Just curious about them. I couldn't bring myself to purchase the candy-colored ones regularly available on Reverb out of aesthetic stinginess alone, but some of their other modules have interested me at times. Skimming around the modulargrid ratings however, seems to leave me with the impression their modules aren't very high-quality, with some (like the Alpha dual ADSR) receiving as low as 1 star. There's not very many ratings to go by on most of them though. I'd been really interested in the Drips at one point (which does have a high rating) and a few of the other cream-colored ones (Alpha/Beta/Theta etc.) but ... guess I was just curious if users here have used their modules much and have any opinions or experiences to share about them.
If you're not buying modules because of aesthetic reasons... what are you doing man? Is it going to mess up your instagram pics? #blessed #justmodularthings Choosing fashion over function is not recommended. You'll miss out. You're shooting yourself in the foot because no one else is using your rack.
And online rating systems have been ruined over the past decade. Amazon, Walmart, Yelp, etc. For every 1 good review, there are several bad or disingenuous reviews. Every time a Behringer module is posted on MG, people rush to give them a 1 star and then they pat themselves on the back, "I saved modular synthesis! Hooray!" But in reality, they've just contributed towards making rating systems worse as a whole. i.e. Ratings should be taken with a huge grain of salt.
In other words, the Dreadbox Chromtic line is great! :) People love Dreadbox's desktop synth line-up. So it's nice to have an affordable, fully-modular version. And after a while, you won't even notice the aesethetic. The function is the important part.
+1 on catwavez comments above. Also, it's worth noting that if we put pretty much any of the modules in my Digisound Series 80 up as "new" (in the MOTM section, which is pretty much the same form factor), they'd get one-star ratings as well. But at the same time, I also used the same Digisound system as part of an elaborate installation in 2000, and it had a few people thinking I'd done this thing with some complex Max/MSP or Supercollider rig. If you make it work, and it works the way you want, who gives a flying about "stars"?
People don't tend to care about the appearance of a modular synth outside of the synth community. The vast majority of the public want good MUSIC, not aesthetic instrument design.
@catwavez/Lugia, I'll explain it to you. There are hundreds of modules I'm interested in. I won't be able to afford them all anytime soon, and there is a tremendous amount of cross-functionality between existing modules. I am an extremely visual and aesthetic person. This doesn't always equate to preferring the prettiest or "coolest" looking things, necessarily, but I like what I like. If it comes down to two dual filters that both perform well and do comparable things to my satisfaction, I'm going to choose the one I enjoy the aesthetics of more (unless I consider the price differential too unreasonable). Aesthetics can also overlap with functionality a bit. Recent threads I started on MI clone modules and Blue Lantern modules both received a number of comments from users dinging both for, at least in part, aesthetic reasons.
If I'm sitting and working with a module every day, then the way it looks, the way it feels, the way the knobs turn, etc. etc. -- they are subtle things that may not seem "important" to you, but I would argue it's all a part of the subjective user experience, and a part of the appeal of modular generally, at least for me. If you truly don't care about the aesthetic factor at all, why not just use Max8 and VCV and a DAW? It's way more efficient and way less expensive than populating a modular rack. Beyond that, while it's not my aesthetic of choice, I'd say that people buying up those candy-colored Dreadbox modules are doing so at least in part on the basis of enjoying the sort of cheesily, tongue-in-cheek, nostalgic aesthetic of them. Different strokes.
Thanks for the confidence vote on Dreadbox, though. It's not very specific, but I'm (honestly) happy to hear you enjoy their modules and feel they're a good value. Their modules are pretty affordable, but the very meh reviews/ratings and low cost had me wondering about them a bit, in terms of build quality, user experience, etc. As I said, there are some Dreadbox modules I am pretty interested in.
My comment was a word of caution about choosing modules based strictly on aesthetics alone and allowing "thumbs down" to affect choice. You asked for an opinion on Dreadbox and I told you mine. I didn't say specifics because you didn't specify which Chromatic module and I don't have experience with their cream colored modules.
Though, I'd be more than happy to discuss the Chromatic modules I DO have. The Hysteria analog VCO with built-in quantizer and morphing waveforms blows my mind because it is $99. Also, at the same price, Utopia module with buffered multiples, 4 attenuverters, CV LFO, offset, "pulserizer/distortion", and intuitive normalization. The Chromatic modules are feature packed and super affordable. That's the point. Not really the color. I mean, 95%* of all modules are grey or black anyway. After a year and a half of owning these, I just don't think about the color. Some of my favorite legendary artists have entire systems of Doepfer or Analogue Systems or Moog Modular. Those aren't exactly visually striking.
Go with whatever module you want. All I'm saying is a $4000 64hp single bandpass filter isn't automatically better just because it has a hand-painted Renaissance-inspired painting on it. And a thumbs-down from some random anonymous forum user shouldn't damn a module to obscurity; especially from a beloved creator.
Actually, when I've dealt with systems that have all sorts of different module aesthetics, I've found the various panels and layouts to be helpful...as long as they're designed to make sense. When navigating a front panel, you get used to the pattern of light/dark/color/no color that's there, and that aspect helps to make things easier to navigate...especially in low-light situations as one might encounter at a live gig. If I know that, say, my LFOs are right there between this wide black panel and that gold Ladik module, it makes it easier to simply grab the right knob after a cursory glance, whereas with everything having the same appearance, you might not be able to do that as easily.
Fact is, one thing that drove me off the hinge when dealing with Moog modulars was that constant black space, with modules denoted by the little silver strips between them (usually). They might sound awesome (and they DO) but my god, are they ever a nightmare to deal with in low light and/or when you're starting to familiarize yourself with a given system. Buchla 200 modules have much the same problem...but in their case, you're also dealing with the two different patching layers. Again, not really fun until you get past the learning curve.
If you truly don't care about the aesthetic factor at all, why not just use Max8 and VCV and a DAW?
That is not just about aesthetics: it's a very different way of working. But the look of the front panel of a module (assuming that the labelling is clear) does not affect how one uses it. That said, I share some of @eexee's concerns. The Dreadbox modules look a little garish to me. An example of a module that I will not consider solely based on the aesthetics is the recent Cre8audio / Pittsburgh Modular collab called Capt'n Big-O. Terrible name, terrible look. Even though I was contemplating an SV-1b earlier (a submodular thought phase before going full Eurorack), I will not buy this module, no matter how good it sounds. Is that irrational? Perhaps. But a lot of what we claim as rational behaviour is thin justification over an irrational core. Some of my recent acquisitions were swayed by aesthetics, and my current rack looks pretty good. I think it also sounds good, but am I kidding myself? Hard to say, really.
@catwavez, I hear ya -- fair enough & thank you for the rundown. That's helpful and interesting. Didn't mean for my reply to be testy or whatnot, but I'm not above liking things simply because they're pretty at times, so I kinda wanted to think through my feeling about aesthetics vs. function anyway, lol.
@Lugia that's an interesting point about about "samey" racks and does make the to me otherwise baffling design of something like, say, the Moog Grandmother, more understandable (though I realize there's an all-black version as well). While my modules are mostly black, I do find it helpful at times to break up portions that sort of blend together with an accent (via any non-black module). I don't perform live, but I feel a little OCD about my evolving rack at times (not uncommon in this hobby I'd imagine) and sometimes vacillate between liking the idea of a very clean feel with a lot of consistency (an all- or mostly-(black) ADDAC system makes me salivate a bit, lol, I love the vibe of their modules -- it's like the appeal of Doepfer vintage, if DV had to clean itself up to attend a fancy social function) -- and also wanting a case that has a lot of variety and character and personality and a bit of chaos to it, continually trying modules from many different makers (maybe part of the reason I can sort of embrace Blue Lantern's aesthetics). It's going to be the mish-mash / a-little-of-everything route regardless, for various reasons, but I used to be a freelance designer and am currently an artist, so I always end up musing about the overall visual aesthetics of things, and always vacillate between enjoying extreme clarity and order, and cozy, personality-rich chaos.
@plragde -- I just looked up that module, and ... yeah, agreed, lol. Tbh despite all I've said about it, I can usually get past or come around to most module aesthetics if I have a reason to (great value, needed functionality, a useful accent/splash of something different, etc.) and can at least theoretically see the appeal of many modules ranging from Manhattan Analog to Dreadbox Chromatic, ADDAC to Blue Lantern. But occasionally an especially bad aesthetic can be a dealbreaker -- the other that comes to mind I noticed recently was a ... mm ... I think a Birdkids module, maybe? ... that had a unicorn graphic on the front and the unicorn's butthole was one of the main jacks or something like that. I get they're just having some fun, but ... man. Snazzy FX comes to mind too ... I think being aggressively psychedelically ugly is just kinda their thing, but, man ... I'd have to really want one of their modules to get past the look of most of them.
As a side note, being an aesthetically driven buyer to a small degree, it does drive me a little nuts when I can find something like an ADDAC Marble Physics in cherry red and matte black, but for some reason every vendor -- including ADDAC themselves -- wants a ton extra for the black one.
quality of breadbox modules on the chromatic line are top notch. I personally love the colours.
aesthetics wise I think multiple shades of black and silver look awful next to each other and I purposfully try where possible to contrast between different module shades. Dunno why but I find the pink of the ataxia attracts me first before maths when patching, I just find it much simpler and easier to use.
Really like my Nostalgia. And it's not my only (BBD) delay. For the money a "no-brainer". Own it for over a year now. No technical issues. Only thing is that the white paint around "Time" and "Feedback" is disappearing. But that gives this Chromatic module, a nice "nostalgic" 303 look.
Owned Ataxia and the pink looked lovely next to "old school" mutable modules. Sold it because I preferred a dedicated ADSR.
Came to this thread to learn more about Dreadbox, and I’m pretty sure that Hysteria will be in the next expansion, but I now know that the Unicorn Boom exists! Bwahahaha! That panel is awesome. I don’t care what it does. I guess I’ll never not be 12. ;-)