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HELLO! first post and looking... I ORDERED MY SYSTEM!!!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author HELLO! first post and looking... I ORDERED MY SYSTEM!!!
redroomrecordings
Hey everyone, i was directed to this forum via VSE while asking some questions about where to start with a modular system.

Sorry if there is a "no hello first posts" rule on here, but i didnt see any forum rules, also sorry if this is in the wrong place, gotta get used to the way things roll around here.

anyway onto topic. i've decided that i don't need any more VA's or softies in my setup as all my basses in those departments are very well covered, redundant even. my next step i've decided it to get into modular systems. i'm just having a hard time deciding on where to start. at first i was going to go with a basic dot com system but realized that it may not be the best fit for me. i love the look and size of the dot com systems, but the modules seem to be pretty bread and butter, which is fine but it also seems that there arn't many compatible modules from other companies to make things interesting.

next my eyes and heart went to the modcan b series....but after some quick calculations my wallet jumped out from my back pocket and slapped some sense into me.

so finally i think i have decided to go with a doepfer a-100 system to start. i'm not to keen on the module size or overall design, they look a lot like behringer gear to me confused, however they are comparable in price to dot com, have tons of interesting modules, and there are loads of companies making compatible modules.

needless to say i THINK this is my best option, but i could be wrong, as the world of modulars is very new to me. so any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.
cebec
Welcome!

Doepfer/Euro format is a great place to start. The modules are not as small as they often seem and the selection is unmatched. Like you said, there are a ton of other manufacturers supporting the Euro standard.

What sorts of sounds are you after and how do you hope to incorporate a modular into your studio and workflow?
redroomrecordings
cebec wrote:
Welcome!

Doepfer/Euro format is a great place to start. The modules are not as small as they often seem and the selection is unmatched. Like you said, there are a ton of other manufacturers supporting the Euro standard.

What sorts of sounds are you after and how do you hope to incorporate a modular into your studio and workflow?


i'm mostly looking to do alien soundscapes, bbc type bleeps and bloops but also acidy style sequences. im mostly interested in using it to create sounds that my other synths are probably capable of but i cant be bothered to try to learn how to program on them. i want this machine for jamming, to get more involved and personal with the sound but also to give me a better understanding of synthesis. it is far to easy to not REALLY learn synthesis when you have things like a virus ti or v synth. i need to stop being lazy and just tweaking presets sad
Kwote
frac is a viable option similar to euro and the racks are cheaper so it's a little easier to get started,

http://www.blacet.com/

http://www.metalbox.com/

http://www.wiard.com/

http://www.synthasonic.com/index.html

http://www.analoguehaven.com/stgsoundlabs/

http://www.analoguehaven.com/oakley/

http://www.analoguehaven.com/motm/

http://bananalogue.com/

and tons of diy,

http://cgs.synth.net/

http://www.musicfromouterspace.com/analogsynth.php?page=ANALOG

http://www.magsmoke.com/magsmoke.asp

etc.
Cybananna
redroomrecordings wrote:
i'm mostly looking to do alien soundscapes, bbc type bleeps and bloops.


You'll find modulars are perfect for this. 1000's of times more so than most keyboard synths IMO. In euro, Harvestman stuff will get you unique sounds. I also recommend the Make Noise Moddemod (true ring mod) for you. It fits what you seem to be looking for like no other! There a lot of nice Doepfer modules, but certainly don't rule out the other Euro makers.

redroomrecordings wrote:
im mostly interested in using it to create sounds that my other synths are probably capable of but i cant be bothered to try to learn how to program on them.


I had similar thoughts as this but I found the modular will allow creativity and complexity way beyond what I expected. A modular doesn't have to be a synth, it can be many together dependinng on your modules and patching. There are many keyboard synths that I would never get rid of. I work totally differnntly depending on what type of synthesis and type of synth i'm using.

redroomrecordings wrote:
i want this machine for jamming, to get more involved and personal with the sound but also to give me a better understanding of synthesis. it is far to easy to not REALLY learn synthesis when you have things like a virus ti or v synth. i need to stop being lazy and just tweaking presets sad


yea, I wanted one for a new way of playing a synth. I got that, but I quickly learned that with all the synth knowledge I had, I didn't know crap!

good luck!
redroomrecordings
thanks for the advice guys. I'm really getting excited about this. I just need to sell of some unused synths to foot the bill. Over the years I amassed a large amount of synths but now realize there is way too much cross over in sound, and a lot of them can be pretty uninspiring. Some I will never get rid of though (virus c and ti, vsynth, waldorf xtk and blofeld, est)...but the slew of low range va's like the ms2000, 8080, and k-station are goin' on the bay asap.


i guess at first i will purchase the a-100 system, then soon after an empty rack/psu and add from there, i think that is where the fun will really come in. I already know i want some livewire stuff.

also could you guys recommend a good sequencer module to start with, not looking for something overly complex, just something to make loops with while playing around. is the A-155 good enough as an intro sequencer?
dkcg
I like the MFB Seq-01 for a gate sequencer. Price is nice too and doesn't take up too much space. I'm waiting for the Miltons whenever they come out, but am using a Futureretro Revolution for note sequencing. I'm not sure about the availability of the A155, but don't forget about dividers and counters for sequencing too.
felix
redroomrecordings wrote:
i guess at first i will purchase the a-100 system, then soon after an empty rack/psu and add from there, i think that is where the fun will really come in. I already know i want some livewire stuff.

Unless you feel totally lost, I would just start off with a custom system first. Don't feel tempted to get one of the "suggested systems" just because you don't know where to start. Or at least, take the example system's functions as a starting point, but replace them with more "interesting" modules that do the same thing. For example, loose the Doepfer dual ring mod and get the MakeNoise ModDemod. Loose the two Doepfer VCOs and replace them with a pair of TipTop Z3ks. Etc.

I remember feeling the same way when starting my system, and I'm really glad I didn't go with any of the suggested systems and instead did it piece by piece. Don't be afraid to not have all the bread and butter bits right off the bat either. I didn't have an oscillator for the longest time, in fact, my first two modules were the Plan B M13 Lowpass gates and the Doepfer quad ADSR. There will be plenty to learn and use with only a couple modules.

redroomrecordings wrote:
also could you guys recommend a good sequencer module to start with, not looking for something overly complex, just something to make loops with while playing around. is the A-155 good enough as an intro sequencer?

Yeah the A-155 is a great sequencer and will do you great as an intro sequencer and more. The A-154 will open it up even further.

I always feel like a bit of a douche, recommending my own videos, but people really seem to like them, so maybe they can help you out as well. I've got a video for each of the livewire mods.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jamescigler&view=videos
redroomrecordings
felix wrote:
redroomrecordings wrote:
i guess at first i will purchase the a-100 system, then soon after an empty rack/psu and add from there, i think that is where the fun will really come in. I already know i want some livewire stuff.

Unless you feel totally lost, I would just start off with a custom system first. Don't feel tempted to get one of the "suggested systems" just because you don't know where to start. Or at least, take the example system's functions as a starting point, but replace them with more "interesting" modules that do the same thing. For example, loose the Doepfer dual ring mod and get the MakeNoise ModDemod. Loose the two Doepfer VCOs and replace them with a pair of TipTop Z3ks. Etc.

I remember feeling the same way when starting my system, and I'm really glad I didn't go with any of the suggested systems and instead did it piece by piece. Don't be afraid to not have all the bread and butter bits right off the bat either. I didn't have an oscillator for the longest time, in fact, my first two modules were the Plan B M13 Lowpass gates and the Doepfer quad ADSR. There will be plenty to learn and use with only a couple modules.

redroomrecordings wrote:
also could you guys recommend a good sequencer module to start with, not looking for something overly complex, just something to make loops with while playing around. is the A-155 good enough as an intro sequencer?

Yeah the A-155 is a great sequencer and will do you great as an intro sequencer and more. The A-154 will open it up even further.

I always feel like a bit of a douche, recommending my own videos, but people really seem to like them, so maybe they can help you out as well. I've got a video for each of the livewire mods.

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=jamescigler&view=videos


i would like to do a custom to start, but am not sure what to do. also i assumed that getting the suggested system may be cheaper. i know i added up the ammounts of the individual modules in the dot com entry level system and it was cheaper to buy the system.

i find pricing of modules sort of overwhelming to be honest and if i did my own custom to start i wouldnt really be sure what is necessary and what isnt.

if you would be so kind as to suggest a custom system that is comparible in price to the pre built one, but would offer more possibilities i would definately take it into mind and really appreciate it, but i know that would take some effort and i wouldnt expect anyone to do that for me.
redroomrecordings
actually what would really help is if someone could let me know what from the pre built system is absolutely necessary / recommended. From there i can add what i find interesting, things like VCOs are straightforward enough but there are a bunch of modules im not even really sure of what they do or if they are necessary.
MrDys
Not to be difficult, but the thing about that is, none of it is absolutely necessary. Traditional subtractive synthesis says that you need an oscillator, a filter, an envelope, and a VCA; but you don't really need all of those to start. Less so if you're after alien soundscapes.

Let's take oscillators, for example. LFOs, looping envelopes, and filters in high resonance can all generate sound. It's all in how you use them. I still don't own a "proper" oscillator.

This goes down the line, as well; filters can be used as VCAs, LFOs can act as envelopes, slews can act as filters, etc etc etc.

Part of owning a modular is lots of reading and research and experimenting and playing around.


(Having said all that and based on what you've said you're interested in making, you're probably going to be after a good set of random/noise/S&H modules. Look into the Doepfer A-149-1, Plan B Model 24, Livewire Dual Cyclotron, Doepfer A-117, Doepfer A-118, Doepfer A-148, Analogue Solutions SH-NZ, and the Analogue Systems RS-40.)
dkcg
youtube can be a big help when looking up specific modules too. The dealers are all very helpful too. They could help you put together a custom system be it Analogue Systems, PlanB, Doepfer, Livewire, etc. And depending on how you look at it, after a while, there will be many modules you wonder how you did without. smile
dkcg
When are you gonna make some more technical videos Felix? Don't make me want the AFG now... lol
JohnLRice
Welcome! hihi I'm still a noob here myself but I've really been enjoying this forum, I hope you will too!

It sounds like you've gotten really good advice and are headng in a direction that will suit your needs well. So . . . let me suggest some different stuff! hyper

I'm a fan of the large format modulars like Moog, Synthesizers.com (DotCom for short), Modcan etc etc and of course MOTM! love

First off, while the DOTCOM line of modules are 'mostly' basic building blocks (if you don't count the awesome sequencer modules they have!) there are other companies you can get stuff from to suppliment your DOTCOM system with:

http://stgsoundlabs.com/

http://www.lunar-experience.com/start.html

http://www.cyndustries.com/modules_zero-osc.cfm?type=38

http://www.cluboftheknobs.com/
(Warning: COTK seems to have the reputation for the worst delivery times AND the worst communications so be careful. They have some VERY temping items though . . )

http://www.mos-lab.com/UntitledFrameset-10.htm

http://www.moogce.com/
(probably the closest to "real" Moog modules that you can buy new . . the most expensive too!)


OK, all that said, starting in August 2008 I went with Synthesis Technology MOTM as my base format: https://www.synthtech.com/motm.html While they are more expensive than comparable DotCom items I think they are less expensive than Modcan. (probably need to verify that) I feel I was fortunate too because I seemed to find a lot of used MOTM modules for sale and have saved many $100's over buying new. While Synth Tech also has a reputation for exessively long delivery times, communications have always been excellent and Paul at Synth Tech seems to be making a major and successful effort this year to get caught up with back orders and reorganize his company to stay competative and ultimately deliver orders in a reasonable amount of time.

There are some really great modules in the synth Tech MOTM line but what really makes the platform really diverse and exciting is all the third party modules/kits/DIY items available! Here's a sampling:

http://www.oakleysound.com/projects.htm

http://www.cgs.synth.net/

http://www.tellun.com/motm/diy/diy.html

http://www.musicfromouterspace.com/index.php?page=HOME

http://yusynth.net/

http://stgsoundlabs.com/

http://www.bridechamber.com/bridechamber.com/Home.html

http://pugix.com/synth/


Is dat enough info for now? hyper
Kwote
if you must get a preselected system just make sure you sell off what you ultimately won't use and replace it with better stuff.

but i agree with the others. i started off with a very small frac system and have built up to around a 17u system that i'm very happy about within the span of a little over a year. i've learned and continue to learn a lot more due to my limitations.
JohnLRice
PS - don't sell that Korg MS2000! The RAWK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SlayerBadger!
Cybananna
I also would not suggest the Doepfer prebuilt system. With what you've described, a little research and guidance from the people here will likely put a much more interesting instrument in your hands that will give you more of the sounds you're after.

I almost did the same. I was overwelmed and just about went for that prebuilt system. Looking back, I would have sold off 99% of it since I only currently have VCA, mixer, and ADSR from the basic one. The rest are other modules I found more suited to my taste (some Doepfer somme not). Ex: moddemod over Doepfer ringmod. (the doepfer one is fine, but the moddemod is more old sci-fi sounding hyper lol

Both the A-100 systems are nice, you can't deny that, but you may get more for your money elsewhere, even if it means less modules.

I'll think about some other modules I can recommend. I will assumme euro only.
Kent
My journey by chapter:

    Bought the Vostok System in order to have a good solid footing in modular land

    Added another rack of Harvestman (one of each at this point), some looney noise makers and then discovered that I really liked sequencing/timing related stuff so added them as I went along.

    Grabbed two racks of Blacet gear and they all play nicely together.


The thing that I learned is that you can move slowly and add things as per your shifting fancy. I'm primarily a guitarist although I started on piano over 1/2 a lifetime ago. Don't worry about getting it 'right' all at once. You don't even know what 'right' is yet. It's a fun ride to be sure.

I'd suggest finding a pal in your area that is into modulars hanging with him/her for a while. Pose questions, play with their gear and buy an empty rack that is at least 50% larger than what you think you are going to need. As EVERY SINGLE PERSON HERE KNOWS: You will fill it.

In short, I'm advocating buying as you grow. You'll probably need some utility modules: ADSRs, VCAs, LFOs etc. Be sure to grab one or two instant gratification modules (Tyme Sefari with A Sound of Thunder expander modules would be high on the list) so that you can have some fun and so that you will feel good about diving into the modular pool. Oh, and don't forget the patch cables.
Audio Resistance
I would also check the line on the wait times on some modules. I have been doing this for only about 6 months and the whole time I have been waiting for some module or another.

I was in your same spot and just decided to start a sound processing rig with all the Harvestman, some Cwejman and Doepfer. All that did was tease me to want all the bread and butter modules and a sequencer, so now I am getting near about $8000.00 with 12u of mods and wondering if maybe I should have just got some Serge panels.

Do not get me wrong ,"I love it" but it is highly addictive. I was not sure what all I really needed at first either, but believe me when I say " You will figure out quickly what you can not live without".

Cheers,
Rob
Soy Sos
I also started with a custom Doepfer 6U. Analogue Haven was extremely helpful. Like folks said, you don't have to feel compelled to fill the rack. Also keep in mind the used market. Modules can resell at around 70% and this forum in particular is a great place to safely pop a module off in the mail on a trade or sale without any worry of getting scammed. So if you mess with a particular combination for a while and it's not quite doing it for you, try something else. Also search the forums. There are insanely long threads with comparisons and opinions of filters, sequencers, VCA's, ring modulators, VCO's
etc etc etc ...... Oh and one more thing, personally I love having a level matching device to incorporate outside devices into the modular system.
Guitar pedals, rack gear or toys. You just need an attenuator to drop the level down to go into the pedal and an amplifier to go back into the modular.
chimologic
redroomrecordings wrote:

i'm mostly looking to do alien soundscapes, bbc type bleeps and bloops but also acidy style sequences. im mostly interested in using it to create sounds that my other synths are probably capable of but i cant be bothered to try to learn how to program on them. i want this machine for jamming, to get more involved and personal with the sound but also to give me a better understanding of synthesis. it is far to easy to not REALLY learn synthesis when you have things like a virus ti or v synth. i need to stop being lazy and just tweaking presets sad


Is quite the opposite, you;d have to do a lot of reading,studying and understanding to get the type of sounds you want on a modular, a virus or virtual synth is much easier to understand and program and 'jam' with.
But who the hell wants to? modular is way more fun, sounds usually better and is full of possibilities. thats what makes it special.

if yout hink a modualr is the kind of thing you can just jam out of the box and get all kinds of great sounds you are going to be very surprised very fast
flts
chimologic wrote:
if yout hink a modualr is the kind of thing you can just jam out of the box and get all kinds of great sounds you are going to be very surprised very fast


That's what happened in my case. But I might just have had the right kind of background w00t Not that I wouldn't be surprised about finding new cool things to do with the little system every other day...
redroomrecordings
chimologic wrote:
redroomrecordings wrote:

i'm mostly looking to do alien soundscapes, bbc type bleeps and bloops but also acidy style sequences. im mostly interested in using it to create sounds that my other synths are probably capable of but i cant be bothered to try to learn how to program on them. i want this machine for jamming, to get more involved and personal with the sound but also to give me a better understanding of synthesis. it is far to easy to not REALLY learn synthesis when you have things like a virus ti or v synth. i need to stop being lazy and just tweaking presets sad


Is quite the opposite, you;d have to do a lot of reading,studying and understanding to get the type of sounds you want on a modular, a virus or virtual synth is much easier to understand and program and 'jam' with.
But who the hell wants to? modular is way more fun, sounds usually better and is full of possibilities. thats what makes it special.

if yout hink a modualr is the kind of thing you can just jam out of the box and get all kinds of great sounds you are going to be very surprised very fast


sorry, i think you misunderstand. I know that it won't be jammable right from the get go. What I mean is that with something like a virus there are so many amazing sounds as presets that you can get lazy easily and not start from scratch, also there is menu diving which can get tiring and be enough to stop you from programming from scratch.

i full expect to get completely frustrated and take possibly hours to even come up with something remotely usable or interesting on a modular, but what interests me is the fact that i HAVE to come up with something myself, im really excited about that.
redroomrecordings
THANKS EVERYONE! you guys are so helpful i can't believe it, most forums don't offer this much advice to n00bies....i am already finding myself checking this this forum before VSE each day, eek! sacrilege smile.


anyway, you all have me, and my wallet convinced not to buy a starter system. I think I will buy a 6U rack and enough modules to fill about the bottom row, leaving another open for later additions. this may be good because it will be cheaper at first and will let me focus on learning less modules at one time.

you guys are makling my head spin though, all this "nothing is really necessary" talk. you are making me throw out everything i know about synthesis smile....i thought for sure a some stuff would be essential, especially a VCO.

either way my question of what IS necessary is more based towards utility modules, not VCOs and VCAs est, but more stuff like mixers...i am sure i NEED some sort of mixer for the output at the end of the chain, but who knows. Either way i'm sure this is something i'd want so i can control an output level....can you guys recommend what you think is the best mixer, i'd like something that has panning and a stereo signal if possible.


i think know i'll take a chance at planning out a system i think would work, and i'll run it past you guys.

once again, thanks a lot, you guys rock.
dougcl
It seems to me this thread is an excellent starting point

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2104

Have a look at what folks here would do with just one rack for maximum flexibility.
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