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Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... 17, 18, 19, 20  Next [all]
Author Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???
i don't have a planar, but planar and cold mac look like a killer combination >wink
Starthief I'm just about to pull the trigger on the Supercell. Eager to hear your thoughts when you receive yours and have spent some time with it.
cold mac and planar are both great modules but kind of overkill if you're mainly looking to crossfade. having owned both I would lean planar2.

if you're not averse to high jack density like the cold mac presents, you might also consider the WMD TBVCA. email WMD requesting to buy one modded so that each of the three channels can crossfade between its two inputs. I don't see too many vcas left in that system so it could lend a hand more generally (you can choose to use each channel on the TBVCA as a crossfader, a DC-coupled ringmod, a regular VCA, or as an attenuversion + offset job). and in the cases of its use as a crossfader or bipolar vca, you have both the fade or level offset available on each channel as well as CV attenuversion.
It's true I'm light on VCAs now. I've got a couple of 0HP options in a pinch, when I remember them.

One of the nice things Cold Mac can do is cross-panning (move left input to the right and right input to the left simultaneously). The way I tend to use stereo, that seems more useful to me than regular panning of a single signal.

I don't think Planar can do that without another pair of unity mixers. I believe WMD Multimode VCA can. Or Blinds, though it requires several stacking cables and all four VCA channels.
cackland wrote:
Starthief I'm just about to pull the trigger on the Supercell. Eager to hear your thoughts when you receive yours and have spent some time with it.

Based on about 2.5 hours of messing with it: wow! we're not worthy

First quick patch, trying to do something kind of anti-stereotypical for Clouds since I tend to do the same for Rings:


People have been praising Clouds for years, and Parasite too, and probably Kammerl's firmware though I never paid any attention to it before. They're right razz

I have a lot to learn about using the Granular mode, plus the other 7. (Beat repeat probably won't get used very much, but I can see some potential for it even with my sort of music.)

In terms of Supercell specifically:

The VU meters don't necessarily redline at the same point where clipping happens. Maybe there's a way to calibrate that? They're still kind of useful.

I definitely appreciate having separate controls and attenuverters for everything, and an output level control. It's worth the space IMHO, and I'm glad I chose it over the other options.

Time will tell if the Aux input proves useful, but the normalled random is kind of cool. When I updated the firmware to the latest, it was disabled by default.

Switching quality or firmware modes is very easy. Probably the save/load stuff is too, but I don't have a use for that yet.

What wasn't so awesome was skimming FIVE manuals to gather the relevant information -- Supercell, Clouds main manual, Clouds alt firmware, Parasites, and Kammerl -- and translating between the various names of things, or images of knob positions on the original module. E.g. Texture is Shapes, "the 3rd blend parameter" is the Feedback knob, etc.

Of course if I just looked at the granular mode first until I got to know it well, like a normal person, that might have seemed like less of a hassle hihi But anyway, I made a basic text file cheat sheet.
Shit!!! Over the edge I go... maybe it was inevitable!

Always been attracted to the Supercell over other forms, despite the Microcell revision.

I’ll be placing my order with Grayscale then.

Thanks for the cheat sheet
Thanks for the cheat sheet starthief! Just what I need smile
I'm not 100% sure about my notes about normal pitch in various modes -- I could have sworn one of them was almost fully left for normal pitch, and going back to it later, it was centered. Also I found a minor typo since posting it.

Maybe I'll make a nice PDF version sometime. Depends on how often I find myself looking at it, I guess.
It's nice to have an E352 back again. Usage is just different enough from the E370 that I had to go back over things again and remind myself, as well as trying out the new-to-me detune mode.

I forgot just how closely spaced the knobs are, or else my fingers have gotten a lot wider hihi I ordered some matching skinny black aluminum knobs from Love My Switches which will hopefully look nice with it.
Thinking real hard about the 4ms SWN. It's made to do exactly the sort of additive/harmonic thing I was talking about, but with more flexibility. I feel like the wavetable part of it is almost just coincidental, and in terms of sound and features I think it can live happily with my E352 and Kermit without any of them really stepping on each other.


I'm finishing up the next album -- mastering, art etc. -- and have the track listing and patch notes. I made a lot of changes during this period, but as for my gear usage in general:

Kermit was ubiquitous, appearing in 7 of 9 tracks (and maybe another as an unnamed LFO).

Teletype, Marbles, Natural Gate were in a majority of tracks as usual.

DPO, Rainmaker and E370 were all pretty busy until I let them go. Hertz Donut mk3 had the chance to step in, and Clouds and E352 will on the next one.

Panharmonium, Prism, T-Rackonizer and SMR each had one appearance. SMR might or might not return.

Yamaha Reface CS through Elektron Analog Drive appeared in about half the tracks. Analog Drive gives it so much more oomph.

Tensor and Dark World were together on one track, but otherwise absent. I used my microcasette recorder as sort of a non-realtime send effect once, and it was a hassle (the motor speed is super inconsistent, which gives a nice warble but forget about staying in sync with the dry signal for more than a few seconds).

In software, Aalto, Chipsounds and Cadmium each had one appearance. Valhalla Plate was everywhere and Valhalla Delay was a close runner-up. Ratshack Reverb was on about half the tracks. And I've got my standard stuff I don't even count (G8 gate, MSLR, ToneBoosters EQ, Barricade, Presswerk).


I have a new computer (Ryzen 5 3600) being built to replace my 11 year old one, which should ship in a couple of weeks.

There are a lot of plugins and sample libraries I'm not going to bother to install. The Maschine expansions, most of Komplete, the magazineware, etc.

I'll try again with Sound Forge Pro 13. I love Sound Forge Pro 10 for editing, but it's unstable as hell on my old machine and newer versions were worse.
Rainmaker in and out already? You only recently got that.
Yeah, quite a few modules went in and out pretty quickly this year. Two major changes to the modular, where the second one reversed a lot of the first.

I had Rainmaker for about 3 months. I didn't get into the delay side that much compared to more straightforward single-tap delays. On the resonator side, I think I'm better off with the two Rings and Supercell, feedback patching the pedals, etc.
The SMR came back from 4ms. Turns out there was nothing at all wrong with it, except it was one of the oldest they ever made and it had an outdated bootloader that was preventing the firmware upgrade.

They updated both the bootloader and the firmware, and shipped it back, no charge (even though I bought it used). Threw in a sticker, screwdriver and new manual. They forgot the power cable I'd left attached to it though d'oh! I'm not gonna worry about it though, I grabbed one off another module and I'll just pick one up next time I buy something.

I've been playing with it all evening, and I can say with some confidence it's not going to be suitable for the additive thing the way I hoped. But it's unique and fun, so I have to decide whether I want to keep it for what it is, rather than dumping it for what it isn't.

I have room in the case and budget for it, so that's somewhere between a philosophical question and a "would I feel silly having both SWN and SMR in this case?" question, if I decide on SWN of course smile
Album's released!

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2047322437 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

This one involved a bit more struggle, between not quite feeling right about the modular before this latest round of changes, technical glitches to work around (which is why I finally bought a new computer) and a bit less ease in mastering it. But I'm pleased with how it turned out.
I decided last week, that since:

- there are now VSTs being released that only support VST3, not VST2
- Maschine still doesn't support VST3
- Maschine is an odd fit for the kind of music that I make, and I only kept using it because switching is hard
- I'm between albums
- I'm getting a new computer anyway...

...that I'd try out Bitwig. And yeah, after getting over the initial learning curve it's really cool. It's a little bit modular in how it operates, and it's also got "The Grid" which is modular software. Which can also respond to CV control or send it...

With just a few minutes' effort, I built the additive oscillator that I've been wanting in Eurorack, controlled from my 16n Faderbank. And then I phase modulated it from Hertz Donut w00t

No way am I giving up Eurorack -- but I'm now even more inclined to stick to core "must have" modules, and pick up an ES-8 or an ES-6/ES-3 pair to integrate everything.
Interesting. I got into making music via eurorack so I don't know much about DAWs. I got Reaper a while ago so I can do a little mastering (I plan on recording an album.. eventually). What made you choose Bitwig in particular?
SavageMessiah wrote:
Interesting. I got into making music via eurorack so I don't know much about DAWs. I got Reaper a while ago so I can do a little mastering (I plan on recording an album.. eventually). What made you choose Bitwig in particular?

My first DAW was FL Studio in 2003 (before that I used tape, but not often). I switched to Maschine in 2015. Both of those are really more oriented toward rhythmic loops.

Maschine pretty much started as a sample-based drum machine, then added a piano roll and VST support, and has slowly gained more DAW features over the years. Most importantly, you can record into its sampler, so you can work around many of its limitations that way.

I was using Maschine when I got into modular, and stuck with it because I knew it well. I tried Ableton and Reaper a couple of times, but didn't give either of them much of a chance because I wasn't motivated to switch.

I kept hearing about how Bitwig was a bit more modular oriented, even in relatively early versions and especially with more recent releases. Also that the interface is generally more modern and pleasant to use than many other DAWs, so when I decided I would think more seriously about switching, it seemed worth checking out.

What I like about Bitwig:

- The interface can be adapted to multiple different layouts and different tasks, often with a shortcut key.
- Most things can be done in several different ways, so you can pick a favorite or choose whatever's appropriate.
- It handles both linear and loop-based sequencing and recording, and you can record from one to the other. It's pretty easy to bounce a track to a recording, make some changes to the "live" version of it and then layer them together.
- It handles CV input and output as well as MIDI.
- Effect routing is really flexible -- there are containers for effect chains, multiband splitting, mid/side splitting etc. and the internal delay and reverb effects have an effect chain for their feedback loops.
- In addition to sequenced/drawn/recorded automation, it's got a lot of advanced modulators built in, and ways to modulate and switch those modulators. It's also got a bunch of utility "devices" which let you set up clever connections that DAWs normally wouldn't.
- It's also got a couple of "Grid" devices (one for synths, one for effects) where you can patch modules together, and link them to modulators, other devices, and inputs and outputs.
Sounds cool, thanks. If I ever feel the need to do more than simple stuff on the computer, I'll have to check that one out.
One more little thing to appreciate about Bitwig: when trying/installing VST plugins, there's no need to exit and restart the DAW, or manually rescan. It detects new plugins and lets you load them up right away.

This is saving me a lot of time as I reinstall and reauthorize plugins on the new computer love
Knobcon Eight, aka Knobtoberfest, day one!

.... okay, not much happens on day one. Checking in at the registration desk, going through the swag bag, chilling for a while.

In the bag this year:

- a bunch of stickers and postcards, of course
- a 2hp blind panel from Zlob
- a purple (the best color) frisbee from (new synth company?) Ultraviolet Music Synthesizers
- a Sweetwater catalog which I'm jettisoning because it's heavy and there's this thing called the internet.
- but also a bag of sweets from Sweetwater. No Reese's or Butterfinger or the like, but solid mid-tier Halloween grade candy.
- an issue of Sound on Sound
- Delptronics cable tie.

So there's that. Then there was the reception/party/thing, where we got to ogle the performers' gear up close and then watch them play live...

- Mark Vail (author of many synth books) had a briefcase of small bits -- a Volca Modular, Bastl Softpop/Thyme/Dude/Microgranny -- and made some pretty fantastic noise to kick things off.

- Everyone with a camera wanted to get in close to Redstripedown's table which was well-lit by a Polyend Seq. Some nice beats there.

- Ryan Sullivan did a NEU! tribute as part of the Knobtoberfest theme. I'm honestly not that familiar with NEU!, but his performance sometimes lost me in psychedelic wandering weirdness and then would reach out and grab me and demand attention and head nodding.

- Synthmania did an impressive tribute to Kraftwerk on a small 3-synth setup which had a lot of people grinning and dancing. If you don't at least love "The Robots" you're probably dead inside... grin His imitation of passing cars on the vocoder on "Autobahn" was both hilarious and oddly perfect.

- Suit & Tie Guy and Nathan Hahn... are still playing and probably will be for some time, but I am a little bit drunk and a lot tired. I stood outside the big tent for a while and enjoyed the cool breeze and their chill Berlin School vibes -- the still plenty loud music fit the nighttime ambience nicely.

Tomorrow is the real fun! nanners
Knobcon Day Two, Part One!

I crawled the exhibition room for a couple hours before taking a lunch break. Here are the highlights of what I checked out:

Mimeophon. The demo setup at Nerd Audio's booth wasn't fantastic, but just patching a CP909 into it and listening on a too-quiet amp instead of headphones, was still a blast. I knew I was going to buy one anyway, so I went ahead and bought from them.

SynthTech E520 Hyperion Stereo Audio Processor. Paul had the prototype at the show -- literally just 10 day old hardware and a week-ish of DSP code. The sound was a little rough at the moment, but I think we have a winner here. Algorithms (subject to all kinds of change I'm sure!) included the Deflector Shield, a couple of delays, a shimmer reverb and a couple of other things. The interface right now is WAY simpler than the E352, with buttons under the display for changing a lot of settings, minimizing spinning through menus.
(There almost IS no menu right now unless you want to change screen colors.)

SynthTech E300 Ultra VCO: it's an analog VCO. No fancy never-before-seen features, but a rock-solid, quality example of its kind. I'm not in the market, but approve.

Starling Via Scanner: imagine a waveshaper, but it's a two-dimensional (with a third dimension to sort of morph the whole terrain field, and some other mapping modes). X and Y inputs traverse the field, so you could (for instance) run a ramp VCO into X and modulate Y like a wavetable synth, or use it for folding, combining two VCOs in new ways, twist LFOs and envelopes, extract gates from LFOs, etc. I'm kind of tempted to pick one up.

Hydrasynth: appeared in synth news 4 days ago out of nowhere, and here it is at Knobcon. I didn't actually demo the sound, but I played with the controls and it looks and feels utterly fantastic. Super smooth, encoders with LED rings, context chosen with dedicated buttons, little value displays everywhere. This is how you build a digital synth.

Moog Grandmother: I should not have touched it, but there it was, beckoning. It sounds so solid and gorgeous and was a joy to play. Now I'm going to obsess over it. cry

4ms SWN: As wavetable VCOs go, I still prefer E352/E370 -- but this one sounds good once you spread the oscillators out a bit and apply LFOs to their levels to get things moving. I'd already pretty much decided against picking one up though, and my demoing confirmed it's not what I need. But I can see how it'd make some people very happy.

Synthrotek is soon offering a simple module with three arcade buttons for manual gates. I still don't want to do business with them, but this module is kind of perfect and I might turn elsewhere for a custom version. Or break out the soldering iron and build one myself.

Now it's off to lunch and then back into it, to try out things I missed and grab more photos, and hopefully the JAMMspace room will be ready too.
Knobcon Day Two, Part 2

I have to recommend City Works next to the hotel as a pretty great place for beer and food. SlayerBadger!

The JAMMspace room is kind of a disappointment this year. Late getting set up, some gear has no headphones available, and now it's a loud, chaotic mess with multiple things running through a mixer into a big PA, and it stinks like cigarettes because they left the doors to the outside open and somebody keeps going barely outside the room for smoke breaks. Two years ago it was a nice quiet, less crowded place away from the main exhibitor room where everything had headphones.


Other gear I tried at random:

Novation Mininova: I kinda like it. No real need for it, but it was fun to mess with.

Modal Craftsynth 2.0: Sorry, I hate the knobs. They feel not just wobbly but toy-like and generally unpleasant. I rarely complain about knobs on synths but these repelled me.

WMD Crater: sounds pretty great! I was really trying to check out the MSCL, but they had Metron and drum synths running through it so that's what I worked with. If I needed kick drum modules, I would be tempted to have both BIA and Crater to feel like I'd covered all the bas(s)es. Mr. Green

Honestly, I think to really get a feel for the MSCL I'd have to have a quieter place, headphones, and the sort of feedback loops out bandpass filters gone wild that I intend to actually use with it.

Arturia Microfreak: the sound in online demos always seemed kind of... vanilla and uninspiring but serviceable, but I thought the keyboard was cool. Now that I've tried one in person, I honestly don't like the keyboard either.

Roland JU-06A: I don't have Juno nostalgia, and I think my favorite of the Boutiques is still SH01A. It's not bad though.

MOK Waverazor: I didn't listen to it, because it wasn't patched and there weren't headphones available and I didn't feel like asking the 1010 folks to hook me up. Red print on a textured gray panel was a poor choice, with the labels easily disappearing under some light angles and I'm not even colorblind. The screen is somewhat more readable than the VST plugin version because of a saner font choice. But overall, it's still kind of ugly IMHO.

Yamaha MX49: played this to kill some time while waiting to swoop in to demo other things. It was pretty boring, honestly.

Warm Star Orbit: this module just got announced. It's a collaboration with Alright Devices. In a nutshell it's kind of a different take on Tides or Just Friends, with three cycling modulators that run from a single trigger input; there are various options to chain EOA or EOC from one modulator to the next, It can run off a clock with harmonic multiplications and divisions, and works fine at audio rate. In the demo patch he had going, a fixed frequency audio rate squarewave clocked the module but the harmonic was sequenced.

Curious Sound Objects Bitty: a fun little handheld toy that can do repeating drum samples (with variable sample rate and trigger rate, all the way down a solid bone-rattling oscillation), square with filter, sawtooth cluster, and a crazy granular noise synth, with swappable firmware. Fun little things.

Joué MIDI controller: smoeone had it in the Cruise-In area and... no thanks.

Sensel Morph: slightly better, but I really didn't like the feel of the music production overlay. They didn't have the Thunder overlay unfortunately.
Ladik has a dual arcade button module too, I think.
SavageMessiah wrote:
Ladik has a dual arcade button module too, I think.

They call it that, but it doesn't have the full sized arcade-style buttons (e.g. Sanwa).

Synthwerks has one that's one button and a mult.

I'm also thinking a MIDI Fighter, or a custom Paradise MIDI controller, might make sense (maybe Paradise MIDI can also do analog gate outputs?). Something I can use to trigger/control Bitwig as well as Euro.
starthief wrote:
SavageMessiah wrote:
Ladik has a dual arcade button module too, I think.

They call it that, but it doesn't have the full sized arcade-style buttons (e.g. Sanwa).

Synthwerks has one that's one button and a mult.

I'm also thinking a MIDI Fighter, or a custom Paradise MIDI controller, might make sense (maybe Paradise MIDI can also do analog gate outputs?). Something I can use to trigger/control Bitwig as well as Euro.

Qu-Bit Tri-ger? though it is discontinued and quite large.
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