Voyager XL as modular controller

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Psychlist1972
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Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by Psychlist1972 » Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:25 pm

I'm evaluating options here as I approach bonus time :)

I have a mid-sized dotcom modular. I don't yet have a good controller for it.

A good modular controller like the Club of the Knobs one will run around $1400-$1600 or so after shipping, but it is gorgeous. It also has some nice features such as an arpeggiator, split zones, and whatnot. However, I've always wanted a Voyager but I'm short on space for too many physical keyboards. I'm considering having a Voyager XL do double-duty as a controller for the modular, also using the touch pad on it and the ribbon, assuming I can get CV from both. I've seen them around at prices that make sense.

Is anyone using a Voyager XL (or regular even a regular voyager) as a modular controller? I'm interested in whether or not it works well in that capacity, any limitations you've found, etc. I realize I won't get the arpeggiator, duophonic voltage control, and similar.

Pete
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EMwhite
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by EMwhite » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:05 pm

yes. well no but yes.

I have the Voyager Old School and it, with the VX-351 is the BEST Modular controller of all time.

Scratch that; it's the best Monophonic modular controller of all time. Just take a look at all of the CV outs on the VX (or on the panel of the XL) and you will quickly see that you can send 0..5V for things like aftertouch, velocity, various modulation options, LFO waveforms and noise, etc etc.

The kbd has a very nice feel and @ 5 Octaves, even better.

BUT I've been pining for one of the COTK controllers for a long time, or a Pentaphon (coming October, 2001) [yes, I'm stretching it a bit]. But I finally gave up and picked up the MOTM-650.

Congrats on working for a company and getting yourself into position to get a bonus. Between yourself and one of the other cats than hangs around here, it's nice to know that some folks are still doing well!

One note that may be of interest, the CV Pitch out of a Voyager may not be 1V/Oct. dead on, there are scads of accounts of this and there are work arounds, etc. So just keep it in mind.

IF you really really want a Voyager, then get one; otherwise, you might be better off with a really nice Midi Keyboard and a REALLY good Midi->CV which does Poly. Based on what I've read, you already have a SubPhatty and a Slim? While folks will argue with me, your proposed Voyager will not add much (considering you have the modular also).

Just one guys advice...
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!

EricK
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by EricK » Fri Aug 09, 2013 10:52 pm

Hey Pete,
I think I recognize you from Muffs, welcome here. DEFINE "MEDIUM"!

Here is the majority of my synth rig:
Image

As you can see my modular is very basic. One osc, the multimode filter, stg mixer, 2 envgens and 2 vcas, with a q119, a mult and a signal selector. A very basic synth voice laid out to match the Voyager's layout (modulation on the left followed by osc/mixer/filter/envgen/vca). The problem that I have with using the Voyager as a modular controller is the limited keyboard coupled with the desire to keep the Voyager as an independent voice.

Using the Voyager keyboard as a controller for the dotcom voice is limited, especially with the way the dotcom oscs range is setup. The XL will be much better suited with it's longer keyboard, but (and I'm sure it's possible) I'd really like to get the maximum playable range out of the osc. With the Voyager's keyboard into the 1V/Octave input on the dotcom (either via the dotcom midi converter or the vx351 pitch out) it is very limited.

So I mostly use my modular for sequences and try to use the foogers to expand the modular into more of a system 22, and use the Voyager as an independent voice. If you use the Voyager to control the modular, then whatever program you have on the Voyager is essentially tethered to the modular (unless you turn the local control off and control the voyager via a midi sequencer). I find myself most of the time using the dotcom to control the Voyager or syncing everything together for results like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdNKY7814Is

That's just my opinion on the subject. That polyclavier looks mighty fine though. It does seem to be quite the quagmire to be short on keyboard space and considering an XL cause that is a huge monster.

The Voyager is awesome though as a modular controller with the keyboard, LHC, and Touchpad. The XL has to be even better (it will give you cv outs for the ribbon, but I don't know about midi), but I think this is really dependent on what you want to do with your modular and what all modules you have. It certainly has the aesthetics going on.
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by Psychlist1972 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 12:11 pm

Thanks Everyone.

Medium-sized: If I add up all the modules I have completed building which are waiting for cases, plus all the ones waiting for me to finish (electronics is a hobby), I have probably around 60U or more of space, including a couple sequencers. In my smaller portable case, I have four oscillators, a couple filters, a bunch of support modules (22U total), and then sitting outside it but powered, a dotcom sequencer, quantizer and a couple other modules. I have several other types of oscillators and filters completed, plus some interesting projects (full synth voices from kits, a tau phaser, jupiter and arp clone filters, several Music from Outer Space modules and voices, etc.). So medium, if you consider something like John Rice's rig to be "large" :)

I generally tend to sequence the modular, but I think that has as much to do with not having a good controller as anything.

I'd love a voyager, but I do see what you guys are saying about the controllers. This is great feedback for me to weigh in. Thanks.

I suspect I'll need to take a hard look at my space and get a good controller while saving up for the voyager and maybe removing something else to make space. I know there's overlap with the Slim Phatty there, but for reasons I put out elsewhere, I don't noodle with the slim phatty as much as I prefer knobby synths. I'd like to get to a point where between the modular and a couple keyboard-laden Moogs, I could do more "live" work and less overdubbing. It simply makes it more fun and helps me improve when I can work that way.

@EricK: Your rig is beautiful! You need long arms to play that Theremin, though ;)
When I saw your photo, this was the first thing to pop into my head:
Image

PS: Yes, I'm on Muff's (mostly the 5u forum) and in GearSlutz.

Pete
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by EricK » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:30 am

Pete,
Just in my experience, I never met a midi controller that I liked. They either looked or felt crappy or both. I have dealt with latency issues when trying to control software synths and after that they all felt like toys to me. Having said that, they would probably work great though. Maybe I just have an irrational prejudice against them. The Voyager's pressure and velocity really shine here.

There's always the dotcom controller, but against the polyclavier, that doesn't seem to cut it.


What I would probably do is get the dotcom controller and a Model D with a Midi retrofit. Or I'd get the dotcom controller and spend 4k more on modules or the Buchla Easel or something similar.

And I usually bring the theremin down to play it, cause it won't work up there very well at all. It has the cv outs also, I just haven't gotten around to hooking it up to the modular yet (needing more patch cords).

Eric
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by EMwhite » Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:18 pm

To add to the discussion (not in a good way... sorry), the dotcom keyboard is said to be lackluster both from a feel and construction quality perspective, and from an engineering (the panel to the left) perspective; Kbd split for duophonic is handy for sure but lack of any modwheel/pitch and who on earth would want the cables sticking up like that?!

Polyclavier is for sure the winner in every way but I've never seen one in the wild. I tried to buy one about a year ago and was told by Kazike (COTK) that they are too busy fulfilling orders for modules and whole systems. Asked about the Pentaphon and was told "not available, what to do?" <- Seriously, that's what he said... :D The COTK site says "Available again in October 2010".

Novation keybards are really nice since the better units use Fatar keybeds, but some of the controls are wonky and that stick... bah!
StudioLogic (owned by Fatar) also very nice but being Italian, they have a very strange sense of design.

Many of the crowd that that large Midi setups from the old days either live on a synth that also happens to have a good keyboard, or buy one of the old Roland Master Midi kbds from the early 90s.

As Eric said above, the Voyager keyboard is really nice; if the XL has the same feel, maybe that is the answer. It's excessive but if you've got the dough, go for it. Then get yourself a MidiPal or some filtering software so you can do splits, etc.
'76 Minimoog, Taurus 3, Oberheim FVS + Son of 2-voice; Sequential ProOne; Juno 106; Moog Model 15; Kurzweil 250; Hammond M3; and a handful of Fender Basses Flickr!

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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by tommyecho » Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:53 am

I don't have a dotcom modular but I do have a eurorack modular that is growing. Here's what i've got at this point:

http://cdn.modulargrid.de/img/racks/mod ... _30693.jpg

I use the pitch out on the XL to control the DPO, which has two oscillators, and the Wiard Oscillator. Gate signals from the ribbon, touchpad, and keyboard can all go out to trigger envelopes in the eurorack. The XL does a bit of midi to CV converting too in that any midi pitch info coming in will be forwarded out the pitch CV out. You can use an arpeggiator in ableton live, for example, to send arpeggiated CV out from the XL, which is pretty cool. I have a sequencer in my eurocrack, and it is fun to send the QCV from the sequencer to the XL and other oscillators as well. You might have to adjust the trim pots just a tad on either of your modules or the XL, but the XL does indeed send and receive 1V/octave just fine, absolutely. Six oscillators of different stripes all working together is pretty fun stuff! I have a pdf with the info on how to adjust the trim pots if you ever want it!

Add to this the 2 midi syncable LFOs, the ribbon controller, the touchpad outs etc etc, and you have an amazing way to control any modular, IMHO. Some modules, the grendal formant filter for example, really benefit from having the X Y outs of a touchpad sent to them. . .
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Ryan Lubinsky
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by Ryan Lubinsky » Tue Aug 13, 2013 1:00 pm

tommyecho wrote:I don't have a dotcom modular but I do have a eurorack modular that is growing. Here's what i've got at this point:

http://cdn.modulargrid.de/img/racks/mod ... _30693.jpg

I use the pitch out on the XL to control the DPO, which has two oscillators, and the Wiard Oscillator. Gate signals from the ribbon, touchpad, and keyboard can all go out to trigger envelopes in the eurorack. The XL does a bit of midi to CV converting too in that any midi pitch info coming in will be forwarded out the pitch CV out. You can use an arpeggiator in ableton live, for example, to send arpeggiated CV out from the XL, which is pretty cool. I have a sequencer in my eurocrack, and it is fun to send the QCV from the sequencer to the XL and other oscillators as well. You might have to adjust the trim pots just a tad on either of your modules or the XL, but the XL does indeed send and receive 1V/octave just fine, absolutely. Six oscillators of different stripes all working together is pretty fun stuff! I have a pdf with the info on how to adjust the trim pots if you ever want it!

Add to this the 2 midi syncable LFOs, the ribbon controller, the touchpad outs etc etc, and you have an amazing way to control any modular, IMHO. Some modules, the grendal formant filter for example, really benefit from having the X Y outs of a touchpad sent to them. . .


hey tommyecho im looking at building a euro system along the same lines as yours to interact with my voyager xl starting with the make noise rene sequencer. my question to you is this ... did you adjust some trim pot on the rene so it would send out a QCV of 0.9375V / octave that apparently is the moog octave scaling? and if so, how does that effect other euro VCO in your system that expect a more "pure" volt per octave?

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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by tommyecho » Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:57 am

Ryan Lubinsky wrote:
tommyecho wrote:I don't have a dotcom modular but I do have a eurorack modular that is growing. Here's what i've got at this point:

http://cdn.modulargrid.de/img/racks/mod ... _30693.jpg

I use the pitch out on the XL to control the DPO, which has two oscillators, and the Wiard Oscillator. Gate signals from the ribbon, touchpad, and keyboard can all go out to trigger envelopes in the eurorack. The XL does a bit of midi to CV converting too in that any midi pitch info coming in will be forwarded out the pitch CV out. You can use an arpeggiator in ableton live, for example, to send arpeggiated CV out from the XL, which is pretty cool. I have a sequencer in my eurocrack, and it is fun to send the QCV from the sequencer to the XL and other oscillators as well. You might have to adjust the trim pots just a tad on either of your modules or the XL, but the XL does indeed send and receive 1V/octave just fine, absolutely. Six oscillators of different stripes all working together is pretty fun stuff! I have a pdf with the info on how to adjust the trim pots if you ever want it!

Add to this the 2 midi syncable LFOs, the ribbon controller, the touchpad outs etc etc, and you have an amazing way to control any modular, IMHO. Some modules, the grendal formant filter for example, really benefit from having the X Y outs of a touchpad sent to them. . .


hey tommyecho im looking at building a euro system along the same lines as yours to interact with my voyager xl starting with the make noise rene sequencer. my question to you is this ... did you adjust some trim pot on the rene so it would send out a QCV of 0.9375V / octave that apparently is the moog octave scaling? and if so, how does that effect other euro VCO in your system that expect a more "pure" volt per octave?


Hey that's cool that you are looking into eurorack/XL connection! Man, there is a lot of confusing info about the whole .9375v/octave thing on these forums. It took me forever to have the nerve to dive in to eurorack because of this. The fact is that the XL pitch in and pitch out both track at 1V/octave, so you have nothing to worry about on that front. It just works, and there is no .9375 problem. The problem only exists on standard minimoog voyagers.

Now, if you buy any eurorack oscillators, you will quite likely have to adjust some trimpots in order to get everything copacetic, and you might have to adjust the voyager trimpots just a tad, but it's relatively easy to do. Of course, before opening up the XL, call Moog and tell them your situation if you are in warranty. They will most likely give you an email confirmation that you have persmission to do a little trimpot tweaking. It's in their interest for all this to work well, since part of what they want the XL to do is be the control station for other modular gear, which it does brilliantly.

Here's what happened with me: I got the DPO and Rene from Makenoise and the wiard osc from Malekko. I had to adjust the trimpot on the DPO to get it to follow the pitch out CV on the XL so that it stayed in tune with the XL oscillators. The Wiard worked pefectly and needed no adjustment. Then, I had to adjust the trimpot in the XL for the pitch in CV so that it would follow the Rene sequencer accurately. Ever since I made those two small adjustments, it's been fantastic. I can get the XL, DPO, and Wiard all tracking from the Rene for 4 octaves no problem, and I can get the DPO and Wiard tracking from the XL pitch out in tune with the XL oscillators for 4 octaves no problem. I did this in a performance a few months ago, and it went just fine!

So there ya go! Hope that's not too much info! XL at 1v/octave without a hitch: )

The Rene is rad, BTW.
THE GOLDEN MINIMOOG VOYAGER #31

seank
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by seank » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:52 pm

i'm selling my voyager eb and a few other things to pick up an xl. using it as a controller for a new synth tech motm system i'm building. quick question: the midi to cv (from the pitch and gate outs) can't be used independent of the moog oscillators, right?

also emwhite, where the hell did you find a motm-650? i'm on the hunt right now.

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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by misterpete » Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:16 pm

Correct ~you will need another device to do the MIDI->CV that's independent of the moog oscillators...

One thing possibly overlooked in this thread ~ you can use your modular as a controller for the XL as well
sending in different LFOs or envelopes - filtering- mixing in audio or extra VCOs -possibilities are wide open :)
seank wrote:i'm selling my voyager eb and a few other things to pick up an xl. using it as a controller for a new synth tech motm system i'm building. quick question: the midi to cv (from the pitch and gate outs) can't be used independent of the moog oscillators, right?
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by misterpete » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:30 pm

YES! ~ try a fixed Joystick as well Tommy like the one on the TELEMETRY - having it STAY where you set it is brilliant whereas with the touchpad you have to give up the use of a hand
X/Y controls works on all kinds of things just as well as the Grendel ~ all kinds of modules with log/lin and dual CVs
as well as the XL itself of course...the Voyager Touchpads can be even more powerful because you twice as many parameters with SIZE and GATE as well as X & Y

tommyecho wrote: the touchpad outs etc etc, and you have an amazing way to control any modular, IMHO. Some modules, the grendal formant filter for example, really benefit from having the X Y outs of a touchpad sent to them. . .
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seank
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by seank » Sat Aug 24, 2013 10:14 pm

here's another one for you: is there a way to have to ribbon controller "return to zero" when you let go instead of holding the voltage? i'd like to have it patched into the pitch jack all the time, but as it is right now, i can never guarantee that it will be in tune when i'm not using the ribbon.

does that make sense?

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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by seank » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:24 pm

anyone?

Ryan Lubinsky
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Re: Voyager XL as modular controller

Post by Ryan Lubinsky » Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:53 pm

i cant think of a way to "return to zero" on the ribbon . you can tune the ribbon to a degree using the attenuators on the xl . i have also been interested in getting a dotcom Q171 quantizer to aid my ribbon controller to give it a guitar fret style control. now im wondering if i can take that quantized ribbon voltage and get my pitch wheel to bend the the voltage before it gets patched into the pitch cv jack. could i accomplish this with the cv mixer on xl? so meany possibility so much fun.

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