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Little Phatty modular integration
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Little Phatty modular integration
albiedamned
Hi - new member here. I'm strongly considering getting into modular down the road, but at the moment I'm about to buy a Little Phatty. I specifically want the Moog sound, and from what I can tell it would cost a lot more to buy the equivalent of an LP in modules regardless of format. My question is whether it's worth it for me to get the CV Out upgrade on the LP so I can integrate it with my future modular system. My gut instinct is no, but I'm wondering if anyone else is using their LP like this. In theory I could use the pitch and gate CV outs to have the LP act as a controller keyboard without need for a separate MIDI-to-CV converter, and I could patch its two envelopes and its LFO into my modular system to save some money. I do wish it had a Velocity CV output - that seems to be an oversight and is one reason why my gut instinct is no. Any thoughts?
goiks
I have a LP with the CV outs. If you're going to start a small modular system, having those outs could save you some cash to start. I bought a used LP (not hard to find) and had the seller ship it straight to Moog to install the CV outs. They also checked calibration even though I didn't ask them to which was nice. Hard to beat the function for the price (especially used!), I think it's a great value.
albiedamned
I am definitely looking at used, by the way. There are used ones with and without the CV Out mod available on eBay.
goiks
cool, go for one with the cv outs, you won't regret it! (but you might regret it if you don't)
dualmono
One thing to be aware of, is that in auto tune mode the modulation bus CV out is muted once you've not been playing for X (I think 30) seconds, since the LP switches to the calibration preset internally and the mod bus is muted in the calibration preset.
The solution of course is to switch from auto tune to fine tune in the master settings.
That aside, I found the CV out mod worth it. Think 4 CVs saveable per preset to control the modular with. And you get a syncable arpeggiator on top!

Have fun.
albiedamned
Hmm I hadn't thought about the arpeggiator - that would be a nice function. So you guys don't miss not having a CV out for Velocity? Seems like a waste to have a velocity sensitive keyboard that doesn't transmit this data. I also wish that it had separate CV outs for the LFO and the mod wheel, instead of combining them into a single "mod bus" CV out. It would be cool to be able to modulate filter cutoff or whatever else in the modular using the mod wheel without affecting the LFO.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I want a more robust MIDI-to-CV implementation. In addition to pitch and gate, I'd like CV outs for velocity, mod wheel, and even aftertouch. I've seen some of the higher end MIDI-to-CV converters (Kenton and what-not), and I'm thinking that I'm better off saving my money and getting one of those when I am ready to start a modular system. But since I've never used a modular, I'm wondering if those things actually matter. Do those of you with more modular experience than me (i.e. everyone smile) find that having those performance controls makes a difference, or would you never use them even if you had them?

Question about the LP - do you know if the Pitch CV out adjusts when you use the pitch bend wheel, and if so, does it follow your current pitch bend setting or does it always use the same interval?
dualmono
albiedamned wrote:
Question about the LP - do you know if the Pitch CV out adjusts when you use the pitch bend wheel, and if so, does it follow your current pitch bend setting or does it always use the same interval?


The pitch bend wheel isn't affecting the pitch CV out.
sad banana
shaft9000
dualmono wrote:


The pitch bend wheel isn't affecting the pitch CV out.
sad banana


do you mean the pitchwheel doesn't transmit CV at all?

i ask because i absolutely loooove the key action of my LP.
i'd gladly replace my old ARP solus with the CV-mod to my Phatty, but only if it sums the keyboard+modwheel+pitchbend+glide the way the Solus does: through the CV v/oct pitch out, all summed perfectly.
I'd love to use my LP with my modular, but unless it's as well integrated as the ARP is i won't bother to send it out for mods, and use MIDI-CV instead.
fireclown
shaft9000 wrote:
dualmono wrote:


The pitch bend wheel isn't affecting the pitch CV out.
sad banana


do you mean the pitchwheel doesn't transmit CV at all?

i ask because i absolutely loooove the key action of my LP.
i'd gladly replace my old ARP solus with the CV-mod to my Phatty, but only if it sums the keyboard+modwheel+pitchbend+glide the way the Solus does: through the CV v/oct pitch out, all summed perfectly.
I'd love to use my LP with my modular, but unless it's as well integrated as the ARP is i won't bother to send it out for mods, and use MIDI-CV instead.


I remember that feature in the Solus.
Had an Avatar, dont know if the Oddy was the same as the solus mixing pitch bend (and modulation?) into the CV out. Pretty unusual feature.
I wonder how the Quadra and those worked as mono controllers?
fac
goiks wrote:
cool, go for one with the cv outs, you won't regret it! (but you might regret it if you don't)


I don't have an LP, but I agree with this.
Ancestor
I use the Little Phatty to control my modular and love it. I sold my midi converter once my sent my Moog off to be modded. I sometimes miss the extra features of having a dedicated midi to cv converter, but you also gain some awesome features on the Little Phatty outputs.
I miss having pitch wheel control. That is definitely something to consider. It is unfortunate that the pitch wheel is not included in the pitch output of the Little Phatty.
But overall I am very pleased with my Moog as a controller. Being able to use the Little Phatty's envelopes and mod bus can free up some modules for other more exciting uses.
I would still use some of the cv outs from my Moog even if I still had a midi converter. But it does feel kind of good to get away from using Midi in my modular.
shaft9000
so no pitchbend output?
ah feck. something of a deal-breaker to me, and partly why i sold the Voyager which at least allowed external summing fo the pitch+wheel. but still a kludger compared to the ARP.

does the LP transmit the VCO modulation ( mod buss) and glide to CV out?
albiedamned
I'm leaning against the CV Out mod. I can get a used one on ebay for $1050 without the mod, or $1200 with it. Granted $150 is probably less than any midi-cv converter, but I just don't think I'll be satisfied without pitch bend and velocity.

So now I'm wondering if I should save even more money and get the Slim Phatty instead. I have other keyboards to use as a midi controller, so if I'm not getting the mod then I don't need my phatty to have dedicated keys.
nooneimportant
(first post hi everyone)

Hm, I'm in a similar position, but a little backwards. I've got a slim phatty, and I'm about to set up a modular. I'm wondering if I should skip getting VCO's for now because of the CV input on the phatty. Can I just patch the audio out from the phatty into whatever is down the chain in the modular system?? In which case I would just use those oscillators, and save the cash.
dualmono
You can most definitely do that.
Be aware that you always have the two oscs (and VCAs and envelopes) in the audio path though. Unless you mute one of course.

Have fun!
nooneimportant
hm that seems like a pretty good starting place... onto hours of research. Is there someone here who doesn't mind being asked super noob questions? I didn't see a "I have an old casio watch that beeps, I know synthesis" section of this forum...
albiedamned
dualmono wrote:
You can most definitely do that.
Be aware that you always have the two oscs (and VCAs and envelopes) in the audio path though. Unless you mute one of course.


The filter would always be in the path too. In other words, your starting point for your modular would be the fully processed sound coming out of the Slim. But if you set the filter cutoff to the top and resonance all the way down, then in theory the filter wouldn't be affecting the sound at all (although I'm sure it still imparts some character on it). For the envelopes, set the attack, delay, and release to minimum and the sustain to maximum and they wouldn't be affecting the sound either in theory, although again I'm sure there's still some impact.

Bottom line, you can probably get close to having pure oscillator outputs coming out of the Slim, but not 100%.

FYI, I wound up buying the LP for $1050. I stayed away from the Slim because of all the stuff I read about how long it takes to warm up and stay in tune. 1-2 hours is just too long. My LP should be here in a few days - I am PSYCHED!
nooneimportant
hm I've had pretty much no tuning issues after a half hour. Not sure where you heard about the 1-2 hours...

For now if it can save me some cash, I'm willing to use the Slim Phatty as an oscillator.
Jason Brock
shaft9000 wrote:
so no pitchbend output?
ah feck. something of a deal-breaker to me


Yeah, that's why I haven't had my LP modded. And also why most of the Eurorack MIDI modules are disappointing to me - they don't merge Pitch with Pitch Bend data. Maybe the new Kenton module does? Anyway, I bought a Kenton Pro Solo mkII instead. If Kenton's module version fits in my case I might replace the Pro Solo with it.
goiks
@nooneimportant you may want to amplify the sp's output if you're trying to use it as an oscillator. and you're still going to want an oscillator.

other guys - i don't get the reasoning. since you can't use the cv outs like you think you might want to for one specific application (playing with pitch bend), you'd prefer not to have them at all? it's worth it to me just to use the arpeggiator. everyone has their own utility function i suppose.
nooneimportant
Oh I want lots of oscillators, but the money bla bla bla.

I don't even know what else I want/what there is though so this is a tricky search haha
Jason Brock
goiks wrote:
other guys - i don't get the reasoning. since you can't use the cv outs like you think you might want to for one specific application (playing with pitch bend), you'd prefer not to have them at all? it's worth it to me just to use the arpeggiator. everyone has their own utility function i suppose.


But the arp sends MIDI notes out too (at least from what I can remember, I haven't tried it in a long time), so it would still work sending it through an external MIDI/CV box.

Part of my rationale was not wanting pay shipping costs to send my LP to North Carolina and back (I have a Stage I). And I know I wouldn't get that money back out of it if I ever sold it - which I have recently decided to do. I'm replacing it with a MacBeth Micromac.
goiks
i see, i hadn't considered the shipping and that you might have another midi/cv box. i was thinking of selling mine to get a micromac too!
albiedamned
Regarding Slim Phatty tuning, there are a bunch of threads on the Moog forums about it. For some people it's fine within 15-20 minutes of being turned on, but for others it takes as long as a couple hours. Apparently Moog has said this is normal for the Slim, and that the Slim takes longer to reach a thermal equilibrium because the electronics are packed in tighter to each other and to the power supply.
albiedamned
nooneimportant's post got me thinking. There are actually 3 ways to integrate a Phatty with a modular:

1) Get the CV out mod and use it as a controller to generate pitch and gate CV, as well as using the CV from its two envelopes and its LFO. This was my original idea, and I decided against it because I think I'd feel too limited without having velocity and pitch bend.

2) Use it as a tone source to feed into a modular. This was nooneimportant's idea. You'd essentially bypass the VCF and VCA stages and just use the Phatty for its oscillators, to save some money on purchasing separate oscillators in your modular (at least at first). This works in theory, although it's not possible to completely bypass the VCF and VCA (there is no direct patch point for the oscillators) so they'll always impart something on the sound. Plus you'd be wasting the Phatty's envelopes and its LFO unless you routed them to the oscillators to control pitch.

3) The reverse of nooneimportant's idea: Start a modular with some oscillators, but skip buying a filter, VCA, and EG's for now and instead feed the oscillators into the external audio input of the Phatty. You'd then using the Phatty as your VCF and VCA, with an EG for each one, and with an LFO that you can route to either. You wouldn't use the Phatty's keyboard so you'd still need some sort of MIDI controller and a MIDI-to-CV converter, and you'd have to feed the converter's gate output into the Phatty to trigger its envelopes (and turn the Phatty's oscillator levels all the way down so they don't sound too, unless that's what you want). This is very likely the path I will go when I start up my modular system. I'd eventually get my own modular filters, EG's, and VCA's, but this approach will significantly lower the cost of entry for getting into a modular from scratch. One limitation with this approach though is that there is no modulation source for pitch, at least not until you start buying modular EG's and/or LFO's.

Thoughts?
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