Newbie seeking help

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hoangtu
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Newbie seeking help

Post by hoangtu » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:54 pm

Hey,
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.

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hlprmnky
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Post by hlprmnky » Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:38 pm

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 https://vcvrack.com/ - 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.

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MarcelP
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Post by MarcelP » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:13 am

Hello!

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)).

Discuss!

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Agawell
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Post by Agawell » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:55 am

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
Instagram

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine - and stops them tarnishing too!!!

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Muzone
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Post by Muzone » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:41 am

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 :)

boonie
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Post by boonie » Thu Sep 12, 2019 4:52 am

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)

artieTwelve
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Post by artieTwelve » Tue Sep 24, 2019 8:55 pm

Check out https://vcvrack.com It's free and frankly amazing. I get it, the desire to touch knobs and plug patches is a huge part of this obsession, but spend a little time with this software and you'll have a better idea of where you want to go. As a bonus, if you spring for an Expert Sleepers ES-8 or similar, you can get your software signals in/out of your existing modules. Good luck.

diodennis
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Post by diodennis » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:43 am

I would say concentrate on the sound you are searching for.

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docile fossil
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Post by docile fossil » Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:27 am

gonna join the chorus of vcv rack recommendations.

i'm also new to modular and picked up a neutron to start learning about patching (still largely puzzled but it's better than before), and vcv is an incredible tool. i've found that youtubing a module is helpful to a certain point, but once it's in the mix with other modules, it's difficult to discern the character of the module. i'm sure that's something that gets better over time.

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thealienthing
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Post by thealienthing » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:40 am

Hey guys! Just wanted to add my voice in here. I'm a new baby muffwiggler and I've been lurking here for a while now. Just wanted to say that I purchased a behringer model d a couple weeks ago while they were $200 on sweetwater and that helped me to make the leap into analog modular synthesis.

I've spent a lot of time using VCV and even performed live with it at as Jazz concert where we played the music of Sun Ra (some really wacky space jazz shit). But just dropping the extra cash on the semi-modular has me ready to make the plunge.

Just ordered the Frequency Central power supply pcb and I'll be building that and a modular rack to put my modules in. Really excited to get started!

gtrmstr53
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Post by gtrmstr53 » Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:47 pm

If you can solder or are up for learning, https://www.thonk.co.uk/ has a ton of DIY kits that let you save some money. Bastl Cinnamon, DannySound Timbre, and Befaco Chopping Kinky are a few modules from Thonk that would be good for noisy sound processing.

As for cases, TipTop's Happy Ending Kit or the Doepfer Mini Case you mentioned are probably the most affordable small cases that I'm aware of. 4ms makes a series of cases under the 'pod' name that are also small and pretty affordable, but they're not deep enough for a lot of modules to fit into them.

Finally, since you're looking to use modular to process external signals it's worth noting that eurorack audio levels are a good deal hotter than line level, so you might need something to boost your external signals up and attenuate down any signals you send back out. This is something I learned the hard way when I was first getting into eurorack :(

kinkujin
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Post by kinkujin » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:34 am

May be off base but modular noise making - Bastl BitRanger.

Good luck and have fun!

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EATyourGUITAR
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Post by EATyourGUITAR » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:00 pm

Since you are building a system around an external input envelope follower module, you need some inexpensive way to process that incoming audio. Doepfer PLL. Antimatter audio subring. Disting MK 4. Any VCF you can find cheap used that has LP and HP modes. That would be a kick-ass top 5 starter rig for beginners(tm). The hardest part will be learning how to use all the different modes of disting from the user manual while also learning about modular synths. In the end it is worth it because it is cheaper to have a disting than to buy all the modules that would replace disting.

Adding those 5 modules and a powered case all used would be less than $1000 USD. I would not put the delay in the rack. Use a behringer guitar pedal after the rack $20.
WWW.EATYOURGUITAR.COM <---- MY DIY STUFF

SlowDescent
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Expanding from semi modular

Post by SlowDescent » Sat Oct 05, 2019 2:31 am

Hi all,

Sorry for hijacking this thread but as I've just registered I can't start a new topic. This one seemed closest to my query.

I am also new to modular. I do have a Moog Grandmother and Mother32. I was/am tempted to get the Matriarch but I am running out of room so instead am thinking of expanding my 2 Moog semi modulars with some modular.

I have a small shelf with a Korg MS20mini and I'm not really using it that much, so thinking of selling that and buying either a 84hp or 104hp or 2 rows of 84 eurorack case and adding perhaps 1 module a month.

The hope would be to get a nice modular synth and sequencer setup that will work standalone in the end, but will also expand my Grand/Mother32 setup. So I'm hoping that I can start by buying the case and just 1 or 2 modules and get going straight away.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan to you guys? Could I buy a case and just say Plaits, and patch that into the noise osc on the grandmother to use as a 3rd oscillator - and then expand from there?

The case I was thinking of getting is the Deeper LC6. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks :)

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Re: Expanding from semi modular

Post by Keltie » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:56 am

SlowDescent wrote:Hi all,

Sorry for hijacking this thread but as I've just registered I can't start a new topic. This one seemed closest to my query.

I am also new to modular. I do have a Moog Grandmother and Mother32. I was/am tempted to get the Matriarch but I am running out of room so instead am thinking of expanding my 2 Moog semi modulars with some modular.

I have a small shelf with a Korg MS20mini and I'm not really using it that much, so thinking of selling that and buying either a 84hp or 104hp or 2 rows of 84 eurorack case and adding perhaps 1 module a month.

The hope would be to get a nice modular synth and sequencer setup that will work standalone in the end, but will also expand my Grand/Mother32 setup. So I'm hoping that I can start by buying the case and just 1 or 2 modules and get going straight away.

Does this sound like a reasonable plan to you guys? Could I buy a case and just say Plaits, and patch that into the noise osc on the grandmother to use as a 3rd oscillator - and then expand from there?

The case I was thinking of getting is the Deeper LC6. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks :)
Doepfer cases are a solid choice, I started with an LC6....

Yes, your plan is entirely reasonable. Plaits is an excellent module. One thing to be aware of is that moog pitches track from -5 to +5volts at the v/Oct input ( at least m32 does for sure, and probably grand too, I’d have thought) and that’s relatively rare in euro. IIRC, plaits will track from -2 to +7 volts, and therefore you may find that sending an m32 sequence to plaits doesn’t give you the pitches you’d expect.

SlowDescent
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Post by SlowDescent » Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:36 am

Thank you Keltie. I've just checked the Grandmother manual and I can change the CV in global settings to either -5 to +5 or 0 to 10. Does that mean it should work with the Grandmother, or is -2 to +7 a whole different ballgame?

I don't mind too much if the Mother 32 has problems but it would definitely need to be in tune with the Grandmother!

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Post by Keltie » Sat Oct 05, 2019 10:50 am

SlowDescent wrote:Thank you Keltie. I've just checked the Grandmother manual and I can change the CV in global settings to either -5 to +5 or 0 to 10. Does that mean it should work with the Grandmother, or is -2 to +7 a whole different ballgame?

I don't mind too much if the Mother 32 has problems but it would definitely need to be in tune with the Grandmother!
As long as you are dealing with v/Oct tracking, It’s not quite tuning as such, but octaves. Simple example... oscillator A responds from 0-10 v. Oscillator b responds from -5v to +5 v. You sequence them both from a sequencer like m32 that generates -5 to +5. As far as the sequencer is concerned, C-2 is -5 v, and 0 volts is sent if you sequence a C3.

Oscillator A will give you the same, low pitch for all voltages from -5 to 0. Then at 1 volt, it should give you, say C1 ( assuming that you are tuned such that 0v = C0)

Oscillator B, tuned such that C-2 is at -5v, will track fine for any sequence pitch, and will play C4 at 1 volt.

Having said all this, I’m not 100% sure of plaits voltage range off the top of my head, and it can be tuned across a wide range of octaves, so you may be able to get it to match up Ok, especially if you don’t need the pitches and voltages to agree over a full 10 octaves.

For M32 and grandmother to agree, obviously, grand needs to be set for -5 to +5.

Erica make a module, pico mscale, that subtracts or adds 5v to an input, and it’s designed with this specific case in mind.

ETA... apologies to the thread OP, as we’ve derailed this a bit :spank:

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