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A good Frac/Euro config of VCAs, EGs(looping?), and Mixers?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author A good Frac/Euro config of VCAs, EGs(looping?), and Mixers?
Bricks
hi!

The analoguehaven sale has pushed me to start building while stuff is on discount!

Stuff I've already got coming in the mail:
Wiard: Borg, Noise Ring
Blacet: Miniwave
Livewire: Vulcan Modulator

So my LFOS and 1st VCF are taken care of, and I've got the Noise Ring and Miniwave to mess with for added funk. I'm also going with 2x Plan B Model 15s for VCOs. I'm thinking I'll snag a Future Retro Mobius for Midi-CV, plus the whole sequencing thing...

Now I need to decide what I should do for VCAs, EGs, and Mixers.

I really like the idea of the Doepfer Quad ADSR for EG. Does this mean I should stick with Doepfer for the VCAs? I know Doepfers operate 0-8v, and don't know how much of a mess it is to mix modules with diferent voltage ranges.

Would it be a big deal to use a MOTM 1190 which is 0-10v? I like the idea of having LIN and EXP VCAs in one package.

Howabout the Doepfer Quad ADSR, MOTM 1190, and Blacet Quad Mix VCA. Would they all play well together?

Would I be missing out with the Quad ADSR, cause I wouldn't have CV control over the parameters? Should I give up on my looping interest and just buy a few Blacet EG1s? I'd suggest incorporating a MOTM Looping ADSR, but its 0-5v, which I hear is a pain to deal with.

Thoughts? Thanks!!!
Chris

Muff Wiggler
Hey man, great post and awesome cat photo 8) welcome to the forum, it's nice to have you here

You've asked some good questions, and it sounds like you are giving yourself some awesome options with a mix of the best of eurorack and frac rack

it should for the most part be fine, but you are stepping into some muddy waters and there's some things you should know to be sure you'll be ok



Bricks wrote:

Wiard: Borg, Noise Ring
Blacet: Miniwave
Livewire: Vulcan Modulator


awesome!! the noise ring and miniwave are easily my two favorite modules, these are all great choices and it looks from the very beginning that you'll have a really interesting and fun system

Bricks wrote:
So my LFOS and 1st VCF are taken care of, and I've got the Noise Ring and Miniwave to mess with for added funk. I'm also going with 2x Plan B Model 15s for VCOs. I'm thinking I'll snag a Future Retro Mobius for Midi-CV, plus the whole sequencing thing...


Those Model 15 VCO sound great to me... I'd like to add a couple triangle core VCOs at some point, the blacets are sine core. I believe Wiard's 300 series classic vco also uses a triangle core. Very good call on the Mobius, you've probably read the other threads here and heard my opinion on it, I think it's the best bet when starting a modular system, because it gives you quite a few useful things for a really good price. I have a pair of them that are just about always in use. Zerosum just bought one and he's delighted with it. Eventually you may (as I have) graduate to a 'dedicated' midi-cv converter, at which point the Mobius becomes an awesome sequencer or CV source.

Bricks wrote:
Now I need to decide what I should do for VCAs, EGs, and Mixers.

I really like the idea of the Doepfer Quad ADSR for EG. Does this mean I should stick with Doepfer for the VCAs? I know Doepfers operate 0-8v, and don't know how much of a mess it is to mix modules with diferent voltage ranges.


Well, for the most part things would be OK, however there's a few issues. Doepfer VCAs run 0-8v and as far as I know the EGs do as well. So if you keep these together you'll be OK. The Blacet EG is 0-10v, so that should be OK into a Doepfer VCA, you can't open the VCA 'more' than 100% anyway, but you'll just reach the envelope's peak a bit sooner than with a blacet vca. You could always use a attenuator on a 0-10v EG and trim it a bit for the Doepfer VCA

Bricks wrote:
Would it be a big deal to use a MOTM 1190 which is 0-10v? I like the idea of having LIN and EXP VCAs in one package.


I don't really like recommending MOTM, however this is actually an excellent choice. I have a pair of Blacet QuadMix VCAs, as well as a pair of Blacet Dual Linear VCAs, and the MOTM 1190. I *always* use the 1190 as the 'final' VCA in a patch. It just sounds really really clean and really really good. So do the Blacet's, nothing wrong with them, but the MOTM just has a bit more bass and a cleaner response as far as I can tell. VCAs are something you want good quality. I haven't taken advantage of the lin/exp in one box really that much, but the three controls it gives you (when using linear CV anyway) let you really tailor the response to exactly what you want. Plus you get two in the package. It's a great module, I totally recommend it.

Bricks wrote:
Howabout the Doepfer Quad ADSR, MOTM 1190, and Blacet Quad Mix VCA. Would they all play well together?


Not sure about the Doepfer quad ADSR, as I've never used one, but it should be OK. Certainly nice to have 4 adsr's, as you always want more, and they can be expensive. I use my Blacet Quad Mix VCAs a LOT, they are *EXTREMELY* handy modules, however I rarely use them as a VCA. You get 4 VCAs, however they have exponential response, not linear, and can be a little tricky to dial in. But it's also a 4-into-1 mixer, which is really nice, and it has the ability to amplify an external signals to modular levels. This thing is really a cross between the Blacet I/O, the Blacet Mixer/Processor, and a pair of Blacet Dual VCAs. It's an absolute bargain and it's a shame they are being discontinued. I think everyone should get one of these when starting out, as you get a lot of functionality into your synth for a really attractive price.

Bricks wrote:
Would I be missing out with the Quad ADSR, cause I wouldn't have CV control over the parameters? Should I give up on my looping interest and just buy a few Blacet EG1s? I'd suggest incorporating a MOTM Looping ADSR, but its 0-5v, which I hear is a pain to deal with.


Hard to say. I have to admit that the Blacet EG1 is one HELL of an envelope generator. It has a looping/LFO mode, so you don't lose this if you choose this module. the time base option allows for extremely fast or extremely slow response times. CV control over ADSR, along with an inverted out, allows you to get the effect of an exponential Decay in your envelope, by patching in the INV OUT to the DECAY CV IN. It's an unbelievable EG module. But it's also really pricey. I can say that I do NOT use CV control of ADSR very often (except the self-patching INV OUT into CV DECAY IN, which I almost always do), so you may want to factor that in. However on the other hand I've made some really really interesting patches by throwing LFOs and Noise Ring outputs into the CVs for the EG, and deriving a set of gate signals from a slowly clocked miniwave. Really interesting, 'auto generative' kind of stuff that you couldn't do without a CV-enabled EG.

Finally, if those Doepfer EGs only throw out 8v max, they will never fully open a Blacet VCA or an MOTM 1190, so that's something to keep in mind.

And, you are right, the MOTM looping ADSR peaks at only 5v. What the hell was Paul thinking?? In my opinion this makes an attractively priced and designed module completely worthless. I couldn't see using it for anything unless it's resdesigned for 10v peak. As mentioned howver the Blacet EG1 has a looping/LFO mode.

Hope this is helpful info for you 8)

cheers
Muff Wiggler
oh yeah, figure i'll mention this straight up as it can sometimes come as a real shocker to people if they aren't expecting it

you may know already, but not everyone thinks it through so I want to give you a heads-up....

Modulars are very exciting and interesting and fun machines, and are really inspiring and musical and educational to work on.

However their main downfall is that they are for the most part monophonic. If you want to play two voices, you need two of every single module in your patch. If you want to play three note chords, you'll need three of each module.

I'm almost finished expanding my system to allow for multiple voices - different numbers depending on what you want to do and what modules are in the patch, but at least allowing some degree of voicings. I've been taking some flak for it, but I don't see anything wrong with wanting to play a goddamn CHORD on my synthesizer. It's just not cheap to configure in this manner.

And, don't get nervous, the machines are wonderful in their common monophonic mode.

just wanted to be sure you're aware of that 8)

cheers & have fun
Bricks
Wow. Such a detailed response! You've inspired much confidence in my purchase choices!

I figured out the monophonic thing while planning all this, which I think will be ok. My main (initial) intention in having the 2nd Plan B VCO is to add fixed intervals (often an Octave) to the first, with difference texture/shape. I'll probably hold off on buying that 2nd one for a little though. I'm sort of upset with myself for not buying one on Friday afternoon from AH.com. I was waiting to figure out the VCA logistics and place a big order... and bam, Plan B Model 15s went out of stock. Maybe they'll have more next week....

After this thread, and a little more reading, I think it might make sense to just go with the Blacet EG1. I'm still slightly confused re its looping abilities - What techniques to you use to get it to loop? I know it has the trigger in.

I didn't know the QuadMix was going away - I'm ordering one today for sure!

Thanks!
Chris
Chuck E. Jesus
if you want to have a looping adsr , you can simply gate it with an lfo (amongst other things)...i think having a vcadsr is useful, i went with the Doepfer Universal Vactrol mod to provide VC to a few mods including a bread and butter ADSR, and i'm glad i did...

if you decide to put a doepfer system together, i'd recommend not buying one of their cases, but just get a power supply, the bus board, and however many eurorack rails you need (at least two), and either put an encloser together, or get some short rack ears if you want to put it in a 19in rack...you don't need the expensive metal case!

there's more doepfer info in the doepfer thread (duh), or feel free to ask whatever...

rg
Muff Wiggler
Its awesome that this forum, as small as it is, has a Doepfer owner, a DotCom owner, and a few Blacet/Frac users. Additionally a variety of us are E13 and Metasonix users, and I know there's some Moog goodness spread out amongst a lot of the members here.

That covers a lot of bases and experience for a place with so few members! Really cool.

Also my buddy The Alison Project has a huge MOTM system, with a bunch of custom and converted modules from others, as well as some modcan in there. He's a member here but never seems to post.

Anyway, cool shit.


For Bricks, to try to answer your question about the EG1, its pretty simple. There's a switch that toggles between 'adsr' and 'ad/lfo' modes. You need to put it into the latter mode, and then increase the sustain knob to 100%. The a/d cycle will start to loop, and you can control the slope of the rising and falling side with the attack and decay controls. Its only an AD phase that loops, not looped ADSR like the MOTM, but still really useful.

Also you can use an EG1 as a fixed voltage source. I would have to grab my notes for the details, but basically you put it into AD/LFO mode, and set all the knobs to 0, and sustain to 100%. The level output adjusts the fixed voltage coming out of the unit, from 0 to 10v. Something like that anyway, I used to do it a lot before I got my mixer/processor and Bananalogue 3Ps, both of which have this cool function in a more simplified manner. Really nice for octave switching in the blacet VCO's.

Which reminds me - don't underestimate the Bananalogue VCS. Probably the most flexible and useful single module available for FracRack. There's very little it cannot do, you could literally build a complete system out of nothing but them.
Bricks
I was thinking about using the LFO as a gate and how that might work. Mmm.. and mabe working in a Dual Cyclotron down the road. I'll try the Looping AD with Sustain cranked too. Thanks! I feel like the EG1 is a solid choice and thats what I'll start with.

Ross - funny you mentioned Doepfer cases... that was going to be my next post! I still need a home for the euro modules, and was going to post a question about it. I do wish to put all of this together in 19in rack eventually.

Rails: I hear Mouser carries euro rails that some have used to build frames.

PSU/Bus: If I did build my own euro frame, would I just buy the Doepfer PSU to go with the Doepfer Bus? What do I have to do to wire the power supply and bus board together? Is it a socket connector of some sorts? Or is there a bit of soldering to do? The A100psu2 doesn't come with a power switch or fuse or anything to mount it with.

I have a chance to buy a used a100g6 with the old A-100NT12 power supply for $400... but I've read that it can be noisy and isn't the best unit. Would it be hard to replace it with an a100psu2? Basic soldering, or something more involved?

At that point, I might as well just buy a new Doepfer a100g6 from AH when they get them in stock... same price (400 + 130 for the psu2)

I've heard of people using a Power One supply to run a whole rig.. dunno if I really want to deal with much soldering on the power section of the rig. I've built distortion pedals / basic electronics projects... and even though my projects work and stay working, my soldering skills are meh, and I don't trust myself to do much with PSUs

I figured I'd just cave and buy an a100g6 from AH.

thoughts?
c

PS: You are all awesome. I can't wait to get this stuff going and have some clips to post. I've got my guitar setup done. Learning some beat programming.. and stoked to start building tracks once this synthrig is built.

zerosum
Quote:
I'm thinking I'll snag a Future Retro Mobius for Midi-CV, plus the whole sequencing thing...

Get one!!!! grin
Killer unit!!! Run sequences into your CV in gear!
I love mine to death!

Quote:
Wow. Such a detailed response! You've inspired much confidence in my purchase choices!

He does that smile
He's pretty much summed it up.

The EG-1 kicks ass!
I havent had as much time to play with it as I would like to yet,
but next weekend I will be all over the mini frac I've got going on!
Chuck E. Jesus
i have the original A100 Basic system (non-midi) with the older PS and have not had a problem with it....i got a new one for my expansion system, and as it's got double the power, i'd go with that as it might be all you ever need...the bus board comes with the cable to connect to the PS, and i just used a regular power cable (the heavey duty kind that is removable), cut the end and used an inline fuse holder on the hot, i have it plugged into a tripp lite rack power strip to ifire up ...i think i got my eurorails from allied, i got the kind that uses nuts that slide into a groove as opposed to the threaded holes...that way it doesn't matter what brand Eurorack mod i use, they will all fit...sorry, i can't remember the part number :( , but if you call them and tell them what you want they should be able to help you....

i've been thinking about putting some jacks to add VC to my Pro One, but the next thing in line is an old Boss BF-2 analog flanger... it allows you to turn off the lfo, so adding VC to the "manual" function should allow much more control from my modular....then i'll have a pretty damn good selection of voltage controllable analog delay based FX!!!
Chuck E. Jesus
zerosum wrote:
but next weekend I will be all over the mini frac I've got going on!


sounds like you should be pretty busy next weekend wink
Bricks
I've decided. I'm just buying a Doepfer A100g3 while its on sale, cause I'm timid and afraid to mess with mixed PSUs/Fuses. Now that I'm going Blacet for EGs, I probably won't fill a 3U euro anytime soon.. and down the line if I do, I can build another 3u frame out of eurorails and rack ears and use this power supply

Thanks for the advice / I'll post when it arrives (of course.. I'll have no VCO.. cause AH sold out of Plan B Model 15s.. and who knows when more are coming)
zerosum
ross g wrote:
zerosum wrote:
but next weekend I will be all over the mini frac I've got going on!


sounds like you should be pretty busy next weekend wink


hell yeah! wink 8)
consumed
muff--damn good information on those modules.
now i think i need to place a 2nd order for a blacet quad VCA and EG.
ive already got the VCS (in part based on your recommendation) and it is an amazingly versatile module.
i could definitely use a 2nd VCS.
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