Responding to Lugia, I spoke with Vinicius Brazil today, and he certainly does speak Portuguese. :) They have rebranded their site to: https://viniciuselectrik.com/ but the old VBrazil Systems page still seems to be active (and contains his e-mail)
I have been interested in getting started with modular for some time and I have been keen on getting the twisted electrons crazy8 beats for the reason that you can take it out of it's desktop case and add it to a modular rig. I figured this would be an easy way for me to use it standalone and then place it in a case once I am ready.
Fast forward a few months and I am really enjoying the videos about the Black Noir from Endorphin.es. So I just had a random thought that I could probably put together an all-black modular drum machine.
Some random google picture searches later, I found a really cool case called Mechanism that has some joysticks and other audio/cv utility modules in a 1U format and 95 HP of space.
So I plopped in the Crazy8 Beats, Black Noir, and an Erica Synths Drum Sample Player. Originally I had planned to use Erica Synths clock generator as it fits perfectly in the remaining space (11HP) and would provide some extra clock utility for other gear. But after some though, I just don't see this being terribly useful to me right now. Also, I realized I needed a mixer to pull the main mix from Black Noir, the two sample outputs and at least one extra channel for a sound pulled from Black Noir's main mix. So I settled on a small mixer than can double as two mixers! The extra space lets me put in two Pico DSP modules.
I figure this is covers all the bases for a neat starting point into a modular drum machine.
Randomization doesn't equal generative, per se. It's a part of it, to generate variation, but you can't make up a decent generative structure out of pure randomness.
A better idea, and this actually would be generative:
-Take a series of LFOs. Four of these feed modally-set quantizers and cycle through their waveforms at slightly different periods. -Now, feed these four LFOs with differently-timed quadrature LFO signals, so that one of each pair of the first LFOs is offset by 90 degrees phase from the other.
-Next, feed these two quadrature LFOs with a single master LFO at a very low rate of change. Also, one of those feeds should go through a CV-able polarizer, which is being controlled by one of the quadrature LFOs (reverse-feedback control structure, more or less).
-Now, add comparators. These step the quantizers, and also provide trigger/gates for VCAs, VCFs, down the line, in the voice structure. We'll just deal with the control structure here, tho. Each comparator is paralleled to the initial LFO outputs via mults, but each one's trig/gate output affects a different voice than the originating LFO/quantizer pair controls the pitch of.
-Patch each of the quantizer outputs to a VCO in the voice chain, and then keep patching as normal for voicing.
Notice that, while the summed behavior of the output pitches is also, in a sense, random...it's actually not. Instead, what you hear is the result of a rather complex algorithm of voltage curves, smoothed into pitches through the use of quantizing. But given that there are constraints present in the various LFO rates and waveforms, the comparator settings, the quantizer modalities, the VCO tunings that allow each of these a randomness within a range of N actions (N being the factor of constraint created by the settings as well as control inputs), it's technically NOT random. Instead, the result is generative...a constantly-spun pattern of notes in four-voice polyphony, non-repeating, but constrained in such a way that there is a seeming predictability to the result, despite the fact that there is no actual proper 'control' applied. A better way to think of it is to look at it as a 'chaotic' process; not random, but certainly not linear, either.
Actually, the 'full-time producer with a well-equipped studio' part is the most perplexing thing here, given that you're just NOW getting a rather basic analog patchable. I detect hyperbole.
Anyway, the point of modular is this: when you've exhausted the normal potentialities of existing synth architectures, this allows you to toss all of that out the window and start with your own definitions about how to generate and manipulate sound. Even with the plethora of buttons and knobs that a Sub37 has, you're still dealing with a fixed sound generation path. But when there's no fixed path, you're free to define all of that yourself. Now, if you know synthesis methods pretty well, this isn't a problem. But if not...well, there's potentially a BIG problem.
Consider: two different model kits. One, you have step-by-step directions, plastic parts that snap together, a tube of glue, and decals. The other consists of a number of appropriately-sized pieces of wood, a picture of the end-result, and you're expected to have your own tools, paint, and glue/fasteners. Modular is like the second example. You have the parts...but you have to make them into something. Whereas prebuilds give you the parts, the basics, and all you have to do is twist knobs and such. Most anyone can build the former kit. The latter one is for when you've mastered the former variety and know exactly how to turn those basics into something amazing.
Granted, it wasn't always this way, since back when all of this started, the only choice was modular, period. And this is part of the problem, because modular has this 'cachet' from that history that makes it 'sexier'. But it doesn't make it necessary, because these days, for a large percentage of applications, it's not. I use both modular and non-modular synths, myself...some work perfectly for certain tasks, others are perfect for others.
If you want to know 'why modular?', go back and study the history of synthesizers, back into the pre-synth 'classical studio' period first. Know why they were developed in the first place. And then why the first prebuilts came into existence. And how the first polysynths were developed out of those. And so on. And then, why people DIDN'T use them for quite a while...which is also very important. Understand your instrument...which, as a 'full-time producer', is technically the studio but unless you understand its origins, and the origins of key subcomponents, you're not either. Anyone can say that; walk it, instead. Just sayin'.
okay well to start, I have had a love for analog and especially modular synths for a while now. about a year ago I decided to purchase the mother 32 and 0-coast to start my modular journey. as these are two great platforms to learn from. now I am on the move to start my eurorack.
first of all I'm a huge lover of techno and house music and have been producing for about 7 years now in Ableton. I want to make more organic and raw sounds. thats one reason I love eurorack so much. so thats a big thing I am wanting to achieve with my eurorack. integrate it into my production set up and rely on modules making up about 80% of my tracks.
second, I want to be able to make an entire song with my eurorack.similar to Colin benders or steevio. obviously not as amazing as them though and with a smaller set up. I am going to add in a DFAM more them likely in the future for my drums as well.
third, I am wanting it to also be able to be a bit of an ambient monster for days I just want to relax and listen. hints the clouds module and the rainmaker.
finally, I am wanting to add two more rows far in to the future for more of a live set up.
I have decided to go with the intellijel 7u case because I love the for factor, the fact that you can put the top on while its patched, and the audio ins and outs on the case as well as the midi ins and outs.
I am basically a beginner in all of this so I need as much help as I can get on this journey. and I know how close nit and passionate the modular community is. I really want to know what I am going to need to make what I am wanting out of my eurorack possible. maybe tell me things that I have in my sketch that I don't need or that don't make any sense. things that I don't have that I should add. and modules that I don't know about that may help me achieve all of the things I want to do.
any advice I can get will be amazing.
I'm new to eurorack, so I don't have much to offer on your rig other than amazement. Wanted to leave a message saying that your album is dope. "the fucking sweathearts" is a winner of a closing piece.
thanks so much ! glad you dig it :)
Keep in mind that the Pitch CV from the DFAM is bipolar, and the A-156 only takes positive CV. You'll need to rescale your CVs from the DFAM to use the whole range of the knobs.
You might consider getting a module like Triatt or Shades for that. Alternatively, if you want to go bigger, maybe consider getting a four-quadrant multiplier like Blinds: it can do CV rescaling, VCA, ring modulation , and mixing for 4 channels. I use Blinds almost exclusively to construct my LFOs before I quantize.
For quantizing, I really like the Toppobrillo Quantimator, it can do a lot of scales and the arrebesque feature is cool. I find it more useful than the A156 personally. I would suggest pairing this with a clock divider and sample+hold.
If you want to sequence that with both channels of the DFAM, you can use one sequencer channel to control pitch and the other channel to either transpose or change scale - having the 2nd channel go through a sample+hold triggered to sample on an odd beat (like 7 or 9) out of 8 will result in a lot of variations.
EDIT: Oh! Almost forgot to mention it, you are really gonna need a bigger power supply than that Zeus for 9U, especially if you plan on filling it out. Power is expensive, but worth it, so plan for what you think you might need plus another 20% (you need extra power at power-up for some modules).
Marbles is more of a random-function type of device, though...a sample and hold on major 'roids, mainly for working with random variable signals. To get the scalar stepping, you need a quantizer, which is also sort of a sample and hold, but one which outputs very specific scalar CV intervals...or which, in many iterations, can simply rescale incoming CVs without the need for a stepping clock signal to 'fire' a sample-step.
Gotta say, tho...Marbles is a killer random-manipulator module. Anyone doing generative work of any sort can benefit by having one of these in the rack.
I kind of only want the samplilng modulator cause it seems cool... I have s&h in o_c and in disting. so maybe I should get rid of it. If I got rid of it, and / or moved the terminal tedium as above, what I could use is more oscillators. a orchestra of oscillators would be great for drone / sound design stuff.
improvements: possibly ditch the rainmaker (NO!!!) and replace with some other clockable delay (dld, strymon, maybe even just chronoblob). also kind of love the befaco crush delay, but it couldn't be my main delay. could get similar effects with just distorting and otherwise crushing (with sampling modulator, or plague bearer), the fx out of chronoblob. and still maintain longer, clockable delays.
This rack is made up of the two cases I have: a mantis and the bottom row is the tiptop happy endings case I have. obviously could upgrade, but I think I don't need it.
this synth serves two purposes. live performance of future techno-y kind of drum music, and crazy textural sound design.
the top row is basically all triggerable drum modules and sounds for live performance. (the terminal tedium is to trigger video samples in an openFrameworks project)
the middle row is modulation and filters etc.
the bottom row is kind of sound designy stuff, textural pads whatever.
I'm slowly moving into my FH-2. The module is pretty deep as far as features and the web interface is very nice to have. But once you're in the web interface, it hogs the FH-2 as a MIDI device. This means my DAW, Ableton can't communicate with it.
The only viable solution is to only have one open at a time... which takes me out of my creative flow. For example if I want to add another drum part, I have to shut down Ableton, open the web-interface, reconfigure the FH-2 outputs, close the web app, then open Ableton again.
Anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I know ES has tinkered with Max4Live before and it's possible now to use SYSEX (one track for in the other for out).
Erica Synths makes a delay that is on my radar. It's digital but has an analog tape mode (pitch shifting) as well as a host of other features like additive looping. SynthDIYGuy did a video on it. It might be an alternative. But it's only available as a DIY and the full kit is 180 Euros.
I approach Eurorack much like a regular hardware synth. Make some bass sounds, leads, modulated fx sounds. I use a DAW when I write or am working on ideas. I capture any melodic ideas in MIDI as they come, which I can then run thru synths and effects to experiment. However, I want to incorporate some randomisation and see where some generative melody experimentation can take me, even if I want to stay within key or the particular "mode", music theory wise.
I have looked at the following:
- 2HP Rdm, followed by a 2hp Tune (quantizer) seems like a bare bones way to do this.
- The Music Thing Modular Turing Machine seems to have a little more functionality, though it would still need a quantizer (I believe). I like that it can vary its randomness over time, and you can freeze or lock a pattern. Seems user friendly.
- The Ornament and Crime seems like it can do what the above do, plus a million other things (which is why it seems a bit daunting to just dive into). Trying to even read and understand what exactly the O&C actually DOES is intimidating.
Any other options I should consider? Size / cost / functionality all matter, but being intuitive to use seems pretty important too. I know it if it is super complex, I am just going to struggle with it versus get inspired.
Well, the point with modular, as far as I am concerned, is to be able to connect "characteristics" of your choice. One set of modules in a setup each have distinct characters, compared to modules in a different setup. This is sort of the point of modular. With two setups or more, or just a larger set of modules, you can combine the individual modules and generate unique timbres. So where does one draw the line then?
The crux of course, is to know whether a module directly compares with one you already have. Most modules likely try have something unique, but the difference can be very subtle, and not worth the expense. On the other hand, and unfortunately for any owner, there are also times when you find a module that is basically the same as what you already got, but with one or two features/capabilities that makes it difficult to justify not exchanging modules, which becomes expensive over time.
There is a recent video from Pittsburgh modular about their 'Primary Oscillator' in which the person states somewhere along the line of, there are so many modules that produce the typical analog waveforms that we wanted to do something not done before. This, to me, sort of reflects on the point of the above. Of course, people will argue until the end of time whether two modules are basically sound the same (or not). Nuances, oscilloscope readings and subjective variety. You have to do a bit of research yourself.
Personally, I would go for something that you do not already have. Meaning, if you already have something that will basically do for you, what the Dixie II+ will do, then why get another one? People will argue for and against this and that, but the bottom line is that it is your money, not theirs. If you are going to spend on something, go for what is going to expand your sound palette.
Or look at it this way, why BUY two shades of blue, when you can mix the one shade of blue with something else and make your own shade of blue? Perhaps if money is not an object, but then what is the fun in that. :) Why not get yellow, which enables you to make your own green, and so on.
Has anyone fitted either a Rossum Morpheus or a Pittsburgh Primary Oscillator on the right-most 15HP, which has a depth limit of 25mm? The reason I am asking is because with to some other modules I have researched the depth indicated could be with or without the power connector.
Thank you dennis123 & Lugia. I have manage to update the rack and watch the videos about Tiptop's Fold. Very very nice module. I've arrange it and feel free to take a look. Not 100% sure about the layout but feel free to comment on it. Thanks!
Not sure why the rack is not updated when i previewed it here. Have to make another copy.
That is an excellent suggestion that is in line with some ways I would like to expand. I wouldn't have thought of it on my own.
EDIT: In looking through some highly rated modules with quantization and clock functions, it seems the new MI Marble module is highly regarded. The manual makes it look like Marbles covers a lot of ground. Looks like a winner.
i admit i am a bit confused here with this change of line up. Does the lifeform moniker mean that the new modules are different to the previous line in function or is it just the design?
And more specific, Is this replicator different to the analogue replicator?
CV-able waveshaping, perhaps? Tiptop's Fold is a nice choice, plus it gives you some suboctave dividers to add more low-end to the drone textures. And I have to agree about the multiple attenuverter...it'll come in handy for more than just the E350, too. Happy Nerding's 3X MIA might not be a bad choice, as it can also use its three attenuverter sections as separate 2-1 mixers, and each section can also do offsets, all in 6 hp.
Actually, this is way more on the right track than you think...add a dual quantizer, such as Doepfer's A-156, then feed that from the DFAM's two channels, and then the DFAM can control the base pitches for the M32's sequencers and do sequenced transpositions. A clock dividing/tinkering area might be a good idea for this, as well. That'll get you into something of a Berlin-school polysequencer-type zone, at least for starters.
isn't the 4ms VCA matrix a little bit oversized for a ''smaller'' case? i would use the mutable veils or another HP saving quad VCA. Other than that an attenueverter for the E350 is essential. I am using a Z.lob attenumixer. works just right. Im planning on getting a Erbeverb myself, drooling over the demos :-D
drone on boi!
a lot of that system is over my head. i'm just learning modular, and would never build a stand alone system without at least a keyboard & i don't get into analogue sequencing or complicated patches, i HATE maths! LOL
the one thing i can say about this rack though is shapeshifter rocks! even if i had one, i doubt i'd ever fully understand it, but the things it can do... WOW!
I would suggest a Mordax Data. I'm new too. So I'll often patch a lot of my modulation CVs into the Mordax so I can visualize what's being done with my envelopes, LFOs, Maths (hehe), etc. A lot of times my expectations aren't what's really going on in the signal chain or I've made a mistake or assumption that just isn't carrying water. The visuals give me instant feedback as to where I am versus where I want to be. It's a whole different ballgame than a traditional all-in-one synth. I'm much more efficient using one of those at the moment. I'm learning my particular modules, practicing, and learning their limits and more importantly my limits. I'm no DivKid yet :)
I'm a recent lurker who decided to dive into Eurorack after attending Moogfest with a friend this year.
I've committed the Eurorack sin of buying too many modules too quickly without a plan for what I ultimately want to build. Did I need 2x Mother 32s and a DFAM? Probably not, but Moogfest worked its magic. Here's a view of my current case. I own all the modules except for the Doepfer Wasp filter which I'm strongly considering ordering.
The ES-8 will be used to connect to my iPad and PC. My plan is to use VCVRack and Audulus to play with more unusual modules that I may not want to own in hardware form. So if there is a plan for my hardware rack, it has been to have bread and butter basics of Eurorack covered: VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, LFOs etc, plus have the ability to create some rhythmic patches.
I'd greatly appreciate any more experienced individual's opinion on how to expand. Maybe another LFO? Another VCA beyond the Doepfer quad?
EDIT: Weird. The page for this setup has the correct current modules, but the linked image in this thread shows something else.
I would also be interested if anyone has any information. I've been waiting to put in an order (I live in Brazil, so can order from them directly) since June, but sales are 'paused' until further notice, with no estimate at all for when they might return. For a while I thought that demand from abroad meant that they weren't bothering with small domestic orders anymore, but I'm not sure now. There was a recent post from their facebook account showing off a new case to be launched next year or something... who knows. I'll drop them another message and post here if I get a reply...
Price per HP, for me, is more of a way to avoid price 'traps'. For example, if there's two modules that have similar functionality, but one actually works out cheaper in price per HP when space isn't a primary concern, then that's a decider. But when space becomes a key criteria, then price per HP can slide a bit. For example, I know that two Doepfer A-171-2s come in at a higher price per HP each than does a MakeNoise Maths, which is essentially the same setup with a couple of extra bells and whistles. But if 16hp gets the priority over 20hp, then the Doepfers get the nod. Conversely, if I can fit 20hp, then the lower cost rules. It's not a hard/fast rule that gets followed when I do a build, but more of an indicator of potential directions and, often enough, a way to whittle down possible choices among similar modules.
A patchable wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Something like an Arturia Minibrute 2, which has both patchpoints and the ability to expand into Eurorack via their Rackbrute expanders, might not be a bad choice. A Moog M32/DFAM pair, which also seems like a popular starting choice, is another.
Yep, that sounds like the problem, then...but using the Ears to preamp the contact mic should work to send the signal on to a Time Bandit, which then outputs a trigger pulse that'll work most anywhere. I also remembered that Bastl makes a similar device (the KLIK), but it's solely a click-to-trig converter, whereas the Truetone Time Bandit can also function as a stand-alone clock source.
Oh no...you're the devil!
Perfect Circuit has the Rubicon II in stock. Let's feed the addiction. :)
Perfect Circuit has the Rubicon II in stock. Let's feed the addiction. :)
I haven't been able to get the RUbicon II yet. Still searching.
Here is what I actually have (or will by Friday...):
I know I have way too big of a case and I still need a delay of some sort and a clock (though I do have a Beatstep Pro.)
I think I over bought, but I had an opportunity to get this stuff now, so I did...
Now, how to organize it all...
I went with a Rubicon II as well. What ultimately sold me on the Rubicon is that it can function as an LFO as well. I was thinking about all of the crazy waveshapes I could generate then push them into a quantizer or controlling a filter cut-off. I went with a Tip Top Z3000 mkII rather than the Dixie II. In retrospect I might have been happier with the Dixie since it has a switch for controlling the range rather than sweeping through the entire frequency spectrum for dropping/raising the oscillator an octave.
I didn't see the Dixie in your set-up, though.
If you're looking to nick $1000 out of the set-up, how integral are the MakeNoise modules for your initial set-up? You're going to get a wide range of sounds out of the Rubicon.
For sure. The way I took what Lugia said was in the way you actually chose the Erica over the 2HP: more value because of more functionality in the same space. It helped me choose to go with a Rubicon II, Dixie II+, and wave folder option rather than the Furthrrrr. I like the furthrrrr a lot, but with just a few more dollars and hp, the Intellijel cobo has more functionality.
I would look into buying a complete synth voice: Intellijel, Pittsburgh, and many other manufacturers offer them. Most of them are completely patchable between each individual component. They'll include one or two VCOs, a filter, a VCA... and maybe some other goodies. Once you have that, you might want to think about sequencing. How do you intend to trigger notes and modulation?
Price per HP doesn't seem to correlate to the value of the module for me. My first criteria is the performance. I'll often view multiple Youtube videos of the module in action to get a feel for the module: quality of sound, modulation, etc. The second would be features. If I have multiple ways to use a module that adds value to it.
I was shopping for a small quantizer due to limited HP space. I have 3 to spare. The toss-up was between a 2HP quantizer and the Erica Quants. The 2HP has more LEDs to indicate status. However, after diving in a little further, the Erica can generate a trigger each time it outputs a new pitch if there's nothing plugged into the clock input. The 2HP doesn't have that feature. With that, I can trigger an envelope based on the internal logic of the Erica... or some other event. That seals the deal for me. I get more value out of the Erica even if the price is a little more.
You'll spend thousands on modules. Each new module integrates with the others, so being frugal on one module might hamstring the value you get out the rest of the system.
I'm not knocking the price per HP system. But I'm thinking of the system as a whole rather than just a collection of individual modules. Cheers.
You might have something there Lugia. I had to fiddle a bit with the gain every time I tried this in order to get Ears to consistently fire a gate. I hadn't heard of Time Bandit. I could use Ears purely as a preamp going in to such a device. Many thanks for the feedback.
LOL... Title corrected to 104. I moved the Tiptop Fold to the end because I don't use it that often. I wanted my VCAs a little closer. I can use long cables to get in and out of it when I want it. I had to take some consideration because the depth of the Intellijel case in the lowest row sits right above the power supply. So only really shallow modules work there. If the legs on the case were reversable, I'd flip the case upside down. Thanks for the comment! Appreciated.
10/10. Your experience definitely pays off here. The only thing I think I would do differently would be the placement on the Tiptop Fold, with my preference for that being between the Rubicon2 and Morgasmatron. Dual QuadrATTs is also a good touch on the tile row. You did build this as a 104 hp rig, though...right?