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22 year-old cassette tape of huge modular synths
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spanky@work



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 5:34 am    Post subject: 22 year-old cassette tape of huge modular synths Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

From http://musicthing.blogspot.com/2005/06/22-year-old-cassette-tape-of-huge.html

Quote:
Serge Modular company produced a demo cassette featuring many artists using the Serge Modular synthesizer. I'm posting this music here as a public/historical service. Each track is a few megs, the whole tape is 100Mb.
courtesy Darrel Johansen



http://www.mnmlnoise.com/Serge_Musicians_Tape.html

Pretty and interesting, Noodels and Songs! Well worth the download I think Razz
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I need MusicThing, Electro-Music and Hackaday.com all on one page and interconnected because every article I've been reading at one site lately has been referenced at another site!

The article said there was a bit of tape hiss? Is it manageable enough to filter out?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Serge and Buchla are king (moog is so boring! ;))

Thanks for the link- downloading right now

However I should mention that there nothing here that the G2 can't do! (but then we already know that don't we? :))

Tom

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:
The article said there was a bit of tape hiss? Is it manageable enough to filter out?


What's wrong with a bit of good old tape hiss?

Me and my friend Brian have this theory that recordings with no hiss in the background become much more tiring to the ears over periods of time.

I also think that tape distortion adds a certain something that tricks the listener into thinking that there's more in a recording than there actually is.

Recently there was a programme on BBC Radio 4 that played a length of pure white noise to the listeners and told us to listen in carefully to hear Bing Crosby's "White Christmas'.

Of course all there was was pure white noise, but it didn't stop hundreds of people emailing the BBC to say that they heard it!!

Noise is the music of the spheres :)

Tom

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
Serge and Buchla are king (moog is so boring! Wink)


Word.

Quote:

However I should mention that there nothing here that the G2 can't do! (but then we already know that don't we? Smile)


No, I don´t. I spend a lot of time with a Serge and a fair amount with the G2 and they can do entirely different ranges of things, there is a HUGE difference in soundquality too. It´s simply not fair to compare them, the Serge is a real specialist high-end system who´s sequencer costs about as much as a G2, made by a company that´s not affraid to take a stand against the current market and fashions and stick to it´s electronic music roots. It has been since the dawn of time.

The G2 is far more like Moog then like Serge, the additude is entirely different. If there is one modern digital system that´s comparable in additude to Serge it has to be Pure Data. PD shares many of the contextual elements of early Serge such as being aimed at students with the building your own additions being encouraged and being intentionally open to controlers designed or chosen by the musician himself.

Also; Dual Universal Slope Generator, simply nothing can touch the Slope Generator in the right hands.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

Recently there was a programme on BBC Radio 4 that played a length of pure white noise to the listeners and told us to listen in carefully to hear Bing Crosby's "White Christmas'.


Hysterical!

I think hiss, saturation and harmonic distortion are far less objectionalbe to the ear then non-harmonic distortion. We are used to filtering out the first three while our ears believe the last to have meaning and so we hear it much more clearly then measurements would have you beleive.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:


What's wrong with a bit of good old tape hiss?

Me and my friend Brian have this theory that recordings with no hiss in the background become much more tiring to the ears over periods of time.

I also think that tape distortion adds a certain something that tricks the listener into thinking that there's more in a recording than there actually is.

Tom


Don't get me wrong; I LOVE tape hiss. It just sounded like from the article that there might have been a little too much. I mean, the tape is 22 years old. But now, I'm going to download that bad boy tonight!

It's funny- I spend a good deal of time trying to ADD hiss, saturation and harmonic distortion. I'm sure many of us do.

Anyway, I don't want to sound like a broken record.....or do I? Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

sounds pretty good, actually!
I don't mind the sound quality at all. i love listening to stuff like this... thanks a lot for posting the link!
be sure to check out the additional information, too.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice !

Thanks for the link.

Jan.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wish Serge´s would be more accessible, finantially.

Trivia; Serge started out as a project for students. There was a set of designs, you buy your own parts and solder it up, at the end of the cource you have a synth and know how to use it. Some of the more exotic stuff comes from that. The Universal Slope Generator can be a LFO, a OSC, a Envelope or a LP Filter and other things, depending on how you patch it up, if you take two it can be even more things including a noise source (it´ll blow your mind). This comes not only from the designer being very clever, it´s also because it needed to be cheap for what it did.

Currently it´s far, far out of the budget of university students, hardly anybody knows it on a personal level because individuals can´t afford it and studios don´t care for it, I feel that´s very sad.

In the old days there was the Serge/Buchla devide with Serge choosing to have CV and audio signals having the same (stackable) cable. Never have I seen anything (hardware wise) take this as far as the Serge I played with did; there were no LFO´s, you just tune down a OSC, some modules can manipulate both cv and audio, sequencers are just as happy being wavetables, envelopes have a volt/oct calibrated mod input, as do delays, etc. This gives you (well, forces you towards...) great insights on how data interacts, I think it´s a great shame that this system is now placed in a spot where people may get one once they are with their pension. It should realy be everybody´s first exposure to synthesis.

I´m done ranting now, just grab your chance if you ever have the chance to touch one. Save and undo are great, I´ve come to depend on them, but a Serge in decent shape will rip your head off.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Due to overwelming traffic, I had to take the files down


Sad
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

g2ian wrote:
Quote:
Due to overwelming traffic, I had to take the files down


Sad


The second link works for me.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

Currently it´s far, far out of the budget of university students, hardly anybody knows it on a personal level because individuals can´t afford it and studios don´t care for it, I feel that´s very sad.


This is what I mean. Dave Peck (hello Dave!) once said that he was hoping to get a large analogue modular to replace the NM (if my memory serves me right?), but after totting up the figures it came to an extraordinary amount of money to replace the Nord in terms of analogue. For what the NM1/ G2 offers it's an incredible bargain -but still too dear for me at the mo. :(

Kassen wrote:

a Serge in decent shape will rip your head off.


Okay, I'll swallow my words :) However I do like digital stuff too.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

PS what Jan does on the NM-one one could ever do on any Moog.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

"Big Mama" from the tape sounds a bit like "Clear Spot" by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band!

This is a great download- even if a couple of tracks are a bit dodgy- but they work together.

Hope you people can find a link again.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
This is what I mean. Dave Peck (hello Dave!) once said that he was hoping to get a large analogue modular to replace the NM (if my memory serves me right?), but after totting up the figures it came to an extraordinary amount of money to replace the Nord in terms of analogue. For what the NM1/ G2 offers it's an incredible bargain -but still too dear for me at the mo. Sad


Yes, that´s true, that´s very true and I don´t deny it. Actually I´ve often said that a second hand micro is the best deal in the history of electronic music.


Quote:

Okay, I'll swallow my words Smile However I do like digital stuff too.


It´s not analogue V.S. digital that I´m talking about, it´s how I experience the additude of the Serge. If it were said that a Arp 2500 or a Doefer could do the same I would´ve jumped at it too. Different systems by different designers have different "spirits", different "styles" and of the ones I worked with (which is quite a list compared to my age) I think there´s something special to the Serge, something that I don´t think you can trivialise simply because a G2 will give you more modules then anybody could afford on a Serge. THere is something "defined" and "confident" about the serge sound that I think is quite unlike other systems. The G2 is wonderfull for what it does; Wan can take his with him to his band, Rob can put his on a overhead projector (sticking to stuff I witnissed). My main two modulars here are digital; the G1 and Tassman and both can totally forget about replacing eachother. I even want to invest a few bucks in Plogue and a few hours in S.C., both digital too, each for their own style.


I realy didn´t want to flame the G2; it´s a great machine, I wanted to defend the Serge for it´s additude and versatile modules. Try to get your hand on one once, check out how the sequencer has both horizontal and vertical step inputs and outputs. Try to get your head around the Slope Generator. You won´t regret it. A moog can´t replace a G1 but a G2 can´t replace a Serge either.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen, I played with some Serge systems when they first came out. I'm curious, what piece of music on this tape best demonstrates the Serge attitude of which you speak?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

That´s a very good but quite hard question. I´m personally most draw to the use of the Willson analog delay on the "santur opera" and on "untittled tom dill", particularly in the use of aplying them to tones, time scales and modulation rates. In all honesty I have to admid that on "killder digerido" I was left wondering wether the speciffic qualities of the Serge filter were realy the most apropriate compared to other filters. I feel that "papoon" uses them in a way that brings out their speciffic strengths much more clearly. As always it´s very hard to put speciffic qualities of sounds into words.

While on this topic anyway, I only read about Buchla seeing the seperation of CV and audio as a advantage, not as a limitation but never did I encounter any mentioning of exactly why this was. Do you know anything about this? Was this simply to avoid frying speakers or was it something deeper?

I couldn´t help but notice that on the E-M shirt (which I´m happy to note I received! it´s great!) you too placed two different types of cable, this time with a Moog. Rob and me briefly speculated on the relevance of this, but then we were quickly distracted by making coffee before going in any depth :¬).

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 11:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
PS what Jan does on the NM-one one could ever do on any Moog.


That is true, but as a side note :

I did some simple auto playing stuff on my old Formant before I got the NM and somehow I needed more modules on the NM than on the Formant for doing about the same thing.

But the number of modules is overhelming on an NM, to buy half of that as hardware would cost a fortune. And you'll always end up having bought the wrong modules, or not enough of 'm ...

Jan.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
Kassen wrote:

Currently it´s far, far out of the budget of university students, hardly anybody knows it on a personal level because individuals can´t afford it and studios don´t care for it, I feel that´s very sad.


This is what I mean. Dave Peck (hello Dave!) once said that he was hoping to get a large analogue modular to replace the NM (if my memory serves me right?), but after totting up the figures it came to an extraordinary amount of money to replace the Nord in terms of analogue. For what the NM1/ G2 offers it's an incredible bargain -but still too dear for me at the mo. Sad

Kassen wrote:

a Serge in decent shape will rip your head off.


Okay, I'll swallow my words Smile However I do like digital stuff too.


Hello v-un-v! Actually, I was toying with the idea of getting a real hardware modular in ADDITION to my NM & G2 (I'm a real greedy bastard sometimes). I played around with the Excel module planner spreadsheet on the Doepfer site and the system quickly grew to eight panels and over US$8000. Of course, that's just me, and if I really decided to go for it I'm sure I could devise a much smaller system that would be very nice indeed. But I wouldn't ever try to 'replace' a nord with a hardware modular. That would cost a fortune, and I'd have to move to a bigger place just to have an extra room to put it in.

Regarding the Serge stuff, I used to own a Serge (including the Dual Universal Slope Generator). Very, very cool synth. Those guys had weird modules like wave multipliers (similar to the Nord's Wave Wrapper) and all sorts of other cool stuff way before anybody else was doing it. Kassen is right about the 'feel' and 'attitude' of the Serge. It has a very open architecture, even more than most other true modulars, which allows you to use modules in lots of different ways. It was a lot of fun and it really got me thinking. I miss the little fellow. I sold it about 20 years ago and quickly regreted it. That was the last time I ever sold a synth.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:
That´s a very good but quite hard question. I´m personally most draw to the use of the Willson analog delay on the "santur opera" and on "untittled tom dill", particularly in the use of aplying them to tones, time scales and modulation rates. In all honesty I have to admid that on "killder digerido" I was left wondering wether the speciffic qualities of the Serge filter were realy the most apropriate compared to other filters. I feel that "papoon" uses them in a way that brings out their speciffic strengths much more clearly. As always it´s very hard to put speciffic qualities of sounds into words.


Interesting. Too bad most of the highs are rolled off on that tape so things sound very flat generally. Still, I don't hear anything particularly definitive in the music, not that it is important.

[quote'While on this topic anyway, I only read about Buchla seeing the seperation of CV and audio as a advantage, not as a limitation but never did I encounter any mentioning of exactly why this was. Do you know anything about this? Was this simply to avoid frying speakers or was it something deeper?[/quote]

I talked to Don about this once. He did say he thought the separation of control signals was an advantage, but I never got the reason. That was before Serge was making systems. I expressed to him I thought Moog's treating controls and signals as equivalent was an advantage. (There were no LFOs on a Moog either, BTW). (When synths first came out with LFOs, we used to call them Limited Feature Oscillators). Anyhow, rather than explain why separating controls is an advantage, Don said I was free to buy a Moog if I wanted. I did.

v-un-v wrote:
Serge and Buchla are king (moog is so boring! Wink)


I can't claim to never being bored, but I'm convinced that, like beauty, boredom is in the mind of the beholder. All three have their strengths and their weaknesses. It is self-limiting to assign pejoritive value judgements.

Kassen wrote:
I couldn´t help but notice that on the E-M shirt (which I´m happy to note I received! it´s great!) you too placed two different types of cable, this time with a Moog.


If you think 42 is meaningful, then there is much more to gain from studying the electro-music 2005 tee-shirts. Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Kassen wrote:

I couldn´t help but notice that on the E-M shirt (which I´m happy to note I received! it´s great!) you too placed two different types of cable, this time with a Moog. Rob and me briefly speculated on the relevance of this, but then we were quickly distracted by making coffee before going in any depth :¬).


would that be the 1/4" and RCA cables coming out of the 'vase'? i'm pretty sure that was done by my friend Jeremy (Figure XII, also of the band Diana Behlke that performed at E-M 2005. anyone catch their set?), and was posted on his site before being used for the E-M 2005 artwork. the Moog panel was overlaid afterwards, not sure if there's any significance there at all (just speculating of course). probably just coincidence?

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Interesting. Too bad most of the highs are rolled off on that tape so things sound very flat generally. Still, I don't hear anything particularly definitive in the music, not that it is important.


Yes, here the tape adversely affects the sound and the mp3 compression of top isn´t helping any either. It´s all good and nice to have oscilators that remain very stable and have insane ranges but that won´t do you any good if the sound is cut off. If you´d say my answer was unsatisfactory I´d agree too, b.t.w., it´s very hard to put these things into words.

Perhaps I should have left it at "i like serge" and "i think not everything can be replaced" and "i experience the serge system like this" instead of looking at broader things, but I do think there are a few sides to this system that give it a certain something....

Quote:

I talked to Don about this once. He did say he thought the separation of control signals was an advantage, but I never got the reason. That was before Serge was making systems. I expressed to him I thought Moog's treating controls and signals as equivalent was an advantage. (There were no LFOs on a Moog either, BTW).


Ah, interesting. Perhaps he was simply to proud to come back on his desision? Interestingly digital systems often have the equivalent of different plugs now in the form of audio and controll rate signals; Csound has had it for ages, but even modern systems like the G2 have it. Frankly I´m not in favour of it there either since often things like vca´s will call for mulitplication of the two which either means zipper noise or a extra stage of upsampling and filtering.

Quote:

(When synths first came out with LFOs, we used to call them Limited Feature Oscillators). Anyhow, rather than explain why separating controls is an advantage, Don said I was free to buy a Moog if I wanted. I did.


I suppose that´s more political then taking a soldering iron to a buchla in your position.... Jacks are great because you get to plug in lots of external stuff, banana plugs start to shine if you are using one voltage as a sort of "morphgroup". The Arp 2500 has the best of both worlds in a way but it needs planning and probably doesn´t scale well (fortunately nobody can afford running into that finantially).

Not such a easy problem.

Quote:

v-un-v wrote:
Serge and Buchla are king (moog is so boring! Wink)


I can't claim to never being bored, but I'm convinced that, like beauty, boredom is in the mind of the beholder. All three have their strengths and their weaknesses. It is self-limiting to assign pejoritive value judgements.


Well, yes, often. I never touched a Moog modular but back when everybody was talking about that vst version I had a carefull look at the Moog module range and this seemed very much centered around a corner of synthesis that doesn´t get me as excited at the moment as the range of some other systems.

Moog was very early in building one and some other brands had the chance to learn from him. I would say that the Moog range is a bit on the concervative side to my eye and frankly the additude Serge with his interactive sequencers and Buchla with his crazy interfaces took apeals to me more then the keyboards of Moog or Arp.

I´m imagining that I hear influences of that on this tape too, but that could be just my mind. This is all highly subjective.

Quote:

If you think 42 is meaningful, then there is much more to gain from studying the electro-music 2005 tee-shirts. Twisted Evil


I´m more of a Dirk Gently guy then a Guide guy, honestly. Nah, it was just some speculation on your Moog and you relation to Buchla. If you give me a shirt the least I can do is have a good look at it!

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7om



Joined: Sep 23, 2004
Posts: 29
Location: SF Bay Area, Calif.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I was trained on the Buchla over 20 years ago. It is one of the richest sounding synths I have had the pleasure to explore. As I was so inspired by the sounds of the Buchla, not to mention the sense of adventure involved in setting up new patches from scratch, I bought 2 Serge panels before leaving college. Personally, I was very disappointed with the sound. I found it thin relative to the Buchla. Over the years, I hoped to find a synth that could recreate my experience with the Buchla.

I bought my G2 last year, and the Moog Modular V shortly thereafter. To my ear, the Moog Modular V is the first software synth that has sounded as rich as I recall the Buchla 200. It sounds different than the Buchla, but it has a HUGE sound like the Buchla. I agree that the patching is more limited on the Moog as compared to the Buchla or Serge, but the sound is incredible. I really want Arturia to make a Buchla 200 V!

All that said, I have to disagree with Don Buchla on the advantages of separating CV from audio signals. Not that I mixed them up that much on my Serge, but I can't see any advantage to separating them except, perhaps, keeping clear which is which. With the Serge, the jacks were color coded, so this was never a problem. I like that you can mix it up on the G2.

I still have my Serge, though it hasn't been out of storage in years. I really need to sell it. Are there really still people interested in Serge? Anyone have any idea how I can get a sense of the fair market value?

-Tom
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Shocked

What modules?

Shocked
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