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Newbie seeking help
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Newbie seeking help
Sorry in advance if this is abit too newbiesh for you all. I need help with putting together a tiny modular for noisemaking. What i seek is all sort of weird noises and bleeps and sweeps.
First of all i am on a very tight budget and _very_ limited space(eurorack?). On the other forum i got the advice to start out with some MFB and Doepfer modules. Surfing the Doepfer-site i noticed a module called A-119 External Input / Envelope Follower, this might be the heart of my system methinks. What i would like to experiment with is audio into the A-119 and start horsing around with that signal then, tunes from guitars, ancient electric-organs and iPods.

My question is what more do i need? A LFO, ADSR and VCA? A powersupply + a diy case or a case incl. a powersupply a la Doepfer A-100 Mini Case?

I know in the long run i will need atleast one VCO and a Midi->CV module. Was thinking in the terms of MFB in that respect? Do not have the funds for that at the moment tho very frustrating

Comments and ideas are more than welcome.
Welcome to the hobby! It’s amazing and wonderful and you’re going to love it here (though your wallet may start to hate you).
I would recommend two things:
1) Look at - a free and open-source emulation of tons of modular, uh, modules ranging from the classical building blocks of the form (VCAs, envelope generators, filters, VCOs) to all manner of crazy and awesome stuff and even faithful renditions of some beloved open-source modules from Alright Devices and Mutable Instruments. Plus, since it’s running on your computer, getting sound from other places in (certainly recorded, maybe even live) should be a snap. This will let you get your head around basic concepts of synthesis and experiment a little with some of your ideas for free before splashing out on hardware.
2) Consider a semi-modular as your first purchase. Make Noise 0-Coast, Moog Mother-32 or DFAM, Behringer Neutron, Pittsburgh Modular makes one too IIRC. All are well-regarded, powerful tools for making the beeps and also the bloops, have an opinionated but complementary set of tools for “a complete voice”, and most (all?) have some kind of MIDI interface available already and some way to get external sounds in for mangling. I don’t have a ton of experience with them but hopefully some other wigglers can share their thoughts.
Between these two bits of advice, you should be able to get from where you are now, to some understanding of how to make the kinds of sounds you want to make and with a piece of kit that lets you do so, with a concrete plan for how to augment or extend your capabilities as space and funds allow, all for maybe $5-600.

No question is too simple or newbish - and MW is a good place to ask - full of helpful knowledgeable people. And then there is me.

From what you say it appears you are, at least initially, interested in making a modular effects unit - which could be expanded later into a modular that can generate its own sounds internally. That is a good start as it means you can focus a bit more tightly on relevant modules and pretty much ignore (most) (audio) oscillators.

I don’t have the Doepfer module but do have “Ears” - which has similar functionality but with the addition of a built-in piezo pick up as well as external audio in - which means you can generate “noises” just be tapping and scratching on the module itself.

So what to do with those “noises”? You can mess about with frequency profile (filters), amplitude (VCAs) and time based effects - delay, delay with feedback (echo), flange, reverb, etc, then get into more intense DSP stuff - sampling with pitch-shift, granular processing, etc. You also might want some way of controlling the parameters of those things - function generators, LFOs, noise, random voltages - maybe sequenced voltages.... the list of module types is beginning to expand a bit here. So maybe some more thought along the lines of modular as an effects unit and investigate what particularly appeals.

Rather than let it hang there I will suggest some specific stuff to maybe investigate (YouTube is your friend).

Mutible Ears
A quad VCA - there are many - I have a few mostly Mutible (get one that can “ring” mod)
A flexible filter - Twin Peak, Three Sisters
A “straight” delay with voltage control Chronoblob is great
A function generator - Make Noise Function
A granular processor - Clouds - yes, I know, something of a cliche but for your application it is great
A voltage controlled LFO or two...or four.... Batumi is popular for a reason
A sample and hold - Doepfer is your friend

I wouldn’t recommend you need all that - or that you should get it - they are simply things you might want to look at and see how they are used, what they are capable of and if you can imagine applying them (or things like them) to the way you want to work. And it might get the conversation going!

Oh and yes - you need a frame/case and a power supply. A frame/case is easy to build and will save you hard cash - powersupplies shouldn’t be skimped on. I use 4ms Row40 (a lot) with no issues - provided I run with plenty of headroom (don’t run it at over ~80% of its stated capability (rule of thumb)).

If you are on a very tight budget...

A sound source : a-119 would work
A modulation source : an Lfo or looping envelope generator
A sound modifier : a filter or delay

Some way of monitoring - you may already have an external mixer

2 pieces of wood
A frequency central power supply

Will give you some basic functionality

If you can solder build the power supply yourself - it’s an easy build or you can buy a built one from eBay

If you can’t solder find a workshop (or YouTube) and learn - music thing modular startup might be worth looking at instead of the fc pay (especially if you can find a workshop for it)

AI synthesis modules are good learning kits for both soldering and modular and are quite inexpensive ready built iirc

Splash out on a disting mk4 as this will introduce you to a lot of modular functionality (1 at a time) and illuminate your path

You’ll probably also want a VCO, a sequencer or midi-cv module, a vca (get a quad mi or Intellijel) and some basic utilities (multi mixers etc- I like mi links and kinks for this in a starter setup) very shortly

If you are intending to use a computer consider a dc coupled audio interface instead of a midi interface - cv straight from computer to rack better for modulation
An alternative approach for those who are budget conscious is to get a semi-modular to start with, then add if/when required.

I was in the same position as you (just wanting a little set up for weirding about with) and my 0-coast + Neutron and couple of FX pedals is filling that requirement just fine smile
The new K2 from behringer would be a good start. Its a clone of the MS20. The MS20 has been used a lot in synth noise music (check out hive mind who uses an ms20) and is renowned for its dirty filters that will do weird noises and sweeps easy.
The K2 also has a dedicated section for processing external audio so it would fit that bill.
The only down side is that its v/oct if you are sequencing it using cv but it has a midi input so you can just use that no problems.
And its dirt cheap (if you don't live in australia like me)
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