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Serge as an option?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Buchla, EMS & Serge Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Serge as an option?
Soy Sos
OK folks, this seems to be a favorite topic around here. So just on a passing whim, here's my present system plus a custom panel with 8 amplifiers and 8 attenuators that could be scaled back to 4 of each. What would be available in Serge world that would give me similar functionality? I'm interested in the TKS as my ultimate interface into the modular system. Also I'm wondering if my existing case could be modified to fit 4 panels worth of stuff. If this did take place it would be at least a year down the line but I'm curious if it would be worth it at all. Also I have to say I like the variety and economy of the Euro stuff. Would a system that could do similar things run in to the $10,000 and up range? I know we're talking about different design and synthesis philosophies but I love to hear folks thoughts.

felix
It's really tough comparing 1:1 with Serge. Even where equivalent counter parts exist, they have different approaches like you mentioned.

For example, the waveshaper/wave mult. That does exist on the Serge, but it's a different approach. So even when you consider 1:1 is not "the same".

The other thing is that Serge is more geared towards "building blocks" than dedicated modules for a particular function. So many times you can't find a 1:1 module, but it is actually there, it just requires the pairing of a couple "building blocks" on the Serge to achieve the same thing. While this can (but definitely not always) lead to lowered performance for that one particular feature, it leads to a lot more possible functions with other combinations (and very likely you might use those other features more than the "meta feature"). Hopefully that last paragraph made sense.

That all being said, you could actually achieve something similar with a couple shop panels, and yes it probably run in the 10k range all said and done.

You mentioned the TKB, so let's add that first. Not only does that directly take care of the sequencer, but also the manual triggering and in a way, the theremin source (key pressure on the TKB).

The Blue Control or the Red Control would be next. You would have to choose which is more important to you, I would personally tend towards the Blue, but it would have to be a personal choice. With the Blue, you get 2 more DSGs (these can take care of your VC slew, LFOs, clock, gate delays, even half-way decent LPGs I hear) and you get the dual voltage processor, but with the Red you get an ADSR, and dual quantizer and shift registers.

The final panel would either be the Soup Kitchen 1 or 2. SK1 gets you the Precision VCO, ring mod, ÷N comparator, dual waveshapers, filter, preamp/external in/env follower, but the SK2 gets you a phaser, frequency shifter, delay, and resonant EQ at the sacrifice of the VCO, Ring and waveshapers.

TKB - $2700
Blue Control - $3500
Red Control - $3800
Soup Kitchen 1 - $5500
Soup Kitchen 2 - $3900

So at the highest, TKB, Red, and SK1, you'd be looking at $12k.
Soy Sos
Yeah, I was looking over the prices......jeeez I dunno.
Does 12K even include housing and power? Can that be DIY?
I mean as it is I've got 5 filters in my system plus 2
bit crushers, phase-shifter, wave-mults, plus the DIY stuff
and the case comes to under $4500. It seems like that along with
the ARP 2600 is a pretty powerful synthesis package. I do dig the
concept behind the Serge building block idea and the stackable
banana plug thing too. Maybe some day. I wish I was closer to
a system I could mess around with.
revtor
I jsut erased a big post about getting over serge lust and saving your money for important things in life. - $12 grand is ALOT of money!!!


I like Serges style of all behind one panel, .. makes you live with the setup and get to know it as an instrument... that is good. I like banana plugs for sure. but man the price!!!!
Definitely a rich guys synth, or a professional instrument (tax writeoff) If I had the dough for a $10k+ toy, then id be all over it.. but damn thats alot of dough for some circuits and a box...


Ive played with Serge.. it was fun yeah. but like all modular synths, it comes down to weird sounds in your ear... just like I make with my (relatively) cheapo gear!!
I can't justify it... especially when the functons are avail for much less elsewhere....

lust on!

~Steve
Soy Sos
Haha, I wouldn't call it Serge lust, maybe just Serge curious for now.
Even I were to sell both systems I wouldn't get a 400% gain
in function or sound quality. There's nothing similar to the TKB
in Euro? Come on Serge people, let me hear from you!
thermionicjunky
Soy Sos wrote:
Haha, I wouldn't call it Serge lust, maybe just Serge curious for now.
Even I were to sell both systems I wouldn't get a 400% gain
in function or sound quality. There's nothing similar to the TKB
in Euro? Come on Serge people, let me hear from you!


I know it's taking awhile, but the Milton with touch plates will do more than the TKB. I've given up on the Doepfer version.
parasitk
thermionicjunky wrote:
Soy Sos wrote:
Haha, I wouldn't call it Serge lust, maybe just Serge curious for now.
Even I were to sell both systems I wouldn't get a 400% gain
in function or sound quality. There's nothing similar to the TKB
in Euro? Come on Serge people, let me hear from you!


I know it's taking awhile, but the Milton with touch plates will do more than the TKB. I've given up on the Doepfer version.


Oh? Is there a good source to read about this?
DGTom
Felix & revtor have covered most of what attracts me to Serge, I really like the 'low level' style of the sections, the functional density (to steal carbon111s phrase) & my brain is drawn to the grid / panel layouts like a moth to a flame hihi

I'll never be able to afford a Serge system, so I'm planning DIY faux-serge 3U 19" panels, kinda, sorta based around the kinds functions found in Serge land. I'm sticking to 3U so they look at home with Euro / Frac, gonna go It's peanut butter jelly time! nanners Rasta-nana for sure tho!!!!



This is the first draft of an all Ken Stone audio mangle panel. Next up will be a Magic Smoke / Ian Fritz / Oakley Multi function panel, then more CGS for seq'ing & CV processing.

Still can't replicate a TKB tho... which have to be the ultimate front end for a modular EVER! Bring on the Milton!!!

Please excuse the amatuerish photoshopping & total lack of grapics in the mock up... still very much a work in progress sad banana
felix
Power is extra yes, not sure on price. The chassis is part of the panel, comes with rack ears, if you want to make your own case (each boat is still a separate chassis) you obviously can.

I'm interested to hear about the touch plate / milton combination. One of the appealing aspects of the TKB to me is how the touchplates can control sequencer stage selection. AFAIK, the miltion does not have stage selection inputs (only stage active pulse outputs) so is there some other way to achieve this?

PS. I just realized I mixed up the Soup Kitchen 1 and 2 price / descriptions; they're backwards.
felix
@DGTom - Awesome! I can't wait to see where you go with that!
felix
BTW - this rad TKB post showed up on the Serge group today, courtesy of Matthew Carpenter:

Quote:
This is everything I have in my 'TKB Wizardry.txt'. All of it is from
this list's archives so some of you may recognize your own writing!
Let's call this a 'best of SMOG - TKB edition'.

"Random select selects a random sequencer stage. BUT in order for it
to work, not only do you have to patch a clock pulse into it (from DSG
or DTG or whatever source) but you have to patch it to RESET at the
same time. So run a short patch cord between RESET and RANDOM SELECT,
and plug in your clock signal into the back-end of the banana
(effectively multing everything together) connecting RESET and RANDOM.

One thing worthy of note on the TKB -- its 'reset' input is one of the
few, if not only, inputs on the Serge which can safely gang inputs.

What this allows is for two or more subsequences to be created on the
TKB. Patch, for instance, stage 5 and stage 15 into the reset. Start
the sequencer. It will run from 1 to 4 and reset. Now touch pad 6 and
it will begin cycling from 6 to 14. Touch any pad below 4 and the
cycle begins on that stage and resets at 5. Touch any pad above 6 but
below 14 and it resets to that stage as the start point, and cycles at
15. This is, for me, one of the coolest aspects of the TKB.

Here's a few things to try with the TKB:

1. Clock your TKB in the normal way. Then also route your clock
signal, wherever it's coming from, to a DSG or DTG or NCOM (divide by
N)... Send this divided pulse to HOLD and /or UP/DOWN so the sequence
pauses and reverses in different ways. Use an LFO or random source to
voltage control the pulse division amount going to HOLD etc so
sometimes it's dividing by 2, sometimes by 3, etc.... in other words,
varying the division.

2. Use one layer (say Layer A) to control a VCA modulating the
loudness of your VCO. Play with the loudness sequence in addition to
the pitch sequence.. You can come up with some jazzy combinations here.

3. Use a variable divided pulse as in #1 above to the RESET input,
giving you a voltage-variable number of sequence steps.

4. Clock ONLY the VERTICAL input, set up to 16 different 4-step
patterns (cycling through layers A,B,C,D for a given stage), and
select the different 4-note patterns with the touch pads. Use the ABCD
output to control your oscillator.

5. Use one TKB layer to control the speed of your clock. That way the
step rate won't be steady even & equal, but varied from one step to
the next. This takes some careful tweaking for good results.

6. Use a random pulse to clock your TKB. So you have a predictable
stream of tones but with unpredictable beat.

In "normal" sequencer operation, each of the row (A, B, C, D) jacks
will output the voltage of its respective pot at the current stage.
For each sequence stage (or "step") you get four different voltages,
each of which can be routed to the control destination(s) of your
choice. You might, for example route row A to the pitch of several
oscillators, row B to linear fm amount of an NTO modulated by a PCO,
row C to the wave multiplier cv input, and row D to filter cutoff.

The ABCD output works in conjunction with the Vertical Clock input,
allowing you to run sequences as long as 64 steps, but with only a
single voltage output (in contrast to the four outputs in "normal"
mode). When the Vertical Clock input receives a pulse, the ABCD output
is switched from its current row to the next row. For example, patch
one of the individual stage pulse outputs (1, 12, 16, etc, you pick!)
to the Vertical Clock input. Advance the TKB horizontally using a
regular clock input, and once the sequence reaches the stage you
patched to the Vertical Clock, the ABCD output will switch from the
row A voltage to the row B voltage. The next cycle around, it will
switch to the row C voltage, then row D, and finally back around to
row A again.

Here's one approach...

1. Use one layer of the TKB to control volume. Set all the knobs on
that layer to fully-on.

2. Send that voltage to one of the VCA's in your UAP.

3. Send your audio signal into that VCA, then send the output into
another VCA that your DADSR or DTG is enveloping the audio with.

Now to 'turn off' or silence any sequencer step in your melody just
turn off the layer you used for step 1 above. The advantage here is,
in addtion to creating a 'rest' beat(s) wherever you want, you can
also create accenting... daDA DADAda ... by varying the volume control
stage pot on the TKB.

More efficiently, this could also be done with one VCA if you can mix
DC signals together ... You mention you have an inverter/processor..
can that combine control voltages? I have a Dual Processor & a CV
mixer that do that. Anyway take the TKB volume control layer and your
ADSR and mix them together, biasing the whole thing by -5v, and use
this to control a VCA for your audio. You should only hear notes where
the TKB volume control stage is fully on. This can do the 'accenting'
as above.

It's also fun to use another TKB layer (by layer I mean the A,B,C,D
rows of 16 steps going across) to control pan position. Makes your
sequence dance nicely!

All the above needs only simple TKB patching... clock the clock input
like you always do, and set the sequence length using a stage output &
reset input, or just run 16 step sequences.

Set up a nice 8 step sequence, triggering it off the DTG as you
describe. you will have a steady rhythm with a note at every step.
feed output D from the tkb to the CV input of the DTG and apply a
little CV offset pos or neg. depending on the voltages set on line D,
the DTG will either speed up or down at that step and then move onto
the next one, speed up, etc. so, to set up a simple 4/4 with
note-rest-note-note, set up a 3 (yes) step sequence with a touch of
voltage from step 1 row D (causing DTG to hold) and none on D for 2
and 3. Adjust accordingly.

You can also try this type of thing with the "hold" input on the tkb
and a clock divider.

My favorite technique is to DC mix envelope and a TKB layer (like D),
then negative-bias the result to control VCA so that when layer D is
0, you get no sound, when it's fully CW, you get full volume. This
allows 'accenting' beats as well as rests and full-on notes."
amnesia
I think quite a few of you dont think in the positive...I always read...." I can never afford a Serge or Buchla"....yes they are expensive but most of you are sitting on analog synths that would fetch a high price, they could be sold to buy Serge and Buchla....

like for instance right now I want to complete my Buchla system I need to get more panels to complete it, I have no money at this very moment so what am I going to do? sell my euro system as I really dont need 4 modular synths and I am using the euro less and less.. I hate having things not getting used so it has to go...

I am sure if you really wanted a synth you could find money for it some how.[/u]
wetterberg
Mr. Soy Sos has an orange-faced Arp 2600 - I see one of those just sold on Ebay for 9000 usd. Yes.
Kent
thermionicjunky wrote:

I know it's taking awhile, but the Milton with touch plates will do more than the TKB. I've given up on the Doepfer version.


Still awaiting info on this one!

Sincerely,

Mr. Impatient
Soy Sos
Yeah Wetterburg, I know.... I thought about it. I think I would regret selling the ARP. I'd like to mess with someone's Serge system when I get the chance and see if it is really true love. I had a 1 1/2 hour demo at Serge headquarters in Oakland CA from Rex in the mid 90's but that was kind of a long time ago.
It just seems like I have so many sonic possibilities and options now, even having the sonic character of 4 filter flavors. At this rate it would be a 2 year plan.
Kent
I don't think that chucking out a character piece like the ARP would make sense. Definitely go long term planning (lots of discipline required) and build up toward that Serge panel!
wetterberg
Kent wrote:
I don't think that chucking out a character piece like the ARP would make sense. Definitely go long term planning (lots of discipline required) and build up toward that Serge panel!
Now be fair - selling a synth to another synth geek isn't "chucking it out", and I've looked very carefully at this - since joining this forum I've seen tracks by Soy that do include the 2600, but only in the "s+h + clock from 2600 used as well" way.

- it may make more sense in the hands of someone else. I too have a big lug of an old modular sitting here, and I fully intend to sell it, not because of the money, but because it's falling into disuse, that is all. And that might be just the right decision for a long-term plan for the studio.

a.
D/A A/D
To play the devils advocate, his 2600 is aging - and will start to fail at some point. A brand new Serge is not going to fail for a LONG time...

twisted
Soy Sos
To be sure the 2600 has more nostalgia and atheistic appeal for me. The oscillators are not rock solid, the filter is OK, Envelopes nothing to really write home about. Ring Mod, speakers and spring reverb big cool factor. Add in that t's the modular from my old high school and it would a hard call to make. Plus it was fully serviced by CMS so it's in great shape. I think I'd also miss the variety of modules from companies like Harvestman, Flight of Harmony, Make Noise, Livewire and Plan B plus affordable utility modules and gems from Doepfer. I guess I'm just throwing it out there for general discussion. I mean I sucked it up and bought an API lunch box with high end preamps and EQs and spent almost 4K. But that really was for "work" as in "paying work". In order to do the Serge or Buchla I would have to sell both systems.
felix
I personally wouldn't get rid of the 2600 if I was in your shoes. Not only because of the nostalgia (I still have my first guitar, only because it's "my first") but because it's a very nice system. Oh yeah, and it's likely to only continue to go up in value.

As for the expensiveness of Serge (or Buchla) there's an interesting price bracketing that occurs in almost all consumer goods. Nearly everyone can tell the difference between a $100 vs. $500 product (this can be quality, features, looks, etc), and most people can tell the difference between $500 and $1000, but it starts to get blurrier when looking at $1000 and $5000.

Now, those are arbitrary values, but it's the principle I'm getting at. This is especially true in the music world, where a $5000 guitar may not seem any different than a $2000 guitar, but to at least a couple people, the nuances are enough that they're willing to pay the difference.

There's also a supply and demand side to it. As a more-or-less fixed cost product becomes more "specialized", the appeal (demand) to a larger group decreases, and therefore, with lower volume, the prices are higher.

Back to the topic at hand, since you're augmenting your 2600, I think Euro or Frac, or any of those formats where you can add a filter here, or another oscillator there, is the way to go.

It's a pretty hard decision weighing one or the other - as you likely know I've been doing it a lot lately and I'm still going back and forth on it.
thermionicjunky
felix wrote:


I'm interested to hear about the touch plate / milton combination. One of the appealing aspects of the TKB to me is how the touchplates can control sequencer stage selection. AFAIK, the miltion does not have stage selection inputs (only stage active pulse outputs) so is there some other way to achieve this?


The Milton selects stages with general voltage control. The Modcan 54B works the same way. One could use any cv source to do TKB tricks, rather than just the plates. For hardcore DIYers, Big City Music still has Milton PCBs.
amnesia
For me the Buchla 200e has turned out to be my favourite modular why????

1. Ultra portable, fold up and walk
2. its like christmas every time I turn it on
3. memory/preset
4. great fun to use
5. doesnt sound like anything out there
6. 259e ( I got the last one) very unique oscillator

Is it worth the money? ...it would be great at $5k cheaper but there is nothing like it and I really doubt there will be anything like it for at least another 10 years
Soy Sos
amnesia, thermionicjunky, felix, D/A A/D, wetterberg, Kent, DGTom, revtor and parasitk:
Thanks for all your great insights and thoughts. I guess what it comes down to is a long range plan. I have plenty of amazing tools at my finger tips as it is and plenty to learn. In addition I want to expand my knowledge of MaxMSP and begin to integrate that more fully with my modular system as it is. If there's anyone within a couple of 100 miles of Pittsburgh with a Serge or Buchla system I'd love to hit the road and get a chance to learn something about them. I'll bring beer, food or whatever along with my Euro case.
Kent
Aww, crap... what happened to the 259e & what replaced it?
wetterberg
Soy Sos wrote:
In addition I want to expand my knowledge of MaxMSP and begin to integrate that more fully with my modular system as it is. If there's anyone within a couple of 100 miles of Pittsburgh with a Serge or Buchla system I'd love to hit the road and get a chance to learn something about them. I'll bring beer, food or whatever along with my Euro case.
I'll help with the maxMSP part, fo sho - flights leave for Denmark twice a day wink
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