Stages is the sort of thing that works nicely with any modules IMHO. Offset/attenuverter modules are handy to have with it, but I’m a firm believer in them for many other uses anyway. Likewise a scope so you can see what sort of crazy modulation signals you’ve built up with it, but again, that’s just generally useful
It’s been said a few times, but Blinds is the big one for me. Mine lives right next door and it’s a match made in heaven
Can you help me to understand why Blinds would be more beneficial than a “vanilla” VCA?
It’s an inverting VCA, so you can attenuvert the input and attenuvert whatever you use to modulate the input. When you’re mixing all of those things together with cv from other sources too, the cascaded outputs on Blinds are really useful. This isn’t to say that another vca isn’t useful – any vca is useful to some degree – I just find that Blinds is an awesome modulation brain when combined with Stages, and it allows you to get negative or bipolar voltages from unipolar inputs (any polarising/ring mod vca will have achieve similar things).
Thanks for the response!
I bought Blinds early for VCA duties without really understanding the difference between it and, say, Veils or Tangle Quartet (my other VCA front runners). I now better understand the difference, but as I contemplate switching the former out for one of the latter, I saw your comment & thought I’d ask!
(Edit: also because I acquired a Stages yesterday since my local shop had them in stock, unexpectedly!)
Yeah, Blinds can be a little bit of a hassle for audio if you want to quickly turn it to zero, but if you don’t mind that (I don’t) then it’s great, especially for those intertwined interactions with multifaceted modules like Stages. You may want a Veils or Tangle Quartet alongside it for more standard vca duties.
Ugh. I wish there was a uBlinds. I love Tangle Quartet. I’ve been trying to make a Blinds fit in my planning, and it’s just a few hp bigger than I wish it was.
Moddemix? I mean I guess it’s definitely not quad
The WMD Triple Bipolar VCA is a worthy alternative for 3 channels in 8HP, and it has a few extra tricks too.
Not the best layout ever, though.
Two of the Antumbra DVCA might do it! 4hp each, 2 channels of the Veils circuit each.
Yeah, that’s a decent suggestion! Same footprint as a Tangle Quartet but adds those sweet sweet attenuators.
I wish I could see one in person to get a feel for how the spacing on knobs feels…
just looked up that module and yeah need need need em
A question for the fans of Stages.
I’m working on a case for improv and processing whoever I may be jamming with. I want to get some sort of flexible function generator. The Stages has been one of the first Mutable modules that has intrigued me. I watched a DivKid video this afternoon and I think my appreciation for its remarkable flexibility is somewhat counter-balanced by a concern that it requires a fair amount of setup to change things over, which maybe leads me to think an improv setting isn’t ideal for Stages. Anyone care to share their experiences with quick shifting in uses?
My other contenders appeal because they’re more compact - Sport Modulator (still can’t get enough) and a Mini-Slew (I don’t know why more people don’t love this one - so much goodness in 8 hp). Both are more limited perhaps, but still plenty of functionality and, again, in a smaller package which is important with my little 4u 84 I’m putting together. Heck, maybe a Stages is overkill in the small case anyway too. I’m not really sure.
Look forward to hearing thoughts from the Stages users with your insights
Mutable Instruments modules: design, usability, theory, philosophy, etc
I’m not a Stages expert but I would highly recommend. I’m not trying to get into the MI vs MN debate but i did trade my Maths for it. I am missing the logic functions but will hopefully supplement with a Cold Mac eventually.
I think after some use, it becomes a very straight forward module, whereas you use as many of the segments as you require. It becomes fun to economize. I’m using a segment as a quick offset for the FSR box while using the rest on the right as a proper envelope for VCA.
In my opinion, the concerns about setup (and changing things over) are mitigated by the intuitive design of the module. You can patch things up pretty quickly once you mentally picture the env or whatever other function you need (I guess that’s the same for any module with enough practice).
I really think the flexible segment outputs are truly unique and useful invention and the way the module is laid out is logical. I only had to look at the manual a handful of times.
Stages does get easy to use with a little practice and some good habits. Generally, group from right to left for things that use gates, and go from the left for single ungated segments (LFO, S&H etc.)
The one gotcha is deciding to add an envelope segment when you have other things going on to the left, but shifting everything over can be accomplished without too much pain.
I think if I had a second Stages, I probably wouldn’t chain it to the first. I use a lot of shorter groups and singles anyway.
I’ll reiterate what they’ve just said: It’s VERY easy to use. It seems more complicated than it is. The only complexity from my perspective is wrapping your head around groups. It is an incredibly flexible tool. Having LFO’s, oscillators, sample & hold, offsets, and envelopes on demand is pretty dope.
The envelopes can be a little finicky to tune. It might just be my brain, but I’ve had trouble nailing specific attack and release shapes.
It’s also worth noting the outputs only put out positive voltage to 5v. That seems to be a dealbreaker for some people, as LFO’s can’t go negative. Depends on your other gear and what you need. There are ways to make that happen!
The only frustration is the gotcha @Starthief mentioned: when you’re mid patch and you want to change things, it can be hard to shift things in a “live” context. This is really a limit on dynamic inspiration and less on the module.
If I had room for a second, I’d probably leave it unlinked as well. A second unit would quickly solve that problem! I wish that I had the HP. I’m not sure you can have too many Stages.
I often change Stages parameters during jamming. There are two possible problems: if you are new with Stages, you need to remember which parameter is controlled by faber and which one by knob. Second one - if you have many patches near stages or above the module - it can be a challenge to work (like any other modules because of eurorack modules density of knobs, inputs/outputs, …
I’m waiting for Zadar final release to decide - grab another Stages for performance case or Zadar. Biggest plus of Stages, that it can be configured and re-configured on the fly. If you need AD(S)(SR) - you make ADSR from 4 channels. If don’t need - you can use it for anything elase - lfos, steps, small AR,…
a late follow up
I love stages and am barely scratching the surface. depending on your intended use it could be great for improv or uh not great.
I put Peaks in my 3u experiment instead because I want to be able to manually trigger envelopes and events. I’m also not anticipating a heavily modulated or dense palette (likely also playing bass at the same time).
Stages is nothing if not a lot of hands on access to how your functions function. a couple repatches get things moving pretty quickly and in my 6u the combo of Stages with Batumi/Maths is delightful for this. as i wrote above, that’s not what i’m after in a setup free of Stages and Maths so YMMV but trust yrself and also get a stages <shrug.gif>
That’s awesome to hear about the color update! Distinguishing the modes has been tricky for me as well, though it does lead to the occasional happy accident so maybe not all bad…
Thank you and Olivier so much for considering this issue! <3