I am sensing snobiness.

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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pink
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I am sensing snobiness.

Post by pink » Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:56 pm

Okay so, I'm going to be putting together a modest (for now) modular system soonish probably around a Doepfer suitcase when they get back into stock at AH.

I've been picking up what seems to be a strong snobiness towards Doepfer modules and I wondered what the explanation was. You could understand how a fledgling synthesist might get the wrong impression of the A-100 line.

I've spent a fair bit of time over at Gearslutz and RecPit and it reminds me of the attitude people there had towards Mackie and Alesis for example. Is it just an example of "you get what you pay for"?

So what's the rule? Steer clear of Doepfer modules that process sound and stick to the utility modules? stay away altogether? Perhaps we could put together a rough list of what to avoid? (VCOs, VCFs, etc.)

I am genuinely curious and although I realize that the modular experience must involve a certain amount of trial and error with module choices I'd rather not have to spend a fortune just so I can be let in on the joke.

Thanks, any input is appreciated!
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Kent
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Post by Kent » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:09 pm

Things to consider:

  • If people can't be specific about what it is that they like or dislike regarding something, take it to mean that they are under-informed, reactionary or not very deep thinkers.

    Doepfer does not invest a bunch of money in cosmetics. Some buyers don't care. Some buyers are driven to purchase things for many reasons; sometimes cosmetics do matter.

    Internet forums generally have a large ratio of people venting vs. people praising products. Forums are often used for venting and for technical support. Products that are well-liked are often 'flavor of the month' and fall from grace after said month or 60 days. Gearslutz, as you mentioned, is an excellent example of this phenomenon.

    In keeping with the above, many people have a vastly different 'online' persona from that which they actually are in the 3-D world. Many use the internet in order to goof-off as it is very impersonal.

    Doepfer vs. Mackie is an apt comparison. Keep in mind that I do work for the parent company of the latter. Doepfer never makes the most expensive model in a particular range. They serve, and serve well, a vast swath of synthesists within a range that a given market can sustain. Doepfer is one of the best at what they do. If one doesn't like what Doepfer does, then one is free to move on.
    They do a lot of 'bread & butter' modules and often have a great variety of breads & butters. Look at all of the filters and VCAs that they have. They also do some really great creative stuff. The A-189-1 Bit Raper is a standout module. The delays are weird as hell too.
A shorter way of stating all of the above pontification is: "Screw 'em all." Dive in, explore some sounds, and have a good time. You can always read forums for some well-filtered advice and buy some stuff. If you outgrow it, sell it on to the next guy. There is so much out there right now. It is an incredible time to be into modulars right now.
Last edited by Kent on Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by dougcl » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:10 pm

Personally I think Doepfer gear is excellent, and the more I learn, the more I appreciate it and the company. I think there is a tendency to jump on the latest whiz-bang, but when the dust clears, the older modules are rediscovered, and everything is put in its proper context. After building up 18U in the pursuit of the latest and greatest, and bigger and better, I find in most cases that my original all-Doepfer 6U system would have done the job nicely, if not better, and it was just a matter of knowing how to use it.

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brandon daniel
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Post by brandon daniel » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:16 pm

I think it's fair to say that when the eurorack thing hit big in the late 90s early 00s, the doepfer stuff was somewhat sub-par compared to analogue systems or other available format modulars, especially with the vanilla oscillator, filter, eg stuff. They've expanded the product line a lot since then, and now have some really interesting designs on this.

I guess my advice is to stick to the more recent iterations, ie avoid the basic 110 osc, 140 eg, 130/131 vca, etc and go for the more recent designs that either shoot for more dense functionality or more unique/strange sound/features.

The doepfer snobbiness is mostly an artifact of an earlier time, IMO.

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REwire
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Post by REwire » Mon Nov 24, 2008 2:36 pm

When Plan-B, Livewire, Cwejman and Livewire came around a few years ago people started realizing their oscs and filters sounded better than Doepfer's. Now with Harvestman, MakeNoise, Elby, MFB and TipTop it's getting more intense. Also, recent threads and tests have pointed out that even Doepfer's utility modules like mixers and VCA's are not as clean at passing audio as the others are.

I believe Dieter is paying attention to this because his new A-132-3 VCA sounds great and other new proposed modules are looking like serious improvements.

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A Dingleberry Monstrosity
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Post by A Dingleberry Monstrosity » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:06 pm

I love my doepfer gear. That is all.

There stuff was a tad boring in the past, but thats not really true anymore.

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Chuck E. Jesus
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Re: I am sensing snobiness.

Post by Chuck E. Jesus » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:27 pm

pink wrote: So what's the rule? Steer clear of Doepfer modules that process sound and stick to the utility modules? stay away altogether? Perhaps we could put together a rough list of what to avoid? (VCOs, VCFs, etc.)

I am genuinely curious and although I realize that the modular experience must involve a certain amount of trial and error with module choices I'd rather not have to spend a fortune just so I can be let in on the joke.

Thanks, any input is appreciated!
i don't think there are any Doepfer modules to stay clear of depending on what you expect and what you can afford...i suspect many good deals are available on used, less popular gear , keep your eyes open for them...

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dkcg
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Post by dkcg » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:36 pm

I bet it would be hard to find a Euro user that actually owns no Doepfer modules. As others have said, they are the bread n butter of the euro format. I started with a mostly PlanB system, but have a few Doepfer modules I could not do without or at least wouldn't want to do w/o.

And the perfect sine that some look for, well, perfect sine = no harmonics. :D

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Post by consumed » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:46 pm

i have come to the euro table after feasting on motm, modcan, serge, a wide
variety of frac modules, synthesizers.com, etc and i find a lot of things to
like in euro and in doepfer's module offerings.

if you're hesitant about forking out $ for a brand new rig, take your time and
pick up modules used and try them out. if you dont like them, you can
always sell them with little or no loss.

you'll have to be careful about whatever it is in your mind that you will expect
this modular thing to be. it will not be the end-all of an analogue synthesizer,
although it will do far more than you've ever imagined.

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Post by berfmurret » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:57 pm

i get more of a sense that doepfer modules have a few shining stars,, and then the rest are mostly vanilla stars.
Last edited by berfmurret on Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by wetterberg » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:59 pm

You're right, there *is* snobbiness regarding Doepfer kit - a LOT, actually, and I personally think it's unfair, or underinformed or otherwise biased opinion.

I think, for instance, that the Doepfer LPG sounds and works better than the plan B LPG, that the 138d is cooler than the Stilton Adaptor and so on, and several Doepfer modules are synth classics by now.

We're *dangerously* close to the "audiophile" region of the gear-ometer, where opinion becomes fact, where fact (measurements and such) become fully disputable, and where sticker price becomes religious.

Andreas.

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Post by NV » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:10 pm

Much of what I believe has already been stated, but I suppose it doesn't hurt to add my voice. I believe that much of the Doepfer criticisms have manifested primarily due to the sudden influx of manufacturers and modules, which has lead to something of a subversive attitude towards the omnipresent Doepfer. I don't believe Doepfer ever set out to build 0.001% precision modules, nor did he aim to become the modular elitist's boutique manufacturer of choice. I believe his primary goal was to make modular synthesis a more viable and affordable option for those who didn't have expansive budgets. With that in mind, I believe he has succeeded admirably.

It's interesting that you bring up Gearslutz, because they perfectly embody the exact phenomenon at hand - one month everyone loves the Distressor, and the next it's "honky and screechy" in favor of the Chandler Germanium. There has been a great deal of talk lately about other modular forums on the internet headed this direction as well. It's a shame, but it's a consequence of modular synthesis becoming more popular - it invariably attracts the "perfect tone" seekers stereotypical of the guitar world. A result of this is an increased fervor from the outspoken few who find disgust with the imperfect sine wave or tracking capabilities.

I don't believe these opinions should be discounted - it's true that some VCAs have a lower noise ratio than others, and some oscillators do have more "pure" waveforms. I think the issue is when people obsess over these details rather than embrace them. Imperfection is precisely what makes analogue circuitry so interesting, and it's somewhat ironic that people seeking the qualities of analogue synthesis would be annoyed by the very characteristics of which it is comprised. I think the best approach is to embrace each manufacturer for their own unique qualities; If you want clinical precision, Cwejman can provide. If you want circuit-bent madness, Harvestman will satisfy. If you want affordable utility, Doepfer is second to none.

sandyb

Post by sandyb » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:14 pm

NV wrote:...A result of this is an increased fervor from the outspoken few who find disgust with the imperfect sine wave or hint of signal leakage.

I don't believe these opinions should be discounted - it's true that some VCAs have a lower noise ratio than others, and some oscillators do have more "pure" waveforms. I think the issue is when people obsess over these details rather than embrace them. Imperfection is precisely what makes analogue circuitry so interesting, and it's somewhat ironic that people seeking the qualities of analogue synthesis would be annoyed by the very characteristics of which it is comprised. I think the best approach is to embrace each manufacturer for their own unique qualities; If you want clinical precision, Cwejman can provide. If you want circuit-bent madness, Harvestman will satisfy. If you want affordable utility, Doepfer is second to none.
some extremely thoughtful, well worded, and imo spot-on observations.

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Post by Soy Sos » Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:30 pm

I couldn't agree more. Doepfer products are what got me into the
Euro modular form. As you progress you will find other manufacturers
products that may do it for you more for certain applications. I think
for me this is more a matter of taste and personal style. My case is
presently made up of about 75% Doepfer.

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Post by pink » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:36 pm

I am enjoying reading these replies, thanks everyone for their contributions.

I guess I'm really trying to avoid the inevitable and keep this a nice, sacred little hobby where I spend a couple of hundred bucks here and there and enjoy the process.

Who the fuck do I think I'm kidding, honestly...
This was a triumph_

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Post by felix » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:43 pm

I too am of the opinion that Doepfer modules are great. They're small, affordable, and there's a *huge* range of functions in the A-100 lineup.

I tend to like the more esoteric functions of the the other manufactures, Livewire in particular, but I don't think that takes aware from Doepfer. In fact, for as much as I love my Dual Cyclotron, I bet something very similar could be patched with 3 LFOs and a mixer/VCA in the same amount of space, but I would still be drawn more toward the Livewire. It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the Doepfer.

One of my favorite new acquisitions is the A-137 Wave Multiplier. I absolutely love this thing.
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Post by Gordon Cole » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:17 pm

:ghost:
Last edited by Gordon Cole on Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by drewtoothpaste » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:50 pm

Doepfer makes some very useful, inexpensive modules - the VCADSR and VCLFO are great. The Dual Quantizer is awesome (I have two.) I use the A-180/181 multiples in every patch. The Spring Reverb modules sound good stock, and awesome when you replace the spring tanks.

Some folks don't like "vanilla" but I think it depends on what kind of music you're making and what you use your synths for. Most of my modular synth patches are triggered from my MPC (so they can be aligned later) and are melodic/harmonic.

I have little use for the FreakyCo Random Trigger / Fartzilla Nintendo Shit Machine modules in the same way that improvisational noise composers have little use for a VCO-VCF-VCA patch. :)

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Post by wetterberg » Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:51 pm

drewtoothpaste wrote:I have little use for the FreakyCo Random Trigger / Fartzilla Nintendo Shit Machine modules in the same way that improvisational noise composers have little use for a VCO-VCF-VCA patch. :)
vote to sticky!!! :lol: :hihi:

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Post by consumed » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:08 pm

wetterberg wrote:
drewtoothpaste wrote:I have little use for the FreakyCo Random Trigger / Fartzilla Nintendo Shit Machine modules in the same way that improvisational noise composers have little use for a VCO-VCF-VCA patch. :)
vote to sticky!!! :lol: :hihi:
that be a screamin sig :lolsign:

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Post by Chuck E. Jesus » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:10 pm

wetterberg wrote:
drewtoothpaste wrote:I have little use for the FreakyCo Random Trigger / Fartzilla Nintendo Shit Machine modules in the same way that improvisational noise composers have little use for a VCO-VCF-VCA patch. :)
vote to sticky!!! :lol: :hihi:
either way i dig both...

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Post by sean process » Wed Dec 03, 2008 3:34 pm

drewtoothpaste wrote:
I have little use for the FreakyCo Random Trigger / Fartzilla Nintendo Shit Machine modules in the same way that improvisational noise composers have little use for a VCO-VCF-VCA patch. smile
I wish I'd written that. Priceless! :hail:

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Kent
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Post by Kent » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:23 pm

pink wrote:Who the fuck do I think I'm kidding, honestly...
Possible Answer #1: "Not yourself & Most definitely not us!"

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pink
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Post by pink » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:06 pm

Kent wrote:
pink wrote:Who the fuck do I think I'm kidding, honestly...
Possible Answer #1: "Not yourself & Most definitely not us!"
Well I hope you know I'm holding you at least partially responsible. Now that I'm going to have one piece of gear with 1/8" ins and outs it would be rude to not get a few more...
This was a triumph_

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Post by Kent » Wed Dec 03, 2008 5:29 pm

A logical reasoning offered forth to further enable your condition. Please take two oscillators and call me in the morning.

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