Originally Posted by elmn
I would like to start this adventure with sound synthesis. I've never had any synth. My friend recommended to me to start at the Eurorack system, what do you think, is it a good idea?
You tell me what should I do first (except learning sound synthesis of the books), what to buy?
I think it's a VERY good idea to start with a modular as first synthesizer.
Not only is it easy to see, and hear what's going on, it's much easier to learn basic synthesis theory on it. you'll have a grasp on things much sooner than with any other synth. Though... yes, there is somewhat of a learning curve.
ok, you got to do some research yourself, since it's possible to configure your own synth from the ground up, there's a LOT of different options..
Next up is the budget. How much money do you want to invest right now, and what do you want to invest in the future? Determine that first and STICK WIHT IT!!
Continuing from Yoozer's storty..
Any synth has roughly four parts. the playing surface or communication to a playing surface seperate, this can be a piano keyboard, or MPC type pads, or knobs, but also the connections to a midi sequencer or to a computer, so the recorded or programmed notes can be routed to the modular synth.
It's important to look what you already got, in gear. Do you have an USB-midi interface for the computer? Or maybe a midi keyboard? Or nothing at all? A modular is capable of generating sound by itself, and even play notes, but it's critical to have this in a musical setting, so you can create songs (eventually) Please look at this thread
Second is the "utillity" modules. These are the things that keep the sound evolving, changing, make a raw waveform into something more usable. Examples are envelopes, LFO's (low frequency oscillators) - they wobble
, sequencers (to program and play a sequence of notes) etc.
A choice of these modules determine how flexible and usable the system is. Often overlooked (these are not "glamour" modules) it's still very important, since without them, all those fancy filters are dead in the water.
Third is the meat of the synth; the modules that create the sound. These are Oscillators (tone generators), filters (these block out a part of the sound, so then it becomes usable), and amplifiers (VCA's). Then there's of course effects modules, noise generators, bitcrushers and even samplers. These modules determine the character of the sound. Would you like a "moog" type sound, an Oberheim, or would you go for something very different and never heard before? Or.. all of those?
fourth is the case in which the modules and the powersupply (PSU) and the busboard (to connect the modules to the PSU) is housed.
don't get a small one. it's more costly in the future.
Please see this post
how to get a case to put the eurorack modules in.
Please have a look in the sticky here
to learn basic principles of synthesis.
Then there's different formats. You already named one; Eurorack.
But there's more: There's 5u (bigger, more space to turn knobs, less choices, great sound), there's Serge synthesizers, Frac format (in the USA), ModCan, etc... Eurorack is nice cause it's cheap (if you buy cheap modules) and there's lots of choices, as you can see in the modularplanner. The other ones like ModCan or Serge are more expensive, but some people like them better, and keep these unchanged for years... choose yourself! Resale value is around 70% so it's a waste of 30% of your money if you decide to switch after a month or so..
Also see here
for a recent discussion, on what format is "best" for you. Also look at the descriptions here
for what modules are and what they do. Look at youtube videos, and soundclouds (type the module name in the search) and listen as much as possible before making a choice.
Ideas behind a setup: In the sixties, when all of this madness started there were two "schools" of synthesis, and yes, west coast and east coast. Just like rappers lol
East coast is the "moog" type of synthesizer setups: A number of voices, with an oscillator (with a pure tone), an LFO to modulate that oscillator, an envelope and VCA to shape the sound, and then a filter to give it the character sound you want. The sounds then are combined and it's mostly played by a piano keyboard or a sequencer inside the system.
West coast was more experimental; Buchla, Serge and Wiard are examples of this. A bunch of oscillators that modulate each other, and waveshapers create a very complex and interesting timbre of sound. This is played mostly through alternative surfaces, so isn't stuck on the piano keyboard. That complex sound is then routed into an LPG (Low Pass Gate) which filters the sound and (because the electronic components behave in a certain way) also creates a type of envelope (they call it "gate" but it's different from the gate that's the output of a sequencer, or note-on/off message from a midi-cv interface - since that's just the pulse/square wave, and this "gate" means the whole module)
Right now... some synths (Serge, Buchla, Wiard) and some eurorack modules (Malekko Wiard, The Harvestman, Pittsburgh) are quite "west coast" while others are east coast (Macbeth, Analogue Systems) oriented.
But many brands are both. So... you can do both. a mix!
IT THEN ALL DEPENDS ON YOU WHAT TYPE SYNTHESIZER YOU WANT
I'm going to merge this thread with another one, since it's basically the same subject.
If you have any direct questions, please ask?