What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

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Fog Door
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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by Fog Door » Wed Feb 12, 2020 2:15 pm

@chachi

I take your point and it is entirely your choice :) But when I read a post by someone who is obviously passionate about making music and they say "I now bask in the idea that these sounds I make are my own ambient soundtrack as I move through life, the sound in my head that others can’t hear" the idea of that music is instantly more alluring to me than any bubblegum type music ever could be :lol:
see how much music is dropped on this site on the daily and you know you don’t listen to it all. and that’s on the site where people are the most predisposed to synth noise enjoyment. you’ve probably read the threads where (it feels like) 80% of people on THIS SITE say that modular electronic music is boring and they don’t listen to it. it takes a very very specific touch to nab listeners even in this, the most receptive of audiences
I have to disagree with you on this. It would be tempting to assume that this forum would house the most receptive of audiences, but my experience since I joined the forum is that it does not. Far from being the most fertile of ground, it is the stony ground, that is not a negative though, there is a very good reason. The members of this forum are at the very least, deeply involved in creating their own music/sound experiments/capturing performances, and a good portion of those have been doing so for decades, more than half a century in some cases. Others are experienced industry professionals, synth academics, module designers, all kinds of very serious synth-heads, tough crowd? You bet. The toughest. Unless you post something technically spectacular from a modular synthesis point of view, you are going to draw very few comments. And any time spent listening to others peoples music is time spent not working on your own, its a very big ask on a forum like this. I certainly wouldn't read too much into any indifference the posts in the your tunes section receive, considering some people on there think (original) Oxygene and Equinoxe by JMJ are shit, the bar is fairly high :tu:

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by luchog » Wed Feb 12, 2020 3:31 pm

chachi wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 11:09 am
i feel extremely lucky to be able to afford the cost and time of this personal music machine that i have created. i have long ago given up on the idea that this music could be for others; there is soooo much music in the world and my limited time devoted to it (relatively) means i will never be on a commercial level. so i now bask in the idea that these sounds i make are my own ambient soundtrack as i move through life, the sound in my head that others can’t hear. i have other smaller goals, to complete a group of recordings that takes the form of an “album” but this is more about holding me to completion, and if i never “finish” anything it’s ok because i liked the music in my time.
Fog Door wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:11 pm
i have long ago given up on the idea that this music could be for others
Never give up on that. Your music may not be commercially viable, maybe it would appeal to a very small niche of listeners, possibly even an audience in single figures. But if one person likes some music you made and listens to it for pleasure, then that is a beautiful and worthwhile thing, imo :)
That's pretty much where I am at as well. I don't expect anyone else will really appreciate what I'm doing, and I'm doing it strictly for myself, because the noises in my head want out, and because it's a creative outlet and there just aren't enough opportunities for creativity in this time and place in history.
sandettie wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:31 pm
I've enjoyed electronic & experimental music since being turned on as a kid by Alive From Off Center on PBS. Only in the last few years did it occur to me that I could try stuff out myself--not sure why that penny took so long to drop.
Alive From Off Center was one of my favorite programs when I was a kid. One of the things that influenced me to get into art in the first place.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by AlanP » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:54 pm

To have fun soldering things, and while I'm at it to make some very strange noise, again, having fun while doing so.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by ckwjr » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:32 am

This is what modular has done to my brain. I was flying home last night and started listening to the jet engines at takeoff. Rich harmonics. Lovely modulation. Just a great oscillator. Now my goal this weekend is to build an ambient patch as an homage to passenger jet engines. Probably sounds as bad as it sounds like it's going to sound. Maybe worse.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by gelabs » Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:50 am

Essentially this : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_mandala but with patch cables :P
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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by otnemem » Sat Feb 15, 2020 9:35 am

Fog Door wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 12:11 pm
i have long ago given up on the idea that this music could be for others
Never give up on that. Your music may not be commercially viable, maybe it would appeal to a very small niche of listeners, possibly even an audience in single figures. But if one person likes some music you made and listens to it for pleasure, then that is a beautiful and worthwhile thing, imo :)
That’s a really great way to express it. Pretty much sums up where I am at the moment in terms of musical ambitions. I’m lucky to be able to have a Modular synth and it’s so much fun.
I hope that one day I can share my output in a more structured and accessible way

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by KittenVillage » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:07 am

I had no goals getting into modular synthesis. I had been using softsynths for decades and was tired of the existential crisis of midi knobs controlling something on the screen.

Then I bought some stuff used, and realized I had to build modules to get anywhere with it all.

A lot of times I sit down to build now, and I think "I need a win." and then I lay out the solder paste and get out the tweezers...

But now I'm at the point with having too many modules for the cases I have, and I can sit down and just patch up any idea I have. To be honest, I needed to get a VCA module to get to that point. I waited too long on that!

I still have no goals, but I make music and art to satisfy myself. And I do. I am not sure if any of my modular's sonic output will ever get to other ears than mine, but I'm pretty happy with it, and that's all that matters.


Eurorack is an exercise in delayed desire.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by Phil999 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:42 am

I like the idea of a sand mandala, and modular synthesis being a variant of it.

Another thought is to create music that is not possible with traditional instruments. While it is also a good challenge to re-create natural sounds and events, the main strength of modular synthesis is to create something that hasn't existed yet. This is one of my goals, to create something utterly new and strange, while pleasing to the ear. This needs however a rather intimate knowledge of sound, rhythm, and technology. There are only few examples to date that are innovative and beautiful.

And finally, modular synthesis is a great tool for creating soundtracks for visuals and film. For example, I just captured a storm blowing snowflakes into the air in bright sunlight in 75 fps slow motion and 12 bit brightness dynamic, the images are beautiful. But its a 90+ minute video without sound. This can get boring rather quickly. Suitable for an art installation, but when I wanted to do a standalone film, I would need some music. What better than to use noise generators and phasers, filter bank and filters played in real time while watching the video, feedback effects, etc. When you have images and video that need a soundtrack, modular synthesis is a precious tool. I never forget this dessin animé I saw in the 80's with the music of Michel Fano. I didn't have a VCR at this time, but I recorded the audio. Still one of my favorite tracks in modular synthesis. Together with this hand-drawn but futuristic and psychedelic dessin animé it was one of those moments where I was blown away.

I guess it was rather Michel Fano (who also used tape techniques) and Morton Subotnick that showed me the potential of modular synthesis. Suzanne Ciani is also worth mentioning, not only because in my youth I was addicted to this pinball machine she created the samples, but also for her famous ads sounds. Her current work doesn't impress me, the same for Subotnick, but that's not important. What they all did in the early days is great.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by folpon » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:40 pm

1. To generate/spark a weird idea which I then develop into a song.

2. To add an interesting flavor/texture to a song I'm developing.
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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by Parnelli » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:33 pm

My modular journey has been mostly for myself; it is a bucket list dream I have had since hearing the likes of ELP, the Floyd, and numerous other pioneers of making weird noises into musical works. I have dreamed for decades of having a modular, but so many other things got in the way back then, namely the responsibility of marriage, children, and paying bills.

I make lots of noise, have recorded many clips of what I would call soundscapes rather than music, and enjoy it greatly. Often times when I present my work to others they react a little odd, because it's really very different than anything one would hear in the commercial music marketplace. I'm not offended by this at all, in fact I often think that Picasso may have felt the same way showing his work to others in his day presenting it as "art"; no it isn't many must have thought!

It was radically different, and the world merely needed to catch up with his imagination.

I feel much the same way.

It would be awesome though to make and sell enough recording "soundscapes" to pay this thing off though! :party:

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by StillNotWorking » Sat Feb 15, 2020 5:56 pm

Wife is asking similar question and I'm ususllay telling her "I'm doing consulting work and beta testing for a noise canceling headphone manufacturer." Which makes her smile and I can go on entertain myself currently trying to master analog multi voice harmonies in tune.
ege.gonul wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:41 am
Sex.
Now this got me curious. Are you on eurorack or enjoying those big 1/4" on 5U?
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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by twistedneck » Sun Feb 16, 2020 5:31 am

luchog wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:46 pm
To annoy a buncha people with really awful noises.
i second this luchog

the more awful the better

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by powertran » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:31 pm

To sound like a 1970s sheffield electronics band.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by fruitsnake » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:37 pm

ckwjr wrote:
Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:32 am
This is what modular has done to my brain. I was flying home last night and started listening to the jet engines at takeoff. Rich harmonics. Lovely modulation. Just a great oscillator. Now my goal this weekend is to build an ambient patch as an homage to passenger jet engines. Probably sounds as bad as it sounds like it's going to sound. Maybe worse.
:tu:

this is exactly what i love about modular - hearing sonic phenomena around in the world and then recreating them as playable instruments in my house. probably why my system is mostly oriented around sampling.

my original goal was just to build the ultimate sampler for the style of live-sampling that i was doing in my band at the time (2016-17), but now i have a more holistic system for sound design.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by wuff_miggler » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:47 pm

as an utter beginner who has not even bought his first module...

my goal is to create 2 systems:

1) a stepless/fretless system designed to create a full gamut of timbres/to emulate imaginary acoustic instruments and beyond - with input a doepfer ribbon.

2) to do the same as above - but for percussion - being fed input data by mandala drum module.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by SavageMessiah » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:00 pm

I've been into modular for a little shy of 2 years now. My goal is to have fun learning and patching and making noise that sounds cool. If music comes out of it, cool. If other people like some of it, great! I have no real musical background and I don't have the patience or inclination usually to make polished, complete songs so I just get things to a point where I'm pretty happy, press record, do my thing, and damn the little details. Then I tear the patch down and start from scratch 8-)

I never post my stuff out in the open, as it were, but plenty of people have soundcloud stuff in there sigs so here's a few :mrgreen:

Something generative
http://imayeti.com/music/musical/febuar ... ive_01.mp3
something deliberate
http://imayeti.com/music/musical/needs_a_good_name.mp3
and something nasty
http://imayeti.com/music/drone/liturgy.mp3

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by Carrousel » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:10 pm

It’s been a fluid journey for me really. First I wanted in just because it looked so cool - I wanted to physically patch sounds and voices. Then I rapidly realised it was going to teach me actually how synthesisers work, like in terms of signal flow, or knowing that velocity just involves an extra VCA in the audio path and perhaps some extra filter modulation, stuff like that. After this I became obsessed with wanting to create all sounds in the modular, as if it was a self-contained jam box. Once I realised that was pointlessly prohibitive (for me) I got heavily into generative patching for a while. Now I just use it to add the kind of vibe that only modular can create to my music, along side the rest of my hardware. But along the way it’s grown my understanding of electronic instruments and music in ways I could never have previously imagined.
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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by Pharmgrinder » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:18 pm

My goals were quite varied and they echo a good bit of what others have said here.

I wanted to create an instrument capable of expressive performance. I wanted to use a ribbon controller where the pitch was not quantized so vibrato and pitch variances could be part of the performance. Then I am going to add expression peddles and such.

I also wanted to create a real system capable of making procedural music like I had been making in Vcvrack.

I also wanted to build a synth where I could have three band pass filters in parrallel.

So those all were my semi-rational reasons. I think the realest reason of all was more irrational which is something like I love synthesis so much and it all seemed like so much damn fun.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by moremagic » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:30 am

my goal was to have somethin more portable than my mono/poly sittin on a tableful of mixers & moogerfoogers


and i do 😎

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by hlprmnky » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:50 pm

Every so often I will get a patch to a stopping place after one or two (or more, if I’ve been lucky) hours of conversation with the machine, and I will reflexively reach over and give the case an affectionate pat or even a hug. The emotion I’m feeling is a combination of camaraderie (“look what we just did together!”) and gratitude (“I’m so fortunate to have this machine that can do these things!”).
That experience, both the cathartic moment of satisfaction at the end of a conversation, and the hours of exploration which create it, is my goal.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by RTG » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:21 pm

Make tunes and generally have a nice time.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by The Grump » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:15 am

Personally, I got into modular gear for the sound quality and the way that signals interact in the hardware realm. There are some things that happen in modular synths that don't seem to happen anywhere else. I don't have a lot of modular stuff, and I'm not really trying to build some giant wankerific wall of modules, just a powerful, flexible, great sounding source that I can sample and use in my compositions, and sound design projects, and occasionally jam out on, if the mood strikes. I don't view modular synthesis as some be all end all, it's just another tool for creating sounds, and my goal is just to get the sounds in my head as closely approximated as possible, as well as occasionally serendipitously stumbling upon fun sounds I hadn't originally had in mind, but can enjoy listening to and playing with.

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by mqmq » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:10 am

Discover happy accidents and experiment with different thinking :ghost:

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by pfeuh » Tue Feb 25, 2020 6:35 am

As I can't do what I want with a model D or a MS-20, I come to modular. Great synths both, but they haven't things like delayed vibrato on D, sinus wave for VCO and LFO, separates CV/gates, enough ADSR, VCA, patches etc...

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Re: What are your goals when it comes to modular synthesis?

Post by chachi » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:42 pm

i would like to get the modular to a more immediate state. when working on a song, i can walk up to the minilogue and, partly because of the presets, be at a useable sound in very short order. i will not have presets on the modular obviously, but i did FINALLY buy a midi->cv so i’m hoping that helps. to be able to strike notes from a controller seems at least like the first step. i feel like i can patch up a mono voice very quickly and get where i want successfully but driving it from sequencers is a little lacking for more melodic work. i want to have more connection between hand and brain.

this seems like kind of a “duh” post...but it’s my current goal...

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