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Modcan vs. Dotcom? Modular Synthesizers
Old 5th January 2011
  #31
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BTByrd's Avatar
I second some of these comments. If you're just looking to make a "vanilla" monosynth, it's generally cheaper and faster to go with Dotcom for the basics. While the basic Modcan stuff is built well and sounds great, the Modcan line is at its most drool-worthy when it comes to processing, effects, and weirdo stuff like digital oscillators (as well as all those filters). There are also the super-dense modules like the Quad VCA/LFO/ADSR that pack a lot of functionality into a small space. But if all you're looking for is 2-3 "normal" oscs, a filter, 2 mixers, 2EGs and a couple of VCAs plus mults, you may be better off (from a budget standpoint) going with a dotcom system and later expanding with some of the Modcan stuff.


On another note, since some of you mentioned it here in this thread, there's a MOTM format Oakley Diode Superladder up for sale @ Muffs. I really like mine. FYI: Muff's has a policy that you need 50 posts to Buy/Sell/Trade, but that shouldn't take long.

Here's a vid:
Old 6th January 2011
  #32
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Headphones's Avatar
Forgive me for asking, because I don't know much about modular synths except a few things (to have polyphony, you'd need to have a few of each module patched the same way, most modular synths are mono, and they all have some different format (banana, 1/8", 1/4" and different voltages, etc))....

So my question is, can you have both Modcan & .com in the same modular synth? Or would you have to have 2 different synth formats and some way to merge their voltages to one another? I'm not really ready for a modular synth until I have all the moogerfoogers, cp-251 & maybe a slim phatty, but after that, I figured would be a good time to get into modular synths. But part of me wants to just bite the bullet and get a Dark Energy/MFB nanozwerg, and maybe go Eurorack, but at least .com would allow me to build on a budget if I decide to stick to my plan in motion of a moog based modular.

I'd have no idea if I could afford 2 different modular formats (since I know modular modules end up costing quite a bit the more you add more to your setup), and it'd maybe be somewhat of a shame if you can't have both play nice in the same synth, but even if they're totally different, I'm sure there's a way to get the voltages to play together between the formats....Am I right? If I have no clue, please correct me.
Old 6th January 2011
  #33
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

In most cases, all you need to worry about is properly powering up the modules. Patching between different formats is usually painless, except for having to attenuate/amplify some signals and use different types of connectors, but there are modules for all that.

The easy way to have different formats is having a different cabinet and power source for each format. The hard way is trying to have all the different formats in the same cabinet, powered by the same PS. That requires extra work which goes from using power connector adaptors to drilling new holes in the cabinet to making new panels for modules that just don't fit. You better be a DIY-guy if you want to go that route.

But, even if you stick to a single format, there are lots of stuff to explore before you consider trying other formats. For example, I started my dotcom system 5 years ago and only recently have been considering adding an Euro rig, but with all the new stuff coming out in MU format (megaohm, grove audio, moon modular, stg soundlabs, etc), I feel like I first need a couple more MU cabinets before going Euro.

So, my suggestion is, choose the format you want to start with and build a decent system in that format. Later, if you need to add modules in another format, you will find a way to do it. But you don't need to worry about that right now.
Old 6th January 2011
  #34
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Headphones's Avatar
That's for sure. But thanks for the info. I kind of know the concept of the power supply, that gives out power to each module, so that when patched, it all works as it should. I know you can start with a 22 or 44 wood cabinet power supply from .com, but I didn't really see what Modcan has for power supply/rack.....

It's a project I can't really start for about 2 years, but that's plenty of time to save up and build something with the right components. I'm not much into electronics (I didn't really measure up in my ITT class, so I dropped out), so I'd probably pay Acid Hazard to do any of that stuff if I ever needed to (and if he was okay with helping(No hurry/worry Larry)). As far as I can tell, having all the foogers will give plenty of effects (phaser, delay, ring mod, murf envelope, and by the time I'm ready for a modular, I can probably just focus on VCOs, VCAs, and some odds n ends to see what I can discover on my own. It looks alot harder than it looks, but maybe once you know how to route things together, then you get the hang of sound creation. I'll probably want to have a notebook handy for remembering how I made a patch that I enjoyed.
Old 7th January 2011
  #35
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gordonmerrick's Avatar
Though I can't speak to Modcan (yet), the dotcom stuff has been a great entryway drug for me. Solid stuff.
Old 7th January 2011
  #36
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The Hamburglar's Avatar
 

I know it's a semi-closed system (that of course could be expanded upon) but this seems like an amazing entry deal:
ANALOG SYNTH MODULAR SYNTHESIZER SYSTEM - eBay (item 290519837414 end time Jan-10-11 21:18:26 PST)

That first green video (001) sounds absolutely amazing to me.
Old 8th January 2011
  #37
I've decided to go with the Modcan b series stuff, despite the higher price point. Mostly because of expandability, feature density and lack of duty fees.

Won't look back.

Thanks for all the help and advice.
Old 6th April 2011
  #38
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dlmorley's Avatar
How is your Modcan order doing?? Did you go with it?
For me of all the "modern" modulars, Modcan is one of the most interesting.
Personally I like the A series. I will probably add a rack to go with my Serge and Fenix systems as there are quite a few unique (but still useful!) Modcan modules.
Quality does cost but ultimately, it will be worth it.
Old 6th April 2011
  #39
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rasseru's Avatar
that oakley filter sounds phat as f**k
Old 7th April 2011
  #40
Hi. I just talked to Bruce yesterday. It will be in soon. I'm very excited.

As he was building my stuff he noticed I could swap a few modules and increase my functionality by quite a bit. For example, I swapped out a dual lag module for an envelope follower that happens to include a lag/glide section. So many of the Modcan modules have double and triple functions it's always helpful to ask if there are any ways you can make your system more compact.

I'll post pictures and sounds when I get it.
Old 22nd May 2011
  #41
The Modcan has landed!

As requested!

Photo Album - Imgur

The Modcan arrived about a month ago. There were no problems with shipping, and Bruce Duncan was very professional and a fantastic person to work with.

It's a beautiful instrument, and it fits into my workflow easier than I ever imagined. My plan to control CV/GATE with with the Waldorf Pulse+ has worked perfectly. The only snag was figuring out how to scale the Waldorf's CV output so it divides octaves properly. External sources connect via patch bay. I thought patching things though it would be a pain, but it's actually far easier than I imagined.

Thanks for pushing me to spend the extra money and get this thing, I don't regret it for a second. This thing sounds amazing, and I knew in the first few minutes that I was never going to sell it. I'll post some demos and a proper review soon enough, but in a fresh topic. Maybe a youtube video or two. I'm still learning this thing. Holy crap, does this guy ever liked to cram extra features into his modules!
Attached Thumbnails
Modcan vs. Dotcom?-p4210072.jpg  
Old 22nd May 2011
  #42
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shadowfac's Avatar
 

That looks amazing. Congratulations!
Old 22nd May 2011
  #43
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OurDarkness's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
As requested!

Photo Album - Imgur

The Modcan arrived about a month ago. There were no problems with shipping, and Bruce Duncan was very professional and a fantastic person to work with.

It's a beautiful instrument, and it fits into my workflow easier than I ever imagined. My plan to control CV/GATE with with the Waldorf Pulse+ has worked perfectly. The only snag was figuring out how to scale the Waldorf's CV output so it divides octaves properly. External sources connect via patch bay. I thought patching things though it would be a pain, but it's actually far easier than I imagined.

Thanks for pushing me to spend the extra money and get this thing, I don't regret it for a second. This thing sounds amazing, and I knew in the first few minutes that I was never going to sell it. I'll post some demos and a proper review soon enough, but in a fresh topic. Maybe a youtube video or two. I'm still learning this thing. Holy crap, does this guy ever liked to cram extra features into his modules!
Beautiful system! Post some analog stuff soon!
Old 22nd May 2011
  #44
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EDIT

NEXT TIME I'LL CHECK THE OP DATE
and that there's more than one page, which I didn't notice until after i wrote all this

bwahahahaha


...but I'll leave this for future search efforts anyway
.......................................

modcan is indeed in another league

mind you, ANY modular is potentially awesome and it really comes down to skill and vision of the user for success, imho.

I have a small modcanA system w/ some Cynthia modules, currently at 7 units and waiting for a big order to come in and this # will jump to 15 next month.
I also have about 90 euro modules...really wild amazing stuff. But not as consistent and integrated as the large-formats; some DIY is inevitable as it grows.

anyway, my friend Angelo has a medium/large .com system 3x44U and it plays well with my Euro. It is very well made, Roger @ .com has a fine reputation and prices are nice.
ModcanA uses banana so a jumbler is needed but otherwise it plays great at 1v/oct across 3 systems!

the main reason(s) i went modcanA "instead" of dotcom:

1. size. this is not really a major point between the B-series and .com though, although the functional density is greater across modcan.
2. variety of NEW modules. while the MU/5U is quite rich with variety vs. any other format, much of this innovation comes from other builders and DIY. Typically, most 5U and particularly .com is rooted firmly in late60's/early70's subtractive approach. Things have changed since then, and Modcan's modules reflect this as Bruce is coming out with new modules (many of them DIGITAL, even!! haha) all the time.
3. CV options in modcan are out of this world. between the Control, CV recorder, Scanner, DDL, Cynthia programmer and Quad LFO&EG things are insanely efficient and powerful vs. anything short of a Buchla. Stuff that takes ridiculous amount of 'spaghetti' in euro or other formats are executed without fuss in Modcan due to these modules.
Herin lies the TRUE POWER...as you don't have to hold back for fear of getting too far ahead of your known abilities and losing grasp of the patch structure. (Other than it's need for multiples, the B-series has all of these benefits as well).
3. integration with Serge & Buchla - again specific to modcanA. I feel that banana cables imho should be standard for all patching! no need for mults and signal integrity is the best(always grounded).

i put " around "instead" to say that I will get a 5U system eventually!
probably a compact or portable cabinet of 22U or so...Whether a MOSLAB or MacBeth/modcan/Moon/STG/.com hybrid or what I dunno...but there most definitely IS something appealing, even to my weird ass, about that old-style BIG-KNOB and clunky 1/4" jacks that I will never lose a soft-spot for.
that classic Moog-y voice is always great to have (i have a voyager and 2600 now).
for experimental approaches and odd FX i prefer the modcanA and euro though; all that cabling is too much in 1/4" imho.

whatever you choose I'm confident that you'll be gassing hard for a loooong time!
Old 22nd May 2011
  #45
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Xero's Avatar
bah you're all just making me lust modulars more. I think my next purchase is going to be some beginnings of a 5u and then a moon m569.

i'm actually planning on starting a 5u first, and then starting a eurorack later. there's a ton of cool eurorack stuff I want, but even more so the idea of a Moon M569 and the beginnings of a moog-like modular is super appealing to me...Modcan A looks awesome, as do most of the banana-format modulars, but sticking with just 2 formats I think is best for my approach. So modcan B for me if i ever get some modcan stuff (which I'm sure may very well happen if I ever get that far). I think 5u is pretty well established and it seems hard to go wrong with that format in terms of availability of modules and compatibility and all that fun.

btw have you seen those tiptop 1/8" cables for eurorack that patch just like banana's and don't need multiples? Someone needs to do that for 1/4 too :P

these things:
http://www.tiptopaudio.com/stack.php
Old 22nd May 2011
  #46
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yeah stackables.
some people love 'em but since i have an actual banana system I AVOID them - for want of avoiding squinting to differentiate and the accidental grounding-bypass would be not good, i reckon.

btw bananas have a far firmer grip into the jack than any 1/8, as once it's 'in' at least 25% a 'nana is pretty solid; wheras even the best 1/8" (like on malekko, metasonix and cwejman) has to contact the full length to get the tip; and only some jacks are tight. many makes (especially earlier euro designs) are 'wobbly'. but they haven't cut out on me yet, any of them, though. still i wonder at long-term.
Old 22nd May 2011
  #47
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BTByrd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebison View Post
As requested!

Photo Album - Imgur

It's a beautiful instrument, and it fits into my workflow easier than I ever imagined. My plan to control CV/GATE with with the Waldorf Pulse+ has worked perfectly.
Very nice! I'm glad you decided to go for the Modcan; you made some good module choices. I just finished up my 5U setup a month or two back, and Modcan is at the heart of it. Like you, I control it through the CV/Gate outs of midi-equipped monosynths (Voyager and FRXS)... couldn't be more pleased.






I'd take Modcan over Dotcom any day of the week.

I wish there were 1/4" Stackables (which are all I use on my Eurorack)... but sometimes I daydream about having my Eurorack stuff banana-fied. There's no substitute for large-format jacks/connectors.
Old 22nd May 2011
  #48
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Xero's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaft9000 View Post
yeah stackables.
some people love 'em but since i have an actual banana system I AVOID them - for want of avoiding squinting to differentiate and the accidental grounding-bypass would be not good, i reckon.
yeah I could see that being annoying, in my case i may avoid banana for now so they seem quite appealing...

Quote:
Originally Posted by shaft9000 View Post
btw bananas have a far firmer grip into the jack than any 1/8, as once it's 'in' at least 25% a 'nana is pretty solid; wheras even the best 1/8" (like on malekko, metasonix and cwejman) has to contact the full length to get the tip; and only some jacks are tight. many makes (especially earlier euro designs) are 'wobbly'. but they haven't cut out on me yet, any of them, though. still i wonder at long-term.
yeah thats the nice thing about only having 1 conductor i guess, your contact point can be a lot larger and simpler so whether the thing is fully inserted or not doesn't make quite as much difference, but i've never had THAT much trouble with 1/8 and 1/4 jacks, i mean come on we use those everywhere in the audio world :P but don't get me wrong bananas are still cool. they look way cooler for starters...but for my purposes 5u will integrate with my existing setup a lot easier since I have a lot of monosynths i'd love to patch into it a modular and with a 5u that will be a piece of cake.
Old 23rd May 2011
  #49
Experiments!

Re: BTByrd Beautiful System!

For a system as small as mine, the Quad LFO really saves the day. So much control in such a small space. I haven't even figured out all the alternate functions yet. One thing I don't have is a multiples unit, which is lame, and is preventing me from using both oscillators at the same time. I'll try and build some hydra cables to split my signal. Can you even do that?

Experiments!

I uploaded two of my 1st experiments with this thing, testing out how the filters interact with other synths, to get a sense of the oscillators sound, and how CV / Gate responds. Also, trying to see if the Blofeld / Pulse / Matrix / TX802 / 81Z / OB1K can act as oscillators, feeding into the amp env with the modcan oscillators. Do they blend? You tell me!

the progressions are silly and quite unlike my actual stuff, but none of that is important in this context. No effects, except on the guitars on the 2nd one, and some reverb in the blofeld pad presets. in the 2nd example.

1. Modcan Filter Mod Test 1.mp3

Order of appearance.

Oberheim 1000 LP TLF (Transistor ladder filter) (Low Pass)
Oberheim 1000 LP TLF
TX802 LP DMMF (Dual Multi Mode Filter)
MODCAN HP DMF (HIPASS)

PULSE + (LP DMMF)
Modcan Triangle +7sem LP TLF
Pulse + Snare LP DMMF
Pulse + ARP HPF DMMF
MODCAN Sine RAW

MODCAN SAW RAW
MODCAN PULSE (PW MOD)

2.
BlomodTest.mp3

Please excuse this chord progression.

Testing various mixes of mono sounds with blofeld + modcan oscillators being triggered together. Blofeld pads interacting with warbling filters. Bass guitar comes in for fun. (yes it's very high bass guitar)

Recorded on a malfunctioning Motu 828.

Anyway, let me know what your ears say.

Mine say: Although the filers on modcan help the blofeld sound different, and blend with analog oscillators, it doesn't sound MORE analog, as I expected it would. Maybe I'm not driving the filters hard enough.
Attached Files

BloModTest.mp3 (3.21 MB, 613 views)

Modcan Filter Mod Test 1.mp3 (8.72 MB, 661 views)

Old 21st July 2011
  #50
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drumdrumdrumdrum's Avatar
 

Was this what you ended up with in your pic?

VCO 01B x 2
VC Dual ADSR 47B
Noise/S&H/Ringmod 07B
Dual Lag 18B
Dual Multimode 40B
904a (Moog Modular) LPF 44B
Dual VCA 13B
Dual Mixer 27B
Quad LFO 61B

All except for the Multiple 48B
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