MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index
 FAQ & Terms of UseFAQ & Terms Of Use   Wiggler RadioMW Radio   Muff Wiggler TwitterTwitter   Support the site @ PatreonPatreon 
 SearchSearch   RegisterSign up   Log inLog in 
WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Eurorack Diary: The Startening
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author Eurorack Diary: The Startening
The Expanding Man
I thought I'd start a little blog/diary to track my voyage in the world of modulary synths.

A little bit about my background:

I was the geeky kid into Jarre and Vangelis back in the late 70's, early 80's. Then, I hit my early twenties just as the whole Acid House scene erupted. I imbibed. Unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale.

My mid-twenties hit and I was raising a child and focused on a career.

I'm now at the stage where I'm blessed with enough success to have a nice little disposible income and an understanding wife when it comes to my little toys.

I had lusted after synthesisers as a youth, drooling over magazines. They were totally out of reach of my means at the time.

The itch came back a few months ago, and I have been researching the web ever since.

I had previously tried some computer emulations of synths, but couldn't for the life of me work out how to operate them. The graphics and controls meant nothing to me. Then, I picked up a Microbrute. After a couple of weeks noodling and viewing every youtube video I could find, it all started to make sense.

I picked up the trio of the Volca Beats, Keys and Bass and a cheapy 8 channel mixer.

Musically speaking, I have played guitar badly for many years and have some rudimentary knowledge of music theory.

I found this forum and was blown away at the whole customisation and tweakability of the Eurorack scene. I had to get involved.

This diary is to record my voyage, and to seek advice and tips from you wise sages along the way.

If you spot me doing or saying something dumb, please correct me!!
The Expanding Man
The start:

Just put this stuff together this morning. A nice little 3U case and power supply, an STO, a Wasp and a Pico Envelope Generator:



First problem / question:

The Power Supply is fixed right in the middle of the case, preventing a clean run of the power cable from one end to the other. I plan on snaking it back on itself like this:



Any suggestions?
Whelm
The ribbon cables usually supplied with modules are relatively long. I think you should be able to make the connection from the leftmost side.

With the cabled snaking around like so, be very careful that you keep track of the negative and positive polarity. Dead Banana

Also, these threads are awesome. Hurray. nanners
The Expanding Man
Connected it up and it powers up OK. I did a crude check by pluggin in my headphones, and yes, I get a quiet tone in the left channel. Yes, the wave forms all work, as does the frequency control.



Seeing that picture reminds me I have to get new pads for my headphones.

Now for the next two modules:



Next problem:

I bought a few modules second hand. Not all of them came with screws. What sort of screw should I purchase to fit the Eurorack format?

Second Problem:

Fitting them into the rack was a real bugger!! For some reason, only the brand new WASP would screw in completely. I was not able to get the screws tightened of the other two modules. Is it a matter of keep trying? The case was used - possibly the floating nuts are a bit worn.
The Expanding Man
My very first Patch !!



And somewhat more advanced with a sequencer inserted:



It works in the sense that I can clearly, but very faintly, hear the note progression of the sequence.

Now comes my next problem:

I clearly need an output module of some description. Something to power my headphones while noodling and also able to be plugged into my mixer. I've been eyeing the Doepfer A136 exp. I'm not sure if it is suitable to plug headphones in direct?
grep
Check out the Intellijel µjack.
The Expanding Man
grep wrote:
Check out the Intellijel µjack.


Thanks for that - it does look good.

I'm wondering if there is a module like this that also doubles as a mixer?
The Expanding Man
Whelm wrote:
The ribbon cables usually supplied with modules are relatively long. I think you should be able to make the connection from the leftmost side.

With the cabled snaking around like so, be very careful that you keep track of the negative and positive polarity. Dead Banana

Also, these threads are awesome. Hurray. nanners


Thanks.

Yes - I'll be wary to get the polarity correct - red to red or else it's dead Mr. Green
synthbenji
Ello
Good luck with your system. It is good to start small , I think you have some great modules to start with. I would look at a VCA, LFO, and an outs like someone has mentioned Soon you will need utilities, buffered multiples and attenuaters, . I have the uJack, Pittsburgh out, and WMD outs. WMD sounds the best to me.

-b
robvec
Not 100% sure what's going on with that patch but it looks like you've got the STO output going into the gate of the EG, and then you're listening to the output of the EG? If that's the case it's no surprise it's quiet. What you're doing here is triggering the envelope at audio rate. The EG needs a gate input, it's not normally part of the audio chain

Modular level is actually really quite loud and an output module will usually quieten it. That's my understanding at least, I just attenuate my output straight from my modules.

Try patching the sto out to the wasp filter in, turn down the volume of the wasp to zero, plug your wasp output into your mixer and it should work just fine. A jack adapter will make this possible. You could also probably plug your headphones in the wasp output but be careful with the volume (wasp level) -you could damage them if it's very loud. Keep it very low!

Enjoy! It's peanut butter jelly time!
mgscheue
A very cool setup! I love my STO and Wasp. What's going into the STO S-Gate? You'd normally use a gate, there, to turn the suboscillator on and off. And yeah, be careful sending modular level audio to the headphones. It's going to be ear-damagingly loud.
Varthdader
As an output module with some mixing possibilities check out Rosie
The Expanding Man
The photo with the sequencer attached was my rough attempt to see if everything was working.

My CV out from the sequencer was going into the pitch of the STO and the Gate out of the sequencer into S-Gate of the STO. The waveform out of the STO is going to the Gate of the EG.

I'm glad people are stepping in to tell me where I'm going wrong.

All I know to do so far is to use my Microbrute as a rough guide to follow the signal path through, starting with the VCO and ending with the envelope.
robvec
No problemo. Modular is always a bit confusing when coming from normal synths - we've all been there! smile The envelopes in the microbrute actually shape both the filter and the vca. So the audio is actually starting the VCO then going into the filter then the vca then out. The envelopes are external to this path and are shaping the levels/settings of the filter and vca.

Might be worth checking out the beginner sticky thread in the eurorack forum to get a better idea of how all this works.

Here's a patch to try.
From the sequencer - take gate out to gate in of the EG and cv out to the v/oct of the sto
Plug the EG out to the cv1 in of the filter
Plug sto out to filter in.
Take your output from your filter.

That should give you a nice sequencer patch with the EG shaping your filter
Jhon Cutoff
I really enjoy the super beginner threads because I my friend am at the same place as you, the start. I will be following your progress w00t At the moment I have no dedicated outs module so i take my vca output and send it to my outboard channel mixer via 1/4 inch jack

things I have learnt;

there are two signal paths; audio and cv
anything can modulate anything else
you have to trigger envelopes
the red stripe on a ribbon cable is to indicate - 12v (although its not universal)
use modular grid

google Modular Synthesizer Mastery by Darwin Grosse (free pdf)
In it he tells you how to make the basic east coast and west coast patches, a percussion patch and a chaos patch.

o yeah and the 'read me first' thread here is very good too.
electricfence
Quote:
Second Problem:

Fitting them into the rack was a real bugger!! For some reason, only the brand new WASP would screw in completely. I was not able to get the screws tightened of the other two modules. Is it a matter of keep trying? The case was used - possibly the floating nuts are a bit worn.



Looks like you have a Pittsburgh Modular case. The built-in nuts in those cases take size 4-40 1/4" mounting screws. I think that most modules come with metric screws (not sure of the size -- probably will be illegal soon anyway). I had the same problem initially mounting modules into one of those cases.

I really love that Wasp filter.
js213
Varthdader wrote:
As an output module with some mixing possibilities check out Rosie


I was going to suggest the Make Noise Rosie as well. It has 2 inputs with a cross fader, plus an effects send whose return can be used as a 3rd mono/stereo input.

As for screws, if it's a Monorocket case, then it uses 4-40 screws (I bought these ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWNKBEP/ ) for my Pittsburgh Structure which is also 4-40).

Otherwise you can get 2.5mm hardware here: http://shop.erthenvar.com/collections/case-hardware

Or 2.5mm and 3mm here: http://store.synthrotek.com/Hardware_c_68.html
The Expanding Man
js213 wrote:
Varthdader wrote:
As an output module with some mixing possibilities check out Rosie


I was going to suggest the Make Noise Rosie as well. It has 2 inputs with a cross fader, plus an effects send whose return can be used as a 3rd mono/stereo input.

As for screws, if it's a Monorocket case, then it uses 4-40 screws (I bought these ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LWNKBEP/ ) for my Pittsburgh Structure which is also 4-40).

Otherwise you can get 2.5mm hardware here: http://shop.erthenvar.com/collections/case-hardware

Or 2.5mm and 3mm here: http://store.synthrotek.com/Hardware_c_68.html


Thanks for that - it is a Monorocket case.
grep
There is a lot of fun to be had with just the Microbrute and STO. I would get some 3.5mm to 1/4" patch cables so that you can patch the STO waveforms into the Microbrute's audio input. You could also do this via your mixer so you can utilize all the waveforms. Patch the Brute's pitch out to the STO 1V/OCT input. Now you can also use the headphone out from your Microbrute. Experiment with patching the other Microbrute cv outputs back into the modular. Lots of fun! Here's a video to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzudSMvEKu4
Whelm
It sounds like OP may have figured this out already, but I'm going to try to explain it anyways because I think it's a common stumbling block for a lot of modular newcomers, including myself.

You don't feed audio into an envelope generator. I think this common misconception comes from the notion that the EG is "shaping" the sound of the oscillator. But it is only doing so indirectly. EGs primarily are senders, not receivers. What they receive is a cue to fire their envelope. This cue is a pulse in the form of a gate or a trigger that sets the EG in motion.

If, as in the conventional case, the EG is shaping the dynamic contour of the sound (its volume over time), the target has to be the thing which controls volume — the VCA. This is one of the weird mind-warps going into modular, is that VCAs are always shut unless something is opening them.

So the oscillator is feeding its tone into the VCA. As far as the oscillator is concerned, it's full-blast all the time into the VCA. But as far as the VCA is concerned, no sound will come out unless the EG says so.

So, the EG and the audio only "meet" in the VCA. The envelope is actually being applied to the amplifier, not the oscillator.

Hope that makes sense and helps other newcomers gel with this concept. It makes a lot of sense once you grasp it, but strikes many of us as counter-intuitive coming from the opaque world of fixed architecture synths.

EDIT: I'll add the caveat now that you can actually feed audio into an EG if you want to, because in modular you can do whatever you want. But you get the idea.
pieter
Hi Expanding Man, welcome to the world of modular and Muffs! Make sure to get a Soundcloud account and post some of your patches here. I'd love to hear what you're doing.
The Expanding Man
Thanks grep, Whelm and pieter.

I created a Soundcloud account.

I had a jam this morning with the Microbrute and Volcas. First track I've done that I think doesn't completely suck (to my ears anyway). I have a long way to go on this journey, but I've only been doing this for a few weeks now.

Recorded live through a cheap Behringer 8 channel mixer into laptop using Audacity.

This has all been the most fun I've had in years!!

If I get the chance, I'll play with the Eurorack gear this afternoon. But, I've found a guy on Gumtree selling a very cheap Bass Station 11 that I just have to go and have a look at. I'm addicted.

https://soundcloud.com/user-714706034/noodlings-181216
The Expanding Man
Whelm wrote:
It sounds like OP may have figured this out already, but I'm going to try to explain it anyways because I think it's a common stumbling block for a lot of modular newcomers, including myself.

You don't feed audio into an envelope generator. I think this common misconception comes from the notion that the EG is "shaping" the sound of the oscillator. But it is only doing so indirectly. EGs primarily are senders, not receivers. What they receive is a cue to fire their envelope. This cue is a pulse in the form of a gate or a trigger that sets the EG in motion.

If, as in the conventional case, the EG is shaping the dynamic contour of the sound (its volume over time), the target has to be the thing which controls volume — the VCA. This is one of the weird mind-warps going into modular, is that VCAs are always shut unless something is opening them.

So the oscillator is feeding its tone into the VCA. As far as the oscillator is concerned, it's full-blast all the time into the VCA. But as far as the VCA is concerned, no sound will come out unless the EG says so.

So, the EG and the audio only "meet" in the VCA. The envelope is actually being applied to the amplifier, not the oscillator.

Hope that makes sense and helps other newcomers gel with this concept. It makes a lot of sense once you grasp it, but strikes many of us as counter-intuitive coming from the opaque world of fixed architecture synths.

EDIT: I'll add the caveat now that you can actually feed audio into an EG if you want to, because in modular you can do whatever you want. But you get the idea.


That makes sense. I obviously need a VCA it seems more than any other type of module at this stage.

Any recommendations for a noobie? I found a Doepfer A132-2 Quad VCO that looks like it might suit me well. I take it you can use it to amplify up to four sources?
robvec
The 132-2 isn't really 4 independent VCAs as it only has one universal control. If you want a quad then mutable instrument veils or ALM tangle quartet among others would be a good bet. For dual VCA there are plenty including the doepfer 132-3 or Intellijel uvca.
mgscheue
Or the Optomix or LxD for lowpass gates rather than VCAs. Go nicely with the STO.
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Page 1 of 4
Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group