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First 4 Wiard 300 Series modules advice, input and ideas
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Author First 4 Wiard 300 Series modules advice, input and ideas
hi and sorry if this type of topic has been posted on here several times before. I realize that it isn't that large of a sub-forum. but I like that.

anyway, these are the first 4 wiard 300 series modules I am thinking about getting, I figured right off the bat I would get/need the Dual Mixolator to have a way to be able to mix/combine different sources and have VCA's, but I of course wanted to welcome any other experienced and knowledgeable wiard users input, ideas and suggestions:

1x Waveform City
1x Dual Borg Filter
1x Dual Mixolator
1x Woggle Bug

what do you guys think about this collection of modules for the first 4 or what kind of changes would you make and which modules would you pick?

thanks a lot.
You don't necessarily need the mixolator to mix signals & VCA, those features are also included in other modules. For an initial set of four, I would choose the following:

Waveform City OR Classic VCO: this gives you VCO, VCA, AR envelope
Dual Borg Filter: this gives you 2 x VCF and 2 x LFO (which can also be used as basic VCO)
Dual Envelator: this gives you: 2 x AR/AD envelopes OR LFOs and 1 x VC crossfader (can be used to mix 2 x signals into 1 or also as a VCA)

For a fourth module I would be most tempted to get a second VCO rather than a mixolator, I would save the mixo for later.

One each of Classic VCO and Waveform City gives you the following functions:
2 x VCO
Waveshaper (can also be used as quantizer)
2 x AR envelopes
2 x VCA, NB the VCA on the Classic VCO has 2 inputs so can be used to mix 2 signals
noise/random voltage generator
I agree with Norman on the Envelator.

The Wogglebug is a pretty unique instrument on it's own, but it's unlike the other Wiard modules in that it is IMO somewhat less multipurpose. If you have a basic sense of what it does, you'll know whether you are going to want in right away or not. It was my first module.
Thanks for the input, guys.

revmutt, so are you saying like normanphay advised holding off on the mixolator for now you would hold off on the wogglebug also?

and if so which 4 modules would you select first if you were getting your first 4?

thanks everyone.
rico loverde
I just got my first two 300 series. The waveform city and the dual borgs. Its really a pretty functional set up with those two. My second two 300 series are on their way, a Dual Envelator and a Classic VCO...

After those my next two will most likely be a Mixolator and a wogglebug or sequantizer
Roycie Roller
hey snow,
i think you've got the right idea about starting off with 4 modules.
There are two good reasons-

1. It's impossible to get an idea of what a Wiard system (of any size) can do without using it in real life.

Like you, i dreamed of a 10 module system, but as fate would have it, i ended up with 5- but even that was difficult to fathom. It took several months of using it to realise the panels are almost more functional (ie. for holding the actual synth itself together) than critical to understanding the synth. They may as well be transparent, or have no graphics at all, because they really only represent a single snapshot of a much, much deeper world in which thousands of snapshots could be used as a starting point. You could almost think of the panels like a satellite image of a city- you see the city in all its detail, but there's worlds above and below that aren't visible until you start digging, or looking at it from a different angle.
I've wondered if this was intentional- Grant owns a large 200 Buchla and knows it inside out. One of the objectives of the Wiard system design was to overcome the weaknesses of modular synthesizers (like the Buchla) by stripping them of everything superfluous to their use in making music. That is, a refinement of the truly useful elements of a synthesizer into a user-friendly, precision musical instrument.
This makes it accessible to the average musician, like me, who either struggles to conceptualise a musical outcome from complex synthesizer functions, or couldn't care less for them. Or both!

2. If you haven't yet got an idea of the kind of synthesis you want to do in your music, a good cross-section of 4 modules will give you a pretty good idea.

For example- if you're like me, you might decide you love the prospect of having multiple 8-bit vco's, and end up with 6 Waveform City's out of your final 12 (still a dream for me, btw). Also, i entirely underestimated the Mixolator- not only is it a vca/ring-modulator/mixer, it can be used to create chords, harmonics, sub-oscillators, new tone sources, e.g's, bizzare lfo's, etc. For the only module that doesn't make a sound in the 300 range, it's a complete monster. Each additional Mixolator in a system enables even more elaborate chords, lfo's, etc. To give you an idea- 3 Mixolators will give you something like 30 adjustable outputs from 6 fixed inputs. This is excluding CV's! It is the dark horse of the Wiard system; entirely open to interpretation & application- the panel & the manual only scratch the surface.

This is why i, and others love the Wiard system- it is simultaneously musical and playable at all times, but is practically malleable in an infinite number of ways to the 'style' of any musician who just wants to get their sound down by feel and by ear- without too much thought.

re: 4 modules- while it's true there are vca's in the Wave city, you might want to make harmonic scales and chords. Also, the Mixolator can be used for basic quasi-EG purposes, too. However, the envelator is a truly EG, and you can even use it as a drum machine.
I agree that the W'bug is a little esoteric in a 4 module system- if you don't need the wailing sci-fi sounds, the cv's might be overkill. I actually found the W'bug excelled with very minimal settings, for cv. A Mixolator & Envelator will easily cover the mellower cv's of a w'bug, but do so much more as well. But, you should definitely have 1 Bug in a 12 module system- it's fantastic for emulating mechanical faults such as chewing tape.
Decide how you want your music to sound and build your system towards that- 4 modules will cover a lot to begin with, and will show you the way.
It took me 12 months of using 5 different modules to learn what i did.

Something like this is a good start as any (and remember you can always trade later)-

1 Waveform City
1 Mixolator
1 Envelator
1 Borg
rico loverde
sorry to get off topic here but could you elaborate on the Envelator being a drum machine Roycie Roller
and on all the uses of the Mixolator, please!

I love threads like these!
Ekofisk wrote:
and on all the uses of the Mixolator, please!

Yes, all of them.
(no not really).
thanks for the input, ricoloverde and roycieroller and thanks for the very descriptive response, roycieroller.

I was also curious about the Envelator as a drum machine of sorts. That is something that sounds very appealing to me.

Also, roycieroller, you're right, I maybe should have mentioned what type of synthesis I am into. I am really into the more "experimental", deep, textured, deeply filtered, complex, harmonic textures. I am really into erratic or sporadic sounds that consist of droning, randomness, sharp, metallic or industrial type of sounds and textures.

I'm a big Throbbing Gristle fan, for instance : )

So with that said and those elements mentioned, which 4 modules do you think would be ideal for me?

I was agreeing with Norman on suggesting an Envelator but I'm not necessarily saying you shouldn't get a Wogglebug.

What I'm saying is that that module may not be everyone's cup of tea. If you have some sense of it, maybe having read a bit or seen videos you would know whether or not you want one to start out with.

I guess I would suggest, VCO, Borg, Env. and Woggle
revmutt, Oh, I see. Thanks for the response.

I guess I'm really torn between the Mixolator and the Dual Envelator, then.

I'm so used to having a Mixer and VCA on a modular system, but I understand the other modules allow different ways of mixing/combining different sources, too.

Or maybe I should get both the Waveform City and the Classic VCO instead of the Mixolator and the Dual Envelator?

Which module do all of you think would be more crucial to a 4-module system, a second VCO or an Envelator? and which VCO would you all recommend for a first VCO, a Classic VCO or a Waveform City?

I appreciate everyone's help very much. Thank you.
Roycie Roller
rico- to make a drum machine is pretty easy, although it's not too fancy- it's more of an 8-bit chaotic metronome.

I clock the Waveform City (in VCO mode) with one half of an Envelator (SQU output). Select a drum-like waveform from the Waveform City & set the pitch (Coarse). It's a straightforward pattern, but from there you can start experimenting by doing stuff like modulating the Envelator's cv inputs (AMOD & DMOD), plus the Waveform city's cv and FM inputs, to create variations in the clock's tempo. I'm sure by experimenting with negative cv's or a 2nd clock you could create more elaborate patterns. The sound is pretty raw & gritty, but an LPG (Borg) would soften it up a lot and make it sound more 'natural'.

I just thought of another use for the Mixolator- it could be used in the above drum patch to mix & ring modulate the sound for positive and negative 'mirrors' which could be set at different pitches. You could even mangle the Envelator's clock with itself by sending it through the Mixolator...

As it's dc coupled, you can make all kinds of strange lfo's, psuedo-e.g's and cv's. Mixing cv's and audio creates audible versions. For mixing audio only, the 3 inputs (X1, X2 & Y) are 'shuffled' and 'dealt out' as 4 outputs (X-, X+, Y-, Y+). These outputs are determined by the input's attenuators, and are completely variable. In other words, you can 'tune' the 3 inputs to give you a 4-part chord. This could be from any harmonic scale or you can invent entirely new ones. The Z input affects how the 4 parts relate to each other. I love to use a wave from the Waveform City in LFO mode running extremely slow. It's more atmosphere than sound- glitchy, shifting, dark and fractured. Volatile and brittle.
This is the subterranean world where audio passes into LFO. Normally you'd miss it, but if you focus in on it, it's almost like granular synthesis (maybe it is hmmm..... ). The sounds are fleeting, chaotic and fragile, but rich in atmosphere- in this mode, the synth is more like a special effects unit. The slightest change in settings can have dramatic results, which is characteristic of the Wiard. In this guise, it is very pronounced.... Tinfoil Hat

In response to your last question regarding the type of music you make, i'm wondering if you'd be better suited for the Omni Filter- the Borg's LPG's are great for bassy, muddier type sounds, whereas i've read the Omni is crisp as hell (i've never used one). Alternatively, you could ask Cary if she'll make you a Boogie/borg combo, for the best of both worlds.
The Waveform City is everything you described- i think you'll love it. Make sure to ask Cary is she can use a ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) socket for the eprom, that way you can easily swap out different ones whenever you like (check out for what's available).
I still think the Mixolator is important enough to include in your initial 4. It's ring modulator can make the metallic sounds you're after, and because you can use it for sub-oscillators & chords, it's perfect for drone work. With only 1 VCO, it will allow you to generate quite a few tone sources that you couldn't create without it.
Finally, i'd almost be tempted to go with a Classic VCO instead of the Envelator. It's a raw, thick & nasty sounding VCO. The sounds you get by cross-modulating it with a Waveform City through a Mixolator are amazing. There are A/R envelopes in both VCO's which can be patched & used elsewhere in the system, plus there are the psuedo eg's of the Mixolator. You may not miss the complexity of the Envelator's eg's.
What you get in the trade-off for the Classic VCO is well worth it, and you can always add an Envelator later (a must!).
Also, if you had to choose between a Classic VCO and Waveform City, i'd go with the WC- it sounds amazing and part of the Classic VCO is in there!


1 Waveform City
1 Classic VCO
1 Mixolator
1 Omni Filter
thanks, roycieroller, for such a detailed reply. you're really helpful. so many possibilities, I'm really gonna have to think about it.

question... (another one, I know, I know)

generally in a modular system one likes to have different filters. Is there ever a strong reason to have two of the same Borg Filter module in 1 system? Or does having 2 of the same Borg Filter become redundant? For example having a Borg Filter and an Omni Filter would be ideal, but is having two Borg filters not very necessary? Hope you can kind of make sense of what I mean.

Thanks everyone.
rico loverde
thanx Roycie! i can't wait to try this week when my modules arrive. I'm so excited my 300 system is finally coming together. would love to hear more ideas of patches, I'm still trying to wrap my head around the vast functionality of these things
Roycie Roller
thesnow wrote:
thanks, roycieroller, for such a detailed reply. you're really helpful. so many possibilities, I'm really gonna have to think about it.

question... (another one, I know, I know)

generally in a modular system one likes to have different filters. Is there ever a strong reason to have two of the same Borg Filter module in 1 system? Or does having 2 of the same Borg Filter become redundant? For example having a Borg Filter and an Omni Filter would be ideal, but is having two Borg filters not very necessary? Hope you can kind of make sense of what I mean.

Thanks everyone.

No worries, i'm happy to pass on what i've learnt (i still have much to learn) smile

Out of the 5 modules i had, none of them were filters. To be honest, i didn't mind at all, because i didn't really ever feel i needed one.
I'm a huge fan of raw 8-bit waveforms, which by design are already largely processed. Although they can sound lovely through a VCF, i prefer them raw. The Classic VCO also sounds that good that filtering is unnecessary. But, that's me.

The big difference between the Borg and the Omni is that the Borg has a Low Pass Gate (LPG) circuit in it. The LPG is a vactrol-based filter, originally designed by Don Buchla. It has a very distinct sound to it, and makes things sound 'natural' or acoustic-like. It's a beautiful sound. Whereas, the Omni filter is a more of a traditional VCF design, with a sound that you might be more familiar with. Do you know the LPG sound?

Both have unique applications (general filtering, sine VCO's, LFO's, etc) and sound very different from each other, so having 1 of each in a system is perfectly justifiable. I don't think having 2 Borgs in a system would be overkill either- the LPG sound is so good that you could literally process everything through it! But, the downside is that it's a very distinct sound, and if you weren't into making music with that kind of sound, then 2 Borgs, or even 1, would be redundant.
I thought about starting a new topic about this, but I figured no need I could just keep this one going.

Roycieroller and anyone that owns the Dual Mixolator, how many inputs is the Dual Mixolator? Is it a 2-input mixer, 4-input mixer, 8-input mixer?

I've tried studying the module and I even downloaded the Dual Mixolator manual but I still can't figure it out.

I know the Dual Mixolator, as well as all the other 300 Series modules, have secrets and magic hidden all over, but what are the main advantages of having the Dual Mixolator as a mixer module over the Dual Envelator module which has 2 inputs itself?

Thanks everyone.
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