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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
after many weeks of thinking...
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:36 am    Post subject: after many weeks of thinking...
Subject description: my first modular and first post!
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May I please have your esteemed and learned opinion on the following modular design. For what its worth I've also attached a screenshot of my proposed layout.
It will be used mainly for auditory exploration and as an instrument controlled by Ableton Live.

    doepfer A-118
    pittsburgh modular oscillator
    intellijel mult
    intellijel corgasmatron
    tiptop audio z3000 mk2
    intellijel dr. octature
    intellijel uVCA
    doepfer A-137
    expert sleepers ES-1 (db25)
    4ms VCA matrix
    doepfer A-147
    doepfer A-141
    doepfer A-148
    doepfer A-183-2
    doepfer A-185-2
    doepfer A-115
    doepfer A-170
    doepfer A-143-2
    doepfer A-143-3
    doepfer A-188-1b
    doepfer A-114
    doepfer A-100-B8
    doepfer A-100-B2
    Malekko Heavy Output
    Malekko Heavy Output


I haven't been this excited in a very long time.


my_modular.png
 Description:
the layout according www.modularplanner.co.uk
 Filesize:  728.83 KB
 Viewed:  122 Time(s)
This image has been reduced to fit the page. Click on it to enlarge.

my_modular.png


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Mongo1



Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 411
Location: Raleigh NC

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My only suggestion would be to take it slow. Focus on building the fundamental parts of your synth before you buy things like wavefolders, delays etc.
As you build your synth you might find your needs are far different than you thought they would be at the start.

Good luck, and enjoy your journey!
Gary
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@Gary: Thanks for the reality check. I did just throw the wave multiplier and BBD into the mix on an impulse. I think I was acting on someone's advice to buy one of everything to learn what it does. I am removing those and replacing them with blank panels.

To the rest of you, I guess it would be polite if I gave some more background on my experience with synthesizers. I've used the (non-modular) kind since I was a teenager. I have spent a good amount of time with a lot of soft synths, especially Reaktor and Csound. I've also lurked on this forum for quite awhile, hungrily reading all of your advice. I played with the Nord G2 demo software (hate patching with a mouse). I've also played a lot with the Aalto VST (highly recommended, great interface).

Anyway, other than their great sound, what draws me to modulars is this. When I come from home from working in front of a computer for 10 hours, it really saddens me when I have to sit in front of the computer AGAIN to make the music that I want to make. I used to really feel that hardware was just a dying dinosaur with the speeds of general CPUs going mental and the cheap abundance of good softsynths seemed to prove it. But you know what? After years of clicking at pixels and hitting the MIDI-learn button again and again, I learned that its taking away something very visceral from my music making. I think I found it while watching the videos of your modular experiments that you all graciously post. Everything you need is there! The artists wanting to make something beautiful, the scientists exploring the unknown, and the craftsmen building tools you want to give to your grandchildren.

Crap. I got carried away there.
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Mongo1



Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 411
Location: Raleigh NC

PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow - I COMPLETELY understand what you're saying. I program data routers in 'C' all day long - every day. Been doing that since the 1980s.

I go home and just turn knobs sometimes. Its so much more organic and fun. And the best part is the seemingly constant serendipity that occurs. You discover things you weren't even trying to do every time you sit down in front of the box.

It's just the best thing ever....

Gary
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OK after taking in account a few pieces of advice and the lack of stock for doepfer's VCLFO at Analogue Haven (I live in Hong Kong so I can't ship one module at a time from all over the place, the shipping would kill me!) I decided to modify my system.

You'll notice that I have a lot more empty space in my 9U cabinet now for future expansion after getting my feet wet. The way I look at it, its essentially a 3 VCOs+ 3 VCFs system with the very cool VCA matrix as the command center. All the other modules are bread'n'butter. Well maybe the vulcan modulator is more boutique then bread'n'butter but since I couldn't get any doepfer VCLFOs from Analogue Haven I replaced those modules with the vulcan modulator (dual VCLFOs!) and a A-145 LFO.


    manufacturer module qty
    doepfer A-118 1
    pittsburgh modular oscillator 2
    intellijel mult 5
    intellijel corgasmatron 1
    tiptop audio z3000 mk2 1
    intellijel uVCA 2
    the harvestman polivoks vcf 1
    bubblesound sem20 v|s|f 1
    expert sleepers ES-1 (db25) 1
    4ms VCA matrix 1
    doepfer A-145 1
    doepfer A-141 0
    doepfer A-148 1
    doepfer A-183-2 1
    doepfer A-115 1
    doepfer A-170 1
    doepfer A-143-2 1
    livewire vulcan modulator 1
    doepfer A-114 1
    Malekko Heavy Output 1


My first crack at a layout in modularplanner attached.


my_modular2.png
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my_modular2.png


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lebenspuls



Joined: Aug 21, 2006
Posts: 31
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mixers and envelopes - at least 2. I would get at least one mixer for control signals A-138B (best the polarizing mixer from Doepfer A-138C). You thought of multiples but then you need mixers for control and audio signals. I think it makes the difference between a nice module-collection and a experimental modular system. I definitely haven't enough mixers. Isn't it all about splitting and combining and splitting...
and envelopes.. the A- 141-2 is nice but wouldn't you want also envelopes for controls?
I own a modular (mostly Doepfer) since 10 years and during the years I got more and more utility-modules.
Have fun!
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@lebenspuls, thanks for the pointer on the mixers, I thinks its a good point, however I thought I could use the VCA matrix as a CV and audio mixer (just don't insert a control on the left)? Let me reread the manual on it.
As for the EGs, I count 5 EGs in my setup (Quad ADSR 143-2 plus VCADSR A-141), and I am assuming I can use all of them for both audio and CV signals. Is this not enough EGs or are they not all interchangeable amongst CV and audio signals? I'm a bit confused.
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@lebenspuls, so the VCA matrix says "suitable as a 4x4 mixer, splitter, as well as dynamic signal router/processor" in the description. So if you don't insert any controls in the 4x4 grid then it just acts like a mixer, with the matrix of knobs allowing manual level adjustments. This is my understanding at least.
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lebenspuls



Joined: Aug 21, 2006
Posts: 31
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am sorry, I don't know much about vca-matrix. I thought you would use it as your "output-vca's". I don't see the A-141, so please excuse me being too quick. I personal would prefer 2 or 3 separate 4/1 mixers but that fits just better my work style. If you use your modular only monophonic your are right about EG's. The vulcan-modulator is great but also look at Intellijel's Mind Meld. Both together are incredible versatile.
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akrylik



Joined: Feb 14, 2012
Posts: 6
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@lebenspuls, oh crap! You are right about not having the A-141 in there. I'm getting mixed up between LFOs and ADSRs. I think I meant to put in the A-140 (ADSR) because AH didn't have A-141 in stock but instead I accidentally put in the A-145 (LFO). I'm going crazy with all these options. I love it though.

I am beginning to see where you are coming from when you mentioned monophonic vs polyphonic. I guess I was just hoping for a very versatile monophonic that can be stretched to do 2 voices for now. So I counted 2 EGs per voice (one for the VCA and one for the VCF) for a grand total of 4.

I checked out the mind meld and it does seem useful, I especially like that you can patch in other signals to use the min/max/sum/diff operators! It costs $160 at AH which is a bit steep for an extension module? Do you see anything in my current setup that you would swap out for the mind meld? Perhaps get rid of the A-115? Trying to at least respect my initial budget. Wink
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ndkent



Joined: Jan 03, 2006
Posts: 66
Location: new york

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I didn't think your first choice was that bad, sometimes you do want a couple pieces you are very interested in just as long as you don't skip basics to include them. Anyway it is good to use a system a bit and have the room to add something you find you need.

You might have multiples to spare though as you get more modules you never know.

I don't know the VCA Matrix module that well, maybe you can get it to achieve your mixing needs but you may want something straight forward. After all maybe you want to use it as a 4x4 mixer but still need to combine signals
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