I am still not sure about this, looking at the tremendous work that it costs... the idea of starting to review modules and writing a review report about it and publishing it in PDF format and not the usual video way by the even more usual YouTube, started around early 2020.
I then used about a half year to create the template for this review report and since end of last year I started to create review reports themselves. They are not the usual way of reviewing stuff, I took here a little different road if I may put it like that.
Since the enormous amount of work that goes into a review, I have so far only completed 5 review reports but I hope over the months and years this will grow. I know against over 8000 modules 5 review reports is not much... close to zero ;-) On the long run I hope to be able to do 10 review reports on average per year. So after 10 years that would still be only 100 review reports. On the other hand, if you never start, never something will happen.
Not sure if this crazy idea makes any sense, I might stop after a few years, let's see how it goes. Meanwhile if you are interested in a review report, they are in PDF format, nothing fancy really. You can download the reports from my website:
Thorough reviews in a written format is an excellent idea @GarfieldModular. Just looking over your Waldorf review (wow!), I can see that this is a labor of love. I have always been an avid reader, and as much as I love DivKid and some of the other reviewers, I process things much differently when they are in-depth and written.
Thanks for doing this. Please share each new review.
I tried to keep up a monthly look at some of the more interesting modules coming out...until about a year-ish ago, when the DELUGE of new Eurorack modules just got to the point where it became untenable. Fact is, there's quite a bit of really intriguing modules and such hitting the sales floors now...I don't really know WHAT to compare it to, either. Some have referred to this as the "modular renaissance", but that seems more characteristic of 20-ish years ago, when Dieter had started putting out the A-100 system, and you started to see third-party firms building for the format. What we have NOW...well, damn...it's as if the entire rulebook on Things You Create Music With has been tossed in the shredder to make confetti! ANYONE can have one of these machines, and unlike the first huge period of modular (1968-80), they don't take up the same amount of room as the car you'd have to purchase in order to spend an equivalent amount of money.
Couple that with the continuing explosion of computer power available to Joe Average, the development of software suites such as Ableton Live or Reason and software instruments such as the ones from Arturia (and LOADS of others), and this situation actually starts to resemble 1977 and the punk scene's democratization of music making...albeit in a sustained manner, with little indication of this flaming out anytime soon. Plus, lines of demarcation that used to be there around what/how to make music are dissolving; it's not unusual now to see the likes of, say, Daniel Lopatin doing film scores, working as Oneotrix Point Never to do pop, or transforming into Chuck Person to become one of the founding vaporwave luminaries. Strange and interesting times, indeed!
So far following review reports are ready for download from my website:
Doepfer - A-110-1 VCO
Doepfer - A-124 SE Wasp filter
Erica Synths - Pico Switch
Make Noise - Mult(-iple)
Waldorf - DVCA1 (dual VCA) but you found that one already ;-)
For this coming month February I hope to be able to produce the review reports of Doepfer - A-140-1 ADSR and A-145-1 LFO modules. Perhaps once a month I will mention it, I don't want to become known as a "spammer" ;-)
Lugia: Thank you very much for your kind post as well as your thoughts and views. I only can agree with you on how crazy Eurorack became and still becomes, the variety of modules is so immense that one can't keep a real overview of all of "what's out there"...
You mention you don't know how to compare it to or with, and I know you meant this in another context, just stealing here the subject ;-) In future review reports if I have reviewed more modules of the same function, let's say a few VCAs, then in paragraph 5.5 - Comparing this VCA module with other VCA modules I will start to compare in this example the VCAs I have already reviewed so one can (finally) start to compare... but for the moment that's the (hopefully near) future. I first need to get more reviews done of several functions and then more reviews of the same function so the comparing can get started... For the moment a long way to go.
Both: Thank you very much for your kind support and kind regards, Garfield.
Looking forward to giving these a read @GarfieldModular, and I've had my eye on a Waldorf Dual VCA, colorful VCAs being very exciting. One thing that stands out to me in Eurorack is the love and good energy so many people have for the field and for the people working in it. There are exceptions of course, but the community is something special and this will be a nice addition to it. Thanks for sharing.
You are welcome and if everybody in his/her way contributes to (modular) synthesizers one way or another then we all benefit of that somehow.
Regarding the Waldorf Eurorack modules in general, I just read an article about it that Waldorf seem to have stopped producing these modules, so if you consider one, you should hurry before it's getting sold out.
I wish you lots of modular fun and kind regards, Garfield.
As promised, I managed to create two new review reports for the Doepfer modules A-145-1 LFO and the A-140-1 ADSR EG; ready for download.
Just a very general and summarised view on my review reports, especially handy for those who don't want to read the entire approximately 70+ pages review report :-)
After the first head page, the contents tables and the introduction in chapter 1. The interesting reading straight away starts with chapter 2 - The module summarised. So if you don't have much time but just want to have a quick glance, you only have to checkout chapter 2.
In case that might have interested you into knowing more about the module, chapters 3 up till 6 can be read, and that's it. Chapter 7 is a large and extensive explanation of all the tables, parameters and characteristics used and mentioned in the previous chapters. Chapter 8 is the glossary. So it's actually only about chapters 2 up till 6, which are about twenty pages. So compared to 70+ pages, twenty isn't too bad, right? ;-)
Updated overview of the ready reviews for download:
Excellent. Going to look through the A140-1 review today.
You must be in the academic world in another life. Your reviews have all the signifiers of a dissertation. :)
On a related note, Garfield, I need to get your thoughts on the Doepfer monster cases. Will be upgrading soon and not sure which configuration I need. I know you are a Doepfer fan, so I’ll post a new thread soon with more context.
Thanks for your attention to detail in your reviews!
Ha, ha, thank you :-) Well... I wouldn't go as far as calling it a dissertation however... yes indeed besides (in my other life) my usual architect role in IT & telecommunication industry, usually large, solutions and setups, I am a technical document writer as well, hence that kind of setup of the review reports ;-)
What exactly would you like to know about the Doepfer monster cases? I mean, if I am going to write a review report about that you have to read another 20 pages ;-) Just kidding, I am not going to write a review report about cases... oh ooooh... having just said that... perhaps in the far future but not for now.
Roughly there are two types of Doepfer monster cases, the "cheap" series or "economy" monster cases, meaning the case has been made of simple but, at least that's how I experience it, still nice plywood or the "suitcase" style and better looking monster racks/cases.
The simple ones are the A-100 LMB(V) and A-100 LMS9(V) and the better looking ones (suitcase + cover) are the A-100 PMB, A-100PMS6, A-100PMS9 and A-100PMS12. I have myself a set of A-100 LMB and A-100 LMS9 whereby the LMS9 stands on top of the LMB and that's just a great set together. It's very economically as well, at least here in Europe, it's the most economical rack available, at least the LMS9 that is, the lowest price per HP.
The LMS9 has 3 rows of each 168 HP. The 9 stands for 9 U. The B stands for base; I guess but I might have read it somewhere as well. The V indicates a black painted plywood case (I have the non-V variant though, that's just plain and not painted plywood version). From a power supply point of view you have to be a little bit careful if you have power-hungry modules however if you have the combination of LMB (relatively more power per HP) and the LMS9 (relatively less power per HP) then you should be fine, you can then put the more power-hungry modules in the LMB rack and the less power consuming modules in the LMS9. In that way, I haven't faced any power consumption issue yet. Easy for me to say because...
For my own usage, I made a spreadsheet that contains a list of all the Euro rack modules I have with tons of information in it, power consumption on all power rails are parts of that. I then created names for the Euro racks I have and add a name of such rack behind the module I own. Then with some spreadsheet calculations it's easy to see your power consumption on a per PSU (Power Supply Unit) basis of each rack. So for example that LMS9 has two PSUs, so I call that rack LMS9-1 (for the left PSU in that LMS9 rack) and LMS9-2 (for the right PSU in that LMS9 rack) for example and the LMB-1 and LMB-2 in that way you can keep track of the power consumption of all PSUs (and of course in combination with the racks).
But I am drifting off the subject of Doepfer monster cases ;-) So back to that subject:
I also own one of those more fancy looking monster cases. If I have to be honest, they look great but I wouldn't easily use them as a way of transporting my modules to another location and have there a jam with it. These PMS cases weight a ton (almost) and since I am not a bodybuilder or otherwise strong person, I will face difficulties in carrying such a case around the globe for fun ;-) I still might do it after the Covid but that would be rather the exceptional case than a regular and default solution. Perhaps on the long term I might consider an Intellijel 7U case for visiting people to jam together.
Coming back to that power consumption topic. The bases (i.e. A-100PMB and A-100LMB) have each two PSUs and for just two rows per case, that's really sufficient. However if you take the LMS9 it has 3 rows (of 168 HP) with also just two PSUs and that can be in certain cases a bit limiting. But as I already mentioned, if you combine an LMS9 with an LMB, you really should be fine, in my opinion.
The A-100PMS6 also has 2 PSUs, so again one PSU per row, thus fine and the PMS12 even got 4 PSUs, again one PSU per row, so totally fine. It's just that LMS9 case where you have to keep an eye on the power consumption, hence the interesting price for such rack.
At the backside per monster case you just have one power cable connection, no matter if you have a case with 2 or 4 PSUs, so you only have one power cable. The rubber feet under those monster cases are seriously stable and of course you can cause the case to tumble backwards but with some respectful handling of the case it stands actually very stable on those rubber feet.
For this LMB and LMS9 set I also bought the A-100MVG set of very thick iron (I guess it is iron) black painted plates. These plates are actually meant for the PMB and PMS racks and though it doesn't fit perfectly it still can be used for the LMB & LMS9 combination as well; which is what I am doing. Doepfer didn't really perfectly designed the LMB and LMS9 (in context with the A-100MVG set and yes I know this set was meant to be used for PMS series but still), on each of the cases one small screw is going to be covered a bit by those plates making it not perfect but it suits its purpose to keep the racks bundled together :-)
For my LMB & LMS9 set, I use those A-100MVG plates at the back side of the cases and at the more towards the front of the sides of those cases I added myself on each side one smaller plate to keep there the cases together as well. It's plywood so it's easy to drill a few small holes in there and tighten those metal plates with a few screws and nuts and then you got a rock-solid set of LMB & LMS9 and then those rubber feet of the LMB are sufficient enough to keep that rack-set into place without worrying that it might tumble unless you put your entire body weight against it, of course then it will :-)
Anything else that comes to my mind...? Not for the moment, I am really happy with this LMB & LMS9 set, so giving me 5 rows of each 168 HP = 840 HP. Plenty of space!
If you don't live in a Hobbit house hence your ceiling is not too low ;-) You can add even one more LMS9 rack on top of that giving you 8 rows * 168 = 1344 HP, even more space ;-)
The "only problem" I have with this LMB & LMS9 set isn't really Doepfer's mistake, it's rather my own caused "problem". That problem is...
That set of LMB & LMS9 is already near fully packed with modules :-( and of course ;-) It's so nice to use this combination of LMB & LMS9 and you might think: "Oh plenty of space", indeed but even then, there comes a time that even those racks are going to be fully packed with modules...
But yes, I can, without any hesitation, recommend the Doepfer monster racks, I really like them, especially those LMB & LMS9 ones since they are more affordable than those expensive (but nice looking) PMB & PMS racks.
Not sure if I covered everything, otherwise just let me know what you would like to know.
Edit: Oh yes, I forgot, another huge benefit of Doepfer cases is... I really don't bother to check the depth of modules because most likely it's going to fit ;-) Well I actually do check it most of the times but what I am trying to say is... if it doesn't fit in a Doepfer case it most likely isn't going to fit in any other case either ;-)
Thank you so much for your thoughts on these cases. Your setup (LMB & LMS9) is exactly the combination I am considering. They are incredibly economical and available at one of the modular shops I usually order from. I definitely do need to go through my planned rack to break down the power consumption per row. Thanks for the reminder and details about the LMS9 power supplies.
I'll probably invest in these new cases in May, so I'll let you know if I have any more questions in the meantime.
I know what you mean about packing the racks with modules so quickly. After looking through your module reviews, I'll probably buy a few more. ;)
Thanks again for all of your input, and for making the modular community a welcoming place.