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modual synth equals sequenced music?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

modual synth equals sequenced music?

Hello everbody,

do you think that the subject reflects reality? Is sequenced music the only music to make with a modular synth setup?

I bought an Arturia Keystep and I am happy to play it manually. What I think it is lacking is more CV outs for real-time performance. I am thinking of at least two more for velocity and and aftertouch, though IMHO it would be fun to have also the pitch strip on a dedicated CV out.

So I was thrilled to hear that a PRO version came out. But to my disappointment they added "only" a couple of sequencers (plus they fixed UI glitches like missing BPM readout etc).

As Arturia touts its product as performance gear I came to the conclusion that there is no interest in real-time manipulaton of a modular synth. Just set up the sequences and start fiddling with the knobs. A keyboard is only nice to have.

What do you think? Are you playing your gear with a keyboard?

Masi
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Nut
 
orangecaruption's Avatar
 

When I first got into Eurorack, I wasn't using a keyboard at all, mainly using it for more experimental things and self-generating patches or step sequences. However, when I got a 5u system, my goal was to create a system for fat moog sounds and play it with a keyboard in a more traditional way and that has worked out great.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
DSC
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I will start a modular session using my sequencers, but usually after 30 - 40 minutes I find myself working in more 'non sequenced' clocks and random LFO's randomly and then I usually pick up a guitar and 'look' for something new in that chaos.

Old 1 week ago
  #4
Modular and Arturia are two different things.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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pekbro's Avatar
 

The bulk of available modules aren't really setup for adequate controller support anyway.
Only a couple osc that I own, even have a gate input. E.g. you have to complete a somewhat
elaborate setup to even use a controller, osc, env, vca etc...
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Lives for gear
The better way to do this is over midi and then have a midi->cv module or something like a kenton or cv ocd to deal with things like poly too. With a good one you should be able to set up things like cc channels too if your keyboard has knobs, or figure out work arounds for other things.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
I think the best way is cv and gate. There are lots of modern synths with cv and gate outputs. Plus software programs like Ableton CV Tools and Reaktor Blocks.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masitito View Post
do you think that the subject reflects reality? Is sequenced music the only music to make with a modular synth setup?
No - but it is probably true that the modular world is skewed towards sequencers on one side and ambient/experimental/generative (with non-traditional controllers) on the other - but then a major selling point of modular is all those knobs to twiddle...

I think you're meant to play the keyboard with one hand and tweak knobs - or apply an egg whisk to a spring reverb - with the other.

Also, it's not either/or - you can, for example, play a keyboard and use the gate to clock a sequencer or sample & hold module generating CVs that modulate the sound in time with your playing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by masitito View Post
I bought an Arturia Keystep and I am happy to play it manually. What I think it is lacking is more CV outs for real-time performance. I am thinking of at least two more for velocity and and aftertouch, though IMHO it would be fun to have also the pitch strip on a dedicated CV out.
I'd agree with that - except, to be fair, the KeyStep is a fairly inexpensive keyboard/sequencer so having CV at all is something of a bonus at that price - but even the more expensive Keylabs only have one extra CV.

As someone else has said - you can get more if you go via MIDI, but then a lot of MIDI-to-CV interfaces only give you pitch, gate and mod. You might want to look at something like the Expert Sleepers FH-2 which (as far as I can tell from the docs) can be configured to output the complete set of pitch, gate, CV, velocity and aftertouch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masitito View Post
What do you think? Are you playing your gear with a keyboard?
Heck no, that would involve actual talent and hard-worky things like practice and I'm only making noises for my own amusement. The keyboard is there to help pick the notes to program into the sequencer :-) However, if I could play the keyboard properly I'd probably invest in a higher-end keyboard than the KeyStep.

However, for the sake of completeness, I have found various ways of getting pitch, gate, mod, velocity and aftertouch by going:

Keystep -> USB -> Computer -> Software -> DC-coupled audio (e.g. ES-8)

Where 'Software' is something like Reaktor, VCV Rack or some homebrew software I'm working on that runs on a Raspberry Pi. (Or a DAW with buit-in/plugin CV out support). As far as I can tell (I don't have one) the FH-2 will do all that without a computer and for slightly less cash than an ES-8.

That way you can also do things like synced LFOs or envelopes pre-scaled to match the key velocity that save a lot of plumbing on the rack...
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Yeah just plugging the Keystep gate and Cv into my modular is not really a great performance setup by any means. I have MIDI to CV on my modular that I will try and see how that works. But I mainly play scales into marbles and then let it use my playing to sequence from there.

My modular is definitely a sequencing experience, but I really like it since I play parts on synths myself as well. I like the contrast.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
One of the reasons I haven't immediately returned my MPC-X is for the CV/Gate controls. It has the potential to be a performance beast.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Modular and Arturia are two different things.
Forget Arturia *. I justed stated what I own before you guys are asking me for details.

I wanted a small (fits on my desktop), cheap (cannot really play the piano anyway) keyboard with CV out (to make things happen on a modular synth).

I considered also a MIDI to CV converted as has been suggested. But I am surprised that I get not many more CV outs for the price. Actually I think my suggested list of MIDI CCs wouldn't be possible with any of the converters I have found.

Future will tell where my modular path will lead me ... probably into a financial crises

Masi

* I am new to modular world and didn't know that semi-modular synths like those of Artruia are to be frowned upon. Bear with me.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
DSC
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Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by masitito View Post
I wanted a small (fits on my desktop), cheap (cannot really play the piano anyway) keyboard with CV out (to make things happen on a modular synth).
The keystep is great value for ~$100 - no problems there. As you've found, even the cheaper midi-to-CV versions only give you pitch, gate and one other CV (I take it you've worked out that you can use the Arturia Midi Control Center software to switch the 'Mod' output between modwheel, velocity and aftertouch).

Quote:
Originally Posted by masitito View Post
But I am surprised that I get not many more CV outs for the price. Actually I think my suggested list of MIDI CCs wouldn't be possible with any of the converters I have found.
Look at the Polyend Poly 2 or the Expert Sleepers FH-2 that I mentioned before - Never tried them but I think they'll do what you want... but those are $300 modules (and look like they're beasts to configure)...

Quote:
* I am new to modular world and didn't know that semi-modular synths like those of Artruia are to be frowned upon. Bear with me.
Nothing wrong with semi-modular synths - perfectly sensible starting point that you can augment with modules bit by bit rather than spend $$$$ for a complete 'modular' setup.
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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void23's Avatar
The Keystep makes a great modular controller, but it’s sequencer is an after thought. The Beat Step Pro is a better choice if your looking for a sequencer.

The new Keystep Pro looks to be a BSP with a keyboard added, just a little too big for my tastes.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donutschool View Post
I take it you've worked out that you can use the Arturia Midi Control Center software to switch the 'Mod' output between modwheel, velocity and aftertouch
Yes. Works greate with my other cheap gear. Haters hold your breath ... it's a Behringer Neutron The mod CV out of the Keystep and the ASSIGN CV out of the Neutron make a good pair.

Sidenote:
I also wrote a small proof-of-concept program that helps to sequence a CV using the pitch CV. The basic version uses stepped CV with plain MIDI notes. An extended version (not written yet) would be able to combine notes and the pitch wheel for smooth signals. But I guess I did that more because I am programmer than anything else

Quote:
Originally Posted by donutschool View Post
Look at the Polyend Poly 2 or the Expert Sleepers FH-2 that I mentioned before - Never tried them but I think they'll do what you want...
They even do much more.

Masi
Old 5 days ago
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by void23 View Post
The new Keystep Pro looks to be a BSP with a keyboard added, just a little too big for my tastes.
Same, but it sure does look fun. Very grooveboxy in its layout.
Old 5 days ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donutschool View Post
Look at the Polyend Poly 2 or the Expert Sleepers FH-2 that I mentioned before - Never tried them but I think they'll do what you want... but those are $300 modules (and look like they're beasts to configure)...
The Poly 2 is dead simple, and odds are good it’s configured for most needs right out of the box. Even if not, it’s easy enough to customize that it shouldn’t take glossing over the manual more than once or twice. The FH-2 does seem to require more effort and knowledge, but is even more customizable and expandable depending on your needs.
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