Any one using AE modular. This looks like the best deal I've seen. An actually affordable synth.


It's certainly affordable and has some cool modules, but given my time with a Korg Volca Modular, I wouldn't enjoy using patch wires instead of actual cables...


I already bought the AE Modular. Loving it.


Nice. Do you find that the wire easily pull out? That was an issue with the volca.

What modules do you have in AE format?


They come out easily when I need them to. I've never had a wire come out while I was recording for even noodling around. Being a saxophone player in a former life, I'm used the needed dexterity. It simply isn't a problems for me. Honestly, Moogs have the only truly secure cables. Everyone else's connections are, well . . .

The latest version of the AE Modular wires are designed and made specifically for the AE Modular system, so they are much more secure than the original.

I bought the Starter 2 synth from Noisebug. Pretty sure I bought the very last one they had in stock! Then I ordered the following from Robert: 2 sequencers, two extra VCOs, an extra LFO, strings(Solina), slew limiter, MS20 filter, an extra 2x16U case & flying buses, and few other utility modules like headphone amps, stereo out and etc. The good thing is every module has a multiple, so no need for dedicated multiples. (NOTE: To clarify the AE Modular system uses Us instead of HP. Each module is 1U wide, and that serves as the standard measurement instead of HP.)

So this little rig will have 5 oscillators, three LFOs, three filters. noise, 2 samples & holds, 2 EG, 2 VCAs lots of utilities with plenty of room to grow. I'm really waiting on the quantizer. That's the one module this system sorely needs. The quantizer being geared fro production as we speak, so I'll just wait until the next round to get them. I was going to wait, but I figure go ahead and get my main order in to flesh out the lion's share of the system, then come back later with another order once the quantizers have been released.

It's a pretty good deal, and the sound is amazing. I'm happy with it. I will probably build a road case for it so I can take it with me and have it survive, lol!


Dupont leads really aren't all that problematic. One colleague of mine is using a Starter 2 extensively for live work, and he reports that the new pin sockets on the modules are considerably more stable than typical protoboard connectors. It's also possible that Korg skimped on those and got ones that're very shallow to better fit the Volca form factor; the deeper connectors I have on my Mescaline and my Bastl devices don't drop leads.


Yup! Lugia is spot on. Not only that when you consider the layout: wires up top, knob down bottom: input on the left, outputs on the right, you simply have far less chance of dropping leads. and like Lugia said the pin sockets and the new wires make it even better. It's a well thought out design.


I was quite shocked how good the Ae stuff sounds , it reminds me of older analogue gear , i am not a fan of a lot of modern sound and quality of the audio but Ae is really for the cash amazing sonically speaking i feel.


Really excited to hear this. We are going to order a setup or two for our youth workshops. Really wish they had the format and AE modules on here to plan our setup!


They do have a format grid to help you plan your setup. It's on the Tangible Waves Web site: http://grid.aemodular.com/


Yeah, the sound is a real throwback to the classic 1970s analogs. It's got the character and grit that you'd expect out of some of the better modulars/patchables of the time. Fact is, some of what I hear there reminds me a lot of that dirty, weird, and alien sound you'd find with EML gear...although their "NYLE" VCF really nails the Synthacon sound. It's dirty as sin, it'll scream at you, and makes for leads that rip thru a mix like Jason Voorhees with a Poulan. They did that filter redux right. It's everything I remember about my own Steiner, too.

Also...if you read my long post/rant below, you'll note that I'm very fussy about what makes for a decent teaching synth. And since the AE distills everything down to the straightforward basics, it might actually be the best teaching system out right now. No superfluous functions, no excess. Just sound production all the day long, and everything makes perfect sense...Bauhaus-simple graphics, no bizarre decorations, etc. Just the facts, like Sgt. Friday asks for...


Bit of an update. Let's see if the forum likes it...hmmmm....linking from outside oughta work liiiiiike...
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Did it work? Why, yes it did, although the resolution still looks totally hammered. But that's my cheapo tablet cam doing what it does; I'd have gone out for batteries for the REAL camera, but...well, Covid-19 and all that...

THAT...is Gargantua, the largest (to date) Tangible Waves AE Modular factory build, on its stand that I cobbled up from various OnStage and Middle Atlantic bits, attached via a touch of Velcro and bespoke storm window clip-based lockdowns. And in the foreground, you can also see a Folktek Mescaline, rarebeasts Wicks Looper Acid, and my ancient but still stonkin' Mackie 1202, which handles submixing duties for the modular/patchables. And a can of DeOxit, of course. Must have DeOxit. Just behind the bottom cab, you can barely see a Tektronix PS282, which powers it and all of the other 9VDC devices (5A LINEAR supply, baybee!) in this area of the "modular sandbox" in the studio. Plenty of current left, too, as the entire AE only draws about 1.6A.

A 28 VCO rig has never been quite so TINY! But don't let the size fool you...this thing's got two Synthacon VCF replicas (two of eight VCFs, including the LPGs) in it that'll tear your head clean off in "wild" mode! Three 16-steppers, more trigger sequencing, THIRTY VCAs, dual springs, and on and on and on...and everything that you see that's empty now is already specced and ordered and will get filled when those modules are finally available.

So...uh, yeah. Some might note that I've been making a lot of noise about cost-effectiveness as of late. This is why. Hang on, because this next part's gonna HURT...BAD...

The answer to the inevitable question is "approximately $3900". Why, you could buy a whole 2/3rds of a Sound Easel for about that! Or populate an average 2 x 104hp Eurorack cab, but it won't pay for the cab you're populating.

Now...everyone building those Pr0nRacks, please note: this is as UNsexy as it gets! But the truth is that you don't, ever, never ever buy gear for its LOOKS, ultimately, when the real importance is instrumental capability. I did attempt an A-B comparison, pricewise, between this (Tangible Waves has its own "grid") and a Eurorack close-as replication while working this build out. The horrifying truth is that, no matter what I tried, the Eurorack variant would NEVER go below $19k, unless I severely crippled the module complement and made the Euro LESS capable than the AE. And yes, before you ask, that IS using Euro modules in the bargain-basement price range like Uli's. It was also HUGE; this thing's panel space is about 36" x 20"...think something like a 2 inch thick 12U Doepfer LMC cab flipped on its end...but in Euro, I kept running into sizes in the 5 or 6 tier range and the results came out to be really, REALLY unwieldy in my studio. But with this, I can unlink the top and bottom pairs, fold those pairs, and walk out of the studio with each half of Gargantua under each arm!

Soooo... how does it sound, you ask? Yeah, it's all that. When your rig is sporting what's basically six very extended versions in "primitives" of Buchla 258s in it, how else would it sound? The filters are beefy, sometimes really aggressive even. Everything else is nice and smooth...no weirdnesses that you wouldn't expect. Buyers remorse = exactly ZERO.


I'm sooo happy that I went with AE Modular. Gargantua is an inspiration to us all. I'm hoping to build seven oscillator system myself, something along the lines of a dotcom 44 or something, but with far more sequencing power and time modulation. You get so much for your money with AE.


Bit of an update. Let's see if the forum likes it...hmmmm....linking from outside oughta work liiiiiike...
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Did it work? > -- Lugia

No. Syntax error for the link, moreover link doesn't work if you are not signed in to the AE forum.


Aaargh...foiled yet again by the Markup Pixies and HTML Juju! I knew I should've gotten that Linux-powered Mojo Hand I saw in that weird herb shop and computer emporium years ago. Is there any way to drop the image into the post above that works without the AE Forum login?


@Lugia, do you know if AE is going to make a comparator module?


That's actually something Robert and I discussed quite some time ago. He was planning to explore whether a typical single-crossing comparator would be the way to go, or if it would be doable to implement a window comparator which gives two crossing points. I'm advocating for the latter, natch, not merely because...well, more = better...but because having two crossing points ALSO allows something to track rise/fall times, which then gives slope data that can be screwed with creatively. Note that I'm thinking WAAAY ahead of the present with this, also.


Looking around at that AE stuff, I'm wondering if I ought to make my first rack an AE/Eurorack hybrid. Maybe a Tiptop Mantis with an AE adapter or two? Also, I feel like it'd be ridiculously awesome to throw a Buchla into the mix, just for shits and giggles. Three formats working together. Wish I had money.

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

Well, the whole point of AE Modular is that you don't need much money and still sound as good as Euro, Buchla or Moog. It's up to you, but for me I don't have much money, and I'm getting exactly the sounds I want fro ma Starter 2. Will probably double that over the course of time, but no money, wan ta great sound AE Modular is it.


Exactly...the AE stuff definitely has its own sound to it. Like I noted before, there's definitely some of that old EML "grit" there. But there's no need to house any of it in a Mantis...AE has six different cases already, Euro adapter modules notwithstanding.

It's also worth noting that you can't necessarily patch a Eurorack module directly to an AE one. The AE system is rather different...it doesn't want to see negative CV values, and all CVs must be between 0 - +5V. Most Eurorack modules, however, can deal with up to 10V bidirectional. In order to interconnect these, you'd have to either...

1) attenuate the voltage levels AND establish a common groundplane for both systems, or...

2) use an adapter device. AE has the 4I/O, Soundmachines makes the Nanobridge (I use both, depending on what I'm trying to do). These correct voltage levels AND polarizations, with the Nanobridge making use of the AE's bus +5V and ground as references.


I acknowledge the AE is cheaper, I will likely start with it and Eurorack. I was just having a bit of fun imagining a frankenrack with Buchla, Euro, and AE all working together with adapters. Hell, throw in an Expert Sleepers ES-8 and incorporate VCV rack. Isn't Buchla supposed to be really expensive?

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

Buchla isn't merely expensive. It's LAMBO expensive! Which is a tad weird, because the original SFTMC "box" was built for a pittance taken from a Rockefeller Foundation grant in the mid-1960s. So...why am I expected to spend $500 (the amount of the grant!) on a new 158? R&D? Nope. Components? Nope. HYPE??? ....uhhhh...

The same problem exists all over in modular, though. Things that Roger Arrick can make for sensible prices are also (pretty much) made by Moog for insane nosebleed ones. If you could even get them as separate modules from Moog, that is, and not part of a massively-overpriced "vintage reissue" model. Or I could buy Serge stuff from STS up in Wisconsin...but why would I if I can get Serge-based gear from elsewhere, since Rex wants to go nuts on prices while still maintaining their costly fixed-module-panel form factor? And then there's Cwejman...don't EVEN get me started there!

Robert at AE is definitely making money...but it's ETHICAL money. The AE stuff doesn't require mindwrenching price-tags, so it doesn't have them. The "hype factor" about their stuff isn't something based on pure hype...but on the enthusiasm of their user base, which keeps growing. I feel loads better about supporting that sort of thing...and besides, his gear rocks.


Funnily enough, it looks like some of Buchla's Red Panel euro modules would play rather nicely with AE. I don't know about AE and actual Buchla format though. I wonder how well AE would play with pedals. I saw an AE module with USB power sockets. I think they make USB to 9volt center negative cords. EDIT, they as in somebody somewhere, not AE

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

The USB module is just a power connection for things like controllers, etc that can be powered over USB. It doesn't pass any signals.

The problem with interfacing AE to anything else is that the AE likes to see a very specific range of incoming voltages, namely 0 - +5V...and this goes for ALL incoming signals, whether they're CV, mod, trigger, gate, or audio. This means that you either have to use a buffering module such as the AE 4I/O or a Soundmachines Nanobridge to constrain and offset signals properly. Plus, you have to establish a groundplane between the AE and other devices, sort of the same thing that's needed with a banana-patcher such as the Kilpatrick Phenol, Serge format gear, et al. Without that last detail, you won't have a signal return and your connections between the AE and whatever it's hooked to won't happen.

Actual Buchla format (as in their split-signal patching method, which separates CV/mod/clocking from audio) would be doable...but again, buffering would be necessary, and in this case you'd be dealing with two different buffering methods: one for the CV banana jacks, the other for the 3.5mm audio lines. Messy but possible.

As for pedals, sure...you'd just use a 4I/O to drop your levels for the pedal's input, then raise them back up to synth levels when they go back to the AE.


Yea, I was just thinking the USB module could be used to power the pedals that would then interface with a different module. How would one drop levels down or raise them up with the 4I/O? I'm not seeing any knobs to adjust levels like on some of the eurorack pedal interfaces.

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

How would one drop levels down or raise them up with the 4I/O? I'm not seeing any knobs to adjust levels like on some of the eurorack pedal interfaces.
-- Thatdummy

It doesn't use them. Instead, the 4I/O is a bit more "automatic"; all voltages are constrained to the AE's "operating window" of 0 - +5V. For additional gain inside the AE environment, you'd then use the 2SIGNALAMP to get more level, and on the "outside" you'd just need to turn down your effects' gain, since the voltage difference between the AE standard and typical line level isn't as potentially extreme as in other modular formats. See here for more: http://wiki.aemodular.com/pmwiki.php/AeManual/4IO


Huh, makes sense. I didn't think that it'd automatically adjust levels.

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.