Hi all,

I want to build a rack that has modules to use for exploring FM and wave table synthesis! Besides the industrial sound from modules like Subconscious Communications, Trogrotronic, and Metasonix, what would you recommend for such a rack and why?

I figure that I can have my one row of industrial special modules and one row for FM and one for wave table!

Waldorf NW1! Basically, a monophonic baby PPG generator, with your computer doing the 'Waveterm' part via USB.

Yeah the Waldorf and Akamie's Castle would fit the bill for wave table and FM synthesis in a Eurorack! Do I need lots of VCAs and filters for those two modules? I think having FM, wave table and the few industrial niche modules plus utilities, power/case and some Erica Synth pico modules would make for a fun portable setup. I don't have 50k plus like our wealthy friend on here. Something like this might work?

ModularGrid Rack

Of course I would take out the Sputnik touchpad and have it separate to free up rack space for other modules.

The basic PPG signal chain is a digital wavetable oscillator into an analog VCF (lowpass) to an analog VCA, with analog control over the whole thing. Very simple. That right there would be more or less a PPG Wave Carrier, save that the bit depth/sample rate of a present-day wavetable oscillator would be a lot higher than the original, which was rather gritty and aliased like crazy at high frequencies (which, in truth, was an asset as you could work that aliasing into patches in interesting ways).

As for FM...that can be as complicated or as simple as you want. An Akemie's would work, or a couple of Doepfer's TZFM VCOs, or just combining basic sine VCOs with arrays of EGs and VCAs to build the operator chains yourself to get the classic Chowning methodology in analog. That can be a bitch to program, however. Plus, as Yamaha found, having some sort of filter after that generation section helps that sound out a lot.

The other 'got done a lot in digital' method is, of course, additive. But that's sort of nightmarish in analog: you'd need a sine VCO for each partial with the proper offsetting on each so that all of the VCOs track properly, then a VCA for each with its own DADSR (yes, you want a delayed envelope in all cases) to control the VCA amplitudes, with all VCAs summing into a mixer with individual level controls. On the other hand, doing additive this way allows a lot of inharmonic partial settings, possible phase-shifting of various partials...but also, a potential brain hemorrhage from trying to keep the whole mess programmed!

Thank you Lugia for the great explanation! I think getting an Akamie's Castle module for FM
and Waldorf Wave table oscillator with VCA and VCF works for wave table synthesis.

Regarding granular synthesis, is this even possible on modular gear or is it too complex and expensive?
Normally computers do this but I'd be curious if modular can do granular synthesis and how to do that as well.

Not only possible, but there's competing devices:

The Percussa SSP can also be found on here, while the GR-1 is more of a stand-alone instrument. Also, the Percussa SSP appears to be part of a larger system that Percussa has further parts of, such as the SoundCubes, etc.

That would be fun to have all the different tools for exploring all fields of synthesis: subtractive, west coast, FM, wave table, and granular. Hope I land gig and can score discounts to fund these ventures as it is not cheap! But will see if contenders like Behringer over time can lower entry costs as the Neutron looks promising for a 3 oscillator modular desktop with patching options. That and the Plankton Ants are quite affordable steps. I am blown away at how much I can get by on just with my tiny Make Noise 0-coast device. It sounds like a mini Buchla in many ways.

That's because it kinda is.

I was just commenting in email to an old collaborator of mine that these days have blown the doors wide open. If you can imagine something, it can probably be realized somehow, and in the course of doing so, six more ideas are likely to appear. I would've never envisioned something like the electronic music environment that exists today; there were certainly indications of it decades ago, but the combination of inexpensive and powerful tech combined with decades of gear from which to pick and choose, and the ability to link it all up like is possible now...we'd never really envisioned that back when I was way back in undergrad studies and so much of this was unobtainable or didn't exist at all.

I can hardly believe what I can do now, sometimes.

Agree in many ways extremely fortunate to have the power of what would cost MILLIONS of dollars years ago and require a large studio to use. The flip side today is that making a living off of music is nigh impossible due to the flood of cheap music gear and everyone is an instant DJ/musician online and music is free on most channels.

Then again, music to me is a hobby and way to explore and eventually create the soundtracks to my short stories, screenplays and novels that I one day hope to complete and spin into small films or animated features. It would cost me a fortune to pay a band like KMFDM or Metallica to use their music. BUT I can create my own takes with the gear widely available to me.

In fact I was producing some tracks the other day with my Elektron and Make Noise 0-coast that sounds very industrial KMFDM and Skinny Puppy/NIN in many ways. That brought smiles to me. Now I just a mike to record harsh lyrics and write some songs the record to Ableton or Cubase and remix/remaster.