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The Modular Thread 2017 Modular Synthesizers
Old 30th January 2017
  #1171
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Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by justjools View Post
Who are some of your favourite electronica or modular artists btw? The obvious of course is Richard Devine, I find his stuff interesting in an intellectual and experimental way. I actually have to contradict myself, just listening to this is very musical.
I'm a big fan of Richard Devine, of course. Total Devine fanboi. ...just wish he'd stop endorsing everything under the sun so it'd be easier to figure out what he's really using. ("Timbre Wolf is gonna change everything!" "There's nothing like a Gaia!" "Montage has some real alien technology!") At one point, I had my modular situated on the floor just because he'd done it.



(My knees ache just thinking about it.)

For me, Prometheus Burning was the band that made me reconsider the way I do music.



I'd heard power noise before and was a casual fan of the genre, but I'd never listened to anything like this. It was equal parts old-school industrial, modern power noise, and just seething hatred. I started searching the interbutts for everything I could find on their workflow. Not much out there unfortunately, but I did stumble on this gem of an article: Trash Audio Studio Interview/ The software was expected, the Virus was surprising, but the modular was the part that stood out to me. I started putting together a Dot Com system immediately, though that has always been pretty self-contained. Semi-modular synths started creeping in and I was discovering the joys of patching them together. I sold an Andromeda to get a Vostok and had a lot of fun with that. As I mentioned above, the eurorack started with an expansion row for the Vostok, trying to add some of the weird stuff. Now I've got 24 rows of Eurorack that outperforms Greg Van Eck's system, and I still can't make anything near as brilliant as he has. Just goes to show that it's the painter that makes the painting and not the paint brush.

But yeah, those are my two big modular influences. I really can't think of anyone else that uses a modular that I go googoo over like I do for those two.
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Old 30th January 2017
  #1172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subdo View Post
I've been going through this too. I mean it's super fun to create a big self generating monster patch but it rarely translates into anything I'd want to listen to more than a few times. OTOH I feel like I was really stagnating when I was writing 100% ITB and only using OTB synths for sample fodder. I just have zero motivation to go back to DAW based arranging but the only other way I've written music other than recording live is my MPC days. So I'm hoping these new MPCs pan out and I can find my musical happy place. I still love the ol BSP for jamming but I think I've pushed it about as far as I can for more complex arrangements.
Workflow is such a personal thing. I can't seem to get into making music with a DAW, no matter what. With an MPC, I can make good metal songs on them, but anything else just ends up being monotonous for some reason. MPC's are mostly just samplers to me.

The part that's got me cracking up right now is that I'm super into trackers, right? I've been using ZTracker for coming up on sixteen years now. I decided to give Renoise a stab so that I can get rid of my MPC and Fantom. I mean, a sample is a sample is a sample, right? I even spent a day going through each shortcut in Renoise, setting it up so that it's as close to ZTracker as I can make. Well, the reason that this is funny is that in spite of spending all that time getting the keystrokes to match up with what I'm comfortable with... I feel like the music that I make with Renoise is boring sh*t. They control in almost exactly the same way now, and Renoise is technically superior in so many ways, but for some reason, I've still just gotta have ZTracker spitting out MIDI to hardware to get my tunes the way I want them. I don't freakin' understand it.
Old 30th January 2017
  #1173
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Derp's Avatar
Also, am I hallucinating, or did somebody ask about the DSM02 a couple pages back? I vaguely remember seeing a post about it, but I can't seem to find it.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1174
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ImNotDedyet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
Workflow is such a personal thing.
Very true on the workflow thing.

I've found the last two or three songs I've gotten anywhere with have been things I've just recorded a long sequence from the modular. Sometimes I add on from the MPC, or Machinedrum, sometimes from DAW, sometimes I play piano, but I have gotten some really nice things that inspire me. That's been my key takeaway lately is finding truly inspiring material and writing around that.

I've got a house-y track that has a guitar riff which was actually a drum sample going through Rings and slightly wiggling or modulating, then I ripped up or took different takes here and there and built around it.

My latest is more of a techno thing - think Art Crime meets Lobster Theramin, where again Rings provided a creepy little rhythmic thing. That got me into a piano type accompaniment that I really loved. And then I added on a little melodic thing from the modular that I thought sounded cool until I actually started arranging it. Not only was it out of tune in spaces which is pretty hard to fix, but the actual sound sounded like ass upon further inspection. So I used Live's Melody -> MIDI function, ripped out giant sections, changed up the MIDI notes to be a bit more in tune and used * gasp * a VST to produce some insanely good sounds.

Now if I can just not screw these tunes up mixing them.
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1175
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Mantis case arrived..!!!



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Old 31st January 2017
  #1176
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ImNotDedyet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
Mantis case arrived..!!!



Aaaaand? Whatdyathink? How's the build quality?

Looks good buddy!

I got some nice stuff in the mail today too. Big ole mouser order and smallbear.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1177
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
well it's kinda cheaply built if you ask me, it's very simple and straight forward, very light, much much lighter than I expected, when the courier handed me off the package I thought the box was empty and made a face at him...mine didn't come with any screws or stickers or anything, just the case, it's not how I expected it to feel but I'm happy with it, one of the major things I hate about having cases unfilled is the rails rattle when I play any bass frequencies, at the mo0ment I have 3 cases not full and the rails rattle like a train line, I've got blu tac on all of them..

this is how she looks now..



and this is how she will look finished..



all up I'm happy with it now it's time to get back to my deepmind, it's way too hot to be messing with modules and cables right now..

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Old 31st January 2017
  #1178
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Derp's Avatar
Since we're touching on workflow now, another group I just remembered that had a big influence on the way I work is Angelspit:



Most of their music is honestly kinda terrible in my opinion, but what's always stood out to me is the way they work:



He only mentions it a little bit in this vid because he's busy making aural love to his Emax, but what he does is he takes his modular and... samples it! This group is totally where I stole that idea from, although while they're doing it for the sound and vibe of an oldschool sampler, I'm doing it to get a solid pitch.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1179
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ImNotDedyet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
well it's kinda cheaply built if you ask me, it's very simple and straight forward, very light, much much lighter than I expected, when the courier handed me off the package I thought the box was empty and made a face at him...mine didn't come with any screws or stickers or anything, just the case, it's not how I expected it to feel but I'm happy with it, one of the major things I hate about having cases unfilled is the rails rattle when I play any bass frequencies, at the mo0ment I have 3 cases not full and the rails rattle like a train line, I've got blu tac on all of them..
Well that doesn't sound too good. I've got one on the way. Guess I'll have to put my "heavy" modules in it.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1180
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save the mantis for your shallow modules, anything with a deep back won't go in, there is not much room in there, I'm ok with that though cause all the modules that have any depth are at the top, the Verbos stuff when I get it later this year is all SMT and shallow backed stuff so it will be sweet on that bottom row..
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1181
Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
Ive realised I have lost focus whilst building my Eurorack,
When i first started my idea was to build a machine that would gave me sound bites of happy accidents that i could use to build tracks or to spawn ideas in my DAW.
Now i find myself trying to build a machine that can play a track live which was never my goal to begin with.

Think I've got to go back to my original idea and stop trying to build a machine that does everything.
When I first started Eurorack the idea was to not buy a boat but still piss my wife off in the same way...


I can't stop building my gear into "live-ready" setups no matter how hard I try, and it seems less and less likely I'd take any of it out of the house as it all gets larger and more integrated. I think it comes from being in a touring band at one point, I had to consider how portable an item was and how roadworthy as well. Consequently even now my whole rig is able to be torn down or set up in about 10 minutes, and I can move it from a car to a gig in 2 trips or one trip with a friend. It plugs into one power outlet, and has stereo XLR outs. All this in spite of not having played a show in at least 5 years...on some level I still want to, sorta...
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1182
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choond's Avatar
Has anyone posted this yet? Can't believe how awesome this wire holder sounds!

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Old 31st January 2017
  #1183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
Also, am I hallucinating, or did somebody ask about the DSM02 a couple pages back? I vaguely remember seeing a post about it, but I can't seem to find it.
it was me asking. I mentioned I have a P12 and I like to use it there lightly - how do you like it in yr modular setup? I've already got a geiger counter...


for me modular is all about sound exploration. same way i could come up with a riff on the guitar and turn that into a song, I do that now with the modular. tracks never end up where they started - inspiring sounds get cut from the final mix, but other happy accidents happen along the way that do make the cut. I've always been into noise and texture, mixer aux sends abusing piles of guitar pedals... it's only natural that now that I can afford it I've gone modular.

My old alt rock hero's of the 90's (nin and the pumpkins) all have walls of modular. but it's the newer bands that I find really good. Venetian Snare, Tim Hecker, Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never , Keith Fullerton Whitman, Sarah Davachi, Kyle Bobby Dunn.
With the stranger things soundtrack exploding I feel like I'm late to the analog synth party even if I've been making noise for the last 15 years... oh well.

Last edited by oinkbanana; 31st January 2017 at 07:48 AM..
Old 31st January 2017
  #1184
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zobbo's Avatar
Quantizer

I've been reading MW about this but interested in the opinions here.

I want a quantizer for my Turing Machine, currently I'm using disting which is fine but a bit opaque and stops me from using it for other duties. I'm considering the intellijel µScale or the TopTop Audio QuantiZer. My requirements are quite simple - I want to be able to lock the scale to something 'common' at the moment and play along to whatever the Turing is belting out with either other synths or guitar.

Simply being able to transpose within the key would be welcome.

I like the two options I've listed as they have simple "keyboard" buttons for the scale selection. I've also considered a Penrose for the same reason although that means finding somebody to put it together - at which point it's probaly going to be close to the intellijel option in terms of cost.

Because of it's lower HP and price I am gravitating towards the µScale but I've read that it has a confusing i/face (can't be more confusing than the disting surely) and some concerns about callibration.

Then again, HP's not too much of an issue as I seem to have ordered another case

Any advice welcomed.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1185
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zobbo View Post
I've been reading MW about this but interested in the opinions here.

I want a quantizer for my Turing Machine, currently I'm using disting which is fine but a bit opaque and stops me from using it for other duties. I'm considering the intellijel µScale or the TopTop Audio QuantiZer. My requirements are quite simple - I want to be able to lock the scale to something 'common' at the moment and play along to whatever the Turing is belting out with either other synths or guitar.

Simply being able to transpose within the key would be welcome.
The New WMD Arpitecht looks superb, quantizer and arpeggio, and you can clearly see a Transpose knob.
I know this has only just been shown at NAMM but WMD have a habit of making bloody good modules.

Old 31st January 2017
  #1186
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justjools View Post

Who are some of your favourite electronica or modular artists btw? The obvious of course is Richard Devine, I find his stuff interesting in an intellectual and experimental way. I actually have to contradict myself, just listening to this is very musical.
Boards of Canada, in the record shop in 1998 buying my usual Mo'Wax type downtempo music and this album cover caught my eye (music has the right to children) i'd never heard of BOC but bought the Album because i liked the Sleeve picture. Played it when i got home and thought thats a bit unlistenable and put it away for about 3 months, next time i played it "telephonic workshop" just did it for me, then before i knew it the whole album grabbed me, 19 years later i think its the most important electronic album ever made and sets the standard from which others are judged.

Today I'm very impressed with "Gidge", around the 03:50 mark and onwards I'm sure these guys are using Noise engineering Loquelic Iteritas, the contrast of Rough & Smooth is sublime.



In a record shop in 1990 and bought "The BlackDog - Virtual EP" and been into these guys ever since. There was 3 guys in the outfit, when Blackdog finally split one guy kept the Blackdog name and the other 2 form "Plaid"
Heres plaid's latest offering, i can still hear influences in this track stemming back to their "The Blackdog - Parallel" EP i bought 26 years ago, and yes i do own "The BlackDog - Techno playtime EP" where only a small number of copies were made as there was a fire in the record pressers plant which destroyed the mould so no more could be pressed and Blackdog had no money to sue them, its a very desirable record.


I love Aphex twin but still think BOC & Plaid pi$$ on him from a great height.
I think where that stems from is back in 1990 Blackdog were making cutting edge music which would later be labelled IDM whilst Aphex was unknown and a year later Aphex came on the scene producing Rave music and hadn't climbed into the coolness yet, my guess is Aphex was inspired by Blackdog.

Last edited by cane creek; 31st January 2017 at 01:41 PM..
Old 31st January 2017
  #1187
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
Younger Brother, Boards of Canada, Massive Attack & Shpongle...I could happily listen to for the rest of my life and never get bored...at work it's my job to cue up music for add breaks in between shows and live sports, I have all BoC's albums in my main play list and they get caned daily, every album and ep released in one massive plalist and I play the best bits out live to air daily.. love em, it's really the only time I listen to external music.
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1188
BOC used to be Blue Oyster Cult.
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1189
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fiddlestickz's Avatar
I think it's meant to be abbreviated to BoC, yes BOC is Blue Oyster Cult.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1190
Ha, ha, ok.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1191
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subdo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
...I'm worried about making mistakes during the recording. I'd rather free myself of that worry and just record anything and everything and go fishing for good stuff when done then arrange. As I always like to pad out with a rompler or hardware synth this method is my fav..
Coming from playing in bands where recordings were done in one take with maybe a few overdubs, I like the challenge. It can be frustrating making a bad mistake at 3:10 into a track.

I'm not at all anti-DAW though. I just don't like them as a writing tool. For mixing and mastering I couldn't live without a DAW.
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Old 31st January 2017
  #1192
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
BOC used to be Blue Oyster Cult.
I love Don't fear the reaper, one of my favourite childhood songs.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1193
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ngarjuna's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zobbo View Post
I've been reading MW about this but interested in the opinions here.

I want a quantizer for my Turing Machine, currently I'm using disting which is fine but a bit opaque and stops me from using it for other duties. I'm considering the intellijel µScale or the TopTop Audio QuantiZer. My requirements are quite simple - I want to be able to lock the scale to something 'common' at the moment and play along to whatever the Turing is belting out with either other synths or guitar.

Simply being able to transpose within the key would be welcome.

I like the two options I've listed as they have simple "keyboard" buttons for the scale selection. I've also considered a Penrose for the same reason although that means finding somebody to put it together - at which point it's probaly going to be close to the intellijel option in terms of cost.

Because of it's lower HP and price I am gravitating towards the µScale but I've read that it has a confusing i/face (can't be more confusing than the disting surely) and some concerns about callibration.

Then again, HP's not too much of an issue as I seem to have ordered another case

Any advice welcomed.
If space isn't much of an issue then to me O&C is the one to beat right now: amazing features (they seem to add to the firmware all the time too), 4 channels and it's definitely capable of a lot more than just quantizing. And it's a pretty cost effective solution, one of the cheaper ways to accomplish "dual quantizer" both in terms of price and real estate (and that's from the perspective of buying already built modules as I'm not going to DIY mine).

The other one that I was seriously considering is the Penrose: similar design to the uScale but with a trigger input and not so many of the funky shift functions (which are cool but don't look like something I'll get much use out of). Small, inexpensive, apparently does what it says on the tin. And when I looked into having someone build me a pair of them it was still significantly cheaper than a pair of uScales.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1194
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
The New WMD Arpitecht looks superb, quantizer and arpeggio, and you can clearly see a Transpose knob.
I know this has only just been shown at NAMM but WMD have a habit of making bloody good modules.

Oooh nice - but that will involve patience on my part ... googling shows Mar / Apr

Hmmm

Ian
Old 31st January 2017
  #1195
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
If space isn't much of an issue then to me O&C is the one to beat right now: amazing features (they seem to add to the firmware all the time too), 4 channels and it's definitely capable of a lot more than just quantizing. And it's a pretty cost effective solution, one of the cheaper ways to accomplish "dual quantizer" both in terms of price and real estate (and that's from the perspective of buying already built modules as I'm not going to DIY mine).

The other one that I was seriously considering is the Penrose: similar design to the uScale but with a trigger input and not so many of the funky shift functions (which are cool but don't look like something I'll get much use out of). Small, inexpensive, apparently does what it says on the tin. And when I looked into having someone build me a pair of them it was still significantly cheaper than a pair of uScales.
Is there a place you can buy Ornament and Crime "kits" from? Googling didn't turn up much - https://github.com/mxmxmx/O_C/wiki/hardware-basics seems to be the place to go but it all looks very very DIY. I'll mail my friendly tech and see what he says (and whether he's still friendly )

Many thanks

Ian
Old 31st January 2017
  #1196
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Some guy over Muffs has converted his Eventide Space to Eurorack format.

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Old 31st January 2017
  #1197
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ngarjuna's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zobbo View Post
Is there a place you can buy Ornament and Crime "kits" from? Googling didn't turn up much - https://github.com/mxmxmx/O_C/wiki/hardware-basics seems to be the place to go but it all looks very very DIY. I'll mail my friendly tech and see what he says (and whether he's still friendly )

Many thanks

Ian
Hm not sure about that. I usually just trawl around on Muffs and look for people offering build services. In this case there seem to be quite a few builders selling finished O&Cs in the BST and most of them were south of $250 iirc (I'm not ready to buy one yet so I've only been half paying attention).
Old 31st January 2017
  #1198
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ImNotDedyet's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zobbo View Post
I've been reading MW about this but interested in the opinions here.

I want a quantizer for my Turing Machine, currently I'm using disting which is fine but a bit opaque and stops me from using it for other duties. I'm considering the intellijel µScale or the TopTop Audio QuantiZer. My requirements are quite simple - I want to be able to lock the scale to something 'common' at the moment and play along to whatever the Turing is belting out with either other synths or guitar.

Simply being able to transpose within the key would be welcome.

I like the two options I've listed as they have simple "keyboard" buttons for the scale selection. I've also considered a Penrose for the same reason although that means finding somebody to put it together - at which point it's probaly going to be close to the intellijel option in terms of cost.

Because of it's lower HP and price I am gravitating towards the µScale but I've read that it has a confusing i/face (can't be more confusing than the disting surely) and some concerns about callibration.

Then again, HP's not too much of an issue as I seem to have ordered another case

Any advice welcomed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cane creek View Post
The New WMD Arpitecht looks superb, quantizer and arpeggio, and you can clearly see a Transpose knob.
I know this has only just been shown at NAMM but WMD have a habit of making bloody good modules.

I'm in the same boat. I've got the Doepfer Quantizer, but really want one where I can enter the notes of the scale, and love the keyboard and playability of those with keyboards to add/remove notes.

The uScale doesn't have a trigger in to indicate when to quantize the next note. This can result in some trills, and not so good of trills apparently. They've also been talking about a firmware update for a pretty long time, and nothing so far. Some users have gotten pretty frustrated waiting. There's also an ADDAC, but that's expensive as hell. The TipTop is new, so there's not a lot out there about it. And the Penrose can struggle with exact tuning, getting up to twenty cents off a couple octaves out. (although there appears to be some IC upgrades and firmware upgrades that help)

The Arpitect also seems cool, appears to have a keyboard with LEDs, although it doesn't look to have the ability to play the notes you want in the scale. Instead, you choose the scale via a knob, then use another knob to mask notes. So, it's not immediately playable like the above.

Ornaments and Crime is also supposed to be fantastic, and four quantizers at once. But again, you have to select a scale and the scale isn't graphically represented. There is the ability to store I think four different user scales? I'm also not sure how one adds/removes notes on the go.

I wound up getting the Penrose kit as I like building modules myself and I think with the upgrades it will suffice for me. I think you could probably get a Penrose and someone to build it for you for quite a bit cheaper than the uScale actually. My guess is you could get someone to do it for about $50 or $60 as I've seen about $25/hour from builders, and it typically takes me between an hour or two to do a single, simpler module. Looking at the build guide, it's a pretty simple build - and that's coming from someone that's built ten to fifteen modules at this point. I think most of these builders have a lot more experience than I in that regard.
Old 31st January 2017
  #1199
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zobbo View Post
Is there a place you can buy Ornament and Crime "kits" from? Googling didn't turn up much - https://github.com/mxmxmx/O_C/wiki/hardware-basics seems to be the place to go but it all looks very very DIY. I'll mail my friendly tech and see what he says (and whether he's still friendly )

Many thanks

Ian
No I've not seen any kits.
I do know a source for PCB/Panel via joining a Facebook group.
The components you can order from Mouser (although the 2 tactile switches & 3.3v rectifiers are not in-stock at the moment)
The Screen from Ebay (from china)
Old 31st January 2017
  #1200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fiddlestickz View Post
the Verbos stuff when I get it later this year is all SMT and shallow backed stuff so it will be sweet on that bottom row..
That kinda shocked me, i assumed Verbos were expensive because they were thru-hole, however your right they are SMT.

Yet another case of priced at what a customer is prepared to pay rather than what the product is actually worth and adding a reasonable margin.
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