EURORACK vs BUCHLA vs SERGE question

Yeah, this is so true. Everytime I make a paradigm shift I realize this, its in the back of my head for sure. Its really easy to think, oh this new piece of gear will make the creative process just that more ‘easy/fluid/ insert adjective here’. I used to do this with guitars as well, I bought and sold probably 20 guitars trying to find the right combination of neck shape, body shape, etc, etc. Always blaming the guitar for it not being perfect, and not me. I really hate the acronym “GAS” but it wonder if this somehow falls in the OCD/addiction realm of the DSM manual or something, because this need to find perfection in something new definitely overtakes a rational part of the brain.

With that said, I did enventually find a guitar that really just clicked, for me it was the Jazzmaster. It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment. Maybe it coincided with the desire to end the search but whatever. I’ve not bought a new guitar in quite some time, but maybe its because GAS ‘Eye of Sauron’ has moved to the synth realm.

On the flipside, I do believe instruments inspire, and in the realm of synths, the inspiration is definitely more clearly defined when its a one-system design. UI does matter for me: a bunch of haphazardly designed eurorack modules in a case does not inspire me. It causes dissarray in my brain. It triggers the idea that I can make things ‘better/more uniform/more fucntional’ if I just keep seraching for that next module that will do this thing better. Checking out Buchla and Serge has been really helpful in the inspiration/ui setting. There is already a uniformity happening. The UI in both cases has been really well thought out. Aesthetics matter as well, I hate to say. But I’m a designer, I design stuff for a living. I want stuff to look good. As for a choices, for Buchla or Serge you are definitely weighing the cost to functionality ratio much more, as the prices are much higher. I actually prefer this to Euro. I’d much rather go into a slightly more expensive restaurant that’s highly curated with fewer choices, with a higher probability that the outcome of my experience will be better, than a restaurant that overwhelms you with menu choices and variety of things that may not all be something you will enjoy. I hate the huge menu! I know I sound like Larry David here, but its true.

I also feel there’s a possibility I will find the Jazzmaster of synths for me, but maybe not… it’s a different kind of beast. I thought this was going to be the case with the Easel. I bought the 208c and was feeling this way for a little, but then I started hitting a wall again, where I’m getting bored. Maybe its because I didn’t fully buy the complete closed Easel system and I was still using my eurorack controllers to control it? But I’m feeling like there’s not enough modulation and everything kinda sounds too similar. I started looking at more Buchla, but its just so expensive. I bought a few Serge 4u panels. Thats where I am now. Will this integrate or am I back in eurorack world of too many choices?

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I completely agree that instruments can inspire, they absolutely do.
I think the desire to get new gear in an indicator that existing gear does not stimulate learning as it used to, not meaning that the gear is bad, but getting new results becomes gradually more difficult.
And this is a personal challenge, not related to gear, though buying something new might be an answer sometimes.
It is just harder to fall in love with existing gear over and over again to have that spark of curiosity of a new gear.
It is also really easy to overexaggerate minuses that we perceive, i think you are right that it borders close to OCD :slight_smile:
That said, all this does not characterize the format in any way other, that it did not suit you(in general, not you personally) at some point in time :slight_smile:

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Well, maybe I didn’t explain myself enough. Actually the ones that I listed are the modules that I have in the suitcase, but I also use controllers like the Monome Grid or traditional keyboards. I also have a Genki Ring Controller and I use it as a kind of Theremin. The ER101 is the latest addition to giving structured “shape” to certain compositions, or being able to reproduce melodies or chords in performances. I really don’t like sequencing too much. In fact, TELETYPE is a module that I use mainly to generate random chord structures starting from the tonic. A recent example of “traditional” composition would be this arrangement to modulate from a piece by Bach that he used to play on the violin …

And by the way, the reason for my abandonment of the violin was a recent broken elbow, which has left a significant step in the head of the radio. This makes being flexed for a long time with my arm causing severe pain. A surgical operation does not guarantee 100% repair, so by not living from it we will follow another path …

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In any case, perhaps the discussion has taken an unexpected path. In my case, I am VERY happy with the equipment I currently have and I would not really change any of the modules I have. Every day I force myself to sit down and create something since mainly what I play is always improvised. Every 4 or 5 months I sit down and review the recorded material and delete what I am not interested in or is redundant. Right now I have 150 recordings pending review.

My question was more aimed at, in the case of being able to expand the existing equipment (mainly to be able to duplicate voices and have the freedom to create a new sound during a performance without having to disconnect everything) to where each one would do it. Continue with eurorack modules or acquire equipment from another system to complement the existing one? It is possible that I did not explain well, and in a veiled way it could reflect that I am not happy with my gear.

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If you are happy with the gear you have, and you have some eurorack and like the format, I wouldn’t honestly venture into Buchla. There are annoyances that start to pop up when you start crossing formats: different power supplies, different cable types, different voltage ranges, different types of triggers. I makes patching slightly more tedious, as you are adding extra steps. Also, Buchla and Serge require much more hunting the forums and Reverb for the modules you want, its probably like eurorack was in like 2002 or something. Things are not readily available because a lot of it is diy or clone.

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Yes, before starting this post I started to read about the Buchla world and there are several things I didn’t know, like CV and audio signals need different cables … Also I guess I will always be tempted to use my Ansible or Teletype with the new gear, and that will take me to new utility modules search.

There is also another factor that I have not mentioned, and it is the return on investment in case of sale. Perhaps here the Buchla world will win by a landslide, given that many Eurorack modules devalue very easily and others are difficult to sell (Verbos modules, for example, despite their fame, are not easily sold).

When I was saying “Buchla” probably I should have written “Buchla Easel”, as I see this as a complete unit. Like a Synthi or something like this.

Yes, I don’t believe in this either. In fact, as I have already said, I believe that the Buchla world cannot reach certain territories where the Eurorack world does.

I think one big thing I forgot to mention is that early on I put self imposed limits on space with my setup. I always tried to live roughly within the space of a MakeNoise shared system case. I never wanted to have a huge wall of modules. Also, there is a semi strict budget cap on the total amount of money I can have into my system, and when something new comes in something has to leave. This obviously contributes to the mental Tetris I’m playing all the time. If this wasn’t the case I would be collecting complete instruments more and the newness would wear off much slower probably. I have a tendency to really dig into new stuff I have, learn as much as possible, record everything, release something, then I get antsy. I just released a record using all 208c so that’s where I am in the cycle.

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I think in a similar way, although I do not close myself to a single suitcase. In my case, the limits are what I can transport just by walking, so it can be 2 cases. I have never had the intention nor will I have to fill a wall of modules, and recently I have sold more than 15 modules that I did not use following the idea of ​​"what goes in for what goes out".

For me the 2 ultimate suitcase instruments will always be the easel and a ems synthi. So if you want to have some modern euro benefits id either go euro+ easel or syntrx ( i know not a true clone but the same interface experience) and euro. hard to beat!

This is getting kinda hard to recommend anything.
Mainly because rationally the most efficient way of expanding in your case would be to grow your eurorack collection. Unless you have some specifics that require to get into new system. But there are none mentioned in your original post.
But there seems to be emotional side of all this experiences with instruments, something around “what if” that i think will not go away until you try all the mentioned systems :slight_smile:

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This is similar to my situation but without as much deliberation and angst. I know I don’t have the space or money for more euro so i dont even look at most new offerings.

It helps that i’m exceedingly picky about modules. I rarely discuss my real preferences but if any fans are curious they can ask privately…if i can’t use it (or hate how it looks, or dislike the manufacturer etc) i don’t let my heart get attached

My prickly views also nullify most Buchla gear these days because I’m not sure whether the folks running the operation have the blessing of the fam. I’d feel a twinge of guilt using bemi easel and the newer series of modules even if I could afford them (it would take a comprehensive auction of my other instruments to approach the prices).

Fortunately, I’m not actually seeking a specific sound from any modular system. I recall Ciani saying that what she appreciated most about the old Buchla instruments (in comparison to moog) was the control of sound movement which was possible with the systems Don created. Hearing her say this was a pivotal moment in my development as a musician because i totally agreed and was curious about what that could mean w/o using the vintage gear she referenced

this is exactly why i maintained a euro skiff
i have made my own harmonious instrument w/ complimentary modules and several are reprogrammable which allows the instrument to morph and grow as needed

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When you say Easel will be updated shortly, do you mean the keyboard version will be potentiated with the same options seen in the desktop Commander version? I’m asking this to you because i’m planning to buy the Easel Commander and a Sensel, but your post caught my eyes… and some questions popped up!

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I seen on the MW board for the 208c that people had emailed. and Yes there will be a new easel. With a new 218 controller. They also said they’d do a suitcase 208c. So put that together and chances are that there will be 208c/218(c? revamp) suitcase/command easel.

mdoudoroff wrote: ↑Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:02 pm
From Eric Fox back in mid-September: “Everything that’s in the the Easel Command will be available on the Easel…maybe even an extra handy surprise or two if we can fit it all in there :). Hopefully we’ll be able to share something sooner than later!”

"I have some direct correspondence with Eric where he mentioned a reboot of the 218 is in the works and ‘may’ have some added features as well. "

The reason they sold K easels as far as im aware is that they were having issues producing 218. For a reason im not quite sure. But the K is still an interesting instrument of course , the general opinion is that its probably better for a 200e system as there is so much you can do with the eagle. I think there might of been issues with supplying suitcases too. But don’t take that as verbatim. So hopefully when those updates are done, hopefully within this year there will be a rebooted easel with more modern features. I think its a great move as the 218 was really starting to get dated as a controller.

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As long as you don’t mind walking down the street carrying $10,000 in gear!

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fair point , maybe you need to factor in the price of handcuffs to your suitcase instruments and maybe a few bodyguards

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slight OT but there is a joke that always makes me laugh (even if through tears):

who is a musician?
musician is someone who puts thousands of dollars worth of gear into few hundred dollars worth car to play gig for a few dollars and/or beer

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i guess it could be worse right? Could be Ciani with a 30/40k 200e!

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From what I have been able to find out, I believe that any new Buchla module comes with a free bodyguard service for 2 months. The months are cumulative, by the way, so there is nothing to worry about …

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oh also on that thread from TGs chris carter " On the Buchla 208C page it mentions " stereo digital fx coming as an optional add-on in the future “, but my Buchla dealer doesn’t know when - anyone else have any inside info on when this might be?”

Very exciting