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HELLO! first post and looking... I ORDERED MY SYSTEM!!!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
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.
redroomrecordings
dougcl wrote:
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.


good call, i'll ready through in a momment.

I just had my first attempt at designing my own system. Let me know what you guys thing, if there is something specific I should add, replace, or remove...as it is it would be sitting at a very nice price for me and i would be able to get it sooner than i would have the pre built system.

here we go:


A-100 G6 Case
Livewire AFG
Livewire frequensteiner
Livewire Dual Cyclotron
A-140 ASDR
A-131 VCA
A-190 Midi
A-180 Multi
dkcg
redroomrecordings wrote:


A-100 G6 Case
Livewire AFG
Livewire frequensteiner
Livewire Dual Cyclotron
A-140 ASDR
A-131 VCA
A-190 Midi


A-132-3 is a better VCA with lin and log. audio sound great through it, and CVs work well in lin mode.

Cyclotron is cool, but it takes up a LOT of space quick. I love mine, but find myself using my D-LFO much more often now. It's different tho than a Cyclotron.

A-140 is decent for a start, you may look at some of the MFB gear too, fairly cheap, small footprint.

A-190, sure you want to take up valuable rack space? smile I use the Kenton ProSolo, works awesome, even translates midi clock to pulses of several variety.

I started this last summer in euro format, become an addict quite quickly. Here's my path o doom.

1. TResonator bought, then moogerfoogers, built a Paia kit, this was the gateway drug.
2. Bought a PlanB System, one of the first out of their new store.
3. Bought an empty case to fit my Superpsycho LFO (it's huge too).
4. Filled that case.
5. Tried a cwejman, bought another case and more modules.
6. I stand with my wallet much thinner than it was 6 months ago... grin
surachai
Wow, I really wish this forum existed before I bought my modular as most if not all of my modules have been replaced. The list you have going right now redroom is what I wish what I could've started with! That looks great! You might want to (if they're available) look into some more modulation sources like the Livewire Dalek / Vulcan or even more utility modules like the A-143-3 Doepfer Quad LFO. Don't forget A-180 Mults and a mixer.
Also, I would suggest replacing the A-131 VCA with a A-132 Dual VCA, it'll save you space and give you an extra VCA but you'll be sacrificing a few controls that honestly, I never use. If you're still insistent on the more options and flexibility of a A-131, send me a message and I'll sell you mine!
redroomrecordings
thanks guys...about the A-132, since it has no volume control im not sure how it would work...just a full level out which you would control via your outboard mixer?

and i think i'll add a multiple to the list.

I should also point out that im not worried about large modules, although they may take up rack space i like the idea of larger modules, and that was the main reason i was first drawn to the 5U format stuff.

another thing, and im sure im not the only one here is that i want to keep the system looking somewhat consistent. I probably wont be adding modules with different faceplate covers and such, unless they are really awesome.
Kent
Here's a favorite of mine that packs a mighty punch in a little package. Much like what my wife says about my underpants.
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~concuss/concussor/sy02.htm

Complete with soundfile: http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~concuss/concussor/audio/SY02Demo160K b.mp3




The input level, to the filter, lets you drive the filter if you wish to do so; and it sounds damn good. It's a bit like the 'drive' control on the input to the Moogerfooger pedals.

You will need a mixer at some point. Probably another one for CVs too, but you can worry about that later. Worry about this now; Cwejman has too many damn good choices:


http://cwejman.net/cwejman.net/vca-4mx.htm

http://cwejman.net/cwejman.net/ins-4.htm

http://cwejman.net/cwejman.net/mx-4s.htm
Kent
Here's another one from Analogue Solutions that could save you some space.





http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~concuss/concussor/sy03.htm
surachai
Quote:
about the A-132, since it has no volume control im not sure how it would work...just a full level out which you would control via your outboard mixer?


You are correct. The A-131 can act like a 2 channel mixer and yes you can control the volume of the output but I usually like to mix with one module rather than separate points of the signal flow.
chimologic
The harvestman polyvoks is a pretty killer lowpass/bandpass filter and also has 2 input mixer in there....
sandyb
redroomrecordings wrote:
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.


looks like a nice system you're planning! as far as mixers go it maybe depends on how much you want to spend. the cwejman mx4s is a 4 channel device with voltage control of panning etc - it costs a bit, although not over the top considering what it does:

http://www.analoguehaven.com/cwejman/mx4s/

a bit cheaper is the combination i use which is a Plan B model 9 mixer (which has two separate channels) in combination with a doepfer A134 panner/crossfader. works well. i think at some point i'll spring for the cwejman though as i like the idea of having it all in the one module.

http://www.noisebug.net/site/planb/index.cfm?id=5

http://www.doepfer.de/a134.htm


sandy
zerosum
Quote:
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.

Thats a good observation, congrats 8)

Quote:
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.


In my opinion, the virus negates the need for more VA's, unless they are around for centimental reasons.
I enjoy working with the Virus a lot, the effects can be routed to modulation options(LFO to sample rate reduction, etc), there are plenty of waveshapes, and it sounds good and is a pleasure to use, no need to try and get something else to do the same thing(s), that money can be better spent elsewhere(as you have concluded).

Quote:
i full expect to get completely frustrated and take possibly hours to even come up with something remotely usable or interesting on a modular


In my experience the simplest things reward me with great smiles 8)
Things don't have to be complicated or "formulated"(this must go here, this must go there, etc...) to produce inspiring results.
Just play the game of sticking cables in the holes, then observe what is happening to the sound when you do it.

I think you would really love some random voltage generators that produce strange modulations for those alien communication moments.

good luck thumbs up
redroomrecordings
you guys are awesome! thanks again.

now to get my ass in gear and post some synths on ebay so i can buy some modules.
dkcg
redroomrecordings wrote:

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 LOVE my Cwejman MX-4S. It doubles as a VCA for me too. Cwejman also makes a stereo ringmod that can double as a panner, although with much less control than the MX4S. The PlanB Model9, as someone mentioned, can be used as a 2 channel output mixer, but I wouldn't call it stereo, it's got no pan unless you send in a panned signal, the output is either A or B or neither (whe, but it's great for mixing signals and CVs. I use mine as a premix for the mx4s and as a 4 channel mixer/attenuator, it's very handy.
MrDys
redroomrecordings wrote:
another thing, and im sure im not the only one here is that i want to keep the system looking somewhat consistent. I probably wont be adding modules with different faceplate covers and such, unless they are really awesome.


I'm really going to have to beg you to get over this sooner rather than later. You're going to miss out on a lot of really excellent modules (the upcoming metasonix modules, for instance) if you continue to hold this stance.

I understand the anal retentive desire for it to look 'nice', but past a certain point, you've got to ask yourself whether you have a modular as a nice piece of furniture, or whether you have a modular as something to make noise with.
felix
You'll have to get over it anyway because even modules from the same manufacturer can have a slightly different shade of silver faceplate.

Once you're actually patching, you start to care less and less on how it looks.
wetterberg
yeah mate, aim towards getting really pretty patch cables, and lots of them, soon you won't be able to see much of your modules anyhoo.
dougcl
felix wrote:
You'll have to get over it anyway because even modules from the same manufacturer can have a slightly different shade of silver faceplate.

Once you're actually patching, you start to care less and less on how it looks.


Better yet, you'll start to love the way it looks!
dkcg
Kwote wrote:
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.


I totally agree. When I started my euro system, I wanted to make sure I wouldn't buy a system to only sell off and rebuy another system. Took my time, listening to demos, watching videos, reading posts in forums like this one, etc. The hardest part to get over is that there really are very few places you can go try out a module before buying it. I was lucky enough to have the designer himself, Peter Grenader demo the system for me, and once I heard that big fat ringing "whup whup whup" of the FMed M15s going through a M12 and M13, I knew I had to have them. grin

I ended up getting a Doepfer case filled with 90% PlanB modules (one Doepfer ribbon controller module in the mix). That being said, I still have every single one of the original case modules, and paired up a couple. It was pricey, more than I'd ever spent on any instrument (even my Dobro), but I'm glad I spent time in deciding what to get instead of jumping into a prebuilt system. Although, PlanB has way less modules than Doepfer or Asys, so it wasn't too hard to fill a case with one of each and a pair of M15s.

Part of going modular, to me, is making that leap of faith into the unknown, especially since most people don't know too many other people with modulars. The hardest part is finding the limit to how big it should/could grow. lol
wetterberg
I think the "suggested systems" suck ass, and catering to either a) those who want "VCO, VCF, VCA, Env, LFO period" and "Ooh, a big theremin" only is a bunch of doohicky wink

Take the time, scope out the interesting modules you would like to experience and buy those. And only those. Don't buy things to sell them at 75% a few weeks later... that's a VERY expensive way to run a modular (I'm looking at you, Bakis!)
redroomrecordings
Alright! items up on ebay to fund the modular. As soon as they sell I'm sending in the order. Hopefully I get my BIN prices for everything, if so it will pretty much pay for the modular order exactly. and if they don't sell, well i guess i could pick up an extra, small contract at work and bust my balls for a few days to pay for it.

wish me luck

and if anyone is interested here is my "final" decision on what im getting:


dkcg
I would get the A-132-3 instead of the A-131, you get lin and exp mode so it's great for audio or CVs, but you lose a couple input options, I think 2 VCAs makes up for it. And a linear mixer would be better for mixing CVs, it doesn't look like you have a lot of audio to mix yet so the lin may come in more handy.

ADSRs, I really like the RS-60 a lot since it can self cycle giving you a nice LFO, and the output level is polarized, giving you an inverted envelope, but it does cost more than the doepfer, but I think it's worth it. You may need an attenuator for the cyclotron's output, there's no output level dial, I hardly ever run mine straight into anything w/o a attenuated input since it can get pretty wild. you should be able to get some far out sounds with the livewire stuff. smile

Might want to look into a Dalek next...
timmah
I'd get the plan B model 9 as it is a mixer and an attenuator, instead of the doepfer. You might want to consider other options to the AFG and dual cyclotron, although they are really good, they take up a lot of your precious rack space.
def get the 132-3 instead of the 131.
dougcl
I don't really get the appeal of the dual cyclotron. It has nothing to patch, it's huge, and what now, no output attenuation? What's ulitmately underneath all of that? A couple of LFO's?
redroomrecordings
dkcg wrote:
I would get the A-132-3 instead of the A-131, you get lin and exp mode so it's great for audio or CVs, but you lose a couple input options, I think 2 VCAs makes up for it. And a linear mixer would be better for mixing CVs, it doesn't look like you have a lot of audio to mix yet so the lin may come in more handy.

ADSRs, I really like the RS-60 a lot since it can self cycle giving you a nice LFO, and the output level is polarized, giving you an inverted envelope, but it does cost more than the doepfer, but I think it's worth it. You may need an attenuator for the cyclotron's output, there's no output level dial, I hardly ever run mine straight into anything w/o a attenuated input since it can get pretty wild. you should be able to get some far out sounds with the livewire stuff. smile

Might want to look into a Dalek next...


yea, the livewire stuff is what's really getting me excited so i will probably try to get the rest of their modules over time.
felix
I would agree with dkcg and timmah on getting the A-132-3 over the 131.

I'd also second dkcg suggestion of an EG that can self-cycle (retrigger itself). But, that really depends on wether or not you are going to be playing this from a keyboard...aka, do you care about the Sustain and Release stages.

Based on the collection of key'd synths that you already have, a regular ADSR will likely suit you better for now. But self-cycling EGs, like the aforementioned RS-60 or the Plan B M10 are awesome.

I can't quite tell which A-138 you have there, but I would highly recommend the 138c bipolar mixer. Mixing the various waveform outputs of the AFG is a lot more interesting when you can phase invert any of them.
redroomrecordings
timmah wrote:
I'd get the plan B model 9 as it is a mixer and an attenuator, instead of the doepfer. You might want to consider other options to the AFG and dual cyclotron, although they are really good, they take up a lot of your precious rack space.
def get the 132-3 instead of the 131.


i'm not too worried about rack space as i will be buying a second 6u rack fairly quickly. i know it may seem sort of stupid but i actually like the idea of larger more spaced out modules, seems more inviting and easier to work with.

as for the 131 vs 132-3 thing, that is where i get very confused. i had put the 131 in there to be the main out for the system...do i not need to do this? im confused because the 132-3 only has cv outs and not audio outs. the whole cv signal vs audio signal thing is something i will be confused about until i get something in my hands to play with.
dougcl
Apparently there is a sound quality issue with the 131 that makes the 132 a better choice. Both modules do the same thing, but the A-132 is like getting two 131's and you can also pick between linear and exp. Of course the 132 might be too small for you. Weird concept for me. I am always going for max density. I would recommend the Cwejman VCA-4MX for max density.
felix
redroomrecordings wrote:
as for the 131 vs 132-3 thing, that is where i get very confused. i had put the 131 in there to be the main out for the system...do i not need to do this? im confused because the 132-3 only has cv outs and not audio outs. the whole cv signal vs audio signal thing is something i will be confused about until i get something in my hands to play with.

What lead you to think it's only CV outs? It is because it doesn't have "audio out" on the label?

There really is no difference between CV outs and audio outs. Some modules might be "DC filtered" or "AC coupled" which means that DC voltages (which many CV signals are) will not pass, but for the most part, "CV" and "Audio" outs are one in the same, which is one of the great things about modular systems. "CV" and "Audio" are both just voltages and in almost all cases, can be used interchangeably.

I bought an A130 VCA originally as my "master out" and I've come to rarely use it, mostly because I don't use a "master envelope" in any of my patches with which to open it. The only advantage it has over the A-132-3 is that it has two inputs, so it can function as a two channel mixer.
redroomrecordings
felix wrote:
redroomrecordings wrote:
as for the 131 vs 132-3 thing, that is where i get very confused. i had put the 131 in there to be the main out for the system...do i not need to do this? im confused because the 132-3 only has cv outs and not audio outs. the whole cv signal vs audio signal thing is something i will be confused about until i get something in my hands to play with.

What lead you to think it's only CV outs? It is because it doesn't have "audio out" on the label?

There really is no difference between CV outs and audio outs. Some modules might be "DC filtered" or "AC coupled" which means that DC voltages (which many CV signals are) will not pass, but for the most part, "CV" and "Audio" outs are one in the same, which is one of the great things about modular systems. "CV" and "Audio" are both just voltages and in almost all cases, can be used interchangeably.

I bought an A130 VCA originally as my "master out" and I've come to rarely use it, mostly because I don't use a "master envelope" in any of my patches with which to open it. The only advantage it has over the A-132-3 is that it has two inputs, so it can function as a two channel mixer.


aces! that's what i thought, but was unsure...this is good to know that you can essentially send out the audio at just about any stage in the patch then without going into a mixer.

i think i may actually rethink all of my utility modules and go with analogue systems stuff instead, except for the midi module, it looks a lot nicer quality and seems to have a little bit more space knob wise for tweaking.
dkcg
redroomrecordings wrote:

i think i may actually rethink all of my utility modules and go with analogue systems stuff instead, except for the midi module, it looks a lot nicer quality and seems to have a little bit more space knob wise for tweaking.


If you go with Asys as your main modules, you should get an Asys case, the power connectors on ASys modules are different and paired to their cases, or you will need Asys to Doepfer power cable/adapter for every Asys module you get (around $20-25 per cable at Big City). The ASys cases have power rails for both their modules and about 8 or so Doepfer power connectors, but watch how you plug them in, the keying is not always right and you may have to grind off the key to plug some modules in correctly. Personally, I can't stand the power connectors in the ASys modules, kinda tricky to get the cable connected, and very easy to bend a pin w/o even knowing it.

MIDI 2 CV you could always go for a Kenton Pro Solo, which I hear is a little nicer than the Doepfer (I have the Kenton). ASys midi2cv's a bit pricey for me, I'd just get an encore expressionist if I was spending over $500 on a midi2cv converter.
redroomrecordings
dkcg wrote:
redroomrecordings wrote:

i think i may actually rethink all of my utility modules and go with analogue systems stuff instead, except for the midi module, it looks a lot nicer quality and seems to have a little bit more space knob wise for tweaking.


If you go with Asys as your main modules, you should get an Asys case, the power connectors on ASys modules are different and paired to their cases, or you will need Asys to Doepfer power cable/adapter for every Asys module you get (around $20-25 per cable at Big City). The ASys cases have power rails for both their modules and about 8 or so Doepfer power connectors, but watch how you plug them in, the keying is not always right and you may have to grind off the key to plug some modules in correctly. Personally, I can't stand the power connectors in the ASys modules, kinda tricky to get the cable connected, and very easy to bend a pin w/o even knowing it.

MIDI 2 CV you could always go for a Kenton Pro Solo, which I hear is a little nicer than the Doepfer (I have the Kenton). ASys midi2cv's a bit pricey for me, I'd just get an encore expressionist if I was spending over $500 on a midi2cv converter.


good to know, i'll probably scrap the idea.
redroomrecordings
Well a bunch of stuff sold on ebay and i just got off the phone with analoghaven to put in my order!

some changes had to be made, the dual cyclotron isn't in stock and probably wont be for a while so i just went with a A-147 for now. I also changed the vca to the A-132-3 like everyone suggested. I also added in a A-188-1A.

as a bonus they were out of stock on the 6U racks, but had a used one at %20 off. everything is in stock and they are building it monday!

here i go, down the rabbit hole.
brandon daniel
redroomrecordings wrote:

as a bonus they were out of stock on the 6U racks, but had a used one at %20 off. everything is in stock and they are building it monday!


LOL, you're totally getting one of my racks (that I just traded into AH)! Enjoy!
chinard
Hmm.. no lowpass gate? eek!

Ah well, you got plenty of room for expansion and the makenoise quad LPG is out soon.
I use the plan b model 13 which is easily their best product, however all plan b modules are in short supply these days so you might be on the waiting list for a while.

LPG is one of those modules you dont realize how much you need until you've had a couple of weeks to putz about with them.
Ive pretty much given up on using VCA's for audio use since i started using LPG's.

One thing i would want to mention about the plan B model 9 is that there is a small amount of audio leakage on them.
Cant remember exactly why but this is normal behavior, you just got to learn to work around it.
They do work great as a pre-filter mixer since you can route the signal to two different destinations. Plus each channel can double as a stand alone attenuator.
redroomrecordings
chinard wrote:
Hmm.. no lowpass gate? eek!

Ah well, you got plenty of room for expansion and the makenoise quad LPG is out soon.
I use the plan b model 13 which is easily their best product, however all plan b modules are in short supply these days so you might be on the waiting list for a while.

LPG is one of those modules you dont realize how much you need until you've had a couple of weeks to putz about with them.
Ive pretty much given up on using VCA's for audio use since i started using LPG's.

One thing i would want to mention about the plan B model 9 is that there is a small amount of audio leakage on them.
Cant remember exactly why but this is normal behavior, you just got to learn to work around it.
They do work great as a pre-filter mixer since you can route the signal to two different destinations. Plus each channel can double as a stand alone attenuator.


yes, i will have about half the rack open for expansion and will probably start adding more modules as soon as next month. i sort of wanted to get the perfect starter within my budget then eventually thought "Fuck it!" im just gonna order these modules, i'll play with them, add, exchange, whatever, can't really go that wrong it's all part of the fun.
dkcg
chinard wrote:
Hmm.. no lowpass gate? eek!

Ah well, you got plenty of room for expansion and the makenoise quad LPG is out soon.
I use the plan b model 13 which is easily their best product, however all plan b modules are in short supply these days so you might be on the waiting list for a while.

LPG is one of those modules you dont realize how much you need until you've had a couple of weeks to putz about with them.
Ive pretty much given up on using VCA's for audio use since i started using LPG's.

One thing i would want to mention about the plan B model 9 is that there is a small amount of audio leakage on them.
Cant remember exactly why but this is normal behavior, you just got to learn to work around it.
They do work great as a pre-filter mixer since you can route the signal to two different destinations. Plus each channel can double as a stand alone attenuator.


I think most of the existing line is in stock, just newer things are a little low, but M15s M12, M13s, are usually in stock now.

The 132-3 sounds nice in exp mode. Nice n tight, especially with a exp envelope feeding it. I bet if you put the M12 after the 132-3, it could get close to sounding like a M13, but I LOVE my m13s. I couldn't do without them.

The M9 comes in very handy. I use it as a quad atten more than a mixer really.

A dual LFO could be a decent replacement for the dual cyclotron. I like the Cwejman D-LFO a lot.

Welcome to the machine redroomrecordings. smile
Audio Resistance
redroomrecordings wrote:

here i go, down the rabbit hole.


Down the rabbit hole and hemorging cash the whole way. help

I am 4 moths into it and looking towards a third 6u rack now. I also love the Cwejman D-lfo, and the MX-4s is a in constant use also.

Cheers,
Rob
flippantminister
dougcl wrote:
I don't really get the appeal of the dual cyclotron. It has nothing to patch, it's huge, and what now, no output attenuation? What's ulitmately underneath all of that? A couple of LFO's?


yeah, i never got the livewire thing either... their stuff is beautiful, but so big(which matters to those of us with small cases) and i never got really pumped about any of the demos or videos i saw/heard... before i actually bought any modular gear i would look at pictures and lust for them, but once i got into it i totally lost interest. maybe i am missing out, but...
wetterberg
dkcg wrote:
A dual LFO could be a decent replacement for the dual cyclotron. I like the Cwejman D-LFO a lot.
I am thinking about getting the MFB dual LFO for just this purpose, too. A lot smaller than the cyclotron, too, and it has some nice normalling going on, a random waveform, etc.
felix
dougcl wrote:
I don't really get the appeal of the dual cyclotron. It has nothing to patch, it's huge, and what now, no output attenuation? What's ulitmately underneath all of that? A couple of LFO's?

Ultimately, yes, 3 LFOs. The identical pair are each switchable between triangle and square, with variable waveform symmetry and independent rates. They are "mixed" together via the "axis tilt" which is really just a crossfader between the two LFOs. Intensity is an attenuator for their output (either to the Auxilary output jack, or the modulation amount to the other "blue led" LFO.

The "blue led LFO" is somewhat similar to the other LFOs accept that it's range of speed is considerably faster and has a variable slew limiter and waveform shape between square and saw (chunky/jagged).

The mode switch/dial at the bottom selects the source for the modulation of the rate of the blue led LFO. Manual means it's adjusted manually and no external modulation is applied. "External" means it's modulated by the signal patched into the "External CV" input. "Normal" means the signal of the mixed LFO pair is used to modulate the rate. Again, here, "Intensity" becomes the attenuator and controls the modulation amount.

To each his own, I guess, since this is one of my favorite modules. The only way I think it could be improved would be CV control over the "Axis Tilt".

It's also not just an LFO either. All 3 of the LFOs can go into audio rates. Now that I've got a frequency counter in the TipTop Z3k, I'll check to see how high it does go.
dougcl
Thanks for the additional information, felix.

Doug
felix
you're very welcome!
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