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What is the stranger of the 2,Serge Vs Buchla
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author What is the stranger of the 2,Serge Vs Buchla
Having owned a Serge and a Buchla 200e I am starting to think that the Serge is more alien/ strange than the Buchla.

I find the Buchla 200e more straight forward, but that could be that there are now so many Buchla imitation modules in euro format and I have owned a few that when I did get the 200e it didnt really phase me, well except for the 250 which I need to spend more time on.

I found reading up about the Buchla, before I bought it , the reading seemed to make it out to be more complex than it is.

Does it just come down to the complete banana system of the Serge that makes it more alien?

Love to hear your thoughts I do love the 200e :-)
I honestly find them both about the same.
Sorry I can't add a lot to your interesting topic.

Caveat: I'm mostly using 100/200 style modules and only a couple from the 200e.
governor blacksnake
out to lunch
governor blacksnake wrote:
out to lunch

Well Hurry up and get home to finish up those Pistons and Donuts we're waiting for!! angry

Serge was informed by Buchla and then to some lesser degree Moog. There is no real Moog influence on Buchla though they all drew on some earlier electronic sound circuits to include

I could see how an early Serge with just symbols could be strange and alien just because it's unmarked
Dont get me wrong I love both and would own both if I could/.
i kinda feel that anything into anything as serge allows and the need for external grounding makes it slightly more alien than buchla. other than the depth within each module it's set up very logical and straight forward, where serge seems much more open to non linear approaches.
Using the 222e rings/surface in conjonction with the 210e for versatile results, switching between stored presets would probably alter your perspective since the deeply researched interface is probably the major quality of the buchla systems. It must totally open the system. But this requires a lot of previous programming before take off.
I've been really lusting for a 700 for this kind of versatility/hardware supercolliderness but the 200e seems a much much more rational investment, being made now and probably reliable for some more time. The complex envelopes of the 700 are still very appealing though.

The atomic building blocks serge experience is part of the appeal for this other system. Like someone else said you have at your disposal the 99% uninteresting patches and the 1% gold, your job is to dig. The serge has no screen menus and only one cable format so it may be a bit more spontaneous approach.

Very interesting thread.
bradleyallen wrote:
Welcome to the website of Buchla & Associates
designers of unusual electro-acoustic instrumentation for electronic music

(unusual being kind of like a soft/timid/Berkeley way of saying strange)


You call up a guy who used to be based in Oakland, but who now lives in the middle of nowhere, and have a series of conversations that last for hours about building a modular music system for your needs.

I'm not sure one way is stranger or weirder or more alien than the other, and it's certainly not a competition. I think it's much more of a personality thing. And then of course there's the way these instruments are designed and the various way they can be played. The Serge is more bananarific, but it's not like other types of patch cables are any less strange, especially a combination thereof.

Again, no clear winner... unless you happen to own both. This is fun!

I can see that you've come at this from a buying experience POV; from what I can tell, Amnesia has made the post in light of the user interface the respective systems present to the user and if so, then this thread has less to do with Rex and alot more to do with Serge Tcherepnin, who, as I understand it, laid down the blueprint.
Reality Checkpoint
Having only come from a Eurorack system before owning my Serge, and never even having seen a Buchla module (or let alone a system) in the flesh, I find it very strange whereby anything can go into anything with my Serge.

The results are often fascinating and sometimes too weird for me to comprehend why it is doing what it is. I am very new to Serge (December 2009) and I am still learning, and continue to pore over the Gold book for more understanding. I have found that to experiment is to love it, and not go in with any pre-formed ideas. Is this the same with Buchla? Does anything go into anything? I really do not know, but I have an inkling it might not be. However, I could be wrong, as I usually am.

I am just enjoying what I get from my Serge, and would not want to upset the Buchla-ists out there as I have no experience of their systems. It is only my 2 cents.
Well for a start audio and CV are kept apart. In 2004 when I read the B&A entry in Peter Forrest's A-Z book, I found it fascinating when he wrote (about this audio and CV issue) that while some people felt this to be limiting, Buchla experts say it can in fact be uniquely powerful in practice.
I guess this shouldn't be about the respective difficulty in getting to grips with modules, or workflow.
I find both Serge and Buchla fairly straightforward when it comes to simple patches. Beyond obvious synthesis, both offer wide exploration and the ability to work up extremely convoluted and complex patches.
I own both.
I'm not particularly into super complex sounds or patches, but I find both Buchla and Serge more fun and open ended than the majority of modular systems. Equally so.
i don't think it's the bananas... most modulars use just one type of connector for audio & CV, and most systems have consistent audio/cv levels specifically so you can technically cross-purpose audio signals as CVs. Buchla is actually the exception in this regard...

the thing that sets serge apart, i think, are the configurable CV generators: Slope, Transient, and Smooth/Stepped generators. they're amazingly versatile (oscillator, slew, AR envelope, S/H etc), at the cost of needing to be patch-programmed. in that sense, they're conceptually very different from just about everything else, and take quite a bit of getting used to, in my experience. pretty much everything else, from both mfrs, falls fairly neatly into traditional conceptual buckets of oscillators, noise sources, modifiers, CVs etc... lovely and unique oscillators, but still...

bradleyallen wrote:

You call up a guy who used to be based in Oakland, but who now lives in the middle of nowhere

Because your not cool unless you live in San Fran? f u
infinite7 wrote:
i kinda feel that anything into anything as serge allows and the need for external grounding makes it slightly more alien than buchla. other than the depth within each module it's set up very logical and straight forward, where serge seems much more open to non linear approaches.

I agree with infinite7. Looking at a Buchla module, I understand the logic behind the UI. When I first used a Serge panel (which lacked a proper oscillator), I had to rely on an oscilloscope to understand what I was doing within the DSG and SSG. I like both approaches, but if one is more "alien" than the other, the Serge seems to have more of a learning curve to me. Others have said the opposite, of course.

If you mean most alien in terms of little sounds little green men might of made, you do tend to hear more of that from Serge recordings, though I expect both could manage to help E.T. phone home.

3. BugBrand

For what it's worth, when I think of bizarre, the image conjured up in my mind is always EMS VCS3 or synthi A/KS related. I suppose all of these instruments are of the same ilk.

I love your serge videos, they are some of the weirdest sounding (although with the fewest cables used) on youtube!! 8_)

my faves are the :


The Serge takes Buchla and brings all of the innards out to the front panel. You program your own modules and module functions, where on the Buchla with the exception of the sequencer and 281 envelopes, you work with brilliantly thought-out macro modules (the 266 innards require several "modules" worth of functionality to produce a single output such as the slow random). The 281 etc. allow for several functions and even more when combined with other modules.

Just buy the one you can't stop thinking about smile
What if you can't stop thinking about both? help

srsly though I think that Serge is the stranger of the two for all the reasons mentioned above but also if you factor in the story behind it's origins as an underground student project at Cal Arts the overpowering strangeness of the Rex Probe experience and the kinds of sounds you hear them make, Serge sounds a lot more alien and complex then Buchla. Perhaps that's the learning curve people have mentioned here patch programmabillity is a genius idea and I wish it was everywhere but if it was I'd probably be even more clueless.

honestly I'm split I love them both Buchla I love practically because I have one Serge I love conceptually and because I probably won't ever own one.
ex_dead_teenager wrote:
What if you can't stop thinking about both?

Would that be a problem?

only if you can only afford one of them lol
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