audio encoding: "the vocal reverb tails lose detail and texture, becoming less smooth and transparent, and grainier. In places, the reverb is made less obvious..."

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... your-music

Anyway I can't hear that difference today. But I'm not worrying about it.

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Post by kindredlost » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:19 am

I’m 64 years of age and 40 years old with a modular synth. My health is pretty good so no real physical constraints to playing besides the normal hearing loss and eye strain.

There is another aspect to why age at the helm of a modular synth might be a factor and that is instrument experience. A common consensus is that you can do anything with a modular due to the flexibility of patching but (for me), the limits of what is musically useful has a great deal of influence in the way I approach composition and sound design. Even though I make different kinds of music with all sorts of instruments (and voice), I have noticed and formed a style associated with my purely modular pieces. It goes all the way back to my earliest days with a modular and is consistent to this day. It is more broad and robust from experience but really hasn’t changed the fundamental style overall.

That is probably the most important part of the decades long journey I’ve been on with a modular synth.

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Post by lisa » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:48 am

sko87pro wrote:I was sad recently when I did one of those YT hearing tests and I couldn’t hear 15kHz any more! Try it here:
16kHz for me. That was not good for my self-image as a just 40 but youthful person. I want to speak to the manager! :redneck:
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Post by jorg » Tue Oct 15, 2019 2:28 pm

Regarding hearing:

My loss (from very good to ~6-8KHz) was pretty sudden and there could be several causes:

(1) Incautious feedback experiments. May have blasted myself without even knowing it.
(2) NSAID painkillers - very toxic to the inner ear's hair cells.
(3) Antibiotics - also toxic (some extremely so).

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Post by cornutt » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:40 pm

lisa wrote: 16kHz for me. That was not good for my self-image as a just 40 but youthful person. I want to speak to the manager! :redneck:
LOL, I can still hear 16 kHz, and I consider it a victory considering the number of Rush and Triumph concerts I went to back in the '70s. Makes me glad that CRT televisions and NTSC video are no longer a thing, so I don't have to listen that horizontal retrace squeal all the damn time.

I'm pushing 60. Played in a bar band back in the '80s; I still have the first synth I ever bought -- a Juno-106. I consider myself fortunate to have gotten on the ground floor of the modular renaissance, back around 2002. I went 5U right away (MOTM kits were the bees' knees, seriously), and I'm glad I did now. My corrected vision is still okay, although at a certain point in the evening eyestrain starts to get to me.

Can't solder surface-mount components much any more, but then again, I was never very skilled with them to begin with. Someday I'm going to have to try some reflow soldering. I can still do through-hole just fine -- I've been doing it under an inspection magnifier for years, even back when my eyes were better, just because it was easier that way.

I intend to keep wiggling for years to come. Had some knee surgery back in the spring; it's fully recovered now. I do the gym and I run, but I also save some other energy for my other passion, ballroom dance -- it's much more physical than most people realize. Helps with balance and mental acuity too.
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Post by sko87pro » Tue Oct 15, 2019 8:33 pm

jorg wrote:(2) NSAID painkillers - very toxic to the inner ear's hair cells.
Oh dear. I didn’t know about this. I took a bunch of these for months before surgery. I’ve just learnt a new word, ototoxic:

When a medication is ototoxic, it has a toxic effect on the ear or its nerve supply. Depending on the medication and dosage, the effects of ototoxic medications can be temporary or permanent.

The list includes aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and diclenofac.

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Post by magnetsandlasers » Tue Oct 15, 2019 9:11 pm

comacomfort wrote:As I get older my finger tips start to ache when twisting hard plastic knobs, especially the befaco mini pots on the hexmix


I feel bone on plastic and it disturbs me.
That's how I feel playing my DFAM. I can always feel it the next day when I've had a particularly knob-twisty session :sadbanana:

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Post by MvK » Wed Oct 16, 2019 5:48 am

thanks a lot @sko87pro and jorg for the information about dangers to the hearing by medicals. That's really valuable and I will try to spread this among people. Sadly a lot of circumstances around electronic music are quite self-destructive.

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Post by jorg » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:24 am

MvK wrote:thanks a lot @sko87pro and jorg...
That's what makes Muffwiggler great! We share our experience, strength, and hope. Once in a while, even I have to give something back. :tu:

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Post by Pelsea » Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:05 pm

Actually, my modulars are keeping me young.
When I retired (because of severe hearing loss due to playing in symphony orchestras) I made a complete break with music for five years. My mental state was not pretty- grumpy, unfocused and lazy. I eventually made my way back, concentrating on the things that gave me most joy when working-- building and playing with modular instruments. I feel like I have shed two decades (mentally anyway). My curiosity and focus are back and my wife reports I am much more pleasant to live with.
The ears make it difficult to talk to people or hear much above 3kHz, but I still have the bass clef to play in. Hand tremors make construction slow, but there's no hurry any more. Best of all, I get to keep everything I build.
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Patch responsibly.
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Post by Parnelli » Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:33 pm

Well it seems to be then that the general consensus is that getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative! :tu:

So far at least!!! :guinness:

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Post by dubonaire » Thu Oct 17, 2019 4:41 am

Parnelli wrote:Well it seems to be then that the general consensus is that getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative! :tu:

So far at least!!! :guinness:
Getting old shouldn't suck. You can only ever be the age you are. You just have to shift your expectations, come to terms with being in the older body you are in because basically that is the only choice you have, but also not let yourself get old in the sense of not being vibrant. Staying healthy is important. Don't let yourself go, it's so very easy. I still go out clubbing occassionally and still play out. I think you only look out of place if you are giving off vibes that you feel out of place, or leer at young women.

I'm really enjoying being the age I am. I have a lot of wisdom to give, I'm more chilled, I have more disposable income, I'm at the peak of my career. I'm probably lucky, but I also work at it. I may not feel the same way when I'm 78, but 58 is OK by me.

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Post by arthurdent » Thu Oct 17, 2019 6:17 am

dubonaire wrote:
Parnelli wrote:Well it seems to be then that the general consensus is that getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative! :tu:

So far at least!!! :guinness:
Getting old shouldn't suck. You can only ever be the age you are. You just have to shift your expectations, come to terms with being in the older body you are in because basically that is the only choice you have, but also not let yourself get old in the sense of not being vibrant. Staying healthy is important. Don't let yourself go, it's so very easy. I still go out clubbing occassionally and still play out. I think you only look out of place if you are giving off vibes that you feel out of place, or leer at young women.

I'm really enjoying being the age I am. I have a lot of wisdom to give, I'm more chilled, I have more disposable income, I'm at the peak of my career. I'm probably lucky, but I also work at it. I may not feel the same way when I'm 78, but 58 is OK by me.
As I've mentioned before, I'm 72 years old, retired when I turned 66. I keep active physically - walking/hiking/kayaking/tent camping - as well as mentally - reading, crossword puzzles, etc. Up until 4 years ago I had no music experience whatsoever - I listened to a lot of different stuff but never learned theory or played an instrument. I saw an article one day about "keeping fresh" as you grow older and the writer stated that learning a musical instrument was an excellent way to stay sharp mentally as well as physically - hand/eye coordination, using different parts of your brain, etc. So I went out and bought a digital piano, got a bunch of "for dummies" books out of the library, and started trying to learn stuff. At the same time, I discovered modular so I figured "what the heck", bought a Mother-32, then another one, then an 0-Coast, then a few modules, etc., etc., bought a soldering iron, DVM, O-scope and a few kits, etc. Like a lot of other people, I wish I had "discovered" this stuff earlier but it is what it is. I'm enjoying it.

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