Question for fellow Streams owners- is there a way to extend the attack/decay (without patching in the level jack) beyond the amounts afforded by the shape knob that I’m missing?
Hi! I just got the semi-modular Moog system (DFAM, SubHarmonicon, Mother32), and I am planning right away to expand it.
I know synthesizers, but I am new to modular. I am planning to use the system for both live and studio, and I will use an external mixer to start.
SYNTHS & DRUMS: mentioned Moog system (in transit, not delivered yet), Minitaur, Minilogue, MB33(with “personal” sequencer), Model: Samples.
FX PEDALS: H9 Max, MF Ring, Arena Verb.
EURORACK CASE: 2 rows Rackbrute.
The eurorack would be mainly an “expander” for the current set-up, but in the future, I am planning to create both a mono synth out of it, as well as drum parts.
Here is what I’ve thought of starting with, but my knowledge is limited.
Erica Pico MScale: CV converter specifically for Moog semi-modular;
Intellijel Quad Invert: seems like a functional utility;
Intellijel Buff Mult: same as above;
Intellijel Quad VCA: Powerful VCA & Cascade Mixer;
MN Maths: No brainer. Master utility. Attenuator, Envelope fol/gen, LFO, etc.;
PM LFO2: the Moog boxes have almost no LFO’s (Mother32 only), so I’ve thought to add another LFO (along with Maths) to keep things moving;
Strymon AA1: for FX pedals (and external synths/guitars?);
Mannequins 3 Sisters: unbelievable filter, I cannot even imagine what happens if paired with Moog ones;
Erica LINK: simple unpowered converter to send straight into the external mixer.
I feel like I miss an attenuverter and a substantial envelope follower (don’t want to have Maths doing EVERYTHING). But I probably miss more than that.
I’d like to have an oscilloscope as well; which are the ones that can do multiple tasks?
For VCO’s, I will abuse the Moog ones for starters. I don’t feel like I NEED a sequencer to start.
Is there any fundamental module missing in the system? What are your recommendations? What would you do if you had my set-up and wanted to expand? All tips and ideas are welcome. I am so excited about getting into modular; I literally cannot wait to hear the voice of the community.
Thank you all!
Two things: I’d slow things way down, play with the moogs for a few months before buying anything else. Then start with what you miss the most with the mothers…
Also: the Pittsburgh LFO does not have cv over rate, a must in my book…
Erica Pico MScale: Ok
Intellijel Quad Invert: Not sure why you buy something like this before you really needed it
Intellijel Buff Mult: You probably don’t need this right now, maybe never; pick up a few Tiptop Stackables
Intellijel Quad VCA: Ok
MN Maths: Agreed: no brainer.
PM LFO2: So many better options out there—look at Pamela’s New Workout or Batumi or Erica’s Black Octasource, DivKid Ochd, or Just Friends
Strymon AA1: Ok
Mannequins 3 Sisters: Yeah, it’s good. Instant classic. Quirky, though—expect it.
Erica LINK: Dubious use of rack space: just get some 1/4"-to-1/8" patch cords. They’re cheap.
In addition to Maths, there’s a good chance you’ll want an additional attenuation + offset. Many good ones out there. ALM’s O/A/x2 is a compact good choice. I also really like Klavis Mixwitch, and it has some interesting tricks up its sleeves.
For a scope, you can use your computer or tablet (with the right doodads) or pick up standalone unit. I have had the O’Tool+ and I currently have the Mordax Data; they both are great, but they’re expensive and consume rack space. Might be worth it to you, or not. Besides signal visualization, the main service they offer is tuner.
@a773 isn’t wrong saying to take it slow. On the other hand, this is an array of highly rational core utilities. It’s not like you’re throwing in a bunch of bells & whistles.
Do you have any recommendations for iPad scope apps that can handle cv?
I don’t, no, but I’ll refer you to this thread at MW. I think the problem with the iPad is not the app—there are several—but a DC-coupled physical interface for the iPad.
I’d also look a this thread, here: Oscilloscope recomendation
… and these, too:
Thank you @mdoudoroff
Constructive insights, precisely the kind of help I was seeking. These suggestions are already a perfect start.
Any recommendations on computer scopes (no iPad) would be highly appreciated. And any further recommendations, for that matter
Thank you again.
@a773 I appreciate your suggestion. Although, as Martin mentioned, I don’t think I went too crazy; I just added a little expansion with some core modules. For example, there’s an overall lack of LFO on the Moog’s.
Speaking of which, thank you for the LFO hint, very important. Which modules would you personally recommend if you had the 3 Moog’s with a weak build-in LFO capabilities?
For future replies, probably I should state that I am determined to add a few core modules to the Moog’s right off the bat.
Already appreciate the help so far! I truly enjoy this forum.
For bidirectional 4x LFO Xaoc batumi is nice, Xaoc Zadar might work as 4x unipolar LFOs, or envelopes or any combination of that, if you don’t mind a bit of menu diving.
For batumi attenuation is needed, for Zadar it’s built in.
Also mutable instruments Stages.
I agree with mdoudoroff maybe take it a little slower, (although I am guilty of exactly the same thing, I have the moog semi modulars in a 3 tier rack and a couple of cases of eurorack !) remember the pitch and velocity outs on the DFAM are a very good source of modulation, with some passive mults and attenuators you can shape these for use elsewhere, you may also want a quantiser to use those outputs musically, there really is a ton of things you can do with just the 3 Moogs. I think one of the most valuable things to put to use are the SIX quantised oscillators you get from the SubH, they a raw and can be shaped in anyway you want within a eurorack system, this is worth a thought when planning your system. A module with 6 VCA’s might be worth looking out for (if they exist) and something like MI stages which has 6 outputs that can be triggered by the gate output of the M32. What about a stereo output module? all those ocillators need a bit of panning I think! But seriously there are all sorts of directions you could take your system in and you might save a little money by waiting to get to know the moogs better. For what its worth one of the first modules I bought was the Erica Synths Mscale and to be honest i have hardly ever used it!
The M2 and M4 are dc-coupled but work with usb-c iPads as far as I can tell… which gives me a nice excuse to get a new ipad😎
I think the suggestion to slow down is a good one. Irrespective of money, every module you buy has a cognitive and spatial cost. Moreover, unless you intend to copy someone else’s setup, you don’t know what you lack. You’ve already said it’s for live and studio which implies a lack of focused intent for the system. I would do two things before pulling the trigger on the modules.
- Think carefully about what (in specific musical terms) you want to achieve.
- Use the three Moog system extensively (and ideally exclusively) for a few months.
If modular is the way to get to your musical goals, I suggest first deciding on live or studio for the rack. In particular a live rig may be able to work in the studio but has to stand alone (so I think this is your intended direction). The first suggestion above is intended to help avoid filling a rack with cool modules that end up not supporting your goals or forming a coherent system: think about your end goal with every purchase (unless you’re end goal is to have lots of cool modules). The latter is about guiding your design with experience and need.
With your three Moogs you can make music standalone: there is no inherent deficiency so you don’t need to augment it. Once you start making music and performing that setup you’ll get a clearer understanding of how you like to work and what you feel yourself missing. As a rule I’d say try to wait at least a couple of months between modules purchases. Specifically, use your system for a couple of months before asking: what is holding me back from making the music I want. This may be nothing (best case), a specific function (which you can find a module to fulfill or figure out to get from what you have) or something more fundamental (you want to work in a different manner). Either way, that waiting period will help you guide your purchases and refine your design.
Another risk in buying modules as a set (without clear musical intent for each) is that it tends to be hard to let them go. Every module you get rid of can feel like an opportunity lost. The result can be a hoarding mentality: starting another case for cast offs, then four cases down the line, finally realising what you wanted in the first place. Taking your time can help you figure out what and how you’ll perform and incrementally walk toward that ideal musical setup (modular or otherwise). Designing that setup is an iteration and the music you make a collaboration between you and the machine you design: design it with care, to be uniquely yours.
That is my journey nearly exactly. I’ve been doing modular for a little while and am only now starting to understand my system, what works, what doesn’t, and what I should have never bought in the first place.
One of the things I’ve learned the hard way is no matter how amazing a module is, if it has functionality hidden behind a button press or menu, I don’t use it. I think this is a symptom of not having enough time to focus on music as much as I’d like as this is only a hobby for me. So with it taking third place in my life, I can’t memorize what each LED color or luminosity denotes, and I just reach for a different module. Knowing that in advance would have saved me SO much time and money. I could have better planned my system from the beginning and have bought different modules, instead of saving up to replace the modules with something else.
I have two racks of modules that I can’t let go of, and will probably never use.
I think you enlighted me all @chalkwalk, @Whinger, @killingtime, @a773
I had more technical questions for all of you, but I guess I’ll just save it for later.
I am 99% sure that I won’t regret purchases like Maths or QUAD VCA, but I get y’all point. It’s a more profound thought.
I should learn my system well first, without external augmentations (which in a way could be “distractions”). Meanwhile, I will not only understand my system like a pro but also expand my general knowledge of modular. And a few months later, I’ll have a better idea of the type of things I want. I won’t know the exact modules, but for that, I have you guys!
I am planning for it to work standalone, but it will take time. I’ll probably keep an external mixer for a while Among other things.
The money would be an issue, lol! I’ve got lucky that I have a couple of well-connected friends that got me all the Moog gear, H9, and Rackbrute at an exceptional price. In that case, your recommendation goes double!
Well, thank you all a million times. See you in a couple of months!
I’ll be back…with Maths and QUAD VCA for sure!!
(evil laugh) hahahahahahah
Nah, d and d can still be fun
It is worth mentioning that modules tend to sell pretty easily and don’t depreciate massively. It’s possible to effectively “rent” modules if you’re comfortable reselling. Keep in mind that this kind of thinking can quickly lead to a lot of researching, buying, selling, and learning new modules, and not much music making (although that is a lot of fun so it depends what your goal is).
I agree with and would still advocate for the advice to take it slow (in my experience this is very hard advice to actually follow).
One of the biggest (and very basic) things that took me a while to understand is the importance of deciding whether space is actually an issue. Is this a studio setup or does it definitely need to be portable? If it is primarily a studio setup, you’ll do yourself a massive favour by just getting a bigger case so that you can avoid the temptation to get micro versions of everything. There are compromises that will need to be made to enable portability - ergonomics are important. If you end up not actually taking the synth anywhere you may end up regretting those compromises.
One thing I’d like to bring up that for a case that size, you might want to consider a 1U row. There’s a lot of utilities, effects etc. that save you 3U rack space – I’ve really enjoyed the options 1U has provided.
What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?
I mostly use Doepfer cables and all of them have a color/length relationship, so I know exactly what cables are longer and what are shorter. For me, this is the quickest way to manage the cables. Talking about unpatching, I tend to place them in order, by colors, in my cable holder (a gift from Ladik) so I have it all well organized. What’s your strategy for cable management of your modular synth?
-Mutable Instruments Plaits in particle noise model
-Doepfer Noise and Mutable Instruments Ears for the random triggers
-ALM Pamela New Workout and Xaoc Devices Zadar for modulation
-Happy Nerding FXAid for reverb FX
-Xaoc Devices Praga and Befaco STMix for mixing
My modular synth: Mid 2020 - Eurorack Modular System from mcpepe on ModularGrid
I would qualify this statement by saying it is easier to sell modules when they are “hot” or relatively rare, but the resale prices tend to be less stable for common modules, less “cool” brands (Doepfer), or when a new version of a popular module comes out.
Definitely agree with this - full-sized eurorack modules are small enough as it is!
resale prices tend to be less stable for common modules, less “cool” brands (Doepfer), or when a new version of a popular module comes out.
Agreed - and it follows that you should buy that class of modules second hand to reduce the potential losses!