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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Modular Fixtures for Noise
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Synth Noise  
Author Modular Fixtures for Noise
MindMachine
Inspired by Nelson Baboons recent threads on noise hardware acquisitions.... specifically I guess regarding custom circuit bent instruments.

who has tried this approach? will it work to satisfaction? are there any obvious shortcomings?

Say you have some beat boxes... a few modular synth modules... a cassette recorder... some contact mic's and shit... a dozen guitar pedals and rack effects. You have a main mixer.

Would it make sense to buy a Euro modular box w/ say a matrix mixer, some attenuators and vca's (or Doepfer VC Mixer), preamps and add Synthwerks triggers, etc. versus some $$$ circuit bent things.

The thought being that instead of buying some circuit high $$ items, you could get close enough or different with what you have plus what I detailed above.

I know that the circuit bent things are unique... but with some feedback loops and mixing could you not extend the possibilities of your current gear getting close and weird enough????

Just looking for opinions and what not...
Nelson Baboon
oh, you're saying the eurorack setup VERSUS the non-modular toys?

I'd say because using these things (for example the ciat lonbarde sidrazzi) in the context of a modular setup you have different possibilities and workflow. Could the sounds of the sidrazzi be replicated in a modular setup - this is that question that always comes up - I'm sure that a static sound could probably be replicated with lots of work. But could the same change of sounds in time and inspiration from working on this particular device be replicated? Well, not for me.
sgnhh
different hardware for different musical goals. depends on what you want. sorry if this is too obvious.
Repeater
it's all modular, baby. plug this into that x10000.
Nelson Baboon
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?
Repeater
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Nelson Baboon
no. The condescension is just too think.

I repeat - when people talk about being able to do everything in one of the current modular synth systems VERSUS bringing in small noise devices and gadgets that are not part of the system, most people here know what they mean. You apparently don't, so I suggest that you think about it. You aren't providing ANY new information to anyone here, so your only point is to condescend. Everyone here knows what modular means, and that a system is modular if it fits your description. But everyone here also knows that there is a difference.

Repeater wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Repeater
No hostility was intended in my first post. Hell, I thought that I was encouraging experimentation. Your first reply seemed like unwarranted aggression, so I asked you clarify. Your replies were blatantly condescending (asking me if I understand something "that everyone understands" with the intention of telling me I don't understand it). What's to learn from that?

Anyways... let's start over.

Just trying to bring in the Tudor perspective. I feel like everything you connect your modular to becomes part of the modular system. That's one of the main principles behind matrix mixing and feedback loops too IMO. If that isn't the case, then trying playing your modular without hooking it up to any external equipment. I think you'd find that to be impossible unless you've got speakers built into your modular. It doesn't take long to realize that plugging into a piezo buzzer is going to make your system work a hell of a lot differently than running through a sunn coliseum and an 18" speaker. "External equipment" is a little more responsible for the resulting sound than most people seem to be willing to give it credit for.

For me, interface and aesthetics are just as valid concerns as the resulting sound is. I'd much rather have a setup with lots of simple gear + my modest doepfer rig than a massive purist modular synth rig because the pile of things (pedals, standalone synths, mixers, pickups, radios) with different interfaces and affordances create a more interesting performance situation for me. I love the struggle of making everything agree (levels, impedance, etc.) and the happy accidents that sometimes occur when things don't agree. I guess it's a matter of if you find this sort of thing interesting or frustrating that dictates whether it's worth experimenting with.


Nelson Baboon wrote:
no. The condescension is just too think.

I repeat - when people talk about being able to do everything in one of the current modular synth systems VERSUS bringing in small noise devices and gadgets that are not part of the system, most people here know what they mean. You apparently don't, so I suggest that you think about it. You aren't providing ANY new information to anyone here, so your only point is to condescend. Everyone here knows what modular means, and that a system is modular if it fits your description. But everyone here also knows that there is a difference.

Repeater wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Nelson Baboon
But all this is obvious. The point I'm making is that I don't think that this was the discussion, though it's a fine one in a different context.

To some degree, for instance, it's a bit of a pain bringing in other equipment to my Serge system. So, the question becomes not a broader one about a modular system, but a more narrow one - can one achieve the same kind of sounds and experimentation using only the particular modular system for sound generation, modification, and control. Sure - there are other components - speakers, and whatever, but that's not what is being talked about.

So -yes - I think that it's great to view the whole shebang as a modiular system, but think that the people here understand that. It's this assumption that we are being limited by our small view that I found condescending - the conversation was deliberately about a very small subset of the modular concept.

edit - in reading the original post, I remembered it a bit incorrectly - it's more of a question about whether a modular synth system + various low budget toys might ultimately get you just as far as a modular system plus some of the more high end 'circuit bent' toys. Still, a much narrower discussion than what you're making it out to be.

But I guess to my mind the intersection of your points and mine comes down to - sure, one can get a working modular system together of all sorts of components, but sometimes you can get there more simply with work flow that agrees with you better. To my mind, if I can achieve what I want with the Serge itself, versus connecting a whole bunch of cheap devices and dealing with grounding, and different interfaces, etc - then why bother. But the more that these different components add to the experience, then the more worthwhile they are.

another edit - and I think that even with your system, you have found the balance that you like between workflow and the sounds that you'd like to get to. I'm sure that you'd admit that at some point, if you're performing with your setup, that if things take too long to get to, or too much experimentation to get to a sweet spot that you might find more simply, then you might want to do it another way. But I love having a large modular system - I had to experiment with that quite a bit - I didn't quite get on with the eurorack stuff as a system like I thought I would - the Serge is just perfect for me. But I can't imagine trying to perform live with 8 panels...

so, maybe another way of putting this is that yes - I totally recognize and appreciate that it's all one big modular system - and experimentation with it is where much of the fun is - but there is also that spot where the experimentation tends to lead you to surprising sounds, and there is also the spot where there is just a little too much frustration built in given that it might be done more simply. And I'm certainly not into being a purist about any of this - but I think that sometimes I work better when I don't have too many disparate work flows working together. It can be fun to experiment within a more purist construct sometimes because you learn more about what you can do with the gear - like what can I do with solely the Serge and its own feedback without any actual official oscillators, etc, and how much can I bend its sequencing, etc....but I think that being a purist philosophically is counterproductive. I'm babbling.

Repeater wrote:
No hostility was intended in my first post. Hell, I thought that I was encouraging experimentation. Your first reply seemed like unwarranted aggression, so I asked you clarify. Your replies were blatantly condescending (asking me if I understand something "that everyone understands" with the intention of telling me I don't understand it). What's to learn from that?

Anyways... let's start over.

Just trying to bring in the Tudor perspective. I feel like everything you connect your modular to becomes part of the modular system. That's one of the main principles behind matrix mixing and feedback loops too IMO. If that isn't the case, then trying playing your modular without hooking it up to any external equipment. I think you'd find that to be impossible unless you've got speakers built into your modular. It doesn't take long to realize that plugging into a piezo buzzer is going to make your system work a hell of a lot differently than running through a sunn coliseum and an 18" speaker. "External equipment" is a little more responsible for the resulting sound than most people seem to be willing to give it credit for.

For me, interface and aesthetics are just as valid concerns as the resulting sound is. I'd much rather have a setup with lots of simple gear + my modest doepfer rig than a massive purist modular synth rig because the pile of things (pedals, standalone synths, mixers, pickups, radios) with different interfaces and affordances create a more interesting performance situation for me. I love the struggle of making everything agree (levels, impedance, etc.) and the happy accidents that sometimes occur when things don't agree. I guess it's a matter of if you find this sort of thing interesting or frustrating that dictates whether it's worth experimenting with.


Nelson Baboon wrote:
no. The condescension is just too think.

I repeat - when people talk about being able to do everything in one of the current modular synth systems VERSUS bringing in small noise devices and gadgets that are not part of the system, most people here know what they mean. You apparently don't, so I suggest that you think about it. You aren't providing ANY new information to anyone here, so your only point is to condescend. Everyone here knows what modular means, and that a system is modular if it fits your description. But everyone here also knows that there is a difference.

Repeater wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Repeater
You've still got a pretty broad question. Especially when you're interested in a relationship with an instrument, as you seem to be, more than just a conquest for the sound. That's a lot to tackle and a very intimate aspect of musician/instrument relationships. I'd be very curious to see someone describe that in a way that does justice to their relationship with an instrument.

To the OP: The same sort of principles apply whether you're doing feedback/matrix mixing in or out of a modular, but there are a few things to take note of.

From a thread on Electro-Music.com (Lunettas are noise boxes usually bred for the purpose of uncertainty)
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32668

""Most probably it is safe; one won't damage your sound card or amplifier by plugging in your Lunetta, but you never know. There are all kinds of protection circuits one can use, but the simplest one is a single capacitor that is connected in series between the Lunetta and whatever you are using.

A single cap in series with an signal is known as a DC blocker. It's also know as AC Coupling. So if your Lunetta for some reason has some DC component that might damage your gear, the single cap will keep it on the Lunetta side of the street, so to speak.

What size? You can experiment but 0.1 uF is a good starting place. The bigger the cap, the less low frequency attenuation.

[EDIT - Corrected error - should be micro Farads.]

Of course if you are using a Lunetta to generate CVs to go to other analog gear, then the cap is going to defeat that. Here's the dilemma; most commercial sound gear is AC coupled on the inputs, so your added AC coupling on the output isn't going to add more protection - but it will not hurt either. Your modular analog synth gear is DC coupled because of the needs to handle DC level control voltages. Most synth circuits don't provide over voltage protection, because they assume their CV inputs are coming from within their own system or are in safe bounds already.

So, if you are using your Lunetta to drive CVs, then just make sure you never exceed the capabilities of whatever it is you are driving. There are over voltage protection circuits you can use, but that's for another topic, unless someone want's to post them here. ""


Nelson Baboon wrote:
So, the question becomes not a broader one about a modular system, but a more narrow one - can one achieve the same kind of sounds and experimentation using only the particular modular system for sound generation, modification, and control.

So -yes - I think that it's great to view the whole shebang as a modiular system, but think that the people here understand that. It's this assumption that we are being limited by our small view that I found condescending - the conversation was deliberately about a very small subset of the modular concept.

Repeater wrote:
No hostility was intended in my first post. Hell, I thought that I was encouraging experimentation. Your first reply seemed like unwarranted aggression, so I asked you clarify. Your replies were blatantly condescending (asking me if I understand something "that everyone understands" with the intention of telling me I don't understand it). What's to learn from that?

Anyways... let's start over.

Just trying to bring in the Tudor perspective. I feel like everything you connect your modular to becomes part of the modular system. That's one of the main principles behind matrix mixing and feedback loops too IMO. If that isn't the case, then trying playing your modular without hooking it up to any external equipment. I think you'd find that to be impossible unless you've got speakers built into your modular. It doesn't take long to realize that plugging into a piezo buzzer is going to make your system work a hell of a lot differently than running through a sunn coliseum and an 18" speaker. "External equipment" is a little more responsible for the resulting sound than most people seem to be willing to give it credit for.

For me, interface and aesthetics are just as valid concerns as the resulting sound is. I'd much rather have a setup with lots of simple gear + my modest doepfer rig than a massive purist modular synth rig because the pile of things (pedals, standalone synths, mixers, pickups, radios) with different interfaces and affordances create a more interesting performance situation for me. I love the struggle of making everything agree (levels, impedance, etc.) and the happy accidents that sometimes occur when things don't agree. I guess it's a matter of if you find this sort of thing interesting or frustrating that dictates whether it's worth experimenting with.


Nelson Baboon wrote:
no. The condescension is just too think.

I repeat - when people talk about being able to do everything in one of the current modular synth systems VERSUS bringing in small noise devices and gadgets that are not part of the system, most people here know what they mean. You apparently don't, so I suggest that you think about it. You aren't providing ANY new information to anyone here, so your only point is to condescend. Everyone here knows what modular means, and that a system is modular if it fits your description. But everyone here also knows that there is a difference.

Repeater wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Nelson Baboon
Repeater wrote:
You've still got a pretty broad question. Especially when you're interested in a relationship with an instrument, as you seem to be, more than just a conquest for the sound. That's a lot to tackle and a very intimate aspect of musician/instrument relationships. I'd be very curious to see someone describe that in a way that does justice to their relationship with an instrument.


Me too! But I think that it's important to try to understand/articulate it. I've never heard of this lunetta thing - I'll have to research it - but I have no diy skills at all...

Quote:
To the OP: The same sort of principles apply whether you're doing feedback/matrix mixing in or out of a modular, but there are a few things to take note of.

From a thread on Electro-Music.com (Lunettas are noise boxes usually bred for the purpose of uncertainty)
http://electro-music.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32668

""Most probably it is safe; one won't damage your sound card or amplifier by plugging in your Lunetta, but you never know. There are all kinds of protection circuits one can use, but the simplest one is a single capacitor that is connected in series between the Lunetta and whatever you are using.

A single cap in series with an signal is known as a DC blocker. It's also know as AC Coupling. So if your Lunetta for some reason has some DC component that might damage your gear, the single cap will keep it on the Lunetta side of the street, so to speak.

What size? You can experiment but 0.1 uF is a good starting place. The bigger the cap, the less low frequency attenuation.

[EDIT - Corrected error - should be micro Farads.]

Of course if you are using a Lunetta to generate CVs to go to other analog gear, then the cap is going to defeat that. Here's the dilemma; most commercial sound gear is AC coupled on the inputs, so your added AC coupling on the output isn't going to add more protection - but it will not hurt either. Your modular analog synth gear is DC coupled because of the needs to handle DC level control voltages. Most synth circuits don't provide over voltage protection, because they assume their CV inputs are coming from within their own system or are in safe bounds already.

So, if you are using your Lunetta to drive CVs, then just make sure you never exceed the capabilities of whatever it is you are driving. There are over voltage protection circuits you can use, but that's for another topic, unless someone want's to post them here. ""


Nelson Baboon wrote:
So, the question becomes not a broader one about a modular system, but a more narrow one - can one achieve the same kind of sounds and experimentation using only the particular modular system for sound generation, modification, and control.

So -yes - I think that it's great to view the whole shebang as a modiular system, but think that the people here understand that. It's this assumption that we are being limited by our small view that I found condescending - the conversation was deliberately about a very small subset of the modular concept.

Repeater wrote:
No hostility was intended in my first post. Hell, I thought that I was encouraging experimentation. Your first reply seemed like unwarranted aggression, so I asked you clarify. Your replies were blatantly condescending (asking me if I understand something "that everyone understands" with the intention of telling me I don't understand it). What's to learn from that?

Anyways... let's start over.

Just trying to bring in the Tudor perspective. I feel like everything you connect your modular to becomes part of the modular system. That's one of the main principles behind matrix mixing and feedback loops too IMO. If that isn't the case, then trying playing your modular without hooking it up to any external equipment. I think you'd find that to be impossible unless you've got speakers built into your modular. It doesn't take long to realize that plugging into a piezo buzzer is going to make your system work a hell of a lot differently than running through a sunn coliseum and an 18" speaker. "External equipment" is a little more responsible for the resulting sound than most people seem to be willing to give it credit for.

For me, interface and aesthetics are just as valid concerns as the resulting sound is. I'd much rather have a setup with lots of simple gear + my modest doepfer rig than a massive purist modular synth rig because the pile of things (pedals, standalone synths, mixers, pickups, radios) with different interfaces and affordances create a more interesting performance situation for me. I love the struggle of making everything agree (levels, impedance, etc.) and the happy accidents that sometimes occur when things don't agree. I guess it's a matter of if you find this sort of thing interesting or frustrating that dictates whether it's worth experimenting with.


Nelson Baboon wrote:
no. The condescension is just too think.

I repeat - when people talk about being able to do everything in one of the current modular synth systems VERSUS bringing in small noise devices and gadgets that are not part of the system, most people here know what they mean. You apparently don't, so I suggest that you think about it. You aren't providing ANY new information to anyone here, so your only point is to condescend. Everyone here knows what modular means, and that a system is modular if it fits your description. But everyone here also knows that there is a difference.

Repeater wrote:
Nelson Baboon wrote:
right - but you understand what people mean by distinguishing a modular synth system from individual noise boxes, don't you?


seriously, i just don't get it

common power supply vs individual supplies? one enclosure vs. several enclosures? semantics?

please educate me if you think there is any other difference.
Nelson Baboon
btw, repeater, I'm listening to your music right now - I must say that it's really terrific.
Repeater
thanks. no modular synths in there, by the way. thumbs up
Nelson Baboon
didn't even think of that one way or the other. I never have though, or meant to imply, that modular synths are necessary.
MindMachine
Thanks for the responses gentlemen. I guess I was mainly trying to find a way to ask if all of the fancy expensive drone/noise boxes give anything more than what a person could achieve with the junk I noted. I know that there are differences, etc. obviously. I am just trying to learn more about the attraction of all the different noise boxes, when there are so many variables already available with existing equipment. I am leaning toward getting a Eurorack Matrix mixer for feedback experiments.

To be honest most of the circuitbent Casios and Speak and Spell things sound like crap to me. Some of the more high end units though sound at least unique.

Sorry for the vague querey. It is so killer to see so many experimenters with so many different options though.
fluxmonkey
i'm unclear on your question. let me try to focus

first, it sounds like you have 2 maybe 3 "classes" of gear in mind: traditional synth modules (a la dopeher); traditional noise setups of standalone boxes (including circuit bent toys, repurposed home/lab gear, effects pedals) wired together; and maybe "noise boxes", standalone units built specifically more-or-less integrated instruments (MFOS Weird Sound Generator, Drone Commander, etc.).

second, it sounds like you're talking about blending those approaches (not a question, of course you can). you also reference pricepoints, maybe like you're looking to save money.

what specifically do you want to know? sounds like you have some kind of either/or dichotomy in your head, which usually will spark some contention--if you put it out in those terms, is sounds like you're trying to start a fight. but most of us use a variety of tools and techniques, and are pretty open-minded in our own practice. whats the question? be specific.
bartlebooth
aarggh..dreaded double post!
bartlebooth
even lumping all the non-traditional synths into 'noise boxes' to me is misleading. for example, i find the sidrassi organ as much (probably more) of an instrument than i do a modular, capable of subtle expression, melodic flourishes, percussive playing and much more. its not a question to me if you can make the same sounds with your modular or not, the whole experience of playing it and discovering the different sounds in it is totally unique and what makes it so satisfying. that's just one example but there are many others. i do agree that the more oscillator-drone oriented offerings have the most overlap with a modular but even these should be taken on their own terms, they will induce you to play a certain way precisely because of their limitations.
Quote:
Thanks for the responses gentlemen. I guess I was mainly trying to find a way to ask if all of the fancy expensive drone/noise boxes give anything more than what a person could achieve with the junk I noted. I know that there are differences, etc. obviously. I am just trying to learn more about the attraction of all the different noise boxes, when there are so many variables already available with existing equipment. I am leaning toward getting a Eurorack Matrix mixer for feedback experiments.

To be honest most of the circuitbent Casios and Speak and Spell things sound like crap to me. Some of the more high end units though sound at least unique.

Sorry for the vague querey. It is so killer to see so many experimenters with so many different options though.
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