The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Finally took the modular plunge
Old 1st December 2019
  #1
Finally took the modular plunge

So, I finally took the plunge into modular synthesis. Last month, I bought a Moog Grandmother and I just put together a small expander using the Intellijel 62HP Palette:



Inventory:

Intellijel Palette
Antumbra Knit (MI Plaits in 6 hp)
Intellijel Dixie II+
Intellijel uFold
Doepfer Narrow Mixer
Doepfer SEM Filter
Synthesis Technology E440 Filter
TipTop Z4000 Envelope
TipTop One sample player
TipTop VCA
Intellijel Line In, Stereo Line Out, Zeroscope
Intellijel Quadratt Attenuator/Mixer

Waiting for everything to arrive, but excited to see how well this expands the capabilities of the Grandmother. I'm not looking to put together a monster system (yet), but this should be a decent springboard into a larger system. Of course, my interests are pretty basic... All I want out of a modular is a super versatile, excellent sounding monosynth experience. Some of the more experimental elements of modular aren't the goal.
Old 1st December 2019
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Congrats on taking the leap
Old 1st December 2019
  #3
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Yeah, I’ve always thought that modular could be a great way to just make a super mono that’s tailor fit to my needs, but I just sort of hate the whole patch cable thing. Luckily for me, there’s great stuff in the Reaktor Blocks world. I love listening to what people do with their creations. Make sure you post when you get something going.
Old 1st December 2019
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
Yeah, I’ve always thought that modular could be a great way to just make a super mono that’s tailor fit to my needs, but I just sort of hate the whole patch cable thing.
It is likely that I will leave mine patched for monosynth mode most of the time. If I have to patch anything it would be LFO or CV control of something.

What drew me to modular is that you can build it how you want it and the versatility for splitting signals up to combine multiple filters and so on. Things that off-the-shelf monos don't tend to do.
Old 1st December 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
12tone's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Things that off-the-shelf monos don't tend to do.
(not that it applies to you)...Hipster quotient.
Old 1st December 2019
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by 12tone View Post
(not that it applies to you)...Hipster quotient.
There's always that... lol

I just want more filter and processing options. There are some Eurorack modules that sonically beat the stuffing out of anything you can reasonably afford in an all-in-one monosynth. Half of the reason I took the plunge was to get that ST filter into my life.

That being said, I would never begrudge anyone's musical motivations. I've heard some shockingly cool things emerge out of that crowd. I've also heard a lot of pointless electron tomfoolery.
Old 1st December 2019
  #7
Gear Guru
 
zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
It is likely that I will leave mine patched for monosynth mode most of the time. If I have to patch anything it would be LFO or CV control of something.

What drew me to modular is that you can build it how you want it and the versatility for splitting signals up to combine multiple filters and so on. Things that off-the-shelf monos don't tend to do.
Right, I totally agree. That is what keeps drawing me to it, and why I clicked on this thread. Don’t get me wrong... modular calls to me, it’s sweet, sweet, siren song... but then I will be strangled in the depth of it’s patch cables!

When I started to put my Eurorack together, I started with a couple of Mother 32s and a System 100. I figured it was a good way to start and those modules would be useful in a full rack. I instantly saw what it was missing... I needed a lot more utility modules, mixers, modulators... etc. I started shopping. It’s so open ended that it started giving me anxiety. I wanted it all.

Anyway, now I have a Pro 2, Dominion 1 and a Torcido and I occasionally patch them together for various reasons, but they all work in a stand alone manner with patch memory (except the Torcido) I find that for anything more, software works better for me, because I can build something that essentially becomes a fixed architecture synth that I can then build presets for and use when playing. I like to keep my patch design a bit separate from my composition/music time.
Old 1st December 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 
intuitionnyc's Avatar
Congrats on your purchases and best of luck.

As someone who has been into modular for 20 years, starting out small and with limitations (rack size) is good as you can easily go off the deep end.

Yes, there is a “hipster quotient” with modular, but modular has become such a common tool for electronic musicians nowadays. It is expensive, but there are some great things in the modular world that are hard to replicate in software, etc. (even Reaktor Blocks). Reaktor Blocks is amazing but to me, it takes the tactile experience of hardware away.

The Grandmother should be a great hub for all this. I would suggest a Make Noise Mimeophone at some point as a stereo delay unit (unless you are processing solely ITB). It sounds great.

Keep us posted!!!
Old 1st December 2019
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

You can definitely make your monster mono with a modular system, but that is really only a very small fraction of what a modular system can do. It’s also not very efficient; there are plenty of semi-modular voices out there that will cost you a fraction of their equivalent in modules. I’m much more interested in using combinations of clocks and logic gates to run sequencers, making shifting alleatoric patterns n such.

There’s so many options that you won’t realize you want until you start patching the system. One thing I like to do, is to use gate from my keyboard to trigger a sample&hold. So every new note triggers a different lfo value. Things like that. It’s totally a different world than fixed architecture synths and it will lead you to making different kinds of music.
Old 1st December 2019
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by intuitionnyc View Post
The Grandmother should be a great hub for all this. I would suggest a Make Noise Mimeophone at some point as a stereo delay unit (unless you are processing solely ITB). It sounds great.
I have a rack Lexicon MPX 1, Echolution, or Boss DM2 for delay already.

But that unit does sound pretty great from the demos I've heard. Hmmm...
Old 1st December 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocrossing View Post
When I started to put my Eurorack together, I started with a couple of Mother 32s and a System 100. I figured it was a good way to start and those modules would be useful in a full rack. I instantly saw what it was missing... I needed a lot more utility modules, mixers, modulators... etc. I started shopping. It’s so open ended that it started giving me anxiety. I wanted it all.
Yeah, I'm already planning out a bigger system... However, I purposely limited myself so I wouldn't go off the deep end. I want to expand my recording setup to incorporate more hardware and 32 channel summing. After I get my recording chain sorted I'll probably pick up a vintage sampler and then, and only then, put together a larger 168hp system or so.
Old 1st December 2019
  #12
Lives for gear
 
draig's Avatar
 

A Moog Matriarch plus Pittsburg’s Voltage Research Laboratory is my way of doing modular.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by draig View Post
A Moog Matriarch plus Pittsburg’s Voltage Research Laboratory is my way of doing modular.
The Matriarch is so well spec'd it's debatable whether you would need anything external. Oh wait, sure you do! The more the merrier.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar


It always starts small.
Old 2nd December 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
It always starts small.
Agreed. My first modules came in today. Two years from now I'll have a 208 HP rig filled, you watch.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #16
Lives for gear
 
void23's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Agreed. My first modules came in today. Two years from now I'll have a 208 HP rig filled, you watch.
Only 208HP?!? Muhaha! Also, I don't see many modulation options or VCA's in that case so you're starting off pretty limited. Maybe replace the Quadratt with a Noise Tools and add a Dual VCA tile.

Modular for a monosynth is a waste ... It's when you get enough stuff to get into groovebox territory that it becomes really fun. Usually about 12hp.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Welcome to the endless money pit. You could buy 3 or 4 mono synths for what you'll wind up paying in modular as you go and become hooked. Getting into modular to make a mono synth is definitely unusual, since many would argue the most interesting things in modular have little to do with mono synths or playing a keyboard per se, but certainly can make mono synths in euro.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Only 208HP?!? Muhaha!
???

Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Also, I don't see many modulation options or VCA's in that case so you're starting off pretty limited. Maybe replace the Quadratt with a Noise Tools and add a Dual VCA tile.
Keep in mind that the purpose of this setup is to supplement a Moog Grandmother. The Quadratt serves as the "hub" for attenuating modulation signals, or can be used as a simple mixer. As far as modulation options go, my preferences are rather basic. Furthermore, many of the utilities in the Noise Tools would largely go unused. I carefully selected modules that I would get frequent and total usage from.

My goal was to have a versatile array of primary sound sources that complimented the three VCO's on the Moog. The Dixie II can serve as a fourth oscillator or additional LFO. The Knit gives me access to many digital sounds and models in 6 HP. The One allows me to process sampled waveforms or percussion samples. The uFold provides basic wavefolding for more variance. The SEM allows me a number of options in regards to filtering, and the E440 embodies a complimentary, but different, tone to the 904a-ish Moog. Obviously, having a secondary mixer, VCA, and envelope provides significant upgrades to the Grandmother, moving it into the category of a fully spec'd mono.

I probably "built" 100 configurations on ModularGrid before I settled on this one. Based on my wants and needs, it is very powerful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
Modular for a monosynth is a waste ... It's when you get enough stuff to get into groovebox territory that it becomes really fun. Usually about 12hp.
Having a flexible monosynth configuration with a variety of tones and filters suits my workflow better than the system you suggest. Maybe in the future I may be interested in that type of setup, but it does not address my current needs.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
???
For context, I'm three years in and 4704hp in modular land. If there's anything of yours that's worth anything that you current like, you'd better duct tape it down or it's going out the door and onto eBay/Reverb/GSClassifieds.



Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Keep in mind that the purpose of this setup is to supplement a Moog Grandmother.
Yep, and mine started out as an expander for a Vostok.
Old 3rd December 2019
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
For context, I'm three years in and 4704hp in modular land. If there's anything of yours that's worth anything that you current like, you'd better duct tape it down or it's going out the door and onto eBay/Reverb/GSClassifieds.
Yeah, but I have really vanilla sensibilities. I want an analog sequencer, but only to modulate things like filter cutoff. I would like a few more filters. I would like to be able to create stereo monosynth patches. I wouldn't mind a fixed filter bank and a Polymoog-style resonator.

The wild, exotic, and wondrous modular stuff is cool, but I'm realistic and know I would never use it.

Besides, I want to upgrade my recording gear to a 16 or 32 channel summing system, get a Summit EQP 200, pick up a SSL buss compressor clone, and so forth. Maybe get an OB6. All in good time, there's no rush.
Old 12th December 2019
  #21
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
Welcome to the euro life!!

I was like you at the beginning. 104 hp of a “dream mono synth” all planned out and stuff. Drove it with my minibrute and ot primarily.

But then you dive in...and you grow. Now in kinda have a mono synth, but with tons of different styles of oscs, modulation, filters, etc.

There’s just so many ways to go, have fun!
Old 12th December 2019
  #22
Hilariously, the case I bought was a little too shallow for one of the modules that I really like (Doepfer SEM), so I am returning the case. I will probably pick up a 208 hp case in the next week or so.

Thus it begins....
Old 12th December 2019
  #23
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
Hahaha yeah....nice!

I had that happen before. Not cool. Luckily it was just the corner of the case (mantis) and I could put the filter in question in a different spot
Old 12th December 2019
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevism View Post
Hahaha yeah....nice!

I had that happen before. Not cool. Luckily it was just the corner of the case (mantis) and I could put the filter in question in a different spot
I had to make a decision, but the Doepfer SEM is an exceptionally nice sounding filter... I figure I'd eventually get a bigger case and system so I may as well get it now. Especially because I can get a refund on the case and won't be out any money.
Old 12th December 2019
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
I think you definitely made the right choice...no use going through the whole hassle and expense if you can’t even install some of the modules you want
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
Lives for gear
 
mekanik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
I had to make a decision, but the Doepfer SEM is an exceptionally nice sounding filter... I figure I'd eventually get a bigger case and system so I may as well get it now. Especially because I can get a refund on the case and won't be out any money.

hi james. welcome to the abyss its goes very deep. into your bank account.

if you want a solid case look into the doepfer ones.

and unless you need the 5v line you should look into the doepfer diy kit ones (and buld the cases yourself, its very easy). since these are all transformer no pwm.

what i've learned i wanted from my modular was a range of different filters.
a range of different envelopes.
a range of different vca's
different mixers.

all these color the sound in different ways. and thats whats makes it fun.

for example with filters i have sem and e440 just like you do. but i hardly ever use them. the sem its tto noisy and also bland, the e440 is too "perfect" sounding. if you know what i mean. i feel the same with the rossum evo. too perfect somehow. even though its just a very broad range filter that does everything.

i like the dual borg/a-102/jove/modcan multimode better.

and you said you like the moog filters. look into the aion 904. its a one trick pony but it does its trick very very good! the rossum cannot replicate it, but it comes close.

------------

envelopes can be fun. very fun. i think the qu-bit contour is kinda good. its onlt AR. but 4 of them. and its a digital module. Intellijel has an analog one i think.

i also like the doepfer a140, intellijel dual adsr, SE shapers. also wmd MME

-------------------

perfect vcas are no fun at all. i like disting ****. the more the better. and they all sound the best on the very edge of clean. you know.

malekko vca is so so i think. xaoc tallinn very good. also wmd amplitude very good.

------------

get some cool mixers. manhattan analog dtm, suit and tie guy mix, shades (does mixing/att/inv/ and probably a few more things. all super clean).

--------------

a few mults and atts wouldnt hurt either. and lfos.
i like the doepfer a147/147-2 because they are VC. and cheap. and playable.
i also have the a111-3 that can be set to lfo mode. also VC obviosly. but half as thick. and its a lot more finicky to dieal in because the distance between knobs is much smaller.

-----------------

also a friendly tip is to get modules with as few functions as possible. but make sure what they do, they do good.

BECAUSE when they cram in everything into a module. you can usually only still use one function at a time anyway. and they cet cramped as fuk patched up.

in my system i only have very few modules that are practically "unusable" when patched. i much rather have 3 functions and they are easy to manipulate patched than 6 or 9 for the same space that you actually cant use.

----------------

anyway you will shortly find out most of these things yourself.
Old 1 week ago
  #27
Update:

You weren't kidding, Eurorack is addictive. Since my last post I bought a 9U/84 HP Doepfer case and have 88 HP of modules already. I may have this case filled up by summer at this rate.
Old 1 week ago
  #28
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Meeker View Post
Update:

You weren't kidding, Eurorack is addictive. Since my last post I bought a 9U/84 HP Doepfer case and have 88 HP of modules already. I may have this case filled up by summer at this rate.
Glad you're having fun! Remember if you've got any question at all, feel free to ask here or on Muff Wiggler and we'll be glad to sort you out. Most everybody in the modular community is pretty friendly and helpful.

Also, don't be afraid to experiment! Worst case, if you don't like something, you can just sell it on and get something that better suits you in its place.

You mentioned earlier in the thread looking for a Polymoog style resonator. If you can find one of these, they're usually cheap and sound amazing:

Old 1 week ago
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Derp View Post
You mentioned earlier in the thread looking for a Polymoog style resonator. If you can find one of these, they're usually cheap and sound amazing:
Yeah, I'm going to get a resonator and fixed filter bank in due course. Seems like a smart investment for tonal variety.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump