Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

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mxb
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Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by mxb » Wed Oct 14, 2020 5:25 am

Hi all,

I'm contemplating getting into modular synthesis and I'm looking for advice regarding my first purchase.

For background I already have a keyboard synth (SY77), a rompler (Proteus series), a sampler (MPC), mixer and general outboard. I have both an iPad and laptop I can also use. I've used VCVrack on iPad which is what me off down this route.

I am currently looking at two options. I don't have the highest budget or space which is why I have narrowed it down to these two.

Option 1 - Volca Modular. Seems like a decent amount of modular for the money. Sounds reasonably good. The sequencer looks excellent for the money. Could integrate with Eurorack later via the CV convertor built into it. However, seems less expandable than option 2.

Option 2 - crea8audio NiftyBundle. Straight into Eurorack with room for expansion. Basic sequencer and vco modules included. USB/MIDI to CV conversation included. Seems excellent value for money on paper. However, to get similar sequencer to option 1 would probably need external sequencer via midi.

Has anyone had any experience with both of these and can provide advice?

Many thanks

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Sonic0boom
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by Sonic0boom » Wed Oct 14, 2020 11:17 am

Option 3 - Do you have the budget to get one of the bigger low cost cases used (e.g. Make Noise skiff or Tiptop mantis, etc) and then get a few modules with it? This is how i started, and i'm glad i did. More cost up front but it meant that i didn't spend $$ on stuff i just replaced a short while later. Consider other NiftyBundle owners also trying to sell off the included modules, which can make it difficult to sell yours unless you can off them for a good price.

Option 4 - get a semi-modular system like a Mother 32, etc.

It's never easy :) Both your options are good but just consider the capacity for growth and if you'd rather apply that cash up front for something better or bigger.

plytheman
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by plytheman » Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:04 am

I'd probably echo the above and say get a semi modular. Mother-32, 0-Coast, and Lifeforms would all be great but there are plenty of others out there. I've only played with the 0-Coast myself but I've had it for years and still love it. If you want to go straight into Euro then definitely check out the NiftyCase. 84 HP can fill up fast, so buying a bigger case may be prudent up front, but I do like that the Nifty comes with power and MIDI built in. (And, in my own situation, I prefer sticking to 84HP to keep it more focused, but that's my own bent) Most people do eventually sell off Cellz and Chipz, and I'm in the process of switching them out after a year of playing with them, but if you've got nothing else I think they're worth it for the extra $100 in the bundle. Be warned, though, that Chipz is pretty loud so you'll want a VCA at the least to attenuate it. There are ADSR/VCA combos out there to kill two birds with one stone, or maybe a Low Pass Gate?

Point of all that musing is to say that if money is tight looking into a semi might be better. For ~$500 you get a full voice with well thought out features. If you get a NiftyBundle (or other Euro startings) you'll need to take more time and money to get the same functionality as what you could have in a semi. I've got no experience with the Volca Modular so I can't offer anything on that!

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kinkycables
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by kinkycables » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:05 am

Neutron

konjurer
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by konjurer » Sun Oct 18, 2020 3:52 pm

I started with the Nifty bundle but replaced it shortly afterwards. If you go with the Nifty, just get the empty case. The modules that come with it are crap. Otherwise it’s a good deal on a starter case. I just outgrew the Nifty case very quickly. I upgraded to the Tip-top Mantis.

The Volca Modular looks cool for the money but you are not really getting an expandable modular synth so you’d probably be much better getting a Neutron.

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Flounderguts
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by Flounderguts » Sun Oct 18, 2020 11:03 pm

If you're leaning toward modular, maybe try an Erica Pico System III.

I think it's the best standalone that actually *is* modular, and it will show you just how much you can do with the so-called "utility" modules.
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stepvhen
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by stepvhen » Sun Nov 22, 2020 4:57 pm

The Volca modular is weird. Its priced like an entry synth, but its designed for somebody who knows what they are doing. I've found some good use for it as a pretty complex noisebox, but the rest of it, as its "supposed" to be used, is weird and difficult. I haven't been able to find a multi-dimensional musical sound out of it. The lack of a filter is frustrating, and the eurorack compatibility is input only, and not that exciting in the end.

I'd suggest going with whatever you know can be expanded. If you want to get into modular, you probably want variety, and expansion possibilities, and I don't think you get either with the volca.

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Flounderguts
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by Flounderguts » Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:52 pm

Erica Pico System 3. It IS modular, in one package. If you decide to go for a skiff later, you can pop it in.
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oliodnb
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Re: Getting started - Volca Vs NiftyBundle

Post by oliodnb » Mon Nov 23, 2020 5:14 am

I've had the Volca Modular and I wouldn't recommend it unless you have no idea what modular synths are about and you just want to get a taste of it. As you already have some experience with VCV I completely agree with Sonic0boom's post above.

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