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opinions of semi modulars ?
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opinions of semi modulars ?

I've been looking towards a semi modular synth to do nice weirdness on. The analogue solutions stuff looks ok but I've never seen any in the flesh, let alone actually played one.

I'm leaning towards either the FR XS or the AS Telemark but not 100% about it.

Any others I should consider ?
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Have to say that I've not been very impressed with A-Solutions stuff ( apart from their Concusser series of drum modules )

I was very impressed with the now discontinued 'SPAWN' from Analogue Systems - this is a two U rack mount semi-modular ( tho it's really a full modular except in one housing ) - amazing thing with MIDI and all kinds of very unique and cool features ... might be worth looking out for one

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MS20 = Amazing
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Cwejman S1?


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Roland system100 (with expander 102) is the nuts.
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No budget, so it's difficult.

The telemark is nice sounding, but I found it to be quirky as far as the modulation range, etc. Just didn't feel right.

For real weirdness, I'd recommend you go the extra step and get a self contained synth like the vostok (which I really liked) or the tinysizer. These are more fully modular than the xs, telemark, and the cwejman. The tinysizer especially gives you tremendous flexibility with tons of patch points....

But most people, when they say they want weird, mean just slightly outside of what you can do with your usual monosynth, in which case the xs would be excellent, and the Cwejman much more flexible. Of course, then it comes down to whether you like the sound of these also - they sound quite different.

I personally think that the best bang for the buck with all of these is the tinysizer.
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Highly recommended...

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I used to have an MFB Kraftzwerg. I liked it a lot actually, and it's more flexible than most of the the semi mods in that price range. It does have a bit of a "dirty" sound though. Ultimately I sold it because after using it for a few weeks I realized I should have just gone modular from the beginning, I considered mounting it in the case but just sold it instead to recoup some of what I spent on my initial module shipment, case etc

Since you're in the UK, I would consider the Dark Energy a great bargain, I think the new price over here is slightly too high, not much of a difference I know but there are a lot of more capable monosynths both semi modular and hardwired that are just a bit more (SEM, Slim Phatty, Mopho KB, etc)

in the next budget range im not so sure what to recommend as I know a lot of the usual suspects are maybe a bit overpriced over there (FRXS, SEM)
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+1 on the MFB Kraftzwerg
a nice piece of gear

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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
No budget, so it's difficult.

The telemark is nice sounding, but I found it to be quirky as far as the modulation range, etc. Just didn't feel right.

For real weirdness, I'd recommend you go the extra step and get a self contained synth like the vostok (which I really liked) or the tinysizer. These are more fully modular than the xs, telemark, and the cwejman. The tinysizer especially gives you tremendous flexibility with tons of patch points....

But most people, when they say they want weird, mean just slightly outside of what you can do with your usual monosynth, in which case the xs would be excellent, and the Cwejman much more flexible. Of course, then it comes down to whether you like the sound of these also - they sound quite different.

I personally think that the best bang for the buck with all of these is the tinysizer.
I think I'm one of the few people who did not like the Vostok. I thought the sound was "eh" and the matrix bothered me (but I love the synthi matrix). Just my opinion.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heathfinnie View Post
I think I'm one of the few people who did not like the Vostok. I thought the sound was "eh" and the matrix bothered me (but I love the synthi matrix). Just my opinion.
no - people seem to either like or hate the vostok - you're not the only one. I really liked the pin matrix on it - you could easily gang up multiple sources into one destination, which was really nice about it. Most modular/semi-modular synths don't like you to do that unless you go through a mixer...
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Quote:
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MS20 = Amazing
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The FRXS is expensive but it is all kinds of great. I don't use many patch cables with it yet, however, it rocks.

The oscillators sound great and every single gain stage in it sounds really really good. If you are hunting for a sound you will pass four on you way to what you are looking for. It stands up very well to a MKS-80 in mono synth mode. There is at least one really euphonic harmonic thing going on in it. And it weighs about 5 pounds. Really great synth.

I believe that the bass drum that I get out of nothing but resonance on the filter is bigger than any other bass drum in my studio. Certainly goes lower.
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Why semi modular? Seems like a lot of people who start with the semi's post that they wished they started with completely modular. The cwejman would be my pick, but it's probably the most expensive also.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phase_ghost View Post
Why semi modular? Seems like a lot of people who start with the semi's post that they wished they started with completely modular. The cwejman would be my pick, but it's probably the most expensive also.
I have some Eurorack and I'd say I really prefer the workflow of a nice semi-modular. There's something to be said about not having to patch everything. But my ideal would be a self-contained semi-modular like the Cwejman S1 and then add a small amount of choice modules to go along with it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phase_ghost View Post
Why semi modular? Seems like a lot of people who start with the semi's post that they wished they started with completely modular. The cwejman would be my pick, but it's probably the most expensive also.
A semi-modular synth is a great "gateway drug" to a fully modular synth. As a bonus, you can still combine your semi-modular with your modular when the time comes.

The same goes for Moogerfooger pedals. I think my first revelation of the fun with modulars was "hey, why don't I thicken up this FR-XS sound with a Moogerfooger Freqbox VCO..."
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I've never played with any Cwejman modules so I don't know what I'm missing but for $3600 you could put together a pretty rad euro or dotcom system

don't get me wrong i'd like one if I could afford it though

(in the old military green color scheme though)
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it depends on your budget. i assume by the 2 you mentioned you're looking to spend around $1k, but to be sure -

high$:
my favorite is the early ARP-2600, MacBeth M5 and EMS Synthi followed by an expanded Voyager.
the S1 mkII is very capable; one of the best but also a very specific design; it does not cover much vintage territory but will rule the universe along side, say, a MacBeth M5.

there are also many lesser-known, harder to find, but equally worthy considerations if you got the coin: Kobol, SEMtex, Fenix, GRP etc

as for the $1000 or under:

the newest SEM looks pretty killer, too. FR XS is a nice lower/mid-price solution, I'm sure. I used to have a 777 and it was pretty brutal. The MFB stuff I don't know; the build puts me off trying them. But they are certainly loaded with features.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droolmaster0 View Post
no - people seem to either like or hate the vostok - you're not the only one. I really liked the pin matrix on it - you could easily gang up multiple sources into one destination, which was really nice about it. Most modular/semi-modular synths don't like you to do that unless you go through a mixer...
One of the major issues with the Vostok was the lack of buffering on the matrix ... multiple destinations resulted in very unstable voltage swings ... don't know if this has been resolved recently or not tho ?
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One of the major issues with the Vostok was the lack of buffering on the matrix ... multiple destinations resulted in very unstable voltage swings ... don't know if this has been resolved recently or not tho ?
It worked fine for me. I do believe that some issues with older versions were corrected.
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thanks all , I guess I should have posted my budget , I was thinking of about £1000 but I can go a bit more if needed.

I wanted to go semi modular first to see if I actually liked using the patching system and to give me a general idea of how things patch. I didn't want to jump in fully modular only to find out I've gone in over my heard and have to sell up.
Also as someone already posted, if I later do decide to go fully modular then I'll already have a bunch of oscs and filters at my fingers so I can spend on the more "different" modules.

To those people with semi modulars , would it possible to post some sounds ?

I want the synth for effects, hard type leads and general audio processing, the types of sounds my Virus can't do and you don't usually find on soft synths.

thanks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcB View Post

I want the synth for effects, hard type leads and general audio processing, the types of sounds my Virus can't do and you don't usually find on soft synths.

thanks
mate, the ms20 is brilliant for hi-pass blippy bloopy squelches;]

the resonance screams amazingly and when the hi-pass is pitched down creates earth shattering b-lines and really can grime or beef up a signal, excellent as a distortion box for a 303 (aphex twin has 3 of them because he likes them so much i heard).

it has quite a dark sound on its own, a good comrade to brighter, chunkier, more defined, more 'western' sounding synths.

it can also do pitch-tracking.

the pots are so malleable, a perfect form-factor for creating funky filter wobbles. i cant wait to get silentway to record my cv wiggles when i finally get my setup properly done.



the only thing i found, modulation isnt as fast as something like the dark energy.. there is a mod for increasing the modulation rate i would love to do.


i love mine. thumbsup
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fwiw the ms-20 was like my long lost best friend when i got it.

it was like that sound I always knew from so much stuff and couldn't really pinpoint it.

once i got it i was like so THAT'S where that sound is from...all of the sudden everything made sense.

it's like my favorite monosynth now, well, that and the edp wasp.

my ms-20 has the korg35 filter, i can't speak for the later OTA filters, but holy crap does that thing scream. All MS-10s and early MS-20s had the korg35 filter.

and yes i instantly recognized many aphex twin sounds as being from the ms-20 as soon as I got it...

i love how all the knobs are like the same size, EXCEPT the filter cutoff knobs which are oversized. It's almost like they knew...
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i don't see semi modular synthesizers as precursors to full modulars

a few things to remember about semi-modulars.

they are a complete system, all of the components compliment each other... the system was thought out and designed with specific goals and a specific approach for obtaining them through synthesis. i believe this has advantages over a hodge podge system of great modules that may not work that great together

patching semi-modulars is quick and effortless, there is less spaghetti.

if you don't gel with a semi-modular it is a lot easier to sell.. though the regulars at muffwiggler will devour all of your excess modules if priced appropriately

it is easy to expand a semi-modular

my Future Retro XS is badass.. like really mother****ing badass. no mater what modular dreams may come, i will always have the XS

semi-modular mono synths are just so fun and intuitive to program and play. i've got a new one on the way... my new Tom Oberheim Patch Panel SEM should be here tomorrow.. and some multiples from analogue haven are in route so i can control it with the FR XS

everything @ my sound cloud is laden with the XS.. all the drones, bass, leads crazy analog noises and a lot of the percussion is all XS. if something sounds digital its the microwave XT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xero View Post
fwiw the ms-20 was like my long lost best friend when i got it.

it was like that sound I always knew from so much stuff and couldn't really pinpoint it.

once i got it i was like so THAT'S where that sound is from...all of the sudden everything made sense.

it's like my favorite monosynth now, well, that and the edp wasp.

my ms-20 has the korg35 filter, i can't speak for the later OTA filters, but holy crap does that thing scream. All MS-10s and early MS-20s had the korg35 filter.

and yes i instantly recognized many aphex twin sounds as being from the ms-20 as soon as I got it...

i love how all the knobs are like the same size, EXCEPT the filter cutoff knobs which are oversized. It's almost like they knew...
yup. you and me are from the same pod then. im guessing mine is the earlier filter model, because it sounds so freakin' good.

im also in love with the idea of building a poly-wasp with euro parts because i love the grunginess of it the filter......

you like soul oddity 'tone capsule' album xero? check them out if not - analogue a-z says moog & ms.... you'll hear the partnership straightaway.

reminds me i need something moogy and i dont know what to buy.


edit* @ rust creep - i have gas for the xs too. it 'squawks' a lot from what ive heard really nicely
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The Cwejman VM1 with a doepfer beauty case, or the new oberheim sem is the most obvious option here that gives you a nice intermediary point and lets you figure it out.
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Thoughts on putting a modular together solely for filters and effects? I have a Voyager with a CP-251, VX-351, and MF-103 Phaser right now and can't really decide on whether I should buy more pedals or expand it into a small modular. I'm interested in a modular because it does open a lot of more affordable options and is quite flexible. Assuming I stick with my original goal (yeah I know...) would it be worth it versus more Moogerfoogers/pedals or other outboard?
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I've been pondering similar things Marc..I really can't handle the sheer vastness of modular options..and being a total mod virgin..have been looking at various reasonably priced semi's.

Have been considering the Telemark(looks/sounds v nice..but mixed reviews re:build quality),Dark energy(cheap!),MFB stuff..(All European manufacturers)..and,to not such a greater extent,the SEM patch..(US=more expensive here in UK)

..an interesting compromise that has caught my beady eye,is the rackable Kraftzwerg..It's the same as the stand alone semi-mod unit (minus MIDI>CV) but made to be mounted in a eurorack.
Would give you a totally self contained semi-mod,in the format of a 'real' modular...so immediately expandable if/when desire/money/time permits.

Would be interested to know what you eventually go for.
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Given your budget, it sounds like what you want is one of the Tom Oberheim SEM's- either patch panel or the new Pro. While it's not quite as feature-laden as some of the other available options, it sounds great, is certainly capable of what you're looking to acheive, and it fits your budget perfectly (I think- haven't checked the dollar-to-pound excange rate recently).
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