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How much does aesthetics count in your modular choice?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author How much does aesthetics count in your modular choice?
Riggar
Ok this is a slightly frivolous question – partly because today in England we have had a most beautiful hot summer’s day and I’ve had a few glasses of sundowner Prosecco …

Anyway, glug, glug – do aesthetics play any part of your modular choices and /or setup? Not necessarily on every occasion, but maybe once or twice ….

I ask as I’ve got one 9U rack that just happens to be all black/nearly black and I want add a small HP mixer – the malekko heavy industry Mix 4 would suite – which would make it the only silver item in the rack ….

Just wondering …
porphyrion
I can appreciate good-looking modules as good as any I think ... but I went all-Frankenstein and don't regret it. Eurorack in my mind is a hybrid world.
Sure, one could build a beautiful Verbos or go all monolithic on Doepfer, but it's only for something like an old Buchla that I'd turn truly monogamous.

PS/ Changing some knobs can make a big difference as to the appearance and feel of a module.

Cheers!
Futuresound
Yes. I won't buy certain modules because of how they look. In fact there are entire brands whose modules I don't buy entirely due to aesthetics.

And on the other side, if I really like how a module looks, I am more likely to investigate how it works and what it does, and that might influence my buying decisions. But I haven't ever bought a module I don't need just because it looks cool.
Joxer96
Futuresound wrote:
Yes. I won't buy certain modules because of how they look. In fact there are entire brands whose modules I don't buy entirely due to aesthetics.

And on the other side, if I really like how a module looks, I am more likely to investigate how it works and what it does, and that might influence my buying decisions. But I haven't ever bought a module I don't need just because it looks cool.


This is exactly how I feel. I realize I may be missing out on some pretty cool stuff, but some modules are painful to look at.
melodydad
For me it also plays a significant part. Apart from two Verbos modules all my modules have 'silver' faceplates and I could not introduce black or red, and I loathe messy graffiti-style graphics.

Also the layout/ ergonomics plays a part - example: the Toppobrillo Multifilter really works for me, and Qu-Bit have gone for clean well laid-out faceplates.

I could never buy a Maths, let alone a Wogglebug - not to mention all that Loquelic ink abuse!

Keep it clean thumbs up
Reckless_Experimenter
of course. Take the Wooglebug as an example. Several companies make it, I bought the Erica Synth version because it looked the best/least crazy. And the Erica Synth version has a bug on it who's eyes light up hihi
Ramases
I appreciate the aesthetics of certain modular manufacturers - Modcan A and B series for example.
But, in terms of defining what I will or will not purchase, functionality wins over looks every day of the week.
Futuresound
Ramases wrote:
I appreciate the aesthetics of certain modular manufacturers - Modcan A and B series for example.
But, in terms of defining what I will or will not purchase, functionality wins over looks every day of the week.


Sure, but in Euro there is such a wealth of options, you can almost always find another module or set of modules that does the same thing. So far I've never had to buy a module I think is ugly because I couldn't find that functionality elsewhere.
BillyB909
Personally I like the variety of different styles etc. Yeah it might not look consistent, but it reflects that a lot of diverse views and approaches have come together in building my 'instrument', and I find that pretty appealing. I was somewhat disappointed that Bastl started offering aluminium panels for their Eurorack for this reason.

But it's equally valid to build something that is aesthetically consistent. It would be interesting to know of the sound possibilities were a reflection of this too...
Hovercraft
My modular is a crazy patchwork of modules--well past the point of aesthetic decisions having any effect! Snakeskin-covered panel? 20HP severed human hand with a VCA implanted in each finger? Bring it on.
cornutt
Yeah, I went Frankensynth too, although I'm in the 5U world so it's mostly black. But there are several Modcan modules I'd like to have someday if/when Bruce is able to resume business, and their being white isn't going to stop me. If you've ever seen my frowsy, hacked-up open frame cabinets, it would be obvious that I wasn't too concerned about the aesthetics when I assembled them. (Although that's about to change... I'm going to try to build a real cabinet, with finished wood and square edges and everything. We'll see how that goes.)

I will say that some of the Euro stuff would drive me crazy... us old ponytail types, our eyes aren't what they used to be, and we have trouble reading the graphics on stuff like Makenoise or WMD. But as Futuresound said above, there are always other options.
nyannarz
Not at all. Even if the module was covered in laminated fecal matter, I would still use it if it was a useful component in my system.
mousegarden
No, but I like my system to look "balanced" aesthetically, It's always a great challenge to make a module that doesn't fit in, er, fit in!
It's a matter of flow, and focus, like if you have a black system, and a 2hp silver module, don't try and hide it, plonk it straight in the middle of the case, make a feature of it.
The way an instrument of any type looks is all bound up with how you interact musically with it, these things are important, but I wouldn't exclude any module on looks alone. Although Bastl is pushing it a bit, never got my head around all that wood, it just doesn't work at all for me.
tesserack
I'm just curious as to why when people take photographs of their modular systems most of those pictures tend to show the system without patch cables?
mousegarden
tesserack wrote:
I'm just curious as to why when people take photographs of their modular systems most of those pictures tend to show the system without patch cables?


Simple, mine hardly gets used, I spend most of my time on Muff's...

hihi
dubonaire
I was all silver until I acquired a Micromac-r which is 57hp of black. It cured me of the all-silver obsession, but there are some modules I just find unattractive, including those of a very popular maker (not getting drawn into that love 'em or hate 'em argument again), and I just end up not getting them.
timoka
aesthetics plays a huge part in instruments business, modular is just an extreme example where several aesthetic approaches collide in a rack.
our mind is easily tricked into thinking what looks good must sound good...or in a broader sense, what looks good must be good. uniformity can help a great deal with time management and overall clear view, but to think that ones music gets better with an all black system etc is just wrong, that's your mind playing tricks with you. the decision of buying an instrument should in the end come down to function and sound of the instrument, not the look. but since modular users tend to be collectors first and musicians second it's easy to see that they tend to turn this around and put looks first.
just turn it around and think of sound aesthetics and uniformity in this regard...nobody would find a rack useful with 12db lp filters only.
visual information is so direct, that alot of people don't question their judgement, no i don't like blue, that was always the case and it will never change under no circumstances. just like every sense, it needs training and exposure to alien impressions to develop a taste. the more you see, the more you appreciate differences. and, the more music you make with your instrument, the more you like it, no matter what aesthetics it has, because you develop a relationship to it which is based on function and sound....and only at the end form.

but hey, the entire advertisement and fashion industry would collapse if function would come first.

if you're a musician then no one of your listeners care about the look of your tools, and you shouldnt either. well, that's of course just my opinion.
jtregoat
while design can certainly draw me in or push me away, if I hear something I like, I'll take it regardless of how it looks. but I might think about making a custom faceplate.
chamomileshark
They say the first bite is with the eye - I think it applies here too (although biti ng synths is not recommended)

I think when I first saw images of the Wiard 300 series it sort of took my breath away. It still does.
flo
Very important for me! Modules must align vertically, similar colors / same manufacturers go together, that sort of thing... For some time, I've also tried to keep the module arrangement symmetrical, but that's a tough one... hihi

In the end, do whatever works. But for me, a nice looking rack is more inspiring than... something not so nice looking lol Mr. Green

Cheers Guinness ftw!
listentoaheartbeat
dubonaire wrote:
but there are some modules I just find unattractive


Attraction is a key term for me in this context. I want my modular synth to be attractive. I want to be drawn to it. When I enter the studio, I see it before I touch it before I hear it. I want it to be an object that I can relate to, that I gravitate towards. Therefore, a cohesive aesthetic that appeals to me is an integral part of my modular synth experience, and I happily obsess over how my modular synth looks.
roya
Very important for me, I enjoy using something I like looking at.

Just like my drums, guitars etc, same thing.
TechForze
flo wrote:
Very important for me! Modules must align vertically, similar colors / same manufacturers go together, that sort of thing... For some time, I've also tried to keep the module arrangement symmetrical, but that's a tough one... hihi

Great! I'm not the only one!!
And this cost a lot of time on modulargrid help
Stereotactixxx
I find it inspiring to have a synth that looks like a coherent instrument. Having a MU synthesizer helps a lot. I also do not buy printed or colored panels, only etched ones to increase coherence. This works as long as I have GAS for modules that meet these requirements, and there are still a lot of modules I want that I have yet to buy. As my system grows though, I might have to rethink my strategy.
DSC
Most, if not all of this can easily be solved if you just break down and learn how to make your own panels! Then it does not matter what the original panel is if you will just replace it! Then once you go there, learn how to make your own cases and then Viola, your home free. Your very own custom complete instrument.

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