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S950
KVRer
 
11 posts since 10 Feb, 2017
Urs wrote:
Midi sequencing for me isn’t a “must”; it’s just what I know. The MPC has 4 individual midi outs and 2 in.

That's cool. So the MPC has 4 actual MIDI out connectors and 2 ins? That bears the question whether or not it can send on more than one channel, say, 2 to 4 tracks through a single MIDI out, each track on its own channel? - Because that would influence the decision as to what kind of MIDI interface to use.

I have 8 separate outs on the MPC and have an idea to maybe use it as a virtual tape looper and assign each tape to a separate out and into pedals/modular.

My ideal would be to basically let it run while I dig my hands into the modular/pedals. The only detriment is that I would basically be using it to play pre-made midi sequences as it’s a bit difficult to live jam on it like the
Squarp.


Yes the MPC5K has 6 physical midi ports (2 in 4 out).

“Each track in an MPC sequence can be assigned to output MIDI over a specific MIDI channel, so a ‘bass’ track can be sent via MIDI channel 1, the piano track can leave via MIDI channel 2 and so on. Equally the receiving MIDI device can be set ‘process’ these incoming MIDI channels separately and can route each one to a suitable sound. So, if your sound module receives MIDI data on channel 1, you can tell it that channel 1 must be routed to a specific bass sound. Data received on channel 2 must be routed to a specific piano sound.

Hence if we have a 16 track MPC sequence, each track can be assigned a unique MIDI channel and hence the MPC will output all 16 unique tracks of data to the sound module – the data in each channel remains separate to the other channels, it’s not merged. Hence we can play 16 different sounds from our MIDI sound module simultaneously, assuming the sound module is configured to know which channel needs to be routed to which sound.

And if your MPC has enough MIDI output ports, you can transmit up to 64 channels of completely separate MIDI data to one or multiple MIDI devices. This is because each track in your MPC sequence can be routed to a specific MIDI output port (commonly A, B, C or D on larger MPCs), a specific MIDI channel (1-16), and there are a maximum of 64 tracks in each sequence.”

I still very much want to build a modular that has voices and is essentially a synth that can play with the help of maybe a small sequencing module or an external. Some fx modules and some pedals. The MPC for sample playback or the tape looping idea would be more for additional textures or perhaps percussion duties.

And yes it’s the Intellijel 7U case that I’ll be getting.

Also should mention I have a Moogerfooger MF102 ring pedal. Could take the place of the Mutable?
Last edited by S950 on Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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S0lo
KVRian
 
590 posts since 31 Dec, 2008
S950 wrote:I still very much want to build a modular that has voices and is essentially a synth that can play with the help of maybe a small sequencing module or an external. Some fx modules and some pedals. The MPC for sample playback or the tape looping idea would be more for additional textures or perhaps percussion duties.


For polyphony, have a look at the Qu-bit chord. For external sequencing The Beatstep pro is versatile. You could also use a Microbrute pitch CV out to sequence your modular, that thing has a very easy to use sequencer. (But double check and make sure it can send pitch CV out of it's sequencer too, I haven't used it this way, only live playing my modular using it's keyboard).

I've read somewhere that the microbrute can possibly work as a MIDI to CV converter, but I'm not sure, I've never tried it this way. So you might want to look up that.
kenobi77
KVRist
 
304 posts since 8 Oct, 2012
I’m also just getting into modular myself and am finding the info on this thread very interesting

It’s a bit of bad luck that your current synths aren’t semi modular.

I saw earlier you mentioned about your moogerfooger comparing to the mutable rings, but they don’t compare as mutable rings is actually a resonator not a ring modulator.

In case you don’t know and If you are interested in the mutable range the free vcvrack modular software have ported 1-1 copies of several mutable modules (As the designer publishes the source code of his digital modules), which will allow you a virtual environment to get “hands on” with them.
S950
KVRer
 
11 posts since 10 Feb, 2017
kenobi77 wrote:I’m also just getting into modular myself and am finding the info on this thread very interesting

It’s a bit of bad luck that your current synths aren’t semi modular.

I saw earlier you mentioned about your moogerfooger comparing to the mutable rings, but they don’t compare as mutable rings is actually a resonator not a ring modulator.

In case you don’t know and If you are interested in the mutable range the free vcvrack modular software have ported 1-1 copies of several mutable modules (As the designer publishes the source code of his digital modules), which will allow you a virtual environment to get “hands on” with them.


I still do a great deal of recording with my current gear so it’s been great. That being said if I find a home with Modular I can always sell something and replace it with something that can interface with euro.

I have a nice 106 that while I love could perhaps turn into a Pro 2 or something else with not too much trouble. Not sure how much I would miss the Juno.

Wasn’t aware of the Mutable virtual stuff. Thanks will definitely check that out.
S950
KVRer
 
11 posts since 10 Feb, 2017
So a Squarp MKII just came up for sale at a price too good to pass up.

Going to give this a few days and see if this will end up replacing my MPC at some point.
S950
KVRer
 
11 posts since 10 Feb, 2017
So just a quick update in case anyone is in a similar situation. Apologies for hijacking OP’s thread but here goes.

I spent a few hours with the Pyramid and have to say without reading the manual it was intuitive and great for tweaking.

Compared to the MPC, the Pyramid is a clear winner for live jamming, step sequencing and generative music. If I keep my MPC, I will sequence samples on it with the Pyramid’s midi and also use the CV and midi for a modular rig.

The MPC feels very linear and while expressive for playing drums and samples the Pyramid feels purpose built for synths while the MPC is trying to be a linear song builder.

Both nice tools but very impressed so far with the Pyramid.
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foosnark
KVRAF
 
4354 posts since 9 Jan, 2003, from Saint Louis MO
I missed a modular hardware thread!

I had a Twin Waves for a while. It didn't really suit me -- a bit too bread-and-butter for my tastes and the FM was screwy. But it definitely packs a ton of functionality into a small module.

I've been doing almost all my sequencing in Maschine and using CV.OCD for MIDI-CV conversion. I got curious in the last couple months about doing some sequencing in the modular, and hybrid sequencing. For that I've got a Circuit Abbey G8+Intermix, 2x Pressure Points with Brains, and a Ladik burst generator. I think I'm going to add a sequential switch and a 4ms Shuffling Clock Multiplier before I'm done with that. :) It's a very different feel from precise, linear or loop-based sequencing in a DAW.

As for sound, I lean West Coast but not too traditionally Buchla. Hertz Donut is my favorite oscillator since it does lovely dynamic FM with no effort at all as well as glitchy weirdness and harsh noise. I also have a Double Helix arriving tomorrow. LPGs are key to West Coast; I love Rabid Elephant Natural Gate and seriously respect Make Noise Dynamix as well. And an 0-Coast, which started me down that path.

I also love SynthTech E352/E370 -- I was a beta tester for both modules after preordering the E352, and have both sitting in my rack at the moment. Less of a "wavetable synth" like Serum, and more "versatile quad VCO based on a wavetable engine" since you can do fantastic things with FM, phase modulation, wavefolding, a "cloud" mode (swarms/supersaws) etc. using wavetables as well as basic waves. To me wavetables fit nicely in the sort of percussive range common to West Coast, with an envelope controlling the table morph, but they're also fantastic for drones and pads.

The previously mentioned Rings is probably why I have 433HP of stuff instead of the 74HP I originally planned. :hihi: I think if I'd started with vanilla subtractive synth stuff I wouldn't have gone much further, but playing with various kinds of audio into the input, feedback, and so on was like stepping into 3D after living in Flatland.
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foosnark
KVRAF
 
4354 posts since 9 Jan, 2003, from Saint Louis MO
Now that my Double Helix is here and I've played with it for about 6 hours, I have opinions :D

Hertz Donut will probably continue to be my favorite, but this is pretty damned cool and definitely does some things Donut won't. The built-in LPG is nice to have, with a different character than the others in my system, more suited to audio rate modulation. (It emulates vactrol response when pinged in the "impulse" input but also has instantaneous CV control, and you can use both.)

There are some weird design decisions, mostly in the name of making space for the LPG and LFO and a big dual modulation bus. The biggest WTFs are the lack of sync inputs, not having a way to set the baseline pulse width or blade shape aside from using an external offset. and not having a built-in way for the secondary osc to track the primary osc's frequency.

There's quite a bit of crosstalk, and controls that affect things that they shouldn't. The secondary osc frequency, even when it's not patched to anything, affects the LPG response and even the primary osc frequency a tiny bit. The pulse width changes the character of the distortion when overdriving the Dynamics section with a sine wave. The primary sine is normalled to input 1, but if you plug it into input 2 it doesn't saturate but folds as if you'd turned the Timbre knob up, and putting a thin pulse into input 2 can somewhat mute the sine in input 1.

Since the FM is exponential, you can't get dynamic FM out of it without the pitch going nuts, but that doesn't really feel like a limitation in this case. Most of the module's quirks feel more like part of the instrument's character rather than a flaw.

I feel like Lifeforms Foundation 4 is a weird set of modules. I think a Double Helix and a Make Noise Maths, along with whatever MIDI-to-CV and/or sequencing modules, and perhaps something like a Happy Nerding 3xMIA and maybe a delay or spring reverb, would be a better start. Add a filter and possibly an ADSR if you wanted to do East Coast stuff.
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S0lo
KVRian
 
590 posts since 31 Dec, 2008
foosnark wrote:The built-in LPG is nice to have, with a different character than the others in my system, more suited to audio rate modulation. (It emulates vactrol response when pinged in the "impulse" input but also has instantaneous CV control, and you can use both.)


Interesting you say that it's more suited to audio rate modulation. LPGs (with vactrols) are known for their slow response, so it should be the opposite!!. I have to check what they've done some time.

foosnark wrote:Since the FM is exponential, you can't get dynamic FM out of it without the pitch going nuts, ....


Even when the FM attenuator knob is low?
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foosnark
KVRAF
 
4354 posts since 9 Jan, 2003, from Saint Louis MO
S0lo wrote:Interesting you say that it's more suited to audio rate modulation. LPGs (with vactrols) are known for their slow response, so it should be the opposite!!. I have to check what they've done some time.


Lifeforms Dynamic Impulse Filter, and the similar circuit built into Double Helix, don't have vactrols. It's basically a non-resonant filter and VCA under one CV control set at a ratio they liked, and an envelope generator that emulates a vactrol ping.

Make Noise Dynamix (and the LPG in the 0-Coast) also has instant response. It's a transistor-based filter that sounds a lot like a vactrol LPG if you feed it the right envelope shapes. I just don't think it's quite as good with audio rate modulation as the Lifeforms one.

Rabid Elephant Natural Gate is another non-vactrol LPG, but rather than emulating vactrols they set up three response curves that sounded "natural" and gave the decay time a wider range. Unlike the others, the CV input also goes through that same response (it's part of the filter circuit) so it won't do audio rate modulation. But it also sounds better than any other LPG I've heard and is extremely controllable. :love:

foosnark wrote:Even when the FM attenuator knob is low?


Unless it's too low to hear any difference in timbre either. The pitch effects are noticeable before the timbre. If it was linear FM, as long as you had a symmetrical signal (no DC offset) you could get away with a certain amount of dynamic modulation, but exponential doesn't work that way.
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S0lo
KVRian
 
590 posts since 31 Dec, 2008
foosnark wrote:Lifeforms Dynamic Impulse Filter, and the similar circuit built into Double Helix, don't have vactrols. It's basically a non-resonant filter and VCA under one CV control set at a ratio they liked, and an envelope generator that emulates a vactrol ping.

Make Noise Dynamix (and the LPG in the 0-Coast) also has instant response. It's a transistor-based filter that sounds a lot like a vactrol LPG if you feed it the right envelope shapes. I just don't think it's quite as good with audio rate modulation as the Lifeforms one.

Rabid Elephant Natural Gate is another non-vactrol LPG, but rather than emulating vactrols they set up three response curves that sounded "natural" and gave the decay time a wider range. Unlike the others, the CV input also goes through that same response (it's part of the filter circuit) so it won't do audio rate modulation. But it also sounds better than any other LPG I've heard and is extremely controllable. :love:


Thanks, I was under the impression that the helix is vactrol based. we've used a similar none-vactrol-emulating approach in our own soft module.

foosnark wrote:Unless it's too low to hear any difference in timbre either. The pitch effects are noticeable before the timbre. If it was linear FM, as long as you had a symmetrical signal (no DC offset) you could get away with a certain amount of dynamic modulation, but exponential doesn't work that way.


May be they should have used an exponential response on those knobs, thats how I'd do it.

But what your describing is as you said a characteristic of expo-FM. linear FM would slow down pitch changes as you go higher in pitch.
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foosnark
KVRAF
 
4354 posts since 9 Jan, 2003, from Saint Louis MO
Despite lack of oscillator sync or a follow mode on the Double Helix, I've had some success using a Doepfer A-196 PLL to make the primary oscillator track the secondary, even while FMing the primary. But the tracking tends to break with rapidly changing dynamic FM amounts, so it's still simpler just to use my Hertz Donut or E370 for through-zero linear FM, or a delay or filter for phase modulation. :hihi:
moon indigo
KVRer
 
4 posts since 25 Jul, 2016

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Urs wrote:Ok, I had some Sunday fun on Modular Grid.

Here's an attempt to a 7U 104HP system based on Intellijel tiles. It's meant to have its main rhythm/melody sources externally, and most of the final mixing is done externally as well. These two points are important because I omitted a proper mixer, a quantizer and a rhythm generator because of these assumptions.

Link: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/544148 (https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/544148)

Image

So it's got two voices via MIDI, with Yarns providing Clock from MIDI as well.

Oscillators & Generators:

We have DPO for West Coast fun. You get all sorts of FM, plucks and goodness from this one. We have the new Klavis Twin Wave (which I do not have myself) which will provide for all bread & butter oscillation, including Supersaw (yay!). However, I also sneaked a Dixie 2+ in because it's got octave control and multiple waveform outs. It's the fast and flexible goto for oscillation.

I also added Rings. Rings does great stuff. It can easily become same old same old, but once you modulate it at audio rate, it's a wonderful source for weird soundscapes and noises. Any rack I ever built without Rings was somehow lacking. Only Elements can make up for it, but Elements is huge in HP.

Filters:

Optomix extends the West Coast fun with its Lowpass Gate function. It can be used as a normal mixer, as a lowpass, and it can be pinged for those plucky bongo type sounds. The one thing that this rack doesn't have, but which Optomix loves, is a trigger sequencer. You have to get your pings from MIDI, from Batumi (which also dubs as clock divider) or from Maths. You can also waste a channel from Voltage Block to create gates for Optomix. Note: A Lowpass gate serves as envelope, filter and VCA all at once, and it's especially well suited for percussive sounds. With Optomix we can save an envelope or two, and a small mixer.

Polivioks for character and also because of the 2 inputs I mentioned earlier. Ripples because it's small and does the multi out trick just as well as Polivoks.

Sorry, no 24 dB filter, but that could be fixed easily with a little research.

Modulation:

Batumi is a must in any small system (unless you go Ornament & Crime or some such thing). It's a quad LFO which has multiple outputs at once. With a special firmware upgrade, the middle outputs can go random sample & hold. It's really cool.

Voltage Block. It's your typical step sequencer upside down. You have 8 channels of 16 steps each which you can program in parallel. That is, hold down a button for one step and adjust your 8 voltages for that step. This way you can hear your oscillators and modulations in prallel while you tweak them. From a practical view this is much better than switching from one track to another and adjust all steps for a single track. What's great about Voltage Block is that each sequence can have different length and timing division.

Maths. This is your envelope generator. If you don't know Maths, watch any of the hundreds of videos about it. There are plenty of alternatives, but if you start out you want to start with Maths.

Why not more envelopes? - Because you can patch Voltage Block into the slew rate limiter in the 1U row (or through Maths as a slew limiter) to get another. You can also get slow sawtooths and what not from Batumi and DPO for modulation. You can combine voltages or cross modulate things for all sorts of evolving stuff. You get Maths' Or out.

One alternative for Maths is Intelljel's Quadra. But it isn't the same, not even with the expander, as you can't use it as a slew limiter. It would however give you 4 envelopes and a bit more space, maybe enough for a small function generator.

Effects:

I usually recommend the 4ms DLD, but it was too large. We have the Chronoblob instead, which I don't have, but it is synchronizable.

Audio Damage EOS, again I don't have it, but it's smaller than Erbe Verb, has two algorithms (I think) and does stereo input.

The 1U row has two line level I/Os for inclusion of FX pedals.

Utilities

The 1U row has tiles for noise, sample & hold, mixing, multing and I/O. Doesn't need MIDI because Yarns has MIDI. Doesn't need other I/O because we mix externally anyway.

Doepfer's Switched Mult to do "The Steevio Thing" (check out Mylar Melodies video with similar name). It's good to perform live and switch a few routings. I'm a bit uncertain about it in context of this rack because I use it for triggers mainly.

A Sequential Switch, which is like a clocked change of routings. I use these things to have, say, oscillators play different lines through the course of time. It's a great source for change within a patch.

Links, MixMode, Samara, Unity Mixer: Buffered Routing, Mixing, Attenuation. The Unity Mixer should be cool also to combine, say MIDI Notes and a Voltage Block sequence for transposition. Or a slow Voltage Block sequence to transpose a faster one.

uVCA. Yep, two VCAs would totally be enough for me, because we have a MixMode, Samara and tiles for attenuation.

#---

Bottom Line: Cheap it is not. But man, I would have killed for this system when I started out :lol:


This post is another example of why Urs is deservedly a total f**king legend in the electronic music world.
tylenol
KVRist
 
218 posts since 2 Oct, 2006
Tons of fun information in this thread. I can't really top Urs' comment but as someone who is also pretty new to modular, I found a mother 32 to be a very good starting point. For a slightly bigger beginner recommendation, I'm really happy with my current fairly minimal & non-racked setup, which is a mother 32, a make noise 0-coast, an arturia keystep, and (not modular but I like using it with these a lot) a tc electronic hall of fame reverb pedal. I do connect this to my computer, but between the mother 32 and the keystep I'm not short of standalone sequencing. Also, the mother 32 + 0-coast interact extremely well. I'll probably start buying racked stuff sooner or later, but for now I feel like this combo still has a ton of potential that I haven't even touched, and for me personally a bigger setup would be way too overwhelming right now. (Actually my current thinking is to first get an octatrack before I start buying more modular things.)

Just for fun (also so you can get a sense of how much space it takes up), here's the setup; sorry the patching is not very picturesque right now:

desk_nov_2017.jpg
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