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beginner noise rack - need help
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author beginner noise rack - need help
medium Rob
Hey all,

I'm fairly new to the forum.. and I've finally succumbed to the modular bug that I had remained so ignorant of, for the last couple of decades. I'm starting out with a few modules (I've been using an 0-coast), and I just ordered a Tiptop Happy Ending kit, along with some cables, etc.

Originally, I was going for a Tiptop Mantis case (2 x 104 hp), but ended up settling on the Happy Ending kit. I sprung for an Intellijel Rubicon (from Analogue Haven), because they're 33% cheaper than the mk II, and I didn't think space would be an issue. Now, it's become a problem. Might return the Rubicon, and I haven't yet purchased a Dixie II. Currently using the 0-coast, along with a Vermona Retroverb Lancet, and various pedals.



I'm looking to make pseudo-random generated patterns of tonal sounds and percussion, as well as lively drone music. I was thinking of adding a Tiptop ONE for samples (percussion, field recordings, etc.), but it looks like I might need to focus on adding more VCAs, a mixer (ALM Tangle Quartet?), and an output module (Rosie? µJack?) to channel out to my mixer / amplifier. As well as another EG - I don't know if the Pip Slope will be sufficient. Also, do I need an offset generator? Passive mults? Buffered mults? I'm slowly learning how all this stuff works, and I have very little hands-on experience.

I wanted to add a 4ms RCD (to generate more rhythmic variation), along with a Basimilus Iteritas Alter (+WMD Chimera) drum module(s) for more percussive voices.. but that's a fantasy, at this point. I went for a used Wogglebug because I have the impression that it might be easier to use / more playable (and cheaper) than a SSF URA module.

https://youtu.be/gPo8hUrTY3o
This video sort of demonstrates (roughly) what I had in mind for semi-random flow, and percussion-heavy music... but also drone-capable.

If anybody could chime in with a suggestion or two, it would be much appreciated.
danishchairs
medium Rob wrote:
http://youtu.be/gPo8hUrTY3o

This video sort of demonstrate (roughly) what I had in mind for semi-random flow, and percussion-heavy music... but also drone-capable.

If anybody could chime in with a suggestion or two, it would be much appreciated.

The modules in your rack are all fine modules, and I’m sure you’ve put a lot of work and research into your search so far.

On the other hand, you have found a video (by mylarmelodies, a very well-respected wiggler) that showcases modules capable of producing the kinds of music/sounds you want to make/play. Have you considered building your instrument with the modules in the video?

Mutable Instruments Stages, Marbles, Plaits, Clouds
Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas Alter
(He also mentions MI Blinds and Veils (in the notes on YouTube) to complement the modules in the video.)

For sure, mylarmelodies makes it look and sound “ace.”
medium Rob
danishchairs wrote:
medium Rob wrote:
http://youtu.be/gPo8hUrTY3o

This video sort of demonstrate (roughly) what I had in mind for semi-random flow, and percussion-heavy music... but also drone-capable.

Have you considered building your instrument with the modules in the video?

Mutable Instruments Stages, Marbles, Plaits, Clouds
Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas Alter
(He also mentions MI Blinds and Veils (in the notes on YouTube) to complement the modules in the video.)

For sure, mylarmelodies makes it look and sound “ace.”

yeah, I've seen (and heard) a lot of good things about the Mutable Instruments modules, and Stages has popped up often in the areas (of my search) which have piqued my interest. I suppose, at this point, I'm not ready to delve deeply into the MI realm of modular, even though the MI modules seem very capable / useful. I forgot to mention that I have a Korg SQ-1 sequencer, as well as a Keystep controller, which has a fun / easy-to-use sequencer feature.

edit: I began by obsessing a bit over the ALM Akemie's Castle (and TAIKO), along with the MN tELHARMONIC, and the forthcoming XAOC Odessa module, but the search has sort of evolved into a simpler / more grounded approach of learning how to use a series of modules, within a limited cost-range -- for the time being.
medium Rob
Should I be looking at the Disting mk4 (is it effective as an add'l EG?), or focus on finding a compact mixer\VCA ? Should I consider a smaller VCO / FM voice, or would it be wise to hold onto the Rubicon, and modulate it with the 0-coast (et al) ?
captjrab
Only 10hp left, yikes! You will need a bigger case one day, but no rush, ur’re off to a good start. You’re going to want VCA’s and attenuation to dial in all those amazing modulation sources. Blinds does offsets/attenuation as well as VCAs, so thatd be handy. Intelligel quad VCA also looks good.
Take your time.
cptnal
Disting is a great sample player for small, and gives you a whole bunch of other stuff to boot. w00t
MarcelP
captjrab wrote:
Only 10hp left, yikes! You will need a bigger case one day, but no rush, ur’re off to a good start. You’re going to want VCA’s and attenuation to dial in all those amazing modulation sources. Blinds does offsets/attenuation as well as VCAs, so thatd be handy. Intelligel quad VCA also looks good.
Take your time.


This is solid advice! VCAs will bind the whole thing together, a small mixer - maybe even a matrix mixer would be useful. I too see a bigger case in your future but great start and you only find out what additions you need when you find you haven’t got them...
medium Rob
MarcelP wrote:
captjrab wrote:
Only 10hp left, yikes! You will need a bigger case one day, but no rush, ur’re off to a good start. You’re going to want VCA’s and attenuation to dial in all those amazing modulation sources. Blinds does offsets/attenuation as well as VCAs, so thatd be handy. Intelligel quad VCA also looks good.
Take your time.


This is solid advice! VCAs will bind the whole thing together, a small mixer - maybe even a matrix mixer would be useful. I too see a bigger case in your future but great start and you only find out what additions you need when you find you haven’t got them...

Thank you. Do you think an ALM Busy Circuits Tangle Quartet 4-channel mixer\VCA might work? ...compared to the larger MI Blinds. Between the two (Tangle Quartet + Blinds), which would be most useful?

I'm thinking of removing (returning) the Rubicon (not certain), and freeing up space for the Mixer/VCA, along with a smaller VCO--still haven't purchased a Dixie II, or the MN Function.

This is what I'm looking at (tentatively):
Nagasaki45
Just a few comments from another noob here (so take my advice with a pinch of salt):

- I think that there's some overlap between the wogglebug and the sloths. You might better start with only one and see if you need more chaotic randomness down the road. I don't really know any of these two well enough, but I guess that the wogglebug is more fully featured, so I will start with it.

- Personally I would probably replace the batumi, pip slope, and function, with a stages. It will give you just a bit less options, but in much less space and money than these three.

- You definitely need some attenuators / attenuverters / VCAs for CV. It can be anything from triatt / shades, through a*b+c, to blinds. Personally I would go with an a*b+c. It's relatively small and will give you most of what blinds gives you (minus 2 VCAs).

- You implied that you have an external mixer. So don't bother about mixing in the rack or having an output module. Take your separate voices out of the rack directly to the mixer.

- I'm using headphones splitters instead of passive mults. For me, the main difference is that you need both hands to plug and unplug them, whereas you can operate a passive mult in the rack with only one hand. It's a performance related issue, and a pretty minor one. You'll need buffered mults (only?) if you want to send one pitch signal to multiple VCOs.

- More generally, evolve slowly! You mentioned many modules you would like to use, but you will probably change your mind many times :-) Get a basic working system that is fun to play with and expand your rack in small steps.

Hope it helps, and feel free to disagree. All of this modular thing is so subjective :-)
Nagasaki45
medium Rob wrote:
Thank you. Do you think an ALM Busy Circuits Tangle Quartet 4-channel mixer\VCA might work? ...compared to the larger MI Blinds. Between the two (Tangle Quartet + Blinds), which would be most useful?


Owning the tangle qurtet, I think it excels as an end of chain VCA / mixer for your voices. Since I started to mix my voices externally I don't use it that much and when I use it is for CV. I don't like the layout very much because: (a) the outputs are not near the inputs, so it's harder to follow what's going on in a patch, and (b) the knobs are too close to the CV inputs, so they are sometime hard to wiggle, and some cables (e.g. hosa hopscotch) almost don't fit. EDIT: Lastly, (c), the led is for the CV input and not for the channel output. It makes total sense for audio mixing but a bit misleading when used for CV.
I plan to replace it with an a*b+c sometime in the future.
medium Rob
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions.. it's a lot to think about. I've already purchased the Pip Slope, but I haven't yet purchased a MN Function. I already pulled the trigger on a Triple Sloth and a used Wogglebug. Of course, I can experiment with one at a time--keep it simple and slow moving.

I really appreciate your insights, re: tangle quartet
MarcelP
Nagasaki45 wrote:
medium Rob wrote:
Thank you. Do you think an ALM Busy Circuits Tangle Quartet 4-channel mixer\VCA might work? ...compared to the larger MI Blinds. Between the two (Tangle Quartet + Blinds), which would be most useful?


Owning the tangle qurtet, I think it excels as an end of chain VCA / mixer for your voices. Since I started to mix my voices externally I don't use it that much and when I use it is for CV. I don't like the layout very much because: (a) the outputs are not near the inputs, so it's harder to follow what's going on in a patch, and (b) the knobs are too close to the CV inputs, so they are sometime hard to wiggle, and some cables (e.g. hosa hopscotch) almost don't fit. EDIT: Lastly, (c), the led is for the CV input and not for the channel output. It makes total sense for audio mixing but a bit misleading when used for CV.
I plan to replace it with an a*b+c sometime in the future.


I use both Blinds and Veils - as a “first quad VCA” either would be great - (though I use Blinds inside a patch and Veils as audio output control either could do either job). I don’t have the Tangle Quartet - partly for the reasons detailed above. I would be wary of picking one module over another by space considerations starting out - lack of rack space is easier to overcome than irritations due to cramped layouts and missing functionality on a module.

Re: replacing Batumi, Function and Pip-slope with MI Stages. I have all those modules: though Stages does great things - many more different things than that trio of modules, for what I think is your intended use Stages will be doing clever tricks you don’t need (yet) and might be less flexible/playable in the longer term depending on your direction....Definitely worth thinking about in a small rack (or a few in a large rack!) but don’t be woo-ed by the list of tricks it can do.

These initial decisions are hard when there is so much choice!
subdo
I know this is against the "never too many vca's" grain but I bought a Tangled Quartet with my first row and have never bought another VCA in almost three years. I'm sure the bigger quads have their benefits but TQ has been all I've needed. For perspective I have a bunch of drum modules that don't really need VCAs, Ripples (internal VCA) and Optomix (LPG/VCA hybrid) in my 9U.
captjrab
medium Rob wrote:
MarcelP wrote:
captjrab wrote:
Only 10hp left, yikes! You will need a bigger case one day, but no rush, ur’re off to a good start. You’re going to want VCA’s and attenuation to dial in all those amazing modulation sources. Blinds does offsets/attenuation as well as VCAs, so thatd be handy. Intelligel quad VCA also looks good.
Take your time.


This is solid advice! VCAs will bind the whole thing together, a small mixer - maybe even a matrix mixer would be useful. I too see a bigger case in your future but great start and you only find out what additions you need when you find you haven’t got them...

Thank you. Do you think an ALM Busy Circuits Tangle Quartet 4-channel mixer\VCA might work? ...compared to the larger MI Blinds. Between the two (Tangle Quartet + Blinds), which would be most useful?

I'm thinking of removing (returning) the Rubicon (not certain), and freeing up space for the Mixer/VCA, along with a smaller VCO--still haven't purchased a Dixie II, or the MN Function.

This is what I'm looking at (tentatively):


Put the Rubicon back in the box and in a safe place. You will eventually make space for it.
MarcelP
captjrab wrote:
medium Rob wrote:
MarcelP wrote:
captjrab wrote:
Only 10hp left, yikes! You will need a bigger case one day, but no rush, ur’re off to a good start. You’re going to want VCA’s and attenuation to dial in all those amazing modulation sources. Blinds does offsets/attenuation as well as VCAs, so thatd be handy. Intelligel quad VCA also looks good.
Take your time.


This is solid advice! VCAs will bind the whole thing together, a small mixer - maybe even a matrix mixer would be useful. I too see a bigger case in your future but great start and you only find out what additions you need when you find you haven’t got them...

Thank you. Do you think an ALM Busy Circuits Tangle Quartet 4-channel mixer\VCA might work? ...compared to the larger MI Blinds. Between the two (Tangle Quartet + Blinds), which would be most useful?

I'm thinking of removing (returning) the Rubicon (not certain), and freeing up space for the Mixer/VCA, along with a smaller VCO--still haven't purchased a Dixie II, or the MN Function.

This is what I'm looking at (tentatively):


Put the Rubicon back in the box and in a safe place. You will eventually make space for it.


Yet more great advice - this guy is good! thumbs up

Rubicon is a real quality workhorse - it is my "go to " oscillator - and I have a few...
Nagasaki45
First:

medium Rob wrote:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions.. it's a lot to think about. I've already purchased the Pip Slope, but I haven't yet purchased a MN Function. I already pulled the trigger on a Triple Sloth and a used Wogglebug. Of course, I can experiment with one at a time--keep it simple and slow moving.

I really appreciate your insights, re: tangle quartet


I'm sure you will enjoy all of these modules! I would personally wait a bit with the MN function.

Now:

medium Rob wrote:




I think that your 2nd plan is much less interesting than the 1st one. You have many modulation sources but almost nothing to modulate. Ignoring the disting for a moment (because you probably don't want it bound to 1 specific task), the only "modulation destination" you've got is the TT one's CV in, and some amplitude modulation / ring modulation from the VCA (whatever that is) and moddemix.
cptnal
I too am wondering what you'll modulate. However, you do have plenty room in there for a couple of what some call "simple" oscillators (STO, Dixie II+, etc...).

Tony Ronaldo calls it "timbre farming", and what you do it take the simplest building blocks and build interesting sounds through AM, FM, RM, cross-modulation, and so on. You don't have to have a super whizz-bang oscillator to make interesting noises. This is fun!

The multiple-instance modules (Batumi, TQ...) will stand you in good stead as you expand. But yeah, either the Pip Slop or the Function. Unlikely you'll need both right now.
medium Rob
Nagasaki45 wrote:
I think that your 2nd plan is much less interesting than the 1st one. You have many modulation sources but almost nothing to modulate. Ignoring the disting for a moment (because you probably don't want it bound to 1 specific task), the only "modulation destination" you've got is the TT one's CV in, and some amplitude modulation / ring modulation from the VCA (whatever that is) and moddemix.

The original iteration (with the Rubicon, no TT ONE, Disting, Tangle x4 etc.) is where I'm at. Are Pip Slope and MN Function redundant, or are people suggesting simply to start slowly? Is the MN Function useful with this array of modules? I was thinking of Dixie II as a modulator for the Rubicon, but I'll get moving with what I've got (no Function, 2nd oscillator, etc.) I'm only wondering how limited this setup will be without a primary VCA (the modDemix has limited VCA functionality), and add'l EGs - thanks everyone, for the suggestions.
captjrab
You can use Moddemix for your VCA, but it has a certain flavor, a bit distorted. Could be very good going through a filter then out and there are some cool patch ideas in the manual you can expand on. Just experiment with what you have and you will figure out the next step. Id say hold pff on function till you are ready for a bigger case and get a Maths. It’s pretty intense figuring out a 3U rig. You are already poised for a bigger case. In the meantime, use external stuff like your Arturia and squeeze all the goodness out of your current rig. There’s already a lot of learning to be had with what you got.
letitbleep
honestly just get a bigger rack. wrestling over what to squeeze in a hek seems stressful!

and if you want to do noise get a matrix mixer trust me
medium Rob
84 hp is what I'm working with... it's a limitation that I've already set, I'll be able to branch out (bigger) down the road. I'm currently looking at a MN LxD, to add filtered/percussive qualities to sequences I make with the SQ-1 and the Keystep. I'm wondering, with this limited array of modules (no MN Function etc.), is it unrealistic to add an LxD module, or will I be able to exploit its features with the modules I'm working with?
Nagasaki45
So, if I understand correctly this is what you currently got:



Am I right? If so, I think that you can wait a bit before purchasing more modules. Get used to the system and come back when you know that something is missing. The only exception might be attenuation / mixer / VCA (for CV!). Again, everything from triatt / shades / fonitronik cascade / a*b+c / blinds will probably work.
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