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Getting into Eurorack Modular Synthesizers
Old 23rd April 2018
  #91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
............mostly to try making weird soundscapes out of various inputs into the eurorack (cello, guitar, mando, cymbals, etc... anything) and that seems like a really cool module for this kind of thing. Any other suggestions for a module to do this type of thing?
Yeah, a MakeNoise Phonogene or Morphagene (stereo)
Or alternatively, a Ginko Industries Sampleslicer (not sure if available in N-America atm)

I have a Phonogene and it's really cool, to mess around with recorded audio, on the fly. It works great in combination with a reverb or a delay (or both)

Vactrol modules? Let's see, I have:
Malekko Wiard Boogie (Butterworth filter - smooth as silk)
Plan B Model 13 (classic dual LPG, a good one!)
DIY Thomas White dual resonant Lowpass filter
DIY Fonitronik PS3100 (needs a front plate)
DIY J3RK Dual Bandpass filter (Buchla 291 clone)
Upcoming (still couldn't buy it, had to pay a stupid fine) the Befaco Hexmix

I had a Borg 2, and it was great, nice an punchy (and no bleed!) but it overlaps the other stuff I have so I sold it.
Old 23rd April 2018
  #92
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chilllwinston's Avatar
 

Check out NLC Sloths for slow modulations. There are quite a few iterations of these modules. I have two sloths, a 4hp Super Sloth as well as the 8hp Triple Sloth. Both are amazing at adding slow modulations and movement to any patch, and are indispensable for evolving drones as well. If you have the space available and can only go for one, I recommend the Triple Sloth. Available pre-built and as DIY if you are so inclined.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #93
Gear Head
 
Crumbfort's Avatar
 

Still can't attach images yet, but here's where I'm at!:

Current Rack - Eurorack Modular System from Crumbfort on ModularGrid

The 4ms DLD and the Pico DSP are on their way Looking forward to using all kinds of external signals with this setup.

Quote:
Vactrol modules? Let's see, I have:
Malekko Wiard Boogie (Butterworth filter - smooth as silk)
Plan B Model 13 (classic dual LPG, a good one!)
DIY Thomas White dual resonant Lowpass filter
DIY Fonitronik PS3100 (needs a front plate)
DIY J3RK Dual Bandpass filter (Buchla 291 clone)
Upcoming (still couldn't buy it, had to pay a stupid fine) the Befaco Hexmix
I currently have zero DIY electronics skills and I feel like I'm missing out on some really cool modules (super freaked out about buying something for $100-$200 and then completely ruining it! hah) Perhaps I should start practicing...


Quote:
Check out NLC Sloths for slow modulations. There are quite a few iterations of these modules. I have two sloths, a 4hp Super Sloth as well as the 8hp Triple Sloth. Both are amazing at adding slow modulations and movement to any patch, and are indispensable for evolving drones as well. If you have the space available and can only go for one, I recommend the Triple Sloth. Available pre-built and as DIY if you are so inclined.
That module looks right up my alley. Where can you get it, though? I can't seem to find it anywhere (it's certainly possible that I have no idea where to look).
Old 2nd May 2018
  #94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
I currently have zero DIY electronics skills and I feel like I'm missing out on some really cool modules (super freaked out about buying something for $100-$200 and then completely ruining it! hah) Perhaps I should start practicing...
Frying things is kinda part of it, you WILL destroy at least one thing.
Get yourself some easy projects to start, like what I did here. I'm still a total noob but my power supply (first project in modular) works great. Just go for it!
Old 2nd May 2018
  #95
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void23's Avatar
If you like lego's or can build Ikea furniture, you can build just about any of the Thonk hole-through kits. Packaging and instructions are extremely well written and easy to follow. Just make sure you have decent equipment, not that $15 soldering iron you picked up from Radio Shack 10 years ago.

I've done two Thonk kits so far ... The Spring Reverb was really easy and took about 2 or 3 hours. I borked the Radio Music the first time I tried, mostly because I rushed things and didn't cut the board risers correctly. But the second time around everything worked perfectly. Both we're no more than $100 each.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #96
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spiderman's Avatar
Totally agree. DIY synth is fun and not as hard as it seems. Good solder. Good iron. Patience.

I'm about to build a Mutable Branches kit now that I'm into SMD. Total cost... $50 and a couple hours time.
Old 2nd May 2018
  #97
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chilllwinston's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post

That module looks right up my alley. Where can you get it, though? I can't seem to find it anywhere (it's certainly possible that I have no idea where to look).
I bought mine from a guy who sells built versions on the muffwiggler buy and sell forum. But you can also buy them from Andrew of NonLinearCircuits directly from his blog.

nonlinearcircuits: 8HP Triple Sloth
Old 4th May 2018
  #98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post
Totally agree. DIY synth is fun and not as hard as it seems. Good solder. Good iron. Patience.

I'm about to build a Mutable Branches kit now that I'm into SMD. Total cost... $50 and a couple hours time.
I love you DIY guys that are like “just build it yourself” or “it’s just like Lego.” You’re truly dedicated geeks. I’m not trying to single you out @spiderman, your comment especially just made me laugh because you’re suggesting DIY of a $109 module with tiny SMD because doing it yourself is only $50 and a few hours of time...I dunno what your time is worth, but after I’ve put in 8 hours at the day job I personally don’t look forward to the idea of sacrificing musicmaking time to trying to build and troubleshoot a piece of gear. I’ve got mad respect for everyone that can do that and wish I was more like that, but I’m just not wired like that myself and always chuckle when it’s put out as a way to get into modular.
Old 4th May 2018
  #99
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lineofcontrol's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Accent View Post
I love you DIY guys that are like “just build it yourself” or “it’s just like Lego.” You’re truly dedicated geeks. I’m not trying to single you out @spiderman, your comment especially just made me laugh because you’re suggesting DIY of a $109 module with tiny SMD because doing it yourself is only $50 and a few hours of time...I dunno what your time is worth, but after I’ve put in 8 hours at the day job I personally don’t look forward to the idea of sacrificing musicmaking time to trying to build and troubleshoot a piece of gear. I’ve got mad respect for everyone that can do that and wish I was more like that, but I’m just not wired like that myself and always chuckle when it’s put out as a way to get into modular.
I feel the exact same way! I also don't do any car repairs (no clue how, no interest in learning). But respect to those who have the know how.
Old 4th May 2018
  #100
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Accent View Post
I love you DIY guys that are like “just build it yourself” or “it’s just like Lego.” You’re truly dedicated geeks. I’m not trying to single you out @spiderman, your comment especially just made me laugh because you’re suggesting DIY of a $109 module with tiny SMD because doing it yourself is only $50 and a few hours of time...I dunno what your time is worth, but after I’ve put in 8 hours at the day job I personally don’t look forward to the idea of sacrificing musicmaking time to trying to build and troubleshoot a piece of gear. I’ve got mad respect for everyone that can do that and wish I was more like that, but I’m just not wired like that myself and always chuckle when it’s put out as a way to get into modular.
What can I say? I built the Turing Machine within the first few months of starting eurorack. It was easy... no stress or studying or geek stuff. Just listen to a couple records and *poof* it was done. So it seems like a normal thing that anyone could do when they're starting out FMPOV.

Plus... it just seems part of the tradition. I say go for it one day when you're bored.
Old 4th May 2018
  #101
Quote:
Originally Posted by spiderman View Post

Plus... it just seems part of the tradition. .
Build your own is relatively recent in the timescale from 1995, and still a minority interest.
All power to you though.
Old 4th May 2018
  #102
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spiderman's Avatar
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Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Build your own is relatively recent in the timescale from 1995, and still a minority interest.
All power to you though.
Disagree. Subotnick and SF Tape Music Center partnering with "a guy" to DIY in the 1960s which made the first Buchla. Moog born from Herb Deutsch requests for module builds and DIY mail order kits of theremins in similar period. Serge modular were all mail order DIY kits in the 1970s.

People have been building these things from kits or DIY ideas since the beginnings of electronic music.
Old 4th May 2018
  #103
But not Eurorack until more recently.
Old 5th May 2018
  #104
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void23's Avatar
The big barrier with DIY is confidence. Eight years ago, I took my daughter to a 30 minute soldering class at the Maker Faire here in the Bay Area.

Getting into Eurorack-dsc_0412.jpg

Now days, she's building championship level robots.

Getting into Eurorack-dsc_3108.jpg

Yeah, you may botch your first build, but once you get it down, it's really fun and empowering. Look at that Thonk Spring kit I mentioned, it's got a really great sound to it and being able to bring in some controlled feedback on a voice is a great tool to have in your rack.

Music Thing Modular Spring Reverb Mkii – Full DIY Kit | Thonk - DIY Synthesizer Kits & Components
Attached Thumbnails
Getting into Eurorack-dsc_3108.jpg   Getting into Eurorack-dsc_0412.jpg  
Old 5th May 2018
  #105
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
The big barrier with DIY is confidence.
Agreed. A few months ago the idea of me building synthesizer s or synthesizer parts seemed laughable.

Now I've built a kit successfully (and messed up another one, to be fair), worked my way through the hand made electronic instruments book, and now I'm all about looking up simple circuits on the internet and thinking: I could do that. And I will.

Does it take away from your music making time? Of course. For me, with my limited talents, that's not a big problem. It's fun learning a new skill, after all!

That said, I'm making more, and more keep worthy music since I started doing this. Simply plugging in a crummy device I've built turns out to be really inspiring. YMMV, of course.
Old 8th May 2018
  #106
Gear Head
 
Crumbfort's Avatar
 

Another random question for all of you...

I've been messing around on modular grid a ton and daydreaming about future eurorack setups (wayyyyyy too much lately! ) and I've been a bit stumped about one thing in particular:

Basically, I would eventually like to have a setup where I can send 4 panned stereo pairs via adat into the one of the adat inputs on my RME UFX, where I can then process the 4 stereo pairs (on 4 stereo tracks) individually in reaper as I please. I would like to have level and pan management on the eurorack side of things if possible.

Something like the WMD Performance Mixer looks very cool, but I'm not seeing per channel outputs on it. Same for lots of eurorack mixer modules I've found that include panning.

Is there a good way to go about doing this, or am I completely missing something that's really obvious? What are your methods for eurorack mixing and output?
Old 8th May 2018
  #107
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spiderman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Another random question for all of you...

I've been messing around on modular grid a ton and daydreaming about future eurorack setups (wayyyyyy too much lately! ) and I've been a bit stumped about one thing in particular:

Basically, I would eventually like to have a setup where I can send 4 panned stereo pairs via adat into the one of the adat inputs on my RME UFX, where I can then process the 4 stereo pairs (on 4 stereo tracks) individually in reaper as I please. I would like to have level and pan management on the eurorack side of things if possible.

Something like the WMD Performance Mixer looks very cool, but I'm not seeing per channel outputs on it. Same for lots of eurorack mixer modules I've found that include panning.

Is there a good way to go about doing this, or am I completely missing something that's really obvious? What are your methods for eurorack mixing and output?
The Befaco HexMix plus HexMix Expander might do this.
Befaco.org: Hexmix

Only six channels though
Old 8th May 2018
  #108
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Another random question for all of you...

I've been messing around on modular grid a ton and daydreaming about future eurorack setups (wayyyyyy too much lately! ) and I've been a bit stumped about one thing in particular:

Basically, I would eventually like to have a setup where I can send 4 panned stereo pairs via adat into the one of the adat inputs on my RME UFX, where I can then process the 4 stereo pairs (on 4 stereo tracks) individually in reaper as I please. I would like to have level and pan management on the eurorack side of things if possible.

Something like the WMD Performance Mixer looks very cool, but I'm not seeing per channel outputs on it. Same for lots of eurorack mixer modules I've found that include panning.

Is there a good way to go about doing this, or am I completely missing something that's really obvious? What are your methods for eurorack mixing and output?
Nothing exemplifies the "eurorack tax" more than a trying to ram a Mackie into your case. If you've got both the money and case space to throw away, go for it (I've been tempted). Remember, case space alone costs, at a minimum, $1.61 per HP based on a Tip Top Mantis. I'd just use your VCA's to control level and then add one or two panning modules and route everything into one of those Expert Sleeper modules if you need lightpipe. Otherwise, I'd recommend getting a nice, compact Mackie that meets your needs instead of going the WMD or Befaco route.
Old 8th May 2018
  #109
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Duke Murdock's Avatar
A eurorack mixer to pan your signal seems a bit . If you think about it you already have direct outs from your modules and you can pan itb or from an external mixer (with direct outs if you wish) just as easily.

For me, where a eurorack mixer makes sense is for the flexibility it provides to creatively process signals while remaining in that format. Some (like the wmd) have mix monitor and aux send outputs. While I tend to think of using those in a more creative light, you could use them to output independent sources or mixes of sources to independent destinations like a separate channels on your external mixer or audio interface etc.

One of the things I adore about eurorack is that it provides you the flexibility to realize multiple scenarios based on the use case. I’ve got the wmd on my list but I see it as more of a creative tool than a utility.
Old 8th May 2018
  #110
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Nothing exemplifies the "eurorack tax" more than a trying to ram a Mackie into your case. If you've got both the money and case space to throw away, go for it (I've been tempted). Remember, case space alone costs, at a minimum, $1.61 per HP based on a Tip Top Mantis. I'd just use your VCA's to control level and then add one or two panning modules and route everything into one of those Expert Sleeper modules if you need lightpipe. Otherwise, I'd recommend getting a nice, compact Mackie that meets your needs instead of going the WMD or Befaco route.
I need the mixer in my setup, I need everything to be in the case. And I actually have enough voices and stuff that I fill it up every patch so it’s a godsend for me.

I can’t argue that it’s large but calling it a Mackie just isn’t fair. I’ve owned a bunch of Mackies in my life and this mixer is louder and cleaner than any of them including the big boys. Also, with the addition of the PMDB25 it becomes a very capable multitrack unit. Not one hp of my meticulously planned case has been thrown away, I promise.

But if I saw this mixer in a small setup that would be a head scratcher for sure. There is a genuine need for things like this, just not for everyone in modular. The price is right on for what it is, it’s not about what other companies mixers sell for it’s about what this mixer can do for people who actually need it.
Old 8th May 2018
  #111
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spiderman's Avatar
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Originally Posted by slaughtrhaus View Post
I can’t argue that it’s large but calling it a Mackie just isn’t fair. I’ve owned a bunch of Mackies in my life and this mixer is louder and cleaner than any of them including the big boys. Also, with the addition of the PMDB25 it becomes a very capable multitrack unit. Not one hp of my meticulously planned case has been thrown away, I promise.
Must agree... Mackie mixers generally sound consumer grade. WMD is much more clear/detailed. On par with my Sound Crafts. Better than my A&H MixWizard.

Will also add... if you think CV panning can be done in the box or on a console... you're not thinking about how CV works. You can't do it on a dumb console mixer. You couldn't program it on an automated digital mixer. You would waste hours drawing curves in a DAW. Take a complex envelop shape that's tempo synced... drop that into the Pan CV... instant musical motion. From a creativity standpoint... Eurorack mixers with CV control make a lot of sense.
Old 8th May 2018
  #112
But there are many (cheap or free) panning plug-ins. I use them all the time.
Old 8th May 2018
  #113
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chilllwinston's Avatar
 

I love my WMD Performance Mixer (I have mine paired with the PM Mutes). Just like others have already said, it is large and expensive. But it also sounds great, packs a lot of functionality into it's size, and is very functional. Sounds great and offers a lot of control in a reasonable footprint. For me it beats lugging around an external mixer - just rack it and carry on! Not for everyone, and understandably not, but if you need a mixer and have the $ & hp, it most definitely deserves some serious consideration!

Old 10th May 2018
  #114
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Crumbfort's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
Yeah, a MakeNoise Phonogene or Morphagene (stereo)
Or alternatively, a Ginko Industries Sampleslicer (not sure if available in N-America atm)

I have a Phonogene and it's really cool, to mess around with recorded audio, on the fly. It works great in combination with a reverb or a delay (or both)
Per your advice, I went and checked out a bunch of morphagene videos/sound samples annnddd... one is incoming!

Seems like as far as mixing outputs, I may eventually end up going with multiple Intellijel Mixups to unify and make everything clear/uniform going into the UFX. At the moment I've got the Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System Interface which I quite like. Here's where I'm at now (Mantis Case):

Current Rack (Mantis) - Eurorack Modular System from Crumbfort on ModularGrid

Yet another question for all of ye (thanks for all your help so far! It's been hugely helpful): I'd like to add a modulation source next (probably LFO-centric) and I've been looking at the XAOC Batumi and the ALM Pamela's New Workout. Based on what I've got so far... which (or what other module) would you suggest?
Old 10th May 2018
  #115
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Per your advice, I went and checked out a bunch of morphagene videos/sound samples annnddd... one is incoming!

Seems like as far as mixing outputs, I may eventually end up going with multiple Intellijel Mixups to unify and make everything clear/uniform going into the UFX. At the moment I've got the Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System Interface which I quite like. Here's where I'm at now (Mantis Case):

Current Rack (Mantis) - Eurorack Modular System from Crumbfort on ModularGrid

Yet another question for all of ye (thanks for all your help so far! It's been hugely helpful): I'd like to add a modulation source next (probably LFO-centric) and I've been looking at the XAOC Batumi and the ALM Pamela's New Workout. Based on what I've got so far... which (or what other module) would you suggest?
Batumi or Octocontroller. I'd also consider adding a WMD S.P.O. to go with either. I've never used Pam's as a modulation source, just not immediate enough. I'll use Batumi for freeform modulation and the Octo for clock sync'd stuff. The Batumi can sync also, but the Octo has a bit more depth / flexability to it.

Edit: Looking at your rack though, you really need a nice clock source. I'd consider getting a Pam's or maybe a Tempi depending on your style. You need multi gate sources for euro to really become fun. Pam's will give you Euclidean stuff. With what remaining space you have after everything else, I'd really consider put a shift register sequencer in there; something like a turing and a quantizer combo. Marbles is the most economical, but the quantizer would be an excuse to get an O_C (plus it'll do shift too). Once you get your rack playing itself, it gets really fun.

Last edited by void23; 10th May 2018 at 05:07 AM.. Reason: Update
Old 10th May 2018
  #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Batumi or Octocontroller. I'd also consider adding a WMD S.P.O. to go with either. I've never used Pam's as a modulation source, just not immediate enough. I'll use Batumi for freeform modulation and the Octo for clock sync'd stuff. The Batumi can sync also, but the Octo has a bit more depth / flexability to it.

Edit: Looking at your rack though, you really need a nice clock source. I'd consider getting a Pam's or maybe a Tempi depending on your style. You need multi gate sources for euro to really become fun. Pam's will give you Euclidean stuff. With what remaining space you have after everything else, I'd really consider put a shift register sequencer in there; something like a turing and a quantizer combo. Marbles is the most economical, but the quantizer would be an excuse to get an O_C (plus it'll do shift too). Once you get your rack playing itself, it gets really fun.
I’d agree with all of this, and would maybe give the Octocontroller the edge for this system over the Batumi...hard to say since the Batumi ends up in every patch I make, but when I got the Octocontroller I definitely thought I should have gotten it before the Batumi. O_C is a solid suggestion too for just about any system.

Also agreed that the fun really comes when the modular plays itself. I love spending hours designing a patch and then just hitting record and seeing what happens...going back to my more traditional ways of making music is starting to feel so pedestrian in comparison.
Old 12th May 2018
  #117
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
......

I currently have zero DIY electronics skills and I feel like I'm missing out on some really cool modules (super freaked out about buying something for $100-$200 and then completely ruining it! hah) Perhaps I should start practicing..
check if there's any DIY-ers living near you.
meeting up for an evening of soldering, homecooked food and beers is fun, and you'll finish stuff, with some help, for sure.
Old 17th May 2018
  #118
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Crumbfort's Avatar
 

So... this is where I've ended up:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/666927

Having a complete blast with this setup. Woo! Things escalated quickly...


So here's a DIY question...:

I was looking at synthcube at all their DIY euro kits, and dang! There's some money to be saved!

Big question for me is, as someone with no DIY electronics experience.... is it naive of me to think I'd be good enough to build a, say, DIY Rings or Elements sometime this summer or fall?

Also, what would be a good list of starter items (soldering/misc equipment wise) to get going and practicing with?
Old 17th May 2018
  #119
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void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
So... this is where I've ended up:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/666927

Having a complete blast with this setup. Woo! Things escalated quickly...


So here's a DIY question...:

I was looking at synthcube at all their DIY euro kits, and dang! There's some money to be saved!

Big question for me is, as someone with no DIY electronics experience.... is it naive of me to think I'd be good enough to build a, say, DIY Rings or Elements sometime this summer or fall?

Also, what would be a good list of starter items (soldering/misc equipment wise) to get going and practicing with?
Mutable stuff is usually SMD, so that'll take some practice. Start with hole through and get the hang of it.
Old 17th May 2018
  #120
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crumbfort View Post
Also, what would be a good list of starter items (soldering/misc equipment wise) to get going and practicing with?
I've been wondering about this as well. Here's one article that might help:

https://aisynthesis.com/how-to-get-s...-in-synth-diy/

Here's a thread on MW about irons: https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1454
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