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Questions on further DRM stuff
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> BugBrand Devices  
Author Questions on further DRM stuff
BugBrand
I drew a line under the DRM1(+X) for various reasons including:
- wanted to update circuitry (my usual stance - I'm always learning - in particular lots of areas around the SynthVoice works since the DRM1 release)
- not sure about expanders in general
- excess envelopes?
- possibly price point
- availability, of course...

I'm not going to repeat them - of that I'm clear.

I liked the dual nature of the DRM1+X and the addition of extra CV controls.
The gnarl & punch possibles with the soft-limiting.
The limitations, of course. (and possibilities too).

I never used the Trig out - and rarely used the 1/4" input.
Sometimes missed the 'opening up' of the VCA section on the unexpanded version. Also the limit of only one Mod source on each side.
Not always sure on the Impact section.

*******************
I've got at least some way along an idea for something new to cover such territories but have, as always, had a real battle between adding more and streamlining - so I thought I should open up to some discussion.

I certainly wondered about something with two VCOs (main and mod) - especially given the Molnet work & chaos of simply cross-modulating two VCOs. But I currently think that I want to focus on a single 3FW 'kind of simple' design.

The DRM1 was quite synthy - I think anything at this stage will be too.
Aim for good 1V/Oct tracking & improved temperature stability.
Add Fine Tune control for the Osc.

Could I possibly do something without Noise? I thought so but am having doubts. Would I be missing a lot if I didn't add a white noise source that could modulate a single VCO (built along similar lines to the SynthVoice) - a key constraint at present is how many modulation sources I allow on the VCO.

Might it be good to keep the DRM1 Osc Shape control (was tri-to-sqr blend) but add switches like on the SynthVoice but with different options - things like Sine & Noise potentially? [note to self - is there space!!?]

Current thought is just VCO-VCF-VCA but with some inbuilt niceties refined from the DRM1 & the SynthVoice - ie. less of the DRM1 approach of Osc/FilteredNoise/Impact.
Adding things like VCO modulation the VCF Cutoff (lots of interesting tones there), cutting down to two Envs (not VC in this 'simple' instance).
Definitely furthering the soft-clip potential around the VCA + likely adding 'Initial' (VCA manual control).

Wondering if losing the 1/4" input could be worth it - but still keeping the Trig input as something that can vary envelope amplitude dependent on Trig amplitude [don't know if people have tried that - you can patch it up with a SEQ1 and DRM1 - pulses from say 5V to 10V]
(reading the forum I of course then see Noisejockey [maybe] using the 1/4" in to trig from a 606.. but that could always just be a standard interface cable to banana trig input)

Are negative modulations (eg bends) used much? The bipolar/attenuverting implemented on the SynthVoice is good in some ways, but sometimes a +/off/- switch would be better - but then that adds extra panel & circuit requirements. Is it called for in many instances? eg. do people actually regularly use, for example, negative bends?

And on the Expander - how much actually gets used?
I found the extra controls and CV inputs useful but never really used the outputs.

****
Splurge!
In essence - what bits did you find yourself not using on the DRM1? What frustrated you? What do you feel I'm overlooking?
Remember - the aim in this initial design is keeping things relatively simple.
vasculator
i agree on rarely using the trigger out, 1/4" input, or impact controls. typical modes for me are bd synthesis and square wave mini-synth.

the square wave out from the expander is patched to the filter input a lot of the time i'm using it. you have some magic in that filter and i still want to pick up a COF because of it.

i'm very rarely triggering the filter side of the drm as a drum voice. if i didn't like the filter so much already when processing the square out, having two identical-ish oscillator sides would be nice.

some wavefolding in place of the impact control would be really cool. also i use the envelope outs on the expander a good bit, usually half of them go to my euro modular and the other half back into the drm.

i think in the end i'd really like a smaller synth voice in a similar size.
noisejockey
In short, Tom, that's a really hard challenge, because you did so much right the first time around. The DRM1 has been my only kick drum (and often snare and hihat) on three albums now. Exciting to think about!

Hehe, I laughed as soon as saw my name in your post about the audio input. True, I rather like being able to route audio in so that I could have greater expressivity with hits (variably-accented triggers, essentially), but frankly if the trigger was voltage sensitive, I'd be fine switching from a TR-606 to a trigger through a modulated VCA. I don't think I could look at a drum voice without noise...but in terms of modulation, lots of musical styles and problems can be addressed with heavy modulation on each hit. The more the merrier, IMO.

I always found the filter switch confusing, although I liked the sound, and the routing vis a vis FM and filter to noise was a little unusual. Full FM betwixt multiple oscillators would be siiiiick. The FM knob on the DRM1 is what I use to fine tune it! :-)

I agree the extra outputs...meh. I've played with it live a bunch and yeah, temp stability is a bit of an issue, would be great to see that fixed. I rarely use negative bends, and when I even use positive bends, I want subtle, not laser toms (but to each his/her own).

I LOOOVE the VCO shapes in the DRM1, especially how around 10 or 11 o'clock the waveform sounds like it switches in long amp envelope releases. Truly unique and delicious. Little burps and hiccups like that are what makes me fall in love with an instrument. A sine is always nice for dub subs, of course, but I'd prefer richer voicing if that would need to get sacrificed to add more waveforms.

Hey, since we're wishing, my secret dream is a full width drum machine with three DRMs or modern equivalents and a modulation matrix shared among the discrete voices. Kind of like a BugBrand version of a Metasonix D-2000. Would be more voices, smaller jack field, lots of cross-mod possibilities, each drum voice could conceivably be simpler. One BB Synth Voice and one "BB Drum Ensemble" would be 2 frac rows of amazing. :-)

(And no I won't Euro-convert my next one. I now have too many banana bits to go there again.) screaming goo yo
BugBrand
Thanks both - all very helpful to hear. I still wonder each time I look whether I should take things a bit further up to 5FW - constant swings & roundabouts...

So Vasc - by Sqr to Filter In - presume you mean the Audio input rather than FM input? ie. effectively VCO->VCF->VCA setup.
The current proto has that approach + VCO output (post shape control) to VCFM - as mentioned you get a lot of interest there, especially changing the Osc Shape control. That's an area which helped me think keep it simple - that addition added quite a lot without having to add a 2nd Osc.

I have wondered if I should have switchable VCA Saturation (as it currently is) and Wavefolding - the Wavefolding can be super powerful for low sounds, though can be a bit heavy handed at times!

NoiseJockey - the trig in is already voltage sensitive on the DRM1!

Filter Switch - yes, I agree in many ways - it was kind of so that you could turn off the noise and use the VCF just self-oscillating. The Audio In mode was then an easy addition, but I don't really use it much.
The current idea is simply to have VCO to VCF without even input level control - I don't think it is called for in this instance.
[I have thought many times about whether to have a mixer on the VCF input + an external signal input so you can process any external sound source - but again I think that's for a more complex design]

Yes on Bends - for the Osc/Filter bending I tend not to find long decays very useful at all so I will likely focus on more control of the shorter ranges. Interesting point from BenHex in email about hyper-exponential envelopes - not something I can necessarily do in this particular design, but I have been working on VC-Decay Envelopes and that could have a self-modulation path to allow bending of the Env shape.

I was thinking last night (as mentioned, but thought more) that a pair of Waveform switches for the Osc Shape control would be good - eg. anti-clockwise switch between Tri or Sine, clockwise switch between Sqr and Noise.
Yeah, I also love the saturation effect when you bring in just a smidgen of Sqr! I tend not to go too much further, but there's lots of subtle areas - and again pointing out the behaviour on the new proto with Osc modulation filter cutoff.

Yes, I am trying to conceive this with a FullFrame view -- but have pinged between standalone designs (like at present) and a more modular approach.

So many thoughts!!
noisejockey
BugBrand wrote:
I have wondered if I should have switchable VCA Saturation (as it currently is) and Wavefolding - the Wavefolding can be super powerful for low sounds, though can be a bit heavy handed at times!


You say that like it's a bad thing. SlayerBadger!

BugBrand wrote:
INoiseJockey - the trig in is already voltage sensitive on the DRM1!


Freely admit that I didn't realize that. very frustrating In that case, to put it another way, I don't actually use it to process external audio, so parse that input as you will.

BugBrand wrote:
I have thought many times about whether to have a mixer on the VCF input + an external signal input so you can process any external sound source - but again I think that's for a more complex design


Yeah, for something that specific, I say simplify and make an "editorial call" on how you think it should sound. Plus, see above.

BugBrand wrote:
Yeah, I also love the saturation effect when you bring in just a smidgen of Sqr! I tend not to go too much further, but there's lots of subtle areas - and again pointing out the behaviour on the new proto with Osc modulation filter cutoff.


thumbs up

BugBrand wrote:
Yes, I am trying to conceive this with a FullFrame view -- but have pinged between standalone designs (like at present) and a more modular approach.


I'd always suggest to a maker or creative not to tread too closely to the same old ground, but to take learnings from the past and expand to new ground. FullFrame would be my choice as a consumer, given your current direction. (Assuming I'm ever awake at, like, 3am so that I can buy something when you announce, stupid time zones!)
otoskope
Tom -

OK, I may not be a representative user, but:

* I use negative modulation all the time! Perfect for pumping effects and interactions between my 2 DRM1s. Also for melodic patterns, pos/neg modulation is great.
* I use the Amp Init feature a lot - it makes it a full synth!
* I use all envelopes, and really appreciate that there are many, and that the filter envs can be separately triggered.
* I use the expander all the time, couldn't live without it - I wouldn't use the DRM1 much if it didn't have the expanded patch points, as crossmodulation is such an integral thing to my music.

If you don't like expanders, put a set of essential patchpoints there from the start. The DRM1 without expander has too little modulation possibilities.

Not very constructive for the new thing, but since you asked... smile Will write more shortly, on the run.

Best,
Palle
BugBrand
noisejockey wrote:
I'd always suggest to a maker or creative not to tread too closely to the same old ground, but to take learnings from the past and expand to new ground. FullFrame would be my choice as a consumer, given your current direction. (Assuming I'm ever awake at, like, 3am so that I can buy something when you announce, stupid time zones!)


Yes, there's clearly some thoughts around that (though hard to know if you're referring more to general designers or my particular approaches?!): I still get requests for the DRM1 but, as mentioned, must make some changes around those ideas. I have a history of re-imagining designs - whether or not that is necessarily a good thing...
A perhaps pertinent thought on big-or-small is that a complete full frame is often something like a 2 year long project!
Oh yeah and timing of releases is quite variable - sometimes UK morning, sometimes UK afternoon.
BugBrand
otoskope wrote:
Tom -

OK, I may not be a representative user, but:

* I use negative modulation all the time! Perfect for pumping effects and interactions between my 2 DRM1s. Also for melodic patterns, pos/neg modulation is great.
* I use the Amp Init feature a lot - it makes it a full synth!
* I use all envelopes, and really appreciate that there are many, and that the filter envs can be separately triggered.
* I use the expander all the time, couldn't live without it - I wouldn't use the DRM1 much if it didn't have the expanded patch points, as crossmodulation is such an integral thing to my music.

If you don't like expanders, put a set of essential patchpoints there from the start. The DRM1 without expander has too little modulation possibilities.

Not very constructive for the new thing, but since you asked... :) Will write more shortly, on the run.

Best,
Palle


Ha! Always good to have your input - though it strikes me that perhaps you'd more be after a mini-SynthVoice than a DrumSynth (but maybe I'm slightly wrong there?).

"The DRM1 without expander has too little modulation possibilities."
Yeah, maybe for some instances, but there can be reasoning to it too.
But, yes, I agree that I'd rather do a full design from the start rather than deal with the expansion (partly also the logistics of expansion - OK when DRM1+X was sold complete, but more complex when expanding existing DRM1 users).

Somewhat erring towards a 5FW possibility but still not sure. Haven't yet got a happy design flow which starts to feel like a right approach.
rowsbywoof
I use the 1/4 in all the time to trigger, and I also love running other drum machines (606/Monotribe) through as well. I'd miss the 1/4 in, if gone, but I'm sure you'd help me find a way to do it with an interface cable, so I'm not too worried by it wink

I'm excited for something new on this front, Tom. I had the DRM1X out today and am sill amazed at how flexible it is. The expander is a must for me. It's such a complete instrument with it. I'd be happy with a 5U only unit, but having the option of expanding if you want or need was pretty nice... Though it did take me a little time to track down an expander when I did want it.

So, yeah, love it, love the idea of a SynthVoice sized DRM1 voice... Bring it on. smile
soup
BugBrand wrote:
Ha! Always good to have your input - though it strikes me that perhaps you'd more be after a mini-SynthVoice than a DrumSynth (but maybe I'm slightly wrong there?)


The DRM1 was one of the few BugBits I've sold. After coming to terms with it what I really wanted it to do was more tonal (bass etc.) which I found hard to do without the expander which wasn’t available anymore at that point.
batchas
soup wrote:
The DRM1 was one of the few BugBits I've sold. After coming to terms with it what I really wanted it to do was more tonal (bass etc.) which I found hard to do without the expander which wasn’t available anymore at that point.

It's a drum module, so this is not the module I'd look at to make tonal music, even if, IMHO, it's possible without xpander.
The xpander is an amazing addition, no doubt, but you have CV control without the xpander too.
You mean you missed some outputs (like the one available via the expander) more than CV control then, do you?
batchas
Very interesting to read all the comments and the diversity of use.
Each having his own depending on his needs and tastes.

I never comment when it comes to questions like what it would need etc because I always think if I say something it will add even more to think and each of us have anyway different uses.

But the DRM1 deserves a v2 for sure in the Bugbrand palette, so I'll make an exception here.
Mostly because I realise that asking here might help to get rid of the INs or OUTs that are used by nobody for instance and have space for functionality that seems more important to a majority too.

Pers. I don't use these here much (or never), but I understand all these can be very useful too:
Envelopes ( I never use these on this module), trig out, neg. cv (I don't say it's bad, I use only from time to time. A switch for neg. bend would be totally ok for my needs for instance).
I don't have the Amp Init on the xpander I made so I cannot comment on this one.
Loosinf the 1/4" (which I replaced anyway when I got the module): no prob. for me.
Fine tune I pers. don't need.
I cannot imagine it without noise.
Shape control via switches, why not.
Wavefolding sounds good. CVable... Question of space for sure!

I pers. use my xpander all the times to trigger the filter mostly and add some AM. But having a module with 1 mod. source on each side, compact and so on, is also having a dedicated module very intuitive and direct to use. Very efficient I mean when it comes to make drum sounds, which is the first aim of this module.
The approaches are infinite. I admire Tom when it comes to decide what will be at the end on the panel. I mean really.
tIB
I'd have plenty to say on this if i could remember for the life of me what patching/playing with my pair was like!

I remember there was plenty that i liked and some quirks that i didnt- the envelopes ring a bell, i always liked the rev 2 modular ones and i seem to remember these being less snappy? An attack phase would have been nice on a couple of them.

I think there was also something with the routing of without the expansion that annoyed me in terms of something i felt I should be able to do but shouldn't. Oh, and was the waveshaper not cv-able?

Not very helpful probably, I'll think on...
tIB
Had a quick look at the panels and CV over env decay was something I'd have liked- there were lots of envelopes but they didn't have too much going on, i also wonder if all four were needed- perhaps a triggerable LFO (or modulation osc) would be an idea at the expense of a couple of the envelopes.

I can kind of see why i let mine go in the end- it wasn't because i didn't like them, i certainly did, but the bits missing were easily avaliable in my bigger bug system- seeing as though i often made percussive stuff in that (and the reds didn't fit) they felt a little surplus to requirements.
otoskope
BugBrand wrote:
Ha! Always good to have your input - though it strikes me that perhaps you'd more be after a mini-SynthVoice than a DrumSynth (but maybe I'm slightly wrong there?).


Always happy to give input, as you know smile

No, I'm not after a mini-Synthvoice here. What I see as a quality in the expanded DRM1 (and especially in a pair of them, as I have) is that it is a rather complete synthesis system in itself, still with an unconventional architecture. Which makes it interesting. It has modulation sources, signal sources (oscs, noise, resonance), multi-mode filters, and plenty of patch points. It has a very efficient modulation configuration with the init values and pos/neg modulation from envelopes. So, yes, it can make drums, it can make bass lines, but the most interesting aspect is that it is somewhere between the two - kind of an abstract groove maker. Rhythmic patterns, which can transcend the paradigm of conventional "events" - an event doesn't have to be the start of a drum hit or a bass note, or a single sound. Instead you can synthesize a rhythmic structure, where some things are continuous, some are changing. The real events are the envelopes, but the oscillators and filters go outside of that.

You can of course make a similar setup in a modular with the right set of modules, but the design here is unusually perfectly balanced, I think. According to my (weird) aesthetics.

So imho, don't drift too far from this fantastic design.

/Palle
BugBrand
Ha! So many options/views.

Palle - its funny because the main thing in my mind that turns it from a 'regular' synth into a drum synth is having simple decay envelopes. Though, yes, there are a lot of bits included within it.

If we ignore the Impact section, the key difference in current thought is to take it back to a single path rather than the separate Osc & Filter sides approach of before (which can be seen as slightly weird in some ways). If a major usage has been having the Filter oscillating (no input) and then FM'ing it with the Oscillator, then that'd be relatively easy to implement now that I think about it (simple mute of VCO to VCF input - you'd still get the FM route I'm going to implement).

Slight quandary on what to do with noise ---- probably as a mod source for the oscillator (makes 'tuned noise) rather than as a source for the filter.

Hmm,,, still thinking on 1/4" input and possibility to do external filtering...
batchas
BTW, I added today a playlist with a few videos I did with the DRM1 (the ones I made today without expander at the bottom):
Playlist with DRM1 videos
I'm gonna add it to the dedicated thread I did a while ago.
Tajnost
Really glad to hear about such a plans on the horizon. I never had a chance to work with DRM1 so can't comment on the functionality, but can suggest to include sequencing abilities into the DRM voice/rack. Or maybe it would be more logical to leave this to the separate rack?

Also, maybe it's too much to ask, but... from the demos and my own experience I really like how Quadrature sine oscillator sounds as a bass drum... so distinct and "musical"... So maybe think about designing a separate "BD" module based on it?
BugBrand
Don't even get me thinking about sequencing for now... Already have too many plates spinning!

The bass drum SYN2B (Quadrature) is due to the AC coupled Linear FM input - hit it with a trigger and you get a decay envelope (actually pings in reverse on the falling edge, I think, but you prob won't hear that - and will remain oscillating at whatever low freq is set throughout.)
tron23
The DRM is a Bugbrand favorite. Using it both as a drum designer tool for sampling, a little synth voice and all between.
The 1/4 trigger is nice to have but I could live without if space saving is required. Noise is essential for me and cannot imagine the DRM without it. The impact section is intriguing in my case. Some greater control of the envelopes would be a nice touch for groove expansion possibilities.
Guinness ftw!
soup
batchas wrote:
soup wrote:
The DRM1 was one of the few BugBits I've sold. After coming to terms with it what I really wanted it to do was more tonal (bass etc.) which I found hard to do without the expander which wasn’t available anymore at that point.

It's a drum module, so this is not the module I'd look at to make tonal music, even if, IMHO, it's possible without xpander.
The xpander is an amazing addition, no doubt, but you have CV control without the xpander too.
You mean you missed some outputs (like the one available via the expander) more than CV control then, do you?


I bought it as a drum module but found myself drawn to using it for other sounds, which is not uncommon for me (same thing with the vermona DRM1 etc.) I just wanted to cheer the idea of a mini-SynthVoice!
dogoftears
I also rarely use the quarter inch trig input. but i noticed it seems to respond differently than the banana in trig.

i like the impact/click section. i would like it if there were more timbral possibilities here.

i use negative bends often, it's the basis of many bongo and hand drum type sounds.

it would be nice to have 1/vo tracking.

my main gripe was NO VC DECAY. this is actually pretty crucial on a drum module. i LIKE having the 4 separate envelopes-- lots of control. but need VC over at least the amplitude ones.

a banana out audio jack would be nice.

what would be nice in a drum module would be something a bit more additive, such as a cloud of square waves with detune and cross fm or pw control. with these kind of building blocks, noise is often unnecessary. incorporating the frequency shifter and a pair of quad sines is also something i'd like to see... i use the fshft for perc design often. maybe one side detuned squares, other side two triangle into wavefolder, with an fshftr in the middle and a qsine driving it, with its own nana outs to modulate other bits... this would be pretty non-traditional, no filter, no noise. /spitball
BugBrand
Well, I've made some reasonable progress on a new development that takes on board some points & actually still retains some parts I was wobbling on. Working at 5FW now!

I had wondered a lot about VC-Decay but decided against it for this instance. But, Dave, your comments in part got me thinking differently - true, I think, that it is VC over Amp that is most important. I'm not yet going to get sidetracked, but think I will look at a combined VC-Decay&VCAmp module for ideas on a more modular drum rack in the future - then have separate non-VC envelopes for bend etc.
phisynth
+1000 for the VC DECAY !! Really miss this on the DRM.
batchas
phisynth wrote:
+1000 for the VC DECAY !! Really miss this on the DRM.

Yeah. True. That's a good input. I forgot that one.
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