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How do you choose your modules?
Old 19th July 2019
  #1
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Ossicle's Avatar
How do you choose your modules?

How do you guys and gals find the time to keep up with all these modules coming out? And how do you know which ones to choose?

Do you just copy parts of inspiring racks, do you usually know what type of module you want next so you just choose from those (e.g. clock dividers), do you just buy things that you randomly come accross in YT, do you follow a particular news site, do you have clear musical goals, or just tend to get the hyped ones like Mutable, Instruo etc.?

Really interested in your methods.

Since starting out about six months ago, I've a filled Mantis, with the help of the fantastic 'Patch & Tweak' and countless hours of web surfing. But I feel my rack is not a coherent instrument and my music is getting repetitive and I don't seem to have a clear focus where I want to go atm. It feels like I'm wasting my days checking out the web demos, I'd like to find a better method as I continue to expand.
Old 19th July 2019
  #2
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subdo's Avatar
Basically I figure out what I want to buy next based on what I feel like I'm missing when I'm creating a patch. Like I'll be thinking to myself I have everything I need to add one more voice if I only had a ____ or something along those lines. Obviously creating voices is a little easier than devising ways to make your sequences more interesting but that can sometimes be obvious too. Like if you want to use two sequencers together but you don't want them to be playing at the same speed. What you need is a clock divider. That's what they're for. As far as wanting to make sequences more interesting I would look at probability modules like Branches or a sequencer that has probability as a core feature like the Eloquencer. Creative use of resets on sequencers can also lead to some good things. Burst generators are also a way to inject little fills into your sequences. They work great with probability too. And of course a slow moving free running CV source is always a great way to get things moving around a bit.
Old 20th July 2019
  #3
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three86's Avatar
I look at noise engineering's web site and buy something I don't already own
Old 20th July 2019
  #4
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I start with articulating my goals. I don't just "want a synthesizer", I'm not just "getting into modular" in some generic sense, nor do I care about trends or keeping up with anyone...

I have specific goals, and that list of goals grows as I learn more. I think of, and revisit and edit, these goals often. For example, my list of goals includes things I consider absolute requirements:

* vibe-y or otherwise characterful or vintage-y sounding analog Oscillators
* choice analog filters drawn from classic designs and other innovations
* Modulation, Modulation, Modulation, Modulation, tons of interesting Modulation

tl:dr

"Keeping your eye on the prize", or having clear goals and continually referring back to them, is, IMO, the single most important thing you can do.
Old 20th July 2019
  #5
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Unless you have loads of cash...

If I did, I'd literally buy one or two of every damn thing of interest, a house full of modules, but...
Old 20th July 2019
  #6
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pekbro's Avatar
 

I just buy modules that I find interesting. I have no goals for modular personally.
Cost is not really an issue for me...
Old 20th July 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pekbro View Post
I just buy modules that I find interesting. I have no goals for modular personally.
Cost is not really an issue for me...
I'm envious.
Old 20th July 2019
  #8
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pekbro's Avatar
 

I'm not rich or anything, I just make good money and have very little in the way of expenses.
Old 20th July 2019
  #9
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Ossicle's Avatar
Thanks for the replies so far.

Still wondering, how do you keep yourselves up to speed with what's out there?

I feel I play youtube more than my modular. And it feels like a waste of time. That, forums and Patch & Tweak got me here, but I feel something is missing:



A sequencer is not missing btw, I try to avoid constant bpm and looping stuff - my house and techno days are over for now. I'm more into 'experimental' and atonal stuff like drones, west coast blips, cello sounds etc. I'm planning to replace the Wasp with o_C or Quantimator, and the lightbar with the Eowave dual LFO. But this is just a side note and background for my question in the OP.

Last edited by Ossicle; 20th July 2019 at 05:01 PM..
Old 20th July 2019
  #10
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gruvsyco's Avatar
Follow the hype. Then I don't have to use my thinkie thing.

When I first started thinking about modular, I wanted to build the ultimate mono... 3 kick-butt oscillators, all my favorite filters. I didn't engage modular until I decided I wanted to do stuff I couldn't do in an off-the-shelf mono synth... that evolved mostly around West Coast synthesis (specifically Buchla sound/style). I started selecting modules that had those similar features... at the time Make Noise was the most prolific, so most of my system is Make Noise.

If you try setting some kind of goal, even though that will most likely evolve/change, it will help you get started. I wish that Patch & Tweak book was around when I started.
Old 20th July 2019
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
Thanks for the replies so far.

Still wondering, how do you keep yourselves up to speed with what's out there?

I feel I play youtube more than my modular. And it feels like a waste of time. That, forums and Patch & Tweak got me here, but I feel something is missing:



A sequencer is not missing btw, I try to avoid constant bpm and looping stuff - my house and techno days are over for now. I'm more into 'experimental' and atonal stuff like drones, west coast blips, cello sounds etc. I'm planning to replace the Wasp with o_C or Quantimator, and the lightbar with the Eowave dual LFO. But this is just a side note and background for my question in the OP.
I visit and read a lot here and Muffs, and I watch a few YouTube channels (DivKid and such), and that keeps me in tune with most of it.

Then asking questions myself gets me most of the remainder, and I still miss a few things. And once in a while Ill dig into others' Modular Grid setups

For example, I had a MW thread asking about Vactrols, which lead to talk of LPGs, which lead to @ Lisa mentioning an LPG I'd never head of, etc.

That's about it, for me, and I feel like I keep up fine.
Old 21st July 2019
  #12
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three86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
Thanks for the replies so far.

Still wondering, how do you keep yourselves up to speed with what's out there?

I feel I play youtube more than my modular. And it feels like a waste of time. That, forums and Patch & Tweak got me here, but I feel something is missing:
Eurorack stuff doesn't change all that much. Mostly around NAMM new things get announced and many are similar modules just from different companies. If you browse sonicstate articles you will see most of the announcements or just check the main manufacturers every few months it isn't hard to stay current. You can also look at modulargrid to see the newest modules. On eurorack forums people are quick to bring attention to the "good" ones.

Sounds like maybe you need to make your modules more "fun". That is what I do - keep the most fun ones.

If it was my rack what you would be missing is the clock and gate stuff. I don't like traditional sequencers in my modular either but I do love playing gates. I have a about 1/4 of my rack as clock and gate like Horologic Solum, Zularic Repetitor, Integra Funkitus, Variatic Sequent, Bin Seq. All of these have lots of knobs and switches that are fun to play and are what make my modular an instrument.

Another 1/4 is complex oscillators because to me complex osc are super fun to play to evolve the patch as well as convenient in smaller systems.

Another 1/4 is the modulation and attenuator stuff which is my extra hands.

The last 1/4 is misc - effects, filters, and my most important module the 4ms wav recorder. The recorder is so important to me because daily I pull all wires, set something up, and record my playing even if just for a few minutes. Without it I have feelings that I missed opportunities or wasted my time. It adds permanence to a temporary system. I could do that externally but I like having it self contained because the simplicity of it is inviting which keeps me turning on my modular every day.
Old 21st July 2019
  #13
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maisonvague's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
How do you guys and gals find the time to keep up with all these modules coming out? And how do you know which ones to choose?
That's easy.

I don't.

When I first decided to put together a modular, I was overwhelmed by all of the choices. I also didn't understand half of what all the modules did or how I might actually use them.

So, to narrow things down, I decided to limit myself to a single manufacturer. Doepfer seemed the natural choice since first, they offer almost everything one would need to build a complete system and second, there's lots of info available on Doepfer modules.

Once I had a working synth with VCO/VCF/VCA and some modulation sources like ADSR/LFO, I began playing it. It's the combination of playing/patching along with a general study of modular that's led me to expanding my system.

I learn a lot from watching demos/tutorials on modules I don't own, but whose functions interest me. Probably the most valuable thing is learning that, very often, I don't actually need a particular module to achieve the functions. I can use what I already have or perhaps only add one or two more Doepfers and I'm there.

For example, I watched tons of videos on complex oscillators, finally concluding that I could "roll my own" just using Doepfer modules (which I've done). Of course, I would never claim it's "just as good as X, Y or Z". But I will say it's quite satisfying whenever I'm able to achieve something given limitations.

From time to time, I'll come across a module that I simply must have. An example would be the manhattan audio CP3 mixer. None of my Doepfer mixers sound as full and characterful as that.

Then there's Instruo. None of my Doepfer modules look as beautiful as those!

So now I've started a second single-manufacturer system: Instruo. I'll admit that aesthetics are a huge part of it. But after sticking with old school, utilitarian Doepfer all these years, standing on the side-lines while all of you guys get to have cool, funky, interesting modules, I feel like I've earned this.

Anyway, restricting myself to modules from single manufacturers helps me navigate the waters. I'm not recommending anyone should do this, though, of course, only that I'm glad I do because otherwise I would get lost down the rabbit hole.
Old 21st July 2019
  #14
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PatrickFaith's Avatar
 

I normally have some kind of softmodule for about a year, then if i find it useful and really need it integrated with my hardware then i get it. Normally after a year of using a software only module i have moved onto something else, so that really cuts down on purchases.
Old 21st July 2019
  #15
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subdo's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
Thanks for the replies so far.
A sequencer is not missing btw, I try to avoid constant bpm and looping stuff - my house and techno days are over for now. I'm more into 'experimental' and atonal stuff like drones, west coast blips, cello sounds etc. I'm planning to replace the Wasp with o_C or Quantimator, and the lightbar with the Eowave dual LFO. But this is just a side note and background for my question in the OP.
Check out MI Marbles. I'm not even that into the generative stuff but it's amazing at it. Sometimes I'll just plug it into a couple voices, modulate it with something slow and random and just sit back and listen.
Old 21st July 2019
  #16
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ImJohn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by gruvsyco View Post
Follow the hype. Then I don't have to use my thinkie thing.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #17
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Often times it’s when I reach the boundaries of my system and I want to reach for something I don’t have... then I start looking for the new module.
Old 24th July 2019
  #18
I've installed a simple drumset because I'm steering the system towards a groovebox. Prior to this it had been a MEGAmono and an audio FX unit.

The drum modules had to be small. I searched through a raft of them. Happened across the 2HP range and liked the sound and v/oct inputs on the kick and snare.

Whist heading on this current path I can see what will be needed for a complete performance, so I got Ornament&Crime and Pam's new workout, both because they pack plenty into small HPs.

It'll take a while before I get around to buying the next modules.
A stereo clocked delay (currently the disting) and a lush reverb are on the list and a mixer with aux and mutes.
I use a small ribbon controller and would love one of those pukka types similar to the old Doepfers.

So yeah, I have plan and that dictates what to investigate.
Muffwiggler was good for info about the latest modules but then again sites like synthtopia and matrixsynth and sonicstate are useful.

Muffwiggler <s>was</s> is good because often it was the person who makes the modules that could answer the tricky questions.

Last edited by Howling Terror; 24th July 2019 at 03:07 PM..
Old 29th July 2019
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
*checking out listings on Reverb*

Hey, that one's cheap!

*click buy now*
Old 29th July 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
*checking out listings on Reverb*

Hey, that one's cheap!

*click buy now*
That's what I do, but starting from a well researched Wish List, then I camp out and just wait on especially good deals for something I like. Some things I buy in a prioritized order, others I buy when the price hits a certain threshold. Like, anything that's 40+% Off on something I already want is often an insta-buy regardless of priority.
Old 29th July 2019
  #21
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Mostly, I keep up with what's coming out based on mentions here on GearSlutz, demo vids posted by manufacturers on YouTube, and by sorting Modular Grid by newest additions. I don't normally buy something as soon as it comes out unless it's a module that looks like it's "going to change everything." (Protip: They rarely change anything.) The hard part for me is keeping up with modules that have been around a while or didn't make that big of a splash when they come out, and that's where keeping an eye on eBay and Reverb become a little bit of a chore. It's a chore that pays off though because modules that have been around for a year or more can often be scarfed up for dirt cheap.

MuffWiggler isn't what it used to be, so I can admit now without shooting myself in the foot that a lot of what I own came from there as well. Folks there sell for way below what modules are worth, so you can amass a pretty neato collection quickly that way if you've got the patience. (Prime example was getting a trio of MFB drums for $125. Scores like that used to be fairly common.)

As far as deciding what I want/need? I know mine isn't a typical user scenario, but I'm more looking at having a large paint palette to mix colors from, so it's really less about "will this work for x or y scenario?" and more "will this bring something new to the table?".

Old 29th July 2019
  #22
I absorbed MG, MW and YT videos...in that order..I still do from time to time.
My initial plan was a pretty basic 2-3 voice modular in-a-box.
But because life ain’t cheap the whole process took three years.
The big advantage of those three years is that I didn’t buy modules in a weak moment, I had time enough to figure out my ‘next step’. (Except, I was a naughty gearsl*t and bought me a 4ms STS ).
My list was set in stone and I still kind of stick to it. No urge for the latest trend in modular. Ok the list got bigger and sometimes I switch a bit. And I have GAS from time to time but I am almost there




The new ‘state of the art’ modules are on my secret ‘also want’ list though
Hellllllllo Mimeophon!!!!!!!!!
Old 31st July 2019
  #23
I use a random number generator, for some reason though I keep landing on multis. happy
Old 3rd August 2019
  #24
Lives for gear
 

i follow my needs based on usage.

I also maintain a want list on modular grid, and I try to make sure it doesn't get out of hand. when it does I do a cleanup and purge what seems excessive on it.
Old 6th August 2019
  #25
I usually just patch, and if I too often find myself reaching for something that I don't have, I try to figure out which options I have. If it's say a VCA I need, I fire up modulargrid and search for VCAs, and start checking them out - I go for the cheapest first and see if there's anything they lack that the expensive ones have.

Also, by virtue of being an internet addict (aren't we all), I check Muffwiggler several times a day, so staying updated on what's out and about really isn't an issue.
Old 12th August 2019
  #26
Here for the gear
 

I switched to MU (Moog/5U) format, where modules only come out every month or so.
Old 9th September 2019
  #27
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Ossicle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by three86 View Post
I look at noise engineering's web site and buy something I don't already own
Just to follow up a bit: I actually got curious about NE, which I had overlooked, and followed this 'method' a bit. Ended up with Zularic Repetitor and Sinc Defero. I feel I could no longer live without them!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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three86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
Just to follow up a bit: I actually got curious about NE, which I had overlooked, and followed this 'method' a bit. Ended up with Zularic Repetitor and Sinc Defero. I feel I could no longer live without them!
Careful or you'll end up with a lot more. My favorite is Horologic Solum a playable clock source in 4hp.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Ossicle's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by three86 View Post
Careful or you'll end up with a lot more. My favorite is Horologic Solum a playable clock source in 4hp.
I probably will (be getting a lot more). Their designs are unusually clever yet very practical and musical. Not sure I like the oscillators though, a bit too glitchy for me maybe.

How do you use the Horologic?

The many inputs of the Zuraric Repetitor makes it so versatile that you can use it for many other things than just a rhythm generator, especially in generative patches with random clocks and evolving pattern alterations with the cv inputs.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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three86's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ossicle View Post
I probably will (be getting a lot more). Their designs are unusually clever yet very practical and musical. Not sure I like the oscillators though, a bit too glitchy for me maybe.

How do you use the Horologic?

The many inputs of the Zuraric Repetitor makes it so versatile that you can use it for many other things than just a rhythm generator, especially in generative patches with random clocks and evolving pattern alterations with the cv inputs.
I plug the Horologic into the Zuraric

With the Horologic I like playing the switches. The 3 speeds, the division change, and the switch from int to ext which I use to stop or pause the clock with no input in the ext, or to switch between two tempos.

My other favorite NE modules are the BIA, Pons Asinorum which is an amazing amount of modulation in 6hp, and Mimetic Digitalis which is like having a small rene (non linear sequencer) but I can actually remember the button combos on it.
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