First Serge module

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NightGoat
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First Serge module

Post by NightGoat » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:13 am

Hi,
I'm very tempted to dip my toe in the Serge pool and was hoping to get some guidance on where to start.
I currently have 9U of eurorack with a few of the usual suspects in there like Maths, Clouds, Braids and some Metasonix too etc. I think I'll stay in the euro format for now, but eventually I want to go 4U, I would like to get some immediate use from the first module I build and I don't really feel ready for full on bestia build just yet.
So, advice and recommendations please on 2 or 3 serge modules that will really sing together be it 3U or 4U.

I should mention that I'm liking a lot of lyra 8 type dronieness at the moment and I'm enjoying not using regular sequencers to sequence.

Thanks.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by mritenburg » Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:49 am

The DUSG MK II in euro format is a good starting place. It’s an eg, it’s a clock, it’s an oscillator, it’s a slew processor, it’s a subharmonic generator, etc, etc, etc. There is some overlap with Maths, but the DUSG is it’s own beast.
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Re: First Serge module

Post by Claude » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:10 pm

I started with the Random Source VCM, just finished the VCFQ, and look forward to building the ResEQ (have the PCB+panel). Super into it. Probably will go SSG eventually, which could lead me to the DUSG, which I believe deserves it's reputation.
In any case, for myself, no regrets with these choices, particularly as my system lacked dedicated wavefolders or filter when I bought the PCB+panel sets. Thus far, it's all so good! If I had money to burn I would buy R*S 4U in a heartbeat, but for my purposes the euro integration is important.
You might well be in love no matter what you choose!

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Re: First Serge module

Post by luchog » Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:49 pm

mritenburg wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:49 am
The DUSG MK II in euro format is a good starting place. It’s an eg, it’s a clock, it’s an oscillator, it’s a slew processor, it’s a subharmonic generator, etc, etc, etc. There is some overlap with Maths, but the DUSG is it’s own beast.
Seconded. The Random*Source DUSG Mk II, either Euro or 4U, is the quintessential Serge module. It's superior to Maths where their functions overlap. An extremely flexible and powerful module. There are many variations of the DUSG by many manufacturers, but you just can't beat the original.

A close second would be the Smooth and Stepped Generator. These two modules -- DUSG and SSG -- best embody the Serge patch-programming philosophy, what makes Serge distinct from other modular designs of its time.

For a third and fourth module, I'd say go with the ResEQ resonant equalizer, and either the VCFQ variable resonance filter or the Wave Multiplier.

If you're going 4U, then you can't beat the R*S Carnivore 4x4 panel -- SSG/Noise/DTG (DTG is a simplified version of the DUSG). Very flexible and powerful set of functions. The Wave Multiplier/ResEQ 4x4 panel is also a great second choice. If you can shell out the bucks, the La Bestia II is a great "starter Serge" shop panel, at a much better price point than STS.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by Corrupt » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:01 pm

luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:49 pm
It's superior to Maths where their functions overlap.
DUSG user and fan here but very curious how you would justify this statement (besides efficacy in the audio range).

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Re: First Serge module

Post by luchog » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:09 pm

Corrupt wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:01 pm
luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:49 pm
It's superior to Maths where their functions overlap.
DUSG user and fan here but very curious how you would justify this statement (besides efficacy in the audio range).
Audio range response, oscillator stability (the R*S version has temperature compensation), and waveshaping capability.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by Corrupt » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:22 pm

Thanks – the first two make sense to me, but how does the waveshaping capability rank as better? Was just watching an old Make Noise YouTube video about complex env shaping using Maths and it would appear the mixer and CV "constant" channels would allow things you simply can't manage without other utilities in the case of the DUSG. Curious to know what you had in mind.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by cygmu » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:07 pm

The DUSG is the quintessential Serge module of course, but I think if you already have Maths and are not moving to a banana setup you wouldn't feel like you'd entered a brave new world.

The Smooth and Stepped Generator is along similar lines but different enough and benefits from a good bit of patch programming so that is a nice Serge-y addition. I'd recommend that and the Wave Multiplier which just makes beautiful sounds.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by lud » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:34 pm

+1 on the SSG if you've already got Maths or perhaps VCFQ if you haven't got a good pinging filter. If they really click I'd recommend considering 4u sooner rather than later!

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Re: First Serge module

Post by NightGoat » Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:41 pm

Thanks for all the detailed descriptions so far. Serge modules are not always obvious to fathom so it's a big help.
The dusg does seem to have some overlap with maths so id probably avoid at first if I'm staying in euroland.
On the other hand, if I jump to 4u then the carnivore looks really interesting. As does the tws/res-eq.
I'm assuming that you can get similar results.to the carnivore by building the individual modules too. Am I correct in thinking that rs are modernising and updating serge designs (in a good way)?
What about elby? Do people use their pcbs with loudest warning panels? Are they a slightly different format but compatible?

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Re: First Serge module

Post by luchog » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:44 pm

NightGoat wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:41 pm
Thanks for all the detailed descriptions so far. Serge modules are not always obvious to fathom so it's a big help.
The dusg does seem to have some overlap with maths so id probably avoid at first if I'm staying in euroland.
On the other hand, if I jump to 4u then the carnivore looks really interesting. As does the tws/res-eq.
I'm assuming that you can get similar results.to the carnivore by building the individual modules too. Am I correct in thinking that rs are modernising and updating serge designs (in a good way)?
What about elby? Do people use their pcbs with loudest warning panels? Are they a slightly different format but compatible?
You'll definitely get more from the modules in 4U if you have the DUSG MkII XL as a separate panel from the SSG+Noise panel, but the Carnivore is great if you're trying to save on space.

Elby Designs and Loudest Warning are mostly the same circuits, although older versions, as the R*S versions have been getting modernized with assistance from Serge himself. Elby stuff will fit into the Euro world as well as the R*S EuroSerge; but Loudest Warning uses its own panel format, which is not compatible with the STS/R*S format, so you'll need separate a separate rack for LW.

If you want to dig into the really classic paperface-era Serge stuff, there's also Zthee's 73-75.com panels, but that's a whole different world, and doesn't use the 1v/oct standard like the newer Serge stuff does.
Corrupt wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:22 pm
Thanks – the first two make sense to me, but how does the waveshaping capability rank as better? Was just watching an old Make Noise YouTube video about complex env shaping using Maths and it would appear the mixer and CV "constant" channels would allow things you simply can't manage without other utilities in the case of the DUSG. Curious to know what you had in mind.
Not going to derail this thread hashing out all the differences. If you really want to know all the little quirks and tricks, check out Learning Modular's Random*Source DUSG tutorial vids on Youtube.
Last edited by luchog on Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by luchog » Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:47 pm

dupe

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Re: First Serge module

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:10 am

luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:44 pm
Elby Designs and Loudest Warning are mostly the same circuits, although older versions, as the R*S versions have been getting modernized with assistance from Serge himself.
I use the CGS / Elby boards - it's worth noting that Serge is also working with Elby to improve the DIY offerings; the new Stereo Mixer (MCSM), NCOM, Quantizer, Preamp, Extended ADSR, VCFQ etc are all updated versions with Serge's direct input. The MCSM is the best version of the Serge VCA / mixer I have used or heard.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by NightGoat » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:35 am

luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 9:44 pm


If you want to dig into the really classic paperface-era Serge stuff, there's also Zthee's 73-75.com panels, but that's a whole different world, and doesn't use the 1v/oct standard like the newer Serge stuff does.

I had a look at the HomeBuilt panels. Seems a very reasonable price for both panel/pcb's ($350) . Unfortunately out of stock at the moment. If the 73-75 panels are not using 1v/oct are they using 1hz/v instead?

The Elby modules also look really interesting too. Has anyone here built a BOG? What sort of skill level is needed for something like that?

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Re: First Serge module

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:48 am

NightGoat wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:35 am
...Has anyone here built a BOG? What sort of skill level is needed for something like that?
Lots of info in the DIY section, including a 45 page build thread :eek:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... &hilit=bog

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Re: First Serge module

Post by NightGoat » Thu Mar 12, 2020 11:58 am

the bad producer wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:48 am
NightGoat wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 10:35 am
...Has anyone here built a BOG? What sort of skill level is needed for something like that?
Lots of info in the DIY section, including a 45 page build thread :eek:

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewt ... &hilit=bog
Holy Shit! :omg:
Complete U-Turn on that then..

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Re: First Serge module

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:07 pm

haha, it's not that bad, it was one of the first (if not the first) DIY panels, so a lot of people were finding their feet with it!

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Re: First Serge module

Post by FatRocky » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:26 pm

sell all euro and build a 4u panel like LW SingBB or the MAntra

i was thinking same way as you about keeping the euro enviorment, and guys in this forum suggested to save me time and go all 4u. I didn´t want that at first, but after trying the banana 4u stuff everything changed, Now im only interested in 4u.

Anyway you can have Clouds and Metasonix in 4u,,, and who needs Maths if have all sorts of DUSGs


:tu:
Last edited by FatRocky on Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by gnome666 » Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:06 pm

also not to derail, but +1 for Learning Modular's DUSG videos. Should be essential viewing for anyone interested in modular of anykind, but especially serge....


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Re: First Serge module

Post by MindMachine » Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:30 pm

Advice depends on your complete set-up. Plus this query is in the Serge section but noting Euro stuff.

Get a DUSG, VCM and... QUO or...
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Re: First Serge module

Post by NightGoat » Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:36 pm

Here's my set up
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/451984

And yes, I have only Euro but will probably buy any new serge in 4u so it makes sense to post here right..
As you can see from my rig, I have a serious lack of filters. If I'm going to start slow, I'll go for something like the VCFQ or RES-EQ and try to integrate into my euro. However, I keep coming back to the BOG but I only have a handful of diy projects under my belt so I'm a bit wary of taking on such a big project. All of my builds have worked fine so I've had no experience of fault finding. When building the BOG, can you test and use each PCB as you complete them or do you have to finish the whole panel?


I think this guys stuff is great..

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Re: First Serge module

Post by syncretism » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:03 pm

luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:09 pm
Corrupt wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:01 pm
luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:49 pm
It's superior to Maths where their functions overlap.
DUSG user and fan here but very curious how you would justify this statement (besides efficacy in the audio range).
Audio range response, oscillator stability (the R*S version has temperature compensation), and waveshaping capability.
Random*Source's current-generation "Mk2" slope generators boast temperature compensation; others, as far as I know, do not. DUSG has a v/o input, while the Maths doesn't. I don't know what you mean by "waveshaping capability." The Maths has buttons to enable cycling and also gate/trigger (or maybe just a comparator for any positive-going voltage) to enable cycling; you don't get these in any DUSG without mods or a logic panel. You need to patch the DUSG for log/expo response and, without a mixer, that's about the only control voltage you'll be able to apply (you can stack inputs, but shouldn't); it's built into the Maths with a potentiometer and still leaves attenuated CV inputs for rise, fall and both. The DUSG XL has some nice extra features, but then we're creeping beyond the straightforward slope generation and slew limiting functions.

I don't endorse the Carnivore/Slopes unless you need an oscillator that doesn't compare in performance to an actual VCO. The left side is always oscillating and its end of cycle output doesn't actually gate any other modules. It does have a v/o-scaled input. That's okay for an audio source, but not very "Serge," IMO. I don't miss that, and am much happier with two (modded) DTGs.

[edit: ONE modded DTG. Two transient generators. Am I the only person who keeps committing this malapropism? :lol: ]
Last edited by syncretism on Mon Mar 16, 2020 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by syncretism » Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:05 pm

FatRocky wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:26 pm
Anyway you can have Clouds and Metasonix in 4u,,, and who needs Maths if have all sorts of DUSGs
I'd totally take at least one Maths in 4u; it's a really smartly-edited selection of features and capabilities.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by luchog » Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:26 am

syncretism wrote:
Sun Mar 15, 2020 11:03 pm
luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:09 pm
Corrupt wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:01 pm
luchog wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:49 pm
It's superior to Maths where their functions overlap.
DUSG user and fan here but very curious how you would justify this statement (besides efficacy in the audio range).
Audio range response, oscillator stability (the R*S version has temperature compensation), and waveshaping capability.
Random*Source's current-generation "Mk2" slope generators boast temperature compensation; others, as far as I know, do not. DUSG has a v/o input, while the Maths doesn't. I don't know what you mean by "waveshaping capability."
Watch the tutorial video series mentioned earlier.
The Maths has buttons to enable cycling and also gate/trigger (or maybe just a comparator for any positive-going voltage) to enable cycling; you don't get these in any DUSG without mods or a logic panel.
Cycling in the DUSG is done by simply patching the End out to the Trigger in. No switch needed. That's all part of the DUSG's patch programmability.
You need to patch the DUSG for log/expo response and, without a mixer, that's about the only control voltage you'll be able to apply (you can stack inputs, but shouldn't); it's built into the Maths with a potentiometer and still leaves attenuated CV inputs for rise, fall and both. The DUSG XL has some nice extra features, but then we're creeping beyond the straightforward slope generation and slew limiting functions.
Again, not entirely true. Go watch the tutorials. And stacking inputs is very much a part of the Serge patch-programming process. That's why stacking banana cables or their Eurorack equivalent (TipTop and Modular Addict stacking patch cables) are an essential tool in patching Serge systems.

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Re: First Serge module

Post by syncretism » Mon Mar 16, 2020 9:40 am

luchog wrote:
Mon Mar 16, 2020 8:26 am
Random*Source's current-generation "Mk2" slope generators boast temperature compensation; others, as far as I know, do not. DUSG has a v/o input, while the Maths doesn't. I don't know what you mean by "waveshaping capability."
The onus is on you to back up your assertions, not to direct us to YouTube videos. ;)
syncretism wrote:The Maths has buttons to enable cycling and also gate/trigger (or maybe just a comparator for any positive-going voltage) to enable cycling; you don't get these in any DUSG without mods or a logic panel.
luchog wrote: Cycling in the DUSG is done by simply patching the End out to the Trigger in. No switch needed. That's all part of the DUSG's patch programmability.
This refers to toggling cycling both programmatically using a cycle input like that in Maths or with the aid of a logic panel (or a simple switch), not patching gate out to trig in to turn the DUSG into an oscillating source. Sorry I didn't write that more clearly.

So, more explicitly, where features overlap, the Maths, out of the box, gives you significantly more control over the oscillation behaviors of its slopes than the DUSG does. Before I got the modded DTG in my LW panel, I had to use boolean logic or a switch to get the same functionality with my Serge modules. [edit: I still do; I only have one of those hot-rodded DTGs.]

syncretism wrote:You need to patch the DUSG for log/expo response and, without a mixer, that's about the only control voltage you'll be able to apply (you can stack inputs, but shouldn't); it's built into the Maths with a potentiometer and still leaves attenuated CV inputs for rise, fall and both. The DUSG XL has some nice extra features, but then we're creeping beyond the straightforward slope generation and slew limiting functions.
luchog wrote: Again, not entirely true. Go watch the tutorials. And stacking inputs is very much a part of the Serge patch-programming process. That's why stacking banana cables or their Eurorack equivalent (TipTop and Modular Addict stacking patch cables) are an essential tool in patching Serge systems.
Bananas are for stacking outputs, obviating the need for multiples, not for stacking inputs. In my experience since first encountering Serge panels in friends' studios, admonishing newbies not to patch outputs to outputs (which is half of the problem with patching as you have described) is a core component of the experience. 101, even.

Most manufacturers of banana-jacked modules will tell you that passive mixing by stacking inputs is safe up to point, but that the system may behave unexpectedly, which makes sense, since you're potentially feeding voltages back to other modules' outputs. And that's of special concern if you're working with a mix of differently-specified banana formats, where you may have two or three 10v p-p envelopes modulating an input that was designed for 0-5v and might not have any additional protections against higher voltages in place:
Kilpatrick Phenol Manual wrote: https://www.kilpatrickaudio.com/?p=phenol-manual#basics
When patching, there are no limitations on where you can patch signals within PHENOL. It is permissible to stack 2-3 outputs together max. This will create a passive mixing function which is acceptable. Do not put more than 3 outputs together, and never patch the MIDI to CV converter PITCH OUT or MOD OUT together with any other output. If you need to mix these signals with another output signal use the ADDER section to mix them together properly.
BugBrand SynthVoice Manual wrote: http://bugbrand.co.uk/docs/SynthVoice_Instructions.pdf
As previously mentioned, signals are generally output at full 10V p-to-p amplitude allowing them to be split to more than one different destination, with the possibility of different attenuation settings at each destination. Banana cables allow quick and easy stacking of connections with the proviso:

You can split one signal to several different destinations
Eg: The output of a VCO could be patched both to the Main Path input of a VCF and also to the Frequency Modulation CV input

but

You cannot combine more than one signal into one input
Eg: Two VCO outputs should not be combined by 'mixing' at the VCF's main path input – use a mixer (eg. DC Mixer in Dual Mixing module)

Saying that, all outputs feature a universal output impedance (470 ohms) and built in short-circuit protection – so 'passive' / 'stack' mixing can be experimented with, it just won't give 'proper results.
Serge "Wizardry" wrote: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us
Eventually you want to have some way of combining triggers together. That's what the Boolean Logic module is for, (mostly). It would be nice if you could simply pile a set of trigger outputs on one input (I think the Buchlas could do this), but the electronics don't work that way; you can drive any number of inputs from one output, but don't drive one input from multiple outputs.

I'll take manufacturers' manuals and established documentation over YouTube tutorials any day.

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