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Drone -- Module Suggestions
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Author Drone -- Module Suggestions
Hey there! I've found myself in the possession of a handful of Eurorack modules and would like to use them as a jumping off point to create a small rig (244hp) with drones in mind. Specifically, I'm doing research into the historical definition of what a drone is and how that concept has changed over time, including the difference between its presence in spiritual traditions and in modern music -- looking to abstract these concept via synthesis for my master's thesis (sound art). I'm looking to create a wide variety of very monolithic tones, or layers of them. Wall of sound to particle streams with a lot of complexity, but little change. I'm looking to get as much diversity as I can out of this instrument.

To note, I have no interest in making "musical drones," or those that are basically just subdued ambience with a lot of musical tones in it. I that makes sense.

So far I have these modules:

Turing Machine
Trigger Man
Barton 4xdecay
Koma Field Kit
Blue Latern version of Warps
Pittsburgh Filter / MixMult / Outs
Malekko SND/RTN
NC 4seq
Moffenzeef Muskrat / Dialup
2HP Freez

Non-eurorack gear I have:

A metric ton of pedal effects and studio rack gear (preamps, strips, etc.)
MS-20 Mini
Volca FM / Sample / Kick
(2) Korg SQ1
EHX 8 step program

What I'm considering picking up:

(2 or more) Noise Reap 2xVCA
Noise Reap Loafers
Wasp Filter
EMW Arcade Noise (this thing just sounds badass)
Loquelic Iteritas or Cursus Iteritas
TipTop Wavefolder (love all of the CV options)
Something like the Noise Reap ISD Sampler, but less lofi
Mikrophonie (as a second cheap manual trigger / acoustic sound source)
Magnetophon (plan on modding this to have a jack instead of the tape head so I can just plug one in)
BASTL Kastle, or some kind of diverse, glitchy sound source (love the Kastle, but a little annoyed by the idea of adding another external box floating around on the desk)

I have about $1000 to play with and definitely want to shoot for workhorse rather than fancy one-trick sort of modules. Especially because I've got the sequencing pretty well covered (heh), but lack a lot of basics still.

Thanks a lot for your time!
I wouldn't overlook the drone abilities of simple oscillators—the noise reap bermuda is inexpensive—beating against one another. That's what our drone forefathers (and foremothers) were often working with.

Wave folders can make a nice complement to these, and can serve to turn simple modulation (those LFOs) into more complex sources.

I'm also guessing you meant 244hp. Otherwise this rig is not going to be as small as you're letting on.
Based on my personal experience (though we all have our own defination of what a drone is), Klavis Twinwave is a really nice, small, two VCO package with a nice variety of wave forms along with a sub out. Definitely really useful for creating a "big" sounding voice. I'm also a fan of Wasp, but I like something a little more mellow for a filter for this type of sound. Out of everything I have, the Rossum Evolution is my preferred filter for drones.
Oh geez, yes, 244hp. Dead Banana

I do really like the Bermuda (in fact, I really like everything from Noise Reap -- especially at those prices). I appreciate the suggestion... it's hard to imagine how something will serve your purposes when you can't get your hands on it.

And thanks void23, I'll check those out! My idea with the Wasp was to grab something that was significantly different sounding than the Pittsburgh filter, but admittedly I haven't done much filter research.
Just two simple VCOs or one mildly to very complex VCO into one or two delays and a reverbs will keep you droning for days! thumbs up

For instance consider just one of the following VCOs for main drone duties:
Synth Tech E340, E355 or E352
Mutable Instruments Plaits (I haven't tried it but demos give me G.A.S.! love )

Here's just a E355 dual LFO, a couple mixers, two delays and a reverb:

Beyond that look at using LFOs, sequencers, cross faders, panners and VCAs to move audio and modulation sources around.
Intellijel Shapeshifter
just on its own
is packed full of drone.

Manis Iteritas + Loquelic iteritas are both incredible for Drone.

Really SLOW modulation with some attenuators in combination with those would really generate some fantastic timbres. Rockin' Banana!
You mentioned you were interested in the history and spiritual basis of drones. There’s good info to be found in Wikipedia. Talk a look into classical music of India. Here’s something you might like
for drone i'd go with the resonant equalizer from random source and the dual wasp from the same manufacturer. i don't got them myself, but they seem dope when it comes to doing dronier stuff
Can definitely vouch for the Loquelic and Cursus for drones, especially in combination with an analog wave folder and a nice filter. I'd probably choose the Loquelic first although I have more experience with it. I would pick a filter with two FM inputs if I were you and of course you'll want a mixer or two for feedback fun.
Right now I'm having great fun with slowly enveloped sequences or samples going out via ALM's SBG to a Roland looper, and back into the rack for re-filtering, delaying, effecting, etc... Once things start to stack up you get some nice evolving textures.

So, something that does sound-on-sound looping...?
Grendel Drone Commander, Error Instruments Spikes?

Both seem fun and drone oriented.
For me, the Synthtech E352 is the most varied and flexible for drones. Being able to stack up the individual waves of a wavetable, adding your own, FMing with wavetables, it's kind of a monster of sound. I actually bought it just to try it and ended up buying a bigger case just to be able to keep it.

The Noise Engineering stuff is also amazing at droning, I'd probably choose Loquelic over Cursus because of how the oscillators interact in the LI, but Cursus would be a very close second. I actually think Cursus is more flexible, but perhaps not for "wall of sound" type drones.
The Double Andore mkII is great for drones - sorta built for that purpose. Its doesn't make sound but can be used with ant of your oscillators
Thanks for all of the great suggestions! Very helpful. I didn't expect to be hunting sound generators, but after checking out some of this that I hadn't heard before, my mind is changed. Also happened upon the English Tear, which will really open things up with the MS-20.
I find the Morpheus by Rossum Electro-Music a great filter for drones. It's a little bit daunting, but the documentation is great and I can produce some pretty unique sounds through it. Oh, and stereo too, which is a huge plus.
Have you looked at the Snazzy FX module lineup? Lots of good stuff for wall of sound drones, non-musical sounds and complex/crazy modulation. Dead Banana zombie SlayerBadger! screaming goo yo

Lots of info and videos in this thread:

One of the videos of a non-musical, generative patch: ZHS4q_2oWKTOA&index=15
JohnLRice wrote:
Just two simple VCOs or one mildly to very complex VCO into one or two delays and a reverbs will keep you droning for days! thumbs up

I guess drone is different things to different people, but this is closest to what I think of doing too. VCO + delay/reverb with some subtle modulation.
Mutable Instruments Rings will drone forever with noise on it's input.
The Cursus Iteritas can do a lot of timbral variation on it's own, but I've found it a bit challenging to use audio rate modulation with some of the parameters. Haven't done a lot of true FM with it though...

I'd take a look at the heavy hitters from Mannequins: Just Friends, Mangrove, Three Sisters. All three are great oscillators for drone purposes and even used together in their more traditional roles of CV source/osc/filter they really achieve some wonderful harmonic movement.
Looking back at what I said in March. Of course the Me of March 2018 didn't have two W/s...

The wide view would be to have an audio chain with some good modulation points. Then something to modulate them with slowly and subtly. The first part is taste, the second is covered by Maths.

Right now I'm in Clouds' Spectral Madness mode's buffer. Even with sampled speech as a start and end texture you can get some really gorgeous stuff. Then your modulation comes into the position and size jacks and... Lotsa Love
I enjoy the ADDAC 601 fixed filter bank for drones, it can add some nice movement to a note when the various filters are modulated.
Reading with interest... Done plenty of drone stuff ITB but have yet to break into drones on my modular...
Shapeshifter + NLC Triple Sloth + Morgasmatron + Tallin.

Costs a bit but drone on motherlover!
Do you want harrowing drones of evil or lush pansy, errr I mean, pretty drones?

For evil drones, it's all about audio rate modulation and ring mod type effects as far as I'm concerned. Basically, anything that produces inharmonic overtones is the business. Oh, and wavefolding too.

The DPO / ModDemix combo is excellent for this, and so is the Loquelic Iteritas (but don't forget attenuators with this module).

In desktop format, the 0 Coast is awesome for drone once you realize the clock, slope, and contour can all be used as oscillators and can be synced and FM'd.

If you want lush stuff, wavetables like the E350 are effective. Clouds and Rings are suitable as well.

Complex modulation sources (or mixtures of simpler sources) are a must. Especially modulators that send triggers at different points of the cycle. Listening to a simple LFO going up and down is only interesting for so long.

Just my preferences, but hopefully some of it is helpful. Also, check out Éliane Radigue's music if you haven't already.
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