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Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Starthief's Eurorack adventure, 2016-???
So let's say, hypothetically, that I'm starting a 75HP DIY skiff with:

Elements: 34HP
Warps: 10HP
Tides: 14HP
Peaks: 8HP
uZeus: 4HP

I figured the last 4-5HP will get filled with utilities based on what I feel my needs are once I've experimented with this some. But I'm still considering.

Weak argument against VCAs: Elements, Warps and Tides all have some VCA capability built in, and inside my DAW there's stuff like VolumeShaper. (But that doesn't help with CVs!)

Argument against multiples/mixers: I do have an external mixer for audio, and passive mults and attenuators for things that can tolerate those. I plan to get a CV.OCD when they're available again, which will have the bandwidth to send multiple copies of CVs or gates as needed anyway.

That said, I figure my best bets are one of these:

-- a 2 or 3 HP dual VCA, and something else (DC mixer most likely, or buffered mult or...?)

-- 5 HP of VCAs.

-- Disting. Granted, it's only one VCA and only if it's not doing something else. But it *can* do lots of other things, even if some of them are redundant.

-- Something else?
Kinks does a lot of stuff in a small space, if you decide against a VCA, and you quadruple down on your Mutable theme.
Bastl has a few options in 5hp (I have the ABC mixer, love it, and the Cinnamon filter, love it).

Erica Picos are 3hp (lots of options there, I use the EG with...

Zlob has a 2VCA in 2hp (kinda deep, had to push it all the way to the far end of my rack to get it to fit)

there's all the 2hp stuff too.

As someone who has Elements and Rings, unless there is something very particular to Elements you want, 34hp is almost half of yr 75. Rings has some overlap but is nonetheless a different thing, but swapping one for the other will free up 20hp. my just sayin, etc.
Bastl Grandpa. 5hp of samples you could use thru Elements and/or Warps and modulate trigger with High/low tide in Tides etc....

It will be an eyesore next to the all-MI panels tho...maybe get it repanneled thru Magpie or wait till they finally release Bastl metal panels.
chysn wrote:
Kinks does a lot of stuff in a small space, if you decide against a VCA, and you quadruple down on your Mutable theme.

Good point.

baleen wrote:
As someone who has Elements and Rings, unless there is something very particular to Elements you want, 34hp is almost half of yr 75. Rings has some overlap but is nonetheless a different thing, but swapping one for the other will free up 20hp.

True, 20 HP is a lot. I think I prefer having the exciter built in, and I do like the "bigger" Ominous Voice. And in general, I simply have been more impressed by what people have done with Elements than with Rings.
Varthdader wrote:
Bastl Grandpa. 5hp of samples you could use thru Elements and/or Warps and modulate trigger with High/low tide in Tides etc....

It will be an eyesore next to the all-MI panels tho...maybe get it repanneled thru Magpie or wait till they finally release Bastl metal panels.

I love my Bastl/MI mashup so hey whatever
starthief wrote:
chysn wrote:
Kinks does a lot of stuff in a small space, if you decide against a VCA, and you quadruple down on your Mutable theme.

Good point.

baleen wrote:
As someone who has Elements and Rings, unless there is something very particular to Elements you want, 34hp is almost half of yr 75. Rings has some overlap but is nonetheless a different thing, but swapping one for the other will free up 20hp.

True, 20 HP is a lot. I think I prefer having the exciter built in, and I do like the "bigger" Ominous Voice. And in general, I simply have been more impressed by what people have done with Elements than with Rings.


what are you planning to use Peak/Tides for?

baleen wrote:
Varthdader wrote:
Bastl Grandpa. 5hp of samples you could use thru Elements and/or Warps and modulate trigger with High/low tide in Tides etc....

It will be an eyesore next to the all-MI panels tho...maybe get it repanneled thru Magpie or wait till they finally release Bastl metal panels.

I love my Bastl/MI mashup so hey whatever

I love my Bastl/MI/Makenoise combo too, but I do accept it as an acquired taste.

I love the Bastl wood look (I think Rumburak is amazing looking) but they are hard to combine having thicker panels...
starthief wrote:
Weak argument against VCAs: Elements, Warps and Tides all have some VCA capability built in, and inside my DAW there's stuff like VolumeShaper. (But that doesn't help with CVs!)

VCAs can be used for modulating modulations.

starthief wrote:
Argument against multiples/mixers: I do have an external mixer for audio, and passive mults and attenuators for things that can tolerate those. I plan to get a CV.OCD when they're available again, which will have the bandwidth to send multiple copies of CVs or gates as needed anyway.

Again, mixers aren't just for the final signal, you may need to add, offset CVs.
I love the look of Bastl's plastic non-Euro stuff in frosted translucent plastic. My spouse even thinks the Trinity XOR and MonoFM are adorable. Their Euro panels make me sad though hihi

More relevant, I kind of went through a granular phase before and I'm not too keen on it at the moment.

baleen wrote:
what are you planning to use Peak/Tides for?

I expect to put Dead Man's Catch and Parasite on them (as well as Parasite on Warps).

Really, there are lots of combinations I foresee. The first scenario is both of them modulating Elements and/or Warps. Tides is a strong VCO in its own right though, and that leaves Peaks still available for modulation duty, or as a (second!) PLL oscillator. With Warps' oscillator too, there are a lot of complex FM possibilities.

Probably won't use Peaks for drums so much -- drums are ridiculously well covered in my DAW, yet these days I still wind up using a squarewave kick and LSFR noise or 808 samples more often than not hihi
flashheart wrote:
VCAs can be used for modulating modulations.

mixers aren't just for the final signal, you may need to add, offset CVs.

I know... I did say they were weak arguments smile
Doepfer A-114. Or a 4hp Dixie if you can find one.

And a 1hp blank.
Also: a wider skiff SlayerBadger!
indigoid wrote:
Doepfer A-114

Or a Circuit Abbey Twiggy if I could find one...
buffered mult? why? it really depends if you use your synth for 1v/oct stuff. you did not tell us what cv/midi controller etc.. does elements have a quantizer? I think you definitely need to get an analog filter in there. low pass or band pass will do it.
Eowave have some good 5hp options, the Zone BF dual LFO does a lot in 5 hp
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
buffered mult? why? it really depends if you use your synth for 1v/oct stuff. you did not tell us what cv/midi controller etc.. does elements have a quantizer?

Controlled by MicroBrute CV/gate (sequenced from DAW or played live); I also plan to order a CV.OCD when they're available again, making buffered mults unimportant.

Tides Parasite does have a quantizer, so there will probably be times when I drive it from other CV sources.

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
I think you definitely need to get an analog filter in there. low pass or band pass will do it.

My MicroBrute has a lovely Steiner-Parker filter, but I don't think its CV input tracks 1V/octave. [EDIT: And of course, it can't be separated from the MB's VCA, which in turn can't be separated from its gate, so the use cases for it are pretty limited.]

But I think a filter is a lower priority than some other things, I expect; since this setup is primarily about modal/FM/wavefolding, the main use of a filter would be for feedback IMHO. A Disting could pull filter duty if I didn't want to dedicate permanent HP to the task.
I figured you'd end up here sooner or later. This is fun!

One thing you might consider is mounting the uZeus on the back or side of your little skiff to free up slightly more room. That would give you 9hp and would allow for a bit more to work with. Just a thought.

Personally, I'd want to be able to manipulate CV and audio a little more mid-patch. You have some versatile modulation sources, but not a lot of ways to mix them. Perhaps something like the SSF Blender would be a good idea. It's kind of a mixer, VCA, crossfader, ring mod thing. I realize it's 6hp, but if you mount the uZeus outside of the rack area, you would have room.

If not, probably look into the smaller CV mixers and VCAs like you mention.

Otherwise, maybe something like Doepfer's A-184-1...though I think something with mixer ability would be most beneficial.
Interesting thought! There should be clearance to sneak the uZeus onto the side, though it might test my limited "crapentry" skills.

Another thought I have is maybe skipping the Warps. It is a damn cool module, but perhaps not so essential in a small setup like this.
Funny how it never occurred to me to just not mount both my Uzeus to the rails and fix them inside the rack...

I now have 8hp to add modules to!
New plan:

the uZeus mounted on the side.
39HP of free space instead of 5.

After finding some of the demos where people feed Rings with external sources, I am as impressed with Rings as I am with Elements. I feel like this is quite a lot of room to experiment with until I'm ready to open my wallet again in the distant future.
That above plan is finalized. I have a Peaks and Tides and already I feel like I've opened up a can of infinite whoop-ass on my MicroBrute with them. Rings is shipping tomorrow (I won it in the auction at KVR).

Probably going to add VCAs soonish, but I feel like I'm staring into the abyss with this already. 30 years of experience with non-modular synths hasn't prepared me for this level of awesome Dead Banana
Practical things I learned last night in my first few hours of modular wiggling:

-- When I bought cables, I chose the length based on skiff size without thinking about patching between my MicroBrute and modules. Chaining 4 Erthenvar IV cables together to bring the MB's gate output to two inputs is a huge mess d'oh!

-- a cable hanger is suddenly important. Ordered the one from Control that comes with 10 patch cables, solving both these problems.

-- self-tapping screws don't, when the rails are oak. I'm gonna need to drill pilot holes. No big deal.

-- MicroBrute's gate out does not reliably feed 3 inputs unbuffered -- but I have a CV.OCD on its way.

-- Tides in PLL mode can't track a MicroBrute without boosting the signal, but it's hilarious to hear it try.

-- Utility priority: attenuators, inversion, VCAs; I don't actually find myself desperate for a mixer yet. But the MicroBrute's CV ins (especially the filter) want less voltage than Tides and Peaks are pushing, and Koma attenuator cables are awkward. Also, Tides really wants some negative envelope action from Peaks. So I've bought a Doepfer A-133 from a fellow wiggler; I will probably throw some passive attenuators and LPGs in as well.
starthief wrote:
-- Utility priority: attenuators, inversion, VCAs; I don't actually find myself desperate for a mixer yet. But the MicroBrute's CV ins (especially the filter) want less voltage than Tides and Peaks are pushing, and Koma attenuator cables are awkward. Also, Tides really wants some negative envelope action from Peaks. So I've bought a Doepfer A-133 from a fellow wiggler; I will probably throw some passive attenuators and LPGs in as well.

If you want to stay Mutable Attenuaters, Inversion and some VCAish action + Mixer is all available on Blinds. It's not much as an amplifier, for which I'd hoped, but it is absolutely boss for mixing, attenuation, attenuversion, and just all kinds of other stuff. I use bare minimum 3 channels for each patch I do. I've considered Shades to save space, but the I would miss the CV too much.
Over at the MI forums, Olivier suggested these modules to somebody who asked about a good starter rack:

Tides (sound source and complex modulator)
Peaks (more modulations)
Veils (attenuator, VCA, mixer…)
If you're interested in sticking with MI as far as possible - which does make for a nice-lookin' skiff - you could consider Frames. I just got one, and it's very flexible. It can certainly handle mixing and attenuation, though that's using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It's four VCAs at heart, but you don't get four independent VCAs, you get something... different. It's terrific for animating any kind of sequence, and the Parasites firmware packs even more features into the hp. Last night I just had two of the four outputs modulating Clouds inputs, with Tides also chiming in. It was great fun, and I imagine Rings would benefit just as well, if not better.

For a (non-MI) LPG the Make Noise lxd serves well, particularly if space is a concern.
Blinds is something I strongly considered, and might still go with. Seems like a powerhouse (probably more so for my purposes than Veils).

At the moment I'm prioritizing (A) spending as little as possible and (B) having some inexpensive modules on my wishlist as gift ideas (like a MengQi DPLPG and Noise Reap Swiss Army Mixer). Blinds is going to depend on whether I wind up with those and how I'm getting on with the A-133.

I'm avoiding researching Clouds at all for a while to keep temptation at bay. hihi
The Make Noise modDemix is a smaller alternative to Blinds - two bipolar VCAs that can be used separately, in series, or mixed, plus an aux input. Half the hp and cheaper, but of course you sacrifice four inputs for two (and the aux). Not quite the same level of control, either. If you're going to end up needing two modDemixes, you'd be better off going straight for the Blinds. I do find that the mD adds a bit of its own character, which can be good or bad depending on your goals...
starthief wrote:
Blinds is something I strongly considered, and might still go with. Seems like a powerhouse (probably more so for my purposes than Veils).

At the moment I'm prioritizing (A) spending as little as possible and (B) having some inexpensive modules on my wishlist as gift ideas (like a MengQi DPLPG and Noise Reap Swiss Army Mixer). Blinds is going to depend on whether I wind up with those and how I'm getting on with the A-133.

I certainly can appreciate the cost factor. I was fortunate to have a few things to sell, and there's only one module I've purchased that wasn't on some sort of sale (Thanks for saving me $200 Perfect Circuit! Seriously, get on their mailing list they have sale codes every week, and for nice modules too, not some crap they just can't get rid of). The one module not on sale was Blinds, hehe, still worth it!

Saw that you've been enjoying Tides. That was my first module. Talk about a powerhouse. Have you loaded Parasites yet? If not, do it, and prepare to be blown away. Also Sheeps can be some serious fun if you get in the mood for a new oscillator every now and again.

As for VCA's, I'm getting Streams, but the level/gain CV's on Tides and Ripples do act as perfectly good VCA's. Also, if you put the level'ed out from Tides into Ripples, it still has plenty of power and you don't need to worry about re-amping it on the other side of Ripples (at least for me) For simpler patches I'll often just plug an envelope straight into leve/gain and be done with it.
Yeah, I have fallen in love with Perfect Circuit, and got Peaks and Tides at 20% off. Got my Atmegatron from them earlier in the year at a pretty nice discount since it was a demo, too.

I haven't loaded up Parasite yet, but after rewatching the videos for Two Bumps and Two Drunks I'll be trying that soon. I'll probably wait a while on Sheep though.

I'll probably also wait a bit for Dead Man's Catch. I haven't checked out Peak's "secret" modes yet. In fact I was 3 hours into playing with it before I realized Expert mode gives you separate modes for the two channels, not just separate parameter control over two channels in the same mode. Mostly I was just basking in how fantastic the MicroBrute sounds with more modulation, FM, etc. smile
Sounds like good times. I've also found it helpful to get reasonably comfy with the stock firmware before loading any of the Parasites stuff. The nice thing with DMC and Tides Parasite, is that you can pretty much load both and not even notice it's there until you're like... "hmmm I think I need a sub-oscilator," or "This needs a random walk," or whatever else.

My system isn't yet sufficient for self-contained work. I've been using it to essentially expand my DEII and Werkstatt. Gotta be fun with the 'Brute!
Recorded my first track with modular tonight. Not pure modular -- I don't plan to do that very often.

Notes are in the SoundCloud comment, but basically: Tides Parasite Two Bumps, PLL tracking the MicroBrute sequenced in Maschine, and modulated by Peaks tap LFOs triggered from the MicroBrute's gate. Plus Korg Legacy M1, my own experimental VST synth "ByteBeater" some sampled drums and a lot of processing.

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starthief wrote:
Recorded my first track with modular tonight. Not pure modular -- I don't plan to do that very often.

All modular doesn't make music better or more pure. Also, nice track. nanners
Thanks smile

Had some fun with a Tides/MicroBrute drone, where every output on Tides was in use (audio, audio rate modulation, or simply gating the MicroBrute repeatedly so I didn't have to do it myself), and Peaks was modulating Shape and Slope with LFOs.

Then I installed DMC on Peaks and played with that... fun stuff! Some of it I find fun, useful or both, some not so much. I was surprised at how much I liked the Turing Machine mode, feeding Tides with its quantizer set to pentatonic or fifths, clocking it from an LFO on the other Peaks channel. Way more fun than the Two Drunks mode in Tides Parasite I think, but I'm not a fan of random walk algorithms in general.
I'll have to check out Turing Mode. I really like Two Drunk when set to "Woggle", so I hadn't bothered with Turing.

You can also use Two Drunks at audio rates to create noise. You can mold the noise a bit with the parameters on the module. It's also fun to run through a filter and hit with a fast envelope, Wait, now I have percussion?
So, right now it's Peaks, Tides, Rings and a Doepfer A-133 VC Polarizer. I suspect most of the use I'll get from the A-133 is as attunverters for the Tides or MicroBrute, with ring modulation a distant second and CV VCA use fairly low.

With the uZeus still in the top, I have 27HP to play with. No will to spend more money for a while. I'm not really feeling the need for a mixer for audio or CVs currently. I figure my next step is probably a Disting (or a gifted dual LPG).

I have my eye on getting a Three Sisters in a few months. Of all the filters I've looked into, that one seems to have the right combination of awesome possibilities, sound I like, and relatively decent size.

Cinnamon sounds great too, but in a system that doesn't have a lot of need for basic filter use, I want my filter to do a lot of other fun stuff.

I might talk myself into a Bionic Lester instead though. grin

A digital noise source is another thought, but I can do a lot with the computer there so it's low priority.
So, yeah. Current plan is now:

MengQi DPLPG -- the top section of the A-133 just does not close all the way and the bottom section does but is fiddly; it's valuable as a ring mod, attenuverter and gain/signal boost though. While with most patches I actually don't feel like I need more VCAs hihi I did run into a use for them last night. A dual LPG in 2hp for under is hard to argue with.

Disting MK3 -- as a flexible tool and experimental learning, seeing what would benefit me the most. I could see, for instance, falling in love with wavefolding, or envelope following my Korg Wavedrum, and deciding I need a dedicated module for that later.

Three Sisters -- Yeah, I'm pretty sure this is going to be the filter for me.

Ataraxic Translatron -- this is the sort of thing I love in software; a modular version would awaken new possibilities.
Here's the assembled skiff. Turns out it's 74hp, tightly fitting. The holes were a pain and not terribly well aligned.

Swapping blank panels for more modules is gonig to require disassembly and some new holes drilled, and I'm strongly considering getting rails and redoing this altogether, or just a premade skiff and no more messing with forces I don't understand (like, uh, wood).

For now everything works and I'm not in danger of tipping modules out from the weight of patch cables at least.
84HP vector rails and brackets should be arriving tomorrow. I'm about to go on vacation, but when I'm back I'll build a birch/basswood box around it; if I can manage it I will leave the "front" and "back" long sides off of it for the moment for woodburning, and then will have to disassemble for final staining and gluing.

The CV.OCD I ordered arrived today, and it really opens things up; I can properly clock and trigger everything from my sequencer as well as having multiple independent voices, velocity, CCs etc. It just happens to sit nicely on the monitor arm-mounted laptop holder right below the skiff, which is handy. For under $100 and not much bigger than a TV remote, it's pretty great.

Of course this means I need more VCAs. lol It takes one to combine a volume envelope with velocity, for instance. Still not feeling the need for a mixer yet though, between the Behringer and available inputs on my interface.
A Three Sisters should be waiting when I get back from vacation, and I've ordered a Meng Qi DPLPG that'll arrive whenever it does.

I came very close to getting an Ataraxic Translatron with the Perfect Circuit sale, but decided I definitely need more VCAs/LPGs first, and to see where the Sisters take me.

Glad I held off, because after looking into the Sinc Iter, that one might be a better choice for me. I can mimic the AT a couple of different ways in software, though of course without CV control. SI is more flexible and still offers tasty digital noise.
Three Sisters is great -- it can be really smooth or super dirty and weird. So far I've used it in feedback configurations with Rings, and as a sound source, more than I've used it as a normal filter.

Here I'm using just Sisters and Peaks (with two Tap LFOs driven at audio rate by Sisters, one of which is going to the output and the other feeding back into Sisters) and some VST reverb and chorus.

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Where I am currently: I occasionally want another VCA, and I occasionally want another envelope. I feel like I have enough LFOs. I often forget though, that I can use the MicroBrute's envelope, or use its audio path as a VCA/ADSR, when I'm not using the instrument itself.

I still am waiting on the DPLPG shipping; I've also bought an Ataraxic Translatron and S.P.O. from a wiggler here, which should arrive this weekend or Monday.

The A-133 is serviceable but not ideal as a VCA (it doesn't close fully), I don't use it for ringmod much, and the SPO is a better attenuverter -- so I have a low-priority eye on replacing it. Maybe a Skis and a Kinks, or a Function. We'll see.

As far as case matters go, I have the wood pieces cut to build a box around the vector rails/ears. My spouse is setting up woodburning gear again and practicing a bit so it'll be a while before that's done, stained and assembled, but meanwhile I can at least use the rails sort of perched on the 74hp-ish bamboo box I have, so I can move modules around as necessary. I need to calibrate the tuning on the Sisters and shuffle bus cables around even if I weren't adding the AT and SPO.
I went ahead and moved stuff to the rails. Everything's generally tidier with no gaps between modules and no lopsided placement thanks to my imperfectly placed pilot holes in wood "rails" grin

With the jumper pulled off the uZeus (no longer needed since Three Sisters draws 93mA of -12V by itself), and using two flying bus cables instead of one, the uZeus no longer even gets warm and the A-133 is no longer noisy. thumbs up

I noticed small trimpots on the A-133 and I wonder if these can tweak the range of the manual control. If I can get it to close fully like a normal VCA, I might just leave it in my system for good. I don't see any documentation out there though.
The AT and SPO arrived a bit early and I'll be wiggling them very soon.

My new plan is to replace the A-133 with a Streams. It's more HP instead of less, but it's functionally dense and covers the needs I have.

That will leave me with 12HP free. The likelist candidates for that at the moment are some combination of:

Pico VCF1

On the other hand, on my to-do list is to experiment with clock/trigger modulation with Peaks DMC and Tides Two Drunks; that might lead to wanting a 4ms RCD or the like. I've noticed that, even though I still sequence in Maschine, the modular setup leads me to a somewhat different rhythmic character in my sequences, and gives me the idea that I might delve a little more into more modular-ish rhythmic mangling.

I also wonder how long it's going to be before I start itching for a second skiff/case/rack/enormous monolith.
I find the Ataraxic Translatron a little annoying to work with, for these reasons:

-- the LED digit (which is necessary feedback for modulation, see below) is placed down a hole in the front panel, and at the angle I have my system, pretty much blocked by the Pitch knob unless I lean a lot. There's no transparent window in the panel, just a hole down a deep well. This is pretty minor though.

-- the Pitch knob is above the Tone knob, but the Pitch CV jack is below the Tone CV jack. I inevitably get them mixed up.

-- the Pitch knob has a fairly small offset, to allow for fine tuning. If you want a fixed high frequency value you need to send a constant voltage to the pitch CV. There isn't a separate FM input, and the CV input clips negative values to zero. Not too big a deal for most uses but something to remember.

-- the Tone knob covers the full range, but as soon as you plug anything into the Tone CV, it becomes an attenuverter instead of an offset, and of course negative CVs are clipped to zero. So you really need to get your voltages in order outside the module. I've been spoiled by Rings and its built-in attenuverters as well as offset controls, but I would still rather attenuate a signal outside the module and offset it inside the module than the opposite.

But that last point is one reason why I went for the S.P.O. too. I like it -- it's compact but pretty easy to use, with helpful bicolor LEDs to indicate the output range (which work much better than the Doepfer A-133's fairly dim red ones).

This is also making me think about rectifiers and comparators, which suggests Kinks, Cold Mac or Tromsø. (I really need to research Cold Mac some more. It's baffling to look at or to skim the description but it seems like a treasure trove of useful and possibly weird things.)

Anyway, the sound of Ataraxic Translatron is the chunky Atari-ish LFSR noise I expected, and also very bitey square and square-like stuff at the lower end of the Tone knob. I like. My fear that it would seem too redundant with my Atmegatron and VSTs is unfounded, and it sounds pretty great when filtered through and distorted by Three Sisters.

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Overall, I feel like AT sits a little uneasily with me, but it does work nicely with the kind of music I tend to make.

After experimenting as I said with modulating clocks and triggers, given the tools I have, I don't think I'll pursue that further. I'd rather build my rhythms on the software side.
Discovering all kinds of fun with the Ataraxic Translatron in clock mode. It's picky about the clock input -- if I try to drive with a squarewave from the MicroBrute, I have to give it a positive offset. But this mostly turns out to be a benefit, as chaos happens when things are on the edge of being wrong. Modulating or filtering the input (especially with the MicroBrute's unstable "Brute Factor" filter feedback) leads to all kinds of messy fun.

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+1 for Elements being an awful lot more than Rings, you get a heck of a lot of functionality in those extra 20hp including the most marvellous freeze reverb which I'd neglected a lot until recently!
Baddcr wrote:
+1 for Elements being an awful lot more than Rings, you get a heck of a lot of functionality in those extra 20hp including the most marvellous freeze reverb which I'd neglected a lot until recently!

I have no regrets about choosing Rings over Elements. Had I gone the other way, this would basically be an Elements instrument; it would have constrained my other module choices more by HP and "does it contribute to Elements?" above all else.

For instance, I would likely have bypassed Three Sisters, even though it's great with Rings and no doubt with Elements, in favor of something 4HP or less.

It still would have been a great system I'm sure. But I feel like anything Elements can do, Rings and some external stuff can also do, though with more effort.

Where I am now, I don't feel it's necessary to patch Rings in every single time. And if I want to push things I can get four different voices out of this rack at this point (usually I just go with one or two though).

As for reverb, I have that more than adequately covered in my DAW and don't feel the need to squeeze it into Eurorack too smile

(Plus a few Native Instruments reverbs not listed, and some things I have categorized under "Delay" and a couple more in "MultiFX" that also perform reverb duty.)
Nice reverbs!!

Of course, ultimately it's your decision and it's good that you are sticking to what you want.

It's different for everyone and these are just opinions. I found Rings to be too much hard work to get the same stuff that I can from Elements, you need a lot of support modules to be able to replicate it fully (envelope, three sound sources with attenuators, mixer, some way to hit and accent too, then the aforementioned reverb heh). Rings actually irritated me on more than one occasion, something to do with the tuning, it is different to Elements somehow.

I found a lot of the time I couldn't replicate Elements stuff no matter how hard I tried - I wanted two modules to make pretty much the same sound but sequenced separately and tried to do this a lot with Elements and Rings and eventually gave up because by the time I had got them close I couldn't modulate them both in meaningful ways and I lost the tonal compatibility I wanted.

Then I didn't find much at all that Rings could do that Elements couldn't. So I lost Rings ... and ended up with two Elements and I really couldn't be happier - it's amazing and I love them both so much!!

I totally get that if you don't have the luxury of space Rings can do an awful lot and get you most of the way there.

Anyway, nice discussion cheers Guinness ftw!
Yeah, I could see a lot of frustration trying to get an Elements and a Rings to match up. Sometimes with just one Rings I find myself wondering why it's doing what it's doing and how to get to a particular sound I know I've squeezed out of it before. grin
Hehe not half!!! thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up

I could have gone the other way and got a second Rings, but that would have made what I wanted to do incredibly complex and well, two Elements nails it perfectly in a relatively small simple package. The really nice thing about it is that there is a very slight variation between the two - it uses the serial number as a seed for some of the values I think, but yet they are close enough that they can be pretty much indistinguishable with very little effort. I am really happy grin
New plan.

-- replace A-133 with Streams. It's on the way. thumbs up

-- add Warps (Parasite). I think that's going to serve me quite well in feedback with Rings/Sisters/itself.

-- add CFM BHWR, though I may have to build one DIY. Or perhaps a Propust, a 2HP noise generator or some small basic utility.

-- alternately, if I find using the DPLPG without mounting it isn't too annoying, do that and have 4HP for a Kinks or Disting or the like. But that seems kind of messy and I will probably not.

I thought about moving the uZeus to the side, but having noticed the temperature difference between mounting it to wood vs. mounting it to rails, even before adding the AT and SPO, I think I will refrain.

Not entirely sure about the order of placement. It's a conflict between placing them for visual appeal vs. function. The AT relies on the SPO, so pairing them nearby makes sense, and Rings/Sisters/Warps will probably be in feedback systems together very frequently... hmm.
Do you feel like you get enough modulation in your rig?

Streams, Peaks and Tides comprise my modulation and I really feel like I'm badly lacking.

My 3u84hp (Dixie II is the only module I don't have yet, gotta wait for funds)

Without Streams I feel like I almost have enough modulation. There are times when I wind up gating something and would rather have a decay envelope on it instead. I suspect with Streams added that will be eased. DPLPG too since it can be pinged with a gate/trigger.

Though adding Warps might increase the demand for modulation CVs again. That last 2HP could go to an envelope generator or LFO.

I do have a MicroBrute which provides an extra envelope and LFO, and I can configure my Thingamagoop 3000 as an LFO, or sequence a MIDI CC and convert that to CV.
Yeah, I can see it being cool with a bit of additional external modulation.
DPLPG arrived today. I like it a lot. w00t

Played with it some with Ataraxic Translatron as the audio source. It pings nicely with triggers, and also sounds pretty great (and kind of softened subtly) with fast AR envelopes.

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The two channels sounding just a little bit different is useful for adding just a little bit of stereo magic to a mono signal without resorting to delay-based FX, too. I might find myself using it in that configuration quite a bit.

Between it and the S.P.O. I really don't feel the need for the A-133 anymore and have pulled it from my rack, to sell after the holidays. I've got things arranged and ready for two modules I've bought used to arrived: a DIY Streams coming from England and a Warps coming from California, both in the next few days depending on how USPS does so close to Christmas. wink And then I'll figure out what to do with the remaining 2HP.

It should maybe be obvious that the natural decay of a vactrol means it's not really usable for audio rate AM, but I had to try it to make sure. It's not. smile

Another nice use I find is running CVs through it, such as heavily slewed random voltages, and pinging it for a different modulation curve than Peaks gives.
An example of using pinged modulation CVs, among other things.

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Warps is here. It had Parasite pre-installed which saves me the trouble.

This is Warps blended between digital ringmod and XOR, with modulated phase self-modulation on channel 1 and sort-of-self-FMd sines from Three Sisters on channel 2; it's going into Rings V/OCT with Strum clocked at the same rate as the modulation envelopes. Starts with just the Rings output audible, and Warps fades in and I start noodling with knobs.

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A lot of people praise the delay in Warps Parasite but I'm not sure I'm in love with it; there are a lot of great VST delays, and the quirks of this one are going to take some getting used to. Many of the other modes are immediate wins though. For instance, I like the vocoder a lot more than I ever thought I would.

While I still feel like the Ataraxic Translatron is a bit of an outcast, I think Warps is helping to tie it together. I'm also finding better settings for it to use as a noise source for Rings.

With luck, Streams will arrive today; it's shipping from UK to US without a tracking number, but recent packages have tended to take about 11 days and that's what it's been.
I have a cable order from Perfect Circuit on the way, but today's patches tell me I didn't order enough additional Stackcables to get rid of my Erthenvar IVs. And I'm sometimes close to running out of passive attenuators too.

So I figured I'd try some options from Amazon made for headphones:

Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter

Belkin Speaker and Headphone Splitter

In Line Headphone Volume Control

It's possible that the TRS jacks/plugs won't make proper contact with everything, but I figure, low cost = low risk. I'm especially hoping the inline attenuators work well enough for me. If not, I might build myself a combination passive mult / passive attenuator / breakout box.
Success. Those cheap inline attenuators work fine, and while they don't seem any sturdier than the Koma ones, the wheels on them are easier to adjust than the tiny slider. The Belkin hub is fine too. The regular splitter is apparently shipping separately.
This started off as just playing with Tides' High Tide (EOR) output and modulating Slope with an envelope for PWM, but threw a Bouncing Ball envelope from Peaks DMC at it, then got Warps and Three Sisters involved to rough it up some more, and added Rings as a second voice.

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Still waiting (impatiently) on Streams shipping. help:

Also now I have a Bastl Kastle on order, and joined the Kickstarter for Gecho Loopsynth, which should be fun.

My plan now:

-- evaluate Streams when it arrives. I strongly suspect its extra functionality will convince me it's a keeper, but there's a chance I'll feel I can replace it with either a Skis or a 4HP dual env and 2-4HP dual VCA.

-- if keeping Streams, the last empty space is likely to go to a 2HP LFO. The LFOs in Peaks aren't CV controllable, nor is the one in the MicroBrute, nor the Thingamagoop, and I use Tides as a VCO quite often.

-- the next major piece of gear, after selling some of my unused stuff and saving up a bit, is likely to be a 0-Coast. It makes more sense to me than getting another case yet.
Streams arrived, but one channel has a serious issue. Asking the seller about it, since it wasn't mentioned in the description or when I was asking about the module. Hopefully it can be resolved easily.

If so, I do think I like Streams' features enough to let it occupy the 12HP. The built-in filter is nice to have, I already found a nice patch that makes good use of the follower. Regular vactrol mode is a big meh, but I like the pinged vactrol mode better than my actual vactrol LPG since there's all kinds of control over its character.

Alternately, I could see putting a Function or Mini-Slew and a Skis in there. It means no filters, but the extra flexibility of a function generator and complete separation of simple D envelopes from VCAs, if I wanted that. But I think I'm favoring the Streams; I will get to play with a Function if I get the 0-Coast later as planned Mr. Green
baleen wrote:

Zlob has a 2VCA in 2hp (kinda deep, had to push it all the way to the far end of my rack to get it to fit)

1+ for Zlob They also have a great 8hp 6 channel Vca +summing mixer and can overdrive nicely if desired. Its my go-to VCA. But I'm sure the 2hp one is great as well. Nice to see some Mannequins in there as well!
It's confirmed the DIY Streams has issues, and I'm returning it for a refund. I went ahead and ordered a new one from Perfect Circuit while it's on sale, and also a 2HP LFO which will complete the 3U. I'll have to think about rearranging them in a way that keeps the knobs accessible.
The new modules arrived Friday and I've been playing with them over the weekend.

Overall, I'm not quite sure how I feel about Streams. I like that it has a built-in filter, the vactrol emulation and the follower. It can sound pretty great for some purposes. Other times I have a bit of trouble with the dynamics -- I have some trouble getting it punchy without clipping at times. I need to work with it some more to decide whether to keep it, replace it, or add another ADSR or two.

The 2HP LFO does what it says on the tin. The max rate is a little slower than I'd like -- the manual says it has a range of 0.096Hz to 10.75, but I think I'd prefer doubling both ends. I could also wish for an attenuator built in (possibly giving up the gate output to make room?) But it has a good choice of shapes, despite a lack of random/S&H. The ability to sit partway between saw and square (for instance) yields fun results.

I'm going ahead with selling the Ataraxic Translatron, and will put in a Kinks instead.

I'm going to sell off some underused desktop synths and resist buying any more (except the Kastle I've ordered and the 0-Cosat I've decided on). I don't have much need for more synth voices, but I do think I'll add another 3U to give myself room for more utilities, modulation, control and processing.

For that second row, here are my current thoughts:

-- Clouds: I had been resisting looking at this, and then had a sort of hipstery "everyone else with Rings also has Clouds so I won't" attitude. But I think I could make great use of it.

-- Doepfer A-196 PLL: I will experiment more with the Dead Man's Catch PLL mode to be sure, but I suspect it's just not as crazy and fun as this thing.

-- Bionic Lester (mk 2 hopefully?): I really want to hear more demos of this, but I'm intrigued.

-- Frames: It's on my radar, but not a definite thing. I'd like to try one before buying, or at least see more about how people have been using it.

-- LS-1 Lightstrip: a bit of live expression and/or CV recorder seems like it'd be nice to have.

-- a basic mixer: I've been using Warps when it's not busy, or passive attenuators plus the summing inputs on S.P.O., when not just using multiple interface inputs. I have a cheap Behringer mixer but my current setup doesn't really allow me to keep it set up, so it's going unused. Even with it, a Euro mixer could be handy.

-- attenuators: I'm kind of sick of floating ones, honestly. The RYO Airtenuator isn't too bad but I haven't seen the complete ones in stock at US stores. An extra row will give me the luxury of racking some passive attenuation.

Now that I check Modular Grid, I see the total power draw will be more than one uZeus can handle and that's with some free space still, so I will plan on making it a second box. And for that matter, maybe a 6U so it's a bit more future-proof hihi or maybe I'll just rack-mount it.
Streams is still not sitting well with me in terms of dynamics, unfortunately. The compressor doesn't do anything for me (I prefer software compressors). The filters are handy to have, the follower is useful, but overall the module just isn't playing nice. Since I'm also planning to replace the Ataraxic Translatron, I have a bit of module chess to play here.

After hashing out my options, I think I'm going with the new 2HP VCA and a Function or Mini Slew.

That leaves 6HP in which I can add a second EG (2HP or Pico), filter (Pico VCF1 is a contender), Disting, Kinks, etc. according to what I feel will serve me best.

My Bastl Kastle arrived Tuesday and I've been very pleased with it. It wants a little bit more connectivity with my Euro stuff, which I can DIY on a breadboard or with a couple of 3.5mm-to-terminal-block gizmos. It doesn't work as nicely with my Olegtron 4060 as I'd hoped, but that's okay.
I'm really digging the Mini Slew! This is my first time using something like this. I have Tides, but an analog function generator/slew is something different.

As an envelope generator it requires a little bit more thought than an ADSR -- different responses from using Trigger (which always completes a full cycle) vs. Input (which may not hit the maximum level and may require a voltage boost, but won't "miss notes" if triggers are coming rapidly). But it's extremely flexible. [EDIT: after reading a bit here I found boosting the trigger voltage will make it retrigger reliably. But unreliable triggers can be useful too!]

As an envelope follower, again it took a bit of tweaking and my pocket oscilloscope to get the hang of it. Streams was a little easier to set up for following, the first time anyway.

As a portamento, it's really cool to be able to specify different rates for rising vs. falling pitch and to modulate the rates.

As an LFO it's just plain cool (but I'm used to that from Tides). grin

As a VCO, well... the manual says it roughly tracks 2-3 octaves, but 2 is extremely tricky to dial in. One octave is more realistic. And you can't tune it very high with Rise/Fall/Shape. It sounds nice for bass through an LPG though, whether using Vari-Out or the EOC or EOR pulse out. T-Comp has to be turned off for it to track, and it doesn't seem to help in any other situation.

As a trigger delay it works well -- admittedly I have never patched Tides as a trigger delay.

As an audio LPF it won't win any prizes. But for PWM and frequency dividing it's big fun -- all kinds of mischief in triggering it from Tides' High/Low outputs and then using one or more of its outputs to modulate Tides. grin

I'm not sure what else this thing might be capable of, but I'm very pleased with it already! w00t
0-Coast, Zlob Dual VCA, and Qu-Bit EON are all incoming, and I'm 95% sure the last 4HP will go to a Disting mk4 when those are available. hyper
The answer to "what else does Mini Slew do?" is LPG, sort of -- very different character from an actual LPG or from Streams -- and VCA thanks to the Vari CV input. Mr. Green

I'm also getting a somewhat better handle on using it as a filter. Quite often, the key for why it's not behaving like I think it should is the T-Comp switch.
I didn't post about the 0-Coast? Well, I love it. grin Except that mine came with a bad MIDI cable (sustained notes drop randomly; thankfully I had a spare cable to use instead) and the Dynamics indicator light didn't light up. Make Noise had me send it to them for repairs.

The EON is useful in my small system, but it's also going out for repairs/calibration. The tuning is a bit flat without the quantizer, and with the quantizer engaged it's a bit crazy. Also not entirely sure the noise range was working properly since I had to back off a bit from maximum to get the brightest sound.

Really loving the Zlob Dual VCA though. It's working much better for me, with whatever envelopes I feed it, than Streams did and the mix output is handy. Despite the warning about its 2HP possibly being wider than 2HP behind the panel, I didn't have any trouble fitting it in my skiff.

I wish the DPLPG had the same sort of panel layout. Somehow In, CV, Out makes more sense to me than In, Out, CV, and even after several weeks I'm frequently patching the DPLPG wrong.

At this point with the dual VCA, dual LPG, the ones in Warps and 0-Coast, and the internal one in Tides -- I really feel like I have more than enough VCAs. hihi And plenty of modulation, too.

My plan for a second row does have a couple more "incidental" VCAs as well as more modulation, but then it's probably going to need them with the addition of Clouds and Bionic Lester.
Instead of waiting on the Disting, I went for a Gozinta to "finish" the first 3U. Useful for overdriving audio and for boosting triggers into the Mini-Slew. My EON came back from repair too, and while the other oddities are fixed, the quantizer is still basically useless. Dead Banana Still, the non-quantized tuning is now no worse than V/OCT tracking on my Three Sisters, and mostly I expect to use it for noise and occasional envelopes anyway.

I finally ordered the furniture to redo the studio/office room, and that will arrive in a couple of weeks. Two IKEA Linmon/Alex tables and a matching corner desk. Should be a lot more desk space than we had in there before.

I've changed my mind on keeping my first 3U as a skiff. It's going to be racked in a sideless desktop rack stand along with the next row, and I'll get the upgraded uZeus power brick. I'm also putting a 1U power distribution gadget in the rack -- not unplugging wall warts all the time will improve my sanity and keep things tidier -- and adding a rackmount shelf for incidental small gear. Probably the CV.OCD will get mounted on there somehow.

I've got a Pittsburgh Lifeforms Mod Tools pre-ordered, waiting on the Disting mk4 release, and am starting to watch for opportunities to pick up some of the other gear on my planned list.

That list has evolved a bit over the past few weeks; Braids and Kermit have joined it and Clouds has dropped off (but whatever Olivier replaces Clouds with in the future is a strong possibility). I'm unsure about Bionic Lester and am going to delay that purchase.
I'm having a bit of a rethink about my expansion plans now. The reason I went into modular was to explore territory I wasn't reaching in software: the interaction between modules, much more interesting modulation, West Coast synthesis (which barely even exists in software), feedback, analog quirks and so on.

So I've changed my mind on Braids again. I'm sure it's a great module, and if I had one it'd probably get a decent amount of use. But it seems like it's more useful to someone not already sitting on a big pile of plugins. So I think I'm going to want to go for something a little more out there. I'm liking the idea of a Piston Honda especially because of the external input (I'm imagining it in feedback with Rings, among other things), but need to explore my options some more smile
Synchrodyne is the answer. I don't know how that flew under my radar before, since I've previously looked into switched-capacitor filters and PLLs.

And I just bought one on Reverb; a little more than what people have sold them for here, as expected, but still fair enough.

That also has me pulling Bionic Lester off my plan, and leaves some space in row 2 for the Sychrodyne Expander should I feel a desire for it, or for other things. smile
Well, holy crap. I have everything so far set up in the rack, and the Synchrodyne is currently bending my brain.

It's possible to get some conventional-ish filter sounds out of it, and certainly it can be used as a (quite nice) saw core VCO. But it's also full of madness. Gonna take a lot of messing with this thing to get a better feel for it.

I kind of can't imagine also trying to use the expander, at least not right now. eek!

Anyway. Tomorrow, new desks arrive (hopefully -- we still have a 12hr delivery window because they haven't called me yet) and we're tearing everything down, rearranging it and making it better. Which is good, because to make room to set up this rack stand I had to put away my Microbrute, so I have no keybaord set up. Going to have no anything set up in a few hours...
As it happens, with the Synchrodyne and DLY added to my rack, the 1.1A wall wart that came with my uZeus can't consistently start my system. ModularGrid has me at 788mA +12V, 302mA -12V which is 1.09A hihi so it's not like it takes a big onrush current to cause trouble.

Good thing the 3A PSU is arriving tomorrow! thumbs up
Everything is back in business again. Picture is in the photos thread.

After wiggling some, it's definitely an improvement in many ways but it's going to need a little shuffling and/or some different cable lengths. Going from a slight tilt to almost vertical, and repositioning the MIDI and audio interfaces, makes cable droop more of an issue. My DIY passive output attenuators plus too-long 1/4" to 3.5mm cables are just getting in the way now, too -- not sure if I want to build a breakout box or what I'm going to do to clear that up, quite yet -- I may yet wind up with an output module after all.

I am really struck by how important the case/layout/cables are to the modular as an instrument. Looking at my bunch of cables I kind of wish for more uniformity, and I can foresee selling off a bunch of cables to stick with one style in 3 lengths in the future. I can see why some just go with stackables for everything despite the expense.
I've ordered more Control BT 65cm cables, and a dual passive DI box and XLR cables. I'll ditch my homemade attenuators and just patch Euro output to the DI box. thumbs up

The modules on my want list right now:

-- Pittsburgh Lifeforms Mod Tools: I preordered it from Perfect Circuit some time ago, haven't heard a peep, but another site says March 18.

-- Disting Mk4: shouldn't be long now!

-- Mutable Instruments Frames: either I will love it, or will find it a bit too fiddly to set up, or will find myself mostly using it for things that simpler and smaller modules can do. There's only one way to find out!

-- WMD/SSF Blender: this will assist with my mixing needs, serve as another VCA, crossfader, or attenuator as needed. I expect I may still want one even with Frames.

-- Happy Nerding FM Aid: if I can score one, great. If not, well, okay.

Beyond that:

-- Envelopes/LFOs/VCAs: right now I feel a bit short on envelopes and close to a limit on VCAs. Ideally, I want to replace the Qu-Bit EON, 2hp LFO, and Peaks, all of which are useful but not inspiring. But I feel like Frames is going to change the situation enough that I can't really plan for this yet. There might be an Ornament&Crime in my future, and/or Batumi and/or Quadra... we'll see. Maybe even a second Frames. hihi

-- The Synchrodyne has quenched my thirst for weird filters, but I will probably look into other LPGs/filters/VCFAs.

-- Maybe a Wogglebug.
I feel like I rewrite my plan every couple of weeks whether it needs it or not... hihi

-- Pittsburgh Lifeforms Mod Tools: probably mid-late April.
-- Disting mk4: shipping is imminent.
-- Ornament & Crime: just bought a finished one, so it's likely to arrive just before the Disting.

On Probation:
-- Peaks: I have been using other envelope/LFO sources and leaving Peaks as a last resort for a single ADSR. Chances are very good that O+C will drive it away.

-- Synthrotek DLY: modulating the delay time with an unusual signal (like the Synchrodyne phase delta output) can be fun. Unless I become desperate in the future to reclaim 4hp (for instance, to replace it with another Disting) it'll stay a while.
-- Qu-Bit EON: Unless I find myself with no use for it, or a master plan that requires every last bit of space, I may as well keep it. Even if it does nothing else, I can still have it clock other things.
-- 2hp LFO: Ditto. It doesn't have to be a favorite LFO to be useful.

Current Loves:
-- Synchrodyne: cramped panel or not. You put signals in, and chaos and joy come out. Track featuring it is below.
-- 0-Coast: it's just such an instrument. Lovely thing.

The future:
-- Klavis Twin Waves: for LFO and VCO duties.
-- 3xMIA: tentatively replaces the Blender in my plan. 3 offset sources, mixers, attenuverters etc. is probably more helpful to me than 3 crossfader/attenuators with one of them being voltage controlled.
-- FM Aid: seems full of win.
-- Lifeforms Dynamic Impulse Filter: seems like a great LPG to me.
-- that leaves 20hp of room. Dependent on how I wind up using O+C, this is probably a second O+C or Tides, a Batumi or a Quadra, plus some VCAs. Or it could be a Frames.

-- updated ToneBoosters Barricade to v4. I used v3 on every track, and this is better.
-- I'll probably pick up MOK Waverazor when that's released. No other software or non-Euro hardware is on my radar, though I'm sure I will need more patch cables as I continue to expand.
-- studio furniture is in a happy place now.
-- as of March 20 I have 56 tracks done for 2017, and I'm really pleased with this. cool

The main voice (including some of the percussion) is Synchrodyne's filter input being pinged by triggers. There's also Rings doing cheesy FM bass, sync chirps from 0-Coast, and a couple of sampled drum kits.
Got my O_C on Saturday, built by bemerritt. A solid build. The Piqued app is more pleasant to work with than Peaks for me, and far more powerful; other apps are less attractive to me but will probably see occasional use.

So I'm selling the Peaks for sure. I also ordered a 3xMIA. Waiting on ship notifications for the other preorders. Twin Waves is in the plan and FM Aid is likely.

I have a couple of decisions to make:

-- Lifeforms DIF vs. Ripples vs. Optomix. I need to rewatch some demos to see if I greatly prefer one sound-wise; if not, the dual channels on the Optomix will likely win the battle.

-- Morphagene vs Phonogene. I'm sure now that I want one of these; it's just a question of spending less on the older module vs. getting the newer features.

And with that, I'll have a full 6U, and I will consider this "modular phase 1" complete. No third row for GAS expansion.

Modular Phase 2 will wait for at least the October KVR auction and/or winter holiday sales, if not 2018. I'm thinking a 42-60HP, 4U-9U case. It's going to need MIDI-CV conversion, and analog audio-SPDIF conversion to use the other input on my Komplete Audio 6.

When complete, it should be able to act as a self-contained voice or two; but of course it can work with my other gear as well. My goal is, again, to produce sounds I can't achieve with my current hardware and software, but this time with a little more overall design thought put into it. It's likely to be a little bit West Coast and a lot oddball.
Contemplating the second case helped me settle the plan for rack #1.

Case #2 will be based on a DPO/Hertz Donut pairing. So it'll have a ton of FM/wavefolding goodness, and it kind of calls for an Optomix.

For Rack #1 I'll go with Lifeforms Dual Impulse Filter. Instead of FM Aid and DLY, I will go with the EMW Arcade Noise and some useful 2hp filler.

I'm leaning a little more toward Phonogene for the price difference but we'll see.
Glad you are liking the O+C. I sold a peaks once, but now I have two!
bemerritt wrote:
Glad you are liking the O+C. I sold a peaks once, but now I have two!

I've thought about hanging on to it to keep in Twin mode instead of Expert, so I never have to deal with the pots being out of sync; at least until the first rack is full. But I'll just leave it up for sale without being in a hurry about it either way.
Yup, both of mine are in split mode right now, one for AD envelopes and the other for tap tempo LFO's. Can never have too many of either
You know, I originally thought split mode was silly so I sort of erased it from my mind. But that was when I didn't have much other modulation, sometimes needed one ADSR and one LFO, and wouldn't give up two harder-to-control ADSRs for two easier ADs. Now though? I definitely see the value of it, especially for the tap LFOs.

After some more thought... yeah, I will hang on to Peaks for now. And instead of spending on Phonogene or Morphogene, for my purposes I will go lo-fi and plan on a Doepfer A-112. This makes me feel better about planning on spending more on the second case later...

And, even after poking fun at myself about going through so many versions of this in a short time: :doh

I don't actually need to fill the rack 100%. Once the modules I have preordered have arrived, it's not missing any functionality for its role: two synth voices sequenced from my DAW, plus enhancements for the 0-Coast and Microbrute. I do want to play with the Twin Waves and Arcade Noise, but beyond that I'll just leave things open-ended and subject to whim and opportunity. That's been the spirit of this rack anyway.
My Disting mk4 and 3x MIA arrived Friday, and a Kermit yesterday. My thoughts:

-- Disting is like a good quality Swiss Army knife. Not something you get amazingly excited about, but good to have around. Some of the tools are completely respectable and eliminate the need for other, separate tools. Some of them are not quite as good as having the "real" version of that tool but better than nothing if you need it.

Mk4 is pretty easy to navigate. Those light-up jacks are looser than most jacks in Euro, but connections are solid. It definitely benefits from sitting next to the 3x MIA for manual control over Y as well as for scaling.

-- 3x MIA also isn't something to be overjoyed about but it's very handy. It's not necessarily easy to zero the dials (but in practice you usually don't need to, otherwise you wouldn't be mixing things) and the shiny knobs make the pointers a little hard to see. But it's small and economical and helpful. I may move things around so it's between the Disting and the Kermit because they both benefit greatly from it.

-- Kermit... is awesome. we're not worthy It's convinced me that I do want a Piston Honda after all. It's just a question of which Harvestman modules go in which racks and am I gonna need two of any of them hihi

It's no slouch as an LFO, but "dual modulation aid" really sells it short. It has a beautiful sound. Noisy, but with a pleasant vibe -- less Merzbow saw-your-ears-off noisy and more "picking up telemetry on a $15 shortwave radio."

Kermit is making me reshuffle my plans again; it's that good... w00t
Excited to hear what you do with the Kermit, I'm pretty tempted to get one myself!
Any plans to up your VCA game? Dual VCA and DLPG are cool but you may find bias control on a VCA useful, especially since you have some great envelope generators in your system.
atrostor wrote:
Any plans to up your VCA game?

I've thought about it from time to time. Until recently I rarely found myself running low on VCAs -- there are a lot of built-in VCAs scattered around (Tides, Warps, Mini-Slew, Synchrodyne, O_C) and a small voice count (typically 1-2).

As far as biasing goes, I've used the SPO to offset incoming CVs a couple of times, though it's not the most convenient solution.

But the balance has been shfiting, with more voice stacking and more modulation. And I'm also looking into expanding or upgrading my audio interface and reconfiguring my MIDI-CV converter for more voices.

It's more likely I will go for LPGs rather than plain VCAs though, so I can explore them -- DPLPG is nice for the size and price but has some limitations, and I want to see what the "real" ones can do. Optomix is a likely choice, as I plan to have one in my West Coast case anyway (if I don't change my mind and go for the Sputnik quad).
If you don't need the mixer function of Optomix, LXD gives you three different LPGs in 4hp.
In addition to the mixing, I like the idea of having adjustable damping, and the option of similar response between two channels for stereo or blending purposes.
atrostor wrote:
Any plans to up your VCA game? Dual VCA and DLPG are cool but you may find bias control on a VCA useful, especially since you have some great envelope generators in your system.

For now, the 3xMIA could be used for biassing the LPGs by leaving the other input empty so it's normaled to an offset voltage It's peanut butter jelly time!
starthief wrote:
It's no slouch as an LFO, but "dual modulation aid" really sells it short. It has a beautiful sound. Noisy, but with a pleasant vibe -- less Merzbow saw-your-ears-off noisy and more "picking up telemetry on a $15 shortwave radio."

QFT - great way to describe that warm digital fuzz. The Harvestman
rainlet wrote:
Excited to hear what you do with the Kermit, I'm pretty tempted to get one myself!

I spent several hours basically just self-patching it in a trance and listening to the lovely drones, and a few hours experimenting in more directed ways without recording anything. But I do have a couple of tracks that use it now. grin

The soft, fuzzy voice here is both Kermit channels cross-modulating each other at audio rate, through DPLPG, with some octave twitches from Disting's precision adder.
The voice that screams "lead synth" is 0-Coast.
The voice that's sometimes sort of a wah guitar thing, sometimes just bass notes, and sometimes starts wandering off and doing its own thing is WMD Synchrodyne.
And the voice that's all razor edges and bits throwing up on each other is a software plugin I wrote. hihi

This track also uses both Kermit channels at audio rate, but as FM modulators for Microbrute and Rings, and on 0-Coast's wavefolder multiply CV. So you don't hear it directly but it's adding interesting textures of dirt, which is something it seems to excel at w00t
I started to question the idea of stopping the first rack at 6U and then adding a narrower 6U.

I figured that even with cheap rails and cheeks and a uZeus, I was looking at about $200 in infrastructure, compared to just getting another $30 3U bracket/rail set from Synthrotek.

It does sacrifice the idea of having a dedicated West Coast "instrument", but being honest with myself, I'd probably use it that way 30% of the time and have patch cables crisscrossing between everything the rest of the time anyway.

So I'd be looking at something along these lines. This is probably not an optimal layout of course, but it's a start.

Edit: probably Sputnik Quad VCF/VCA rather than separate Tangle Quartet, Optomix and DIF. Less space and power required, and probably sufficient to cover my needs.
Yup! I've bought the Quad VCF/VCA from a fellow wiggler, and also an EMW Arcade Noise and a cool little spring box piezo thingy from PCA. thumbs up

Also I've set up an analog to SPDIF converter so I have access to inputs 5 and 6 on my Komplete Audio 6, and I'm finally making use of my little Behringer mixer to get the levels into shape and deal with mixing/panning.

About to reconfigure my CV.OCD for 3 voices, but I'm still considering getting a second one (or some other converter) so I have have 4 or more voices and still send velocity and/or other values.
I couldn't sleep, so I wound up comparing the Sputnik Quad VCF/VCA (which arrived yesterday) to my DPLPG and Zlob Dual VCA.

For pure VCA use I prefer the Zlob, but that might just be a matter of what I'm used to. I'm not entirely sure what the Sputnik's response curve is -- it sounds hyper-exponential with exponential envelopes, but logarithmic with linear envelopes. hmmm..... It does seem to behave a little more nicely with the bias turned up so the bleed is just short of audible (or barely audible and noise gate it).

It seems very clean though. I haven't tried really pushing the incoming signal level yet, but I'm not having trouble dealing with its output the way I did with Streams.

In LPG mode it works very nicely; the vactrol smooths out that weird response. It doesn't have the minimum CV issues that DPLPG does, so it handles slower attacks, lower sustains and longer decays more smoothly. The four channels have well-matched vactrols with similar response (though somewhat different output levels I think). The attack on the vactrols is a bit slower than DPLPG, and the decay is definitely faster.

VCF mode sounds quite nice. Maybe not as a main filter, but good for articulation duties like you'd expect with this.

Running through two channels in series works well -- VCF or LPG with bias up struck with a trigger, and then VCA with an envelope.

Overall I wish for lin/exp switches or knobs, but it's still good (especially as an LPG) and I'll stick with it. thumbs up

My EMW Arcade Noise should arrive tomorrow and I've got blank panels from Syinsi on the way to hold space until September or so. It's going to be weird not buying any gear for the next 5 months hihi
The EMW Arcade Noise and Crank Sturgeon Perpetual Spring Device arrived today. cool

Arcade Noise:

-- I had an Ataraxic Translatron before. That one, I felt was limited in scope, too similar to a VST plugin I wrote, and not as interesting a noise source for Rings as I'd hoped. This has none of those problems. smile
-- It's not skiff friendly. It looks like it was ripped out of an 80s arcade game, with big klunky DIP chips in sockets, full-size pots with jumpers connecting them to the board which is spaced quite a ways back, etc.
-- Pitch tracking is backwards: higher voltages = lower clock rate. That's a bit annoying.
-- However, it does have a Reset input that will follow low to mid audio rates so you can track pitch that way, and it's not too picky about trigger signals. If the rate's too high it'll silence though.
-- There's no manual, but it's pretty obviously an LFSR with some kind of feedback to generate psuedo-randomness.
-- It loves modulation, especially in the tap CV. Just hitting it with a pulse every so often, while feedback tap is set fully CCW or fully CW and it's in 8-bit, 2-tap mode, will randomize the current pattern (which mostly sounds like random PWM and octave shifts).
-- It just has one output, but multing it as an audio output and as a clock or CV for something else (looping envelope, or whatever) which modulates the Arcade Noise in turn, works nicely for generating chaotic stuff.
-- It works well in feedback with Rings -- with Rings output into its Reset, or elsewhere.

-- basically an Altoids tin with a sealed piezo pickup inside and a variety of springs welded/glued to the back. (There's another version with guitar strings and wires and stuff as well as springs.)
-- makes nice spooky ambient sounds with the right reverb.
-- great trigger for Rings input.
-- haven't tried it for pinging vactrols or generating CVs but that's probably fun too. grin
After the last several tracks I've made, it occurs to me that my quest for MOAR WEST COAST is mostly redundant at this point. I can patch together different combinations of things as complex oscillators; I have LPGs; I have envelope generators than can produce the shapes I'm looking for; I even have enough VCAs at the moment hihi I can achieve The Sound.

At this point I plan to explore Warps Parasite a bit more, and the Disting wavefolder -- I've been mostly sticking with the vanilla Warps modes. There's also overdrive with Gozinta, and Disting's rectifier, comparator etc. to play with in this vein, plus the fun stuff Mini Slew can do to audio.

Also to explore with my current gear is using filters in a more LPG-ish way; I was happy with what Three Sisters could do in that vein, but haven't really tried it with Synchrodyne (which could be amazing or sick or just weird) or with Disting's modeled filters. Perhaps even the Microbrute's filter, if controlled by a differently shaped envelope than the MB's own ADSR provides, might have good results.

Anyway, I'm not sure this revelation changes my desire for a Hertz Donut; less because it's a complex oscillator and more because it's a crazy bastard that I like the sound of in demos. SlayerBadger! Thinking also about a Hyper Fist (if the promised wavetable demo video ever happens) and Twin Waves (because I can't seem to get the idea out of my head). Getting all three smacks of too many VCOs, but I'm not sure how much I care hihi
We just found this under one of the walls in our living room when ripping out the old carpet. I guess I have a new mascot.

It looks to me like somebody dropped the bass. Miley Cyrus
Yesterday I was playing a bit with crossfading between oscillators (or at least oscillator outputs) at audio rates, and it occurred to me that it might be time to think about switches.

I'd dismissed them before since I do my sequencing in the DAW, but there are plenty of non-sequencing applications for switches too -- and no reason not to sequence some modulations in the rack.

I have my eye on a Doepfer A-152. It may be overkill, but I like the idea of being able to choose CV or clock control, being able to set the number of steps, and patching it in various ways. It seems like other switches all lack something that bugs me -- no clock/reset on the Boss Bow Tie, no way to choose a different number of steps on the M1xXOR, and so on.

I might even back down on the oscillators I add, with stuff like this that can play along at audio rates.
Take a look at the Ladik S-210 4ch Switch. It has some nice features including it's own internal clock divider and direct CV control over which switch is closed.
Oh, that looks like it would do the trick. Thanks, stranger. smile

...and Ladik's 4-step sequencer is cheaper than most 4-channel mixers, so rather than converting the switch to sequencer duty I might as well just get one of those if I want a mini-sequencer for some reason. smile
My thought now is that once I start switching modules around again (September), Arcade Noise is probably going to go. I might go ahead and put it up for trade and see if I get a bite.

I'm also kind of questioning Kermit:
-- It has some REALLY nice sweet spots in its wavetable, with AM in particular.
-- ...but there's a lot of dead space in the wavetable I don't find myself using, and waveshape modulation isn't very useful.
-- I'm not fond of the FM, either.
-- Tuning it is a pain. Loose, easy to bump coarse knob.
-- I feel like a Klavis Twin Waves would serve the role of "dual LFO + VCO" better, while a Piston Honda would be a better "dusty wavetable" module.

New VCO candidates:

Mangrove: I thought it was cool before, but heard it used extensively on an album and it absolutely has the sound I want. I can't think of any downsides to it, really.

Loquelic Iteritas: it seems like a powerhouse. I like a lot of the sounds coming out of it. I'm sure it would be useful in my system but I don't yet have the love for it I found for Mangrove -- most of the demos are "check out how noisy and nasty this thing gets!" or "check out how normal it can sound!" and what I want is somewhere in between.

DPO vs Hertz Donut mk2: I do like the idea of having a West Coast complex oscillator, but I can't justify both. grin I like the idea of a DPO more, but in terms of demos I've heard, I have a slight preference for the HD -- but I haven't heard a shootout between them. Since I can put together the theoretical equivalent of a complex oscillator with my current gear, this is going to be more about playability and the experience of having it in one module; I want to get my hands on both of them to see, but I suspect the DPO would win that contest.

Twin Waves: this could be a third complex oscillator option, maybe...? The form factor is great. There aren't a ton of demos but in theory it seems like it should be VERY capable, and nobody who has one seems disappointed in the slightest. It also seems excellent at LFOs (particularly with the random modes). And it might give me enough of the Kermit-ish sound to scratch that itch.

Piston Honda mk2 vs. P-239 Hyper Fist: wavetable fight. The PH didn't really grab me from demos, but my experience with the Kermit says I would probably actually like it a lot. The Hyper Fist has the other weird modes as well as aliasy, glitchy wavetables and the glitched-out-delay-thing; I'm just not sure I would get the same kind of dusty quality I get from the Kermit's sweet spots.

So my plan, tentatively, is this:

1. Find and absorb more demos.
2. Play with whatever of these I can when I get the chance -- Knobcon might be it, or Nerd Audio / Synth City while I'm there in the Chicago area.
3. Get Mangrove & Twin Waves.
4. Decide if I want to keep Kermit, if I still want a CO, if I still want a wavetable, and if I'm not already loaded up on oscillators at that point, think about Loquelic.
Funny, hours after posting that, I'm sitting here playing with Kermit and finding new things to love about it. I will definitely hold onto it for a while at least. grin

The other thoughts are still valid, but I might be less likely to go for one of the other wavetable options for quite some time.
i agree, the tuning is a pain, so i start with kermits melodie if i use it and tune the rest to kermit.
the knob are really like joysticks, a shame the pots arent bolted to the panel...maybe in a future version which also includes a fine tune mode smile
(definitely cant agree having dead space, i love the waves...)
Eh, sometimes I'm using Microbrute (which has a limited fine tune range) or Tides Parasite (where the FM knob doesn't fine tune without throwing off tracking), and sometimes I need to tune the two Kermit channels to each other.

But I think I've proven Kermit's awesomeness to myself all over again. Especially when doing non-V/OCT stuff it's just got so much flavor and those "dead spots" in the wavetable aren't as big a thing. It's a matter of playing to its strengths rather than thinking of it as a generic dual VCO. If I play with another wavetable synth in person and it's got a simlar character, it could dislodge the Kermit, otherwise it's going to stay.

I might also hang on to the Arcade Noise, for that matter. It's not always useful and sometimes is a pain -- but sometimes it produces just the right kind of glitchy modulation. I would probably like the Zorlon Cannon more, but that's also a lot more expensive and more HP and I'm not sure I would use it more frequently. For now I'll keep Arcade Noise up for trade for modules I am more confident about wanting, but once I start expanding if it's still in my rack I might hold on a while.
I listened to a whole bunch of demos, and have a firmer idea now.

DPO and Donut are off my list. I'm sure they're great modules but I feel like I can get in range of them with current gear, and even more so with the other picks on my list.

High priority: Mangrove, Loquelic, Just Friends. (The latter, I didn't really understand before -- but a comparison to Tides clued me in, and I'm investigating it a lot more closely now. In fact as I watch demos, I suspect some of the sounds on that album I liked were JF as much as Mangrove.)

Medium: Ladik S-210 switch, Wogglebug, Cinnamon, FM Aid, Ultrafold.

Lower/Questioned: Twin Waves, a wavetable module, Planar/other joystick/Lightplane.

With the high and medium priority stuff in place, I'm going to have to look at power requirements closely. And it won't surprise me if other needs come up (more VCAs, mixing/attenuation, etc.) but this plan leaves some room for them.
I had the thought this morning that Eurorack case sizes is a bit like aquarium sizes.

Noobs think that a smaller one is going to be cheaper and easier to deal with -- but a smaller aquarium has much less stable biochemistry and temperature and is more prone to being wiped out by small mistakes or shorter power failures, as well as restricting fish choices to fewer, smaller and more placid (less territorial and less skittish) species. Over the long run it isn't markedly any cheaper than a more moderate size.

Modular synths don't have biochemistry to worry about hihi but it does restrict module choices and opportunity, and puts too much of an emphasis on size, rather than fun/functionality and cost. 16 2hp modules jammed into one case costs more than 16 Doepfer or Ladik modules in a bigger case and needs the same power.

Anyway. I got started a little bit down the wrong road by thinking I was going to do everything in one row. My current modules are serving me pretty well, but I could probably do a bit of optimizing, both in terms of not trying so hard to conserve space, and replacing modules with ones that likely better fit how I wind up actually using them.
Reading back over this, I can't believe I was saying such mean things about Kermit only a couple of weeks ago hihi I use it in everything and I love the sound. The knobs are just annoying. smile

I'm replacing most of my variety of patch cables with Modular Addict braided cables. (Keeping my few Stackables and other passive splitters, and my longest Erthenvar cables for 0-Coast/Euro links.) No kinks, not too much curve while hanging from the cable hanger, good behavior while patched, and a consistent look. I'll be selling off the replaced cables in a batch for not much more than shipping.

My current plans are:

-- continue doggedly waiting for Knobcon before buying modules. I'm still learning things about what I have and researching what I don't, so it's all good.

-- Priority One is shared between Just Friends and Synchrodyne Expand.

-- Springray II is high on my list once I have those two (assuming it's available by then). It falls squarely in the "things to experiment with that aren't adequately modeled in software" category, and drones and feedback are always good. smile

-- once I get a better feel for my sound source situation after the top priority stuff, the contenders are Loquelic, Mangrove, and (more distantly) Twin Waves. I may find myself not really needing any of them or I might collect them all.

-- Cinnamon is likely, but I'll see how I feel about it with the Synchrodyne Expand in place.

-- Ultrafold and/or FM Aid are sliding off the map again -- with the options I have they seem redundant. Tides, 0C, SD+E, Loquelic all have folders and Mangrove practically does.

-- utilities are wait-and-see as well. I might want a mixer for Just Friends for instance. Ladik S-210 sequential switch and J-120 comparator both could have homes in my rack. I may need more VCAs, and even after Just Friends I might want another slope generator.

-- there will likely be some performance controllers of some sort -- switches, joysticks, a small performance mixer, maybe FSRs or Lightplane/Lightstrip. Perhaps a "one knob changes everything" module like Cold Mac, Frames, or Rxmx. Probably not a lot of this stuff but some will be helpful. The division between my DAW-sequenced tracks and the ones where I live-wiggle has been breaking down.
Today is National Buy A Musical Instrument Day. Thanks for the excuse, whoever came up with that! I broke my wait-for-Knobcon pledge and bought a Synchrodyne Expand. Mr. Green

This means I have to pull not just the blank panels, but the Arcade Noise to make space. It's okay though.

Originally this was going to be a Mutable Instruments-centered rack, but now the balance tilts decidedly in favor of WMD. Mannequins is likely to nearly catch up with Mutable too, eventually.
starthief wrote:
Today is National Buy A Musical Instrument Day. Thanks for the excuse, whoever came up with that! I broke my wait-for-Knobcon pledge and bought a Synchrodyne Expand. Mr. Green

This means I have to pull not just the blank panels, but the Arcade Noise to make space. It's okay though.

Originally this was going to be a Mutable Instruments-centered rack, but now the balance tilts decidedly in favor of WMD. Mannequins is likely to nearly catch up with Mutable too, eventually.

Not so sure about Mannequins catching up to Mutable. Not that it is a race, and I would like to see them make more personally, but I'm not so sure we will ever see the kind of development from them we do from Mutable. MI develops and releases frequently comparatively. This is based solely on patterns I've observed over the past few years.

On another subject, I keep waffling on whether or not to go to Knobcon. I live in NYC and a little more than a Month after Knobcon is Machines in Music, which seems to grow each year. But it would be cool to meet a bunch of folks.
dysonant wrote:
Not so sure about Mannequins catching up to Mutable. Not that it is a race, and I would like to see them make more personally...

I meant in my rack, not in general. grin I briefly had 50hp of Mutable modules, but am down to 38hp. Of course, Frames and/or the "better than Clouds" module Olivier hinted at for the future, would change things again hihi

dysonant wrote:
On another subject, I keep waffling on whether or not to go to Knobcon. I live in NYC and a little more than a Month after Knobcon is Machines in Music, which seems to grow each year. But it would be cool to meet a bunch of folks.

It'll be my first synth-related event, so I can't say. Chicago's a convenient daytrip for me (I've been many times for other events), and if I don't set my entire budget on fire at the con itself, there's Nerd Audio and SynthCity to check out while I'm there.

I kinda wanted to go to Moogfest but that was much more of an investment for both travel and registration.
starthief wrote:
I meant in my rack, not in general. grin

d'oh! That makes a lot more sense.
Synchrodyne Expand has arrived.

SD & Expand are such an awesome combination for experimenting. SlayerBadger! The main module on its own is capable, as I've learned recently, of doing some relatively tame things and can sneak toward East or West coast tendencies while remaining its own beast. The expansion is just so much more stuff -- more outputs, more inputs and control, another oscillator and a differently behaving PLL that's wide open to messing with, a clock mixer, compressor and a secondary filter.

I actually find myself wishing input 2 had a second VCA too, though breaking normalled connections to insert an external VCA is no big deal. Often it requires an external VCA anyway to mute the filter if it's self-resonating.

It's going to take some time to learn it a little better, but I feel like the combination can go beyond mortal comprehension hihi If I should want to expand beyond 9U in the future, I might do it by moving the SD & Expand into a lunchbox with a Rampage or similar, with VCA & utility tiles.
I've been thinking about the direction I'd like my music to go, based on what I find enjoyable to listen to (among my own music and others'). The best music is fun to make and enjoyable later.

I find I don't actually like a lot of West Coast style music. Subotnick, Ciani, Cortini... it just doesn't excite me. There are a few moments of great sound, and a few songs on a few albums that I enjoy. But as a genre I'm just not into it. Wavefolders, FM and LPGs sure, but not the style overall and not imitating Buchla or Serge specifically.

I also find that electronic percussion is doing less for me than it once did and I'm leaning more toward "ambient" styles (dark, drone, or not). Abusing the word Eno coined, for lack of a better term. Some of my favorite music lately has been Nathan Moody's Etudes I: Blue Box and Benge's Minimalist Work (Sustained Tone Branch). I don't set out to imitate them, but there are some similar aesthetics anyway. And Blue Box did inspire me to look deeper into Mannequins modules.

So these thoughts are bouncing around in my head as I make music and as I decide the future of my Eurorack setup.

A 2hp Freez should be arriving tomorrow (I sold a long-unused fuzz pedal to fund it). It may or may not become a favorite, but at the price and size, it can't hurt to try.

The Orgone Accumulator came to my attention and quickly convinced me it's likely The One For Me -- more so than Loquelic, Hertz Donut, Piston Honda, Twin Waves or the rest. So that one and Just Friends are now my top priority for the start of row 3.

Secondary are Springray 2 and Cold Mac (which I think will bring a lot of good mojo in a smaller size than Frames, Planar etc).

Beyond that is wait-and-see, though Mangrove and the Ladik S-210 are contenders. I also feel like I want to tighten up and possibly swap out some of my current gear, but for the most part, the modules I don't love are tiny and still useful, so there might not be any major changes there. I could actually see going from O_C to a more immediate envelope generator (just as O_C replaced Peaks) but that will depend on available space and perhaps on how I find myself using Just Friends.
I'm enjoying the Freez and thinking about maybe getting a second one for stereo or for more complex glitches. But I'm holding off for the moment.

Rails/bracket for my third row, threaded strips and screws are arriving this week. Goodbye, sliding nuts... I hope.

Trouble on the -12V rail: ModularGrid shows I'm at 606mA, but uZeus is rated for a meager 500mA. I haven't run into any trouble so far, but I bet I will as I add more modules.

My best bet may simply be adding another uZeus or similar to split the load. Another option though is a small powered case, like a Doepfer A-100LC1, Synthrotek Power Lunch, or Pulp Logic LBZ42 or LBZ54. Most of those options give me a tile row or two as well. However, I would still be balanced on the edge of too much on the -12V rail and would need to choose future modules very carefully. I'm probably better off with more robust power.
Look into Synthrotek Super Power modules. They have some of the best mA/$ ratios and three different output ratings to choose from. If you diy then it's an even better price.

Synthrotek also has Case Power where you can choose to have 3u, 1u or case side power entry.
One Super Power Green would easily cover my needs. Shame it doesn't work with the uZeus Boost brick. I could set the uZeus aside for a second case or to resell later though. Hmm.
I didn't realize that TipTop Z-Rails came with threaded strips already. If I had, I'd have gone for them in the first place over Synthrotek -- there's the price difference right there. And now I have an extra pair of threaded strips. d'oh!

But neither the rails nor ears came with the M4 screws needed to mount them, so it's off to the hardware store. Maybe while i'm there I can find a decent driver for M3 screws that's not just an Allen key.
Also worth mentioning: 20mm M4 screws are too long. Z-rails are only tapped to about 14mm.

The Synthrotek rails aren't tapped at all and rely on the INCLUDED screws to do the job, so that was unexpected.
All settled, and now I have 9U... with 6U of modules in it for a while, and a lot of funny looking gaps where I intend to place specific modules. Even though I may wind up rearranging everything again anyway. hihi

It feels different to have modules in different order/position from where they've been for the last few months. It makes me think that even with a full, well-established system just playing module Tetris with it leads to some new techniques and ideas.
I've decided to upgrade my audio interface from a Komplete Audio 6 to a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. 8 analog inputs instead of 4 (and all 8 gain knobs on the front panel), 10 analog outputs instead of 4, an almost perfect form factor and panel layout for my purposes, and universally solid reviews. The only downside is AC coupled outputs; I'll either need to rig up some cables, use the ES-1 emulation on the Disting or get an ES-3 (which this interface will make possible!) if I want to take advantage of Silent Way.

If MOTU had a better reputation, I might have considered an 828 mk2; they're cheaper and DC-coupled. But I've read a lot from unhappy former owners.

Since I'm using O_C to cover a lot of my envelope needs, I kind of wonder about going the Silent Way route for that instead. Right now I typically have a single "Sound" (channel) in Maschine rigged to send MIDI to the CV.OCD and to receive audio; I found I can drop Silent Way and the AC encoder onto the same channel and have it generate envelopes without needing to sequence it separately. It's just that with the KA6, I only had two outputs available for that (and if so, no external processing of ITB audio).

Even if I decide against using Silent Way, I should be able to remove some stuff from the audio path and my desk, and tidy up a little.
My Saffire arrived... and I can't get the FireWire adapter to work. very frustrating

My computer does have an integrated FireWire 400 port, but of course the cable I have is 400-to-800 and nobody locally has any kind of FireWire cables, much less a 15 foot 400-to-400. So I'm waiting for one from Amazon that should arrive Saturday.

Meanwhile I've got the Saffire uselessly set up. Rather than tear down a rack again and redo all the cables, I've just got my KA6 and headphones hooked back up, so I can still do some gaming or software-only music.
The cable solved the problem -- either that card I bought was defective or incompatible. So I'm all set back up again.

I also have a Fireboard Blue PCI card coming that might or might not reduce latency compared to the onboard adapter. The ASIO settings in MixControl are a bit vague about what "low" and "medium" latency mean but I hope to switch it to "low" if I can.
Here's my current thinking, with planned modules highlighted:

Super Power is on the way to replace my uZeus and pave the way for new modules, and maybe clear up some minor issues I'm having. I expect I'm getting a raise on my next paycheck, and to celebrate I'll get myself Twin Waves. w00t I expect to let go of 2hp LFO shortly after that arrives.

I'm actually a bit anxious about having every last HP planned out. But there are some other redundancies and uncertainties here which could free up space.

For instance: if I get Rampage, I might not need Mini-Slew, in which case I wouldn't need Gozinta so much (I mostly use it to boost trigger voltage) and have a stronger argument for InOut. Otherwise, maybe a second Mini-Slew. But Just Friends might alleviate that desire anyway depending on how I find myself using it.

I want to play with both Erbe-Verb and Cold Mac in person before committing to them. As I continue to find more focus in my musical style, I want to strike the right balance between core modules and more experimental things.

I often feel like Synchrodyne + Expand (and to a lesser extent, Rings) takes up a lot of HP for being outside that core. But I'd probably miss them if I sold them, and with more familiarity I might find them more essential. Right now, it is only curiosity that would have me expanding any further than the current plan or needing to clear some things out to make room. Most likely as the 9U approaches fullness, I'll pause again, and then consider a Lunchbox Zissou with spring tank to allow room for that curiosity and a slow churn of experimental modules.
After tonight's wiggling:

-- Gozinta will saturate stuff just fine, given the right source material. I think unless I swap out the Mini Slew, I'll keep it instead of bothering to switch to the (larger anyway) InOut.

-- I keep finding myself patching all four envelopes in Piqued to one or two triggers for various modulation, and then almost running out of envelopes. I probably should push Just Friends ahead of Twin Waves for priority, because it would work with that pattern very nicely (as well as the other cool things it does). And then I can make the Rampage vs. Mini Slew decision (or Quadra, Pip Slope, whatever).

-- The idea of core modules/techniques vs. experimental ones is probably almost a false dichotomy that I managed to build up in my head as a response to a near-argument elsewhere about modular.
:cough: So I'm getting a Frequency Central System X ADSR (used) and a Befaco Rampage (July 4 sale). Selling my 2hp LFO. That should fix my envelope shortage for the moment.

Once I've settled in with that I'll decide if I want to keep the O_C and/or Mini-Slew (and Gozinta) or replace them.

I'm setting aside the plan to get a Just Friends, unless I happen to stumble into a golden opportunity to pick up a used one. They are too much in demand and pretty pricey.

Twin Waves is back to top priority. Between the new wavetable mode in Disting, and Twin Waves, I might feel that Kermit is redundant. Or I might not.

I'll be sure to play with as much as I can at Knobcon to firm up any other plans.
After some messing with the new envelope modules and comparing to the old ones, here's what I think :

-- I love the System X ADSR. As the cliche goes, it just works. Super easy to dial in and get great results with any of my VCAs/LPGs. The Inv output is handy too.

-- Rampage is great. The rising/falling outputs, min, max and comparator are all as fantastic as I'd hoped. I haven't really tested it yet, but based on a little playing and some things I've read, it has much more hope of tracking 1V/OCT over at least a bit of range than the Mini-Slew.

-- Mini-Slew is still great. Some things it does better or "usefully differently" than the Rampage: CV over shape for instance, cycling without also needing to trigger, and tricks with the built-in VCA, and not retriggering with lower voltage triggers during the falling stage. And in the short bit of testing I did, it seems easier to slew pitch CV and have the output still be in tune.

-- EON is useful, and I'd say that even it were just the envelope. The square oscillator makes it an easy choice. (The noise is something I rarely use.)

-- Tides... when it's NOT an envelope, it's 14HP of pure joy. When it's an envelope I just kind of find it awkward.

-- O_C. As powerful as Piqued is, I mostly used it for basic ADSR or AD envelopes. And while it's friendlier to use than Peaks for my tastes, it's not as immediate and intuitive to me as the SysX or Rampage or Mini-Slew. I feel like I don't usually get good results from the Sputnik in VCA mode with it. Given the small size of my system and the ways I've been using it, I don't think the other apps justify the space as they do for many people.

I've given up on Just Friends since demand exceeds supply, and I'm not sure I'd like it for envelopes anyhow since I don't like Tides for envelopes.

So my thought is:

-- plan to sell the O_C, but don't yet unless a great trade opportunity comes up.
-- sit with the modules I have for a few weeks. See what my envelope need/wants are without Piqued.
-- try some stuff at Knobcon / Chicago modular stores. Particularly: Skis, Quadra, Sinclastic Empulatrix.
-- if I don't wind up with a Quadra, or (surprise) Maths or Double Andore or something, I figure I'll probably get at least one more System X ADSR.
hihi Screw patience, I'm trading the O_C for a Sinclastic Empulatrix. w00t
Even with O_C gone and the SincEmpu still on its way, I feel like I'm in a good place for envelopes now. Rampage's ability to blend and balance its outputs, as well as generating multiple gates for other envelopes, are serving me really well.

I've decided to let go of the Synchrodyne+Expand. It's a wonderful experimental module, and it does some things really well but it's not a great fit for the way my music has evolved. I have more specific wants now, and am trading some experimental breadth for more depth within that area. I might pick up an A-196 later for occasional PLL weirdness though.

I'm also feeling more love for wavetables these days, thanks to the latest Disting firmware and the realization that two favorite VST synths are wavetable-based. Piston Honda is now a serious consideration. E350 never really grabbed my ears and might be a bit too tame, and Shapeshifter just does not appeal to me. But I need to look into Erica BWT, Bang, the Beast-Tek stuff and play with Sheep some more.

[EDIT: it's really down to PH mk2 and Erica. PH because I hear it has the Kermit sort of sound, it's got three axes and the waveshaping capability, and the Erica because from demos it sounds like the actual tables are fantastic.]

[EDIT EDIT: E352 pre-ordered. I kind of ignored it before because the E350 didn't excite me but there are some seriously hot demos from the beta testers, and the wavetable editing software looks even better than the Serum editor and I'll be able to put EXACTLY what I want into the thing. cool
It's quite possible that many of the other sound sources I want to evaluate just won't seem important once this thing is in the rack, which would be nice.]

I still plan to pick up Twin Waves next (unless I stumble into a good trade for the Synchrodyne+Expand).
Busy day!

Pre-ordered E352.

Wrote up a not-really-a-manifesto about my musical direction and gear thoughts.

Sold Synchrodyne & Expand while I was still doing the post-production on the last track that used it.

Shuffled my rack -- right now I only have about 1.5 rows of stuff in it and it looks so empty!

Bought Twin Waves and a Doepfer A-196. cool cool cool
Sinclastic Empulatrix is pretty rad. It seems like a simple AD envelope generator and a weird clipping VCA on the surface, but in gate mode it can also do direct VCA control or slew, and with negative trigger voltages it can go sort-of-but-not-quite-linear instead of exponential. I've already found several instances where running one part of a voice through SE and another through an LPG and mixing them yields nice results. I wouldn't want all my envelopes to be like this but it's good to have one around.

Twin Waves is somewhat similar, and kind of MUCH different, from what I expected. I was kind of thinking it was somewhere between a Braids and a mini West Coast complex oscillator. But the BXZ FM is really gnarly and noisy, and the regular FM is subtle and noisy (in a "low sample rate" sort of way) and it just doesn't get there. But it's quite powerful and I love it. Very versatile without the FM and cross-patching, and extremely complex and capable of anything from gentle to really harsh digital madness with that.

Doepfer A-196 PLL is almost entirely unlike the PLLs in Synchrodyne & Expand (which are a bit different from each other). The MylarMelodies video about it was helpful, though I've had no success getting it to multiply the frequency as in the example. (But Tides and Kermit can both do that anyhow, as can slew limiters within a narrow range.) I've gotten some cool noises out of it though grin It's tempting me more toward a sequential switch or perhaps a Befaco Sampling Modulator, but I suspect getting it to cooperate with the Rampage will be really fruitful anyway.

There will be many more hours of exploring both the TW and the PLL before I feel like I've mastered them.

As for other plans now:

-- My Kermit is quite safe for now. It's the frozen yogurt shop to Twin Waves' Chinese buffet, or something like that.

-- Given how noisy and complex the TW can get, it can occupy similar territory to Noise Engineering offerings (particularly Loquelic). Which makes me think that Mangrove and/or DPO are likely to be the last sound source I pick up for a while, with perhaps Erbe-Verb as the other Big Thing. Though I will keep my ears open for other clean FM options.
Newly acquired stuff:

-- 2hp Comb: hmmm. I need to spend more time with it. For Karplus-Strong stuff, it seems modulating Damp with an envelope is key to keeping it under control. Pitch slew (which I understand is necessary to stop really nasty instability) limits its usefulness some. For other effects, I'm not sure about it yet.

-- FM Aid: oh hell yes. Instant winner. I probably need to calibrate mine, but even without it does some nice folding, FM-ish stuff, slower phase modulation, and nasty distortion. I think I'm calling off my search for an analog wavefolder now.

Burning anticipation:

-- E352. Is it September yet? I suspect this is going to be the centerpiece of my rack.

How the old stuff is getting along:

-- Twin Waves isn't likely to be a main voice very much -- its FM is a hot mess and it's overall a bit more East Coast than I tend to go for. Instead, it's the trusty assistant who can do anything. Throw me an LFO? Some noise? A clean saw? A complex twisty thing for fierce audio rate modulation? No problem.

-- Kermit stays. <3 Limited wavetable? Don't care, the E352 will deal with that. But freaking sine waves that stay crunchy in milk? Oh yes.

-- A-196... kind of a "unless I get desperate for space" thing. I'm not as pleased with it as the PLLs from Synchrodyne (but this is much smaller and cheaper) but it can still do the semi-unison-square thing and some other tricks.

-- Warps has slipped from its honored place. It's not really the best wavefolder, and doesn't take audio rate modulation that well for Timbre CV. But it's still a shiny TZPM sine oscillator, and a few more tools that are occasionally useful.

Future acquisitions:

-- No actual needs! I'll still do some module speed dating to see if I fall in love with a few things that intrigue me though. I could begin 2018 with 60HP still open, or I could wind up playing rack Tetris to fit a DPO, Erbe-Verb and Frames in there. hihi

-- Frames particularly: likely a game changer, it's just a question of whether I'd prefer the new game or the old one. Hands-on wiggling should help me decide.

-- BIA is on my short list to check out. I suspect it might suit my new style very well for basses and melodic bits and occasional not-too-drummish rhythmic stuff. Mangrove too; it's either going to be too exactly between 0-Coast and Tides to justify getting one, or I'll decide that makes it perfect and a must-have. But I really only need so many sound sources.

-- The last "fix this" module for me is DPLPG. If either of the new floating LPGs behave better with Rampage and with low-voltage CV signals I might get those instead, otherwise LxD eventually. Low priority though.

-- Modulation? I don't care about random that much, and don't need more LFOs. If I had another envelope or two I'd probably use it though.
The Comb is definitely for sale. Warps is likely to be, depending on whether it passes the trials I'm about to put it through.

I picked up a Circuit Abbey G8 and have been playing with it quite a bit.

While I'm still solidly a fan of DAW sequencing, now I see some benefits of modular sequencing too. Clock division has some interesting uses alongside DAW sequencing, but also I see myself doing a little melodic sequencing in the rack on occasion. (And I have this image of myself with a second case, with PP/Brains in it... it could happen one day.)

I was already thinking about a small matrix or stereo mixer to give me better access to my audio interface. But now I'm thinking of also keeping sequencing from the G8 in mind when I do so. That'd be a more flexible, and possibly cheaper, solution than getting the Intermix expander.

Of course the G8 is also good at audio rates for harmonic division, multiplication when paired with the A-196, noise generation and other fun things.

Frames seems like a better idea every day, and I fully expect that post-Knobcon I will go for:

-- mixer for multiple purposes
-- Frames
-- a small filter
-- one sound source

And have maybe a little bit of space left in the rack for future developments/GAS. Assuming I don't find any other must-have items at Knobcon, which is probably not a safe assumption. hihi
Thats how it happened to me. When I got my doepfer system, I didn't know what at clock divider could be used for. Then I started clocking the A-160 with the gate output from the A-119's envelope follower. I used different divisions to trigger the S&Hs on the A-148.It was an easy way to get different but related stepped CVs. I was hooked.

Now I do a lot of sequencing in the modular but mostly when I want to be able to interact with sequences in ways that are difficult in the DAW. Brains/Pressure Points, with an 8 step trigger sequencer, a clock divider, an A-151 and a quantizer, make up one of my favorite combinations. Since Pressure Points has three channels, you can use the sequential switch to create 8/12 step sequences with one, or 16/24 steps sequences with two PPs. You can also use the sequential switch as a kinda flip-flop or to route different clocks to Brains. There are just so many cool ways to hook that stuff up.

When I finally understood Frames, it was like a huge revelation. I use mostly use it the same way that I use Pressure Points, as a set of presets or macro parameters, if you know what I mean. Rather than sequencing notes, you can sequence the state of the whole patch. The interpolation that Frames does means that you can do smooth transitions by modulating with a ramp or abrupt changes with stepped modulation. And it's a bunch of VCAs... Paired with Tides? Pfft!

There are a lot of ways to approach sequencing in modular, and modules can be useful in different/surprising ways, at different time scales. Like using the first step of a sequence to trigger a clock divider at a very slow rate, so that you can trigger an event to occur every 5 bars and another to occur every 8. Or using digital noise with an And gate to get bursts of pulses that always happen in time with a clock or rhythmic gate.

Geez, did I really write all that?
thumbs up

I feel like I finally grasp the possibilities of modular sequencing. Sure it has limits that a piano roll in software doesn't, but it also has all these cool possibilities too. Not all of it is just workarounds for limitations like I first thought.
OK, Warps is safe at least for the moment. Its TZPM is really super-shiny and glassy in a good way. FM Aid is what I'd call meaty, when not downright noisy. Rings FM mode is something else, also pretty clean but not quite so sparkly. Warps' wavefolding isn't the best for some signal types but it does often serve well for TZPM -> wavefolding -> LPG stuff.

But I'll put it on trial again when the E352 is in place because guess what else does phase modulation, 2-op FM and wavefolding? grin

I did a lot more research into Eurorack sequencing today. I were to leap into it, I'd go straight for Rene. But really I'm just going knee-deep smile Frames does sequencing too, so I think I'm pretty well covered.

If I do wind up getting a mixer, it'll likely be a Bastl ABC -- small and cheap, capable of doing stereo mixing or 6 steps for G8. But I don't strictly need a mixer for my last two interface inputs -- I can route/pan them in software, and so far I haven't even used them and was only slightly tempted to set it up once in the last 33 songs I recorded. So I'll hold off a while yet.
I've been daydreaming about DPO lately, but just as before, in checking out demos and songs I find myself falling in love with the Hertz Donut mk2 instead.

So now my main priorities to investigate at Knobcon are Frames, Donut and DPO, but I expect I'll go with Frames/Donut. I have some secondary options to check out too, but most of that is "replace X with Y" possibilities or more specialized toys.
Filter FM jawdrop

I just got some fantastic FM tones out of Kermit + Three Sisters, and so Warps goes on the block after all. And I have a new love for filters and am more likely to pick up a second one than I was an hour ago, West Coast bias or no. Mr. Green
Your discipline for relative efficiency is admirable and I'm enjoying reading the process of acquisition and elimination in order to remain constrained in the space you've given yourself. Time for me to go to Page 1 and start reading where this journey began. Thanks for maintaining the reports.
Mr. Green I do want to keep my modular system lean and mean, and strike a balance between focusing on the kind of music I want to make, and having some room to experiment a bit.

For about a year before I got into Eurorack, I had very limited space and a few desktop synths along with a large collection of software, and software-oriented habits. I also was recording at least one song a week. That combination influenced the way I work with gear and what I think about keeping it vs. replacing it.

For space reasons I had to put synths away when not working with them, and I was working pretty quickly -- so I got into a flow of finishing songs in 1-2 sessions and unpatching everything in between. That's carried through to today, even though I have more desk space and I don't have to clear gear out of the way anymore.
Sometimes whim beats discipline. I was going to sell my Warps to make space, but traded it for a Grendel Formant Filter instead. hihi It wasn't something on my radar, but it seemed like an interesting possibility.

The freedom to do stuff like that is part of why I'm a bit nervous about filling the last few HP in my rack. With Frames and HD mk2, which I'm pretty sure I will wind up getting, that space is going to close rapidly. I think this means I'll have to get a second case sometime in the future. Just a small one... seriously, i just don't get it

I'm also interested in a Kamieniec or A-125 -- I only occasionally use phasers in software, but the ability to modulate them with something other than their own LFO intrigues me. Including audio rate, even though I might be beating the FM/PM horse a little more than necessary. Mr. Green

And I kind of want an O'Tool Plus, even though I have a pocket oscilloscope. I pretty much only pull it out for troubleshooting, confusion or occasionally for new modules, and I'm probably missing some insights by not having visual feedback on control signals or audio more often.

And I want to try dueling Tides. help
Have you tried the phaser on Disting? Thinking about it, I don't think *I* ever have but maybe it'd give some sense of what you might get from a dedicated phaser....?

I've always wanted to try Tides + Just Friends myself. Kinda similar but very different, figure they could play really nicely together but hard to justify in a limited set up and my GF would kill me if I go beyond 12U...
Oh, good point! I only tried Disting's phaser briefly when I first got it. It tended to blow up with feedback really quickly if I remember right and sounded pretty terrible, but it's likely worth some further exploration.
Thanks again for the suggestion -- with appropriate settings for the job, and appropriate voltage ranges for the CV, Disting's phaser is pretty good.

For audio-rate PM for instance, a simpler carrier signal works best, and boosting the amplitude of the modulator while lowering the Y offset in Disting helps maximize the strength of modulation.

I'll still check out other Eurorack phasers if I get the chance, but I'm raising the bar for how good they'll have to be to join my club wink
So much for patience; I just pulled the trigger on Frames and Hertz Donut mk2. cool It was a good opportunity though, and I think I'll be quite happy.

This is what I'll have once everything arrives:

The Grendel Formant Filter arrived today. First thoughts: cool, a little untamable in some ways, definitely not a typical filter.

Get some interrelated modulation in there -- for instance, both halves of Kermit, tempo-synced and cross-modulating each other -- and it does pretty great things to drones.

I don't know if I'll hang onto this in the long term but it's fun for now grin

Frames and Hertz Donut should arrive Saturday. Hopefully they will, instead of being delayed until Tuesday by the postal holiday...
One thing about the Grendel filter: it could comfortably be 6HP instead of 14HP, at the cost of more depth. There's a lot of blank panel not doing anything but reflecting light, but the size/X/Y knobs are as close together as any smaller module, and quite close to the right edge.

Still, the sound is valid. grin

I haven't shared much of my music through this thread, but here's Tides through GFF with Kermit and Rampage on modulation duty. Second voice is Three Sisters self-oscillating through Rings, sequenced by G8/3xMIA.

Normally I don't use a lot of LFOs. For this I did. I was already starting to think about putting the 2hp LFO back in my rack since it's not selling. I'll probably go ahead and do that unless I wind up needing every last HP.
starthief wrote:

I haven't shared much of my music through this thread, but here's Tides through GFF with Kermit and Rampage on modulation duty. Second voice is Three Sisters self-oscillating through Rings, sequenced by G8/3xMIA.

You're wringing some great "wahheeeoooeuuuhh" out of that GFF thumbs up What's making the hard-blown flute sound at 2:35?

Have you seen the demo video where they visualize navigating the GFF vowel table? I've been wondering what it would sound like to patch an envelope to X, and a delayed (optionally inverted) copy of the envelope to Y. That should help get some of those diphthongs they show in the video.
That flute sound is Three Sisters through Rings, just hitting a lucky combination of LFO modulation. The All output of Three Sisters distorts some, and I'm modulating span and frequency while gating the Q to make it self-oscillate. Rings' structure and position are also under modulation.

I've seen that video and it's making me think about picking up a Lightplane or a joystick or something. (I'm really surprised there's not a standalone CV joystick for modular...)

But I figure I should be able to set up Frames to get some nice vowel movements out of the GFF grin
Great stuff! This is an epic journey.
starthief wrote:
I've seen that video and it's making me think about picking up a Lightplane or a joystick or something. (I'm really surprised there's not a standalone CV joystick for modular...)

There is the Reon Drift Box J, but it's pricey and I'm not sure where you would find one.

If you are inclined to DIY, there are DIY joystick projects, which could easily be built into a project enclosure.
Planar can get you a long way there - two CV outs plus the "sense gate" can do some really interesting things. It's basically a slew detector hooked into the joystick so it puts out a gate when the stick is moving and then stops the gate when the stick stops.

Frames is awesome though - one of my favourite modules.
Frames and Donut arrived this morning, but I had a thing to go to so I have only spent a few hours with them.

Frames: I delayed getting this because I used to think 18HP was big, and also wasn't sure I'd like the way it works.

Now: it's the perfect size, and it pulls its weight. I should have had one all along. I frequently will take a single trigger and run multiple envelopes off of it for a single voice; I can do the same with one envelope into Frames.

As far as how it works goes: mostly good, but there are a couple of things I'd change if I could. I wish, when adding a keyframe, it kept whatever the interpolated value was at that position as the default, if you don't turn the knob. That'd make it easier to set up another channel after one or more are already done.

My first thought was, I'm just going to use regular keyframer mode and not mess with the crazy button combos to go into sequencer mode, nor install Parasite. But after another look through the Parasite page I might after all -- autoplay mode seems nifty and mode switching seems much easier.

It occurs to me that a Frames 2.0 would probably be easier with an OLED display that graphs the four channels over time. It'd also allow much clearer mode/option selection (for setting interpolation/response curves, etc.)

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining -- like I said earlier, I think it's a really useful module.

Donut: It's powerful and versatile for sure. The FM is great and some combinations of modulation are pretty fantastic. But at the same time, I understand why some people don't get along with its sound. I feel like I'm starting to get a better handle on it, but I will be scouting Knobcon for a possible replacement anyway, just in case. I could see myself deciding I like DPO better, or Loquelic or any number of other things. Meanwhile I'll be exploring it plenty until then.
So it looks like you did end up getting the FM Aid? I find it pretty versatile and am using it with my newly acquired Doepfer A-184-2 to fade between its outputs.
MindMachine wrote:
So it looks like you did end up getting the FM Aid? I find it pretty versatile and am using it with my newly acquired Doepfer A-184-2 to fade between its outputs.

Yep! I like it. I'm not absolutely certain it will stay in the long term -- because as much as I love FM/phase modulation/etc. I feel like I have an excess of options in my rack.

But it's small, and it has some other tricks up its sleeve besides phase modulation... it occurs to me I should see whether it partners well with Hertz Donut, since there's just one sine/triangle/saw output per oscillator and this could make some dirty variations to crossfade between. thumbs up
I went ahead with Frames Parasite, and after reverting to 1.1 (because the wraparound was causing trouble) I'm pretty pleased with it. I've used it a little for sequencing and put together a fun little jam with the Euclidean mode as well (which I didn't record).

I'm getting a bit more into Donut, and have a better feel for what it can do for me and what it needs. Overall, I don't find myself wanting to use it as much for the sort of sounds I loved in other peoples' demos, but it works well for my purposes thanks to its TZFM. The discontinuity is hit-and-miss (sometimes great with modulation, sometimes better off static, and sometimes better off out of the loop).

At Knobcon I'll look into the DPO and other options, just to make sure I'm not missing something that suits my music better. But most likely I'll stick with the Donut and go for an analog wavefolder and a lowpass filter to complement it. (Three Sisters, with a resonance that never quite goes away, isn't ideal for just rolling off the digital noise on gentler sounds.)

I feel like the Grendel Formant Filter works best when a patch is built around it, not when used casually. I'm going to hold onto it at least until I get my E352, because it might be magical with the Cloud+Morph mode. But it's on probation.
Knobcon, Day 1:

This is my first synth-related con, meet, or otherwise being in the presence of modular synths that aren't in my own home, ever. I've been to many SF/fantasy cons though, and a couple of game development cons... so I guess some of that sort of translates?

There's not as much to see on Friday as the rest of the con. Exhibitors are getting set up and things just aren't open... but there are tantalizing peeks at rooms full of wonderful toys, and gear being shuffled around.

There's registration, and a swag bag with some cool stuff including a couple of PCBs and blank panels (as well as the more expected stickers and postcards).

Then there's the reception. Or really, a show -- four musicians taking their turns playing live, accompanied by visuals projected on the ceiling, in a big tent while the hotel serves alcohol.

First up was Eightch, who played techno (or... yeah, I'll just call it techno, I'm not good with identifying subgenres) on a table full of small Korg gear. A pair of Minilogues, a bunch of Volcas, etc. He had some wicked sounds going on, and it made me want a Minilogue just a bit. Uhoh, I can tell how this whole weekend is going to go... grin

I think, from Googling them, that the order they played didn't match what was listed. So I *think* the second performer was Nathan Hahn, on guitar and some synth gear and,.. honestly at that point I was engrossed in the stories a guy at the table was telling, and the music didn't really reach out and grab my attention from that. But then, it was ambient and it does that sometimes.

So that means third was Mike Perkins, who played a set that started droney and added some piano (which I thought started a little rough but grew in confidence) and then just went off into totally engaging Berlin School stuff at about the same time the visuals started doing these 70s/80s flying-through-a-tunnel graphics that just made me think of Dr. Who and I was totally hooked. Great stuff.

And then was Suit & Tie Guy. At this point I'd had enough of sitting and starting at the visuals on the ceiling, and his gear looked the coolest anyway with a big 5U setup and a whole bunch of keyboards old and new, so I got up for a close view. At that point I was tired, but I hung around for probably a full hour of his nonstop set and had to leave before he finished. Some slowly evolving and building stuff that went through many styles, and he tended it all like a gardener, adding looped parts and tweaking and holding long chords on the Hammond/Leslie and pretty much always doing something, even if it was subtle. When I wasn't mesmerized by the cascade of sequencer LEDs, it was fascinating to watch, and to recognize the skill. I really can't see myself performing like that -- I'm too much of a studio rat, too invested in avoiding repetition in my own music and tend more toward short pieces of music (most of my last few were under 2 minutes, and I actually think length is something I need to work on a bit more, while still accepting that some things should not be artificially extended beyond what feels natural). But I was never bored by STG's epic journey.

I'll probably write a lot less about performances today and tomorrow, and more about gear and what I've learned because that's the main reason I'm here. grin I do find my interest in non-Eurorack stuff building again though; I thought the Sub 37 sounded utterly fantastic and was impressed at what people did with Volcas...
Knobcon Day 2: GEAR!

Three rooms of exhibitors, plus the relatively empty but quiet Demo Derby room. Lots of people, lots more synths and modules and toys and sensory overload and Never maintain cash savings again Yes, it's a bit early right now but my ears and feet and whole body are worn out and it's break time.

Had some nice talks with various people, checked out some gear that was on my list and a lot that wasn't, and it looks like I'm going to come away from the con with a relatively unscathed bank account.

SynthCity's tables were particularly helpful since they had a couple of big racks with lots of gear for sale, and you could patch familiar with unfamiliar stuff for testing purposes. Quite a playground. On the other hand, some tables weren't properly set up for trying stuff easily (Modular Addict) or there were always extended conversations preventing anyone else from really getting near and having a chance (Doepfer) or crowded too much stuff into too little space so some things were inaccessible when others were demoing (Korg) or the exhibitor sat in the way jamming and didn't look like being interrupted with questions/demos (Tiptop). Maybe chalk some of that up to my own shyness and tiredness, but there it is. The Demo Derby room had a much more limited set of gear than I was expecting, but it was nice and quiet and everything was accessible eventually.

Impressions of things I tried:

Morphagene, Echophon: cool, but not really my thing.

DPO: capable of some reality-destroying sounds, but in some ways less intuitive than Hertz Donut (I thought) and not capable of the dynamic, melodic FM that Donut does. If I had (or wanted) a larger setup, it would still be under serious consideration though.

LxD, Optomix: honestly, I prefer my Sputnik and, for all its flaws being passive and all, my DPLPG.

Rabid Elephant Natural Gate: this is a lovely, 12HP, non-vactrol dual decay envelope/LPG. It's simple -- a switch to select between three responses, a bias and a decay time. It and Mangrove together were simply incapable of making sounds that didn't blow my socks off. And those were my favorite socks, too waah It's not out yet, but I'm going to keep an ear out for this one.

Mangrove: as I said above, very nice indeed. I may decide to get one in the future, but to me there's some overlap between it and Tides on one side, and Cursus on the other, so I am in no rush.

Basimilus Iteritas Alter: this is literally the only percussion module that interests me. I just don't do percussion much anymore -- but it's also nice for melodic and bass sounds, if you can manage to steer yourself away from incredible kick drums for five seconds hihi I may come back to this as a future choice.

Cursus Iteritas: oh yes. It can get nasty. It can be nice. Steven called it their underrated module, and Kris said it was her favorite even though the Loquelic is more popular. I have to agree. I picked up a "blemished" module -- a couple of almost microscopic white spots in the black finish -- at a discount and am eager to get it plugged in and wiggling.

Loquelic Iteritas: it's about 85% just not really my thing. It certainly does noisy, and it has some sweet spots that are exactly the right blend of brutal and mellow. But to me the Cursus is basically perfect.

VCV: yes, it's software... but I was blown away anyhow. It is FREE and open-source, with some additional modules at a reasonable price. It contains a bunch of "Audible Instruments" modules as well as Befaco and some Grayscale designs, and will also have some unique modules of its own. With a DC-coupled interface, it works interchangeably between Euro hardware and its internal modules -- when I was looking at it, there was a hardware Rampage clocking a software sequencer and modulating a software filter, with a hardware Even VCO in between, and a software VCA and filter and spring reverb. Around December it should also have a VST bridge and maybe Ableton Link. I'm excited for this like I thought I wouldn't be excited about software anymore.

uBraids: pretty fantastic, and gets into territories of mean I never expected. But with VCV on its way, I am going to wait before I make any decisions.

uTides: or whatever it's going to be called. There wasn't one at the show, but there's an 8hp DIY Tides coming down the line. There's also an 8hp Ornament & Crime ("μAggressions") as well as...

Plancks: yes, frankly I do think Frames in 8hp is just too small. seriously, i just don't get it

Utltrafold: tried it at the SynthCity table. I didn't really get along with it.

uFold II: also tried it at the SynthCity table. DID get along with it. I demoed it with Warps (as a familiar, basic sine/triangle source) and Zorlon Cannon and ADSRVCA. Good times.

MMF: a nice filter in 4hp but not really what I was looking for. Sadly, there weren't a lot of filters set up in places where I could demo them.

Korg Vox Continental: I have no need for this myself, but found it pretty tasty for organs, electric or acoustic pianos and a variety of other things. The sort of keyboard you own if you're in a bar band.

Korg Monologue: I didn't like it at all. It just didn't feel or sound good to me in any way.

Novation Ultranova: can sound pretty good, it's just not something I'm looking for. I didn't compete to get to the Peak or Circuit Monostation.

Yamaha Reface DX: It would be a poor fit for my studio, physically and philosophically. It's a lot friendlier to the touch than the Volca FM though, and sounds great. But it'd be kind of silly of me to get one.

Believotron: kind of like a less lo-fi Patchblocks. Not designed to work with Eurorack. I gave up on Patchblocks a couple of years ago and simply wrote VST plugins instead; the only thing that would interest me would be the ability to write code for a Euro module, or perhaps VCV being open source and all. So you could say I am Agnostitron.

Expressive E Touche: in the right hands (or left hand, see what I did there)? it's probably something special. It's not for me though.

Zorx Ring Leader: an Ondes Martenot-like ring controller on a belt/pulley system, with an FSR for gating. I thought it was a bit awkward, but a lot of that was the angle and trying to use it lying flat on too low a table. They also had a touch strip which worked... okayish, not the best for trills. It cured me of interest in touch strips. Mostly, I am not looking for performance controllers anyway.

Roland Boutique stuff and SE3: why so tiny? Bleah.

...see why I'm tired? This was a lot to cram into a few hours, with a break for lunch and a short mall crawl and so on. grin
As for my plans now:

-- Get the new stuff home and play with it. That leaves me with 5HP.

-- Dig my DI box back out and see how I like it for my other two audio interface inputs. Maybe spare myself the mixer I was thinking of getting.

-- Pass judgement on Grendel Formant Filter, Twin Waves and FM Aid, based on how well they work with and/or how redundant they are with other favored modules.

-- Wait and see what the price will be on Natural Gate and if I will want to spare 12HP for it (perhaps letting go of the DPLPG and/or Sinclastic).

-- See what I think of working with VCV, (A) given that I don't have a DC-coupled audio interface, and (B) maybe getting one if it seems worth it. The responses to this could range from "do nothing, but use it sometimes" (perhaps most likely) to "don't use it, and go ahead and get a uBraids" to "sell my MI and Befaco modules and get an awesome DC-coupled interface" (least likely). And maybe I'll end up developing modules for it.

-- Wait and see if I want that Mangrove, or I feel like I'm well covered.

-- If I have spare HP after all this, start filter shopping.
nice lead on the micro MI modules, very curious to see how μAggressions (good job whoever named this) takes shape. I've felt like o_C is the one module manspreading in my case, a little too much negative panel space for me...

any word on a μWarps while we're at it?
autopoiesis wrote:
nice lead on the micro MI modules...

IIRC, that was Michigan Synth Works who had those. A nice rack of matching panels for a bunch of Mutable builds and other things.

μAggressions seemed more logically laid out to me than o_C and not cramped at all. I don't remember now if the guy at the table said there's also a Temps Utile version, or if that's coming soon.

autopoiesis wrote:
any word on a μWarps while we're at it?

It wasn't mentioned. I don't think Warps could be shrunk to 4hp, maybe 6 but it doesn't seem as much worth the effort as other modules.
Knobcon Day 3:

I did try a little bit more gear Sunday morning before heading out early without going to any lectures, because I didn't sleep well at all and wanted to make sure fatigue wasn't going to get me on the drive home. I also kind of wanted to get home to play with my new toys. hihi

Volca FM: I thought I might love it for nostalgia reasons and growly basses and all, and for sequencing knob tweaks and stuff. Of course it's tiny and cheap. But I disliked the feel, and the sound didn't grab me like I thought it might.

Volca Kick: Boom! Sounded decent enough. I don't need it though, and if I did, I'd get BIA instead. SlayerBadger!

Reface DX, second take because I was half thinking about buying one: I don't like the touch sliders. It mostly seems easier to program than other hardware FM synths (aside from modular, which I find the easiest and most versatile) but still not really immediate. For DX nostalgia I will just stick with FM8.

Reface CP: Some ugly reverb, and disappointing sound and feel overall compared to the Vox Continental.

Reface CS: I liked this one more than I expected; more than the Roland and Korg stuff at the show. A lot of synth staple sounds with just a few simple controls, without it really feeling like a preset machine. There was a kind of joy in playing it that I might be missing a bit. I'm just not convinced it's something I'd want to use in my music regularly though.

WMD Chimera: A lot of the sounds I was getting sounded like pitched-down circuit bent toy stuff. Otherwise it was doing fairly respectable shakers and hi-hats. But it's not something I have a need for. (There might have been power or other issues with the little case this was in in the Demo Derby room, because the Mini-Slew was locked up and wouldn't trigger/cycle and I think one of the other modules wasn't working either.)

Novation Circuit: It was kind of fun to build a simple sequence in it, but I can't see myself seriously using it. "Kind of fun" musical toys don't hold my attention for long, I've found.


For the last few months Knobcon was my milestone; it was how I was going to make informed decisions. I went ahead and made some decisions beforehand, most of which turned out pretty well and all of which taught me something.

Now what's going to inform me the most is just digging in and getting cozy with the E352, Cursus, Donut and the rest -- as well as techniques involving more basic building blocks.

Natural Gate is probably insta-buy for me, but unless temptation (likely in the form of Black Friday/Christmas sales) strikes hard, I'll hold off on buying anything else for a bit. In the back of my mind there's a desire for BIA and possibly Mangrove.

I'll also hold off from trying out VCV for a while, and not replace my DAW yet either.

I'll be selling a couple of things though. In order of likelihood: Twin Waves, Grendel, FM Aid, A-196.
I've decided to go ahead and sell the Grendel, Twin Waves and FM Aid.

The E352 is, in fact, a good way to feed the Grendel. So is Cursus Iteritas. But I just am not in love with the formant filter sound enough to keep it in my rack, really.

Twin Waves is solid and useful, it's just not inspiring me compared to other options.

FM Aid is just too redundant with the other FM options I have available at this point.

I had thought before about whether to hold on to Sinclastic Empulatrix if I get the Natural Gate... but it complements Cursus nicely. It might also be a fun alternative to a regular VCA for modulation level control -- something I really haven't tried with it yet.
First track post-Knobcon, getting messy with the E352 and Cursus as well as Donut, and using my 2hp LFO again after it had been out of my rack for a while.

I didn't work my new uFold into it too, or Frames this time but I could have. hihi

But, inspired by some of the classic and retro gear at the con, especially in Suit & Tie Guy's set, I added some Night Flight VST.

I started having some doubts about whether I really should get that Natural Gate. I mean... it's perfect; it looks gorgeous and feels fantastic to use and sounds better; it applies vactrol response to the CV input as well as the strike, and is DC-coupled and normals 10V to the input. What's not to love?

But I've got plenty to envelopes and LPGs in my setup already and something should probably give. I just don't want to let go of any of my EGs...

Then it hit me:

Sputnik + DPLPG = 20 HP

Natural Gate + Muff Wiggler VCA-01 (entering production soon, apparently) = 20HP

We have a winner. grin
Since Natural Gate isn't in ModularGrid yet, here's my hacked-together plan with poor photography and photoshop skills...

Likely some kind of filter would go into that 13HP up top. Microbrute has made me love Steiner filters, but I could see going another way -- something versatile like Polaris, or something else nasty like Polivoks. For instance, I could forget the part where I have too many oscillators, and make it a Mangrove and a Pico VCF-1. grin

But again, aside from the LPGs, I don't want to acquire new stuff for a while and will concentrate on deeply learning the stuff I've got.
Hey man, i was wondering what was so special about the natural gate that made you like it that much?
Btw have you tried sf's ptg and if so could you compare them?
(i have one and i really like it but the nature gate demo is too brief for me to judge)

peripatitis wrote:
Hey man, i was wondering what was so special about the natural gate that made you like it that much?
Btw have you tried sf's ptg and if so could you compare them?

Aside from looking, feeling and sounding great, it was very playable. I demoed it with a Mangrove (partly because I wanted to try a Mangrove Mr. Green) and I found I could get really nice results wiggling those sliders in real time -- better than trying to do the same with the knob on the Sputnik Quad VCF/VCA and fiddling with Rampage/Mini Slew fall times. I suspect the response curve itself might be affected by the sliders, maybe. It just encouraged playing it like an instrument.

I've never had the opportunity to try a PTG. It seems intriguing, if a little confusing, and I've liked some of the demos I've heard.

I had never really thought about replacing the Sputnik, and wouldn't consider it for a module I hadn't personally tried... but the NG impressed me enough I'd do that. That leaves me a couple of LPGs short, so I figured the MW VCA-01 could fill in that gap, or else a second Natural Gate grin
thumbs up for the rundown Starthief

With the ptg you have to hunt for the sweet-spots but still it is one my most used modules...

I am not sure if the natural gate has vactrols ( i think it doesn't). One difference i can see is that the hit input is not dependent upon the input material, i might be wrong but i think they have three different curves going into the module so perhaps the input is reduced to a trigger/gate using a threshold.
With the ptg there is a lot of fun to be had processing cv and/or using gates/triggers in control inputs (since these also react like vactrols)

Anyway it does look very interesting, i am waiting to see more demos..

Yup, no vactrols in it, but I'm told it does emulate the vactrol response to input CV as well as the triggered decay envelope.
For some reason, whenever I make drone-ish music I tend to use two parts. Once the first part is set up it calls out for a second, and then it's done.

The first voice is E352, Cloud+Morph mode with two custom wavetables loaded -- both of them attempts to capture Kermit's wavetable in WaveEdit format. Neither of them was either fully successful or a total loss. smile Cloud mode can be abused to play intervals, clusters etc.

I put Frames to a really simple use here: two frames saved, one with channel 1 at minimum and one at around 2V, so I can turn the big knob all the way and land right on a nice octave jump without having to hunt for it. I thought about setting up some of the other transfer/interpolation curves on it, but nah. I also played Cursus' tuning knob and Rampage's trigger button and cycle switch, along with the usual mixer knobs.

I'm contemplating the possibility of switching my E352 and Hertz Donut for an E370. It may come down to how good the E370's TZFM is, and perhaps menu fiddliness vs. flexibility (a balance that I think was well struck on the E352). The idea of four voices even more powerful than the E352 has my head spinning a bit and I look forward to DivKid's feature-length film on the module grin

I'm also putting some idle thought into replacing the Microbrute with a Reface CS. I'd probably want a Steiner filter of some sort in my rack first. Not something I'm really in a great hurry to do, though.
Forums, how I've missed you waah It's been an eventful couple of weeks.
  • I had the pleasure of being the first beta tester for the SynthTech E370, for a week. It is mighty, sounds fantastic (of course) and is extremely versatile (helped considerably by the flexible CV assignment). I found some bugs, made some suggestions, recorded a few demos and generally had fun playing with it.

    For a larger system, someone who wants to do polyphony or really freakin' huge pads and drones, or even as the centerpiece of a skiff designed around it, it'd be fantastic. For my own purposes I chose to stick with my E352 and a variety of other VCOs that I would have had to give up to make the space for it. But I also missed it the same night I sent it on to the next beta tester.

  • OUT: FM Aid, Grendel Formant Filter, & Twin Waves.
    IN: Jones O'Tool Plus & Doepfer A-102 Steiner VCF.
    In the process of trading with Detroit Modular.

  • OUT: Cursus Iteritas. It has some lovely sweet spots, but overall I wasn't getting along with it as well as some other things.
    IN: Mangrove, perhaps.

  • IN: Make Noise Contour & Function. I'd been hoping for Contour in module form since getting my 0-Coast, and here it is.
    OUT: Rampage (up for sale as soon I get these modules installed). With this change I lose the comparator, min/max and the handy trigger buttons, but it's a flexible combo anyway and I personally prefer the response and controls on these two.

  • IN: Make Noise Dynamix. Another one I'd hoped to see in module format.
    IN: Rabid Elephant Natural Gate (when it's available).
    OUT: Sputnik Quad VCF/VCA (when I have the above two).
    OUT, maybe: DPLPG (not in a hurry).

I'm still pretty charmed by my Microbrute, but also by the Reface CS. Making room for both could be difficult. If the A-102 filter in my rack makes the Microbrute seem a bit redundant, I could make the switch -- but it's lowpass only, and the Brute does have the fun stuff with animated triangle/saw. I'll see.

Also, with Contour and Dynamix in the rack, how safe is my 0-Coast? Selling it would give me some cash but not really very much space I could use for other things that aren't also small desktop synths, so until/unless I actually have one in mind, it's probably safe.

I have found, lately, a bit of renewed respect for East Coast synthesis. I don't want to go too far into it with my modular, but in other synths and software there's room for a few parts. I demo'd Lush-101 and found it was pretty nice... though I wish it was a little bit simpler, without the multi-timbral mess. I never did like multi-timbral features in either software or hardware.

That drive for simplicity extends to some other things as well. FM synthesis for instance -- release a 4-op synth and people will complain that it's not 6-op, and here I am happily doing FM with 2 VCOs in modular most of the time.
  • Jones O'Tool Plus: after a little confusion about the derived triggers in scope mode seeming to freeze the display (I was looking at a unipolar LFO but with +/-6V range set) and a little bit more over saving settings, I really like this thing. A dual trace scope is extremely handy for seeing the "before" and "after" of a module, the tuning and voltage displays are helpful, and I've already learned something new about the uFold. The mults on the panel are handy for usabilty. It's a winner, and something I might recommend to anyone with the space for it.

  • Doepfer A-102 VCF9 Diode Low Pass: The need to adjust the input level to compensate for resonance, and lack of feedback knob built in, make it a little less straightforward than the Microbrute filter. But all the instability and weird behavior under feedback is there, and a side-by-side comparison is pretty close. It's got a few tricks that the Microbrute doesn't, thanks to the drive and the modular open-endedness of it. I wish it also had bandpass and highpass, but it's pretty tasty overall.
    Compared to Three Sisters, it definitely gets more unstable and noisy and can drive harder; at the same time, it can be a bit cleaner. There's always a little rolloff at the top though. It's pickier than Sisters about setting up filter FM but the unstable resonance gives it extra character.

A couple of keepers here for sure. My Make Noise stuff should arrive Friday and I'm looking forward to those too. smile
  • Function: it's mostly what I expected, and good. I won't replace my Mini Slew with a second Function, but I also wouldn't replace my Function with a second Mini Slew.
  • Contour: no surprises, it's basically identical to the 0-Coast Contour section, and that makes it just solid and good. Onset CV, EOC and inverse outputs are added. I think Contour and Function are going to serve my purposes better than Rampage did.
  • Dynamix: wrote up quite a bit in another thread, but it's well beyond what's on the 0-Coast. It allows a lot of shaping control over level and brightness and some of it is weird and surprising. smile In terms of sound, like on the 0-Coast it's more "clean" than "woody" (while still obviously being an LPG and sounding great). This one is a big winner IMHO. I would not lose the Sputnik for two of these, but one of these plus a Natural Gate I think will win by miles.
  • Keep the 0-Coast? For the foreseeable future, yes. I don't see any reason to let go of such a capable voice or anything that will fit that space better.
  • Microbrute vs. Reface CS? I think I'm going to dig up my DJ laptop stand and see if it will let me raise one device over one of the others to give myself room for both keyboards. The wee brute is just too nice to let go of.
Renewed love for my 0-Coast and Microbrute both -- they're not going anywhere cool

Kickstarted the Koma Field Kit FX. I was kinda wanting a spring reverb but not quite enough to jump on it... but with the delay, looper/resampler/phaser, sequencer/envelope and quad VCA mixer in a separate box, which I could mount in a second case should I get one in the future? I couldn't resist.

Mangrove has arrived, and in an hour or so of wiggling it before I had to run out for a bit, seems my comparisons to function generators syncing to squarewave VCOs, and to some extent to Tides, are valid. The undertone stuff isn't new to me since I've been doing that with 0-Coast and Mini Slew, and more recently Function. FM is a bit mild with many settings, but still nice, and audio rate modulation of other things can be gorgeous. Air with an envelope is pretty great -- gently pushing into square territory and sometimes sounding LPG-like, which is the key to my heart. we're not worthy

The organic oddness of perceived pitch that it can get into with some barrel/formant/pitch combos is pretty special too.

On the one hand it's a bit annoying to me to keep so many modules in the same extended family -- Mini Slew and Function and Tides and Mangrove, as well as Slope on the 0-Coast -- but on the other, I like them all and they're different and useful enough to keep them all. I still will have room for another toy or two in this rack anyway...
Current state of the rack, while playing with Mangrove:

The only thing I don't like about this layout is Mangrove's placement breaks the pattern of keeping my sound sources on the left (but at least it's next to Sisters), and placed down there the labels were a bit hard to see while first messing with it. I'm getting used to which knob and jack are which though.

Once I switch the Sputnik out for a Natural Gate I'll have a little room to play with... maybe a Karp or Mysteron would be a fun companion for Rings, or maybe I'll just leave space for the next Mutable module to come. hihi
I do enjoy sequencing music in a DAW and it's still my primary way of working. But once in a while I like not doing that, and just playing the modular via knobs.

In this case, I played 3 of Frames' 4 knobs to block or allow various clock divisions to reach their destinations (in one case, a lower knob setting let Function fire but not the clock divider it was multed to), and also Hertz Donut's main pitch knob and Mini Slew's rise and fall times (as it modulated Function's fall time on the faster rhythmic part, which was E352).

I could see this track continuing on, adding a kick drum and another part or two, all without messing with the DAW. But I'm also happy with its current length and simplicity.

I've traded the Rampage for a Mysteron, which means shuffling a little bit to squeeze it in. For now, my A-196 PLL will be set aside. It can return once I've done my LPG switch, or perhaps it will make way for something else.

This trade is a bit of an experimental gamble, but I'm hearing some cool and surprisingly diverse things that people have done with Mysteron where it doesn't really sound like Rings at all -- so it might become an essential piece of gear. I've also seen some people saying it makes a good exciter for Rings.

Coincidentally, some of those demos had seriously cool stuff from BIA, so I may have to extend my "too many sound sources" a little bit further after all hihi
Holy shit, Mysteron is weird. And cool. And weird.

It's the Anti-Rings. It's like Rings merged with an Atari 2600, became self-aware, and immediately turned evil.

I love the digital explosion noises and broken Karplus-Strong stuff.

I love the dual excite inputs and the possibilities there -- mult the trigger input to a delay, a clock divider, or just a separate trigger stream or clock. Or feed the output back into one of the triggers.

I love the !! input even though I only half grasp it so far.

I love (and am simultaneously frustrated by) the bizarro pitch tracking, especially when using both excite inputs. [EDIT: caused by gates from the CV.OCD firing a little too early compared to pitch CV; delaying them cleans it up.]

I love the glitchy, circuit-bent, digital weirdness of it and how many surprises it has for me.

I'm kinda thinking I might switch the Mangrove out for a BIA because they'd be good friends...
And, geez, cycling Function with EOR and EOC patched into the two Excite inputs while the + and - outputs modulate other things... woah
I kind of feel like I'm heading into the final phase of changing things up in this rack, or close to it anyway. Which is kind of cool, because the one-year anniversary of the first song I recorded with Eurorack gear is in 7 days. Mr. Green Perhaps I'll do a kind of year-in-review post or something once new stuff is settled in.

Mysteron is definitely a new favorite. I like its weird charm but it can be at least partially tamed, and I think it deserves its 14HP.

I do like Mangrove, but for me it really is close to both Tides and Function/Mini Slew/0C Slope, yet with less timbral variety than Tides. There are plenty of people who love it and it deserves more love than I can give it smile I thought about putting a BIA in that space, but I am leaning toward switching gears and trying a couple of Bastl toys there instead rather than another sound source.

Natural Gate was released today, and I ordered within minutes of the announcement and put my Sputnik Quad VCF/VCA and DPLPG up for sale. Six vactrol LPGs are making way for two non-vactrol but very lively LPGs, and I'm totally fine with this. Despite the meme, I'll still have enough LPGs/VCAs.

I'll be happy to be able to put my A-196 back in too -- I definitely don't use it in every patch, but a spice rack needs some uncommon flavors as well to really be complete. I guess. I don't cook much. It was fun experimenting with other PLL-ish patches using Disting or even Donut's XOR output too though.

There's not a lot of slack in this rack now. Maybe EON, though as a jittery digital clock source it's still kind of fun in some ways. Gozinta was primarily necessary to make Mini Slew respond to triggers the way I wanted, but it's getting used that way less frequently now -- but I should play with it more for distortion and for amplifying signals that are supposed to be quiet to reveal their dark secrets. smile
starthief wrote:
Current state of the rack, while playing with Mangrove:

Can see you have changed the E352 knobs to smaller ones.
I presume due to their size and spacing you were bumping the pitch and fine tune knobs when tweaking parameter knobs below? Does the smaller knobs solve this problem?
psyclone001 wrote:
Can see you have changed the E352 knobs to smaller ones.
I presume due to their size and spacing you were bumping the pitch and fine tune knobs when tweaking parameter knobs below? Does the smaller knobs solve this problem?

That's it exactly. Also also Parameter Y just felt a little too crowded to me. These were the narrowest knobs I could find easily that fit a 1/4 round shaft, and I've had less trouble since then. Not my favorite style of knobs, but they look okay here.
Yeah the E352 is fantastic, but a shame the knobs are too close together.
Nearly impossible not to knock it out of tune while tweaking the parameters
I'm at peace with it, especially with the knob change. The layout couldn't have been much different from what it is, without also being wider or crowding the jacks a lot more.

The E370 has more space between the knobs, but it's also a giant monster of a module Mr. Green
Natural Gate is fantastic and I'm very happy I picked one up. In fact after just one song recorded with it, I'm pondering whether/how to make room for a second one. w00t

I'm bidding on a couple of Bastl modules out of curiosity. Depending on how those go, I might or might not clear room for a second NG, or for a Pico DSP. Or I might simply slap in a 1HP blank and call it "done" hihi
I have 11HP of space and, suddenly, 105HP of modules on their way to fit into it:

-- I won Bastl Cinnamon, Tromsø and Dynamo in the KVR charity auction.
-- I have a Koma Field Kit FX coming in March.
-- To my surprise and joy, the E370 beta unit I tested is coming back to me to stay SlayerBadger!

Time to accelerate my expansion schedule and research my case options!

Just when I was going to write something up about how my modular is "complete" but not "finished" since there might be more minor changes to make... hihi
My year-o-rack in review:

-- MuffWiggler forums, ModularGrid, and our community's YouTubers are incredibly helpful. Without them, in the absence of a decent local synth shop, I wouldn't have even gotten started.

-- Modular is really educational. After many years of experience with fixed-architecture synths, software and some (extremely) basic DSP coding, I was surprised at how much more there was to learn about synthesis, its history and techniques and tricks, and approaches that just don't get used elsewhere. And like the Matrix, you can't just explain it to someone, they have to be in it firsthand.

-- I started out thinking too small, having come from a habit of using 90% software and 10% hardware synths, and assuming that was going to hold whe I got into modular. But the ratio flipped almost instantly.

-- Rings, and Olivier, deserve a lot of credit. His generous donation of modules to the October 2016 charity auction at KVR, and the inspiring awesomeness of Elements/Rings, are what drew me into all of this. Rings as one of my first three modules drew me into modular far deeper than I'd have gone if I'd started with a basic synth voice.

-- Beta-testing the E352 and E370 was a blast and an honor. w00t Paul and his associates are good people.

-- I'm not a collector, I'm an optimizer. I want good functional density BUT also a good experience using the gear. I want each module to contribute something others don't, carry its own weight, and serve the kind of music I want to make. And I want the best (subjectively) of possible options. 40% of the modules that I've bought, I sold or traded away again. I regret none of those.

-- I know there are a lot of stories about musicians losing their way when they get into modular. Not here; going modular made me more productive and boosted my creativity. I went from finishing an average of 2-3 songs per week to an average of 5.

I'm pretty satisfied by most of the music I'm making now too. I've had previous periods of inspiration where I went back afterward and just thought "meh" at the whole pile of output. This time though, I'm happier with my results, and I've consciously settled into a more consistent style.

-- As my first year with modular came to a close, I reached a point where my modular felt "complete" -- as in, fully capable of making the music I want to make. It's not "finished" and may never be.

-- At the start of my second year, I'm starting with a second case sooner than I originally planned. That wasn't my original intent, but that beta E370 deserves a good home. With a second case (I decided on a used Mantis) I can do that, and properly house the Field Kit FX coming in March instead of leaving it in a little box, and other things besides.

It's like I advanced to another level. Making space for the Mantis in my studio will mean shuffling some things around, and might require a bridge/snake to keep things neat-ish, and it might mean giving up on the idea of having two keyboard synths. Planning module layout with two cases involves a different set of decisions than one. But I'm up for the challenge.

My general idea of what I want to explore next is modular sequencing and manual control. I am not a computer hater, and I firmly believe that a DAW is an excellent interface for sequencing. But I've also found (via Frames and G8/3xMIA) that sequencing with knobs is rewarding too. Those are not the optimal sequencing experience though -- I want to try a Rene. Frames also gave me a taste of manual control, and I want to mess with touchplates/FSRs, that sort of thing.
I was thinking today that a burst generator could be fun with Mysteron's second Excite input among other things.

I might have to try a clock multiplier sometime too, perhaps something like the Phoreo. I can pull off some of that with Tides, but not quite as gracefully (and its PLL mode still has a tendency to lock up the module with the current Parasite version).

So I picked up a used Ladik S-075. Also a Circuit Abbey Intermix to turn my G8 into a mini sequencer -- it should be fun, and help me decide whether I really want to commit to something like a Rene, or whether that's enough, or whether I just don't use it much.
Posted something and realized I was mistaken. There's a reason I went home early from work today. Brain can't focus, too busy fighting a cold.
I'm still waiting on the Mantis -- it should arrive tomorrow.

Also waiting on Bastl after the charity auction ended Nov. 1; their donations to the auction were generous but they're being weird about communicating.

The Ladik burst generator arrived. It's not as cool with the Mysteron as I'd hoped, but given the small size and low price I'll hang onto it for the other things it can do.

I got Intermix on the same day, and it didn't come with a 10-pin ribbon cable to connect it to the G8. very frustrating Two days later I got one from Amazon, and put it to work.

I find it a bit awkward for melodic sequencing. It's bipolar, so it needs to be offset for modules that don't accept negative V/OCT inputs. And lack of manual addressing means I need to use external triggers into the G8 to reach the step I want to tune. It's marginally better than individually routing 6 gate outputs from G8 into 3xMIA, but it's far from ideal. Still could be useful for non-pitch modulation or as a graphical VCO, gate sequencer etc.

I have a pretty good process with Maschine, so what I want out of modular sequencing is:

-- A different, but complementary workflow. Specifically, I'm pretty sure I want one-knob-per-step sequences rather than a select-and-edit paradigm or where multiple channels share a row of controls (so no Voltage Block or Stillson Hammer).

-- Freedom to clock from MIDI clocks, MIDI trigger sequences, or from modular triggers, and to alter/disrupt the clock with modular tools. This doesn't narrow things down much, but does eliminate the BeatStep Pro.

-- Addressing steps via means beyond clock/reset inputs. Manual is okay, but a combination of manual and gate inputs and/or CV is better.

-- A little bit of organic imprecision in pitches. Or call it "microtuning" grin I'm not really looking for a quantized sequencer.

-- Extending control over more CVs/voices. I don't really want to add another 4-voice (or more) CV converter at the prices they sell for, but a sequencer with 3-4 independent lines would cover it.

So mainly I'm looking at:

PP + Brains with an A-151: Cool touchplates and nicely playable even when not running a sequence. Direction gate. Commonly available secondhand. Fewer HP. Expandable to 8 stages. No step skipping or random access, but I can work around that.

Sputnik 5-Step Voltage Source + Selector: one more stage and one more line than PP. Costs a bit more. Not expandable, but 5x4 is probably enough. Individual gate outputs may not reliably trigger some modules. No reverse option, but has random access via gates or CV -- would be handy with my copious spare gates on the CV.OCD. Stages can be disabled with switches.
Pulser section would be of limited use.

PGM 4x4 + A-151: in similar territory to the 5-Step, but with one less stage, no stage disable switches, separate gate outputs, or pulser. Cheaper than PP+Brains but secondhand sales are less likely, which probably evens it out. Can be linked for expansion.

Doepfer A-138m + A-151: more crude, but cheapest. No step inputs, so it would tie up my G8 (or require a second one) or be addresed directly by gates that must remain latched open, and levels are dependent on gate voltages. Adding a second one can expand to 8x4 without linking. But it's also a matrix mixer, which is handy.
I really recommend the Pressue Points+Brains combo. I have 3 Pressure Points and 2 Brains now. As mentioned previously, my main sequencing rig is based around 2PP+B, Intellijel uStep, 4ms Rotating Clock Divider, Doepfer A-151 and a quantizer (Disting or O+C).
That said I think most of the combinations you mentioned will allow for a very flexible and interactive sequencing experience. It's just a matter of finding the combo that works for you (which is a big part of the fun with Euro). While I do also use some all-in-one sequencing modules, I tend to have more fun with a collection of modules working together.

Regarding burst generators. I use the burst output on my wogglebug frequently but always through some kind of logic, with which I can determine when triggers pass and when they don't. Other than that, I've mostly patched up my own burst generators with converting random voltages to pulses, with comparators and logic or by modulating an clock module like the RCD or Temps_Utile.
I do think I'm leaning more toward PP+Brains. It's maybe not as powerful in some ways as some options, but it seems fun, expressive and flexible and that's what I want.

But now I'm thinking that rather than an A-151, I could go with a WMD SSM woah I keep thinking of new possibilities that could unlock and it's kind of dizzying.

Of course Frames can do sequential switch duty, among many other things, so I'll most likely start with one PP+Brains at first and see how things go. smile
The Mantis I bought arrived last night and I've got it set up on the right side of my corner desk (my main rack, MIDI-CV converter and audio interface are on the left, with Maschine and 0-Coast in the middle behind my QWERTY keyboard).

Since exposed bus headers and capacitors are in much easier finger-poking reach than with my rack stand, and open spaces are likely to catch flying dog hair, I've got the open spaces covered with cardboard temporarily. Blind panels from Magpie are on their way to fix that (cheaper than from most other shops).

With patch cables crisscrossing in the way, I thought about getting an ADDAC ribbon cable bridge or similar to run beneath the Maschine stand and out of the way. But for now I've gone for the 0HP solution of 180cm Erthenvar cables with some labels on the ends and wire ties to bundle them in the middle. If that proves too messy I may go for a pair of Pulp Logic Patch Multiples to clean up the mess a bit, or have someone build me a couple of trunk line modules, or something along those lines.

The Mantis is kind of an unattractive gray plastic, compared to nicer-looking metal and wood options, but it gets the job done and everything is still nicely within reach.

Splitting modules between two cases when there's a few feet between them is a bit of a puzzle. I decided for now I'd stick the E370 right next to the E352, and populate the Mantis with various utility and filter modules for now. Plus the sequencing/control. I'm pretty well settled on 2PP + Brains, and perhaps a Lightstrip or two. I'll hold off on any sequential switch decisions until I see how that goes.
I got 2/3 of the cables I ordered for my makeshift snake -- gave Erthenvar a poke and they immediately said "oops, we'll ship the remainder tomorrow." With 8 cables in it currently, with some Velcro ties and Tyvek letter tags on the ends to identify them, it's pretty capable and useful. I may eventually decide a trunk line module for each case is worth a few HP to straighten things up, but it works as is.

2xPP + Brains are on the way. That should be fun. thumbs up

I've been contemplating complex oscillators and all the varieties of FM, and after a lot of reading here, watching demos and experimenting I think I have a somewhat better grasp. Or least, I know what I don't know. hihi

I suspect a lot of what I thought was analog-like weirdness with the E370's TZFM is just its extreme intensity, compared to anything else I've played with. The slightest DC offset in a modulating signal can cause very noticeable pitching. Three Sisters in highpass mode doesn't quite kill that, but with some effort you can get pretty close to 0.000 DC with 3xMIA sometimes. Still, an STG .vca (with its DC/AC switches) might be a good tool to have for managing FM.

(Edit: the highpass filter in Disting is just about perfect for removing DC. Rockin' Banana!)

I kind of want to play with that rather than necessarily going for something like the FMVDO, or even a Rubicon or A110-4.

I could still see moving a couple of things out for a Verbos CO or Furthrrrr or DPO in the future, though cool
How do you like the PLL? I've been debating snappin one up, as the PLL is one of my favorite effects to use with my guitar rig.
I like the PLL mainly for adding dirt. Tracking just a little bit wrongly can lead to fun things. I don't really find it essential, but it's fun to play with and I"ll keep mine unless I'm desperate for space someday.
tight. I've always found the wonky tracking on PLL stuff fantastic fun. I have like 12hp of space at the moment, I think a PLL would fit nice in there.
Lots of fun stuff with a PLL and Hertz Donut. SlayerBadger!

Basic patch A:

Pitch CV -> HD mod V/OCT
HD mod square -> PLL In 2
PLL LP out -> HD pri osc V/OCT
HD pri square -> optional clock divider -> PLL In 1
HD pri + mod outs -> monitor

This just replaces the PLL's internal VCO with Hertz Donut's primary oscillator.


1. Turn on FM on the mod bus. The PLL tries to tune the more complex, FM'd signal.

2. instead of using the pri square output, use the XOR output. The PLL tries to tune the ring-modded signal and can't directly, so t's much glitchier but still more or less right on average.

3. Feed an envelope to the pitch CV of the primary osc. Sounds a bit like sync.

4. Route the XOR out into the primary osc's sync. Doesn't sound like sync since the PLL is so busy trying to retune. hihi

Basic patch B:

Pitch CV -> HD mod V/OCT
HD mod square -> PLL In 2
PLL square out -> HD pri sync
HD pri out -> monitor

The actual PLL usage is more normal. It's just using the PLL to get a "worse" sync that ironically sounds a bit smoother than just patching the mod square into pri sync.

Brain-melting variation: Turn on FM, Discon, and/or AM in the mod bus. Instead of feeding the mod osc (the one getting pitch tracking) into the PLL, feed the pri osc instead. It will still track pitch because of the modulation. The stronger the modulation amount, the better the PLL tracking.

Going nuts: instead of just turning up the mod bus, patch XOR or mod square into mod CV. It'll alternate rapidly between tracking and not tracking and pretty much everything will go to hell. twisted
PP/Brains arrived and I've been getting to know it.

I find my makeshift snake (12 Erthenvar 180cm cables bundled together) could have been a little bit longer, but the next size up is 360 and that'd be way too much. Regardless of length, the cable placement around PP can be a bit awkward. I may shuffle things a bit and move them to the top row. For now I'm going to try a lower angle for the Mantis, and breaking my cables into separate groups, to see if that helps. I'm still thinking about bus/trunk line modules though.

The top row of the Mantis is pretty much spoken for -- uMIDI2CV, Bastl Tromso/Dynamo/Cinnamon from the KVR auction, Lifeforms Double Helix arriving Friday, and Field Kit FX in March. I'm going to wait for then before making any other changes, with the possible exception of trunk line/bus stuff and possible gifts on my wishlist .

So, in March 2018:

- Mysteron might be replaced by a second Rings or a BIA.

- My old buddy Tides is just not getting used as a VCO as much as I once did. If I don't find myself embracing it for modulation purposes, it'll probably go.

- E352 might go. I want to hold onto it for a while so I can still test in case of a major firmware upgrade for TZFM for instance, but for my music it's overkill to have it alongside an E370.

- I'm not really feeling the S-075 Burst. Phoreo, A-160-5 or SCM would probably suit me better.

- A small matrix mixer is probably a good idea.

- I've cooled on the SSM a bit, but I might still get an A-151.

- Erbe-Verb is still a possibility, but I want to see what mileage I get from the FKFX.

- I'm less sure about getting a second Natural Gate, given that DH has its own LPG built in.
Naturally after that, I did something fun with the Ladik Burst after all. Used a couple of mixers as good-enough OR gates, and with G8/Intermix and Brains/PP, sequenced E352 and Natural Gate.

Even though I set the pitches and other CVs in PP, working this way still feels a bit generative, since the clock divider decides when to reverse and things are not entirely planned. As such, I don't think this is going to be one of the main ways I want to work with music, but for occasional things it's fun. I'm more inclined to find ways to integrate Euro sequencing with DAW sequencing more closely.
To alleviate my cable management issues, I've got a couple of Pulp Logic Patch Multiples on the way. I'll put one on the right side of my rack and one on the left side of my Mantis, and keep an 8-line bridge semi-permanently connected between the two. I think that'll...

...a bit.

Alternately I could put them side by side in the rack, and use four connections as trunk lines for my audio interface; I'd still have the long cables to patch on the Mantis (which is less awkward than on the rack side). I'll roll with the first plan and see how that goes though. I may find that 6 lines are typically enough, so I can use two for the awkward DI box.

I've been getting to know the Lifeforms Double Helix. It's not going to replace the Donut or E370 or Rings in my heart, but it's a solid pick and I'm likely to hang onto it. At the price I bought it at, it's taking up the role of "backup complex oscillator" just fine. The odd crosstalk I found in it is mostly limited to extreme modulation levels or oscillator frequencies, so they don't interfere unless I dial them in. Mostly. There are still some strange things, like patching the secondary saw cuts off the dynamics response time, but they can be worked around.
I wound up doing this for cable management, and I'm pleased how it turned out and how usable it is, even though it uses a couple more HP:

Alternately, I could keep them both upside-down and swap one of them one row up, so the bundled "snake" cables are all on the right edge of the rack and I'm not using the extra HP. I only thought of that after setting it up though. hihi

Also, aesthetics almost demands a pair of purple cables, but Erthenvar doesn't make them. hihi

What I paid for the cables and the two mults was not much less than a pair of ADDAC213A -- but instead of an 8-line bridge, this gives me a 12-line bridge to the Mantis and/or the 0-Coast, plus four trunk lines to my audio interface.

On the other end of the bridge I've just got the cable ends, in sub-snakes that are pretty manageable.
I'm still waiting on Bastl. 3 modules won in a charity auction that ended at 11:59PM on October 31. 41 days later... I still have no modules, no tracking number, no ship notification, no communication. (Rather than emailing the 10 winners directly, they claimed to be too busy, and had the auction organizer gather our shipping addresses on top of all the other administration he was doing.) Most of the other winners have their stuff finally, and I'm hoping mine will arrive tomorrow.

I sure don't plan to order anything directly from Bastl in the future, and hope none of these modules need service Dead Banana

For comparison, when I won Rings last year, it was on my doorstep three days later. Faster to get here from France than most of my orders from Perfect Circuit hihi

Anyway. Since the release of Arturia Buchla Easel V, I've been playing with that and Aalto both. I don't know how I missed Aalto before, but it's brilliant. Both plugins are welcome additions to my hardware, though they won't take anything else's place.

I can't comment on how authentic BEV might be, but to somebody who's only heard Music Easel recordings without being in the same room with one, it seems relatively convincing (with the possible exception of the spring reverb and feedback sometimes). And Aalto makes me wish for that sort of tuned delay/waveguide in Eurorack. Certainly I'll have some fun stuff to play with on the laptop now when I go traveling.

I may have to try opening their gates fully and using Natural Gate on them instead... cool
I have a tracking number from Bastl, but the info was last updated in Prague on December 1. Given other horror stories I've read recently about music gear going off to the wrong continent or being stuck in customs for weeks, I have no guesses as to when that stuff will actually arrive.

I got some old-school Pittsburgh stuff in a trade, and have played with it for about 40 minutes. It's going to be a little while before I have time to really give it a thorough workout, but first impressions:

- I want to re-knob any of them that I decide to keep.

- Envelope is pretty nice. I'm going to have to do a serious head-to-head comparison to see if I want to keep all these EGs or lose one.

- Generator and GenXPander are kind of fun. I find it interesting that the website says it doesn't track 1V/OCT, because I just assumed it did even after playing with it and that it just needed some calibration.

The squarewave is wicked, which seems odd to say given that it looks just like a plain square, and the squared-off triangles at intermediate settings can be nice too. The expander is what really opens up timbral possibilities and may wind up justifying keeping this as well as the Double Helix... time will tell.

I'm a little surprised, given the 3-way range switch, that it doesn't drop to LFO rates nor go as high as many of my other VCOs do.

I'm not fond of the "label tape" look of the panels and the minimal/nonexisting labeling of some controls, but it's simple enough not to be a problem.
Turns out that some postal service or other -- whether Czech Post or USPS -- returned my package to Bastl, and they'll be sending it out again. That was a couple of days ago, and I asked for a tracking number for the second attempt and haven't gotten one yet. Of course the tracking websites still have December 1 as the last update from the first attempt. very frustrating

I'll hang onto the PGH Generator and GenXpander for a while, I believe; even if tracking is weird and it's a fiddly beast, I like the cut of its jib. I used it last night to dirty up an 0-Coast patch and it did the job nicely.

I want to change up my sequencing, though. I still believe that hybrid MIDI/modular sequencing can serve me well but I'm not quite there yet. PP/Brains is kind of cool but I'm not really jelling with it as a performance controller for the most part -- I think I can get something with patchable step addressing of some sort (either directly through gates or through CV, or both) that's also more compact. And Intermix isn't really doing a lot for me, partly because I'm more inclined to use the G8 as a divider than a sequencer and partly because it sorely needs a unipolar switch.
Day 75 since paying for those three Bastl modules...
Day 48 since the modules shipped the first time, got stuck somewhere and returned to sender...
Day 10 since the modules shipped the second time...
Day 5 since there has been any update of tracking info. It appears to be stuck at the same stage where it got stuck before.

If it gets shipped back to Bastl again sometime in February, I'm going to ask them to ship via FedEx or personally get on an airplane and hand-deliver them hihi

Aside from that here's my current thinking on gear:

-- Verbos Voltage Multistage Rockin' Banana! When I'm not using it as a sequencer, it'll be a fantastic modulation source, oscillator, or pseudo-quantizer-thing.

-- Xaoc Drezno. Inspired by the idea of using a DAC to convert 3 gate outputs on my CV.OCD to a CV to address the VMS, which I could do with a mixer anyway. But there are a lot of possibilities in this module for mangling CV and audio, generating gates etc. and I want to explore them.

-- Minibrute 2! Assuming it's not too big for my workspace, this is an exciting bunch of upgrades over my Microbrute.

-- I'm thinking about picking up a Doepfer BBD, though I want to see how I feel about the Field Kit FX first. Also intrigued by Mindphaser, Compare 2 and probably whatever Mutable is cooking up.

Overall I don't expect my modular to be at a stable and "finished" point for a while yet even if I'm low on space hihi
I've talked myself out of the Minibrute 2 after all.

The size difference from the Microbrute means I'd have to replace my current rack stand and find someplace else for my audio interface, which is an additional expense and a possible ergonomic downgrade.

And then the actual synth features -- while a fair step above the Microbrute -- aren't anything I don't either have in Euro already, or find relatively unimportant.

I'm also thinking a Malekko Voltage Block might be a good alternative to the Voltage Multistage. Less immediate in some ways, but easier in others; 8 CV channels rather than two (and with slides on all of them, and different lengths and divisors), built-in quantizer for when I want that, and smaller size.

Watching DivKid's video, I'm finally convinced by Pam's New Workout. I've been wanting a clock multiplier, particularly one I can ratchet with; with Euclidean sequencing and LFOs and such too this seems like a good choice.

And I have the BIA jones again.

Trying for a trade-in with Control Voltage for the above three things, and then I'll go for Drezno after making some more space, and will keep thinking about a BBD.
Rex Coil 7
Best VCA I've ever used is the Doepfer A-135-1

It can be a static mixer, a VC Mixer, a voltage controlled distributor, separate VCAs, grouped VCAs, and a few other configurations depending on how you set it up.

It's a very well spent $200.00.

I have 4 of them.
I'm having second thoughts about my requirement that a sequencer can directly address steps via gates or CV.

Last night I used my 3xMIA as a 3-bit DAC of sorts for my CV.OCD -- each gate with its own custom interval -- to feed the V/OCT input of my Double Helix. It was actually fun and easy to work with, and no sequencer or programmer needed. I didn't have that experience with G8/Intermix, but it helps to have full control over the gates.

This makes me think a Doepfer A-138m would be great here -- 4 simultaneous outputs from 4 gates; good sequential switch fodder and/or multiple channels for FM and modulation.

And this makes me think of my poor underused Frames.

So my plan now:

-- spend more time with Frames, not just for manual mixing and crossfading but for note sequencing, modulation, gates-to-pitch stuff.
-- consider a matrix mixer such as Doepfer A-138m. 4 simultaneous outputs from this technique, as well as plenty of other uses.
-- think hard about a Varigate 4+, which seems nicely flexible but not more than I need.
Rex Coil 7
starthief wrote:
-- consider a matrix mixer such as Doepfer A-138m. 4 simultaneous outputs from this technique, as well as plenty of other uses.
I've got 2 of those. Cannot go wrong! Excellent partner to any Euro rig.

I haven't read this entire thread, however if I recall you were using uZeus power supplies. Are you still using those?

If so, it's time to move up to a big boy power system. I'm a big BIG enthusiast of solid power systems (bus bars, linear power supplies, and solid module power cables made of 20ga/19 strand wire). The phrase "ribbon cable" should not be in any part of the features list of your Euro system at this point. Ribbon cable is for transmitting DATA, not power. The ribbon cables used in Euro power systems only have 30 gauge wires ... 30 gauge wires! With the amount of digital modules you seem to have, actual ~real~ power cables are an absolute must. As are actual power bus systems that were actually designed to distribute power to your modules ... not "soft bus" (aka Ribbon Cable) systems.

There are literally shit-tons of threads and posts regarding how to properly power a Euro system scattered all throughout Muffwigglers. Especially helpful are any posts on the topic authored by Graham Hinton.

Do yourself a massive favor (if you already have not) and uprate to a "real" power system. Ribbon cables and uZeus distributors are not doing any system that draws over 300ma or 500ma A.N.Y. good .... at all.

With the presence of digital modules in a given system, special and focused attention to properly grounding and zero-volt transmission are ESPECIALLY important. There are any number of threads aimed at "my (digital module .. pick one) isn't working right", most of which are caused by crap-ass grounding or even worse zero-volt cabling are almost always the culprit. Look up nearly any thread about "Rene not working" (or other digital module that uses capacitance ... as in human body as part of the circuit) and you'll find nearly every single time the problem comes down to crap grounding and/or crap zero volt cabling.

So if you are still using ribbon cable distribution or ribbon cable module power cables .... put them on eBay and graduate to Big Boy power systems ... at this point it will be the best money you can spend.





DISCLAIMER: I am not a "shill" for Hinton Instruments, nor am I compensated, paid, or employed by Hinton Instruments or Graham Hinton in any way. I just know *good* when I see it.

Back to topic, your best spent cash is on power systems ... well ... and also the Doepfer A-135-1 VCA Mixer ... as well as the Doepfer A-138M Matrix Mixer.

Power stuff, VCAs, and Matrix Mixers ... all very un-sexy, un-cool stuff that actually don't make any sounds ... but ALL quite necessary. Most especially the power system upgrade.

Lastly, just to highlight and illustrate how crucial "good power" is ... I refrain from buying used digital modules simply because so many have been in systems that have really crappy power distribution and very poorly thought out grounding and zero-volt systems. That said, only the module gods know what abuses the used digital module has been subjected too.

Transmission complete .... RC7 Out!

I got away from the uZeus several months ago. Current rack power is not what I would choose today, but it's clean enough and it's getting the job done. And the Mantis case has its own power which has been trouble-free.

If I were thinking about upgrading power, I'd want to wait to see how the SynthTech Lil' Stinker comes out, and also compare the new LIBB to the stuff Rabid Elephant has in the works.

But I don't plan to grow my modular any further for a while, just change some things out. As long as the power I have isn't giving me any trouble, I'll stick with it.

Also I'm fine with the VCAs and LPGs that I have. (I favor LPGs for audio most of the time, and VCAs for modulation control and waveshaping tricks.)

To do 4x polyphony with the E370, I'd not only want a quad VCA/LPG (or perhaps a second Natural Gate) but would need more MIDI conversion and/or sequencing capability, and a quad envelope generator or two. But I'm happy enough using plugins for the few uses I have for polyphony. I generally use the E370 as a stereo monophonic voice with extra modulation, or I crossfade between VCOs or use them completely independently.
Rex Coil 7
If you're after polyphony, and are inclined towards use of wavetable modules, and use MIDI ... have you looked at the 4Vox module by Flame?

Just curious.
I looked into it at one point, but the concept didn't really grab me.

I don't really use polyphony much, so like I said, I'm fine keeping it in plugins smile
Rex Coil 7
I'd like to see some readings on the Rabid Elephant distribution boards compared to actual bus bars with eyelets. Out of curiosity, of course.
Rex Coil 7
I have spent some time looking up Rabid Elephant power systems. While they talk a nice talk, they have nothing for sale. I read something on one page in their website about "thinking about doing a Kickstarter fund" to get the distribution boards going. This tells me they're undercapitalised and need customer's money to move forward. Not good.

So they are a looong way from offering retail gear yet. They only offer two modules, and both are out of stock.

While they seem to have at least half of their shit together (as far as understanding what it takes to make real power systems for synths larger than 60hp or so) ... I'm not keen on buying "first run after prototype" gear.

So while they seem to understand "real power" (as in well designed muscular power systems), all they're selling presently is blue sky.

I'd go Hinton ... he's established, he's first pick of pro studios, pro touring musicians, and he's got a product line and a full manufacturing facility that has been on line for years.

Or go DIY ..... here's some of mine in my own 5U/Euro rig.

Cost is negligible but don't underestimate the labor involved.

seriously, i just don't get it

NOTE: Don't mind me, I carry on about power systems all the time. I take every opportunity to offer information to readers, not just thread owners but the lurking gnoob too bashful to come forward. End users (especially Euro) need information that goes beyond what manufacturers tell them. Ribbon cables should be banned, so should switching power supplies.

Hasta Lasagne. thumbs up
Rex Coil 7 wrote:
So they are a looong way from offering retail gear yet. They only offer two modules, and both are out of stock.

They might be some distance out from releasing their power system, yeah.

The build quality, design, attention to detail and just plain beauty -- of sound as well as look and feel) -- on Natural Gate is unparalleled IMHO. I've heard similar things about Knobs. Their customer service has been great too.

They had a very small first run on Natural Gate and sold out quickly. A larger production run is on the way.

I don't see KickStarter as a bad thing. SynthTech and Folktek have used it to great effect, and there have been a couple of other modules and some other music gear whose development and production have been funded that way. I don't have deep pockets myself so I can certainly appreciate a (very) small business needing to operate that way.

Anyway. My interest in Eurorack power issues right now is minimal. Maybe someday I will have a PSU-related failure or decide I need a new case, but I'm good for now cool
My Bastl stuff FINALLY arrived.

The wood panels look kind of nice from the side when they're not mounted. Oddly pleasing, like Scrabble tiles. But they do stick out more than other modules and the labels are hard to read, which compounds the sense that they're really densely packed and probably should have been 8HP. And I'm not fond of the super-tiny switches.

Cinnamon is a nice filter. Or a mean and nasty filter, or a psycho killer filter depending on how much you drive it and how you set the switches. I am likely to sell one of my larger filters, honestly.

Tromsø is a cool trio of tools. The triangle VCO doesn't track 1V/OCT reliably enough to... rely on, but it's good enough for driving the T&H. I probably will use it for its individual utilities and as a crazy glitch machine more than a standard fake-bitcrush effect. smile

Dynamo is nifty as a compressor controller. Its best friends are 3x MIA and a VCA or filter. But honestly it probably should have had an offset and maybe attenuverter built in instead of the switch at the bottom...

As a "fake thru-zero" device... well, mine has an issue. The comparator outputs -5V to 5V. The switch only moves from A to B when the gate voltage goes below -8V and then above -1V, and switches back when the gate voltage goes above 3V. (That's at low speeds; it seems to require a little wider margin at higher rates.) With two 3xMIA channels I can get enough combination of gain and offset to make it work, but I shouldn't have to. I've written Bastl about advice for fixing it without having to wait another 2 months or more for shipping it back to them to take care of it.
I gave up on trading with Detroit Modular since they don't seem to be responding to messages and I had a near panic attack about calling them. But on a less neurologically unbalanced note, I figured I'm better off selling for more and buying for less than I am rushing into a less favorable trade anyway.

Basimilus Iteritas Alter (used) and Doepfer A-138m (from Thomann) will be on the way soon. Rockin' Banana! Pamela's New Workout when I spot a used one or after I sell more stuff.

As for the NAMM announcement frenzy, here's what I have my eye on:

- NE Mimetic Digitalis: that should take care of my sequencing desires, in a nice small package. It's like a 4x Rene in 1/3 of the space and 1/2 the price... without being designed for live tweaking as much, and likely without the step skipping. The smaller size and four channels, with multiple means of addressing, appeals to me though.

- IME Piston Honda mk3: my simultaneous first reaction was "that sure is borrowing a lot from the E352 and Plonk" and "I must have one." hihi Solid upgrades from the PHmk2 for sure though. However, further info hints strongly at an upcoming Hertz Donut mk3 as well, and I may have to wait for that announcement before choosing. Either one might replace my HDmk2.

- Qu-Bit Scanned: this seems right up my alley, and kind of what I've been hoping to get out of Mysteron, 2HP Comb and some other things.

- Pittsburgh Microvolt 3900: this could replace my 0-Coast; I think it's more versatile despite missing a few features I could wish for. But I need to put some serious thought into semi-modulars' role in my music.

I really liked several things about the 0-Coast's character, but it was sort of the gateway drug into West Coast-ish stuff, and it's possible that now something else could suit my needs better in the odd little laptop stand space it occupies. Whether that's the Microvolt, or something quite different, I'm not sure.
Tomorrow my BIA should arrive. Meanwhile I've been pondering The Semi-Modular Question.

After a good bit of playing with my current gear, I have decided:

1. My Microbrute is here to STAY. I love the thing's character. Given how basic it seems, it can still surprise me. It can make the sort of full, rounded sounds I have fallen in love with.

I considered replacing it with a Minibrute 2 (or 2S + a controller keyboard). But those are significantly larger, and that's a problem -- I won't get boring with details, but making room would likely involve more expense and awkwardness. And i love the Micro as a voice on its own anyway.

2. I could replace the 0-Coast. I still use it and respect it, but with a Function, Contour and Dynamix in my rack, plus not liking the 0C's folder that much and not being excited by the VCO... I think I can do better with the available space and budget.

Once again the trick with that is going to be space. My 0-Coast is on a laptop stand between my Maschine and LCD. I can go a little taller, a little deeper, a bit wider and a bit heavier but there are limits -- for instance my Microbrute will fit but blocks the screen.

I considered Pittsburgh Microvolt, but I think I will pass. The best parts IMHO are the folder and LPG, which I have in the Double Helix in a more flexible form. The character as a synth might be okay but I'm not certain of that.

Dreadbox Erebus would be pretty cool -- I like what I've heard online and it seems to be a well-loved synth. Like the Microbrute its modularity is limited, but that's probably fine. It would easily in the space where my 0-Coast is.

Behringer Neutron -- this is the most exciting to me right now. It seems extremely capable and modular-friendly, and likely my cheapest option. The doubt in my mind is how I can make it fit. From screen measurements it seems likely to be 19" wide (someone else added it unoficially to ModularGrid at 90HP). That might, or might not, fit on the 0-Coast's laptop stand. If there's a rackmount option that might be ideal. If not, maybe I can work out some sort of riser for the Mantis and make it work.

So for now it's a waiting game on the Neutron specs.

(I could always get slightly crazier, chop the keyboard off the Microbrute and put it on the laptop stand, and use a NanoKey2 for the little bit of keyboard playing I do. But I would consider that a last resort.)
So, yeah. BIA is hot. cool

I didn't buy it for drums, because I'm just not doing a lot of drums anymore. But I'm told it's illegal in the US to rack a BIA without doing the psuedo-random drum thing at least once, so here's the proof that I did it:


I currently have a much more fun quasi-drum-quasi-bassline-chiptune-thing going on, driven by two square LFOs and two cycling function generators not synced with anything. Trying to decide what to do with it before I do anything other than record a couple minutes of it in case my tweaking breaks the magic.

I do wish it was a little more non-drum friendly though -- a way to switch the envelope to ASD or bypass it, and a way to remove the click, would be great. Even running it through a VCA with a slower attack doesn't really take that edge off as much as I'd expect. I'm choosing to see this as a challenge to work with though. It has a full, larger-than-life sound to it that I think is going to keep it in my rack. I burned out on Cursus relatively quickly but this feels different to me.

[EDIT: noob mistake! Just turning the attack knob to about 2 o'clock removes the additional click. From there I can use a compressor to give it a little more natural transient. thumbs up]

My desire to try out Manis Iteritas has tripled this evening though smile

I watched DivKid's rig rundown video with Nathan Moody today and picked up the tip about mid/side processing. This is something I've neglected since going to modular. I've just been running pairs of similar-ish outputs in stereo and then panning them back to nearly the center, and relying on delay/reverb/chorus plugins for a bit more stereo image. Mid/side though lets me either depart further, or keep things more subtle. For instance, saw through one LPG for mid, folded sine through another for side. Or do some compression to the mid with Dynamix while letting the side go free.

I got lucky enough to score a used PNW. I've also got an STG .vca on the way, which will take care of FM index duties since it's got AC/DC switches. So that will take care of my immediate module wants, aside from selling a few more to free up space for the future.
Case Rearrange

For weeks now I've been failing to come up with a good plan to rearrange my stuff in ModularGrid. Finally I just put everything in a spreadsheet, grouped them by function and logical pairings, cut-and-paste it around and came up with something that's... not perfect but will work.

I do need to rearrange just a little bit more, as Freez is wedged in a bad place at the moment.

It made room for the new stuff. Old stuff I'm selling is in boxes now.

New Stuff

STG .vca does not, in fact, clean up an FM modulator enough for TZFM on the E370; I still need a highpass filter. It's still a fine VCA though and I regret nothing. I actually kind of forgot how gnarly Donut is with all the hairs standing up on the back of its sine waves, when it's not running through an LPG smile

A-138m is here, and it's what I expected... except that high frequencies leak through in bipolar mode. It's not going to be a problem for the most part though.

Pamela's New Workout arrived too, and I spent some time learning the UI and configuring stuff to sync with it. For now, I have my CV.OCD sending 32nd note clocks and a Run signal. MIDI jitter doesn't seem to be too bad by the standards of the kind of music I'm making, so if it doesn't become a problem I'll stick with that. Otherwise there's audio sync tracks, or the last resort, using Pam as the master. I prefer using the transport on Maschine though.

In fact, I kind of want to reprogram Pam to use the start/stop button to replace the long encoder press. I do wish there was another button for menu level swapping, or a second encoder to select channels/BPM.

So far it strikes me as full of usefulness but not a lot of fun; maybe my impression will change as I use it more in actual songs and with sequencers rather than modulating All The Things on the BIA or Double Helix in a short looping pattern.

Slightly Less New Stuff

I want to make sure I'm not shoving BIA into every song I make, and just using it as it comes to me. I feel like I could burn out on it, especially since I'm using it counter to its design intent. I feel that more patience is going to be the key with it.

Incoming Stuff

The case rearrange, with Frames out, has really shown me how much I lean on 3xMIA for mixing duties. Sure I have the A-138m now, but I still decided to pre-order the Frap Tools 321 to replace my S.P.O. Small utility mixers with attenuversion, offset, and gain are just ridiculously useful.

I want that Antimatter Crossfold, like right now. It is going to scratch the itch that I've occasionally felt since selling my FM Aid, and then some. It might replace my uFold; if not it's going to have to displace something else from my carefully honed plans.

Slightly Later Stuff

I await only two things about the Behringer Neutron: can it be rack-mounted (as opposed to Eurorack mounted) and what's it cost? I am quite prepared to throw money at Behringer.

Mimetic Digitalis is a definite on my list.

PHmk3 is likely, if an HDmk3 announcement doesn't overshadow it entirely.

My hype for Scanned has cooled to intrigue. I want to hear more audio demos and independent opinions before I decide.

Album Stuff

I'm getting really close to having enough material for the first Starthief album. If I weren't picky, and/or were willing to draw from material I made before 2018, I'd have plenty now. It's spooky soundtracky ambientishness for the most part, with a little "what if Stranger Things wasn't quite so 80s?" or something along those lines.
I've got my finalized track list for the album, and am in the mastering and artwork phase with it now.

Looking over my patch notes, here are my current general rankings of sound sources:

- E370 and Double Helix are the top of the heap. A versatile powerhouse and drone monster, and a dark and gnarly West Coast denizen. And both of them also readily provide basic waveforms at VCO or LFO rates when those are needed.

- Hertz Donut used to reign, but Aalto VST took over half its kingdom. They're similar-but-diferent takes on linear FM and I love them both.

(These two points helped me talk myself out of the PH mk3; it's ground that is already well covered from many angles already, to my satisfaction. Any other VCOs I acquire need to be radically different IMHO.)

- Ever since I got my Microbrute (months before getting into Eurorack) it has appeared in about 1/3 of my music. That ratio continues to hold. The more experience I have with it, the better it gets.

- Buchla Easel V and LuSH-101 VSTs are both holding their own. I'd happily own the hardware for either, given the budget, but I am pretty sanguine about the software anyway. SH-01A is cheap and small enough though, I might still consider that.

- I'm using my 0-Coast a bit less than I used to, and working to avoid some ranges of its wavefolder. Time to let it go.

- I'm not using Rings as much as I used to, though it appeared a few times in recordings I decided not to include. This isn't telling me to let it go, but rather to get back into sustained tones and feedback through its input.

- I just don't find myself using Tides. An old favorite, but there are a lot of more robust sound sources in my system now. I should probably trade it for something fun and interesting.
The album is now released!

[bandcamp width=400 height=472 album=3358612942 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=4ec5ec artwork=small]

A milestone on my modular journey for sure. This one feels so much more focused and polished than my previous work and I'm quite proud of it.

I bought a Doepfer A-189-1 bit modifier, which arrived yesterday just in time for my computer's PSU to consume itself, so I dealt with that first. I did have a couple of hours to play with the module though; I have a feel now for how crazy it is but also where there are some nice pretty sweet spots. Just how I like it.

I also traded my 0-Coast for an SH-01A. It was also supposed to arrive yesterday, but it's running late with no current ETA. waah

NI is discontinuing support for 32-bit Maschine, so I'm going to have to do some housekeeping -- figure out what plugins I actually care about, get the missing ones installed if available, try to jBridge the others or find substitutes. It was inevitable I suppose, but a hassle nonetheless.
Another burst of changes to my setup! This isn't strictly how the transactions went, but breaking them out logically:

- Got my DAW straightened out and in 64-bit mode. Couple of plugin upgrades, a couple on jBridge, a few abandoned. It was exactly the sort of hassle that I have seen anti-computer types making that I've laughed off. It made for an annoying weekend, but still not something that happens very often thankfully.

- SH-01A is in. I like it. I don't quite love it like the Microbrute, but that was a relationship that grew over time. It will definitely go to some different places and is solidly useful.

- Tides and BIA are out. I simply had more Euro sound sources than I really needed -- and I need to remember this when it comes time to choose more stuff in the future. I particularly found BIA difficult to integrate into my music the way I had hoped, though what it does, it does well.

- Wogglebug is in, on a whim. I have almost no interest in running it into a quantizer to do random generative stuff -- but if I can tame it and get it to work rhythmically, for modulation purposes it should be a lot of fun. I'm very much in the learning and probation stage with it though. If it doesn't work out, I'll move on. Mr. Green

- Dynamix is going out, Doepfer A-101-2 coming in. I've felt increasingly like Dynamix sounds a bit "flat" compared to Natural Gate or Double Helix and I wanted a change.

- Pamela's New Workout is going out. The interface isn't the most fun for me, but more importantly, having one for a while showed me it wasn't really what I wanted in the first place. Rather than a steady master clock with derived outputs, I want to manipulate incoming gates, triggers, clocks etc.

- Replacing PNW are Euclidean and logic: Stoichea, Klasmata, Logica Gater and Pico A Logic.

Maybe Euclidean overkill, but that's how the trade went -- and also, they can serve as clock dividers (with phase offset) and flip-flops. And Euclidean was my favorite feature of PNW anyway.

The logic modules were a tough choice, and A-166 was tempting. But I think this combo gives me a nice balance: CV-selectable Boolean with a couple of cool extra operators, and also simultaneous AND/OR plus extra utility for analog CVs and audio. I could have gone for Kinks rather than A Logic, but this keeps me to an even number of HP. hihi
I'm finding the Wogglebug a lot of fun, and am glad I went for it. Jones O'Tool has been extremely helpful once again. Part of its mystery comes from the arcane labeling, and part from the weirdness of PLLs. Some of that weird behavior is recognizable to me from past experience with Synchrodyne.

Still, it's controllable, and good for more than chaos. I'm finding it very useful just to generate sort of meta-envelopes from incoming envelopes or gates, with the randomness dialed out (or mostly out), among other things.
Details are in the SoundCloud description, but here is:

E370 + Crossfold + Wogglebug + Stoicheia + Mini Slew + Function + Contour + Doepfer A-101-2

Plaits (really, just Plaits with its internal EG and LPG)

Rings (with some self-patched FM)


Yup, I've been testing Plaits for a few months, and it appears in five tracks on my album (putting it in that high second tier with Hertz Donut, Microbrute and Aalto, but after E370 and Double Helix). It's very versatile and I like several of its modes; I can't see myself ever growing bored with it.

I never had Braids to compare it to (though I did mess with the VCV Rack version a little bit, and a uBraids at KnobCon) -- but having an LPG rather than a plain VCA already propels it ahead in my estimation. I am a sucker for LPGs, FM and wavefolders.

Speaking of wavefolders... Crossfold is pretty glorious. It gives a ton of control and opportunities to modulate, and sounds smoother to me than uFold. Top notch.

Stoicheia and Klasmata, as well as Logica Gater and Pico A Logic, are here too. I'll reserve judgement until Mimetic Digitalis is in place, but right now it does seem like overkill. I think I'm more likely to hold onto Stoicheia. Not sure yet about the logic but I'll hold onto it for a while.

The A-101-2 isn't going to steal the place of honor from Natural Gate, but I like it pretty well, depending on the source material. The vactrol decay is faster than I'd prefer but I have enough envelopes it doesn't really matter. It makes me realize I missed having a switch rather than being in LPG mode 100% of the time, and sometimes I prefer it in VCA mode over my other VCAs for whatever reason. Nice to have separate bias, CV amount and level controls, and resonance too.
psyclone001 wrote:
Yeah the E352 is fantastic, but a shame the knobs are too close together.
Nearly impossible not to knock it out of tune while tweaking the parameters
Something to consider doing is to use a locking dial/knob, at least on the coarse pot?

I did this years ago on my Synth Tech MOTM-300 VCOs

and MOTM-310 VCOs

And tonight I replaced all the knobs on the coarse pots of my Synth Tech E330 VCO's and E355 LFO and E950 VCO as well with locking dials:

Sure, the trade-offs to endure are:
*No longer relevant panel markings showing underneath the dial (5U)

*Control labeling partially or completely hidden by the dial (eurorack)

*Locking dials are crazy expensive, like $15 to over $30 each! eek!

*If you buy used or NOS to save money, it's unlikely that you'll be able to find the non-counting type locking dials (like I used on my MOTM-300 VCO's pictured above). You can still use counting dials that are more common and intended for multi-turn pots but having them on single turn pots may upset some people? hmmm..... hihi
Fancy! Looks like the dial on a padlock. I found just going to smaller knobs made a big difference and cost about what one of those knobs did grin

I need to reknob my Pittsburgh Double Helix -- on the primary VCO the coarse knob is about five miles wide, and the other knobs could use more wiggle room.
starthief wrote:
Fancy! Looks like the dial on a padlock. I found just going to smaller knobs made a big difference and cost about what one of those knobs did grin

I need to reknob my Pittsburgh Double Helix -- on the primary VCO the coarse knob is about five miles wide, and the other knobs could use more wiggle room.
I do like Davies knobs and like the way your E352 looks with them! thumbs up
I wound up ordering a single medium knob from Pittsburgh Modular for my Double Helix. $4.50 including shipping is probably the smallest order anyone has put in from them. hihi

Thought abouut replacing it with the "Synth Pointer" style knobs from Thonk, and maybe getting some of the gray ones to replace the CV knobs on the E370 just for giggles. But I went with the minimum cost, minimum effort solution Mr. Green
cool Knob experimentation can get expensive sometimes!
I had a couple of really good sessions with my modular recently and a couple of more challenging, but shall we say "educational" ones. The upshot is I may be evolving my sound and techniques somewhat.

At least for this next album project, I'm doing more minimal (sometimes zero) MIDI sequencing, more drones with a side of generative patching, and more improvised manual control while recording. Overall, a darker, more distorted overall sound with more rhythmic elements.

I'd previously had a more naive approach to generative patching and didn't like where it went, but I'm getting some more satisfying, less bleeps-and-bloops results now.

Stoicheia is really paying off. Klasmata is sort of secondary but useful; I could see replacing it with a 2HP Euclid if I become desperate for space, or µO_C for more versatility including very flexible quantization. Logica Gater has been good to me; Pico A Logic a little less so but there are uses for min/max with modulation signals.

I bought a Manis Iteritas, and preordered both Mimetic Digitalis and Muta Jovis. I find myself needing switches as well as mixers/attenuators quite a bit to control the flow of things; I can see myself going for a controller skiff if this trend continues and I settle on this process.
Congrats on 2000 posts. How are you liking the Manis?
desolationjones wrote:
Congrats on 2000 posts.
Indeed! w00t applause
Heh, I wasn't watching my post count. Credit goes to having a software development job on a large project that takes a while to compile and to run tests. hihi

I'm getting along really well with Manis. Of the three NE sound sources I've used, this is the one for me.

With BIA, I felt like it had a heavy rubberband pulling it back toward being a drum module, and I was fighting that. It does FANTASTIC kicks, and if I needed those it would quite possibly displace my love for the 808. But that's not what I needed. There's a small range where you can get basses and melodies out of it, but it didn't really distinguish itself there.

Manis instead feels almost like an analog bass synth -- sawtooth, LPF, hard sync, some noise modulation of the pitch (it's not quite that, but close enough) but also the weird mutated waveshaping thing. But it's got enough character of its own that I don't think "why not just use an analog monosynth for that?" It does nice bass plucks, and has a lot of weight and as much dirt as one could want. It does dark and heavy or noisy and edgy, or kind of both simultaneously. So yeah, I like it thumbs up

I have a W/ on the way, Mimetic Digitalis and Muta Jovis preordered, and I'm seriously thinking about a µO_C. Possibly two of them, if I find I prefer its Euclidean stuff to Stoicheia/Klasmata but also want to quantize and do the other stuff. smile I'm considering alternatives first though -- Euclidean Circles and Arpitecht perhaps? Honestly though, I should stick to my guns and wait for Mimetic Digitalis and see how things settle.
Eventful couple of days...

W/ arrived, and after initial frustration which includes a few bugs, I started to get a feel for it. There's some fancy stuff with the CV inputs I have not tried yet, but it's pretty great so far. I suspect my #1 uses will be setting up drones and tape delays.

W/ got me looking into the Teletype, which I had ignored before. I quickly realized that TT could handle all the gate and pattern duties that the left side of my Mantis has been doing, plus quantization, plus some other sequencing/modulation duties, all with my own rules. And it'll be able to throw commands at W/ as well. This strikes me as more satisfying than what O_C can offer me. So as of this morning I ordered one and will be updating my sell list Mr. Green

And that got me looking into the ER-301. Whoo boy. I've been watching Neil Parfitt's YouTube videos on the module, and it seems extremely capable and mostly fun to work with. The price is high and the availability is low, but I think I have a plan now. I've just got to figure out how the numbers work. smile
The plan:

· Teletype replaces Stoicheia, Klasmata, G8, Ladik S075 and Logica Gater.

· Double Helix and SH-01A go out, replaced by uFold (which I was going to sell but now won't), Dynamic Impulse Filter and Behringer Neutron.

· ER-301 goes in, when I can get it. Rockin' Banana!

· Mimetic Digitalis, Muta Jovis go in. Field Kit FX too, but I will be evaluating it to decide if it's worth its HP in the context of my system or if I just want a spring reverb.

· Keep selling off modules I have less need for, or which the ER-301 easily takes over for.

· I'm likely to want more manual controls, and by this stage should know how much space I have for them.
You're going to want a Just Friends and a Grid 128 to go with that Teletype. thumbs up

6 x Just Type voices + 4 x CV/GATE pairs for the E370 = 10 voice monstrosity Dead Banana
Just Friends is a maybe. I know Teletype takes the module to the next level... but I don't think I'm going to need more modulation of that sort nor more voices.

Grid is probably a no.

I just don't do polyphony that much anymore -- not just for gear reasons, but as a style thing. I still like and use a few softsynths, and I don't do much polyphonic stuff with them. Rings is sort of the exception.

At any rate, Teletype + E370 will be able to do 4 voices; any more would strain my available VCAs and envelopes. ER-301 will also be able to do its own polyphony including VCAs and envelopes and probably the shift register too.
Teletype can do a lot more with the expanders.
I really like it, eventually replaced my er101/102 with it but the question it blatantly opens after that is why not max or supercollider + expert sleeper. And that is not an easy question to answer smile
Yeah, TELEXi especially seems useful for adding more real-time control, more channels to quantize and internal quantization scales.

I'll see how heavily I wind up using it. Its possible just TT is enough, or I could wind up with both expanders and an Ansible and a JF hihi
and the txo add envelopes, lfo's, oscillators and who know what else..
I've only managed to get a txi in the previous batch. (The expanders were bought within 5 minutes they were announced, the txo's especially probably within a minute or two!!! )
Okay, Teletype is just seriously cool. I'm 100% sure I made the right move here. Hopefully I won't fall into too much of a rabbit hole of experimentation and remember to use all this power responsibly hihi

I'll have to put in a bit more time to see if it'll do what I'm hoping for with quantization using note masks. Even if not, it's amazing just for rhythmic craziness.

Gotta wait a few days for my i2c cable to see how it plays with W/ but I'm very excited for that too.

I should have had a Dynamic Impulse Filter arrive today too, but USPS seems determined not to exceed 40% on time deliveries. TT was plenty to try out for one evening though. smile
The Teletype continues to be great. I've got quantization working the way I want, and Euclidean and other algorithmic patterns and sequences, as well as weird clock division and multiplication, are quite easy. It definitely wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it's mine. smile

DIF is pretty decent. Another LPG flavor for me. smile As in Double Helix, the CV amount has a stronger effect on decay time than the "dynamics response" knob, and it generally works better with envelopes than triggers, but I'm fine with that.

I decided to up my cable management game. I'd been using two Patch Multiples used as a 12-line bridge to my Mantis and 4 lines to my audio interface -- but this takes up 13 HP (with the space between them for cable routing) and it's messy on the Mantis end.

So I ordered a Doepfer Multicore for a 14-line bridge that's 4HP in each case, and a Bastl Multiple that I will hack into 1-1 "single mults" (hihi) as a patchbay for my audio interface. More patch cables too, since I'm often running out of 18" cables as it is and this is going to mean using more.

Thinking about getting a couple of Triatts for the Mantis too; sometimes I'm a bit short of attenuators/offsets, and the ER-301 is also going to call for them I expect.
Been a while since I updated photos, because things were a mess and I was hiding some stuff smile

Things that should be shipping in the next 3-6 weeks:
- Mimetic Digitalis and Muta Jovis
- Field Kit FX
- Behringer Neutron

A little further out, but probably before summer:
- ER-301
- The third Mutable 2018 module? (I'm planning to get a second one of those.)

I feel like those will bring another chapter to a close. They may replace a few of my current modules, and I'll have some room to play with after that, but it still feels like it'll be closure of a sort. smile
The second Starthief album is down to the mastering, artwork and second-guessing titles phase. Mr. Green

This one was much more drone-oriented, with few songs using MIDI sequencing or software synths. Aside from purely arrythmic drones, Marbles was usually my master clock (among its other functions) and half my tracks used Euclidean pattern sequences in some way.

E370 got heavy use of course, as did Natural Gate. Manis Iteritas was on there quite a bit too -- I bought it specifically because the sound fit this album so well.

Double Helix is an odd story. I used it in 5 out of 7 songs, but then pulled it out to make way for future plans. But I've decided now to remove it from my BST post and re-rack it after all.

I've also decided not go for an ER-301. It's powerful and awesome and no doubt fun; but it's expensive and honestly, I don't really need it . Eurorack isn't a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book where I have to keep trying all the alternate paths. cool
thumbs up

You really are a LPG junkie!
Second album is released! thumbs up

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=4012994234 size=large bgcol=ffffff linkcol=0687f5 tracklist=false artwork=small]

I have some minor DIY stuff on my plate: Bastl sent me a replacement chip to hopefully fix the switch on my Dynamo.

Also I bought a LIBB and EHA (Eurorack Header Adapter) and need to do some amateur carpentry to my rack stand to make a place to mount it. I'll be glad to see the end of flying bus cables.

Also one of these days I really should put together the Landscape All Flesh thingies.
The replacement chip didn't fix the Dynamo, so I'm waiting on info on sending it in for repairs.

It took more effort and more trips to the hardware store than expected, but my rack stand now has sort of a half back and sides for me to mount bus boards on. I set up my LIBB too and got it all put back together. Everything is much less accessible from behind than it was, but it's just more like a regular case smile
Very nice starthief. Very interesting sounds in Lines of Force you have! Good work!
PM33AUD wrote:
Very nice starthief. Very interesting sounds in Lines of Force you have! Good work!

Thanks! The bass drum (not really a kick, I imagine someone using a big fuzzy mallet) was Three Sisters and Natural Gate smile

E370 on the main drone part, Microbrute on the melody and secondary drones, Manis Iteritas on the growly part. Lots of VST delay and reverb.
Rather absorbing stuff old chap, this new album. Going to have to investigate further when I have leisure to do so... thumbs up
Stuff I'm thinking about now:

-- Second W/ perhaps. It depends on how I feel about the FKFX's looper, and is contigent on a satisfying bug fix firmware update as well as Teletype 2.3x getting W/ Type integrated.

-- TELEXi expander for Teletype. Maybe. As it is, I'm not really using the analog input and knob on the module much anyway.

-- Planar 2. I think I've settled on this rather than other controller/mixer/crossfader combos I was considering. FKFX also has a 4-input VCA mixer on board anyhow.

-- A second Stages? I like the idea in theory; I think in practice I probably don't need to do it.

-- Warps? Granted it's not the smoothest wavefolder, and I don't need it on complex oscillator duty anymore, which is why I sold mine. But I kind of miss it, and like the idea of continuing my "Mutable row" with one.

-- There are those 14HP and 18HP Mutable modules coming up. One is "something unspectactular" (yet maybe desirable anyway?) and one is the granular something-or-other. I've never had a Clouds and I'm not burning with desire for this quite yet, but that's not to say I won't be as soon as we know more about it.

But Mutable Row won't have enough space for either of those if I put both Warps and Planar in it, and even so, I will probably only have room for one. So my most likely course is not to jump on Warps quite yet.

There are likely to be a couple of things in the "main" rack I let go of once I see how FKFX and Neutron are.

I'm starting to face The End -- the point where my two cases are full and everything is settled and there's no more room for neat stuff. I still don't plan to go for more or larger cases, but perhaps I'll have a "bullpen" where modules go off-duty for a while.
I'm starting to face The End -- the point where my two cases are full and everything is settled and there's no more room for neat stuff. I still don't plan to go for more or larger cases, but perhaps I'll have a "bullpen" where modules go off-duty for a while.

That's what I said many times. You'll find more room.
I like the size things are at now though. My firing arc (sorry, been playing Battletech hihi) is full of synths, and everything's in reach.

There's a certain balance to it. "Zen" is an overused and misapplied word, but something like that anyway.

I've even thought about trimming back to one case, but I don't usually like where that takes me. I'd have to do it in the context of a radical shift -- like seilling off nearly everything and going for a small ER-301/Monome system, or going full Buchla. I may do that someday, but this is not that day.

I'm still on the edge about getting that Neutron. I have a shelf ready for it, it costs less than many of my single modules do, it's got that BBD and overdrive I want to play with, and overall seems like a fun synth. But in the back of my mind, I'm thinking "do I really need another synth voice?"

At the same time, Monome Norns seems like it could be interesting and I'm impatiently waiting on more of the details. It's not Eurorack at all -- USB and 1/4" jacks -- but there might be some integration there of some sort. We'll see.
Damn Superbooth... I am now following 7 different pieces of gear with interest Dead Banana In order of "this seems neat but I probably won't get one" to "must have":

ES FH-2. I think at this point, the way the brains of my system are distributed, I don't need more "normal" MIDI conversion. It's all the other potential controllers that are interesting.

Birdkids CROW Intelligence: with that name, and glowing purple knobs on a black box, it's like they were aiming right at me. The feature set is probably not something I want to replace current gear with, but I've still got an eye on it.

Monome Norns: the design is gorgeous and brilliant and it looks absolutely inscrutable but is no doubt very usable. Typical Monome smile I expect the price will be "a bit" and I'm not sure it's something that fits well into my setup and workflow. But it's fascinating.

Xaoc Zadar: Curious to see some demos. On the one hand, I bounced off of O_C as an envelope source. On the other, this seems like navigation might be a lot cleaner and the envelopes themselves even more powerful.

u-he CVilization: a smart matrix mixer (and other stuff!) that could replace my "dumb" (but very useful) one, or could join it and rule the galaxy together.

Xaoc Odessa: I really, REALLY want to hear some audio from it; the feature set seems potentially stunning. Like I'd put my Helix or Donut aside for it, and FM it from E370 or a resonating filter.

Intelljiel Planar: I already have space reserved for either a Planar 1 or 2 -- it's a question of whether I want the new features, or to take advantage of price drops on the old version. New features are going to be shown at Superbooth that may help me decide.
...that evolved rapidly.

Norns will have a first run of 100 units, $800. Totally fair price there IMHO. I'm not going to jump on that right away, but will definitely keep eyes and ears open for what people do with it.

More relevant to my interests:

Details needed, but the idea of a scriptable thing that could be a Teletype CV expander and a USB-MIDI converter and other things, has my attention.

There sure are a lot of crows around lately.
Now that the Superbooth GAS has passed a little and I've returned my focus toward what I have in the present rather than what I may want in the future, I'm almost back to where I was.

So my plan is to grab the Planar 2, and see where I feel like I am once the Field Kit FX (still stuck in customs or lost behind a filing cabinet at DHL, or.... who knows) and the Behringer Neutron are in play.

I'll watch for news and demos of crow and CVilization.

I'm loving Mimetic Digitalis. It works very nicely with Marbles and Teletype. If I set up a sequence in it and then give its inputs different trigger patterns, I get surprising variations out. I want to play with rotating those either with Teletype, or get myself an SSM, Matrixarchate, Maze or something to sequence the sequencing. Though that would mean having to make some more space...

Maybe I really should look into a controller lunchbox or mini-skiff after all Dead Banana
I knew that when Field Kit FX arrived, it would settle some other questions about the future of my modular. I've also been doing some pondering on the nature of GAS vs. what I'm using in a practical sense, so here's where my thinking is now:

- Field Kit FX is awesome. Not perfect, but the more I use it the more I am in line with their design decisions. If I ever really need space, maybe I can get an enclosure for it from Koma or from someone who decided to permanently rack theirs, or else build one and find a PSU for it.

- My appreciation for Mimetic Digitalis deepened when I multed FKFX's step sequencer to MD's X input to create synced harmonies with it. Two of the steps were close enough to select the same step on MD, which worked well for the composition -- this thing is full of happy accidents like that.

- I have finally decided against the Behringer Neutron after all. It's probably a fantastic synth for the money, and I just don't need it.

- That means I do have a space for another small synth, but I want to choose carefully to find something that specifically serves the music I'm making. I did actually consider a skiff or lunchbox, but no lol Probably not the Dreadbox Erebus either; again a cool synth but not quite what I need. Quadrantid Swarm is a good possibility, but I also want to look outside the Euro neighborhood to see what's there. I know nothing about Ciat-Lombarde for instance, other than they look nothing like a synth and people seem to love them.

- I traded my uFold for a ModDemix, on kind of a whim. I'll see how that goes.

- My Mantis plan is basically set: Planar 2, Maze, crow. (There are about four immediate uses to put Maze to that I've been wanting, so I just preordered it.)

- The only modules in possible danger of replacement that aren't already on my sell list are the STG .VCA (if I dig the ModDemix), one of the 8HP LPGs, maybe 3x MIA, maybe Freez. I'd like to fit in a 6HP DIY Warps somewhere.
How are you liking the 321? I've been looking at a module to boost gain by 2x like the doepfer a-183-3 but the 321 seems to do quite a bit more with just 2hp extra. I'm not a fan of mini pots for most things but I doubt I'd be doing a lot of wiggling with it.
321 isn't the friendliest thing to wiggle, but it's useful. Having switches for inversion and to disable/enable the offset is nice. I wish the controls were on top instead of between jack rows, and an aluminum or white panel would make the tiny black switches easier to see. It kind of feels like hunting around by feel in a dark attic.

For playability, I prefer Shades. 3xMIA can do more mixing, but it's hard to zero, so less good for live mixing.
Was stressed and tired from today (one of our dogs had cancer surgery and there might be more on her liver). Went to bed early, couldn't sleep much, came up with the plan to finish things.

ModDemix (old version): I like it plenty!

STG .VCA: going into storage, maybe sell later.

Yamaha Reface YC: an unconventional choice for me, but I believe (and it has been testified) that it's a fine drone machine among other things. Easy to work with, immediate, pretty cheap now.

Rearranging: bringing the YC up to Euro levels and setting up for submixes; bringing my one remaining mono audio interface input to the rack; getting Freez over near the Field Kit FX for feedback shenanigans.

Space definitely reserved for: my Dynamo that's being repaired, Maze (preordered), Planar 2 (any day now I hope).

Space provisionally reserved for: Crow, Pico DSP.

Optional: Replace HD mk2 with mk3, or with PH mk3.

Also optional: Replace Patch Multiple or one of the two 8HP LPGs with 6HP DIY Warps.

Extremely optional: in case of future GAS, Field Kit FX could go in an enclosure and give me 36HP.

Of course there might be a wave of pedal GAS with the YC. hihi I've got a Rat clone, a French Toast, a Zoom G1on that I don't like, and a truly awful chorus and flanger but nothing really tasty.
I wound up trading my Three Sisters for a Belgrad. I wasn't using my Three Sisters a lot, but felt it was great for filter FM and for self-patched self-resonating fun, and there were few filters that could take its place -- Belgrad being the prime one.

I'm very glad I did. Belgrad is certainly more complex to use but offers a wider variety of tones, and is excellent at all the things Sisters is (except acting as a sort of band splitter/mixer, but that's OK.) This was a great trade for me.

(To make room, I cancelled my Muta Jovis order. I have been doing okay without manual mute switches so far, and when Maze arrives it'll give me some of that control.)

I also picked up an Erica Pico DSP. The mono delay is very basic and flavorless, and doesn't track CV fast enough for Karplus or phase modulation (unlike Disting). The Leslie is just stereo tremolo with no delicious liquid Doppler effect. On the other end of the scale, the granular delay is hot stuff and the saturated reverb mode blew me away. Overall a great use of 3HP smile

For that non-modular synth choice I've been bouncing some ideas around. I still think the Reface YC is a good choice in terms of not duplicating what my modular can do already, but the other main contenders are a Lyra-4 or a Jomox T-Resonator II. Or maybe both the YC and the T-Res. Mr. Green
YC with two different echo pedals on each output is nice. I have a cheap tiny Hotone EKO that I am pairing with a CatalinBread Echorec. Makes the organ tones breath wide with different delays on each out.

Or just put one out through a Red Panda Particle (or Montreal Assy CT-5, or similar) and make the YC get weird. I think Hotone makes a cheap bitcrusher too.

Everyone should own a Particle. I have two. I need to try two on the YC.

Checked out the Maze video. Pretty cool . Makes me wish my Doepfer Matrix mixer had push/pull pots to engage/null each junction.

Really dig your tunes and appreciate your method of operation. SlayerBadger!
I wanted to not be impressed by the Echorec, since a lot of what it can do, I can do it plugins... but it does seem to have extra mojo, especially in some of its modes thumbs up

Particle is very cool too. Not sure about Count To Five though, it seems a lot crazier smile

-- My Dynamo is back from repairs and finally fully working! Something like 217 days after I paid for it... razz The gate works nicely now (fun at audio rates; run two outputs of Hertz Donut into A and B and use the XOR to switch the gate!) and I'm glad to have the compressor thing back to play with feedback etc.

-- I sold my Wogglebug. While I felt like it had some potential, in reality I was underusing it, mostly as an S+H. Stages, Teletype and Disting can all do that (as can Marbles with an awesome twist).

-- That made room for a Pittsburgh Verbtronic. Psychedelic old-school metallic reverb-from-delays a bit similar to the Radio Shack "Realistic" Reverb box that was my first effect (I wish I'd kept that thing). There's no control over delay time except via toggle switch, and the only CV is over wet/dry, and it distorts easily unless you attenuate the input signals. But it sounds exactly like I'd hoped thumbs up

-- I also picked up an Earthquaker Afterneath. Take that same concept but make it modern, with a cluster of delays with randomized amplitudes, with full control over diffusion and suuuuuuuper-long decay times available even before dialing in feedback. Not a reverb for every occasion, but it does some wild and beautiful things and is now my favorite pedal ever.

-- I interfaced it with 3xMIA and Gozinta, which works just fine; no need for a specialized pedal module. It's got me wanting to pull out my other pedals and give them a whack with Euro gear.

-- A while back, the Reface YC was $300 new but I had some unexpected expenses and couldn't justify it. Since then it went back up to $360 and then $400 depending on the shop. This gave me time to reflect on whether I really need another instrument at all, and I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

I think right now, it's effects time. That shelf I got originally for the Neutron is currently holding a couple of reverb tanks for my FKFX. No reason it can't become an eye-level pedalboard.

Also I'm getting a box/panel kit to move my FKFX out of the Mantis and free up 36HP. I'm going to tenatively-but-firmly hmmm..... reserve 14HP of that for the Clouds successor, and am considering what else might make sense in the other 22HP.

Current candidates are:

-- Instruo tanh[3] or DPW L-1 Limit. But that depends on how things go with the Dynamo, I think.

-- One of the ADDAC sustain pedal interfaces -- either the dual passive, or the 301 Floor Control (which has a gate as well as an expression pedal CV out). Or something similar. This makes more sense to me than other gate options. (Dear ADDAC System, please smash the 304 and 305 together into one compact module because I'd rather have 3 latching and 3 momentary buttons than 8 of either.)

-- Kermit again. I miss its unstable digital wooliness, and haven't really been able to recapture it with the E370 as I expected.
starthief wrote:
I interfaced it with 3xMIA and Gozinta, which works just fine; no need for a specialized pedal module. It's got me wanting to pull out my other pedals and give them a whack with Euro gear.

I didn't drag out my crap flanger and chorus, but I did mess with the French Toast, Rat clone and G1on.

I'm not really excited about the fuzz or distortion. Anything run through it just sounds like... stuff through a stompbox, aka almost guitar only without guitar player skills. It's probably better for percussion but I'm not doing much of that now.

The G1on sounded better than I remembered. The interface is pretty terrible for my purposes though -- better for guitarists who want to step through presets, not for tabletop tweakers. The effects list is also a bit weak compared to the MS-70CDR, so I'll probably pick up one of those instead. I don't need the amp sims and distortion after all.

I might be waffling on the 3xMIA. I have really turned against bipolar level knobs for most purposes, and these crackle when I turn them, and just for Euro->pedal attenuation it's kind of goofy to use this bipolar mixer/offset thing. Shades is cleaner but I want to use it for other things. So I guess I'll think again about a more appropriate small attenuator, mixer, or pedal-specific module to do the job.
The shelf I was planning to put a Neutron on, then thinking of putting a Reface YC on, is now an eye-level pedalboard:

It's this shelf: The angle is highly adjustable so I can set it right where I want it. Plus a $3 door mat from Home Depot, cut to size -- the fabric is basically the loop side of Velcro.

(No new photo of the other rack, maybe after other decisions are made later on and a little more shuffling happens.)

The MS-70CDR was a good choice -- I like it far more than the G1on for my purposes. There are a few things about the interface that are less friendly than they could be, but overall it's pretty usable considering how much was crammed into a small pedal. And I've already got a few clear favorite effects.

I have room for a couple more pedals, but no real desires that are on budget at the moment. Room also for the Field Kit FX box, which will be handy.

WMD/SSF Blender has replaced my 3xMIA. I have it right next to Gozinta and it's convenient for pedal use -- attenuation and a CVable wet/dry mix, or a feedback mixer if I want, or an extra VCA.

Really unsure right now about other modules:

- Kermit: I do miss that sound and haven't been able to replicate it. But it's not all that cheap and I do have lots of VCOs, none of which I want to replace.
- Warps: I miss it too. Again, plenty of VCOs, and my current FM and PM offerings can get close to its VCO sound, and I have a better wavefolder. I'm trying to figure out why my inner voice keeps saying I should have one again.
- Chronoblob: I've already got the PT delay in FKFX, the lo-fi delay in Stages, a couple of good delays in Disting, a Pico DSP, a Verbtronic, Afterneath and MS-70CDR and a pile of good delay VST plugins. So probably I don't need it and should just cool my GAS.
- Planar 2: having second thoughts about whether other controller options might serve me as well or better for less money. I kind of want an FSR, and I even kind of want a ribbon controller. Dead Banana

So in a state of indecision, I will hold off for a while. Hopefully Maze will ship soon so there'll be that to play with.

Meanwhile, I'm putting the finishing touches on my third album. In fact it's done, it's just in the final "are you sure?" pause for a few days to keep looking at the artwork and listening to the mastered version.
I wound up picking up a used Kermit and decided against Chronoblob. Still working out my thoughts about Warps. smile

While I wait for the third Starthief album to finish sloooooowly uploading, I went through my gear notes to see what went into it. They're not comprehensive, but they do tell me a few key things.

Once again, E370 was the most listed module (appearing in 11 of 13 tracks) and Natural Gate was second at 9. Manis Iteritas came in close at 8.

W/ doesn't appear at all -- I made a few recordings with it and had great fun doing so, but the result didn't fit the direction of this album. Maybe another time!

The weirdest thing is that I didn't use my Microbrute at all. I used to put it in 1/3 of my recordings very consistently. But I have the habit of only MIDI sequencing it rather than controlling it via CV, so that may have been at play here.

There was "real" MIDI sequencing in two songs (and a couple of others where MIDI note ons caused softsynths to drone, but levels were controlled manually in hardware). Most of the melodic sequencing was handled by Marbles and Mimetic Digitalis.

Four songs used VST synths -- Aalto, Razor, Chipsynth PortaFM, and Lush-101.
And here's the album smile

[bandcamp width=400 height=472 album=106685974 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=4ec5ec artwork=small]
Well. Bought a Kermit from someone on Facebook, and UPS has it marked as "delivered" 20 minutes before my wife went to work. She didn't see it, and it's not here.

I contacted the seller and he's got an issue open with UPS to try to resolve it. He insured it, and has another one he'll send if he has to file a claim. So worst case for me is I'm out another few days without a Kermit.

I'm taking this as a lesson though: always insure modules when shipping. I usually go for USPS First Class and that only covers $50, but it seems worth spending a little bit extra to make sure.
starthief wrote:

I'm taking this as a lesson though: always insure modules when shipping. I usually go for USPS First Class and that only covers $50, but it seems worth spending a little bit extra to make sure.

ALWAYS worth it imo! I've never had it cost more than $5 on a module and it saves a lot of peace of mind. I've had enough packages lost that I never go without it now.

Also, can't remember if I've said this before but this thread is really great to follow and your music is very inspiring.
uniquepersonno2 wrote:
...this thread is really great to follow and your music is very inspiring.

Thanks! oops

Kermit arrived today and all is well. The seller (Tim Harrow on "The Mostly-Modular Synthesizer Garage Sale" on Facebook) was cool about everything, and is putting up his other Kermit for sale if someone is looking for one at a good price. Also thanks to merlatte here for pointing me toward it in the first place.

So happy to have a Kermit again with its fuzzy weirdness. Lotsa Love The tuning knobs on this one are thankfully a bit less loose than my first. It has the same behavioral quirks otherwise, so I guess I can't blame the uZeus for that after all (e.g. slightly different ranges on the A and B oscs, and the noise on B is influenced by A, so it's probably some kind of hash algorithm).
Status of things:

- I ordered a second Bastl Multiple, making it the first module I'll have two of smile
- Also a Manhattan Analog DTA. It and the mult will go where my Patch Multiple is, so I still have the handy extra patch points for my audio interface but also a character VCA.

- Waiting on Livestock Maze still -- the company that assembled them used the wrong LEDs and then replaced them with different wrong LEDs. Probably won't have long to wait now though.
- Also waiting on the Planar 2 release. I keep having second thoughts and then banishing them, so I'll probably wind up getting it.
- Also waiting on the Field Kit FX replacement box to arrive. It's been about a month since it shipped, which is par for the course for overseas shipping I guess.

- Still not sure what else will go in, but current thinking is back to "no more sound sources". Muxlicer is damn cool but would require evicting something else to make room. The new Hemisphere stuff for Ornament & Crime makes a uO_C a more attractive prospect to me, and would still leave 4HP if I wanted to add some footswitch control or other manual gates.

- I've wrestled with a couple of obstacles to music-making in the past few weeks. One is heat -- the studio is in the hottest room in the house, and my brain shuts down in weather like this. I can sweat through watching videos or playing video games but trying to work on music was just a dead end. But between AC maintenance, velour headphone pad replacements, a new fan, and a fan-cooled chair cover it's getting much more bearable.

- The other obstacle was too much planning. I had this clever thing laid out for my next album that I was really pleased with in theory... and in practice I had no motivation to actually do it. So I finally chucked that and went back to what I think of as Taoist riverbed-following and sure enough, I've got something new that (A) I'm pleased with and (B) fits the general theme I intended anyway.
Manhattan Analog DTA is in place, and I like it. smile I actually was expecting one of the knobs to act as a bias, but it's not like that. Still good though:

"Input" is a drive knob; crank it all the way for saturation even when the other knobs are low. (Not a lot of saturation, but it sounds nice.)

Max output level is about 8Vpp, or 7V if you back down on Input enough to keep a 10Vpp sine clean.

"Volume" knob and input, and "CV" knob and input, work similarly, and it's like two VCAs in series. Unpatched, they set a fixed level; patched they act as attenuators. Them response is subtly different between them.

It works beautifully for AM if you patch the modulator (AC) signal into CV and the envelope into Vol. If you go the other way, it'll leak the modulator into the output.
I wound up trading my W/ for a Warps. As I posted in the W/ thread, it was much less about the firmware bugs and more that it just hasn't been fitting in to my music or the way I want to work.

I have no regrets about trying it though. W/ led me to Teletype, which is awesome. It also showed me some cool things and gave me some sound design inspiration, which I am using though not the module itself.

Thinking about what I do and don't like about the module, I think Tyme Sefari might be more my speed -- multiple lo-fi options, feedback loop built in, tap tempo, easier to work with. But now we're talking 23 HP (counting the expander). I could make room if I decide to forgo either Planar 2 or the Clouds replacement. Tough decisions...

Anyway, Warps will be the second module I sold, missed, and then re-purchased.
I got the news (about 4 weeks later than expected) that I'm getting a pay raise, so I decided to treat myself... pretending that I wasn't already doing that with previous purchases hihi

A Red Panda Tensor is on the way, and I'll pick up an ALM S.B.G or similar and some extra cables so I can set up 2 pedal chains (3 if mono).

Since the Tensor is also a twist on buffer/tape loop/delay effects, and I'm finding myself with a very delay-heavy rig I may or may not also want a Tyme Sefari after that. But I'll have room grin

But at this point even if the Planar 2 releases today, I'm going to wait a bit before making more purchases, and try to sell off some less used gear.
Both Livestock Electronics Maze and Red Panda Tensor arrived yesterday, so it was a fun day of figuring out new stuff and putting it through its paces.

Maze is the easier one to describe: crossbreed an A-138m with an SSM, add morphing, and stick in 12HP. And they're chainable into a larger matrix (4x8, 8x4, 8x8, etc.) if you've got the rack space and cash.

It's fantastic smile I wouldn't replace my matrix mixer with it since having 16 knobs I can grab and tweak on the fly is pretty valuable too, but I I'll have many uses for this.

Tensor is complicated, but also made to be intuitive. It's sort of an intelligent virtual tape loop delay. It can loop, reverse, time stretch, pitch shift (independently of time), randomly jump around, etc. It can even do it in real time, analyzing the input to guess when it's musically valid to "catch up" the buffer so it's able to play back slower than it fills.

It's pretty difficult to get across all the possibilities in words; a video demo is a little better, but really you just have to try it.

I've been getting these bubbling, polyrhythmic, swinging accompaniments out of it, as well as pitch shifting, double tracking, reverse delays, buffer freeze drones, random and psuedo-random glitches, etc.

I think I'm just going to run with two pedal chains:

Blender 1 (mono) -> Rat -> Afterneath -> MS-70CDR -> direct to interface (mono or stereo)

Blender 2 (mono) -> Tensor -> Cimmerian -> Gozinta (mono)

This simplifies things a bit from what I had planned, and I won't need additional modules or cables at this point.

I'm probably going to keep it at 5-7 pedals max for space and budget reasons. I don't think I really need more than that though anyhow and don't want to turn this into a massive collection along with all the Euro smile
The standalone box/panel for my FKFX arrived, and I've got that 36HP planned out now:

-- My Tromsø is going back in, on a probationary basis at least. It's been up for sale for months without a bite, but now I'm doing a bit more with lo-fi sounds and with feedback loops and it could work out there.

-- My Zlob Dual VCA is going back in, as planned.

-- I preordered a Jackalope 2.0 -- an A440 tuning fork attached to a passive piezo transducer in a 4HP module. hihi Given that I've got a few things that can repitch it, and I can probably drive it with feedback, it could be fun -- a much more specifically resonant take on Ears/Mikrophonie. It's also a little callback to my violin-playing adolescence and the A440 tuning reference I once could hear in my sleep.

-- Also bought a Bin Seq, for immediate, hands-on-tweakable gate sequencing to go with my more algorithmic options. I considered a Launch Codes, partly because its trigger/gate/latch mode would be nice to have -- but I know from experimenting with Teletype I'd prefer not to set up my rhythms in that style.

-- Tyme Sefari mk2 is planned -- buying as soon as I sell one more module (I have two up on Ebay at the moment).

I sold my Verbtronic, and my A-101-2 is up next. So I've got 16HP free, soon to be 24. On the list of possibilities are:

- tanh[3]
- Sound of Thunder
- Clouds successor
- Planar 2 (seems less likely)
The Type Safari mk2 is great for creating textures, especially if you have the Sound of Thunder mk2 and a VC Panner. I don't have a Sound of Thunder at the moment but I loved getting dense layers of almost oscillating feedback and gating the pitch shift mode on and off. I thought the circuit bends on the original Type Safari were more extreme than the mk2 but having gate inputs to turn them on and off makes for great rhythmic possibilities.

The original TS was the first module I purchased after getting my Doepfer system in 2008. Other modules have come and gone but I have never, not had at least one TS in my system since then.
I wound up going for a Ladik P-075 for manual mutes, gates/triggers, transposition (w/Shades) etc.

And also a TS/ASOT pair cool

That puts me at 12HP free; right now I'm seriously thinking that'll go to a tanh[3] and a uO_C. Hemisphere Suite will likely shake out a couple of small and less-used utilities, and some lower-priority stuff could move aside if necessary if the Clouds successor becomes a must-have.
So I've got my Tyme Sefari and ASOT, and am giving it a spin.

It's a bit more dirty and raw and glitchy than I expected. I assumed it could get lofi and glitchy easily enough, which is what I wanted. But the max sample rate never quite gets clean, and demands an antialising filter. Sometimes you get surprise static bursts, like reversing an already playing loop. I look forward to the firmware update that will fix some of that.

Overall I think it's a very clever design; being able to gate or inverse-gate or CV everything is powerful stuff. I've already found some really fun patches -- for instance, use the same gate as a voice's envelope to control Rec, so it keeps looping after you release a note.

Of course putting things in the feedback path can get awesome -- filters less than I expected, but a wavefolder, a reverb, Rings...

The aliasing and my tendency to prefer dark delays is increasing my demand for a filter. This is kind of funny since I use my filters relatively rarely, so they should be available for the task. But Belgrad isn't my first choice for a simple anti-aliasing/darkening LPF. I think I'll rearrange a little so Cinnamon is nearby, and I'll replace my Pico A Logic with a VCF1 (which I've kind of wanted anyway for Polivoks goodness).

I was on the fence about ASOT for a bit, since it seemed very situational. But the more I play with it, the better I like it. Using the stereo path as a second tap or for mid-side purposes (despite the lack of wet/dry), the gates for rhythmic momentary glitches, etc. I'm not too fond of the diagonally set toggle switches though.
A little play with it, with Tap Tempo Out triggering G8 whose outputs gate various things on TS and ASOT.


Check out that big gap between the modules -- it's like 0.5HP. I think my TS panel is missing a bit on its right side. The nuts for the L and P gates are practically hanging off the side and the outline around "Transport Control" is cut off a little bit. Better a little too narrow than a little too wide to fit, I suppose.

I've got an Instruo tanh[3] on the way, and a Bard Ivan coming soon -- I got lucky and saw the Facebook message that the last few in this batch were opened up to US sales. Between those two I should have some pretty sweet saturation and distortion options. thumbs up

So I'm now down to 8HP, which will go to a uO_C running Hemisphere. I might find that one or two of them can replace the Teletype, in which case I'll have 10-18HP open for other things. No particular plans as to what those things may be, though, so this isn't something I will rush into just yet.

I got a Korg clip-on contact mic meant for tuners; the sound quality is not fantastic for many instruments but for some things it's actually kind of decent. Good enough to experiment with, to trigger Rings and capture various noise and ominous bumps in the night.

Also a microcassette recorder off eBay, the Sony Mic'n Micro -- the one Hainbach says is more of a curiosity than anything. Mr. Green It gives me the ghostly sound I was hoping for.

My spouse is starting a "spooky Gothic Appalachian" inspired musical project -- murder ballads and ghost stories and witches and revenge. She thought I would only be interested in the sound engineering and some synth background stuff, but I'm on board as a band member. She's bought a bunch of starter instruments with the idea of getting a feel for them at minimum, and hopefully learning to play the easier ones enough to record them. Even if this project goes nowhere we've got these to play with. I'm really liking the mandolin, and foresee some experiments with modular and pedals as well as sore fingers grin
With the arrival of the last few modules, my modular synth is "done" now. There may be minor changes in the future, but nothing is planned now, and this feels like the close of a chapter. Mr. Green

A quick run through all of it, with my favorites/essentials in bold. In the 9U rack:

Bastl Multiple: divided into 3x3 mult, mostly used to connect to 1 output and 1 input on my audio interface. A little redundant with the one in the second row.

Manhattan Analog DTA: Moog-inspired VCA, or actually two VCAs in series with a drive to it. I appreciate that I can manually control it without CV, as well as doing both AM and an envelope, or velocity + envelope or whatever.

Rabid Elephant Natural Gate: the Holy Grail of LPGs. Sounds amazing, very controllable and very live-playable.

Erica Pico DSP: has a couple of algos I particularly like: granular delay and saturated reverb.

Bard Ivan: while the VFD tube tends to have a constant low-level glow so it's less of an awesome blinkenlight than I could wish, the sound is what counts here. It does an asymmetrical fold-clip-saturate thing which sounds great on kick drums and gives some nice buzz to oscillators. AC-coupled output, so it doesn't work on CV, and it does invert the output.

Make Noise Contour: I loved it in the 0-Coast and I love it more in Eurorack.

MN Function: as above. It just feels good!

WMD/SSF Mini Slew: a survivor in a long line of trying different envelopes. While the knob ranges are not as friendly as the Make Noise modules, the EOR/EOC are a little flaky, and it doesn't retrigger during fall unless you have a trigger higher than 6.5V, the internal bipolar VCA/attenuverter and CV control over everything make it really flexible.

Jones O'Tool+: a great tool for learning how modules or your patch work, comparing before/after, tuning, checking voltages, beta testing, proving points on the internet, etc. Even after being familiar with everything I wouldn't let this go.

Disting mk4: no fun. But the tempo-tap delay does cool things with irregular clocks, the CV delay is solid, and occasionally I will muster the ambition to grab my cheat sheet and use other algos.

Circuit Abbey G8: clock divider, harmonic subdivider, gate randomizer, crude window comparator... just an all around useful thing. Properly belongs with my other sequencer stuff in the Mantis but I'm not sure what I'd swap over.

Doepfer A-138m: sometimes I use it just as four attenuators, sometimes to build (multi-)feedback paths, sometimes to swap voices between effects chains. Everyone should have a matrix mixer smile

Lifeforms Dynamic Impulse Filter: a slightly weird take on the LPG, it doesn't ping as well as most LPGs but has its own woody character. Also handy as an extra VCA with separate offset. (I'd bold this but there's a simplified one in the Double Helix, which takes priority.)

Doepfer A-196 PLL: there is no substitute. Make one VCO track another (with varying levels of success or really cool failure). Double up your square waves. Use it to modulate the thing that feeds it. Make horrible noises. Stick it to The Man.

The Harvestman Hertz Donut mk2: if I had just one VCO, that would make me sad... but it'd probably be this. It does TZFM beautifully. It does aliasing and instability and a really weird take on wavefolding. It loves LPGs and long walks on the beach at night during the apocalypse.

The Harvestman Kermit: it is more full of ghosts and contrariness than the Donut. It does FM poorly and AM amazingly nicely. It has a PLL mode that follows an incoming signal worse than that one drummer you hate. Its small and limited wavetable makes it a poor wavetable VCO but a good... one of itself. I had one, sold it, regretted selling it, got another one and learned my lesson.

The Harvestman Tyme Sefari mk2: do you want ugly delays? Because this is how you get ugly delays. And looping and glitching and weirdness and you can use it like a VCO and it's kind of glorious really. It plus the expander do take up some space, though!

The Harvestman A Sound of Thunder: adds more stuff to Tyme Sefari, including a second channel (which can be stereo, mid/side, a second tap, etc.), some marginally useful glitch switches/gates, even lower resolution, and a dodgy pitch tracking mode.

Antimatter Crossfold: Analog wavefolders are great. Analog wavefolders with dual inputs, CVable crossfade, a lot of controllable depth, and CVable wet/dry mix are better.

Bastl Cinnamon: okay, I know the image shows a Tromso but I need to rearrange that on ModularGrid d'oh! I don't do a lot of subtractive synthesis with the modular, but I often use this as a basic cleanup filter for Tyme Sefari aliasing, as a highpass filter for E370 linear FM, and for shaping in general. Also the switches make it angry!

Doepfer A-180-9 Multicore: my solution for having two cases on opposite sides of my corner desk. I had to add a separate ground wire to kill noise though.

Bastl Multiple: this one is broken into groups of 2,2,2,3 and serves as a handy trunk line to my audio interface.

SynthTech E370: rawr! Four independent VCOs. Uploadable, editable wavetables or clean basic shapes. Cloud mode (this is the best thing). Phase modulation, several FM options ranging from easy to lethally intense, wavefolding, sample playback (with limits). Makes excellent LFOs too and is a drone beast, a bassline monster, and great at lush pads. I don't even try to use it in the usual polyphonic sense.

Make Noise ModDemix: dual 4-quadrant multiplier/ringmod/rectifier/etc with a sort of wobbly kink near 0V that gives it more character. Can be tasty sometimes.

Xaoc Belgrad: I'm clearly not a filter nerd but this is a good one for flexibility, for dual resonant peaks that can modulate each other and the like. It sings well.

Frap Tools 321: attenuverter/offset/mixer in... not the world's friendliest form factor (tiny black knobs and tiny black switches on a black panel) but useful.

the power: I'm not proud of this because I bought it from a garbage person's company before he revealed how terrible he is and his employees verified it. With the help of one bus board from the same company plus a Genus Modu LIBB, this adequately powers my 9U rack with only occasional "why are all the lights blinking?" issues but no added noise or overheating.

In the Mantis:

Monome Teletype: this can do so much. Mainly I use it for algorithmic gate sequencing, clock multiplication etc. with occasional CV; it can also act as a quantizer and I've recently explored shift registers with it. Takes a USB keyboard (and is a little picky about it) and its own concise little programming language that is a refreshing change from my daily job maintaining millions of lines of C++/C#/FORTRAN.

Noise Engineering Bin Seq: a simple, hands-on gate/trigger sequencer. No built-in length option is a minor bummer but not a big deal.

NE Mimetic Digitalis: It's kind of like four Renes in 10HP with 16 slots to save the sequences in. Plenty of control for editing or 16-step CV recording. I don't always sequence in Euro, but when I do, I prefer Mimetic Digitalis. Stay wiggly, my friends.

NE Manis Iteritas: I have previously owned a Cursus and a BIA and this is the one that sits the best with the music I make. Sometimes it's a little off from what I want it to do, but I treat this as a kind of life lesson smile

WMD/SSF Blender: I mostly use the top two manual crossfaders as an attenuator for effects pedals, while the CVable crossfader sees occasional use as... a CVable crossfader.

Circuit Abbey Gozinta: to boost pedals and mics or overdrive stuff.

Lifeforms Double Helix: "I love this damn thing!" -- (Roland, Borderlands) Expo FM only, inexplicable lack of sync on saw-core oscillators, full of crosstalk and a weirdly overdriven LPG and such. But it has great character and lots of modulation routing options, and is one of the few 259-ish complex oscillators that lets you patch the timbre section separately. I find myself using it all the time,

uO_C with Hemisphere Suite: a recent addition and I'm impressed. I have already wished I had two because it's full of helpful utilities and the OLED display makes it much easier to use than, say, Disting. (I am probably not actually going to clear out 8HP and get a second one, but it wouldn't be wasted if I did.)

Zlob Dual VCA: tiny, works well, overdrives very nicely; doesn't often get used now but it's so innocuous it's going to stay.

Bastl Tromso: unstable and inaccurate triangle VCO/LFO, a comparator, and an S&H/T&H, normalled as a group to act as an analog sample rate reducer. I have patched it to use as a sort of 1-bit PCM VCA thingy. Again, not something I use a lot but it can be fun.

Bastl Dynamo: great for ducking, keeping feedback loops in check, controlling a voice's timbre with its own dynamics. Also has a switch for some reason instead of its own VCA to make it a complete compressor, but that's useful too.

Jackalope 2.0: Just arrived. An A440 tuning fork with a passive piezo pickup behind the panel. Nice for getting some electroacoustic oddity into the synth and especially for Rings input.

The other end of the Doepfer Multicore.

Mutable Instruments Marbles: This module changed how I feel about randomness. It's got the best features of a Turing Machine paired with all kinds of gate utility and a nicely flexible quantizer, and then some.

MI Stages: so much modulation and flexibility. The other day I had it patched as a six-stage shift register (with an obscene number of stackables). But usually it serves me as a couple of LFOs and an envelope or two, or a quick sequencer.

MI Plaits: it's very flexible, sounds great, has plenty of character and is easy and intuitive. Most models have uses far beyond the obvious (drum models as oscillators? Speech as a noise source? "Granular Cloud" as a supersaw?)
It is an excellent companion to:

MI Rings: my first modular love. Look beyond the plucks and mallets and gaze into the abyss of the IN jack. (Though the plucks and mallets can be gorgeous...)

MI Shades: there are more flexible modules that do this stuff, but this one likes to be touched.

MI Warps: another module I sold and re-bought. I don't use it as much now as I did then -- I have alternatives to its TZPM and wavefolding -- but still good to have around. I usually stick to the standard algos rather than Parasite.

Livestock Maze: I haven't delved too deeply into it, partly due to the nature of the album I was working on when I got it. But a matrix mixer that you can sequence is pretty hot stuff.

2HP Freez: I only rarely use the actual freeze, but the sample reduction on this is inexplicably nice and justifies its presence in my rack.

Instruo tanh[3]: probably the best saturation there is. Pretty cool for making exponential envelopes into sort of sticky, "big" envelopes without just making them linear or logarithmic. Situationally nice in feedback loops (with an atteunator afterward) -- I like it with dirtier things like a PT delay, Freez etc.

Soundmachines LS1 Lightstrip: sometimes handy to have around, and fun to pair with a quantizer.

Ladik P-072 Dual Switch: sometimes handy for gates/triggers/mutes/etc.

And then there's the pedalboard, which is more subject to change:

Koma Field Kit FX: The VCA mixer with its tone controls is pretty brilliant. The rest is noisy and cantankerous. Great for experimental (or just mental) feedback loops and noisy delays.

Red Panda Tensor: kind of a tape emulation that defies physics. It listens to the input to decide things like reset points, so you can timestretch beyond its buffer's actual capacity. Can pitch shift, reverse, or sort of noodle along with you and is very controllable.

Little-Bear R.Attack: meh, it's a cheap and unconvincing Rat clone and it's likely to be replaced.

Earthquaker Afterneath: ambient washes of smeared delay pings, if that even makes sense. I would not have this as my only reverb or delay, but it has its place.

Zoom MS-70CDR: aside from obvious modulation/reverb/delay etc, I've used this with some success to give me a sort of lo-fi tape sound. Nice.

(Cimmerian Caves V2 should ship very soon (maybe today) and there might be one more pedal added, aside from finding a distortion I like more.)


Arturia Microbrute: has served as my MIDI controller for about 6 months before I got into Eurorack. Also has lovely saturation, a filter that can go nuts but has surprising sweet spots, and plays very well with audio rate modulation from the Euro gear. Consistently found its way into 1/3 of my recordings ever since I bought it.
@starthief A thoughtful walkthrough of a well-planned and more or less "complete" system. Very instructive. Thanks. You're getting me very interested in Tyme Sefari (+ASOT), which I'd written off long ago as "not my thing." I think "my thing" has been changing, but your descriptions and demo have put the TS back in my frame.

One question: has your commitment to the HD2 wavered at all, following the v3 demos?
Thanks! There was some planning, but it took several months of experimentation before I really honed in on the sound, and a few more before I got the sequencing where I wanted it. Some luck was involved in beta test, discount and early adopter opportunities too.

From the demo of HD mk3, I think I prefer the mk2. The architecture is more open, with the two oscillators able to work independently and having full I/O on the panel. Also apparently the mk3 is cleaner, more stable and "perfect", losing some of the character I like about the mk2.
These are fun to read and very thorough. Thanks!
Since someone PMd me to ask: I am indeed using a wireless keyboard with Teletype. It doesn't like Bluetooth, but Logitech Unifying dongles work if you pair them first using a PC or Mac (at which point you don't need the computer).

Two recommendations for keyboards:

Logitech K360: fairly cheap, close to a standard layout, comes with a Unifying dongle, long battery life.

Logitech K780: not as cheap, but can switch between three different devices (Unifying or Bluetooth) very quickly and smoothly. Good if, like me, you have a DAW and a Teletype and only want to mess with one QWERTY keyboard.
I guess I'm moving to a 1.05 version hihi

Pulling out to storage: Tromso, Ivan, one of the Bastl Multiples, Zlob Dual VCA, Freez

Going in: Tides 2018 version


I was really using Freez only as a sample reducer, and Tromso, while capable of a few other fun tricks, also wasn't seeing a lot of action. I can use uO_C, Stages, Tyme Sefari and Pico DSP to do that, and software if it's end-of-chain.

The Dual VCA wasn't getting a lot of action either. Ivan is kind of cool, but second fiddle to tanh[3].

One of my Bastl Multiples I was using for routing is pretty redundant with my current setup anyway.

The new Tides seems like a lot of fun with polyrhythmic LFOs, Just Friends-like chords, phase offsets etc. While the older Tides left my system, it served me well for a couple of years first, and I kind of miss using it triggered or PLLd from other things. I'm hoping the new stuff will give it that much more liveliness. If not, it should be very easy to resell.

The 2014 version was my first module and I loved it well, mostly as a VCO. It never really sat well with me as an envelope. As my system grew to include things like the E370 and then Plaits, I was just not getting as much use out of it and decided to let go.

Enter the 2018 version -- the new output modes add stereo AM and phase modulation to the palette, as well as slightly detuned or harmonically related outputs, more opportunity for self-modulation, etc. In a few hours I discovered some nice patches with it that I can't otherwise achieve and its place is justified once again. w00t

What's more, I like this version as a modulator more than before. The extra output modes give new life to it as an envelope generator -- or rather, a bit of a complex rhythmic modulator. Its external clocking doesn't follow patterns the way Marbles does, but still the interplay of envelopes with different shapes or frequencies gives it new life.

So that's a win cool

Cimmerian Caves V2

Its predecessor was a dual dark dubby delay with fuzz. This is a smaller (but still not that compact), cheaper, single-delay version. It's less impressive, but still good for watery choruses and drunk delays.

I have software plugins that do dark and dubby delays. Where this stands out is its dirt with longer delay times -- different and less glitchy than PT delays I have tried -- and a sort of messy organic character overall. The 3.5mm inputs are not Euro level and will overdrive without attenuation, but it does overdrive pretty nicely. Between the "accidental" drive and the fuzz circuit, I'll be pulling my Rat clone off my pedalboard. At least for now, this one is going in front of my Tensor.

Next album

Work has just barely started on this; it's a busy time at home right now with lots of repairs going on. My tentative plan is to make it something of a Rings study -- going deep with the audio input and modulation to create sounds beyond the stereotypical plucks.

At the same time, it's also likely to have some electro-acoustic action, which is another great way to work with Rings; I recently picked up a new portable recorder, contact mic, Jackalope module (tuning fork on a passive piezo), paper tape music box, and some stringed instruments for another project, and found my induction coil mic and spring piezo...
So far my Rings study is up to 5 songs, but has a lot less electro-acoustic stuff than expected -- contact mic on desk fan a couple of times is all hihi

I'm trading my Cimmerian Caves for a second Rings. At least for this particular project it feels like I should try a pair of them together, and I'll see in general if I like having two more than I like having one. smile

Also trading my somewhat underused Belgrad for an Epoch Twinpeak. If, down the road, I find myself not using it much either, then I'll just have to face the fact that I'm just not that much into filters in my modular (despite loving the one in the Microbrute in its own context) and run with something else in that slot. Mr. Green

Manis is going up for sale; while some of its dark and gritty tones suit my music well, I mostly feel more limited than freed by it. I just have a specific way of working I guess, and this is not it.

My Jackalope is getting unracked just to make some room, but I will keep it; it's passive and I'll probably just give it some wooden block "feet" to keep it in a stable position for playing.

Caves being traded away makes some pedalboard room. A Korg SQ-1 is in my sights, but otherwise I might just keep the space open for a future 4ms Pod maybe smile
OK, I already love having two Rings. They layer very nicely, alternating Strum via a clock divider is a good tactic, and they feed each other very well too. I have guests over but "just testing the module" turned into "have to finish this song" anyway Mr. Green

Thankfully everyone is tired from a couple of days of adventure and willing to just sit around and chill for a while.
Epoch Modular Twinpeak:

I don't know dizzy

My first impression is that, as a conventional filter, I like it more than Belgrad but not as much as Sisters until I turn up the resonance, then I don't like it that much. It pings beautifully, but that produces sounds I can make other ways. It's certainly simpler and more predictable than Belgrad.

I was thinking today that maybe Cinnamon is enough in my rack, and I should consider something a bit more West Coastish like a Borg, or unusual like a Plauge Bearer, or perhaps an EQ rather than a filter (like the Ladik resonator). Or perhaps instead, a waveshaper of some sort, a short BBD or clean delay for comb/phaser stuff, etc.

And then this evening I built a patch where E370 feeds the audio input and modulates A and B separately, in cloud mode but with sync -- and I like the result quite a bit.

Maybe I just need to think unconventionally. At any rate, I'm hanging onto this filter at least until I get through Patch & Tweak, and then some, before I make any decisions smile
Me two years ago on Facebook:

Modular is a whole new world that 30 years of synth experience hasn't really prepared me for. These two modules [Tides and Peaks] open up whole new worlds for the MicroBrute.

Me one year ago on Facebook:

I had planned, for quite some time now, to keep my modular system at its current size for at least several more months. But it turns out, an E370 beta unit is coming back to me, this time to stay smile and it needs a proper home.

Me this morning:

Mostly as an exercise, I was looking at ModularGrid to see what I'd have to lose to make it fit in the 9U 84HP rack again. I categorized things as "relatively painless", "sacrifice sequencing functions" and "hard choices". I can't get there without dipping a little into hard choices. I could get it to 9U 104HP if I wanted to, though. Right now I don't think that's what I'll do.
My thought process about modular size/layout is this:

- Many of my recent recordings use just a small fraction of my modular -- 2-5 modules out of 47.
- ...but part of this is because I have been doing studies of Rings meant to highlight the module, and so I've been keeping patches a little simpler and with very few voices.
- ...and I do like having that big pool of things to draw from.
- ...and some recordings use around 20 modules or more.

- I could go back to just MIDI sequencing and let go of about 5 modules.
- ...why? Only if I really wanted to make room or shrink the system.

- Even now, some of my modules are a bit underused or redundant, and I could cycle them out.
- ...yeah, but I wanted to slow down that process a lot, and I don't feel compelled by any other modules to make that shuffle happen.

- I have some great software synths I'm underusing...
- ...why does it have to be about how much I use a particular thing? I've maybe put a little too much emphasis on this. If anything, I should just use that as a defense against GAS rather than guilt about what I already have.

- Having stuff in two cases that aren't immediately next to each other still does lead to "local patching" (e.g. psychological resistance to patching across the Doepfer Multicore) and some odd choices; that wouldn't be an issue if I could shrink and consolidate.
- ...okay, but that means getting a HUGE case or losing a lot of stuff.

- If I had more space, I would probably just fill it with other synths anyway. E.g. replace my Microbrute with a Minibrute 2, pick up an OP-1 or something... I'm probably better off keeping the modular.

- The current setup is comfortable and I don't really need to radically rework things.

- Just because some people have observed that a lot of people shrink their modulars after a while doesn't mean I have to do the same.

All good then. Mr. Green
Yeah, there’s plenty of room here for different approaches. There’s no one true model, although it can be interesting to see what others are doing and sometimes a radical change (if only temporary) is useful.

For example, these days, I seem to have stabilized on a couple “large” (but not quite full) cases of modules, plus a mostly-empty portable case, and I shuffle things around library-style as I see fit. Several time a year, a module comes or goes. Bottom line: the simple presence of a bunch of modules doesn’t generally preclude me from focusing on a few of them. That’s a personal thing.

However, I just had to spend a month focused on a handful of modules in the portable rack for a project. There’s no question that—by necessity—I went deeper into those modules than I would have in my full setup. So, project aside, that exercise was useful to me and I mean to repeat it with some other modules soon.
Korg SQ-1:

- Wow, it's heavy! I think I was expecting plastic. It's a friggin' tank.

- Whoah, a battery case secured by screws? And it's 2 AAA batteries in a weird little carrier thingy. That is not made for convenient quick changes.

- Apparently my AAA batteries were in desperate need of a charge. When the batteries die, the SQ-1 emits a constant gate while the CV outputs spin down to 0V, before it shuts down. Heh.

- USB B, how quaint. The one cable I have sticks out of it by a mile. Guess I'm going to look for a right-angle USB B cable, if battery life once charged isn't great.

- I see why people mark the pots or (as I'm going to do) add 3D-printed knobs.

- But overall this thing is pretty fun and seems relatively easy to use. There are a few tricks with slides and skipped gates etc. but I don't feel any need to consult a manual.
WMD Geiger Counter:

Got this in a trade for my Manis Iteritas. Now everything is a wavetable synth Mr. Green Very dirty and dependent on the input level, but works nicely in front of an LPG. The sweet spot for gain varies quite a bit with the selected wavetable, but there's a wide range available on the pedal.

Oddly enough the E370 is a good source for it -- wavetables on top of wavetables -- and so is Tides since you can so easily sweep from saw to tri to ramp to reverse the table addressing, which isn't a thing I knew I wanted to do before now.

I'm guessing the Euro version of Geiger Counter might be a little more convenient to work with, but hey, 0HP and it also looks cool grin

I reworked my pedal setup a bit. Chain #1 is Tensor, Afterneath, MS-70CDR into stereo inputs on my audio interface. Chain #2 is just GC (since it's so good as a general waveshaper) back through Gozinta.

I am tempted to get an S.B.G to replace the Bin Seq, so I can have CV control over the GC or Tensor, and one more channel to work with -- for the RMA Monobius that I need to repair. One of its switches is busted beyond belief, but it's a big chunky handmade thing and should be easy enough to replace a switch.
RMA (Rochambeau Musical Apparatus) Monobius
(custom 6-knob version)

Again, not really a Eurorack piece of gear itself but that's what I'm using it with (and traded a couple of modules for).

It's a fuzz or ringmod, with an optional internal oscillator, several gain stages, different diode configurations and a handy mix knob (but "dry" distorts anyway). It can be a crazy, dirty, sputtering monster or it can nicely shape an oscillator to then feed through an LPG. It normally comes in 4 or 5 knob versions; this one has an additional knob for feedback (NICE) and a toggle switch instead of a stomp switch (perfect for my needs, and I wish all my "pedals" had that).

It seems to handle Euro levels fine -- at minimum it's going to overdrive anything you put into it anyway -- and doesn't need to be boosted coming back into the modular.

I traded for an ALM S.B.G anyway; I will put the Geiger Counter on that, and separate the Tensor on its own channel.

Currently looking into switching out my Disting mk4 for a dedicated delay since that's basically all I use it for anyway, and it would be nice to have proper front panel controls for it.
starthief wrote:
Currently looking into switching out my Disting mk4 for a dedicated delay since that's basically all I use it for anyway, and it would be nice to have proper front panel controls for it.

OK, so. My options here are many and they all have their downsides. The delay modules I'd like to own are either currently unavailable, or large enough to require either sacrifices or expansion to fit in.

There's also the Demora, which could be a smart move and I'd probably like it -- except I'm running very low on space outside the rack, too. Maybe if I can place it, or some other small piece of gear, on the laptop arm where my 0-Coast once lived it would work out...

First, I'm going to dig into both Disting and Warps Parasite delays, and try to learn to love those and decide whether to keep the Disting. Its clocked delay does respond nicely to trigger sequences, after all.
What I found last night:

B4 Clocked Delay and D2 Tape Delay on the Disting are fine. C2 Delay Line is pretty noisy, but in a way that could be interesting in some circumstances. The delays, the flanger and chorus actually have fairly consistent I/O, and the stereo and dual reverb algos are not far from that -- so with those in my favorites file, ignoring everything else, I think I could have stuck with it and been reasonably happy.

I actually wasn't as into Warps Parasite's tape delay as much as the Disting one. Its advantage is an open feedback loop mode where I could patch other stuff in between, though.

However, through an amusing chain of events I did wind up simultaneously selling the Disting and buying a Chronoblob today, and I think I'll be happier with that. smile

I also rolled a 1 on a willpower saving throw and preordered the Chase Bliss Dark World. It's right up my alley. But I did resist the Haken Continuumini, at least smile

OK, this was a good trade. It's straightforward to use, sounds good, modulating the clock multiplier/divider when synced and in crossfade mode works wonderfully, as does Hold. It seems to have more headroom (or else good internal attenuation) than many delays in Euro and is just super easy to work with.

Unlike the Disting, it's neither short enough for good Karplus-Strong, and the nature of its response to delay time changes prevents it from being used for clean phase modulation. (I'm guessing that's the "blob" part -- the goeey, jelly-like way it responds.) That's fine though -- I am not that enamored with KS outside of Rings, and I can do phase modulation directly on E370, Warps and Tides.

Modulating delay time can do some really unique things with this module though, and I think that's a good tradeoff to make.

Something weird I never knew -- it has white LEDs behind the jacks. I couldn't decide whether I liked it -- maybe a more subtle glow in another color (NOT BLUE) would have been better. But thankfully there's a jumper on the back to disable it.
I love the concept behind Tyme Sefari -- an audio buffer you can selectively write to, play from move around in, etc. to easily use as a sampler or delay or looper. It's kind of brilliant.

...but it's so damned lo-fi. very frustrating It's nice to be able to get into that territory intentionally, but with a 16kHz max sample rate, you can't escape it. I don't want to always ignore the wet/dry mix just to run it through a lowpass filter and then mix with the dry.

I started researching alternatives. Surely there's got to be another module out there that does all of this but sounds cleaner?

I looked far and wide, and learned about some modules I'd mostly been ignoring -- DLD, STS, Morphagene, Nebulae, etc. Someone reminded me of the Reflex LiveLoop. Frankly, I'd ignored this one in the past:

-- the panel is busy and confusing and doesn't look like a professional, high quality instrument but a mad scientist's project.
-- ugh, that logo with the blobby paint look... yes I'm a shallow person sometimes
-- the terminology is weird. The sampler is "R/P mode"; the Play button is for buffer effects rather than playing the recording, etc.
-- there are intimidating stacks of documentation. The "Complete Idiot's Guide" is the easiest to get through and it's still 52 pages and I had to take a break partway through and I was kind of numb afterwards. But I do think I get it, in general.
-- the UI is very state machine-ish, rather than one-knob-per-function and patch programmable. There are tables of what buttons do in different combinations of modes. There's also a fair amount of feature creep.

At this point I can say that yes, RLL will do what I'm looking for ("clean Tyme Sefari") and a whole lot more -- sample slicing like FL Studio or Maschine; built-in EQ; some granular and other buffer FX.

I'm also intrigued by the Nebulae V2. I don't want to move on that until we see what the Clouds successor will be like though.
I would contact Scott first and see if there is an update for Tyme Safari...

A couple of months ago I was talking with him at a synth meetup here in Seattle and he did mention to me that he was going to revise the code for it.

Whether or not a Tyme Safari revision is in the near future is not known as we were mostly discussing his new module that is coming out soon..

But yeah, check with him first... you might not have to get another module just yet...

Who knows, maybe you can help him test a beta....(just some positive speculation here... I really don't know...)
starthief wrote:
Korg SQ-1:

- Wow, it's heavy! I think I was expecting plastic. It's a friggin' tank.

- Whoah, a battery case secured by screws? And it's 2 AAA batteries in a weird little carrier thingy. That is not made for convenient quick changes.

- Apparently my AAA batteries were in desperate need of a charge. When the batteries die, the SQ-1 emits a constant gate while the CV outputs spin down to 0V, before it shuts down. Heh.

- USB B, how quaint. The one cable I have sticks out of it by a mile. Guess I'm going to look for a right-angle USB B cable, if battery life once charged isn't great.

- I see why people mark the pots or (as I'm going to do) add 3D-printed knobs.

- But overall this thing is pretty fun and seems relatively easy to use. There are a few tricks with slides and skipped gates etc. but I don't feel any need to consult a manual.

Where do you get the files for the knobs to print?

I was looking around and I found these... b-for-korg-sq-1-eurorack-synth-sequencer-pack-of-20-knobs
I've had second thoughts about trading the TS after all. Perhaps luckily, the first person I PM'd about buying an RLL had already sold theirs.

I love its workflow. I know a few people on this forum find it confusing, but to me it makes perfect sense.

Also, I shouldn't let the sample rate bother me when I've thought several times about getting a Doepfer BBD precisely because it's not clean. d'oh! I'm playing with it right now, through various filters on the output -- rather than in the open feedback loop -- and it sounds lovely that way.

I am less sure about keeping A Sound of Thunder. Most of it's dedicated toward trashing the sound more. It does add a stereo channel, but I think I can do without that.

As far as firmware updates go, there was supposed to be a rewrite along with a new production run of the hardware in the summer. It cleans up start/end time changes but I doubt it would increase the sample rate, and if it did, that wouldn't leave a lot of delay/sampling time.

JakoGreyshire wrote:
Where do you get the files for the knobs to print?

I was looking around and I found these... b-for-korg-sq-1-eurorack-synth-sequencer-pack-of-20-knobs

I bought those exact ones smile
thumbs up thumbs up
Current work:

- I've started mastering the next album, Materials. Won't be long now. cool The next one after that is, I think, going to be unthemed or really general.

Modules up for sale now:

- A Sound of Thunder: given how I work, I don't need the extra stereo channel, and I don't really dig the other features. But I'm keeping Tyme Sefari.

- Field Kit FX & its spring tanks: u-he Twangström and Chase Bliss Dark World will fulfill my modest spring reverb needs, and I haven't been using it much for the other features.

Good gear I don't use enough, on probation, but no hurry:

- Maze: has a respite because of "Fade" mode in the next firmware version, which could be a game changer. I'm pulling for it, because I'm genuinely surprised I haven't been using this module more. I probably would have barely used an SSM if I'd gotten one of those instead.

- Mimetic Digitalis. Just doesn't feel hands-on enough for me I guess.

- Maybe Warps if I need space.

- SQ-1. I keep wishing I could step it externally instead of syncing a running clock one way or the other. I might like it if I got used to it though.

Potential replacements or additions:

- CVilization: This is what I'm waiting for to make any replacement decisions.

- 16n Faderbank: if the price turns out nice and it communicates well with Teletype, that's my hands-on AND algorithmic sequencer sorted, plus some extra controls.

- Muxlicer: sort of a backup plan vs. the 16n.

- VCAM: it's big but it combines control, VCAs and matrix mixing. Could replace Maze+MD+Ladik switches, or A-138m?

- 4ms Pod: with the Field Kit FX sold I'll have a little room on that shelf to house a couple more modules, probably FX or sequencing related.

Curious about:

- Loquelic: I tried it all too briefly at KnobCon 2017, and chose Cursus instead which didn't last long. I want another go; I think the dual-oscillator paradigm might work for me. It would have to displace another VCO though.

- Cold Mac: One of the reasons I wish there was a modular shop closer than 6 hours away from here, so I could give it a spin and see what I think. I don't think I need it and maybe I only want it because other people keep saying it's cool; on the other hand some people have said they mostly use it for extremely basic stuff usually anyway.

- Nebulae V2 vs. Clouds successor: Fight!
starthief wrote:
- SQ-1. I keep wishing I could step it externally instead of syncing a running clock one way or the other. I might like it if I got used to it though.

You can step it with a trigger signal from pretty much any source. What kind of barrier do you have here?
chysn wrote:
starthief wrote:
- SQ-1. I keep wishing I could step it externally instead of syncing a running clock one way or the other. I might like it if I got used to it though.

You can step it with a trigger signal from pretty much any source. What kind of barrier do you have here?

Many things:

-- It's attempting clock sync based on the interval of the last 2 clocks received, not stepping one step per trigger received.
-- It doubles the incoming clock rate.
-- If I turn on gates on 1,3,5 7 etc. so it's in sync, sometimes it slips and starts syncopating vs. the incoming clock for a while. Then it slips again and catches up.
-- If I turn on every gate and send it "X.X.X..." (3 quarter notes and a quarter rest), what it plays is "X.XXXX.."
-- If I send it a Euclidean rhythm in does a weird sort of shuffle.
starthief wrote:

Many things:

It sounds it's set to SYNCx2. If you set it to SYNCx1, it'll behave like most sequencers (one step whenever there's a clock).

This is one of the global settings under "sequence step resolution." Unfortunately, I don't remember which one, but there's a list here:
Ah... I got mine used and with no manual, didn't realize there was a setting for that. Using it has been straightforward enough I didn't look online for the manual until now.

Also forgot it can be used as a MIDI-CV converter smile
Now that I've had a chance to try it, with SYNCx1 selected it does work exactly like I wanted to (one step per incoming step, instead of calculating a clock rate).

Thanks again! thumbs up
No modular plan survives ̶c̶o̶n̶t̶a̶c̶t̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶e̶n̶e̶m̶y̶ more than a couple of weeks hihi

New plan that will take me to "Modular 2.0":

- 16n Faderbank when those are available.
- ER-301.

I'll put a couple of modules aside to make room, and then I'll figure out what the ER-301 replaces and how much rack space I want to empty out. Potentially, a whole row's worth, and I go from Microbrute + 9U rack + Mantis to Minibrute 2S + Rackbrute 6U + Mantis. But I'm not counting the fetal-stage poultry yet.

The important thing is, ER-301! I expect I'll love it, given how much I like Teletype, my past history of minor DSP experiments, working with buffers in Tyme Sefari and so on. And Teletype can send an unholy crapton of numeric control values and gates to the ER-301 via i2c behind the panel.
chysn wrote:
starthief wrote:

Many things:

It sounds it's set to SYNCx2. If you set it to SYNCx1, it'll behave like most sequencers (one step whenever there's a clock).

This is one of the global settings under "sequence step resolution." Unfortunately, I don't remember which one, but there's a list here:

That is the deal. For $99 no one should ever unload this sequencer. It is very versatile and tiny.

For knobs try these. They are absolute crap so you should order three times as many as you need. They are dirt cheap so it is affordable. Or what I did was order enough and then let them know that half were garbage and they sent me a bunch more. If you slightly over tighten them they strip. Some come stripped. BUT, since I put them on they have all worked and not broke. I only use them gingerly in the studio, but they help a lot. -Knob-Clear-Effect-Pedal-Knobs/1832755494?iid=122359202899&chn=ps
Yeah, the SQ-1 is pretty cool with the sync setting fixed.

I'm pretty happy with the 3D printed knobs for the SQ-1 that I got from Reverb. They're a bit weird looking, but light gets through them fine, they're a perfect fit and don't get in the way of buttons or anything.
I haven't updated this thread in a while...


Materials was released, and seems to have been pretty well liked (given my general lack of promotion or established fanbase, heheh). I'm not likely to do any other album-length module studies for a while, though.

Currently working on the next release, which is so far untitled, has no particular theme and should be done by mid-February.

Dark World:

Arrived a couple of weeks ago or so and is brilliant. It loves being in a tight little feedback loop so much, I wish it had a dedicated feedback knob -- I may get a feedback looper pedal just because I'm going to want to patch it that way so often.

Between it and Twangstrom, my spring reverb needs are fully satisfied without actual springs, and of course the lo-fi, freeze, and shimmer in Dark World all work very well for me. I feel like the plate and hall reverbs are kind of a miss -- algorithms that would have been lush and gorgeous in stereo but too clean for what I want to use the pedal for; some kind of heavily modulated verb and a Ratshack-like BBD "reverb" might have been a better fit. But they do combine well enough with the other algos and aren't exactly what I would call useless in any case smile

Volca Modular:

There are naysayers, but I'm excited for it. My impression of the demos is that the LPG doesn't rate -- but I have unconditional love for that reverb. I think it's going to be a kickass little machine for dark drones and throbbing spookiness. Its form factor might also encourage treating it in a somewhat different way, which could then inform the way I patch my modular and West Coast software synths. Also, it just looks fun as hell!

The Road to 2.0:

I've put a few modules up for sale, rearranged my case, ordered my ER-301 (original panel) and 16n Faderbank (Michigan Synth Works, bambooo panel), and wait hopefully for news of TXb availability.

I've been thinking about my setup as a whole. I make some pretty minimal music, and I still love a few software synths and my Microbrute and a few drone toys. Why, then, do I have 12 VCOs (not even counting the ER-301 or two Rings)? lol

It seems to me the ER-301 could directly replace at least a few of my modules and at least one pedal, but even beyond that I plan to re-evaluate everything I have with an eye toward downsizing. It might be really nice to either have just one case, or switch my clunky DIY 9U rack for a 6U RackBrute that can piggyback a Minibrute 2S.
starthief wrote:
I plan to re-evaluate everything I have with an eye toward downsizing. It might be really nice to either have just one case...

I have a plan in mind. A couple of details are not quite there yet, such as pedal interface stuff -- but I'll be going from 460 HP, 45 modules, two cases down to one 12U 126HP portable case, with 32 modules and a little more than 30HP of free space.

With this I hope to fit all my synth gear on one side of my corner desk, and reclaim some space and have everything better unified. smile
Still working on that plan, I rearranged some of my gear last night to give it a whirl -- 2U rack box on my desk, pedals on that, shelf above with Mantis on it. There's a little space in front for small controllers but definitely not for the Microbrute, which would have to stay on the other side if I keep it. (*)

I recorded a song this morning with that setup to work out the bugs. I did a stupid amount of cross-patching between cases and definitely want to consolidate into one case. I ordered a bunch of small cell phone stands to angle the pedals more favorably.

I think my shelf would hold the 3U 126HP case I was looking at just fine, using this layout.

An alternative is just to get a 12U 104HP "studio" style case and let the pedals sit on top. I'm thinking Silvas or the 114HP MDLRCASE.

The latter is ironic -- this was supposed to be downsizing, but is only 4HP smaller than my current setup. Meanwhile I'd save 12HP from the PSU and Doepfer Multicore hihi
Okay, I have "version 2.0" 95% figured out. w00t

- I ordered a birch MDLRCASE 12Ux144HP studio case. This is bigger than I was planning for -- I'm looking at about 70HP of blank panels -- but better overall in form factor and price than my other options. This will consolidate all my modular and most (or all) of my studio gear in a smaller desktop space while still being in easy vertical reach while sitting. thumbs up

- My spouse might do some pyrography on the case... but she'll have to audition for it first. Got to keep it classy!

- The first wave of selling stuff off is well underway.

- The second wave, once the case arrives, will include a Mantis, the PSU/busboards/rails from my DIY rack, and pair of Doepfer A-180-9 Multicore.

- The third wave will be after I've had some time with the ER-301, and will likely consist of Chronoblob, Hertz Donut and Kermit -- if I feel like I can imitate or surpass them well enough. I'll actually have the space and budget to keep all three if it works out that way, though.

- I got a good deal on a Sputnik 5-Step Voltage Source/Selector pair. This is pretty much the sequencer I wanted first and couldn't find at the time; I've tried to cover it with PP/Brains and then Mimetic Digitalis.

- I'm making a few substitutions for the sake of consolidation and quality-of-life. Maths replaces Function, Mini Slew and 321. Veils or Intellijel Quad VCA will likely replace DTA and ModDemix. Pedal interfaces are likely to change too (ADDAC200PI perhaps).

- Aside from some re-knobbing, maybe cables, and possibly a Eurorack panel mount for my SQ-1, I'm spending nothing more until I've sold enough gear to offset what I have spent. The Volca Modular is really my only planned gear purchase after that, and I'll try not to be too quick to fill up the available HP just because it's there.

- I tried to imitate my favorite Microbrute sounds in my modular: triangle VCO saturated in a VCA, filtered, fed back through the VCA. I didn't quite capture the flavor. Experiments will continue; it'd be nice to free up the desk space even the relatively small Microbrute demands, but we'll see smile
starthief wrote:
- I ordered a birch MDLRCASE 12Ux144HP studio case. This is bigger than I was planning for -- I'm looking at about 70HP of blank panels -- but better overall in form factor and price than my other options. This will consolidate all my modular and most (or all) of my studio gear in a smaller desktop space while still being in easy vertical reach while sitting. thumbs up

I've been considering one of these myself. What power supply did you go for? I'm kinda torn on it.
grillpanda wrote:
starthief wrote:
- I ordered a birch MDLRCASE 12Ux144HP studio case.

I've been considering one of these myself. What power supply did you go for? I'm kinda torn on it.

I went with the Mean Well. It was going to be just fine...

...and then I decided on a QPAS without looking at the power specs. Which, if ModularGrid is correct, needs 190mA on the -12V rail ( Dead Banana ). I hope that's a typo. So I'm at 860mA now.

It will probably be okay, but the worst-case scenario is I keep my Synthrotek PSU just for the QPAS.
starthief wrote:
grillpanda wrote:
starthief wrote:
- I ordered a birch MDLRCASE 12Ux144HP studio case.

I've been considering one of these myself. What power supply did you go for? I'm kinda torn on it.

I went with the Mean Well. It was going to be just fine...

...and then I decided on a QPAS without looking at the power specs. Which, if ModularGrid is correct, needs 190mA on the -12V rail ( Dead Banana ). I hope that's a typo. So I'm at 860mA now.

It will probably be okay, but the worst-case scenario is I keep my Synthrotek PSU just for the QPAS.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Tony pretty much confirmed the power draw in the Sonic State demo. Take a listen from the 11:10 mark of the vid.

I'm one who rarely hypes for pre-orders, but I'm counting the days on this one smile

BaloErets wrote:
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Tony pretty much confirmed the power draw in the Sonic State demo. Take a listen from the 11:10 mark of the vid.

At least he makes no bones about it lol

Ah well... worth it.
starthief wrote:
...and then I decided on a QPAS without looking at the power specs. Which, if ModularGrid is correct, needs 190mA on the -12V rail ( Dead Banana ).

Oof, that is also good to know, thanks. Will be interested to hear how it goes.
I̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶p̶o̶i̶n̶t̶ ̶I̶ ̶r̶e̶a̶l̶l̶y̶ ̶w̶o̶u̶l̶d̶ ̶a̶d̶v̶i̶s̶e̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶D̶o̶e̶p̶f̶e̶r̶ ̶P̶S̶U̶ ̶-̶-̶ ̶I̶'̶m̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶n̶k̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ ̶w̶r̶i̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶A̶r̶j̶a̶n̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶e̶e̶ ̶i̶f̶ ̶I̶ ̶c̶a̶n̶ ̶u̶p̶g̶r̶a̶d̶e̶ ̶s̶i̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶i̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶s̶n̶'̶t̶ ̶s̶h̶i̶p̶p̶e̶d̶ ̶y̶e̶t̶.̶

The PSU thing is kind of a dilemma...

One of the modules I was trying to sell was my Pittsburgh Double Helix. I put it up for sale last year, then changed my mind and reinstalled it and thought I wouldn't part with it.

Then in this year's changes, realizing that I just have more VCOs than I need and I get get similar classes of sounds from other sources, I put it up for sale again. I was a little reluctant since I do like its character a lot, but I worked without it for a while and decided I didn't really need it. I had a buyer lined up, had it packaged and ready to ship and waited a few days for payment.... and he backed out.

I reconsidered selling it, again. Maybe I'm destined to keep this module? I got it at a big discount and it keeps hanging around when I try to let it go. lol However, Double Helix needs 205mA from the -12V rail, and with QPAS too that would definitely exceed the dual Mean Well's capacity.

The Doepfer PSU3 option is a little short of the +12V current I would need, so writing to Arjan about upgrading to that isn't really going to work for me. I just need to keep the -12V rail within reasonable limits.

Meanwhile, here's the album I recorded from late December through early February, on a system that was gradually emptying out as I sold gear or set it aside. I proved to myself that I'll be fine letting go of all that stuff -- and in fact the ER-301 due to arrive in a couple weeks or so is probably going to push me right back to overkill.

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=3709480325 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=e99708 tracklist=false artwork=small]

My usual dark/spooky/abstract/ambient/drone/experimental stuff.

Patch notes are here.
Lordy, those drones on Super Blood Wolf Moon sent shivers down my spine.
Have you checked if any of your modules have the option to run off 5v? If you happen to have Mordax Data, that’s a jumpered option and saves about 100 ma on +12 iirc.

I was quite happy to see that Euclidean circles which I added recently runs just on 5 v. I have PSU3s and they have huge reserves of ( quite often untapped) 5v.

Quite a few manufacturers seem to ignore 5v, which is part of doepfers standard, and it’s a bit of a peeve of mine. I’m no EE, but unbalanced draws on the 12 rails can add to noise, as I understand it, so really, imo, digital modules should really draw from 5v where possible.
jmeisse wrote:
Lordy, those drones on Super Blood Wolf Moon sent shivers down my spine.

thumbs up

Keltie wrote:
Have you checked if any of your modules have the option to run off 5v?

I usually enable it when it's an option. But all of my digital modules (including E370, ER-301, Teletype, 92HP of Mutable...) still total less -12V draw than QPAS alone lol Overall I'm looking at 196mA for digital and 677mA for analog.
I got my ER-301 shipping notification on the exact day when it was estimated. The wait is almost over! hyper Hopefully my case is imminent too -- its somewhat delayed estimated ship date is this week.

Meanwhile there's the QPAS to play with. It's brilliant grin It's not the sort of filter where any random setting sounds good, but I'm quickly learning where the sweet spots are. It's great for modulation and texture in general -- adding movement and width to drones and pads, gritty audio rate modulation, rhythmic emphasis, just all kinds of things that aren't subtractive synthesis smile I think I've finally found the filter that I'll stick with.

I've set all my albums on Bandcamp to pay-what-you-want. It's more consistent with my ideals and I'm not making music for the money anyway.
Day One with the ER-301 hyper

- Rewatched Neil Parfitt's first couple of tutorials on the 0.4 firmware.

- Tried to hook up i2c to Teletype, TXb and ER-301. After some fiddling, got it working as long as I didn't connect the TXb. Posted a question about it, not going to mess with the TXb for now.

- After wheeling around in the interface a bit, I built a pingy phase modulation synth with a dubby tempo-sync delay, 100% controlled by Teletype with only one patch cable (the output).

- Poked at some of the granular and looper other units, was completely lost. oops

- Figured out how to install the "Accents" bespoke units and a couple of other custom units.

- Made a patch that ring-modded Rings. Discovered the joys of the Skewed Sine Envelope (I'm not aware of anything like it as a standalone module) -- and the fun that happens when you modulate its level parameter with its own output. nanners I'm glad I got started with this firmware version which allows this sort of feedback patching!

- Decided to attack the Hertz Donut a little at a time. First up is linear FM. I built a 2-op sine linear FM custom unit with pitch, modulator offset, FM index, a separate timbre control (not a folder but the ER-301's "feedback" param on the carrier osc) and output VCA, ready to reload anytime I want that patch.

- Played a little with adding a filter to the VCA for an LPG-ish thing. That's something I'm going to have to fine tune to really happy with.

- Built a delay with a resonant filter in its feedback loop that tracks the pitch of the above FM voice. Also stuck a granular pitch shifting delay into the loop too because why not?

- Went back and replaced the carrier with a triangle oscillator without having to reassign everything. Whoooo grin

- In conclusion: hell yes.

Not bad for about 5 hours with it. There's a ton more I need to explore smile


- I didn't put it in the most ergonomic place, but that's only until the new case comes.

- It doesn't seem like it does expo FM nearly as well as E370 or an analog VCO. That's okay, because I have the E370. It does phase modulation and linear FM beautifully.

- the Freeverb implementation sounds pretty awful, at least in mono, unless you keep it very subtle or maybe use it to mess with a feedback loop. I'll experiment with the convolution unit and maybe building a FDN custom unit.

- While I was experimenting with it, it rebooted itself a couple of times. It might have been from static (which is a little scary) because it seemed to happen when I touched it after a bit of not touching it. Or it might have been the unstable firmware release it's running. I should get in the habit of quicksaving smile
I have a few questions on 301, i2c and teletype, if you don't mind:
1) how many patch points (and which types) are available from teletype to 301 through i2c?
2) can the teletype spit out on both i2c and physical outs at the same time?
3) specific to teletype: I guess a scene is like a composition or part of composition, right. It it possible to synchronize the switching of scenes to a clock (Like going from A-part to B-part on the beat)?
atte wrote:
I have a few questions on 301, i2c and teletype, if you don't mind:
1) how many patch points (and which types) are available from teletype to 301 through i2c?
2) can the teletype spit out on both i2c and physical outs at the same time?
3) specific to teletype: I guess a scene is like a composition or part of composition, right. It it possible to synchronize the switching of scenes to a clock (Like going from A-part to B-part on the beat)?

the answer to all three questions is "yes"

more specifically for #1, teletype can send 100 each CV and gate messages to each of up to 3 ER-301s

more specifically for #3, scenes are a collection of scripts to be executed. each scene also stores a pattern of numbers which can be used for sequencing duties (or whatever you please). the timing of script execution or scene switching is reliant on receipt of triggers, programmed delays, or manual key presses.

most specifically, your questions are all covered by the teletype manual here:
Yup smile

I personally don't do much with scenes in Teletype -- I write scripts on the fly, and let them die when I power down and unpatch once I've got my recording.

However, I do expect to create a default scene just to do simple polling of the 16n Faderbank and passing it along to the ER-301, when I'm not setting up anything more elaborate.

With the ER-301 I save custom units if they're common patterns I use a lot -- like a complex oscillator, or a delay-filter-feedback loop -- but I don't save entire chains or quicksaves really; I treat them as ephemeral like my hardware patches too.


Three technical difficulties, two of them were my own error:

- the TXb trouble was because I have an older Teletype hardware revision without pullup resistors on the board -- so all I had to do was power the TXb instead of leaving it unpowered.

- my 16n Faderbank arrived last weekend, but only the analog outputs worked... or so I thought. It turns out I had two USB charge-only cables in the drawer where I keep my known good data-and-charge cable which I'd previously used to update two other Teensy devices... which I only realized after sending the Faderbank back to Raph and getting an "it works fine" message from him oops Those two cables are now in the trash.

- the reboot issue with the ER-301 was a static electricity issue. The encoder isn't grounded, and Brian's attempt to ground it in the latest batch didn't work, but he posted a quick fix (bending a conveniently located pin to touch the encoder housing). Even before the fix, it only rebooted three times in a week of heavy usage.


Over the weekend I got to know the Volca Modular. It's pretty crude in many ways compared to Eurorack gear. But it's fun, it's got its own unqiue character, and many of its limitations are the kind that encourage creative solutions.

My new case is out for delivery today and the Faderbank should be arriving again today as well, so I'm in for busy times tonight after work smile
Rex Coil 7
starthief wrote:
Korg SQ-1: - USB B, how quaint. The one cable I have sticks out of it by a mile. Guess I'm going to look for a right-angle USB B cable ...

starthief wrote:
- I see why people mark the pots or (as I'm going to do) add 3D-printed knobs.
You don't need to use 3D knobs, any of the little 1/2" knobs with set screws fit fine. Most folks go with the clear ones.

I already got the 3d printed knobs a while back though grin I like 'em well enough.

The Faderbank arrived and works great with the proper cable oops and the case is here too. My spouse pointed out it's probably better not to load it up with modules before doing the pyrography though... which makes sense. So we're going over some design ideas and I'll suffer with my current setup for a few more days. smile
Never maintain cash savings again

I found a 1024 stage Doepfer A-188-1 on Reverb for a price that overcame temptation, so that's on the way soon. As much as I like the ER-301 for delays, I don't think there's a substitute for an analog BBD for weirder applications smile
starthief wrote:
Never maintain cash savings again

I found a 1024 stage Doepfer A-188-1 on Reverb for a price that overcame temptation, so that's on the way soon. As much as I like the ER-301 for delays, I don't think there's a substitute for an analog BBD for weirder applications smile

be careful! soon you're gonna want a little dedicated Doepfer filter for it!

... or an LxD and a small adjustable noise source for karplus.....
natureclubcassettes wrote:
be careful! soon you're gonna want a little dedicated Doepfer filter for it!

... or an LxD and a small adjustable noise source for karplus.....

I have some filtering options. If I'm not modulating the clock speed I can precisely target the clock with a notch filter in my DAW. There's also the ER-301, QPAS, Natural Gate, Lifeforms DIF.

Noise generation is extremely well covered by the E370, Plaits, ER-301, Kermit, or my Dark World pedal or Thingamagoop 3000 or the DAW (I wrote a digital noise VST plugin that's sort of a super Zorlon Cannon) Mr. Green
So, the Doepfer BBD:

- When I'm not doing Karplus, I find myself thinking I probably should have gone for 2048 stages. But when I'm doing Karplus, I'm glad I picked 1024.

- Putting a clean delay in its feedback path lets you can extend the delay time while still keeping the BBD character. So... yeah, 1024 stages thumbs up

- Clocking it with filtered white noise from the E370 = fun grin I do wish I had a higher frequency clock source for it -- I bet a Synchrodyne would make a great partner for it for instance.

- QPAS isn't great for filtering this, unless I just want a dark tone (which, yeah, sometimes I do).

- ER-301 is better at notch filtering, at least for one precisely targetted notch. But the clock noise isn't a sine, it's more saw-like -- as the clock frequency drops, more notches are required to clean it up. With patience, I might be able to set up multiple notches that track frequency (and also adjust their Q!) according to the BBD's clock CV output. But:

- In plugin land, Toneboosters EQ4 is a lot easier to target the main notches or just throw a 60dB LPF at it. Easier still there's Klevgrand Brusfri, an automatic noise reduction plugin that can be trained by pushing a button; it works pretty well even with an LFO modulating the clock rate. There are probably some harmonic notch filters out there too and I'll take a look for that.
Aha, two more options in software:

ReaFIR is free, and in "Subtract" mode can analyze incoming signals and set up a spectral filter to reduce those bands (use Ctrl+drag to increase the level until it silences the clock completely, and you can manually draw curves to clean up or allow other bands, or widen the clock bands if you're using modulation).

Izotope RX 6 Elements can be found for $29 on Reverb, and the De-hum tool is a set of linked notch filters that you can tune with a single control. (Its adaptive mode must be tuned specifically for ~ 50-60hz hum because it does a poor job of automatically detecting the clock noise.)

Between those tools it's pretty easy to clean up and you can set the clock speed really low for grungy, aliased weirdness thumbs up
starthief wrote:
Aha, two more options in software:

ReaFIR is free, and in "Subtract" mode can analyze incoming signals and set up a spectral filter to reduce those bands (use Ctrl+drag to increase the level until it silences the clock completely, and you can manually draw curves to clean up or allow other bands, or widen the clock bands if you're using modulation).

Izotope RX 6 Elements can be found for $29 on Reverb, and the De-hum tool is a set of linked notch filters that you can tune with a single control. (Its adaptive mode must be tuned specifically for ~ 50-60hz hum because it d

oes a poor job of automatically detecting the clock noise.)

Between those tools it's pretty easy to clean up and you can set the clock speed really low for grungy, aliased weirdness thumbs up

Really interesting. I’m an A-188 junkie and have grown to love the noise, but this is worth messing with.
GNSDG wrote:
Really interesting. I’m an A-188 junkie and have grown to love the noise, but this is worth messing with.

I like the broadband noise, the distortion etc. but not so much the sawtooth clock whine.
I'm still waiting on my spouse to finish the pyrography -- it's getting close, but her rheumatoid arthritis has struck a couple of times during the process.

It's given me time to get to know the ER-301 and BBD more closely (as well as the Volca Modular) and to think about the power issue some more. I've decided to make a few additional module changes, partially to reduce the load on the -12V rail:

- Antimatter Crossfold is out. I love its sound, but with some research and experimentation I was able to get close enough with the ER-301.

- I'll be replacing my ModDemix and DTA with a Xaoc Tallin. I honestly don't use the ModDemix all that much and it should be in the hands of someone who will take advantage of its tricks smile The DTA is okay (and drives pretty nicely) but its power draw is unknown. I like what I hear of the Tallin's character, and it consumes less power than ModDemix.

- I'll go ahead and replace ALM S.B.G. Its layout isn't ideal for me, I don't really need its full feature set and its power consumption is a bit more than some options. I hope to replace it with an ADDAC200PI, but an RML GPI seems like another possibility.

With those changes I should have more of a safe margin for my PSU and be a little happier with the results besides.

Also, an Erbe-Verb should arrive today. It's peanut butter jelly time!
Erbe-Verb is fantastic! Aside from the obvious reverbs I had crazy drones, bubbling soundscapes with QPAS and Maths, and random gongs and cymbals for an hour or so while my spouse finished the artwork on my new case...

...which is all set up! Here's the post with pics:

With the QPAS crossing over to the "opposite" bus board to spread out the load, I'm not having any power issues.

Tallin should arrive tomorrow, and I've got an ADDAC200PI (in black) on order now to replace the S.B.G. Other than that and selling off what I'm not using, no more gear changes until KnobCon. (Unless I change my mind hihi)
The stars came out great! SlayerBadger!

MDLRCASE looks like they have some good products, I've been frustrated by the lack of big portable cases with 1u rows (I'm a tile junky)
I thought about a tile row when I was looking into cases (especially when I was considering smaller cases overall). I would have been more likely to go for it if Intellijel and PL tiles were compatible.

I still am kinda thinking about getting one of the new Syinsi tile cases on Kickstarter.
I like intellijel modules but they were wrong to introduce
an incompatible 1u from the inventors of the format.
Totally sucks and is a shame. I don’t care that it’s not technically
1u or whatever. They invented it, go with what they invented or
get out. The results are that you have avoided 1u and we are all
at a loss now.

I like your thread.
carry on.
starthief wrote:
So, the Doepfer BBD:

- Clocking it with filtered white noise from the E370 = fun grin I do wish I had a higher frequency clock source for it -- I bet a Synchrodyne would make a great partner for it for instance.

The Synchrodyne is great, but the FoH Infernal Noise Machine, was my favorite for clocking these.
thetwlo wrote:
The Synchrodyne is great, but the FoH Infernal Noise Machine, was my favorite for clocking these.

Whoah, I haven't even seen those mentioned before. Looks like a fun toy SlayerBadger!

I made a custom E370 wavetable for clocking purposes, which starts as a squarewave at 8x normal frequency -- it's just barely capable of exceeding my A-188-1B's maximum clock rate. As you morph the table though, the sample & hold in WaveEdit disrupts the clock and eventually drops the rate -- with intermediate positions being all kinds of odd 3-level patterns. It's a great noisy clock source for the BBD. Using cloud mode set to 2 oscs can sound a lot like severe wow and flutter, too.

I almost want to get a Z-DSP to see how that behaves with this kind of clock source...
sadly. the ZDSP crashes to often to use crazy clocks. It just gets frustrating.
was hoping they'd update/fix this but 10 years later, it's the same.
Life with the new setup:

I'm still kind of getting used to the physical aspects -- specifically the cables. Length needs are different, and drape/stiffness have different consequences now that it's not all vertical.

I broke out my stash of 36" cables because 24" was a little short to reach corner-to-corner. I may rethink cables entirely -- maybe set aside some of the lengths I've been using, or switch from braided to something else. I like having a consistent set of cables color coded by length, though.

My main cable hanger is behind me when I'm facing the modular now. Given my available space I'm not sure what I want to do about that. Maybe if the new computer I'll get later in the year is small enough, I'll set it up elsewhere and put a mic stand with cable hanger where it is currently.

I'm waiting on the ADDAC200PI (shouldn't be much longer) so I haven't used my pedals yet with the new arrangement. Should be fine though!

Xaoc Tallin:

The distortion can be pretty nice and the design is pretty smart. The bleed is pretty extreme though, and I may see if I can trim it. [EDIT: well, maybe not, I can't get it to bleed now. My mistake probably.] I find myself using the ER-301 for VCAs and it can easily model that distortion though. Which brings me to:

ER-301 after a month:

So versatile and powerful. It's not as instant as some modules might be -- at least, the first time -- but I can build all kinds of patches with it I couldn't otherwise. For instance, I threw together a variation on 808 cymbal noise (6 squarewaves through a bandpass filter) in minutes, and now it's there anytime I want it.

There are some things where I prefer working inside the ER-301, and others where I prefer external modules. For instance, I'd rather use Maths or Contour than the ADSR or slew units in ER-301. (But I really like the skewed sine envelope!)

Time will tell if I decide to trade away a few more modules because they too are covered by the ER-301 or because I just don't find myself using them as much. I could see replacing a couple other sound sources and utilities for things like a TXi and Crow.

16n Faderbank after ~ 3 weeks:

It's fucking brilliant. nanners

Being able to read it from Teletype, pass through to ER-301, use analog CVs or MIDI learn in my DAW (for mixer channels etc.) just makes it a fantastic way to control nearly everything. It's simplified my patching a bit since I'm running through Shades or the matrix mixer a bit less for level control.

If it had a pressure pad or two and some triggers and latching gates, it might be the perfect control surface for me.


- Loving both the Doepfer BBD and the Erbe-Verb in all their weirdness.

- Volca Modular is... let's say non-essential, in terms of its basic sound. I have that ground covered very well with other gear. I thought I'd be using it a lot for drones and such, but no. But I'm going to keep it around to explore pushing it to the edge and beyond, and to muck around with its sequencer, and maybe just to play with when I want to do something different.

- I've got most of what I need for my next album release. One or two more recordings to go.

- I'm mulling over the next project -- mostly about whether I want to make it more personal (and inevitably political) and how that even works with the kind of non-lyrical, abstract music that I make. It could be really intense, or it could be an enormous hassle and/or a failure. But there's really only one way to find out.
What kind of bleed are you experiencing from your Tallin? I patched mine up when you mentioned it and didn't notice any at all. Wondering if maybe you have a bad unit...?
cptnal wrote:
What kind of bleed are you experiencing from your Tallin? I patched mine up when you mentioned it and didn't notice any at all. Wondering if maybe you have a bad unit...?

Now that I try it again, I can't get it to bleed at all. Maybe it was a really long exponential decay from Maths or something. hmmm.....
starthief wrote:
cptnal wrote:
What kind of bleed are you experiencing from your Tallin? I patched mine up when you mentioned it and didn't notice any at all. Wondering if maybe you have a bad unit...?

Now that I try it again, I can't get it to bleed at all. Maybe it was a really long exponential decay from Maths or something. hmmm.....

Good news! Such a tasty VCA. thumbs up
I have a final track list for my upcoming album, and with that I've gone back to my patch notes to see how often I've used various pieces of gear. Here are the highlights:

This Changes Everything:
- ER-301 and 16n Faderbank. A module that does it all (*), and a controller that controls it all.
- unifying my modular into a new case about 2/3 of the way through the recording process.
- other new gear, but less dramatic: QPAS, Doepfer BBD, Erbe-Verb, Tallin, Volca Modular.

Most used: ER-301
I'm really not surprised it's become central to my modular. Over the course of the album I used it for:
- delay/granular/FDN effects (twice)
- harmonic oscillator controlled by the 16n Faderbank (twice)
- sine shaping for combined wavefolding and phase modulation (like FM Aid)
- compressor for maintaining infinite feedback sustain at non-clipping levels
- wet/dry mix control for the tanh[3]
- multiple VCOs feeding a common wavefolder

Surprise star: Kermit
I used Kermit in more songs than anything other than the ER-301. It's become my go-to LFO and modulation VCO (taking over somewhat from the Hertz Donut I sold) and sounds uniquely good in its own right.

Old reliable: E370
Still frequently used. I discovered two more things to love about it recently. First, it's great for wildly clocking the Doepfer BBD, particularly with a custom bank I created for 8x pulses per cycle that morphs into a chaotic digital mess, or with cloud mode. Second -- a trick I didn't get to use on this album but expect to be on the next: use its intense TZFM as a sine shaping wavefolder for other VCOs. Trippy as hell.

What happened to the LPGs?
Shockingly, I only used Natural Gate once and Dynamic Impulse Filter zero times. No, I'm not being held hostage and am trying to send a secret message lol I figure this is because of a few factors:
- 16n Faderbank makes it very easy to fade mixer channels directly in my DAW -- so I didn't use NG, DIF, or passive attenuators to mediate drones.
- ER-301 internal VCAs. (I also made an LPG unit for the ER-301 but it's kind of... gluey. Interesting but not a character I always like.)
- giving a chance to newcomers Tallin and QPAS.
- getting a little LPG vibe from Volca Modular.
NG is not for sale Lolhammer! and for the moment I'm disinclined to let go of DIF either. (Also during this period, I did use both LPGs on E370-based voices in one of my submissions to the Ambient Online compilation "Uranus." All is not lost.)

Also not seeing a lot of action this time:
- Sputnik 5-Step only got used once, and Selector not at all. But then there wasn't a lot of sequencing on this album -- MIDI a couple of times and Volca a couple of times. I feel like this module is a big deal when I do use it. In this case I had it clocked and sampled by Teletype for polymetric wildness.
- Tides 2018. Used once as a VCO. I know I've used it for envelopes but that may have only been when jamming, not recording -- in any case it was basic AD/ASR envelopes. I'd consider replacing it with a Zadar, but I actually probably have too many envelope sources at this point... of course Zadar is a bit different and may hold its own. Hmmm.
- Stages. I didn't do anything fancy with it, maybe some basics I didn't take note of. But I've used it for CV delay, slew and manual offsets for a few things while experimenting/jamming, and consider it generally useful.
- uO_C / Hemisphere Suite. I didn't feel a need to reach for it I guess, but as with Stages I still like the variety of things it can do for me.
- Microbrute. Only used it once in its own right, instead of 1/3 of the time as usual. I'm unlikely to replace it unless some other synth or controller catches my fancy.

Because of my studio/case rearranging and trading my ALM S.B.G for an ADDAC200PI, I was without pedals for part of this effort. But I did use Chase Bliss Dark World 3 times, and Red Panda Tensor once.

Also, software
- Valhalla reverbs, Toneboosters Barricade and EQ, and HAsound MSLR for mid/side, all over this joint as usual.
- Less software delay since I had the BBD and ER-301 working for me. But I still used ColourCopy, Permut8 and Repliika.
- Arturia Analog Lab 3 and Plogue Chipspeech contributed to a subtle choir sound for the end of one of the songs.
- Plogue Chipsounds was the sole synth in my 100% software track.
- "Sparkly wind chime stuff" for one track was a frantically sequenced sample in Maschine.
- No Aalto this time. Chalk it up to having the Volca Modular I guess.

(*) not really all, otherwise I'd have sold more stuff. One of the songs approached maxing out its CPU, the DSP options are a bit limited, the filter possibilities are a bit limited, the weirder side of analog is out of its reach, it doesn't really do wavetables yet, I don't enjoy using its envelopes aside from the Skewed Sine Env, its reverb unit sounds pretty bad (much more satisfying to build your own weird FDN-delay-hybrid-thing or fake it with granular), etc. But it does a lot and some things extremely well.
Stuff on my mind now:

- Sold my Tides 2018. It's an excellent module, but wasn't gelling with what I'm doing and it deserves a better home.

- New patch cords. I switched from Modular Addict braided cables to their skinny ones. At first I had some trouble with them being really curly, but they've straightened up pretty well. Stiffer cables I think served my previous vertical rack better, but with 4 rows and a curved case, I find I prefer thinness and drape. I like the few Tendrils I've tried, but MA skinnies cost about 1/3 as much and they're more local to me.

- this isn't Eurorack, but Valhalla Delay is ridiculously excellent and anyone who uses VST plugins for anything at all should check it out. It's not replacing any of my Euro delays, but I'm going to go ahead and sell my two least-used pedals now and put aside most of my other delay plugins.

- I decided my modular is named "Synth Farm 2.0" because I wanted to call it something other than "my modular." seriously, i just don't get it My spouse keeps neocaridina "Blue Dream" shrimp in a sort of shrimp farm, so... okay it's lame hihi

- With that out of the way, I have a plan in mind for Synth Farm 2.1:

-- Panharmonium, already ordered SlayerBadger!

-- Sell the Sputnik 5-Step and Selector. 15 months ago I was excited about hybrid MIDI/modular sequencing, and specifically, addressing sequencer steps via gates -- but today, I don't actually care about that. This pair of modules requires a lot of HP given how little I use it.

-- Rainmaker. Someone on the O|D forum convinced me to stop ignoring this module and really look into it... and I'm kind of blown away by the possibilities and by what people have done with it. It's really in a different class from other delays.

-- Befaco Sampling Modulator. I've been missing a manual trigger sequencer. Since they also can act as clock dividers (and uneven ones at that) this can serve where my G8 was, while also doing its own sample-and-hold and weird oscillator/audio disruptor thing. This is a module I've been thinking about for some time and I've finally decided to go for it.

-- Zadar. Seems like I'd enjoy it, though again, I feel like I have both enough envelopes and enough LFOs, for whatever that means. The most likely course is to agonize over this choice until I just spontaneously decide to go for it hihi

-- Loquelic Iteritas...? Actually I'm still on the "too many oscillators" train and with the Panharmonium coming, that's not likely to get better. But I've kind of convinced myself I want to mess with this. So as an alternative, I want to see if I can implement Summation Synthesis of some sort in the ER-301. (It seems unlikely it can be done using the method in LI until the C++ DSP layer is opened up, though.) Phase modulation is already a go. VOSIM can be done with Maths and a pair of ordinary VCOs, and I hope to also implement it as a ready-to-go unit in ER-301. If these fail though, I might succumb. So far I have sold every Noise Engineering module I've owned despite thinking they were mostly great, but I have this nagging feeling Loquelic might be more my speed. Hmm. Anyway, I'm trying to get hold of Curtis Roads' "The Computer Music Tutorial" via interlibrary loan before I just buy a copy of it; there's something in there about distortion synthesis which may be relevant one way or another.

-- Move Shades and O'Tool+ to the middle of my rack, where they can do occasional duty as passive mults. That way I can put my 36" patch cables away, instead of keeping them around only for those rare instances where I need a corner-to-corner patch.

-- break up the cluster of black faceplate modules I have, because they tend to blend together and I lose track of them hihi
It's been an awesome morning for selling stuff on Reverb... so I did some shopping twisted

Got a Rainmaker on the way and PM'd about a Sampling Modulator. It looks like Zadar is unobtanium at the moment and I'm not seeing used Loquelics, so I'll just keep half an eye open for opportunities on those.

And if KnobCon or something else brings a must-have module, I'll make space or find a way to live without it somehow Mr. Green
A few questions on the faderbank, if I may:

1) what’s the physical connection path?
2) how do you read a fader value from TT
3) how to you make it show up on the 301?

If you decide to sell your TXi, PM me, I’m interested thumbs up
I'm on the fence about the rainmaker also, mainly because the amount of menu diving it displays through its ability / complexity.

I'm curious as to what made you make the jump to purchase it?
atte wrote:
A few questions on the faderbank, if I may:

1) what’s the physical connection path?
2) how do you read a fader value from TT
3) how to you make it show up on the 301?

If you decide to sell your TXi, PM me, I’m interested thumbs up

1. Faderbank is connected to my PC via USB, for power and MIDI. There's a 3.5mm TRS cable going to a TXb (which does have Eurorack power because my Teletype is the old revision without pullup resistors). 3 Dupont female/female jumper wires connect from Txb to Teletype i2c, and 3 more from Teletype i2c to ER-301 i2c.

2. On Teletype, there's an "FB" op for reading a fader.

3. I have a Teletype scene that sets the metronome, and SC.CV.SLEW on channels 1-16 to 25ms. The metronome script is just "L 1 16: SC.CV I FB I", polling and passing values directly. Anything else I have Teletype doing, I just clock it externally.

On the ER-301, there's an "SC.CV" unit where you set the port number and it outputs whatever values it's sent.

If you don't have Teletype and use the i2c leader firmware for the faderbank, it sends SC.CV commands directly, so the ER-301 side works the same way.

4. I don't have a TXi, just a TXb. smile

cackland wrote:
I'm on the fence about the rainmaker also, mainly because the amount of menu diving it displays through its ability / complexity.

I'm curious as to what made you make the jump to purchase it?

Someone on the O|D forum said they liked it as a resonator even more than Elements in some ways, and that got my attention. I watched several videos and listened to many demos, and was impressed by the potential. Not just the resonator stuff, but the multitap features too.

I'd tried a multitap delay plugin several years ago and I didn't really gel with it. But as I watched some of these demos I realized that in a modular context they can do quite a bit more.

It was going to arrive today, but the postal carrier literally just left a "could not deliver" notice in the mailbox without knocking on the door (I was right here waiting for it) so I've got to drag my sore throat and runny nose and massive headache to the post office and pick it up myself in a few hours. angry
Thanks for the explanation, very precise!

Sorry bout the TXb, i misread that.
So my first impression of Rainmaker, even though I'm down with a cold and don't really have a lot of energy, enthusiasm, mental bandwidth or endurance right now:

It's exactly what I expected from the Intellijel and Mylar Melodies videos cool

Having watched those videos a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even have to look at the manual to navigate around. The large number of buttons minimizes menu diving. I'd say it's complex, but not difficult or overly fiddly. (It's not immediate either -- notice there's no dedicated delay time knob or CV? But "time" is a more complex concept in this module just by its very nature.)

It didn't take a lot of work to set up interesting rhythmic echoes and get them bouncing around in stereo, pitch shifting into nifty counterpoint etc. The pitch shifting itself, being real-time granular, is kind of rough but functional enough for delay tap purposes (or if you want to glitch things intentionally).

As far as resonator stuff goes, I only messed a little bit with it on the comb side and a little on the tap side, but I think it's going to be great fun and give me lots of territory to explore.
starthief wrote:
So my first impression of Rainmaker, even though I'm down with a cold and don't really have a lot of energy, enthusiasm, mental bandwidth or endurance right now:

It's exactly what I expected from the Intellijel and Mylar Melodies videos cool

Having watched those videos a couple of weeks ago, I didn't even have to look at the manual to navigate around. The large number of buttons minimizes menu diving. I'd say it's complex, but not difficult or overly fiddly. (It's not immediate either -- notice there's no dedicated delay time knob or CV? But "time" is a more complex concept in this module just by its very nature.)

It didn't take a lot of work to set up interesting rhythmic echoes and get them bouncing around in stereo, pitch shifting into nifty counterpoint etc. The pitch shifting itself, being real-time granular, is kind of rough but functional enough for delay tap purposes (or if you want to glitch things intentionally).

As far as resonator stuff goes, I only messed a little bit with it on the comb side and a little on the tap side, but I think it's going to be great fun and give me lots of territory to explore.

Thanks for the update. Got me re-thinking whether I should get it or not. I just try and avoid any module that isn't surface level.
By my count, the 16-tap section has something like 128 different parameters, and the comb filter another 11 or so. Some navigating is inevitable but they did a great job making it relatively painless.
At this point when I look at my rig I think "geez, there's a ton here to explore" -- particularly between the ER-301 and Rainmaker, but also with so much left to discover about QPAS, Erbe-Verb and the BBD -- so I'm going to hold off from any gear decisions for a bit.


- Noise Engineering has said on Instagram that they're working on VST plugin ports of their Reason rack extensions. That would probably whet my appetite enough for Loquelic so I don't need to go back to overloading on VCOs smile

- I'm kind of cooling on the idea of Zadar again as well. I'm sure I would like aspects of it, but again, I just don't need more envelopes/LFOs in my setup.

- Kind of want a Red Panda Particle, but with the busy tap delays in Rainmaker and the granular stuff in ER-301 I feel I shouldn't jump into that quite yet.

- The "simple complex oscillator" unit I made for the ER-301 isn't quite filling the niche in my system. I'm going to experiment more with other CO layouts on it -- it seems like using three separate channels for mod osc, primary osc and wavefolder would give me the most flexibility. But I've been thinking about replacing Plaits and maybe the second Rings with a "proper" complex oscillator. Considering the pros and cons:

- - The limited power I have eliminates some options. Furthrrr needs 215 mA on the -12V rail; my old pal Double Helix needs 205, Rubicon, Sputnik and Mindphaser need 150, 110 and 100 respectively.

- - Verbos: this is the biggest module, but not the most flexible. I don't like how the mod osc is unipolar.

- - HD mk2: I could kick myself for selling mine, then get another. But its folder is the wrong kind of gnarly for me, and the slow tracking mode is almost useless. It does lovely TZFM but so does the ER-301; all this would offer is hands-on-ness and I'm afraid I would feel sillier after repurchasing it.

- - DPO: this seems a strong choice. A classic, and it feels like I couldn't go wrong with this choice. The panel layout makes intuitive sense to me. While the linear FM is relatively weak, overall it's capable of absolutely lovely sounds and growls, and the weird shit too.

- - Cs-L costs a bit more, and seems a bit less intuitive than DPO (but perhaps easily learned). More flexible with the dual folders, sub out, AM section, PWM / double pulse, mixing both oscs before a wavefolder, etc. I'm guessing that the growly stuff I love about the DPO is achievable with this too, though I'm sure not identically.

- - Orgone Accumulator: stepping outside the traditional CO thing a bit, this seems like a highly underrated oscillator. But I wish its modulator had its own output and/or internal routing to things like FX amount. The main thing is, I feel like my favorite sounds coming out of it have considerable overlap with E370 and a little bit Kermit, so there'd be little point in picking it up too. To maximize variety and get the right feel I think I'd be better off with the DPO or Cs-L.

However, with Pittsburgh teasing its Voltage Research Laboratory, I want more info on that before I come to any decisions. So far I haven't heard much in the demos that really grabbed me, to be honest, but the architecture seems sound. I kind of like the idea of a separate synth which could be joined to the modular... but this goes back to the problem of sending signals across the desk which I've been avoiding. (In fact I haven't used my Euro gear to modulate the Microbrute since changing to the new setup.)

And as I said, I want to get to know my current new stuff before getting new new stuff. And Panharmonium is coming this summer; another new thing to get to know smile
I have really enjoyed reading through this thread over the past few days, it has given me much to think about as I get ready to put my own case together for the first time.

Looking forward to the next chapter.
My Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 served me pretty well for a while, but the "Dim" switch for monitoring started turning itself on at random. I figured, since I'm going to be upgrading to a new computer soon, I might as well go ahead and get off of Firewire.

I went with a Behringer UMC1820 -- it's low cost, similar to the Pro 40, with 8 analog inputs and outputs -- but with better front panel controls and no need for software to configure monitoring/routing. Seems to work well with lower latency and hopefully will also reduce playback glitching. I could still use the Pro 40 if I wanted to chain 8 more inputs via ADAT. It would kind of feel excessive, though.

Before Superbooth, I made a "Synth Farm 2.2" plan -- basically just replacing my Plaits with a DPO and rearranging my case.

But now I'm considering Joranalogue Generate 3 as an alternative to the DPO. While it doesn't have a traditional wavefolder built in, all the modulation and sync options make it a formidable primary oscillator. I also suspect self-patching the core output to phase or AM inputs can lead fun places. I'd still have some room to re-add an analog wavefolder if I felt like I needed it; my ER-301 wavefolder unit is pretty strong but I'm not sure how it compares with audio rate modulation.

I'm still planning to hold off any decision making until Knobcon (September) though. If nothing else, I should be able to test-drive a DPO there.
starthief wrote:
went with a Behringer UMC1820 -- it's low cost, similar to the Pro 40, with 8 analog inputs and outputs -- but with better front panel controls and no need for software to configure monitoring/routing. Seems to work well with lower latency and hopefully will also reduce playback glitching. I could still use the Pro 40 if I wanted to chain 8 more inputs via ADAT. It would kind of feel excessive, though

I recently got one of these and I don't have a bad thing to say about it. As an aside, I ordered from Thomann (Germany to Canada) and, while I'm not sure I'd do it again, even after CAD $75 shipping, plus duty and taxes, I still effectively got one of my two Doepfer (PLL and VC Switch) modules for free.

P.S. Stop making me want my Rainmaker back. I sold it on the basis that I was mainly hitting 'Randomize All' and hoping good things would come out. My time is too limited to build presets from scratch but I do miss its sound.
I wound up getting myself a Reface CS, since I found it at a decent discount.

- Nicer keyboard than MicroBrute, but still compact.
- I like the simple analog-style controls with no patch memory, and some smart defaults.
- You have to work to avoid the sweet spots. grin
- Does a nice impression of a string machine, organ sounds (including nicely screwy ones!), sync leads and general "retro" stuff.
- Polyphony is a welcome change from my habit of modular and monosynth.
- It's a "comfort food synth" -- just overall a pleasant experience to play and tweak. It has kind of an SH-101 vibe, a bit.

- Not a lot of low end weight.
- Super steppy controls, where one might want more precision (for the ringmod mode or tuning the filter with high resonance).
- While the lack of velocity makes sense for a lot of settings and an overall retro feel, the option would still have been nice for others.
- The Mod slider in FM mode mixes in white noise as well as changing the ratio. That's only cool about 5-10% of the time.
- The Texture and Mod sliders in RM mode do roughly the same things to two oscillators; one could have handled the ratio difference and the other some other parameter. Like fine tuning, to get around the steppy parameters.
- It needs an internal limiter for when the resonance is cranked up to self-oscillation. It cranks out a lot of gain as polyphony increases, without actually sounding super loud.
- The MicroFreak exists today and seems more capable overall, without costing much more than the discount price I paid for this. (I still chose the CS because I played one in person and knew it just felt intuitively good.
I never felt any allure from the sounds of the Microfreak.)

And in more relevant Eurorack news, I'm replacing my QPAS with a Joranalogue Filter 8. My logic is, besides being an excellent and versatile filter, F8 can also act as a VCO, LFO and slew and will pretty much always have something to bring to the table. And it's much easier on my PSU's meager -12V rail than QPAS.

A bit of a case rearrange too: a compromise between ergonomics and signal flow which I think makes a little more sense than my previous arrangement.

Second row from bottom is going to host Filter 8 and Panharmonium. In the fall, probably a complex oscillator or Generate 3 depending on where my whim goes after Knobcon.

+1 for the Filter 8. I have one and think its a great module. Really consider Joranalogue to be one of my favourite module designers, so place to get many more of the current and upcoming line up from Joran.

I was considering the Tallin, although its expensive in comparison to other dual VCA modules. 2 VCA per 6 HP -> same as the Intellijel QuadVCA although price per VCA is steeper. I'm all about the wiggle room of modules so was wondering if the knob offset placement felt right.

Whats planned for the blank panel spots?
Joranalogue's line is really cool looking, along with frap tools. if i were doing it all over again in 2019, and not 2012, i might have gone that route
cackland wrote:
Nice. Whats planned for the blank panel spots?

The blank next to Maths: no specific plans yet.

In a few days: Filter 8 goes where the Div6 and 2HP aluminum blank are.

In June: the right edge of that row will switch to Panharmonium and a 16HP blank.

In September:

Plan A: Plaits comes out. DPO or Cs-L goes in. I still have 8-10HP.

Plan B: Plaits comes out, I shuffle a couple of modules, Furthrrr Generator goes in, and I still have 6HP.

Plan C: Generate 3 goes in. Plaits probably still comes out (because too many VCOs). That'll leave 24HP for whatever I am infatuated by at Knobcon. Mr. Green

Plan D: ??? the meantime I could still decide Plaits is invaluable and maybe I don't need two Rings, or the BBD isn't thrilling me anymore, or what I really want is FOUR Rings and a Planar 2... who knows? grin

natureclubcassettes wrote:
Joranalogue's line is really cool looking, along with frap tools. if i were doing it all over again in 2019, and not 2012, i might have gone that route

Yeah, Contour 1 looks just brilliant for instance. There are so many good ways to go now.
starthief wrote:
Yeah, Contour 1 looks just brilliant for instance. There are so many good ways to go now.

for reals. i started out all doepfer, ha! still have most of them. but those two brands are really startling for their takes on analog design. i'm sure i would have had an all intellijel system if i had waited until 2014 or so as well. a case of those two with maybe a few DSP modules would be ace.

love how the joranalogue designs almost look like mk1 intellijel, but without the horrible lower case fonts, btw
starthief wrote:
cackland wrote:
Nice. Whats planned for the blank panel spots?

The blank next to Maths: no specific plans yet.

In a few days: Filter 8 goes where the Div6 and 2HP aluminum blank are.

Interested to know how the F8 works out for you, and how you end up using it. I feel like it always has something to offer in a patch.

I've been eyeing the CS-L/Furtherrr also, but I think I am now decided on the Generate3 and maybe getting a wavefolder or Compare2 to go with it.

I just this week bought a Rings, finally was convinced. - I see you have 2x of them. Have to say it sounds very good processing external sound, I'm liking the way it fits my system more than I thought I would.
thetwlo wrote:
starthief wrote:
So, the Doepfer BBD:

- Clocking it with filtered white noise from the E370 = fun grin I do wish I had a higher frequency clock source for it -- I bet a Synchrodyne would make a great partner for it for instance.

The Synchrodyne is great, but the FoH Infernal Noise Machine, was my favorite for clocking these.

My new favorite for this it the Schlappi Interstellar Radio, working quite well for messing with BBD clocks, with a lot of control. Haven't tried with the Z-DSP.
starthief wrote:

Plan C: Generate 3 goes in.

I have allocated two of these in my system when they arrive on the market towards the end oft the year..

Contour... although I'm not a fan of the 'smaller' linear potentiometers, and generally refuse to have any module that has them in my system, I am considering getting two contours.
cg_funk wrote:
I just this week bought a Rings, finally was convinced. - I see you have 2x of them. Have to say it sounds very good processing external sound, I'm liking the way it fits my system more than I thought I would.

Yeah, two of them makes for some fun cross-feedback, a better stereo image, just putting them in series, or switching between them and getting 8x polyphonic decays. Between those two and Rainmaker I've got a lot of resonator in there, but it's working for me.
starthief wrote:
cg_funk wrote:
I just this week bought a Rings, finally was convinced. - I see you have 2x of them. Have to say it sounds very good processing external sound, I'm liking the way it fits my system more than I thought I would.

Yeah, two of them makes for some fun cross-feedback, a better stereo image, just putting them in series, or switching between them and getting 8x polyphonic decays. Between those two and Rainmaker I've got a lot of resonator in there, but it's working for me.

I have been eyeing the 4MS SMR as a next module, hoping to do something like what you are saying, now that the SWN is all the hot stuff and people seem to be selling off their SMRs. Well, although it is cool, the sphere is not a resonator... I really like resonators I guess.
My Filter 8 arrived yesterday and I love the thing. Already posted about it over in the relevant thread, but it's...

- a fantastic-sounding filter. (Making nice woody pings isn't really one of its strong suits, but sounding excellent overall certainly is.)
- a surprisingly good waveshaper, which is going to offer a lot more than I expected.
- a solid sine VCO (with great expo FM, typical analog non-TZ linear FM (shallow and subtle, but nice), and some ability to shape it via feedback without losing tracking)
- a pretty great LFO (changing the shape via feedback will change the rate, but if you don't mind it works well -- and with different shapes from different outputs you can crossfade between those too)

I haven't even tried it as a slew or CV mangler yet, and I suspect there's some fun to be had there... perhaps the ping input as a sort of wobbly envelope generator...?

So I expect this is finally the filter I'm going to settle down with. cool


My plan to wait for KnobCon was probably doomed all along, but now the nail is in the coffin: I went ahead and bought a DPO hihi That should be coming in this weekend. So that's "Synth Farm 2.2" settled.

8HP left to fill in, if I don't let go of some of the less essential minor bits to make a little more room.
have you tried cold mac? im still a noob but i think its the most fun i 8hp with all the mangling mixing and macro controlling it offers ^_^ i know u werent asking for suggestions but in case u secretly wanted some razz
dekemcculo wrote:
i know u werent asking for suggestions but in case u secretly wanted some razz

Heh grin

I've thought about Cold Mac multiple times. I know a lot of people really like it, and wrangle some surprising things out of it (self-patching it as a noise generator for instance).

I wouldn't hesitate to play with it in person if I had the chance, just to see if I was charmed by it too.

But it's not the sort of thing I feel eager to buy and then try. In terms of feature list, it doesn't do anything I don't have covered. I really like my 16n Faderbank as a master controller, and if I need any sort of macro functionality from a single fader I can patch that easily enough.

I used to have a Frames, and found I mostly used it as an attenuator, offset generator and mixer -- not even using the big knob most of the time. Frames has some similarities with Cold Mac, though it's implemented extremely differently smile But I replaced it with an A-138m matrix mixer, which was the right move at the time.

(With the evolution of my modular and the music I make with it, I'm not sure the A-138m is totally ideal either anymore. Maybe u-he CVilization will replace it, maybe not, maybe something else. I do a lot of that sort of routing and control either in ER-301, or in my DAW under Faderbank control, now.)
Sunday: recorded the last track that will go on my next album.

And it's a good thing too, because

Monday: got my DPO
something wonderful

I'm not new to complex oscillators -- I owned a Pittsburgh Lifeforms Double Helix and a Hertz Donut mk2; before that I patched Tides and Warps as a CO; after that I built a couple of complex oscillator units for the ER-301; in software land I've gotten very familiar with Arturia Buchla Easel V and Madrona Labs Aalto.

But the DPO is something different. It's wilder and more organic... feral maybe smile

The shaper is definitely different from what was on the 0-Coast, and offers a ton of variety. The FM is a lot to work with -- not as easy to dial in as on some other synths even if just turning up one of the four knobs -- but it also has a richer and more complex feel to it.

There are about a million things I need to try on this module. It's going to keep me busy for a while wink
I realized, the linear FM just seems weirder on DPO than on some modules because the range of modulation is not restricted to ranges that stop the core from stalling with non-TZ FM.

So if the modulation strength exceeds the base frequency, the core stalls at the bottom end of the modulation but gets the full range at the top end of the modulation, and thus the average shifts upwards out of tune.

(This is where TZFM is an advantage -- deeper linear modulation.)

If I keep the FM bus and linear FM knobs to more modest amounts, I can get all dynamic with the index. With the right cross-FM it can even go a little bit deeper before it starts to lose its grip. smile

And also I realized why TZ doesn't much matter for expo FM: it's always going to throw the base frequency off anyway, so there's no point in restricting the modulation depth. thumbs up

Math! Sometimes it doesn't suck. w00t
Yeah, DPO is one of those things where it's like, I just know I'd hate myself within the hour if I got rid of it, it's distinctive enough a CO that I'll likely just keep it alongside another but clean-sounding one (which I've mostly decided as Cs-L). Ideally I'd love to have a Verbos CO, Cs-L and DPO but that's getting tougher to justify the HP and the
Another album is done (to be released this weekend) and I've summarized the gear usage from patch notes again.

King Kermit
- I used Kermit on 7 of 8 tracks -- mostly for audio.

- E370, ER-301 and Natural Gate were each on 6 of 8 tracks.
- The A-188-1 BBD and Erbe-Verb were each on 4 tracks -- I'll stop wondering whether I'm going to get full use out of them alongside so many other FX options.

Get Both
- I replaced my QPAS with a Filter 8, but both served me well on the album. In a larger, more robustly powered system I would likely want both.

So Resonant
- Rainmaker and Rings were each on 3 tracks, and I used QPAS, Filter 8 and Erbe-Verb as sort-of-resonators as well.

Main Sequence
- Teletype and Marbles were on 4/8 tracks, and SQ-1 on one.
- I used MIDI only for the Reface CS -- once just to hold a drone, and once for really slow chords.

- No Plaits. I still had it racked during the recording of the album, but had decided I'd probably let it go to make room for other things.
- No pedals on this album, for no particular reason that stands out.
- No Microbrute. (It's "sharing" power/audio/USB cables with the Reface CS, but... yeah. Maybe I am done with this synth?)
- No Volca Modular.
- No software synths.

Hail Valhalla
- Valhalla Delay landed on 7 of 8 tracks. It has mostly displaced my other software delays.
- Valhalla reverbs were also on 7 of 8 tracks. (Chances are good that I used Plate on the 8th one too during post-processing without making a note of it...)
I've been unsure that I really like the short Tendrils in combination with my other cables. I would have liked more Modular Addict skinnies to match the rest, but they're sold out and had those kinking issues.

I wound up trying Control Crono because the 22cm size seems ideal, even though my 18" cables are already pink.

Somehow a Bubblesound CVWS fell into my shopping cart too. That'll fill the last 8HP and give me more waveshaping stuff to creatively abuse. Mr. Green

Control actually sent a "your order has shipped" notification with tracking number 17 minutes after the order went in, even with the free shipping option.
The cvWS looks really cool. Can’t have too many options for wave shaping!
Quick first impressions:

Bubblesound cvWS: For the basics, it does what it says. The sine output of the second section isn't particularly pure, but it is useful, and that's more important.

The sine section doesn't act as a wavefolder as I hoped; as you crank the input gain it just saturates to a rounded square and eventually a full square. That probably is due to a design that's tolerant of varying input levels. But still, both sections offer a wealth of reshaping options when you use it "wrong." It makes a nice companion to the DPO. Plenty to play with here!

Control Crono cables: I needn't have worried about the color being too similar to the bright pink Modular Addict cables; the translucent outer cover is cloudy white enough that they basically seem like white cables with a pink stripe. They're not as disturbing as a Cronenberg film, thankfully. smile They have kind of an odd but not unpleasant grippy texture, and a slightly unpleasant plastic smell. (I think that's the first time an order of 10 cables smelled enough to notice...) The length is measured tip-to-tip, making them a bit shorter than I would have preferred but they'll work. I'm putting my short Tendrils away for now.

BoredBrain Splix: Works well enough as an attenuator, panner, or just a way to bridge two shorter cables. As a passive audio mixer it's a bit weird -- there's some interaction between the inputs that's causing some kind of intermodulation distortion, or it's acting just a little bit like a ringmod, or something. My limited electronics knowledge isn't serving me well here. At any rate, a dirty mix can be useful too; I've got clean mixers already smile
You mentioned earlier, either here or in the filter 8 thread, that you were planning on using it as a waveshaper. How were you intending to do that? I just got a filter 8 myself and that sounds interesting.
I wish I had taken notes, but at some point I had a sine feeding the input and got this cool 80's synth brass sound out of it.

I'm sure it involved feeding back one of the other outputs either into the second input, or into the Exp FM input. Maybe both?

I definitely need to play with it more to get a better grasp over controlling it though.
I've been thinking lately about the tension between flexibility and focus, with music gear.

When I started my modular journey, I was in an exploration sort of mindset. I wanted to try all kinds of modules and techniques, especially stuff I couldn't do with a DAW and VSTs. At first it was sound sources and modulation, then I went through a phase of trying out different sequencing and routing, and more recently effects and processing.

But I'm working on my 9th album as Starthief, and feel like I've pretty well established the kind of music I want to make and the technique and workflow I want to use -- at least in a general sense. It will always keep evolving.

I admire the focus of an instrument like the Lyra-8. It was built with a particular artistic vision, and it sticks to it, and to play it you have to approach it from that same space. People tend to use it to create the kind of music that interests me.

I feel like my synth setup could use more of that kind of focus. There are definitely some modules I don't use very much, but beyond that, I feel a drive to tighten things up and just kind of feel closer to my instrument(s).

How I do that, though, is a big question and it's going to take me a while to settle it. I'll probably be going into Knobcon with that question still in mind.

Meanwhile, I just got a shipping notification from Control for the Panharmonium, and look forward to playing with it, even if it turns out to mess up my focus even more in the short term wink
I went over the modules I have and how I feel about them, specifically in the context of focusing more tightly.

17 modules are safe. Two are going up for sale immediately. A few others are being considered, and there are some things where I could probably trade for something slightly more suitable but it's low priority.

Then there's the bigger questions:

SynthTech E370:
I loved the E352, and I love the E370... but I feel like it's overkill for me. I could be happy with just a 370 and two Rings, but:

- I like the specific dusty/noisy character of Kermit, and can't replicate it with anything else.
- I need a complex oscillator with clean TZFM. The 370's TZFM gets grungy and weird as the depth increases -- in a way that I like sometimes, but often I just need it clean.

So given that I also need other VCOs, quad is more than I need. I'm going to think about whether to keep the beast or trade down.

Intellijel Rainmaker & Doepfer A-188-1B BBD:
Generally, I wind up using Rainy for blurred comb filter/resonator soundscapes -- the same thing I often use my two Rings and some other feedback patching to accomplish. I'm not generally feeling the delay side except to give the comb a little extra flavor.

Meanwhile, I just use the BBD to make stuff noisy and aliased, and I have alternatives to that.

So I'm going to research some other alternatives. Stuff like Qu-Bit Prism, Modor comb filter, AS RS-120, Elby Bi-N-Tic, maybe. We'll see.

DPO vs. other complex oscillators vs ER-301:
When I got my ER-301, I sold my beloved Hertz Donut mk2 -- because the ER-301 does TZFM wonderfully well.

And then I missed the feel of the HD -- I honestly think a lot of that was the immediacy of the knobs as well as a relatively open architecture. But I thought: rather than buying another HD, I'll go analog and get a DPO, which I love the sound of in other peoples' recordings and which has a kind of glamour to it.

....and then it turns out: DPO is nice but I just really like TZFM. And emotionally I just don't connect with the DPO like I did the HD.

My ER-301 complex oscillator custom unit does sound damn good, and it also makes a nice harmonic oscillator -- but the lack of knobs is a bummer. Maybe adding TXi could fix that -- just default its knobs and inputs to pitch and modulation depth controls. And since TXi is unobtanium at the moment, I could use my Shades and some Tendrils instead for now.

And if that doesn't work I can still trade the DPO for a Hertz Donut... or perhaps the mk3, Orgone Accumulator, or a Generate 3 and/or Godspeed+... something that will serve as a TZFM complex oscillator.

I thought about selling the ER-301 instead, but the idea of replacing it with 6-7 other modules to maintain the functionality I like makes that an unattractive prospect.
starthief wrote:
Generally, I wind up using Rainy for blurred comb filter/resonator soundscapes[...]

Unsurprised to hear that you ended up with the same impression I had of the Rainmaker. I wish it came in a smaller "just the comb" flavor!

starthief wrote:
I thought about selling the ER-301 instead, but the idea of replacing it with 6-7 other modules to maintain the functionality I like makes that an unattractive prospect.

Going through the same mental wringer. The architecture is just too flexible to determine what a suitable replacement would be (though in my case I'm looking for a multichannel looper).

PS - Strongly recommend the 16n faderbank for cable-free ER-301 controls.
yea I was going to ask since I think you do have a 16n (?) if you've used it to fill the need for manual control on the 301 complex osc

are you considering a TZ oscillator to pair with utilities and a modulator to make your own complex oscillator? I was thinking before of pairing a plague of demons with my mangrove (picked up a dixie in a trade instead, but it's still in my mind as an option for the future) - it seems to get pretty nutty with the self modulation it's hard for me to imagine what it would be like... eek! otherwise the options seem somewhat limited. i only just realized rubicon ii is also TZ - i thought only version 1 was because it doesn't say on modular grid razz, never been that interested in intellijel's stuff but this dixie i happened upon feels like a little tank i'm very happy with it so far i wonder if the rubicon might be something for the future... have you tried it?
I've got a 16n. I love it for controlling levels, filters, modulation amounts etc. It works really well with the harmonic oscillator custom unit.

But I feel like I specifically want knobs for frequency offsets -- mostly a psychological thing. Though the faders on mine are the wrong taper, and it makes pitch control kind of fiddly -- I've used it for pitch sequences on the Teletype for instance.

dekemcculo wrote:
are you considering a TZ oscillator to pair with utilities and a modulator to make your own complex oscillator?

I'm keeping an open mind about it. I'm hoping to try some things at KnobCon and see if anything really grabs me.

If I can get the feel right with the ER-301 I'll probably just stick with that -- otherwise I know for sure I like the Hertz Donut mk2.
Rubicon 2 is pretty fantastic, if a little big. I really love the sound of the sine run through the warp circuit. I'm looking forward to pairing it with a generate 3 when it comes out to make an awesome TZFM both ways complex oscillator.

I just got a HD mk3. I was thinking about how to duplicate it's phase distortion stuff using the shaper input on shapeshifter but the thought of patching the subtle ramp shapes you need to make that work well turned me off so I just bought the damn thing. I have no idea how it compares to the HD mk2 but it's a goddamn monster. Within like 10 minutes of setting it up I'd made some of the best sounds I've ever made.

I keep meaning to try your complex osc unit for ER-301. I made my own but it kinda sucks.

I have too many oscillators/everything. At some point I need to make some hard choices and pare this mess back a bit.

The thing I always end up using rainmaker for is multiple taps, with different pitch shifting on each, all with resonant bandpass filters. It ends up making this weird swarming, insectile, chittering accompaniment to drones. Probably not worth the HP just for that but... see previous comment.
Hmm, since the tap side of Rainmaker will do combs too when set fast enough, I could definitely play with that aspect of it more.

The thing I liked about the HD mk2 is it's just very immediate to use -- one knob per function, traditional complex oscillator architecture. It just feels really good.

The mk3 is a departure from that, but its fold section is admittedly way more appealing than the mk2. I hope to try one at Knobcon smile
Usually I much prefer one knob per function (and the shared state on the controls kept me from getting one for a long time) but HDmk3 doesn't bother me at all. I think it's because it has feedback about the actual settings on the screen. You can't see the whole state at once because of the modality of the mixer controls but you just poke the button for the bit you care about and its right there. It felt immediate in a way that that sort of shared control usually doesn't.

I was looking at the rubicon 2 manual after I posted earlier and realized that I've never really messed with the symmetry. I'd imagine that under hard sync the symmetry would provide yet another way to produce timbral shenanigans, while still tracking pitch. Gonna give that a try today.
Hmm, I just wrote something earlier this morning but must have fumbled the post button.

I had insomnia last night, sat up thinking and came to a realization: I've been avoiding the ER-301.

It's technically capable of doing a lot of what I want, but here I am wanting a Hertz Donut, an analog wavefolder, and a simple standalone delay again. Chalk it up to workflow, emotional connection, etc.

I think I've talked myself into HD mk3 rather than mk2. If I don't love it, which seems unlikely, I can always make that change later.

For a wavefolder, Bastl Timber. Both the folder and drive sound pretty great to me and it offers more than usual variations, all pretty great-sounding.

For a delay I've gone back and forth, but I think I've settled on Prism as being reasonably priced, appealing in its simplicity and yet versatile. Mimeophon is pretty much the Make Noise interpretation of my "dream delay" feature list from a few months ago, but I fear some of its tricks will become easily recognizable gimmicks. Microcell might be cool for the Parasite delay, but is pretty much the antithesis of a focused and simple module.

So what else have I used the ER-301 for?

- For 8 of the last 9 tracks I've recorded: nothing. For the other one, just a noise source. That should have been a big clue to me but I didn't really notice until now.

- A harmonic oscillator... or really, an additive oscillator with manual & voltage control over partial levels, but not scan/tilt. Stages Orouboros is a little bit primitive in that role, but I have a 4ms SMR on the way which I suspect will do very nicely. (And if not, there's my excuse to go for a Verbos HO.)

- A dynamics manager for feedback loops... AKA, a compressor. Maths + a VCA, or a Bastl Dynamo, or MSCL or something could fill that role. I haven't decided what yet.

- I did use it to extract gates from a Kermit LFO once. w00t I also used its scale quantizer, which is pretty good but that only applies to itself. So I'll keep my uO_C for situations like that.

So at this point, I have a pretty firm plan for Synth Farm 3.0, minus figuring out specifically what I want for compression. And I'll have a whole empty row in my case, shouuld Knobcon show me that I need something else.
Already did some trades and buys. HD mk3, Prism, Dynamo, Origami, and T-Rackonizer.
And that SMR arrives Saturday and my Panharmonium is just 2 days old It's a whirlwind SlayerBadger!
can't wait to hear your thoughts on dynamo seems like a great module wish there was more about it on here (of course i have 2 cold macs now so i feel like i've got those duties covered personally hihi was going to suggest a cold mac for you for compression and sidechaining and then remembered that I already did that lol)

would love to hear what you'd do with a timber too - seems like it would be an interesting addition to your palette !

does this mean you're thinking about moving away from the 301, or are you just acknowledging that some of it's functionality you'd rather do with other tools? if so - what do you hope to use it for in the future?
dekemcculo wrote:
can't wait to hear your thoughts on dynamo

I had one a while back, but with a wood panel.

I like the top section a lot -- the combination of functional blocks makes really nice signals either for compression/expansion, or for modulating timbre dynamically. Works nicely with filters.

The bottom section is kind of weird, and I wish they had just put a VCA in there to make it a complete compressor. But once in a while it's useful for something a bit off the wall.

I completely spaced on Cold Mac's envelope follower feeding back to Survey ... now I kind of wish I'd used that as my excuse to go ahead and try Cold Mac. I might still, one of these days, have to find another excuse wink

dekemcculo wrote:
would love to hear what you'd do with a timber too - seems like it would be an interesting addition to your palette !

I wound up going for the Delta Sound Labs Origami instead, just because it was conveniently available in a trade but also has a sound I like smile

dekemcculo wrote:
does this mean you're thinking about moving away from the 301

I moved fast on this and traded the 301 this morning. I'm rarely this decisive, but it was clear to me that this is the right direction for me.
I think you'll like the Timber (for at least a few months hihi ). it's the nicest sounding wavefolder to my ears after the serge wave mults. I've thought about getting a second in a 204hp system. oh, just saw that you got a different folder instead, lol

what made you move your Maze along? didn't it get the Fade thing before that? I'm really tempted to get one as I could use a matrix mixer, but I'm not sure if its 0-99 steps of amplitude are enough to finesse feedback patches with.
autopoiesis wrote:
what made you move your Maze along? didn't it get the Fade thing before that? I'm really tempted to get one as I could use a matrix mixer, but I'm not sure if its 0-99 steps of amplitude are enough to finesse feedback patches with.

The fade update was released about a week after I sold mine lol

I found myself not sequencing changes with it as much as I originally imagined, and used it as mostly an awkward sort of matrix mixer.

0-99 steps definitely wasn't good for pitch sequencing, and the calibration/scaling was never very exact on mine.
starthief wrote:
autopoiesis wrote:
what made you move your Maze along? didn't it get the Fade thing before that? I'm really tempted to get one as I could use a matrix mixer, but I'm not sure if its 0-99 steps of amplitude are enough to finesse feedback patches with.

The fade update was released about a week after I sold mine lol

I found myself not sequencing changes with it as much as I originally imagined, and used it as mostly an awkward sort of matrix mixer.

0-99 steps definitely wasn't good for pitch sequencing, and the calibration/scaling was never very exact on mine.

Glad I caught this.... I've been wanting a matrix mixer and had pretty much decided to get a 138-m or maybe a Circuit Abby Neo PCB and panel. Only thing that has stopped me so far has been the 20HP size. One of my buds said the Maze could do the same thing with a smaller footprint. I was doubtful of that.... Think you have (or had) both. Which do you prefer or is there something else you might recommend?
Your buddy was not wrong, you can totally use it that way, it's just not as immediate as having a knob for every route. It has it's own advantages as a matrix mixer though (besides the sequencing/morphing) - you can modify multiple routes simultaneously.

I'll admit I don't use mine much (I'm actually the one who bought starthief's, heh) because it turns out I don't have the patience/forethought to make multiple presets for sequencing - I'm more of a "flail around like an idiot until some thing cool-sounding appears" kinda guy. I keep meaning to bug the developer about adding some randomization features.
I prefer the A-138m. The size is worth it IMHO.

u-he CVilization, whenever that's going to be released, might be worth looking at. 10HP if I remember right, and it's a matrix mixer with a bunch of other features. I don't know if the interface is going to feel friendly or it's going to require cheat sheets and mystery lights and weird button press combos.

Another option if the A-138m is too big to justify, would be a 4x2 matrix mixer. Rebel Tech and LPZW both make them and there are probably others.
Some thoughts on new gear so far:

- It's certainly unique among modules, and software too.
- It's not the easiest thing to work with. It takes some time to dig in and learn it, and some effort and restraint, if you want nice sounds.
- IMHO it works best in a background role, harmonizing with, doubling or sustaining sounds from the input -- usually with a slower clock or a tempo-synced one.
- I wish it had an input gain knob.
- I'm not sure whether I'm going to hang onto it in the long term, but I think it deserves an extended trial at least. There might be a lot more useful techniques than I've encountered so far, and firmware updates might give it a boost. And it's pretty fascinating!

- The filter, though DSP rather than analog, sounds pretty decent. It doesn't self-oscillate.
- Delay sounds good, but doesn't track V/OCT, there's lots of slew on rate changes, and it doesn't take modulation very well (no Karplus, flanging, chorus, or phase modulation). Even in clocked mode, multiplier changes have a big slew and doppler on them instead of a clean crossfade.
- Putting feedback and the delay's wet/dry on one knob is... mostly okay actually, since chorus wouldn't work anyway. But no wet/dry for freeze mode is a bit of a shame.
- Clocked delay mode remembers the last clock tempo if you don't have a clock patched, which is kind of weird, but okay.
- The decimator is okay and gains a lot from being paired with a filter.
- I'll hold it for now, but it won't surprise me if I go for a different delay sometime.

- I am deeply unsure about this module right now. The scale paradigm is clever but I just don't know if I'm going to adapt to it, or vice versa.
- I do love the light show wink
- I really wish I could use just one V/OCT input instead of multing it. It's not uncommon that I'd want it to track the pitch of another VCO, which means multing twice. Which means I might need a proper buffered mult.
- It's not tracking pitch very well at all right now. The adjustment method in the manual didn't seem to do anything, but then, I believe it's got firmware V4 on it. V5 seems better in terms of tuning range and transposition. But...
- I was unsuccessful at updating to V5. No light animation as described in the manual and nothing from the output. I wrote to 4ms support about it.
- I believe that once I get it updated and calibrated, that I'll be able to use it as an additive oscillator the way I want to -- though it might not be the most straightforward thing.
- Aside from that, I did manage to get some neat patterns out of it. Panharmonium can follow its output pretty easily smile
SavageMessiah wrote:
- I'm more of a "flail around like an idiot until some thing cool-sounding appears" kinda guy.

Me too! 100%. thumbs up

starthief wrote:
I prefer the A-138m. The size is worth it IMHO.

u-he CVilization, whenever that's going to be released, might be worth looking at. 10HP if I remember right, and it's a matrix mixer with a bunch of other features. I don't know if the interface is going to feel friendly or it's going to require cheat sheets and mystery lights and weird button press combos.

I'll probably go the Doepfer A-138m route. Knobs just seem more natural to me for mixing. The u-he caught my interest when first announced but I'm afraid that one is gonna need an always on hand reference guide like you said. The Maze manual had me scratching my head as it was and I prefer to limit cheat sheets to the Distings and O_C when I occasionally decide to change algo's... Thought about going with fewer channels to save space but I have a sneaky suspicion that if I go that route I'd wish I gone for the 4x4 to begin with. Guess I'll just suck it up and look for ways to increase rack size. Thanks for your input folks!
I'll skip the sad story about our incompetent postal carrier, and say that I got my Hertz Donut mk3 this evening but not the other stuff that's coming. That's OK though, more time to concentrate on Donutty goodness.

- That display is freakin' tiny and I have lousy eyesight. Seven virtual sliders a little bit awkward to read immediately. But in actual usage, it's really no big deal at all, and I prefer it over a bunch of obscure color coded LEDs.

- The overall feel and layout isn't quite as nice as the mk2; it seems kind of crowded and chaotic. There are 6 different styles of knob on it plus sliders, so it's kinda like a web page with too many different fonts. I might also have preferred all the jacks at the bottom. But again: in actual usage it's fine.

- The sound. At first I felt like maybe it's not as full and weighty and yet have that little touch of razor-sharp crystalline dust that HDmk2 has in my nostalgic memory. It definitely can have an edge to it, but more the sound that I tend to associate with Noise Engineering. But a bit more tweaking and experimenting and I started to get a better handle on it and bring back some of the old sorcery -- I can dial in something a bit like the HDmk2/Kermit style noisiness. And then HOLY SHIT MARTHA I FOUND THE HOLY GRAIL.

we're not worthy

(I was using op B to modulate A and Main, and monitoring Main and Aux in stereo, and hit one of those frequency ratios that drops everything by an octave and makes it suddenly weigh 17 tons and writhe. Oh yeah.)

- The architecture: I've expressed doubts before about the 3-osc setup rather than the more traditional complex oscillator style, and losing the triangle, saw and square outs,and the discrete FM steps mode (easily changed though), and the whole paged interface vs. HDmk2's one-knob-per-function setup. But now that I use it, I understand why things are the way they are, and I agree with nearly all of it.

So, yeah. It's good. Mr. Green

As with the mk2 I don't feel that its folding modes are a substitute for an analog wavefolder. But they do add bite, growl, sizzle and whatever and I like them a lot more than the mk1.

I have no doubts about this module, and thank you to people on multiple forums who said good things about it because you were right. smile
The one thing I don't like about HDmk3 is that it loses all state that is not reflected in a physical control on restart unless you save a preset. It sounds so absolutely monstrous that I'll give that a pass though hyper
starthief wrote:

- That display is freakin' tiny and I have lousy eyesight.

yeah, it's too small. It's what a hate about the PH3. It's an important, great module, why make it miniaturized? It needs a legible display and another 8-12hp to be serious. Fuck these tiny modules--they are worth the space if they're worth using.
thetwlo wrote:
Fuck these tiny modules--they are worth the space if they're worth using.

I feel the same way.

I’m also considering a HD mk3 anyway...
SavageMessiah wrote:
The one thing I don't like about HDmk3 is that it loses all state that is not reflected in a physical control on restart unless you save a preset.

Yeah, that is irksome. To convince it to start up with both operators set to Follow and +1 octave like I want, you have to save a preset that way, tell it to start up in preset mode, and tell the preset manager to handle "M+F+Ops". And then if you leave Preset mode it'll switch to something else. It should at least have a way of manually saving a default state for menu settings, even if it's not saved on shutdown.

thetwlo wrote:
starthief wrote:

- That display is freakin' tiny and I have lousy eyesight.

yeah, it's too small. It's what a hate about the PH3. It's an important, great module, why make it miniaturized? It needs a legible display and another 8-12hp to be serious. Fuck these tiny modules--they are worth the space if they're worth using.

+1 This module could be about 24-26 HP, have a display the size of the one in uO_C or Rainmaker and left a little more room for fingers, and nobody would have complained about the size. (If they did, they'd be wrong.)

Mine's going to have an 8HP wavefolder next to it that only has two smallish knobs, three jacks crammed side by side, and a lot of empty space in the middle. Eurorack is weird sometimes.
Delta Origami: it's a wavefolder. It sounds good. It's got no additional features, like a second input, crossfading, bias etc. but it does the job well.

Bastl Dynamo: it's what I remember, only aluminum instead of wood. The panel's much easier to read and it doesn't badly mismatch everything else.

Jomox T-Rackonizer: I'll have to think about this one some more. To me it feels not like an effect to apply to a voice in a modular patch, but its own instrument that has its own demands. So it's a question of whether I want to use that instrument.

It simultaneously can't handle overly loud input (it kind of shuts itself down), and generates bursts of overly loud output without sticking to very careful feedback settings. Of course some of the more fun things it does are through abuse of feedback. I should try pairing it up with tanh[3]. Dynamo/Tallin can keep levels fairly steady too.

I recorded a patch with it last night where SMR and T-Racko (with Dynamo/Tallin) fed each other. The process felt a bit more distant to me, like I was directing instead of acting, if that makes sense. This isn't how it feels when I set up feedback loop driven patches with other gear.

So, my general thoughts now:

- I'm not selling anything until KnobCon that wasn't already on my to-sell list. Give myself a little more time with the new modules I'm not sure about -- Panharmonium, SMR, T-Racko, Prism -- and then sniff out alternatives, and also think some more about this whole "focus" thing.

- I'm not buying anything until KnobCon either.

- 4ms tech support was surprised by my trouble with the firmware update and wanted a video of the process to double-check me, so I sent that.

- The simple additive patch I wanted to do with SMR? I'm not going to sweat it all that much. I'm not going to buy other gear just to do it; in a pinch I could use Stages for it, and it's not a patch I want to use all the time anyway. I'm going to try to give SMR a fair chance on its own merits. It does do some cool things, it's just that it has its own ideas about how to do them and we might have creative differences wink

- In working with this stuff, I need to patch pretty much like I normally would rather than pushing to use the new stuff intensely, and see how, or if, it integrates.
wow! that was fast!
already listed the Panharmonium for sale. I see.

Still not sure about it myself, need to spend some more time with it, but, in a smaller/limited(intentionally) system it's an odd one.
thetwlo wrote:
wow! that was fast!
already listed the Panharmonium for sale. I see.

Still not sure about it myself, need to spend some more time with it, but, in a smaller/limited(intentionally) system it's an odd one.

Yeah, I tend to change my mind immediately after I decide "wait until Knobcon" for anything Dead Banana

My thought is:

- right now nobody else is reselling it, so if I intend to sell, it's probably best not to wait.

- what I like most with Panharmonium is freezing a moment of sound, and harmonizing it with the continuing audio stream it came from.

I realized: Clouds does that too. Among other things. And both its sound and methods probably suit the way I work a bit better. And I kind of want that Clouds Parasite delay too.

I see now that avoiding Clouds for almost three years was a mistake. After all, I have two Rings to patch into it... lol
So, after all the module flux, do you still use the Monome Teletype?

I have a Just Friends, and I'm thinking up trading up my Eloquencer for something more algorithmic.
Yeah, I really like Teletype.
Right now I have a bit more empty space than my blank panels can cover:

Despite all the emptiness I still nearly ran out of patch cables in today's recording. Modular Addict is supposed to restock their cables soon and I'll pick up a few more.

Panharmonium: sold

Supercell: arriving Monday

E370: boxed, will ship out Monday to trade for a black-panel E352.

SMR: 4ms couldn't figure out why the firmware update doesn't work, and this is apparently the only time this has happened -- so I'm sending it in for them to check out.

T-Rackonizer: I moved it front and center to give it more attention. I no longer feel like it necessarily has to dominate a patch, but I still think it's a very ornery module.

I'm not thrilled with it as a no-input feedback monster, because I've patched much more controllable and rewarding ones myself.

As an effect, it sounds best when it's right at a threshold -- depending on the program, either just barely self-sustaining, or solidly sustaining delay/reverb but not blowing out. Unfortunately sometimes it will just fall over the edge without warning.

When it does, there are 4-6 knobs that you have to potentially back off -- and you have to pull back so far that you lose the magic and are at square one again. It desperately needs some kind of internal one-knob limiter to keep itself in check.

I admit it sounds pretty great when it's in the zone, but it's a pain in the ass.

My most likely course is to pick up Mimeophon, dump T-Rackonizer, and only keep Prism if I think it's still worth having for the filter etc.

Cold Mac vs Planar: this is the battle going on in my head now. I could use a crossfader -- both of them are that, plus a lot more, and look like a lot of fun. There are great arguments to choose either one, or both. Hopefully I can settle this at Knobcon smile
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.
And a bit pricey too, but then it's also a trigger recorder which is kind of cool.

I mostly feel like the arcade button thing is playing on my 80s nostalgia, but it's working...

Paradise MIDI makes some cool custom controllers with arcade buttons and knobs or sliders. All USB MIDI so far, but maybe she'd be willing to add individual gate outputs on 3.5mm jacks. Though for what I do, a little USB latency isn't going to hurt.
Knobcon Day Three!

I went back into the exhibition hall, didn't try out anything else but did buy the Starling Via Scanner. nanners I'm pretty fascinated by all the possibilities and spent a while talking to the people from Starling at the booth.

Then I mostlly killed time until Dr. John Chowning's workshop on the discovery of FM synthesis. Which is what this post will really be about. smile

Last night at the keynote speech he told some stories about what happened once he'd made the discovery -- the meetings with various organ manufacturers and then Yamaha, who saw the promise in it despite the available technology not really being ready for it yet.

In today's workshop though, he spoke more about the research that led up to it, and some of the implications.

"Discovering FM" wasn't just a matter of plugging an oscillator into another oscillator and turning knobs -- this was all done on 1960s computers. Non real-time. Too little memory for sampling to be practical (or even buffering, at first). DACs were rare, specialized equipment.

He was mainly researching spatialization, Doppler shift, the psychoacoustics of how we perceive distance and how we perceive different voices. Vibrato is a big tell for the latter, so he was playing with that, decided to try some more extreme values, and voila.

He emphasized that this was a discovery, not an invention -- and most of the math came afterward, as "a gift from nature." He also pointed out he didn't really do any work on the DX7, but it was a large team of Yamaha engineers who had to solve lots of technical problems that might seem like a breeze with today's tech. So he didn't go into the specific implementation Yamaha used, or FM vs. phase modulation, etc.

He showed several implications of FM synthesis, mostly via spectrum analysis. Bessel functions describe the sideband amplitude and phase, and those sidebands are reflected around both 0Hz and the Nyquist frequency (*) -- and those reflections flip the phase, so if the ratio is harmonic there can be cancellation and emphasis of some sidebands.

(Something that Yamaha loved about FM is that to do band-limiting, all you have to do is reduce the modulation index so none of the sidebands get reflected. At the time, digital filters were pretty horrible, so they considered this one reason why FM was superior to sampling.)

One of the cool things he showed was using FM to model formants in ways not commonly used in synths (except maybe the Yamaha FS1R).

His work didn't include some of the concerns we have as modular musicians -- expo vs. linear, thru-zero or not, DC offsets, etc. -- it was purely digital. So there's still a lot more to explore.

But now I'm inspired to look at a spectral display while trying different FM and PM timbres. I often watch waveform displays and sometimes the XY Lissajous on O'Tool+, but I admit I've never really used spectrum analysis unless I'm trying to target EQ or filters.
I'm keen to hear more about the Scanner module. It would be nice if the guys at Starling put out an in-depth overview of each of the different firmware module options.
I'll write up something about Scanner once I've had the chance to try it out.

Fundamentally it's like a Piston Honda without an oscillator, or a 2D Megawave or Geiger Counter. But, if I understand it correctly (and I'm not certain of that)

- on the X and Y axes independently, you choose a function (smooth tanh, bouncing ball, staircases, a vibrating string model, etc.)

- you choose a mapping mode that combines the two functions onto the 2D surface (add, multiply, difference, or "lighten" which I think is the greater of the two).

- there's also a gate output based on a logic operation of the X and Y functions at the current coordinate, also chosen by the map

- there's a Z input which... I think rotates the X and Y functions relative to each other??? I'm not entirely clear on this.

This is probably one I'm going to have to try out with a scope and simple examples to get a good grasp on.
starthief wrote:
I'll write up something about Scanner once I've had the chance to try it out.

Fundamentally it's like a Piston Honda without an oscillator, or a 2D Megawave or Geiger Counter. But, if I understand it correctly (and I'm not certain of that)

- on the X and Y axes independently, you choose a function (smooth tanh, bouncing ball, staircases, a vibrating string model, etc.)

- you choose a mapping mode that combines the two functions onto the 2D surface (add, multiply, difference, or "lighten" which I think is the greater of the two).

- there's also a gate output based on a logic operation of the X and Y functions at the current coordinate, also chosen by the map

- there's a Z input which... I think rotates the X and Y functions relative to each other??? I'm not entirely clear on this.

This is probably one I'm going to have to try out with a scope and simple examples to get a good grasp on.

Interesting. Look forward to reading your discoveries smile
This evening I had to take a couple of hours to rearrange my rack, and since I also got Mimeophon at the same time I've been jumping back and forth between them.

First impression of Mimeophon is that it is freaking awesome as a delay, and astonishing as a sound source. I have no regrets at all about letting go of every other Euro delay I've previously owned. This was definitely the right one for me to have.

Fully understanding Scanner is probably going to wait until I get my replacement power cable so I can fire up my O'Tool+ again.

But using it as a waveshaper isn't hard. One of the basis functions, if you feed the X (or Y) input a sine, works very much like Plaits' waveshaping model. Some of the others are more digital and wavetable-sounding. (I mean, it is a wavetable...)

Of course modulating the other inputs at slow or audio rates gives a wide variety of different results, some subtle and some extreme. That also goes for self-patching, especially from the logic outputs. The Z input though seems to be lowpass filtered at some low value, so it's strictly CV rather than audio.

The A and B inputs are for analog bipolar VCAs controlled by the digital signal. This means you can use them as a pair of parallel output VCAs (and use them to opposite phases if you like), for AM/RM, or use them to crossfade between A and B using the digital signal. Cool.

But since these are output VCAs, if you want to use Scanner for any sort of dynamic waveshaping, you'll need to use a separate VCA on the input. Which is a little weird. At first I thought maybe the Multiply mapping and the right Y basis function might let me get around that, but nope, not really.

Anyway, for audio waveshaping it does sound pretty great -- a lot cleaner than Geiger Counter and with a ton of possibilities. I'm just scratching the surface so far though smile
Without trying to write a whole manual for Scanner as a CV modulation thingy:

In general, more gain on the X and Y inputs = more folding = faster rate of change of the output. Unipolar and bipolar inputs are both good.

Each output has its own 2D surface. The "simple" one is unaffected by the basis functions (and Z), but combines X and Y according to the mapping operator (add, multiply, difference or "lighten").

The "AxB" output is the main one. Its surface is created by the X and Y basis functions, which are each transformed by the Z parameter (the effect of which varies with the function, usually changing curvature or differentiation/integration), and the mapping operator.

...but there's more: the surface value is used to crossfade between the A and B inputs. There are parallel bipolar analog VCAs mixed together, controlled by the digital signal. For the simplest results just set A to -5V and B to +5V with the knobs, but you could set one to 0 and use the other for level CV, or actually crossfade, or self-patch, or whatever.

There's a red/green LED to show the level and polarity of the AxB output, which helps if you don't use a scope. Because results are going to vary a lot, depending on the surface and which parts you're traversing.

The "logic" outputs are 1-bit maps. The mapping operator selects OR, AND, XOR or a comparator... and so if you're modulating only one axis while the other stays fixed, the gate outputs might be "stuck" high or low. That was confusing at first.

Honestly, I feel like always having a scope handy is going to be really helpful for this module.


Something worth keeping in mind if you want to use this with an envelope: the general contour of the output is unlikely to match the contour of the input. E.g. if you have an instant attack, linear decay envelope and feed it to the X input: you're essentially using that as longitude on a map. The actual value is going to depend on the terrain of the map, the offset and scale of the longitude, and the latitude.

So something you could do would be to mult the envelope to A or B as well as X, to encourage a similar downward trend as the envelope decays. Or you could very carefully set the X offset, scale, Y, Z, basis functions and map mode to find a place that happens to have that downward contour... Mr. Green
Jason from Starling here smile

Seems like you're understanding it all really well, happy to see that. A few points that might help:

The "Z" input in Via land is the 1v/oct input, it's more precise (doesn't much matter in this case) but we can't digitize it as quickly. So it's a wavetable morph parameter for both X and Y wavetables simultaneously. When you select an X or Y shape, you're selecting a wavetable bank for that axis, and Z smoothly morphs through them. Generally, CCW/negative CV corresponds to a simpler waveshape so you can think of it as a density/complexity control. Though in reality the wavefolding can contribute more to the sound than the wavetables, so if you're interested in using more of the wavetable shaping keep your X/Y attenuators down!

You're definitely right about wanting to pair an INPUT VCA with the scan signals, that can be super helpful, and our analog core topology links those VCAs strictly to the AXB out (though someone could probably rethink the purpose of the Z input and control the scan levels digitally if one was so inclined) but what you mentioned about multing the envelopes to A and B is right on - if you want a shaped envelope you just stick the envelope into A and/or B while you scan to impose that envelope on the ouptut!
smrl wrote:
The "Z" input in Via land is the 1v/oct input, it's more precise (doesn't much matter in this case) but we can't digitize it as quickly. So it's a wavetable morph parameter for both X and Y wavetables simultaneously. When you select an X or Y shape, you're selecting a wavetable bank for that axis, and Z smoothly morphs through them.

Makes sense.

smrl wrote:
You're definitely right about wanting to pair an INPUT VCA with the scan signals, that can be super helpful...

It was my excuse to finally pick up the Cold Mac I've been wanting Mr. Green
Fun with lightpipe!

I've got the ES-3 and ES-6 hooked up and am shuttling stuff between Euro and Bitwig, for great ̶j̶u̶s̶t̶i̶c̶e giggles.

First patch of the night was Mimeophon -> Supercell -> Bitwig (peak limiter, TB EQ 4 and Decimort) fed back to Mimeophon, with Marbles sequencing pitch.

Right now I've got a generative patch going where some of it's Euro, some is Bitwig. The clock is using Bitwig's "Device Phase" through a couple of modules that skew it, and the effect on Mimeophon of a clock that keeps shifting between tempos is quite nice smile
The Euro/Bitwig mind meld is working out really well for me grin

Since I'm not using Maschine and have plenty of inputs now, I set up my Microbrute again. I'm not finding it as inspiring as I once did though, so I'm thinking about alternatives that might suit me better.

- something droney/feedbacky
- $500 or less price range, preferably
- not too redundant with what I have
- not too big -- something that fits on a laptop stand.

E.g. a Behringer Neutron could be a good choice in a lot of ways, but I'm not sure it really brings anything to the table other than redundancy. Unless it's totally joyful and inspiring as an instrument, anyway. Ditto for the Erica Pico System 3, 0-Coast, Microvolt, Minibrute 2, etc.

A Lorre-Mill Double Knot seems like fun, but while I know it can do drones and textures, I'm told it has a tendency to lean naturally toward percussive pingy stuff. I'd rather not fight the main attraction/inclination of an instrument.

I kind of like the idea of an 80s Yamaha FM synth module for noisy digital drones -- but I'm also confident I could get there with software and it's not like a TX81Z is a great hands-on instrument anyway. lol

There's always that Lyra-8... hmm.
starthief wrote:

There's always that Lyra-8... hmm.

I love the lyra for drones and also for strange warbly melodies. I use one in my live set up to create transitions and improvise within more structured tracks. BUT you aren't going to find one for $500 unless you get really lucky.
Yeah, it's a bit more. Prices vary a lot though, and at the lower side I can probably justify the stretch... I just have to commit to it.

[EDIT] I did it. Found one used, did the math, bought it. SlayerBadger!
Dreadbox Antiphon?

Loving this beast!
thetwlo wrote:
Dreadbox Antiphon?

Loving this beast!

It could be fun, but to me it feels like they missed the mark.

- It seems backwards to me that the tuning controls are sliders and the level controls are pots.

- I'd rather have VCAs per channel instead of pitch CV inputs. If it did, it would have met a need I had previously.

- If it's intended for FM -- which is almost implied by the pitch CV inputs per channel -- it's not actually mentioned anywhere, and it should have attenuators on the CV inputs. If paired with a matrix mixer I suppose it could be a decent FM drone synth.

- Filters built in to a sine oscillator bank seems like an odd choice to me. If there was waveshaping, or it was more obviously meant for FM it might make some sense I guess...?

- Does the external input go through the filter, or just the reverb? If the latter that seems like a wasted opportunity...

- No feedback path with a spring reverb is kind of sad. Again it calls for a matrix mixer to be able to patch it.
missing your dpo at all now that you're onto the HD mk3 as your fm workhorse? I think about swapping mine for the new donut but probably would be better to keep the dpo and trade my piston honda mk3 for the other orange, which would be more deliberately controllable and less of a wavetable scanning serendipity situation. dpo has such a pleasing tone to it that I think I'd really miss
autopoiesis wrote:
missing your dpo at all now that you're onto the HD mk3 as your fm workhorse?

Honestly, no. I never got into DPO as much as other options.

I still sometimes wonder whether I'd be better off with HD mk2 instead of mk3, but then I keep finding cool stuff with the mk3. Mr. Green
What a great thread. It makes for a fascinating read going from beginning to end for someone bored at work over the past few days. applause

I really appreciate the way you break down your thoughts on modules and point out things with an eye for detail that I would never have noticed - such as the interface on the HD Mk3 having 6 different kinds of knobs giving it the effect of a website with too many fonts - great analogy!

You also helped me put the Qu-Bit Prism, a module I was GASing pretty hard for, in perspective. There was a lot I didn't realize about it, and I now have a better idea that perhaps it's not what I'm looking for after all. Thank you.

I look forward to the Continuing Adventures of Starthief. nanners
So with everything that's gone in and out of your rack you've still got the a-196? What keeps you coming back to that module? It's always seemed like a dark horse.
hinterlands303 wrote:
So with everything that's gone in and out of your rack you've still got the a-196? What keeps you coming back to that module? It's always seemed like a dark horse.

I guess I just like PLLs smile I would say "it does things nothing else will", but I've made somewhat successful PLL patches using Cold Mac as a phase comparator, and also using Maths.

I like being able to force an oscillator that wouldn't otherwise track 1V/OCT to do so. I also like the somewhat wrong character of a VCO that's trying to track but is having trouble.

A PLL strikes me as a sort of organic thing that can't be duplicated in software, which is why I got into modular in the first place.
starthief wrote:

I guess I just like PLLs smile

Did you try out the PLL mode in Tides before you got rid of it? Wondering how it compares the a-196. Tides is one of those modules that I've bought and sold several times but I'm interested in trying the new version. I feel like the 4 outputs in PLL mode could be pretty wild.

I've managed to patch up a PLL a few times and I liked the sound but it took quite a bit of patching to get it right (and it eats up quite a few modules) so it's not something I do often.
hinterlands303 wrote:
Did you try out the PLL mode in Tides before you got rid of it? Wondering how it compares the a-196.

Yeah. It's a lot cleaner and more reliable than analog PLLs, following along quite well with just the slightest bit of slew. It was kind of fun to give it more difficult signals and see how well it could follow.

Kermit also has a PLL mode, probably meant for tap LFO duties. It's much worse than Tides, wobbling all over while trying to lock in at LFO rate, and often locking onto the wrong frequency entirely at audio rate. I kind of like it for that actually grin

hinterlands303 wrote:
Tides is one of those modules that I've bought and sold several times but I'm interested in trying the new version. I feel like the 4 outputs in PLL mode could be pretty wild.

I had fun with the new one for a while. I kind of wish I'd kept it once I started playing with harmonic oscillators a bit in the ER-301. I still think a Just Friends might be a better choice for me since I've got a Teletype anyway and the two work very well together, but I just don't need another oscillator or modulation source to be honest.

hinterlands303 wrote:
I've managed to patch up a PLL a few times and I liked the sound but it took quite a bit of patching to get it right (and it eats up quite a few modules) so it's not something I do often.

I find the range of relative stability tends to be a little better with the A-196 than with PLL patches I've tried, and if something isn't working maybe one of the other modes or ranges will. It's still very dependent on the input signal though.
starthief wrote:
I still think a Just Friends might be a better choice for me since I've got a Teletype anyway and the two work very well together, but I just don't need another oscillator or modulation source to be honest.

I really really love my Just Friends. It has a strange combination of basic but overlapping features that interact in fun and different ways.. it's hard to really characterize it as merely an oscillator or modulation source. It actually doesn't really do either of those things nearly as well as a dedicated module would. What it does is it can morph quickly between a bunch of different possible things and send out 7 simultaneous outputs that are always related in interesting ways.

Kinda like Filter8 or Maths can be basically anything in your rack, JF is also a little like that too.. especially if you have the ability to link it up to Teletype.

Seriously, the Just Friends has been a module that just keeps on giving. I keep digging deeper and learning new cool things to do with it.
I have another album in the can -- I felt really inspired after Knobcon, changing from Maschine to Bitwig & Expert Sleepers, and getting a few new modules and some perspective. The usual bits about gear usage:

E352, Kermit and Mimeophon were in 7 of 10 tracks.

No surprises there, but I wanted to mention I really love Mimeophon. With high repeats and a short (or micro) delay time and some halo, it overdrives a bit and gives some nice faux-vintage vibe. That inspired further processing in the same vein, adding some distance, mystery and fragility to sounds.

Rings, Scanner and Supercell were in 6 tracks.

I love Mimeophon as a resonator, but I'm still going to keep both Rings -- I used both in 3 tracks.

For me, Scanner is one of those modules where you just plug stuff in and get something out -- it's not really random or chaotic and it is actually deterministic except for noise, but it serves a similar role in disrupting a simpler signal or adding harmonics to audio. Or a wavefolder. Or both.

Supercell is super versatile, and the ease of switching algorithms invites more diverse use. I used Clouds twice, pitch/timestretch once, Spectral Madness once, Parasite delay once, and Resonestor once.

Stages in at least 4 tracks; Hertz Donut mk3 in 4.

Stages is very much my "reliable backup modulator/sequencer," but I tend to go to it first for slow LFOs. (I have the "slower LFOs + easy easter egg switch" firmware.)

The more I use HD mk3, the less I worry about whether I should have gone for another HD mk2 instead. I still don't use the preset features though, and I still wish it would remember my preferred settings on startup.

I used Maths more as a VCO than a modulator this time.

You don't need V/OCT tracking with an unquantized sequencer, or a PLL... or if you're using it as the stick to rub on the washboard of Scanner to resonate the washtub of Rings. hihi

What was missing?

Oddly, I don't think I used Contour at all this time. hmmm..... I like it though...

No Dynamo. I might let it go a second time, as it's easier to set up compression/limiting/envelope followers in Bitwig -- but first I must find an odd-HP replacement to go into the row with the Hertz Donut hihi

Only a little filter action happening; I tended to go for severe EQ in software instead. I should remind myself of the joys of filter FM, using Filter8 as a phaser, running envelopes through resonant filters, and other such goodies.

The matrix mixer got less use than normal since I did some of that routing inside Bitwig Grid.

Tensor was idle, and Dark World only appeared once.

Reface CS and Microbrute each in two tracks.

I have an Elektron Analog Drive basically welded to that Reface, and it does wonders. I can imagine replacing the Reface if I happen to encounter something more compelling yet just as simple, but the AD will stay.

The Microbrute did okay with external modulation, but I replaced it with a Lyra-8 and have zero regrets. I have negative five thousand regrets actually since the Lyra is freaking awesome.

Scant software synths

LuSH-101, Bitwig FM4, and my sketchy half-finished bytebeats-based plugin each appeared in one track.

I also used a harmonic oscillator that I built in Bitwig Grid as well -- but it was modulated by E352, and pretended so hard to be a Euro module that I've got to give it some credit. I do love that Bitwig/Expert Sleepers integration.

I also used a handful of field recordings at low levels here and there, and exactly one note from NI Una Corda (really making the most of that Komplete license Dead Banana)

Lots of software FX

Extensive use of Valhalla reverbs and delays as usual, and Audiothing Fog Convolver.

Arturia "3 Delays You'll Actually Use" is a technically correct name, but for me the ranking is solidly Eternity > Tape > Brigade.

XLN Audio's RC-20 Retro Color was all over the album. It isn't a perfect retro-izer plugin, but it's flexible. Aside from making parts distant and watery, it can also beef them up with its distortion and EQ.

I also brought out Melda MCharacter for the first time, despite having it for a while. I found it can remove some harshness from overdriven parts, which was helpful given how I pushed the Mimeophon. It can also strip away fundamentals, and do some weirder things.

With the ES-3 and ES-6, I feel like I have the opportunity to use VST effects in a more modular way than I have been. For instance, making MCharacter or Bad Tape or Elitist the first thing a VCO goes through in a patch.

What next?

I'm going to be recording a lot of Lyra-8 jams. Eventually, I will release the best of them as an album.

Unfortunately I've found that trying to feed Lyra's output through Euro effects and back into the Aux input just gives uncontrolled hum, and feeding into the Voice CV input isn't much different from using the onboard Total FB switch. But some filtering, extra reverb and delay, etc. are all welcome additions, and I'll be playing with that quite a bit in the next several weeks.
I'm still figuring out the Lyra-8 in some ways -- developing playing technique, finding the knob ranges where it's just chaotic enough but still mostly controllable, working out the effects that complement it, figuring out the tricks to modulating it, etc. It's working out really well for me overall.

I find that a taste of that kind of performance control makes me want more -- for the Lyra but also for Euro and for FX. So I've been looking into touch/pressure controllers quite a bit over the last few days.

I think what I'm going to do is pick up an Expressive E Touché. Probably the SE version since it's so much cheaper, and I'll have Bitwig/ES-3 do the conversion to CV when necessary.

I also ordered the Adventure Audio Skin -- sort of like Landscape Allflesh but in a 2HP module. The layout doesn't seem ideal, with patch cables between the touch plates, but it's dirt cheap and seems worth playing with.

I might also wind up with a Meng Qi Hand. It seems like a more fun modulation source than the LS-1 Lightstrip, but I don't think it has the precision to substitute for the Touché.
Heh, should have gotten planar instead of cold mac. Of my performance control type modules, that's the one that gets the most use by far. I really like my tetrapad too, and the expander that's coming out Real Soon Now will transform it.
I do like Cold Mac as a utility. Its ability to cross-pan has been really cool, among other things.

I'm sure I'd like Planar for other purposes, but I'm pretty sure the Touche is going to be perfect for the Lyra, and for playing LPGs manually etc.

I experimented tonight with trying to sequence the Lyra-8. That was like trying to carve wood with a wad of cooked spaghetti.

Every one of the 8 oscillators has its own unique, non-linear, non-exponential response curve that doubles back on itself wherever it feels like it, giving an approximate 3 to 8 semitones of what I'll generously call "tracking" over an 8 volt range, with singularities that send it off into fart noises or clicky LFO range.

If I just want to modulate it to apply some vibrato, that's a lot more reasonable (and works really nicely on the delay). It's definitely meant to be played rather than sequenced hihi

And now I'm kind of wondering about making some patch cables with alligator clip ends for the touch plates, and sequencing notes that way with a Matrixarchate or something...
I'd never heard of the Lyra-8 before you brought it up and now I want one, it sounds amazing. I'm not going to shell out that kind of cash on non-modular stuff though. I like having everything together.

Also, certainly not knocking Cold Mac. I've got one of those too!
starthief wrote:
Album's released!

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

I loved every minute of this. you have that style that I dig. very well done. I love that it is almost a drone album but it has more verb and feedback stuff without ever sounding like it doesn't fit together. a lot of stuff feels like it was performed live by a person even deep in the drone ambient generative parts. never boring and never cliche.
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
I loved every minute of this. you have that style that I dig. very well done. I love that it is almost a drone album but it has more verb and feedback stuff without ever sounding like it doesn't fit together. a lot of stuff feels like it was performed live by a person even deep in the drone ambient generative parts. never boring and never cliche.

Thanks! Always great to get feedback and I'm glad you enjoyed it smile

I guess I should have mentioned, the next one is out too:

[bandcamp width=100% height=120 album=2748630964 size=large bgcol=333333 linkcol=0f91ff tracklist=false artwork=small]
Adventure Audio Skin:

I picked it up on a whim. It's 2HP and cheap, and I'm letting go of my Bastl Dynamo so I've got room for a couple of toys.

I still think the jacks should have been at one end and the touchplates at the other, but it's usable.

My first test was a Maths cycling envelope into the FM input of Hertz Donut mk3... I got nothing at first. Pressed a little more and I got some faint modulation. Licked my fingers and WHOAH NELLY it came through hihi

(I have dry skin and I just furiously scrubbed my hands after cleaning up a nasty mess left by the dogs when I got home from work, so that probably doesn't help matters.)

Patch an offset from Shades into it and it'll trigger gates, LPGs etc.

Another way to use it is to plug something into a jack, and then tap the tip of another patch cable to the touchplate, Teleplexer style.

It's not a life-changing module but I think it'll be pretty fun from time to time smile

Expressive-E Touché SE

I have no regrets about getting the USB-only SE version. ES-3 + Bitwig modulators + Grid = happy CV. Great for opening VCAs/LPGs (or pinging them or triggering envelopes), bending pitch or delay times a little, kicking in a bit more FM depth or wavefolding, etc.

Or happy software control, not just for instrument plugins but FX and mixing parameters too. Good times.

Soma Lyra-8

I'm in love with it. I've recorded almost a full album's worth of material with it in two weeks, but I'm gonna keep going and only release the best since I feel like I'm getting better with it.

At first I thought it was going to dominate everything it touches -- as in, it's very "full" spectrally and also from a musical role standpoint (drones, melodies, chords, pulsing rhythms, noise etc.) -- and I figured everything I recorded would be either a Lyra recording or a modular recording, without much crossover. But they're getting cozier with each other. Eurorack informs my Lyra playing, and the Lyra is affecting how I think about and play the modular. I've recorded a couple of things where Lyra, Eurorack and Bitwig are all very cozy and create a unified whole.
The future!

I'm really happy with my modular synth now, and the Lyra-8 and integration with Bitwig. Reasonably happy with the Reface CS too. That doesn't mean I'm not going to change anything... Mr. Green

I preordered the SynthTech E520. Part of what pushed me to a firm yes was listening to some E580 demos -- I really like that resampling character it has. It's what I liked about the W/, only with a reasonable interface.

The spectral stuff does somewhat overlap with my experimental FFT plugins, and stuff like SpecOps and MTransformer. But it's also got some new toys I haven't seen elsewhere, and being Eurorack and fully modulatable seems like it will make a pretty big difference. My own "Elitist" spectral plugin barely runs in real time, and the peak hold feature doesn't sound nearly as good as the E520's.

I'm also seriously considering an Akemie's Castle. I love the crusty sound of those old Yamaha chips. I do wish the operator tuning was a bit freer, but I think the character makes up for a lot.

Whether AC would actually replace the HD mk3 or not, I don't know. I'll be pushing the -12V limits on my PSUs and something may have to go.
lol my friend you are already looking to sell your HD Mk3?
autopoiesis wrote:
lol my friend you are already looking to sell your HD Mk3?

Not so much "looking to sell" or especially planning to... just considering the possibility that I may not feel the need for it with an Akemie's Castle. We'll see. smile
I've had my Akemie's Castle for a few days now, but haven't really commented because I am very busy finishing my Lyra-8 focused album.

I sent two tracks to Obsidian Sound for mastering, and that went very quickly and very well. But I'm mastering the rest myself using what I have learned. I want the album to be consistent, and it's taking me 10x as much work to reach that high bar of quality. But with a little new factual knowledge, a bit of practical problem-solving and an excellent example to work toward, I'm happy with my results so far.

I did play with the Castle for a few hours. Basically everything Mylar Melodies said in his video about it is true -- it's not clean and pristine, and it is "super doomful." Even not using FM it'll do some surprising and gnarly things.

Because of the fixed set of ratios it doesn't really compare to HDmk3. If I ever decide to swap that one for a different TZFM complex oscillator it'll be for other reasons. That's not really on the table right now, and chances are good I'll hang onto it throughout 2020 at least.

I won a Sequential DSM-03 Feedback in a charity auction that I was sort of trying to lose. I could be heading for overkill again with resonators/delays; I'll just have to see.
DSM03 Feedback

Basically what this is is a Karplus-Strong voice in a module, with a few additional applications, and some odd limitations.

It has a white noise generator with trigger and AD envelope. There doesn't seem to be a way to get it to continuously produce noise without retriggering. There's also an audio input for external processing.

Unlike some KS patches it doesn't sound overly buzzy too me even with the filter fully open. It tracks 1V/OCT relatively well, but it can be a little disrupted by its filter... which IMHO adds charm. It tracks pitch without a big slew, which is very welcome.

Turning up filter resonance, or closing the filter cutoff more than a little, will severely cut back on the feedback and the output level. I feel like there should have been some compensation for that or just more possible gain in the feedback loop, and it's a bit disappointing in this regard.

Delay times can get long enough for a relatively rapid echo, but it's never going to rival the Mimeophon wink I haven't tried using it as just a filter yet, but with Filter8 and Ripples for competition I'm not sure that would be its best use.

It occupies a weird role in my setup, but I did have some pretty good fun patching it last night. I'm going to hang onto it at least until the E520 arrives before deciding its ultimate fate. smile
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