||I just jumped down the modular hole...
| br>Hi there. I've been lurking around here lately after getting bitten by the modular bug this last summer. I grew frustrated with "programming" my Alesis Micron and around the same time discovered Numerology. I've been running that into various Reaktor ensembles and instruments and having a great time with the virtual version of a modular. Soon after, as I'm sure you all understand, I started spending my tv time watching Felix's YouTube videos showing the glories of clock dividers and dual whatsit generators, and Stretta's blog among others. Once I realized there was a Volta that existed (I have an Ultralite!) I started planning my own demise into modular world. I thought I might procure a 6U low cost case and start looking for VCO's VCF's VCA's and the like. I've considered the Dark Energy and the Kraftzwerg thinking that one of these would be a good base, and would work well with modules later on as I find them. In fact, had Analog Haven had a Kraftzwerg last week, I'd have ordered it then.
I spent a lot of time here on the forums reading about other people's similar situations and considering and reconsidering the various options of semi-modulars, modulars, and merely keeping things cheap by staying with Reaktor, Numerology and Reason. Of course you know where that line of thinking goes.
So last night I found a Doepfer A-100 3U mini system on the eBay and got it for just over a grand. This was sort of an impulse thing and I hope it was a good choice. I know what the mini system costs new so in that respect, assuming it's in good working order and all, I got a deal. I have in this everything the Kraftzwerg and Dark Energy has plus some, with more flexibility, for not too much more money. It will presumably play well with Volta. I'm very excited about this and when it arrives I'm afraid that the family will just have to deal with my absence for some time while I learn to patch the rhythmic burbles, beeps and sequences that I hear in my head.
So that all being said...my first question is, in your opinions, what might I consider for my next step with this thing? Certainly I expect that a bigger case should go on my wish list (and if anyone is selling one I'm listening). But also what kinds of modules might be useful to start adding soon to make the aforementioned beeps and blurps and, yes, even melodies? Clock dividers? More filters? QMMG? The caveat here is that, again, I'll have Volta, so I'm not sure how useful hardware LFO's and modulation sources will be right now. Of course I'd like to have them, but they aren't a priority because of Volta. Secondly, what modules on the A-100 mini are worthy of replacing immediately? That is, with two A110 VCOs, should I look into an alternate VCO and lose one of the two? Will the logarithmic VCA and mixer be enough or should I find similar modules that can be switched between log and exp?
I was thinking that the MIDI-CV interface would be quick to go, but now I'm thinking it might be handy to have around for plugging my little Axiom 25 into and actually playing notes now and then without having to wire up the Mac. Or maybe not. (As an aside, can someone explain to me what the difference is between a low pass gate and a low pass filter?)
Granted, I'll figure out some of this once I start actually playing with the system. But I thought that given the experience here, there might be some thoughts on this, that I could at least form some direction in the reading and shopping that this purchase is going to lead to.
Thanks for reading this (overly) long introductory post. I hope it's the first of many, and I expect to start putting up some sound files on Soundcloud (dance robot dance) as soon as I can start producing sounds with this little beast.
PS: Here are the A100 mini system modules, to save you the hassle of looking them up.
2x standard vco a-110
1x ring modulator a-114
1x noise/random a-118
1x vcf1 a-120 (24db low pass 1)
1x logarithmic vca a-131
1x logarithmi mixer a-138b
1x adsr a-140
1x lfo a-145
1x midi-to-cv/gate/sync interface a-190 br> br>
| br>Blackened Justice
| br>First of all, don't buy absolutely nothing until you've spent enough time with your system to know exactly its limitations and where it can be improved upon. I personally went with the first approach you mentioned, and got a Kraftzwerg. I've had it for about 3 weeks, and I've been absolutely been loving it. My initial plan was to get the Kraftzwerg and then immediately get a pair of rows of modules, but I forgot about everything the moment I set my hands on it. Then all I could think about was getting more patch cable
I assume you have made some plans with the eurorack modular planner application, but I'll warn you that your whole way of thinking will change once you start interacting with your system, and you'll have to constantly change things in your plans.
All that being said, I'm going to give my general opinions on the modules of your system, and mention some things I think are lacking. First of all, if you want some bubbly modulation, you'll need at least a pair of LFO's, generally cross-modulating. If you want a standard monosynth patch, you'll want to add another ADSR. Don't judge the A-110 until you get them, but when you want to either replace them or expand on them, look into oscs with linear FM, variable sync amount, good tuning stability, and some special features, like the AFG's animated outputs, or the ring modulator included in many dual oscs. br> br>
|Blackened Justice wrote: |
|First of all, don't buy absolutely nothing until you've spent enough time with your system to know exactly its limitations and where it can be improved upon. |
First off, welcome
Blackened Justice statement is a very wise one. I spent a lot of time trying to buy latest and greatest modules at first and found myself confused about exactly what kind of sounds or music that I wanted to hear/make. It was really helpfu for mel to dig through a lot of older posts as well as the new ones to help me conceptualize better what I wanted from my modular. I also find that there are too many members to count with awesome examples of how they organize both simple and complex systems, and I find this a great resource for learning about and improving my actual patch flows.
Brian br> br>
| br>Blackened Justice
| br>Oh, and about low pass gates and low pass filters: Well, basically a LPG is a combination of a low pass filter and a vca. It may not seem very exciting on paper, and if it were simply like this, it wouldn't be in real life. The thing is, LPG achieve voltage control with vactrols, which are a LED and a LDR (basically a light source and a light dependant resistor) enclosed in a small compartiment. Compared to other implementations of voltage control, through transistors and diodes, vactrols have an extremely slow response. So, instead of sending envelopes and other transient generators into the CV in of a LPG, most people just send them triggers and gates, because the slow response of the vactrols creates a very natural to our ears envelope. Most people describe it as having a woody sound, exactly because of that slow decay, almost like a reverb.
I think you know what a low pass filter is. br> br>
| br>Thanks for the responses.
After springing for this thing I don't really have any choice but to buy absolutely nothing for a while at least. This has its benefits. I use a combination of Live, Reason, Reaktor and Numerology on the software side and I'd often be completely overwhelmed by the number of choices I had to make sounds, and try to simplify when I can. You all probably understand when I say that I made a lot more "songs" five years ago when I had only Reason and an Oxygen keyboard. Now I make a lot of sounds, which is in itself perfectly great, but I'd like to find some direction again and this limited mini system aims that way for me. The idea of the a150, a 160-161, and the a162 intrigue me and seem like they'd do a nice job of opening up some doors with this little system, as would a S&H module. And I definitely want a second ADSR. Beyond that, until I feel like the lack of that Noisering or Maths or M15 is holding me back, I'll try to restrain myself.
I suppose there are some modules in that mini system that aren't the best at what they do (a114? a120?), and if there are some easy trade-outs that I could make to make what I have better, I'd be interested.
Thanks for the explanation of the LPG. I really love the sounds I hear made with a low pass gate (it was hearing the 200e that first made my head turn toward modulars).
Brian br> br>
| br>The aforementioned A-100 mini system arrived. I recorded its first words. What I learned: I need more than six cables, I need to figure out how to run a step-sequencer into it (which means I need to learn the a190...), and I shall procure Volta. Oh, and the VCA has some issue where it's causing a good deal of noise and hum. Enjoy. I did.
http://soundcloud.com/dance-robot-dance/sets/turning-it-on br> br>
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