Timo Rozendal’s version of the Steiner-Parker filter–8hp and you can use it for spectral mixing since it has separate inputs for high, band, and low passes. Only one output though, unlike 3 sisters. Filtering character is great, and you get gain control over each band input with some nice overdrive (enough drive to bring line level up to modular, actually). If you can find a builder it should be cheaper than 3 sisters. It’s less useful as an oscillator due to the unstable resonance, but you can actually make it a lot better sounding by feeding the output back into the bandpass input.
Yeah I built one of these a few years ago and have never taken it out of my rack. It is a very useful filter.
Really glad to hear you’re enjoying it!
Well I ordered it so I guess I’ll find out soon enough
Hey everyone, I’m really new to the modular world and so far I’m enjoying researching and daydreaming about how to build my perfect synth.
I’m another example of the ‘shoegaze-guitarist-turned-ambient-synth-hopeful’ via the likes of r beny and stripes (also a big Florist fan, I was at your show in Fargo, ND last year). So far I only have my hands on an 0-Coast but I also have a Rings, HEK, and one of the DIY Clouds on the way. Currently I’m sequencing the 0-Coast with an Electribe 2 which I also use for more conventional, albeit limited, synth and drum sounds. I do plan on incorporating Marbles when I outgrow my Happy Ending Kit. I have a system roughly planned out via modular grid, but I will save you the trouble of seeing a hypothetical synth with a lot of MI modules and a maths
So far just having my hands on a (semi)modular synth has helped me wrap my head around a lot of the concepts and terminology that is hard to conceptualize without firsthand experience. I know that Clouds and Rings will help me get sounds that I find appealing, and the 0-Coast can give me some modulation and routing options, but I’m kind of stumped as to what I should consider for my next module.
So far I’ve gotten a little trigger happy, so my next immediate order of business will be to fully realize some interesting patches and song sketches using the gear I have on hand.
My question is which sort of module would you recommend next for someone trying to learn this more complex form of sound design? I’ve had my eyes on units like Pamela’s [new or original] Workout, Ornament and Crime, Tides, Maths, etc.; but I’m struggling to figure out which would make the most sense for my modular and not be too daunting for a beginner to wrap their head around. Does anyone have any recommendations or information you wish you had when you were first building your instrument? Any and all advice is welcome.
I’d recommend Maths as a good ‘learning’ module. I used to have a Pamela’s workout, but it felt too cramped. Batumi is a nice option.
My preference now that I’ve had a modular is to avoid too many deep menus and thin 2 hp modules with small trimmer knobs.
Okay I was intimidated by PW. Seems like a pretty dense module and I don’t think I’d get the most of it at this time. Maths seems like good expansion of the 0-Coast. I had sort of written it off because I’m not crazy about the slope section of the 0-C, but maybe that will change when I spend more time with it!
imo the best way to learn modular is to attempt to conceptualize a sound that you would like to produce, and make your best approximation on a semi-modular. then, try to account for any areas where you weren’t able to achieve what you wanted, and figure out what you would need to get to there.
thanks for this great advice. i’ve been having fun with the 0-Coast, an SQ-1, and an OP1 with various digital effects, and it’s been great to sketch out various musical directions. not sure exactly where i’ll start the modular journey (probably a Maths, a clock, an effect, and a solid case that can travel), but it’s been helpful to see what areas i want to push towards.
I would also second getting your hands on a Maths. I didn’t gel with mine and sold it, but it was a great educational tool for getting my head around how different elements of a modular work (LFOs, envelopes, offsets etc.), so it was super useful for working out what I needed more or less of in my case.
Befaco’s Rampage is also worth a look. Similar idea afaik, but a different interface. Available DIY too so you could save some cash there. I’ve never used it but it looks fun!
Modulation sources, and ideally, boring ones (ie: not shiny expensive multi-function modules). Rings and Clouds have all those jacks on the front for shaping and modulating them. So what can you feed into them? The answer is: envelopes, LFOs, and ideally ones you can manipulate easily or CV (unlike the OC’s slope section). These are going to be what shape and evolve a sound.
So, from your list: Maths is about the obvious choice: it’s analog, full of controls, responds well to patching and self-patching, and can be slopes, LFOs, and simple attenuation. Although - given you have a 0-coast, it might be worth just playing with the things you describe, and working out what you’d want more of: would more traditional LFOs help you out? Would you like more straight-up envelopes? Would you like some more randomness? 0-coast has a bit of everything in it, and you’ve got enough to be playing with. Some exploration might hint at where you want to go next, rather than (to borrow a term from gaming) theorycrafting on the imaginary modular in your head.
Sounds like you’ve got a good start, though. But I think the next things on your list, once you’ve played with what’s coming, are probably not that expensive or thrilling - certainly not sound generation modules - but will make everything else come alive.
I would recommend avoiding functionally dense, menu driven, modules like Pamelas Workout etc. and go for something that has immediate hands on controls (‘what you see is what you get’).
I swapped out two MI peaks for an Intellijel Quadra. The Quadra does far less than the Peaks do, but it is so immediate that I find it quicker to get to the sound I have in my head.
As others have mentioned, function generator type modules (Maths, Rampage, to some extent Quadra) offer a lot of bang for buck in functionality.
Random modulation is also one of my favourite things on modular, and this could also be achieved using a bit of white noise and using a Maths/Rampage etc. as a slew limiter.
Also, I would definitely recommend Marbles. It’s become my favourite module. It can cover so many tasks (including random modulation) and would be a nice alternative to your Electribe.
Whilst I would recommend picking up an Ornament & Crime at some point, i would admit that it was quite a lot for me to wrap my head around when I was just getting into modular. It rewards a patient and thorough approach to learning it. Since I don’t have a full rack, I use cardboard for blank panels which doubles up as a notepad for me to quickly jot down what some of the inputs are used for on each app. There is also not a huge amount of immediate control without menu scrolling. I have mine between a Maths and MI Blinds as both of these offer up really neat ways to control the parameters of the O&C alongside attenuating the output signals. Blinds is not a very exciting module but it really changed a lot for me in terms of having a huge amount more control over a signal’s volume, something which is integral for meaningful sound design in my opinion.
If you have one in your area, go to a shop where you can try out some stuff - i was lucky to live in Berlin for a while so going to Schneiders and trying out some modules was hugely informative (interfaces matter!).
@alanza’s advice for learning modular is really good. If there’s a module you want, do try to see if you can recreate some of its functions with what you already have. It might not satisfy but you’ll learn something along the way! Have fun!
And if that isn’t enough to persuade you, how about this
i’m also pretty new to eurorack (~7 months since i built my case), and came into it from a similar place. i definitely agree with everyone about more modulation, and i agree about not going wild with dense modules, but i’ll add a counterpoint: as a newbie who jumped into Pam’s New Workout i’m very glad i did.
it adds a ridiculous amount of functionality to a small case, and while it is definitely more menu-divey than a lot of the other modules, it only takes a few clicks and scrolls to get 8 simple gates, waveforms, (basic) envelopes, and/or random voltages that all follow different divisions of the same clock. it’s also a very simple sequencer if you want it to be. and since it’s deep af, you can get to that other functionality when you want to.
maths and PNW are my only sources of modulation and envelopes, and i almost never run out of outputs in my small system.
What is it that you don’t like about the Slope section? I think when I started with an 0-Coast 18 months or so ago, I was under-utilizing the Voltage Math section for mixing/attenuversion, which opens up Slope to be more Maths-like if you haven’t messed around with it too much.
While I second Maths as a good starter module from my own experience, of course nothing is for everyone. If you’re really not vibing with Slope/Voltage Math, another option to look into would be Stages and Shades/Triatt for some of the same features you’d get from Maths in the same amount of space.
I actually didn’t like Pamela’s New Workout myself. Part of it is that it runs off either its own internal, or an external, master clock – everything is based on divisions or multiplications of that clock. I wanted something more flexible that could handle arbitrary gates, irregular patterns, swing, etc. – and maybe divide its efforts between multiple incoming gate streams rather than a single clock.
The other thing I didn’t like much was the interface. It seemed like one more button and a minor rearrange of the menu could have taken out a lot of tedium.
I tried a few other options and wound up with Teletype, which is a lot more flexible.
I think that Maths video may have pushed me over the edge. Also it gave me some insight for creating new patches on the 0-Coast. It also helped me realize how dense some of the modulation options on the 0-Coast can be for how simple it is! I’ll have enough to play with when my other modules arrive to determine if I want to pull the trigger on a Maths or not. I think it will likely be my next module, but I’ll know for sure if I feel limited by my options when I’m able to actually start patching with Rings and Clouds.
Thank you all for the advice so far! I’m so glad I decided to reach out to this community. I live on the ND/MN border, so unfortunately I don’t have many options for places I can try out or even just see eurorack gear. I did stop by Foxtone on a recent trip to Minneapolis. The person working plugged in an SQ-1 to a Rings strum input and then straight into a monitor. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was for how few pieces there were. I didn’t stick around for long unfortunately, because my partner was visibly losing interest in my newly justified love affair with modular.
The cardboard blank panel is a brilliant idea. I was wondering how I would keep my cat from messing with the exposed psu of my incoming HEK, and that seems like a really clever and simple solution!
So you think tt can replace pnw? I’m as not very impressed with pnw interface as well, but I like its functionality. Very intrigued by tt…More immediate than pwn?
Definitely less immediate. If you want an immediate PNW that focuses on gates, you buy a Tempi.