Control is King

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

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maudibe
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Control is King

Post by maudibe » Sat Sep 21, 2013 5:59 pm

Guess I could have posed this on the general forum... but more read here.

I note that a lot of new wigglers have little self control :hihi:

Attenuators, Attenuverters and Polarizing / CV Mixers seem thin on the ground in a lot of the submitted racks.

Lots of high end goodness seem to be thrown in to the case with little thought for the control of CVs employed between modules.

I have a shed load of these 'boring' modules that don't make or process sound. But it gives so many possibilities and the ability to produce usable textures and sounds.

Anyone like to add comments for newbie wigglers? I feel like we should be on a mission here! :bananaguitar:

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Abraxis
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Post by Abraxis » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:07 pm

Would love some recommends.

What utility would you add to this?

http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/39228

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Post by DSC » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:10 pm

I'm a newbie and control is FIRST in my priorities. I have NO filter modules in my rack! It's tempting, but I know I must be disciplined. They will come in time. Another thing I noticed in the after mentioned racks is that few if any utility modules are present. More noticeable the O' tool is missing.
Curious to why. I have two and they have been critical in understanding what exactly is going on. Just my 2 cents.

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rutabaga40
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Post by rutabaga40 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:16 pm

Intellijelly Triatt, Planar, Plog

4MS VCA Matrix

and... 'PM'd for Maths'.... :zombie:

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:21 pm

Hi Abraxis - nice rack. Nice that you have Triatt :)

You could get a Manhatten CVP in there and still have room for something else exciting :)

But to be honest, you're one of the 'sensible guys' and have some control in there... My cry was for those who have a stack of high end modules with no way of tempering the output of anything :doh:

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setupsetup
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Post by setupsetup » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:34 pm

that's a good point i indeed didn't think about that much yet (as a beginner).

i guess at least manual attenuators could be easily diy-ed giving satisfying results, right (might there even be diy-plans for cv controlled attenuators eg. via vactrols? - don't even vcas serve as cv-controlled attenuators?)?

if so, are there any good instructions on building that kind of stuff (i already made plans for diy dc-coupled-mixers and maybe a matrix mixer - could these also serve as attenuators eg. with individual outputs)?

by the way and "off-topic": i bought quite a big piece of aluminum plate intended to finally become front panels (for mixers, mults...). are there any adequate instructions on processing them into front-panels without uber-expensive (i could actually type "ü" quite easily) tools around here or on other sdiy-spots around the web?

thanks so far. i hope this doesn't go beyond the scope of the threat :hihi:

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Post by maudibe » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:42 pm

Passive attenuators are a doddle - front panels for a tripple att are available at Thonk in the UK.

And yes, a lot of modues have their own built in attenuation....but many don't. VCA's ditto. Some have input attenuation whilst others are lacking.
As for them acting as attenators themselves - yea, but you still need to attenuate the cv going to the vca for fine control of its action!

Te Manhatten mix is available as a kit. Nice utility module to get your cv (and audio) playing together.

Regards ally plate and making panels...best off in the DIY forum; sure some one has tips.

:guinness:

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Post by analogue01 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:47 pm

DSC wrote:More noticeable the O' tool is missing.
Curious to why. I have two and they have been critical in understanding what exactly is going on. Just my 2 cents.
Quit hogging them. I can't even find one to buy! ;)
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Post by dj2sday » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:49 pm

MVP. Love mine. Like a modded manhattan mix, 3attenuverters, and mults for days, all in one module.

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Post by DSC » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:50 pm

analogue01 wrote:Quit hogging them. I can't even find one to buy! ;)
Sorry, I actually could use another one too, but I finally broke down and got another 2 chan oscilloscope proper. $50 was much cheaper too. :hihi:

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Post by dj2sday » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:52 pm

http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/8952

My current setup is well balanced

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Post by maudibe » Sat Sep 21, 2013 6:58 pm

:yay:

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Post by boboter » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:07 am

I'm just making room in my planned system for attenuators, mixers and such. Most of the other modules I'm planning on getting have built in attenuation but some don't. Do you have like a rule of thumb on how much utility to get? Like x Atts and y Mixers per 3u?
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Post by Umcorps » Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:04 am

Good thread :tu:

To me, modular synthesis is all about control. Concentrating on the sound makers in your system is all well and good but if you can't control them in interesting and creative ways you've got nothing.

I reckon a rough 1:2 ratio between oscillators/filters and CV generators is about right for me most of the time.

So its mostly the top two sections of my main case that house oscillators and filters. The rest is mostly about control.

http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/24961

And my little performance skiff goes down the same road.

http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/9603

Modular synthesis. Cee those Vees

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abstractjuz
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Re: Control is King

Post by abstractjuz » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:28 am

maudibe wrote:Attenuators, Attenuverters and Polarizing / CV Mixers seem thin on the ground in a lot of the submitted racks.

Lots of high end goodness seem to be thrown in to the case with little thought for the control of CVs employed between modules.

I have a shed load of these 'boring' modules that don't make or process sound. But it gives so many possibilities and the ability to produce usable textures and sounds.
Great point. I think a lot of Wigglers don't realize how important some of the less glamorous modules can be until they start needing (and using) them.

Some utility module suggestions for anyone interested - two I built:

ADE-30 Wave Boss
ADE-31 Logic Boss

and one Doepfer built:

A-162 Dual Trigger Delay

:tu:
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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:42 am

Nice one Umcorps... pleased to see it is not just me that has a 'thing' about this. :yay:

I guess a lot of people get wrapped up in the really sexy bits and don't leave room for the comparatively cheap control bits and utilities.

I've browsed quite a few set ups in my research for my own system and a lot of people have rubicon, maths, peg, korgasmatron etc for example... and there is little thought put into how to control the levels (as mentioned before a lot of stuff has it's own attenuation). So the results, some posted, are wild modulation and full on everything :doh:

However, as dj2sday mentioned, with his well balanced system... lots of people also 'get it' right from the off.

The purpose of this post was not to suggest that anyone new is neglecting anything... but really to help new builders who may overlook these essential elements, and raise awareness of how awesome you can make your system with some cheap modules.

We're always getting questions about how to configure a starter system... I just think that a lot of the suggestions are quite high end without consideration for the more mundane. :guinness:

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boboter
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Post by boboter » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:49 am

So right now I was thinking 2-3x uAtt/triAtt, 2x unity mixer, 2x multi for a smaller 9u system. Does that sound sufficient?

Also I will use a lot of silent way which I can attenuate in the box.
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Post by maudibe » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:55 am

excellent boboter. :yay:

However bear in mind your unity mixer has no controls.... but great for mixing things that do have controls. Teamed with the Triatts, brilliant.
I just use my unity for mixing tip top drums, since they have their own output controls.

Mults of course are dependant if you like stackables... I don't really and would rather use mults. Just remember that your mults are a one way street and for distribution only and not for mixing :) Apologies if you already know this.

:guinness:

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boboter
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Post by boboter » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:07 am

Thanks for confirming. I totally get what the modules do but due to lack of experience I was unsure if I had enough of everything. Nice to get feedback from a experienced wiggler.

I will refine my system on modular grid a little and post it in the eurorack forum soon, so maybe you can check it out.
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Jason Brock
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Post by Jason Brock » Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:39 am

Attenuators and mixers are the fiber in your modular diet.

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maudibe
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Post by maudibe » Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:59 am

what... they make you regular? :yay:

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Post by cger » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:47 am

I'm curious what do you think about balance in my system: http://modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/12445
The only modules I do not have are QCD and its expander.

I'm really happy with what I can do but I will be adding empty Pittsburgh 90hp with trigger riot and cvgt for the upcoming Buchla Easel, some logic stuff like Logic Boss or Plog. My main interest would be logic, clocking, probably a doepfer quad switch. So definitely more control stuff.

I would love to hear some suggestions.

Everything I do is very musical.

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Post by ben_hex » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:24 pm

Abraxis wrote:Would love some recommends.

What utility would you add to this?

http://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/39228
Grab another mixer and get it by the oscillators, with all those waveform outs you'll want to mix them right there.
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Post by kindredlost » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:28 pm

I have a small 168 (plus 6 power) module space system in 5U currently "in the rack" (and a bunch sitting idle because of no rack space).

My "racked" breakdown goes as follows;

41 Sound Generators;
VCO's
Filters
waveshapers
phasers
delays
noise
ring modulators
frequency shifters
VC radios
sub oscillators

69 Controls;
step & digital sequencers
segwencers (scanners)
instrument interfaces
gate delays
LFO's
attenuverters
distributors
gate extenders (moog interfaces)
multiples
gate/trigger dividers
chaos generators
analog shift registers
random gate generators
switches
sequential switches
Ardcore (Arduino interfaces)
ribbon controllers
slew limiters
amplifiers (or vca's)
envelope generators
sample & holds
signal processors (similar to an attenuverter but generates voltage offsets)
quantizers
trigger busses
slope generators (looping A/R's)
mixers
pan/fade
midi interface
keyboard
pedal/footswitch interface

Some (6) modules are dual purpose or hybrids so can be either catagory;
ring modulators are really unity gain vca's
sub oscillators can be pulse dividers
slope generators can be oscillators
Source of Uncertainty (WCRS) is both a noise source and random generator/sample & hold/slew unit.
Hell, even a VCO can be a dual purpose here as it can be an LFO. :despair:

So there really is no big shit rules about how your system should be balanced. Mine is sort of 3:2 or three controls to 2 sound generators. It works for me but maybe not for everyone. Also, many of the delays and stuff are in the modular but could be outside so that would leave the sound generators a bit smaller in per portion.

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Post by Dave Peck » Sun Sep 22, 2013 6:45 pm

In 5U land, I think two modules that give great bang for the buck are the

1) Dotcom Q125 Dual Signal Processor (top half does +/- 200% amplify/attenuate/invert as well as +/- 5VDC offset, bottom half does +/- 5VDC offset plus a signal invert switch) and

2) STG Triple Active Attenuator (Mine is set up for +/- 200% for each stage, so it amplifies or attenuates with or without inverting, switched jacks can add +5V for a DC offset at each stage, and all stages cascade to mix the three signal sections).

Very useful for processing both control and audio signals.

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