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Ditching Eurorack for Buchla Easel?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge  
Author Ditching Eurorack for Buchla Easel?
pinhole_sunrise
I’m certain this topic has probably been discussed ad nauseam, so apologies in advance.

I’m looking for heartfelt feedback on anyone’s experiences with ditching their Eurorack and opting for the appeal of a ‘complete’ musical instrument. The idea of owning one has been seared into my head for years. I’m drawn to the idea of it, working within its structure including its limitations. I relish working within limits because from experience that has always produced my best work. I would be focusing on this as a studio and live instrument for Electro-Acoustic / Musique Concrete and Ambient.

So with that said, here’s what I’m after from current and past owners:

I ditched Euro and never looked back, I love the Easel more than Eurorack because...

Ultimately the easel did not live up to my expectations and went back to Euro or some other synth setup. What specifically did you not like about the Easel that made you return to Euro?

Thanks in advance!
ArguZ
You can't compare an instrument to a genre .
Not one with 3500 modules where there is 50 times the same module with different front plates.
mutierend
To paraphrase Zoidberg, why not both? Lots of us have some eurorack modules to complement our Easels.
rkilman
I've never used Eurorack, but I sold a large 5U system to go Buchla and have zero regrets.

I've owned an Easel in the past, but for me, 200e is where it is at. I think the 200e represents the very best of Don's incredible work. It is an unbelievably cohesive and deep system, with the best user interface, and feels like a single, complete instrument. You get the cohesion with the Easel, but not the depth.

For the price of an Easel you could get a small 200e system, with a 225e, which allows you to supplement with midi until you build out a larger system that could be entirely self contained (or continue to use midi - midi and presets are both at the heart of what pushes the 200e to another level - I had no interest in either when I started with it based on preconceived notions of what both of those meant, but like all things Buchla, the implementation is unlike anything you're probably familiar with and it opens up so many new possibilities).

Sticking strictly to 200e eliminates GAS too because a 10, 12 or 18 size case is all you need and their are only so many modules that make sense in those sizes. I was constantly chasing new modules in 5U, and have no such desire with 200e.
jo__dem
i did this exact thing. couldnt be happier with my decision. buchla was always a dream that was too expensive. i had the chance to make it a reality by getting rid of all my eurorack gear. never looked back. and now in retrospect im glad, euro gear is getting out of hand IMO.
dkcg
If you like wavetable oscillators or any digital oscillators, delays, resampling, complex sequencers, lowpass filters (or any filters really), multistage complex envelopes, PWM (not sure about this one), working in real stereo, or other things I'm sure I forgot, the Easel may not be for you.

My GAS dropped significantly after I switched from euro to 200e (plus some 3rd party modules), but I do miss the variety of filters effects. Also subtractive synthesis, it can be done in Buchlaland, but not nearly as completely as even something like a simple Moog Phatty, which by chance, a used one costs less than an average Buchla module. I did gas for the 252e, but only because it has pretty colors and does a fancy light show.

If you end up with just your easel, you will start looking fr effects solutions, and get a little sad you may not be able to use CVs very much with them.

You mention thriving in limitations and wanting a complete instrument. It's just trading one set of limitations for another more expensive set of limitations.
jimfowler
Ditched my euro system once I started building clones of vintage Buchla. Never been happier or more productive. The sonic landscape that Don enabled is vast beyond imagination. Sounds like hyperbole but for me it is fact.
raimbo
I sold almost my entire eurorack system last week (except grid/ansible, echophon and erbeverb) for starting a diy 200 buchla system with 259-281-292-266-248 and a easel. I'm really excited about that.
I'm really in love with make noise stuff so the transition to buchla seem pretty obligated to me, I hope I'll have no regrets!
pbanken
Hi there!

About 5 years ago, I missed out on an amazing BEMI Easel deal at Schneider's Büro, it was totally my fault, and after that dreadful experience, my lust for Buchla simply did not cease ...

At that point in time, my musical tastes had shifted (got older, less BOOM BOOM, more kraut-y, ambient-ish), I had collected a decent Euro set up with truly fine modules, but I just wasn't feeling it anymore. Most importantly, the tactile connection between my system and my hands wasn't there. Crafting loops and soundscapes, yes, please, the sound was amazing, but I couldn't interact with the instrument as I wanted to (coming from long years of guitar playing, I really missed the effortless touch of an instrument).

The constant flow of new shiny modules with bonkers features overwhelmed me, after a while too many companies, and too many different design philosophies crowded my cases. And I was always drawn back to the Charles Cohen videos & EPs.

In the end, I sold practically everything in my "studio" (with not too much loss), and got a slightly expanded Easel clone set up (with room for further additions down the road).

And finally I felt at home. I love everything about it, the Easel is still the center of every patch I start, I slowly expanded with clones (and two e-series modules last month!), and I have never looked back. It is my instrument, and I enjoy it so much more because the tactile appeal is so strong. The size of the modules, the colours, the feel of the pots and the 'nanas, I just love it.

Now, sound-wise, there's no need to switch from Euro to Buchla, you'll get so much more in Euro-land, for less, too, but the effect of a strong, well-thought out coherent design philosophy, and the overall "feel" of the patching process, as well as Don's personality within these modules, that is what should bring one to the Buchla.

Knowing what I know now, I should have made the switch much earlier, starting out slowly with an Easel (and one of the amazing Card options by Papz oder Northern Light Modular).

To this day, and some folks are going to go nuts because of the following statement, there's only one Euro Module I truly miss, and that is the Endorphines Furtherrr Generator hihi

Damn, this post got long ... Hope my perspective might help you to get a clearer picture. And please ask if you've got more questions!

Cheers
Pbanken
lud
Hopefully it's possible for you but you should try out an Easel before you sell off all your gear because you never know. However if you see a good deal pick one up and you won't lose too much of you resell.
I sold my Eurorack to move into banana land (Bugbrand and Serge) but was able to do that over a period of time as it wasn't such a large investment in one go, haven't regretted it!
slam
I looked at getting into eurorack but the choices were too overwhelming for me. I decided I wanted a complete instrument and that led me to get an easel.

I have no regrets in getting it, it is an absolute joy to play. Pbanken above put it very well. It is a complete instrument that is designed to stand alone and be fun and easy to play. In my opinion it is a success.

If I was in your position, I would keep the eurorack for now and look into getting an easel to see if you like it. After a while of owning both you will know which one pleases you more.
pinhole_sunrise
Thanks everyone for taking time to reply, I really appreciate your perspectives!
visible cow
I've also been considering the switch from eurorack to a Buchla easel (although I have to say that the Loudest Warning Serge panels are competing for my attention). There are two eurorack modules that I'm not sure I can part with, the rainmaker and er-301. I keep trying to replace them with software but haven't found anything similar. My current problem with my eurorack is that while it's incredibly powerful I find it less and less fun to play.

I do think my interest in Buchla begins and ends with the easel, however.
pinhole_sunrise
visible cow wrote:
I've also been considering the switch from eurorack to a Buchla easel (although I have to say that the Loudest Warning Serge panels are competing for my attention). There are two eurorack modules that I'm not sure I can part with, the rainmaker and er-301. I keep trying to replace them with software but haven't found anything similar. My current problem with my eurorack is that while it's incredibly powerful I find it less and less fun to play.

I do think my interest in Buchla begins and ends with the easel, however.


I hear you. There are definitely some modules I won’t part with one of which is the Rainmaker.
mutierend
If you decide to buy an Easel, let me know. I have one for sale in the BST thread.
rolsteins
pinhole_sunrise wrote:

Ultimately the easel did not live up to my expectations and went back to Euro or some other synth setup. What specifically did you not like about the Easel that made you return to Euro?
!


Since I have figured out a method how to sync (musicaly) Easel with Eurorack things started to work. Now Easel pulse is master clock (thats how I keeping all possibilities to modulate Pulser) and through Pico Logic dividers it clocks Euroracks squencers and LFOs. In front of Pico Logic I'm using CVTG1 converter from Pulse to Trigger.
ersatzplanet
The lure of a fixed system is very high. Working within a fixed set of modules and topology. I used to own three Synthi's (a VCS3 and two AKS) and that was the lure they had - portable and fun. I sold them a long time ago and moved through a series of different rigs (Oberheim, Sequencial, KYMA, lots of MIDI boxes) and ended where I am now with a too large Eurorack system. I designed my rig around separate small 6Ux84 cases. Each case is as stand-alone as possible. They basically are separate voices (one is mainly sequencers and one controllers). I am now selling most of it to get down to two cabinets and a controller skiff (full of tactile controllers - joysticks, FSR modules, and slide pot modules). Limiting the scope of my rig to what can fit into a single cabinet has helped a lot. I still get the variety of Eurorack to choose from, but GAS is kept in check by size restrictions. It helps a lot in the focus. The focus and the GAS suppression can be made without moving away from the Eurorack format. There are many Buchla clones out there. You can restrict yourself to that palette if you want to. I have a cabinet that is basically a re-creation of the VCS3 with Eurorack modules. I haven't spun for the Analogue Systems licensed clones of the envelope shaper and filter yet, but I may after selling some more stuff.

Just remember, you are in control, not your gear.
SmartBits
The lure of a fixed system was indeed high for me as well. In the past 2 months I've downscaled my setup quite a bit so I could afford a Pin Electronics Portabella. My Eurorack setup went from around 27U in 6 cases to 15U in 2 cases. I found having too much possibilities was ultimately very unproductive for me. So I also sold some of the synths and drumcomputers that I was quite fond of but actually never used. I won't say my setup is small now but at least a lot clearer. The Eurorack modules are mostly only Make Noise as I tried to regard that setup as one instrument as well, about 4 out of 5 rows are only Make Noise. Space restrictions and restricting to 1 brand also keeps the GAS in check.
mousegarden
Simple answer, I ditched Euro and have never looked back, I wish I'd gone to Buchla in the first place instead of wasting so much time and effort on Euro.
This is me, I'm not speaking for the many Euro enthusiasts who are 100% happy, it all depends on what you're after. Buchla for me wasn't an instant click, it was a steep learning curve.
I've built up a relationship with it, it's one of those synths that rewards ignorant and random exploration well, you don't necessarily need to know exactly what you're doing.
I've sold my other synths, the Buchla is the only one left, and ironically, I've recorded more with my Easel in the last month than I did with a a room full of gear in five years.
I'm now looking to expand into a 10 space boat, but, as we all know, it's the cost of Buchla that can hold us back, but that's OK, it just gives me more time to really explore things.
ws9848
I started out with 5U MOTM a long long time ago and it sat in the studio. It did get used and I would bring it to shows. Then I was going to play in new york so I put together a small eurorack system that I could bring on the plane. I had a lot of different modules for a while and then ended up with a make noise ststem I put together. This was way before they offered systems... then buchla put the easel out and I decided to buy one but to fund it I sold the 5U and eurorack stuff. When I was waiting for the easel I started building buchla clones. I really liked them and since then I have been working on putting together a 200e system but it is expensive for me so its going to take a while but I really like the whole buchla thing. Also the 4U size is pretty perfect for me. I think 3u is too small for my big hands. I know we have heard that before. I still use an addac wav. Player and there are some things I miss but it seems like there are more third party modules showing up so they’ll be filling some of those gaps hopefully
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