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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
would appreciate feedback on 1st modular
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waveplant



Joined: Apr 26, 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: would appreciate feedback on 1st modular Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hi all - i’m new here and while i’m not new to synths, i’m new to hardware modular synthesis.

here’s my initial stab at a eurorack modular. what i’m trying to accomplish with this is something that’s tied at least somewhat to the realm of tonality but with enough special sauce that it can comfortably venture into a more experimental approach.

it’ll probably almost always be driven by volta, which i’ll be using for sequencing, ramp generation, etc... which is why some of those components aren’t represented in the list.

with all this in mind - i have two basic questions:

am i making any critical omissions?

are any of these components overkill (either in terms of price or functionality)?

any and all comments are much appreciated!

oscillators / sound generation:

tiptop audio Z3000 mk2 (2)
the harvestman hertz donut
the harvestman zorlon cannon (alt to analog noise generator)

signal processing:

tiptop audio z2040 vc-filter
livewire frequensteiner
intellijel mutagen (mixer)
livewire duel bissell (portamento)
intellijel azimuth (alt to traditional vca)

modulation:

doepfer a140 envelope generator (2)
livewire vulcan modulator (lfo)
make noise wogglebug (alt to s&h)

utility:

division 6 multiplicity vi (2)
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It looks a lovely little setup! I've always suggested that 'less is more'. See how it works, then get more modules if needed. Smile
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abstraktor



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Livewire modules are nearly impossible to get at the moment Crying or Very sad ....and no one is sure when the next production runs will be ready.
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waveplant



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

thanks, v-un-v! and good to know, abstraktor. i figured i'd have to find alternatives somewhere in there.

the main thing i'm wondering about is modulation. are 2 envelopes sufficient to start with? and are the a140s reasonably flexible enough for a variety of applications?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome


You should check out the posts regarding buying advice for say 5U systems ..like the synthesizers.com brand and similar. Much of the same advice applies for any modular synth format.

As there is no such thing as too many envelope modules or VCAs, I do recommend at least 4 of each. A sequencer of some kind is also perfect for advanced envelopes and modulation. There are of course huge differences in the actual design of such so you might want to study the features in detail before you buy with an emphasis on how the device will perform for envelopes and general modulation.

BTW, logic modules are often overlooked. Same goes for pan/fades and such.

As for the number of modules you need. Do you plan to build multichannel or possibly layered patches?

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emdot_ambient



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
...I've always suggested that 'less is more'...

I've always suggested that when it comes to modulars, 'more is more'.

As in, buy what you want/can afford....then buy more!...and more!...and more!...repeat.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Shocked

Less is more.. that didn´t work for Liberace.. and that won´t work for modular synthesis! Shocked

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Shocked

Less is more.. that didn´t work for Liberace.. and that won´t work for modular synthesis! Shocked

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
As for the number of modules you need. Do you plan to build multichannel or possibly layered patches?

And do you plan to play live or multitrack your recordings?

No need to have 3 rooms full of modules so that you can play/record 143 voices at once if you're just going to multi-track. In that case, you just need the bare minimum (which is an incredibly difficult thing to define) for the types of sound you want to do.

However, if you're going to want to play live, then you have to be considering how much stuff you want to lug around, and how many voices do you need to be controlling at one time.

Some people really only need modules enough for one monosynth (2-3 oscillators, a filter, envelope generator and amplifier, plus some LFO, noise, ring modulation and sample/hold). Others will need way more than that. Really depends on what you're musical style is.

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waveplant



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

thanks, everyone - good answers, and good questions.

this system will mostly be used in the studio, so i probably don't need too many multiples of everything. i'm a less is more kind of guy, but i'm quickly learning that's a pretty tough stance in the modular world.

i think the thing to do is start with a monosynth, get some basic experience, and go from there.

the more i think about it, i think a little hardware sequencing is a good idea, just so i don't have to depend on volta. after all, getting away from the computer is one of the nice things about modular synthesis.
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waveplant



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 5:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

one quick, very basic question:

what modules are required to drive a sequencer - for example, the tiptop z8000? can it just be done with a simple lfo?

and then, what routing / additional modules would be necessary to use its output to both change oscillator pitches and simultaneously trigger envelopes?
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Shocked

Less is more.. that didn´t work for Liberace.. and that won´t work for modular synthesis! Shocked


It worked for Eno and it worked for Kraftwerk! (I can think of many others too! Wink ) And what happens when you want to change a patch during a live set-up? Yeah yeah I know.....multiple modulars!? Rolling Eyes Laughing Laughing

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, Kraftwerk..? Less is more... well.. not really? !? Idea
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waveplant



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

here's a revised list:

oscillators / sound generation:

tiptop audio z3000 mk2 (2)
synthesis technology cloud generator
doepfer a118 noise generator

signal processing:

tiptop audio z2040 vc-filter
intellijel mutagen (mixer)
livewire duel bissell (portamento)
intellijel azimuth (alt to traditional vca w/option to pan)

modulation:

doepfer a140 envelope generator (2)
livewire vulcan modulator (lfo)
make noise wogglebug (alt to s&h)

sequencing:

tiptop audio z8000
doepfer a160 clock divider
doepfer a161 clock sequencer

--

elektro80, i've read some of the advice you've given in other threads regarding the importance of utility models vs boutique modules and it's really insightful.

this system seems a little more focused to me. regarding the boutique stuff, i've tried to pick pieces that offer a decent amount of utility and flexibility (esp the intellijel modules) over similar modules from doepfer.

given what i'm trying to do (build a monosynth with sequencing cabilibilities and enough unique modules to take advantage of being in the modular domain), and knowing that this system will be subject to expansion, although probably not right away: am i missing anything going into overkill when something more utilitarian might work just as well?
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Well, Kraftwerk..? Less is more... well.. not really? !? Idea


well yes! What did KW use on Ralf & Florian? A Minimoog, a VCS3, a vocoder, Hawaiian guitar, Farfisa organ, drums, flute. That's about it. The vcs3 is reasonably modular, but you can't really expand it.

The Mix was completely made with a Synclavier.

Less is more Smile

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Waveplant, the new list seems like great start. Very Happy I don´t know much about many of these modules but the functionality provided by the stuff on the list seems nice. You could clearly consider one more VCF though and ou might be slightly low on plain VCOs too.
This will be a great system to start with and you will soon figure out how stuff works and what to get next depending on in which direction you want to take your patching. The main idea is to build a system that allows you to do what you want. It takes some time, effort and money to get there but that is how it is. A generally good advice is to start out with something that is well past the "standard" architecture of the classic analog mono synths. That is where the real fun starts.

Uh.. perhaps one or two more VCA modules would be cool too? I think so. But the one you have chosen seems to be very cool. The pan feature is great but you kinda either choose plain double operation of the fade.

You could to a certain degree in fact prototype your system based on the G2 software demo. That way you will be able to test concepts and see how far a certain number of modules will take you.

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