Buchla Thread

I’ve seen threads for a variety of other manufacturers and formats but not one for Buchla! Who’s a user and what are you using? Who’s thinking about making the leap? Are you in 1st party 200e modules or have you taken the DIY route to Buchla Bliss?

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I’ll start: I preordered an Easel when they first announced the reissue. I waited over a year to get one. In the meantime BEMI had the notorious fire sale and I ended up picking up a 6 panel boat and 5 modules to fill it: 206e, 261e, 267e, 281e, and 292e. A few weeks ago I expanded for the first time since my initial investment and built a 248r. I’m currently waiting for a new 8 space case from Luther and plan on trying a double suitcase setup (leaving out the 267e for a bit). The MArF (248r) has been a wonderful addition. So far I’ve only used it to sequence the voice portion of the Easel and it’s a huge amount of fun.

It’s taken me several years to really dig in but now the buchla gear is probably my favorite synth.

A Buchla owner here… my first purchase was a Thunder from Don on eBay after he stopped making them. I had been drooling over that and the 700 for years. I nearly bought a 700 from him during his ‘garage sale’ but he talked me out it and I listened… have been banging my head against the wall ever since. I have located four 700 synths but none of them are for sale unfortunately.

When the 200e modular became available I bought one shortly after… I adore both the 200e and the Thunder, I’ll never sell them.

If you know of anyone selling their 700, please send them my way.

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I’m not sure I’ve every really investigated the 700, looking up some videos on YouTube now…

I do believe that coming up with a different patch each and every time one plays a modular synthesizer is only one way to use such an instrument. Another approach is to find and refine the one patch that embodies one’s “ideal instrument”.

That’s what I do with my 200e: I use the same patch since 2014.

I started with pretty much the standard Skylab configuration in 2012, but upgraded to a 201e-18 with four voices, with which I play live since 2013. I will try to scale back to Skylab cabinet (but with a different module configuration), as it can be folded patched, which significantly reduces setup time: patching it up and unpatching it takes a total of about 70 min, as the patch is quite complex – and if I just pull all cables out without sorting them, patching it up the next time would take even longer. I’ve yet to see whether this reduction in setup time is worth losing 2 of the 4 voices.

Examples can be found here and here.

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Actually, I’m glad someone started this because I’ve wanted to ask this question. I’m starting to realize that nearly all roads lead back to Buchla, at least in the synthesis I’m interested in, and I’m becoming Buchla-curious. I fear for my sanity and my solvency, but I’m poking at it.

My question is this: is there ‘ethical’ and ‘unethical’ Buchla? I’ve seen posts expressing negative opinions about the handling of Don Buchla’s legacy and designs, in terms of who took ownership of them and how that was handled. OTOH, I’ve also read positive things about recent developments, particularly with ownership as of the last year.

Could people who better know the landscape explain the politics of the current situation? Is buying new Buchla currently problematic? What about used Buchla produced in the past 4-5 years? Are there clones that are/were properly licensed and approved? For financial reasons I may try to DIY things if that’s possible and respectful, given the cost of the built modules/systems (understanding the DIY is also correspondingly expensive but doing Buchla seems like a place where you could make budget gains by DIYing, unlike Euro).

I understand this is very personal for some, and I want to be respectful of Don Buchla and his family and legacy. I also am interested in engaging with these instruments. I’m curious, if I were to say look at buying a recent Easel either new or used, if that would be benefiting the wrong parties.

Thanks for any insight or information, and also, I’m not asking anyone to be the arbiter of truth regarding the situation. Just curious what people know and their opinions.

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that’s a good question that i’m not well equipped to answer.

i’ve built exactly one DIY 200 series module so far (248r MArF) and chose to do that because that seems like it’s the only way it’s readily available and i have the ability to do so. since then i’ve been considering building more DIY 200 stuff but have time to think about it while working on a different build, so i would be happy to know the answers to your questions as well.

Or for example I recently took ownership of a currently complete set of Catalyst Audio’s Buchla 100 clones (thanks @stripes!). I enjoy them and I’m learning from them. But, I’m not aware that those were specifically licensed by anyone. There is a long thread on MW discussing whether or not circuit designs and schematics can be subject to copyright, and also a mention that Don Buchla specifically did not like his panel designs to be copied, which the Catalyst Audio modules pretty much explicitly do.

Selfishly, I want to engage with these instruments :slight_smile: but also it seems potentially a bind if the official manufacture is held suspect and clones or derivatives are also not ethical. It seems complicated.

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I’m also not here to police or judge anyone’s behavior or gear :slight_smile:I mostly want to understand the landscape and history better so I can personally make choices I’m comfortable with.

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Also am not calling out Catalyst Audio here either! Really, I don’t know much about these situations and just want to better understand them.

Ok I think I’ve sufficiently qualified my question. Thanks for any responses!

i can’t speak to the ethics or legality of it… but i have a small cabinet of 200 modules that are all clones. my reasoning being that i’m not really interested in the preset management feature of the 200e series and the price that comes with that but i really enjoy the way buchla designs get you to think about patching. and the sound is very unique. i have also maybe never seen an original 200 module for sale, but i imagine if i did it would be unattainably expensive to build even a basic system. it’s really common to see people with 100 and 200 series clones… todd barton and suzanne ciani both have clones in their systems. at this point i think clones are really the most accessible (physical) way to enjoy the format. or maybe a music easel… but even the in-production easels sound different than the 208 clones which are apparently closer to the original, if that’s something of consideration :woman_shrugging:

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for a sec I read this as a cabinet full of 200 different modules

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haha. so casual :sunglasses:

would love to hear/see anything you’re doing with the MARF. there isn’t enough out there that shows what that module can do… :drooling_face:

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Good lord, where is that and can I live there?

the OG buchla equivalent

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Though, looking closer, does not appear to be powered? Also, I like the idea of lying on the floor and patching, but, I’m clumsy and would kick things.

It’s Martin Gore’s studio.

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as a modular-skeptic Martin Gore deeply angers me. will listen to Everything Counts on repeat tho.

I love throwing entire threads off course.