Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

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misterpete
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by misterpete » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:10 pm

thealien666 wrote:
Just Me wrote:.... Less than 2 years later I'm at 88 spaces filled.


88!!! Yikes... Can you please tell me what do all of those modules do? - ...above and beyond the VX-351, CP-251 and MoogerFooger boxes connected to Voyager & Slim Phatty?

I am thrilled with the results I'm getting with the MFs, the CP/VX expanders Voyager & Slim.. also I am quite thrilled with the results I'm getting with other older analog gear Hammond, Clav, Fender Rhodes etc filtering through these same modules... and misc. FX pedals... but very curious about extending the "modularity" ...
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by thealien666 » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:19 pm

misterpete wrote:
thealien666 wrote:
Just Me wrote:.... Less than 2 years later I'm at 88 spaces filled.


88!!! Yikes... Can you please tell me what do all of those modules do? - ...above and beyond the VX-351, CP-251 and MoogerFooger boxes connected to Voyager & Slim Phatty?

I am thrilled with the results I'm getting with the MFs, the CP/VX expanders Voyager & Slim.. also I am quite thrilled with the results I'm getting with other older analog gear Hammond, Clav, Fender Rhodes etc filtering through these same modules... and misc. FX pedals... but very curious about extending the "modularity" ...



Better watch out for that modular synth's "quicksand" effect... And no, that's not a new module I'm talking about... :mrgreen:
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Just Me » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:02 pm

What does the modular do??? Wow, that is rough to answer
The short answer is it allows me to route anything, anywhere. I can modulate (even at audio rates!) just about anything. I can get timbres that preset or "normalized" can't approach.
"Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."

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Christopher Winkels
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:27 pm

misterpete wrote:Yikes... Can you please tell me what do all of those modules do?


Depends on the modular system, really. That's part of the fun.

On mine there are three different sequencers, for example: a suite of STG Time modules that control both voltages and gates, a Q119 (Dotcom's "new" sequencer design), a Q960 (essentially a reissue of the old Moog 960). Each has different strengths and weaknesses. For example you can't control individual gate length on the Q119 (not internally at least) but it can do things like chain 24 steps without the use of an external module, operate in radom mode, etc. One doesn't need all three (and indeed there are models by companies like Moon Modular that do other things still) so it's nice to have the variety. Some people don't want or need any sequencers whatsoever though. You don't need to be constrained with a modular's feature set.

Similarly, I have several filters because they all have different characteristics. Dotcom only sells a few: a Moog-inspired ladder filter, a multimode, and a fixed filter bank. But I also have filters from other vendors: an ARP-inspired lowpass, an EMS-style lowpass, a Polymoog three-band clone, a lowpass gate, a copy of the Steiner Synthacon, and a couple of others.

Some people like lots of LFOs. Others wants many and complex envelope generators, or need plenty of VCAs to allow dynamic control over other control signals. Some chase polyphony, while others want a lot of Chowning style FM capability, or wavetable capability, or just to use the thing as a giant FX processor for their guitar. That's the joy of modulars: you chase the feature set that works for you.

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Kevin Lightner
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:35 am

Some chase polyphony


Having played several very large modulars, I find that description to be perfect.
It is much harder that many people imagine to get a modular to play well polyphonically.
The Oberheim SEM based polyphonics are rather special in their ability to intonate well despite no autotune.
I've tried it with Moogs, Polyfusions, Roland 100ms and other true modulars and it can drive you mad attempting triads or beyond.
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Christopher Winkels
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:22 am

I think we're finally reaching a point where the words "modular" and "polyphony" can be used together in the same sentence without a lot of titters and guffaws.

First off there's a lot of options on the table now for polyphonic MIDI-CV control: Expert Sleepers in particular, but also the new Vermona 4-voice system, older models from Roland and Kenton, and possibly the Encore if Tony gets 'round to making his Expressionist again (it's still listed on the website; we live in hope). So actually controlling four or more voices isn't too big an issue.

In terms of constructing the sound architecture: if one wants to stay in the MU format then a basic voice can be assembled using only 5 MU of space (two of the Oakley Slim VCOs, one of the STG Post-Lawsuit VCF (use the onboard mixing to combine the VCO outputs), one unmodified Q109 envelope generator to drive the VCF and one of the MegaOhm modified Q109s (Phil at MegaOhm adds a piggyback VCA in the same EG package). Four setups like that, plus a Q112 mixer to sum them take up 21U of space (which neatly fits into the Dotcom 22U portable cabinet with one space left over for the power control unit).

Now granted that's exceedingly basic: no LFO and no slew (though several of the MIDI-CV options bundle both lag and LFOs into the software, so this isn't an insurmountable stumbling block), no multimode filtering, no wavefolding, no ring mod, no spring reverb, etc. But if one is willing to go for the bigger 44U cabinet then all those become possible. It's not terribly portable, or easy to set up, or fun to tweak, but it's do-able in a package that takes up less space than many people's TVs. (Granted your typical big screen TV now costs a fraction of what a modular system does....)

Or if you want to go really small, Tip Top Audio has been showing off the basics of their polyphonic modular system in the Euro package. It uses a multi-strand cable to handle up to 8 signals at once, so setting up a polyphonic patch shouldn't necessarily take eight times as long as a monophonic one. No idea if it'll coax other manufacturers on board to support the system but I can't see why it won't.

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Kevin Lightner
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Kevin Lightner » Thu Jan 26, 2012 1:02 pm

It isn't polyphonic control or mixing I'm remarking about so much.
It's the fact that as polyphony goes up, so does the demand for perfect tracking from every oscillator.
Even very minor tuning differences can affect the perfect intonation of a chord.
In a modular, all the oscillators should ideally be perfectly scaled, but drift can affect several at once and to varying degrees.
Things have gotten better since the vintage days, but they're still analog oscillators with no autotune and separately fixed scaling and offset.
If there was just one vco per voice, there would be a greater chance of attaining decent intonation polyphonically even if there was no autotune (for example, the JP4), but make it two or more VCOs per voice and attempt a large chord?
That's harder.
That's why JP8s, JP6s, Memorymoogs, P5s and others had autotune.
The CS80 solved much of this problem due to the fact it had linear vcos and synths like the Polymoog or Arp Omni were divide-down and no error could occur, but error increases on VCOs with expo converters, especially due to temperature and power supply variations.
Fwiw, each SEM had its own separate regulator controlling two VCOs and that really helps too.
Adding separate LFO modulation to each voice in a polyphonically patched modular also leaves some offset possible from the VCAs sending them the LFO signals.
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Christopher Winkels
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:59 pm

Kevin Lightner wrote:It isn't polyphonic control or mixing I'm remarking about so much.
It's the fact that as polyphony goes up, so does the demand for perfect tracking from every oscillator.


Ah, okay. I suppose I hadn't thought about that because I actually don't mind those chords that are a half dozen (or more) hertz out from note to note. :lol:

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Christopher Winkels
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Re: Anyone use Synthesizers.com Stuff?

Post by Christopher Winkels » Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:37 am

Christopher Winkels wrote:
Kevin Lightner wrote:It isn't polyphonic control or mixing I'm remarking about so much.
It's the fact that as polyphony goes up, so does the demand for perfect tracking from every oscillator.


Ah, okay. I suppose I hadn't thought about that because I actually don't mind those chords that are a half dozen (or more) hertz out from note to note. :lol:


One thing I neglected to mention yesterday: for those who really want/need solid tracking, that's where items like Silent Way by Expert Sleepers comes into its own. It can do multiple CV outputs while performing a degree of self-calibration that's miles better than any of the old polyphonic gear. So it isn't an either/or dilemma anymore, fortunately. You literally can have your cake and eat it too.

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