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Is innovation slowing down within eurorack?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next [all]

Is innovation within eurorack beginning to plateaux?
Yes
27%
 27%  [ 72 ]
No
72%
 72%  [ 187 ]
Total Votes : 259

Author Is innovation slowing down within eurorack?
cowatf
While there continue to be exciting developments I feel like there are a lot less new ideas coming to the table than there were a few years ago. At one point it felt thick and fast, the Wild West world of modular throwing up new ideas and concepts for musicians to grapple with. Now it seems like that innovation is starting to slow. Has the well of concepts and academic musical research dried up somewhat? Am I wrong?
monads
Don't think it's slowing per say. New stuff/ideas seem to always be brewing. But the basics are the basics so you always don't need the latest Mr. Green
cowatf
I think when Mysteron, Telharmonic and Elements (and then Rings) came out in quite quick succession it felt like things were entering some exciting new territory - realms of sound generation rarely seen outside of computers. I try and keep up with all the new announcements but i don’t feel that same excitement from what i’m seeing.

That’s not to say there aren’t great ideas swimming around - there definitely are and I don’t wish to do a disservice to euro manufacturers out there as they’re all making tremendous sounding and cunningly useful products. I just love something that feels like new ground.
rayultine
Did rock and roll die with Tom Petty?
lisa
Are you thinking innovation/module put out or total amount of innovation?
cowatf
Is that a ‘does the pope shit in the woods’ kinda question?

It’s an interesting analogy though. Rock and roll isn’t actually that innovative past it’s initial inception. It’s a bit like when you see another Moog or MS-20 filter - it’s a bit of a ‘well that’s great but i’ve heard it a thousand times before - gimme something I haven’t heard before’
NoLegs
Can you add a “rolls eyes” option to the poll? MY ASS IS BLEEDING
nectarios
Feels like it has slowed down, but I am not sure that it the reality, or the fact that most things I see people talk about are modules that are based, or even emulate, plug ins that came out years ago.
Paranormal Patroler
Define innovation, then define the rate by which it grew in comparison to now. I see the same amount of ring modulators being brought to the market each year ...
porphyrion
Some innovation is more fundamental than others. The basics are covered now. I mean, noone is able to release 'the first CV-able bitcrusher' anymore in 2017, but incremental steps, sensible recombinations or the fine-tuning of earlier concepts are very important to me as well. The Xaoc Drezno, ER301, Tetrapad, Plonk, Nerdseq and many many others still excite me- Euro is still going strong for me, but I can imagine it's a lot harder to enter this market with an exciting new product than it was just a few years ago. The market is much more unforgiving regarding unoptimized hp-usage. eg Maths wouldn't make a dent now. Another DUSG-variation? Get in line please.
Dragonaut
You might be seeing us getting out of the wild innovation phase and into the refinement phase although I definitely still see innovation going on. I'm particularly pleased with what XAOC and Noise Engineering have been up to on the innovation front. Mutable is coming out with stuff next year and you can be sure that stuff will be special. Really, it's YOU who is supposed to be doing the innovating. Heh.
DanPacific
Dragonaut wrote:
Really, it's YOU who is supposed to be doing the innovating. Heh.

Exactly my thought when I started reading this thread. The recent explosion of activity in eurorack land has spurred a fantastic amount of innovation. But very often I feel we're getting away more and more from the original notion of "modular" as in "building blocks" and towards "ready assembled patches behind a face plate". Don't get me wrong – I think there are some really innovative stuff that has surfaced the last years and some of them has been real game changers. However, the only innovation I feel has stagnated lately has been with the end user. A moderate, but well balanced system (function wise) of today's standard could keep a person learning and discovering new stuff for a life time.
wavecircle
I think a lot of what you see with modules now is just the repacking of ideas from other areas of audio technology into the modular format. I can't think of any particular module brought out in the last 10 years which does something which isn't available elsewhere. Sampling, wavetables, granular, complex sequencing, karplus strong have been around for years. The modules certainly make these ideas and technologies fun to play with and more intuitive and tactile but with regard to them being innovative and original technologies, I'm not convinced.

I have felt for a long time that we are just slowly getting towards something like a modular korg trinity. Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of fun and this should result in far more innovation from the musician, the options are ridiculous now.
Paranormal Patroler
wavecircle wrote:
I think a lot of what you see with modules now is just the repacking of ideas from other areas of audio technology into the modular format. I can't think of any particular module brought out in the last 10 years which does something which isn't available elsewhere. Sampling, wavetables, granular, complex sequencing, karplus strong have been around for years. The modules certainly make these ideas and technologies fun to play with and more intuitive and tactile but with regard to them being innovative and original technologies, I'm not convinced.


In that sense it's a UI innovation, then again, modulars have been around for decades ... good point though.
wavecircle
Paranormal Patroler wrote:


In that sense it's a UI innovation, then again, modulars have been around for decades ... good point though.


This is one of the main reasons why the same idea can be sold by so many different manufacturers, I see there are over 5000 modules registered on modulargrid now. If you were to eliminate overlap of functionally identical modules, I would be curious as to what this number would be.
Paranormal Patroler
wavecircle wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:


In that sense it's a UI innovation, then again, modulars have been around for decades ... good point though.


This is one of the main reasons why the same idea can be sold by so many different manufacturers, I see there are over 5000 modules registered on modulargrid now. If you were to eliminate overlap of functionally identical modules, I would be curious as to what this number would be.


That's why I mentioned ring modulators earlier. It's a really good example of this. hihi
Dragonaut
wavecircle wrote:
The modules certainly make these ideas and technologies fun to play with and more intuitive and tactile but with regard to them being innovative and original technologies, I'm not convinced.


Dang, I think you hit the nail on the head.

If you're feeling like innovation is lacking maybe you should look backward for things you might have missed. Just saw an old thread about Ladik's Wave Animator. Came out several years ago and I have never seen anybody mention it recently. Looks mighty interesting though!

Just to reiterate though, modular is such a deep hole that there are plenty of patches that have barely been exploited that maybe only a few people even think to try. There's probably even some patches that have never been discovered. Huh. Thread's helping me think outside the box a little bit. Thanks!
wavecircle
Dragonaut wrote:
wavecircle wrote:
The modules certainly make these ideas and technologies fun to play with and more intuitive and tactile but with regard to them being innovative and original technologies, I'm not convinced.


Dang, I think you hit the nail on the head.

If you're feeling like innovation is lacking maybe you should look backward for things you might have missed. Just saw an old thread about Ladik's Wave Animator. Came out several years ago and I have never seen anybody mention it recently. Looks mighty interesting though!

Just to reiterate though, modular is such a deep hole that there are plenty of patches that have barely been exploited that maybe only a few people even think to try. There's probably even some patches that have never been discovered. Huh. Thread's helping me think outside the box a little bit. Thanks!


I totally agree with this, my favourite systems have always been the smaller and older ones from one manufacturer which are incredibly well thought out and more importantly, cohesive. 12u of Buchla or Serge can last for years, you don't need to think about anything else once you have your system, just experiment and master the ideas.
Hovercraft
There isn't much innovation in the automotive industry if you think of cars as motorized boxes on wheels. I see a tremendous amount of creativity and innovation in Eurorack--and it's not slowing down. If you take a reductionist attitude, you can blind yourself to innovation. Couldn't agree more with the idea there's a lag between the introduction of new modules and understanding--and effectively using them.

Innovation often means creatively combining existing elements in a new way. The Sony Walkman was a huge innovation, but it didn't introduce any fundamental new technologies.
Dcramer
Hovercraft wrote:
There isn't much innovation in the automotive industry if you think of cars as motorized boxes on wheels. I see a tremendous amount of creativity and innovation in Eurorack--and it's not slowing down. If you take a reductionist attitude, you can blind yourself to innovation. Couldn't agree more with the idea there's a lag between the introduction of new modules and understanding--and effectively using them.

Innovation often means creatively combining existing elements in a new way. The Sony Walkman was a huge innovation, but it didn't introduce any fundamental new technologies.


Don’t worry; this will all change once we get those badly needed new MiniEuro modules that fit in a tiny case hanging from your belt so you can listen with ugly headphones and roller skate down a crowded sidewalk in leg warmers, looking for someone hot to plug into Rockin' Banana!
cptnal
These truly are the end of days.
Bachelard
I agree that the innovation is more around UI than around synthesis concepts, no doubt. The abundance of both analog and digital, simple and complex modules has pretty much everything covered. But I think UI is exactly where the innovation should be in Eurorack (and in hardware electronic instruments in general) - expand the range and possibilities of how folks can interact with electronic sound.

I don’t think innovation has slowed down, but I think the popularization and commercialization of Eurorack/modular has sped/blown up, so that perhaps there is more visibility of argubly less “innovative” but more “accessible”/commercially viable modules. I definitely see that everyone in the industry is jumping on the Eurorack bandwagon by adding cv inputs and ouputs to every piece of gear that’s being released.

But even the idea of what is accessible and what is innovative can be a blurry thing. By innovative (can we equate that with “experimental”?), I would first think of Peter Blasser (Ieaskul F Mobenthey, Ciat Lonbarde), Meng Qi, Nonlinearcircuits, maybe Barton? But even they’re not innovating any new concepts; most of them are riffing off existing circuit ideas and adding to existing schematics. But I would say folks on the digital side of things can also be considered extremely innovative. Intellijel is VERY innovative with stuff like the Plonk (collabing with AAS) and Tetrapad (it’s got features no other pressure/touch controller has at the moment) and Rainmaker. Olivier/Mutable I would consider VERY innovative.
jjclark
wavecircle wrote:
I can't think of any particular module brought out in the last 10 years which does something which isn't available elsewhere.


Well, just to give one example of such a module, consider the Cylonix Cyclebox. It implemented various nonlinear bit-wise combinations of two oscillator waveforms. This is something only possible in the digital domain, and was not present before in any other electronic music devices (except for the case of XOR combination - found in the Korg Monopoly).

This type of nonlinear wave combination is also present in the Shapeshifter which also has innovation in its cv-able audio rate preset morphing, something which as far as I know is not in any other module.
mskala
Let me post again the link to Chapman's article on Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution.

There are barriers to entry on Eurorack, biggest of them the price tag - it's basically $1500 just to walk in the door, and most of us here (clearly) had that, but most people in the world, don't. From the point of view of preserving the subculture, these barriers are a good thing because they reduce the number of uninterested participants who wander in and need to have it all dumbed down or made mainstream-friendly.

But the high cost of innovation and the constant demand for things to be cheaper and fit in fewer HP (which is just an indirect way of saying "cheaper") form a pretty strong incentive against introducing anything really new. Should I introduce a new module that nobody's ever seen before and half of the people who don't buy it will bitch about, putting off the others? Or introduce just another saw-core VCO ripped off of Electronotes and sounding exactly like everyone else's? Tough call - and tougher when my rent cheque comes due. High financial barriers to entry are good for preserving the subculture, but not for making it grow.
wavecircle
jjclark wrote:
wavecircle wrote:
I can't think of any particular module brought out in the last 10 years which does something which isn't available elsewhere.


Well, just to give one example of such a module, consider the Cylonix Cyclebox. It implemented various nonlinear bit-wise combinations of two oscillator waveforms. This is something only possible in the digital domain, and was not present before in any other electronic music devices (except for the case of XOR combination - found in the Korg Monopoly).



Correct me if I am wrong but you can do bitwise operations in the nord modular from 1997. Though I was a huge fan of the cyclebox, the one module I really miss from my Euro system. I suppose the innovation in Euro comes from the convenience of squeezing function into small physical products but really few companies actually do that. Intellijel are one of the few who do. 95% of the time I just think "whats the point" when I see a new Euro module.
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