Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

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Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by Bricks » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:01 pm

Like many, Buchla's 200e has been on the top of my fantasy list forever.

For some stupid reasons, I started obsessing about working on one. This was mostly because
1) I've been getting more interested in the the idea of expressive instruments
2) I've came to understand and deeply admire Buchla's philosophy
3) I'm wondering how much longer one will be able to buy a modular synth from Don Buchla

But after listening to every recording out there, and reading for days on the 200e yahoo group... I don't know.

The sound reminds me of how I feel about the Machinedrum. Dumbfounding parameter depth and intelligent tweak-ability.... but it sounds kind of... plastic.

It isn't to say plastic is inherently bad. I think Buchla is just even more ahead of the curve than I am. My ears and heart are stuck in a certain aesthetic, and he's got the foresight to build an expressive modern instrument with modern tools. I suspect I could grow to love it even

But the banana fever got me listening closely to Serge stuff for the first time. And how surprising! There is a squishy-aliveness ripping from my speakers on all the Serge demos I hear. Exactly the kind of bug-squish-warp-music I've been getting into.

Still, there is a part of me that feels weird thinking about putting money into Serge.. because... BUCHLA! Its NUTS to think I could own some Buchla modules.

I feel each system is probably dense and complex in different ways. Buchla seems like that Lego monorail that existed when I was a kid that I've always wanted, whereas Serge is like a stainless steel erector set.

In terms of instruments... It'd probably be intensely difficult to gig with Serge. Seems more like as a studio tool. Though I think I'd get more bang for the buck with a Serge budget under 10k.

But once someone sinks 20k into Buchla.. you've got the Kinesthetic.. the ARF sequencer.. presets... essentially, a "legendary" thing that is likely to hold its value more than Serge. But I just can't see myself putting that kind of money into a synth for at least 5-10 years, if ever.

Eh maybe I should just track down a Thunder! Or get a Haken and learn more Max and call it a day.

Or wait 5 more years for whatever paradigm shift blows all this out of the water!

Thoughts?

Would you rather have Buchla 200e, or Serge? Howabout with a 5-8k budget, and why?
Last edited by Bricks on Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by timmah » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:04 pm

I'd rather have a buchla, so I could sell it, buy a couple of m-odules and some modcan A, and go drinking in iceland.

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Post by Bricks » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:18 pm

Just found viewtopic.php?t=1480&sid=8950c3700dba37 ... b4cd7a1efc

Where people seem to go
Old Bucha > Wiard 300 > Serge > 200e

Maybe its just the lack of demos, but I've never had serious Wiard jones. I've got Borg, Boogie, and Noisering in frac and they are probably the best modules in my system.. but they satiate my Wiard hunger. Old Buchla is pretty much out of the question.

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Post by neandrewthal » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:29 pm

I love the buchla scattershot panel layouts and folding case, but something is pulling me towards the serge. It just seems like it would be more simple and user friendly, yet you could patch up as much complexity as you want.
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Post by panda30y » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:33 pm

I haven't seen too many wiard demos either, but every demo I find sounds fantastic, whereas some serge demos I find fantastic, and some are "meh".

Regardless I'm still saving my money to build my serge system. The wiard seem fantastic, but I lust for banana cables.

But I do think with the right case and a tkb, the serge system can be be very effective as a gigging instrument if you don't mind the complete absence of saved presets.

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Post by Bricks » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:42 pm

panda30y wrote:But I do think with the right case and a tkb, the serge system can be be very effective as a gigging instrument if you don't mind the complete absence of saved presets.
On the whole, I agree.
(then again... after writing my initial post and imagining presets.. my hands and brain conspired and tried to parameter-lock a wiard 1200 knob.. :roll: )

Curiously, some guy is supposedly going to make some Buchla style boats for Serge...

xart

Post by xart » Mon Feb 02, 2009 8:48 pm

Wiard = like a Ferrari that can only go 55 mph. The system is too closed. Lack of attenuation is a major over site... and a pain in the ass when you have a basic 6u system. (but ohhh the sound and the fun! I love the wiard!)

200e - "square waves bouncing against the sides of a petri dish" (gotta give REX the credit for that one) :sb: Its not what I call analog when I hear it...if your into the 'analog sound', i'd say its not for you.

Serge - at 12K for good basic system, may as well get the 200e call it a day and pray it don't break or you need something fixed ;) The price for serge IMO is just too high... things like the power supply REALLY need to be updated for the shop systems.

They are all great systems, I currently use a 200e for my fukcery and it cracks my head open daily... but I do miss the sound of the serge... but don't miss that big ass power brick (wtf it's 2009) Its a pain in the ass to bring the serge to a show. I bring the 200e everywhere.

As far as a budget... you can get a SOLID serge or bookla if you figure 12k. You won't be missing much.
Last edited by xart on Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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....

Post by chimologic » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:03 pm

I choose Serge.

currently working out a portable system, waiting on a mixer case to put my two panels and plan on getting a second case and two more panels if that works. we'll see.

At the end is about:
A-Which instrument can produce the range of sounds you are after, if you have not heard the 200e do it there probably is a reason. I know I didn't.

B-If live playing is important which instrument provides you with the interface you want / that will allow you to achieve the changes/structures you want to play live. Certainly the bucchla has an advantage here cause of preset's, but for me The TKB,some notes on paper, and enough panels to get several voices/smaller patches that I can trigger is plenty enough.


If Buchla was still making the old 200 series, or easel, perhaps my choice would have different, but as it stands today Serge was the way to go for me for the sound I wanted.

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Post by Bricks » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:17 pm

xart wrote: 200e - "square waves bouncing against the sides of a petri dish" (gotta give REX the credit for that one)
Thats a new one! Sounds about right.

Saw a forum post that broke it down by Warp..
Buchla = Autechre
Serge = Aphex
Euro = Boards of Canada

I thought that was pretty good actually.

I love how much control there is in this demo of Buchla VCOs. So much that I'm distracted from tone/soundstage of that clip. But 99% of the 200e demos I hear, I'm find myself working to like the sound. Just kind of how it sits in the mix. I feel like Im speaking in voodoo, but I don't think I like the 200e's sound despite being totally seduced by its workflow. : /

Maybe its worth going Buchla and getting some of those Mark Verbos 258s.. Though, those don't have many waveshaping options. I think its just crossfades between the shapes like on the Model 15.

Converting all the signals to running euro oscillators would lose the ease-of-portability.

I can't afford any of this anyway. : /

Maybe I should learn DSP and engineering and build my dream synth! then sell a few and buy a serge AND a buchla!

see you in 15 years..

xart

Post by xart » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:31 pm

Bricks wrote:
xart wrote:

I love how much control there is in this demo of Buchla VCOs.

Sexylove. The 259e/261e along with the 250e makes the system so fun to use (for me) Try and do that with Serge VCO and TKB... yawn.
But Serge has the Wave Multipliers!... and there is no better! (I love the voodoo in the middle section...)
And Wiard has the Woggle Bug 100000X more fun than a 266e.
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Post by Roycie Roller » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:46 pm

For me, a big drawcard of the 200e is the touchplate, however i recently learnt that you can program it to various voltage increments (ie. not just 1.2v/oct). This means that you can use it with other systems. Because i also find the Buchla sound kind of plastic (that could also be because i'm listening to mp3 demo's- i've never heard one in person), i've pretty much decided that i'd much rather a mix of Modcan A, Serge, and the 222e touchplate/input port. I'm sure there's a tonne of stuff in the Buchla that would keep me busy for a lifetime, but Modcan's CV recorder, VCDO, Quad LFO, etc, and a Serge Animal, for example, would come damn close to the Buchla anyway, but, as you say, will also have the lovely analog side as well.

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Re: Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by felix » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:54 pm

Bricks wrote:Like many, Buchla's 200e has been on the top of my fantasy list forever.

For some stupid reasons, I started obsessing about working on one. This was mostly because
1) I've been getting more interested in the the idea of expressive instruments
2) I've came to understand and deeply admire Buchla's philosophy
3) I'm wondering how much longer one will be able to buy a modular synth from Don Buchla

But after listening to every recording out there, and reading for days on the 200e yahoo group... I don't know.

The sound reminds me of how I feel about the Machinedrum. Dumbfounding parameter depth and intelligent tweak-ability.... but it sounds kind of... plastic.

It isn't to say plastic is inherently bad. I think Buchla is just even more ahead of the curve than I am. My ears and heart are stuck in a certain aesthetic, and he's got the foresight to build an expressive modern instrument with modern tools. I suspect I could grow to love it even

But the banana fever got me listening closely to Serge stuff for the first time. And how surprising! There is a squishy-aliveness ripping from my speakers on all the Serge demos I hear. Exactly the kind of bug-squish-warp-music I've been getting into.

Still, there is a part of me that feels weird thinking about putting money into Serge.. because... BUCHLA! Its NUTS to think I could own some Buchla modules.

I feel each system is probably dense and complex in different ways. Buchla seems like that Lego monorail that existed when I was a kid that I've always wanted, whereas Serge is like a stainless steel erector set.

In terms of instruments... It'd probably be intensely difficult to gig with Serge. Seems more like as a studio tool. Though I think I'd get more bang for the buck with a Serge budget under 10k.

But once someone sinks 20k into Buchla.. you've got the Kinesthetic.. the ARF sequencer.. presets... essentially, a "legendary" thing that is likely to hold its value more than Serge. But I just can't see myself putting that kind of money into a synth for at least 5-10 years, if ever.

Eh maybe I should just track down a Thunder! Or get a Haken and learn more Max and call it a day.

Or wait 5 more years for whatever paradigm shift blows all this out of the water!

Thoughts?

Would you rather have Buchla 200e, or Serge? Howabout with a 5-8k budget, and why?
Wow, I swear I've had the same train of thought over the last several months. Buchla -> Serge -> unknown at this point.

I have, however, started demoing (and bought) Max/MSP and I must say it's quite impressive. It's taken me a while to come up to speed and it definitely is worth the time to slowly pour over the included tutorials and get your footing, even if you go through 13 tutorials before you get to the MSP (audio processing/synthesis/etc) part. I'm definitely not saying they are the same thing, but playing with Max/MSP has considerably lessened my Buchla lust and put the price of Serge into perspective (believe me, spending weeks rationalizing the cost of Buchla and you start to feel like affording a Serge is no big deal...it's weird).

The biggest downside to Max/MSP is you have to design the instrument. It's a fun academic exercise, but it can be frustrating at times. I'm still early days with the system, but the lack of physical interface is the thing I find the most detracting. My biggest breakthrough was hooking up a Wii Remote and using the accelerometer data to control an FM patch in Max. It was the next day that I laid the money down for Max. The prospect of using Max for other weird things like crazy midi sequencers and data manipulators also made it worth it. While I use the modular almost exclusively for my own musical endeavors, I do work at other people's studios and they are generally all midi.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I know exactly what you're going through and I wish I could say it ends somewhere, but it just kicks back up again. I was listening to the blindoldfreak stuff today and that kicked up the dust on the Buchla lust.
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Re: Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by dkcg » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:29 pm

felix wrote:
Bricks wrote:Like many, Buchla's 200e has been on the top of my fantasy list forever.

For some stupid reasons, I started obsessing about working on one. This was mostly because
1) I've been getting more interested in the the idea of expressive instruments
2) I've came to understand and deeply admire Buchla's philosophy
3) I'm wondering how much longer one will be able to buy a modular synth from Don Buchla

But after listening to every recording out there, and reading for days on the 200e yahoo group... I don't know.

The sound reminds me of how I feel about the Machinedrum. Dumbfounding parameter depth and intelligent tweak-ability.... but it sounds kind of... plastic.

It isn't to say plastic is inherently bad. I think Buchla is just even more ahead of the curve than I am. My ears and heart are stuck in a certain aesthetic, and he's got the foresight to build an expressive modern instrument with modern tools. I suspect I could grow to love it even

But the banana fever got me listening closely to Serge stuff for the first time. And how surprising! There is a squishy-aliveness ripping from my speakers on all the Serge demos I hear. Exactly the kind of bug-squish-warp-music I've been getting into.

Still, there is a part of me that feels weird thinking about putting money into Serge.. because... BUCHLA! Its NUTS to think I could own some Buchla modules.

I feel each system is probably dense and complex in different ways. Buchla seems like that Lego monorail that existed when I was a kid that I've always wanted, whereas Serge is like a stainless steel erector set.

In terms of instruments... It'd probably be intensely difficult to gig with Serge. Seems more like as a studio tool. Though I think I'd get more bang for the buck with a Serge budget under 10k.

But once someone sinks 20k into Buchla.. you've got the Kinesthetic.. the ARF sequencer.. presets... essentially, a "legendary" thing that is likely to hold its value more than Serge. But I just can't see myself putting that kind of money into a synth for at least 5-10 years, if ever.

Eh maybe I should just track down a Thunder! Or get a Haken and learn more Max and call it a day.

Or wait 5 more years for whatever paradigm shift blows all this out of the water!

Thoughts?

Would you rather have Buchla 200e, or Serge? Howabout with a 5-8k budget, and why?
Wow, I swear I've had the same train of thought over the last several months. Buchla -> Serge -> unknown at this point.

I have, however, started demoing (and bought) Max/MSP and I must say it's quite impressive. It's taken me a while to come up to speed and it definitely is worth the time to slowly pour over the included tutorials and get your footing, even if you go through 13 tutorials before you get to the MSP (audio processing/synthesis/etc) part. I'm definitely not saying they are the same thing, but playing with Max/MSP has considerably lessened my Buchla lust and put the price of Serge into perspective (believe me, spending weeks rationalizing the cost of Buchla and you start to feel like affording a Serge is no big deal...it's weird).

The biggest downside to Max/MSP is you have to design the instrument. It's a fun academic exercise, but it can be frustrating at times. I'm still early days with the system, but the lack of physical interface is the thing I find the most detracting. My biggest breakthrough was hooking up a Wii Remote and using the accelerometer data to control an FM patch in Max. It was the next day that I laid the money down for Max. The prospect of using Max for other weird things like crazy midi sequencers and data manipulators also made it worth it. While I use the modular almost exclusively for my own musical endeavors, I do work at other people's studios and they are generally all midi.

Anyway, I'm rambling, but I know exactly what you're going through and I wish I could say it ends somewhere, but it just kicks back up again. I was listening to the blindoldfreak stuff today and that kicked up the dust on the Buchla lust.
MaxMSP is the methedone of modular addiction... :lol:

xart

Re: Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by xart » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:37 pm

dkcg wrote:
MaxMSP is the methedone of modular addiction... :lol:

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Post by plord » Mon Feb 02, 2009 10:57 pm

xart wrote:Wiard = like a Ferrari that can only go 55 mph. The system is too closed. Lack of attenuation is a major over site... and a pain in the ass when you have a basic 6u system. (but ohhh the sound and the fun!)
If the lack of attenuation is your only complaint, Michael Ford will build you 8 attenuators in a 1U panel for a cheap. Or you could DIY for even less, it's just some pots and jacks.

Also, and not to start a flame war or anything, but wise man say, perhaps it is your mind that is closed, not the system.

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Post by BananaPlug » Mon Feb 02, 2009 11:29 pm

They are all great systems...
And you don't have to put all your eggs in one basket.

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Post by NV » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:11 am

I can understand the lust for expensive modular systems, but I've never understood why people always focus upon one or two systems and never seem to consider mixing and matching the components they enjoy of different systems. I often hear people saying "Part X of Serge is amazing, but I love Part Y of Buchla and can't live without Z from Euro," and then ponder which single format they should focus on. Doesn't this run somewhat contrary to the very benefit of a modular system?

As BananaPlug hinted, why not purchase an M-boat and a couple M-odules to take advantage of some of the Serge waveshaping/timbral possibilities, get a small case for a couple Wiard modules (you could even substitute banana jacks), and buy a small Buchla boat and fit a few things in there (integrating the 1.2V lunacy)? You end up with your favorite parts of each and have a powerful and varied system that extends beyond just "that Buchla sound." To me, that possibility is exactly what makes modular synthesis so capable and interesting.
Last edited by NV on Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by b3nsf » Tue Feb 03, 2009 12:27 am

I vote for you buying a serge, It's like an analog synth, but juicier or more liquid.... I have many vintage synths, including a steiner parker synthacon, I thought I had heard every sound ever to come out of an analog, but the serge opens my eyes, and smacks me across the face! its outstanding sound!!

:hyper:

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Post by bartlebooth » Tue Feb 03, 2009 1:04 am

why not purchase an M-boat and a couple M-odules to take advantage of some of the Serge waveshaping/timbral possibilities, get a small case for a couple Wiard modules (you could even substitute banana jacks), and buy a small Buchla boat and fit a few things in there (integrating the 1.2V lunacy)?
Certainly this approach has benefits in terms of cherry-picking functions that you may really like but I do think you lose something in terms of workflow and user interface. There is also that intangible (but, to me, very appealing) idea of Buchla, Serge and Wiard being instruments that sprang from the minds of their designers each with their own approach to synthesis, unique sound, and eccentricities (good and bad). Kinda touchy-feelie I know but I think 'limiting' yourself to one instrument can in some ways be more satisfying (and inspiring) than a best-of-breed approach.
Last edited by bartlebooth on Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Luka » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:03 am

i agree i like serge

however ive used nether and my opinion might change
who knows

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Re: Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by syncretism » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:05 am

Bricks wrote:But the banana fever got me listening closely to Serge stuff for the first time.
If you have banana fever, then you shouldn't discount Modcan {but maybe Bruce Duncan should, ho ho!}. I haven't had a lot of exposure to them, but I liked what I heard in a chap's studio in early 2008. It was intimidating to behold and hear. I have almost zero experience with Serge and only about two hours with a 200e, so I guess I'm not very useful here, sorry.

Still, for the money you want to drop, you could probably get a Synton Fenix with a little patience, and have some money left over to service it. Lots of banana love there, too {and a distinctive sound}.

I dunno. Independently of this thread, I tallied the value of the shit I could sell and shopped around the Buchla and Modcan sites. I wouldn't consider it seriously, but it's a fun way to kill a quiet hour. I'd consider trading the Sunsyn for a Fenix. Maybe. ;)

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Post by parasitk » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:37 am

I've never really had Buchla lust. I love LPGs. Other than that... not so much, really. MIDI and patch memory aren't really attractive in a modular system for me, and I'm not sold on the sound of the current offerings. I certainly appreciate it though.

I'm back and forth with Wiard. I dunno. Maybe more intrigued than lustful. I definitely have tons of respect for Grant – I love his Frac designs.

But Serge and Modcan – damn it's gotten pretty bad. Really bad. :love:

Bare minimum I think I'd want an Animal panel and Quad Slopes M-odule. From Modcan, those digital oscillators and a CV-Recorder. Two of the 292c PCBs I picked up are going into Modcan A format, for sure.

I'm gonna have to stop with the Frac soon to start saving up for the banana stuff. I don't care how long it takes. It will be mine, oh yes.
Last edited by parasitk on Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MrDys » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:38 am

why not purchase an M-boat and a couple M-odules to take advantage of some of the Serge waveshaping/timbral possibilities, get a small case for a couple Wiard modules (you could even substitute banana jacks), and buy a small Buchla boat and fit a few things in there (integrating the 1.2V lunacy)?
The big problem for me is cases and power. I have a real hard time spending a significant amount of money on things that do not generate sound or CVs. The more formats you have, the more cases and power you have to deal with. I'm happy with my Euro/Modcan B frankensystem only because the Modcan B features massively make up for the format differences.

That said, I have some massive Serge lust at the moment. Were I to get a Serge (not happening in this economy), I'd I want to use it on its own as a singular "instrument". Part of this is design philosophy, and part of it is because I really don't want to go through the headaches of integrating another format with the rest of my gear.

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Post by felix » Tue Feb 03, 2009 2:41 am

bartlebooth wrote:
why not purchase an M-boat and a couple M-odules to take advantage of some of the Serge waveshaping/timbral possibilities, get a small case for a couple Wiard modules (you could even substitute banana jacks), and buy a small Buchla boat and fit a few things in there (integrating the 1.2V lunacy)?
Certainly this approach has benefits in terms of cherry-picking functions that you may really like but I do think you lose something in terms of workflow and user interface. There is also that intangible (but, to me, very appealing) idea of Buchla, Serge and Wiard being instruments that sprang from the minds of their designers each with their own approach to synthesis, unique sound, and eccentricities (good and bad). Kinda touchy-feelie I know but I think 'limiting' yourself to one instrument can in some ways be more satisfying (and productive) than going with a best-of-breed approach.
I would whole-heartedly agree. A large part of the appeal of the Buchla to me is that of an instrument. I'm still trying to find out what my ideal instrument is. The Buchla could be, but it might not. I'm still figuring that out I think. I certainly am not looking for every possible way to create sound, or even the most flexible possible configuration of modules; I just want something that inspires me creatively as well intuitive to interact with.

I get lost without some limitations, sometimes without a lot of limitations. This has been the biggest hurdle for me with Max. Not necessarily *how* to make something, but *what* to make. Oddly enough, I find sitting down with the modular and trying things out makes for the best inspiration. If I sit in front of a blank window and think "what do I want to make" I honestly have no idea.
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Re: Is my Buchla lust being waveshaped into Serge lust...!?!

Post by cbm » Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:40 am

Bricks wrote:It isn't to say plastic is inherently bad. I think Buchla is just even more ahead of the curve than I am. My ears and heart are stuck in a certain aesthetic, and he's got the foresight to build an expressive modern instrument with modern tools. I suspect I could grow to love it even
Part of the "problem" with the Buchla system is that it never sounded "analog" as most people define it. Even in the 1970's, when the Buchla system was more or less 100% analog, it didn't sound particularly "analog," because of the approach that Don took to synthesis. The Music Easel oscillator had a sophisticated Timbre modulation section in 1972, which, while it was made with analog circuitry, didn't "sound analog," the way most people mean it today. If what you're looking for is closer to the "traditional" analog sound, other systems might get you closer than the Buchla.

But the banana fever got me listening closely to Serge stuff for the first time. And how surprising! There is a squishy-aliveness ripping from my speakers on all the Serge demos I hear. Exactly the kind of bug-squish-warp-music I've been getting into.
Serge is a great system, I had one for quite a while, back in the 1970's when it was the poor man's Buchla. Now it's the upper-middle-class man's Buchla. :-)

After I sold my Serge (in the mid 1980's so that I could build a Salamander modular), I did have some regrets.

Would you rather have Buchla 200e, or Serge?
When I got a small inheritance a couple years ago, I looked long and hard at Serge, Modcan/Cyndustries, and Buchla. Buchla won. After I got my Buchla, I started the process of selling off other synths to finance more Buchla. I'm not saying that it should be regulated like a drug, but...

To me it feels more like an instrument than any other synthesizer that I've used. I find it more inspirational to play than any other synth I've used.

That said, it is more expensive. I think it's worth it. Your point on Buchla holding its value is well taken, I think. I sold a module so that I could fill it's spot with different modules recently, and got what I originally paid for it out if it.

To meet your $8k budget I guess I would go for something like:
201e - 12 12-panel Powered Cabinet $1650
206e Mixer / Preset Manager $900
261e Complex Waveform Generator $1400
261e Complex Waveform Generator $1400
281e Quad Function Generator $800
292e Quad Dynamics Manager $700
266e Source of Uncertainty $850
201e-SC12 case $300
Ta Da! - $8000, exactly

Of course, then I would immediately start looking for things in my studio to sell so that I could afford to add a Kinesthetic Input Port, and a...

- C
Chris Muir
Personal -http://www.xfade.com
My Jobby -http://www.eardrill.com (Jobby = less than a job, more than a hobby)

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