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Anyone using the Buchla 200e?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Anyone using the Buchla 200e?
Roycie Roller
Hell-0 All,
just wondering if anyone's got a 200e or any of the modules? If so, what's your experience with them? The Multi-Dimensional Kinisthetic Input Port & Control Plate looks like a fantastic controller for modules....
Muff Wiggler
goddamn, i wish.

I was offered a few months ago to swap my entire modular rig for a well-appointed 200e setup, after a small bit of agonizing I declined.

I would really like one, and perhaps one day I may look into it. If they are still available in 5-10 years, at that point I can imagine owning one.

Until then, there are more important things i need to put ahead of it on the acquisition list. Not least a new house. Literally, I'll upgrade my house before I'll buy a 200e. But like I said, if they are still available in 10 years...yeah...
Roycie Roller
I think you made the right decision (from what i've seen of your synth). The Buchla would be a new way of working & have a different sound to your setup but i reckon yours would have greater functionality. Did you get a go on the one you were offered? If so, did it have the control plate? How was it's sound?
I kind of like it coz it's this small, light, swiss -army knife synth that could just about do any sound you could think of (except raw analogue). There was a fair amount of flak over the alaising of the original 259e oscillator but apparently that was resolved in the 261e. I personally love those kinds of flaws. I'm seriously considering at least a few of the modules. Even a lone Complex Waveform Generator would add a lot of flavour to any setup, albiet expensive.
Hopefully the 200e's of today dont become like the 200's and 100's of the past. I'd love to find out Govenor Blacksnake's vision is of what a 'complete' Harvestman will be!
Muff Wiggler
i didn't get to use it - it was in Toronto, and was only about 6 months old. I'm with you on the ailasing oscillators - so easy to find analogue ones that don't, take 'em as something special 8)

yeah there's a thread somewhere about the decision.... basically it came down to a lot of that stuff - very new way of working, would set me back for a while from (what little) i've learned so far... and i do think that, which it is different functionality, I think there's quite a bit more in my rig. Also I've spent close to three years getting a specific set of modules for some specific purposes, that i've been planning and working towards.....seems crazy to trade it all in on the cusp of reaching those goals.

I sit tight knowing I made the right decision....still, it's so fun to dream, and you don't get much dreamier than 200e... love
Roycie Roller
Don is a genius beyond words, no doubt. The ultimate dreamer! How he 'dreamt up' that stuff in the 60's i don't know. But anyways. Did you know they offer a powered box so you could have just 2 modules? I guess then there's whole banana thing to think about. What was your goal in building your synth? Also, if i remember correctly, do you have a Wiard controller (the one with the voltmeter)? If so, how's that as a controller vs. a black & white keyboard?
Muff Wiggler
Roycie Roller wrote:
Did you know they offer a powered box so you could have just 2 modules?

i didn't! hmm, that's kind of interesting 8) I do have some banana adapters in my synth.... but for what I would pay even for one of the modules to put in it, i could just about buy the empty boat....which I think would be the way to go help

Roycie Roller wrote:
What was your goal in building your synth?

well, not end up divorced or bankrupt, but damn if it doesn't come close sometimes lol

but other than that, basically it was/is a plan for the frac portion of the setup, the euro stuff that i've picked up recently is sort of an afterthought, as suddenly DIRT CHEAP racks showed up, so I grabbed them..

ok, so basically the idea was to create a system based around two of every blacet module (and in some cases, 4 of them, and in two other cases, 6 of them) plus two each of a handful of frac modules from other manufacturers. This was part of the plan, but not the most important part - that structure was dictated by what I was really after - something that could easily be split into two IDENTICAL synths, each one being a comprehensive enough setup to stand alone strongly - capable of three polyphonic voices with limited (but cool) resources for each voice, or to be able to do two voices with quite a few options, or one voice with a TON of options.

And when put together, the enture system would be capable of 6 voice/limited options, 4 voice with excellent options, etc. Options meaning "at least one of every blacet and wiard frac module ever" sorta thing.

anyway, that was sort of the concept that drove everything, and I'm about 6 modules away from finishing that.

Roycie Roller wrote:
Also, if i remember correctly, do you have a Wiard controller (the one with the voltmeter)? If so, how's that as a controller vs. a black & white keyboard?

Yep, I do have one of those. Not the new one with the JAGs in it (but I have a pair of JAGs), but the old one with the voltmeter.

Well, it's not really that advanced of a controller - in fact (other than the voltmeter and the converter jacks), its identical to having two of the old frac Wiard joysticks.

You get two joysticks, each with an X-axis out and a Y-axis out, and each with a gate pushbutton and output jack. The joysticks go from 0-10v DC on each of their axis, and the gate goes from 0 to 10v instantly when you push the button, and back down to zero when you let go.

So, it's doesn't really compare with a keyboard oops You could quantize the output and use it to noodle around in key if you wanted, but you wouldn't have much range as it is a linear voltage. Hmm maybe you could send it through an exponential slew generator? I didn't think of that before!

Anyway as a controller it is basic, I like using those joysticks to 'ride' a filter's cutoff and res, and I like using them with a JAG to fire off random gates or pan a few things around. But I don't really control any of the things I would use a keyboard with using the sticks
Roycie Roller
That sounds like a lot of fun. I never saw the frac jags, did they have the crown-shape axis with multiple outs? As in on the new controller? The new controller looks very powerful and i imagine it makes a 6x300 system even more integrated than a dual x-y. At least, it brings a lot of the patch points under control whereas beforehand, if i remember the old one, there were less that you could assign to.
The touchplate on the Buchla looks even more extreme. That, however, is $2,250. Aside from 2 different sized boats & the 2 module box, you can also get a 4 module or 6 module panel & build a system over time. That way, you could let the house go in the 1st year, hang on to the mrs. for a bit longer, and, when you're ready, upgrade to the full system! (just kidding, lol!)
Muff Wiggler
the new Wiard controller is identical to what you'd have if you bought two of Wiard's frac joysticks, and two of their frac JAGs, like I have here:

those JAGs are crazy super awesome fun
Muff Wiggler
here's the old fashioned 19" controller, with the voltmeter instead of the pair of JAGs...(and the cable conveter patchbays)

Roycie Roller
That's the first time i've seen a frac JAG! Lovely. We need to forget Buchla and head over to the Wiard sub-forum! So whats going on underneath the panel? From what i understand, a regular joystick has x & y outputs. Is there some kind of endless multi-point output potentiometer under the panel?
Muff Wiggler
well, easier to wrap your head around when using one...but...

the joystick has X and Y outs, as you say..

the JAG has X and Y inputs.... which accept any voltage.

So the joystick gives you two voltage sources from two planes of movement

The JAG gives you ten voltage outputs from two planes of movement...

Each LED light on the perimeter is like a point on a circle....if you 'draw' a circle with the joystick, the lights will follow you around the perimeter of the JAG...

so if you put the joystick in the bottom left corner (around 7:30 on a clock), you are lighting up three lights, the middle one (the cornermost one - where the joystick is pointing at - or '2' on the below graphic) is the brightest, the ones on either side of that ('1' and '3' in the below image) are a bit dimmer...

the voltage coming out of the 'bright' LED's jack is highest, the other two are lower, the rest are all off....

so you can make those outputs fire different gates...or control VCAs for surround panning...

OK, so you say there is 8 LEDs around the perimeter.... how do you get 10 outputs? There is two extras, 'dome' and 'edge'. The edge output is at zero when your joystick is right in the middle, and at 10v any time it is at the 'edge' of a circle. Dome is opposite - 10v when the joystick is dead center, trailing off to 0v at the edges.

Now, where it gets really interesting is when you use stuff other than joysticks as the input voltage to the JAG. Waveforms, EGs, etc. I like sending in two Noise Rings, and then I get ten different random outputs.

good stuff like that.

hope this helps!
Muff Wiggler
here's a clearer pic of the frac JAG from Wiard's website...

Muff Wiggler
- the 'dome height' knob basically sets what the maximum voltage of the dome output (joystick dead center, or both input voltages steady at 5v) will be

- the polarity switch inverts the response of the JAG. in one position, the lights on the jag follow your joystick motion. in the other, the opposite lights on the JAG mirror your movements, dome and edge are inverted, etc.

- all voltages 'rise up' and 'trail off' as the joystick/input gets closer and further away from the position. that's why in the example above the '2' output would be high, the '1' and '3' outputs medium, and the rest off....when the joystick is pointing at the 7:30 position.

hope it all makes sense. i had a hard time understading how useful these were 'till i finally got my hands on some

Roycie Roller
Thanks for describing that. Just after my last post i googled the JAG & got it -seems it's from a 'hidden' part of the site that i'd never found before. It sounds extremely fascinating, especially the part of feeding things into it. My mind boggles at what that's capable of. Literally.
yeah thanks muff. makes me want the 311 controller even more.

i hate having to juggle that with the whole frac thing.

i actually wouldn't mind getting em in frac i just don't expect it'll be cheaper as i remember the used frac jags and joysticks being kinda up there. not to mention the coolness of not needing a frac rack to mount the 311.

goddammit very frustrating lol
Roycie Roller wrote:
Don is a genius beyond words, no doubt. The ultimate dreamer! How he 'dreamt up' that stuff in the 60's i don't know.
true, but he couldn't have been much of a socialist - not with those prices eek!

I really like the buchla philosophy of design, and a full 200e is about the sexiest thing out there, total science experiment, but that doesn't take away the elitist foul taste in my mouth...
I have the same reservations about equipment such as the JazzMutant Lemur, and the Haken Continuum, and the Monome project. Good things just shouldn't have to cost that much.
Muff Wiggler
i've also heard that the 200e doesn't have the 'balls' or power of the earlier Buchla systems, with such a wholesale shift to digital. That and the fact that, while there's so much genius behind the designs, there's also a lot of stubbornness in there... i mean $20K for a synthesizer and and you simply CANNOT have a resonant filter or v/Oct tracking, seems kinda obscure for obscurity's sake sometimes.

don't get me wrong, i would hella love one. I do think that even if they were the same price, I would rather have a fully-fleshed out Wiard 300 system.
not to mention how much 20k worth of 300 modules would get you.

I had a spark of Buchla lust recently...and an interesting cure came along last night.

I was patching some stuff and my wife came in to listen. After saying things like "you have 4 of those yellow boxes now" or "that's neat, what's that do" she came to the inevitable question of "how much money do you think you have in all this stuff" - meaning not only synths, but drum machines, guitars, pedals, amps, pres, mics, etc.

I went around the room estimating, all at around used retail value, and it came very close to $20k. And I was a bit surprised by it, but my next immediate thought was...whoa...all of this would be 1 full Buchla.

As cool as I think the buchla is, I couldn't, wouldn't say I'd trade all my music stuff for one!

It reminded me a lot of Muff's big decision from earlier in the year.

The interface and size (and how it folds up!) really appeal to me, as much as the sound...but unless it somehow got about half as cheap, I think it will always be one of those cool things to have, if I had won the lottery or something.
i don't think i've amassed even close to 20k... yet

but i'm sure it'll happen. i keep debating whether i should tally up the value or enjoy my peaceful ignorance.

i'm insured up to 50k so i think i'm good for now. i have receipts for everything, new and used. and of course pictures of it all. my only fear is moving as my insurance only covers 10% when away from home.
what insurance do you use?
Bricks wrote:
what insurance do you use?

farmer's. it's car and renters under one umbrella. it's cool enough for my needs but i'm sure i'll up it when the time is right.

i'm probably mostly happy cuz we have a cheap car and high deductable which equals low insurance. renters is usually cheap no matter where you go but fortunately our policy doesn't have nearly as many loopholes as our old renters did. plus you get a minor discount for combining the two.

That's how I roll. smile
I'm insured through my union. Cheapest system around, and cheap as chips. I guess that's a danish thing only, though.
tragedybysyntax wrote:

That's how I roll. smile

8) i'll peep game on that later.
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