The most minimal setup to produce a sound

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MrTea
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The most minimal setup to produce a sound

Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:59 am

Hello gents, as I mentioned before in another post, I'm starting to build up my first 6U modular, module by module as on I'm on a budget. I have one VCO (on its way) and I'm hoping to get another module before xmas and one more at xmas itself.

But I was wondering - what is the absolute minimum needed to produce a sound?... I mean any sound. For example: I know that on my Evolver I can turn the VCA level right up and the oscillators will sound continuously. Is the same possible with just a VCO and VCA on a modular?

Maybe this is a really dumb question but I've not used a modular before and I'd like to be able to hear how the VCO sounds whilst I'm waiting to purchase other modules.

If anybody can help me it'd be great :tu:
cheers.

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Aesoteric
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Post by Aesoteric » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:19 am

You won't need anything else to make a sound - just plug one of the waveform outputs from your oscillator into a mixer and you're away.

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e-grad
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Post by e-grad » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:22 am

Sure, any VCO module will continously produce a sound. That's why you'll need a VCA to shape it's amplitude.

The most minimal set up I'd come up with: 2 good VCOs to modulate one with the other, a lowpass gate and a trigger source which hopefully allows complex trigger pattern.

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:35 am

Awesome.

I'm just as excited about experimenting with the most minimal setups as I am about having the whole thing :hihi:

Thanks for the quick responses :tu:

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Post by Synesthesia » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:41 am

The lopass gate is defenetly a good one - if you are in a budget and ready for DIY go for this one : http://www.naturalrhythmmusic.com/lopass.html

I'm on a budget too, and my first real module was a plague bearer - which i really love, and was unbelivably cheap ... :bananaguitar:

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:45 am

e-grad wrote: The most minimal set up I'd come up with: 2 good VCOs to modulate one with the other, a lowpass gate and a trigger source which hopefully allows complex trigger pattern.
To be honest I didn't know much about the Low Pass gate until just now :hmm:

I've been looking at the Doepfer A101-2 and it seems like a great module for a minimal setup - but do you think it's likely to see a lot of use in a full 6u system where I'm likely to have seperate filters and VCA's?

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:50 am

Synesthesia wrote:The lopass gate is defenetly a good one - if you are in a budget and ready for DIY go for this one : http://www.naturalrhythmmusic.com/lopass.html
I'm handy enough with a hammer & saw - so building a case is no problem, but it's 11 years since I studied electronics at school and I can count on one hand the number of times I've used a soldering iron since then :doh:

I'm not sure if i'd be 100% confident.......

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e-grad
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Post by e-grad » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:04 am

A Lowpass Gate is both a VCF and a VCA which makes use of vactrols as key part.

A vactrol responds rahter slowly to incoming controll voltages. That's why you can use it as a VCA (or a combinded VCF and VCA at the same moment) with a trigger only. It'll result in a characteristic plugging sound which many ppl. love. No, need for an envelope generator.

DIY is easy as long as you are willing to take your time. The mentioned LPG is documented very well incl. parts list.

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:54 am

e-grad wrote: a trigger source which hopefully allows complex trigger pattern.
What do you suggest?

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Post by e-grad » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:04 am

My personnal set up drives you quite away from a minimal set.

I use a VCO as a VC clock source then I have some dividers:

Blacet's Frequency Devider; YU-Synth's; Clock Divider (both allow for odd divisions!) and to spice it up I have 2 of Ken Stone's Burst Generators.

Other might use a software based step sequencer and a MIDI to CV module.

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Post by fluxmonkey » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:00 pm

MrTea wrote:Awesome.

I'm just as excited about experimenting with the most minimal setups as I am about having the whole thing :hihi:
this is an excellent approach. knowing a single module inside & out is better than having a rackful of stuff that you don't know well.

i'd go for either a second osc. or a good filter as a second module. have fun!


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Popski
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Post by Popski » Wed Nov 11, 2009 12:27 pm

what about the A111-5 Synth Voice?
compact way to get a complete monosynth architecture in 24hp

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:01 pm

The A11-5 does seem like an easy way to get a full monosynth, but for me i think it would take a part of the fun away when choosing my modules.

Also, it seems to be a little bread and butter for my taste. I know obviously a standard vco, vcf etc will always kinda be bread and butter but I think even in my very limited price range I can find more interesting modules to make up a full monosynth.

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rezzn8r
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Post by rezzn8r » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:13 pm

see if you can get a used vcs.
ken's pcbs are out of stock again, but I'm sure pretty sure he'll do another run, if you're diy inclined.
if you search vcs here on muffs, you'll find a buch of cool threads, some serge, some euro, some frac, some modcan. possibly the most versatile synth circuit ever designed. :hail:
some have even suggested constructing systems using only vcs modules. :nana:
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Post by jackastro » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:15 pm

fluxmonkey wrote:
MrTea wrote:Awesome.
I'm just as excited about experimenting with the most minimal setups as I am about having the whole thing :hihi:
this is an excellent approach. knowing a single module inside & out is better than having a rackful of stuff that you don't know well.
Agreed!

If you can set the pulse width to zero, then you could use an envelope to turn the sound on/off and to change the timber. You would still need something to trigger the envelope (cv interface, sequencer, etc.)

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D/A A/D
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Post by D/A A/D » Wed Nov 11, 2009 6:07 pm

I have done several releases using only 2 oscillators, a ring mod and a waveshaper. Its amazing what you can do with minor adjustments to the wave shape, certain beating can even give the illusion of filtering.

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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:07 am

D/A A/D wrote:I have done several releases using only 2 oscillators, a ring mod and a waveshaper. Its amazing what you can do with minor adjustments to the wave shape, certain beating can even give the illusion of filtering.

8_)

I already spied the A-136 Distortion/Waveshaper - but couldn't find any audio examples. Has anybody got any experience of using this module?

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Post by fireclown » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:40 am

Doepfer 109 module and a quad lfo.

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Post by ezekiel » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:32 pm

Just a filter and and inverter.

I have a lot of fun with almost any filter module and one inverter on Doepfer A-166 in a feedback loop, especially if the filter has a CV input and will self-oscillate.

This is noise, beautiful noise.

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Post by REwire » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:51 pm

A QMMG ought to be able to Self Osc, Filter and Gate with three of it's 4 channels.

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Soy Sos
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Post by Soy Sos » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:32 pm

This is what you want right here brothah!
Audio samples of ultra-small patches
viewtopic.php?t=4257
There's a bunch of great stuff!

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Post by pixelmechanic » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:29 pm

Hey Mr Tea

Nice to see another 'Burgher on the list...

You might want to drop by our studio at Edinburgh Uni Music Dept. sometime to see & hear the Monosynth Orchestra modular in action.

Cheers

Jules

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rezzn8r
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Post by rezzn8r » Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:09 pm

Soy Sos wrote:This is what you want right here brothah!
Audio samples of ultra-small patches
viewtopic.php?t=4257
There's a bunch of great stuff!

+1 for the "Audio samples of ultra-small patches" thread.
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MrTea
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Post by MrTea » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:12 pm

Soy Sos wrote:This is what you want right here brothah!
Audio samples of ultra-small patches
viewtopic.php?t=4257
There's a bunch of great stuff!
Awesome thread, thanks dude. Patch examples are totally what I need to help me make my mind up. The problem is now I want everything......

I think I'm going to go for modules that I can have the most fun with first. I'll add the basics later :mrgreen:

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suboptimal
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Post by suboptimal » Fri Nov 13, 2009 2:52 pm

But the basics make the fun modules funnerer. :waah:

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