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Modular kit for movie / game sound design
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Modular kit for movie / game sound design
Hi! I just started to compile my first modular kit and came up with this kind of setup. As I´m quite new to this I wanted to hear your opinions about it and what direction it should be taken next in terms of new modules and such. This rig is going to be used purely on creating new source assets for cinematic post and game sounds.

It would probably be a good idea to speak to what kind of sounds you are hoping to pull out of this? The Clouds + Morphagene are great processing tools. I'm not too familiar with the Audio Damage modules but something like the grain shift and verb might be redundant with the Clouds. You will also want some cv modulation sources in there like a Maths or complex LFO if you plan on automating sounds, otherwise you will have to manually operate each of the parameters which only goes so far.
I understand what you mean, dropping few AD modules could create room for maths or more complex LFO. Other than Maths, what other LFO modules would you recommend? Chronos seems to be pretty straight forward LFO so that will get me started. Are there any other similar kind of processing tools such Morphagene and Clouds I should take a look at? Elements seemed to be quite interesting as well and could be an later addition to the rig?

I short, I work in a AAA game company as a senior sound designer and my main focus would be to create new source material for new sounds effects. The actual post processing and sound design would be done later in DAW program. I would most likely use this to create ambience textures and abstract sound design.

Makes sense. I think the rig would benefit from some sound generation tools like an Elements or another complex VCO (DPO/Hertz Donut/Benjolin/???) especially if you are wanting to start with the modular as a sound generator and then post-process.

The Morphagene can load sounds off the SD card which is a great place to start but if you want it to be a stand sound device I would look to building a more standard subtractive/additive synth. I would suggest starting with something like:

VCO / VCF / LFO or random CV generator / envelope generator / VCA

Then pair those with a processor like Clouds/Morphagene. I imagine dynamics are critical to the sounds you are creating so adding things like envelopes and VCA's will help with that. Filter's will help tame/shape some of the frequencies you are working with as well. A random cv generator like the Wogglebug paired with an attenuator will help liven up the processors. I can't really speak to which exact modules you should look into since there are many variations of these fundamental building blocks out there but I don't think you could go wrong with that basic setup. I use a MakeNoise shared system for my sound design work and really love the workflow.

Frankly I´ve already got HD full of virtual synth and I still own few hardware ones, so my primary use for this rig would be to widen the sonic horizons with sound design techniques and sources that would be somewhat different what I usually do with computer. I think longer down the line I will buy a dedicated VCO, but before that I´m interested to built the rig in a way it best suits my sound design needs at work.

I will take a look at the wogglebug and make noise products for CV and ENV egeneration, thanks.
Also, is it just me or does the first generation Audio Damage knobs feel really wobbly compared to other manufacturers?
you have nothing but ear candy.

youll want some vcas and mixers and modulation sources to make the modular shine. you dont need that many fx, and the tiptop one seems like overkill with the morphagene there.

look at getting a low pass gate and a filter, too, they will come in handy
Ear candy is exactly what I need for source sounds. Yeah I agree it´s always a struggle between keeping the rig diverse in terms of design but at the same time making sure that you have enough bandwidth to modulate those assets. Unfortunately if I´m limited to 96 units, I need to have proper source modules and enough additional tools to further alter those sounds. I can easily drop few Audio Damage units to clear out some room for modulation units. I also thought about switching One to Doepfer A-119 External Input, that would most likely serve my interest whole lot more. Are there any good quality alternatives to A-119? CG-Products Pre seems to be pretty legit? I´m also fully aware that a filter module would be very hand to have in this rig as well.
Eventually I would propably go with something like this, with the difference that I would prefer to use samplers as the main source of content. This is a rig from one of the sound designers of Destiny, seems pretty diverse and legit in terms of sound design.

And here´s the second rig

Im also very intrested of this Soundmorph studio rig if you could help me out to spot these modules? I´m new to this so it would take me forever to find which modules this rig has, thanks.

I can spot Maths, Clouds and that big Spectral Multiband Resonator in the middle.
For sound design I would almost certainly be looking at inellijels rainmaker. Delay and comb filter combined in one. Feed it sources or just give it a noise source and let it do it's thing. Incredible for textures and stuff.

As for the modules in the picture. Bottom right seems to be an erbeverb(probably also highly recommended for effects and stuff). Orange module on the first row I think is a harvestman hertz donut. To the left of it are 2 intellijel modules that I don't know off hand and to the right appears to be an intellijel mixer.3rd row has a make noise rene second row looks like a z3000 on the left and the bottom row has some sort of sputnik module
That initial rack looks as though it's missing almost all of the things that make working with modular gear exciting and interesting. There's next to no modulation there, one module (say clouds or morphagene) has loads of inputs for modulation, without feeding them a variety of voltages, it's nothing you can't already do on an ipad. Batumi and New Pam's Workout would give you an incredibly flexible and useful core modulation/clocking set.

With most modules, attenuation is an absolute must. If you feed the single LFO you currently have in the rack into any filter (which you don't have any of and are incredibly useful things to have around) or any of Clouds inputs, it's going to sound awful and extreme (not in a good way) as it'll be sweeping through the entire voltage range. Subtlety and light touches do so much more for sound building than crazy sweeps through (and beyond into clipping) an inputs range (or worse yet, a bipolar signal into a unipolar input where nothing happens for half a cycle and then everything happens the other other half).

The truth is, that for every shiny voice/FX module out there, you need the plumbing ('boring' utility modules like VCAs, mixers, logic operations, etc) to make full use of them and make them sing. Sure you can load samples into Clouds and MG and then, well, there's not a massive amount you could do there other than have them playing back through the ADM FX stuff. I count something like 35 possible CV inputs on that rack and a single LFO (I think that's what it is), one envelope follower from MG and no VCAs or attenuators to create dynamics or subtlety.

If you want to sample and apply FX to those samples with very little modulation, then you're really best sticking to the computer and standard synths that you've already got. Even the relatively simple ADM modules all have multiple CV inputs to use, if you aren't planning on modulating them, then perhaps pedals or computer based FX are a more sensible way to go?

There's loads of really good info out there on starting out, probably a few hundred posts here alone on 'sound design racks' (the search function here is excellent when it mostly works) and thousands of great resources elsewhere on learning the basics.

The posts sort of read a bit like getting modules for modules sake because other people in the industry have them as 'assets'. It's a beautiful, rich and rewarding world filled with literally endless possibilities and sounds unthought of by other mortals but you really have to put in the work and time to properly research and learn as you go or it's going to be frustrating and totally unrewarding process.
When i was new to Euro i could built racks withouth almost no utilities or modulation sources. Nowadays i could build a rack with just Maths and a scope, no speakers at all and be happy with it the rest of my life. we're not worthy MY ASS IS BLEEDING
Interesting concept, I'm a sound designer in games and my system (which is going under constant iteration) is geared to be a hybrid sound design and music machine, but primarily sounds design.

It's not so much about audio manipulation which is what yours looks to be geared towards but more about crafting sounds with synthesis. Here's some examples of using the modular as part of my workflow:

Here's where I'm going with my system, I am missing the bottom row:

the white thing in the middle is not a resonator its a dual ms20 filter and vca clonish by anlogue solutions called Defibrillator.

you need shit loads of modulation ,attenuation and probably a mixer in your first rig or you might as well not bother buying any of it and get somthing like flux for the ipad...

maybe watch that video because it might give you an idea of the importance of modulation.

I'm a big fan of the SynthTech E355 Morphing Duel LFO. It has quite a few nice wavetable patterns and can be used anywhere from very slow modulation to audio rate.
VilleRMD, is that rack you posted with all the metasonix modules a copy of Mick Gordon's?
Thanks guys for your feedback and help.

As I said earlier, I will be expanding the rig to include more CV modules so I can make the it operate more like a traditional modular synth. With a very limited rig space (only two 48 rows) I need to make ensure that the rig is versatile enough to handle the kind of work I need to do with it. Also, after using it a bit it also gives me good idea what the rig needs next. I reckon maths or similar kind of module would be the next logical addition to the bunch. I will make sure my next purchases will be according to your recommendations.

Mikmanner, very nice to hear from a fellow sound designer what one does with these rigs. Your rig looks very impressive. Our games have generally very little scifi elements in them (although we have done scifi) Im focusing on more audio manipulation rather than creating traditional synths sounds with the modular. Just out of curiosity, if you would choose one module in your rig you would like to recommend, what module would it be?

Also, very nice stuff with the Signal From Tolva thumbs up
Tunatoboggan wrote:
VilleRMD, is that rack you posted with all the metasonix modules a copy of Mick Gordon's?

Not use if I understood your question correctly but as far as I know Gordons rig is completely different that the ones I posted here. You can the a glande at it on these two videos:

DOOM - Behind the music part I
DOOM - Behind the music part II

My fellow co-worker Petri Alanko is also pretty big on modular synths, you can see his rig here:

Petri Alanko on composing for Quantum Break with Roland AIRA System-1M

Hard to pick one as they all need each other to some extent. Elements is the most 'musical' so not as useful for sound design though i did use it to create some dark ambience tones. id say Maths is vital and I'm more and more discovering the benefits of random source with Chance. Ears is a good and easy way to get a live, amplified audio signal in.

I've used it mostly for Scifi and abstract stuff in the year I've been building it. Just a great additional tool to use to get original, expressive source. UI is a no-brainer too
clouds and\or morphagene are very interesting sound mangling tools.
i suggest also tyme sefari mk2 if you dont care about hyper precision, it can be very very surprising as a buffer recorder\mangler.
as the other said you absolutely need modulations and vcas.
i suggest ornament+crime because you can use it in so many different ways and for a starter rack it will provide you a lot of useful modulations.
then maths or another good function generator.
as vca, if you can afford it i'd suggest the VCA matrix from 4ms because, again, you'll end up using it for many different tasks: mixer, modulating modulations, router, feedback machine...
then something to de-digitalize your sound grin some good filter, some good distortion. i tend to like doepfer filters in their simplicity. plague bearer is very nasty if you want some weird distortion.
given that you have plenty of virtual effects and instruments i'd suggest a real spring reverb, which is something a bit hard to emulate. noisy but really rewarding and cheap as hell is the doepfer a-199.
if you also want vco's i cant suggest enough a good dual complex oscillator, as they are my fave type. dpo\furthurr\j3rk\sputnik in the analog realm or hertz donut 1 or 2 in the nasty but fm-wise more precise digital realm.
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