What's your feeling on going modular?

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john gordon
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What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by john gordon » Sat May 30, 2015 5:13 pm

Bastl has some really cool Modular stuff coming out soon and I've got a little extra cash to spend. Do any of you guys actually make music with this stuff or is it just more gear lust? I'd really like to know.

TomViolenz
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by TomViolenz » Sat May 30, 2015 5:29 pm

No opinion whatsoever :lol:

But why not post this in the main section instead? I'm sure you will get much better participation there.

empathy1
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by empathy1 » Sun May 31, 2015 3:29 am

modular to me is gear lust...for a whole other level of audiophile that is into electronics and circuits...

I believe that there are some into sound itself...and others into the tangible process of creating sound...to me thats the appeal of modular...

the first synths built were essentially modular; IMO they are a purists way of viewing synthesis. depending on what you buy and what you do with it you have endless possibilities.

my only problem with it is that it's really really really...expensive...especially if you want a particularly flexible modular setup. however you can get away with spending maybe 1000-1500 USD on a basic, single-row modular rack. i considered it once and then thought about my spending habits and easy fixation on cool looking things. after looking at it objectively i realized i just like having fun toys to mess with sometimes and am better off working in-the-box mostly.

the key here is how much you are willing to spend and what it means to you. it definitely takes time and dedication to get the hang of, but if youre the collector sort of person and def have some extra dough to shell out on some really fancy gear, then I'd say it would be a fun foray that has a lot of potential.

modular stuff tends to have a pretty decent resale value too just in case you decided to cop and come to learn its not your cup of tea

good luck!

tedlogan
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by tedlogan » Sun May 31, 2015 5:45 pm

Last year, after coming across Bazille and soon after seeing the excellent I Dream of Wires documentary (4-hour version), I nearly entered the world of hardware modular synths.

I'm glad I did not start because:

It's very expensive. Entry-level pre-fab Doepfer A100 around £1000. Basic setup.
Patches I make are like my children, even if many are ugly. I want to save them.
Bazille sounds great and cost me £60.

If I had money to burn I'd certainly start building a wall of knobs and cables though. I just know I'd fall in love instantly.

With Live along with all the devices (native and 3rd party) being my modular setup, I do still make music and not just tweak stuff endlessly. At least my friends say it's "music"...although I always hear sniggering after they've patted me on the head/back.

You say you've got extra cash anyway - go for it.
Last edited by tedlogan on Sun May 31, 2015 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Richie Witch
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by Richie Witch » Sun May 31, 2015 6:36 pm

About 8 months ago, I started toying with the idea of buying guitar pedals and routing my existing hardware synths through them. However, the more I read, the more I heard that finding pedals that work well with synths sounds can be pretty challenging. You have to do a lot of trial and error, and most pedals aren't going to create effects that really work.

Then I started looking at buying Eurorack modules that could do something similar, but obviously designed for mangling/modifying synth sounds. When you compare the cost of guitar pedals vs effects modules, the cost is the same. So now I've got some great distortion, echo, and filters, and a couple LFOs to add modulation. Adding distortion to the kick drum on my drum machine, or running the wavetable sounds on my Korg through a series of characterful filters has allowed me to discover patches and create new sounds I can't imagine I would have found otherwise.

You don't have to spend a fortune. I don't own any expensive digital modules or synth voices. I buy one module a month, add that to the rack, and discover as much as I can about it before I decide on the next one.

Recreating patches *is* challenging. When I find something I really like, I try to record it to audio in as many ways as I can think of, and then document the setting as best I can. Since I have the audio to reference, I can get back to the original sound--it just takes more time than loading a preset.

From my experience, I think modular is a great idea.
Win10/Intel i7 rig | Live 10 | MOTU 16A | DSI Prophet~6, Yamaha DX7S, Hypersynth Xenophone, Korg MS2000R and Electribe ER-1, Novation BassStation Rack and Circuit | 12U of Eurorack | variety of compressors and other outboard gear | Dune 3, Enzyme, Kontakt

tedlogan
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by tedlogan » Sun May 31, 2015 6:53 pm

Good points all round there. In fact, you're probably more productive if you record all those patches in the many ways you describe than if it was saved.

If I wasn't saving up for (and this is just gear, excludes other life stuff):

Line 6 shortboard MKII
proper workstation desk
getting my Tannoy 6D monitors fixed..currently mixing on HD600s and a budget Cambridge Audio stereo as occasional check...not good
Schaak Transient Shaper (as of today)
new PC (an expensive 2grandish thing for CG work)
room treatment

then I'd reconsider starting a hardware modular setup.

yur2die4
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by yur2die4 » Sun May 31, 2015 10:56 pm

I think it is a bad sign. Sure it starts with music gear. But sooner or later we're going to have cybernetic modular franken-people picking fights in bars.

H20nly
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by H20nly » Sun May 31, 2015 11:12 pm

Because modular homes are built indoors they can be completed in a matter of a few weeks as opposed to months. These home constructions do not see the typical on-site delays that are predominantly caused by the weather. Modular homes must conform to specific rules, guidelines and building codes that often surpass those of traditional on-site homes. However, it is important to shop around. Not all companies that make factory-built homes are alike. There can be significant differences in quality, price and service. As with purchasing or building any home, it is crucial to do your research.

tedlogan
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by tedlogan » Sun May 31, 2015 11:31 pm

H20nly wrote:Because modular homes are built indoors they can be completed in a matter of a few weeks as opposed to months. These home constructions do not see the typical on-site delays that are predominantly caused by the weather. Modular homes must conform to specific rules, guidelines and building codes that often surpass those of traditional on-site homes. However, it is important to shop around. Not all companies that make factory-built homes are alike. There can be significant differences in quality, price and service. As with purchasing or building any home, it is crucial to do your research.
hahaha - is that from HiveHaus? I was really into the idea of buying this type of home until I realised you need land first. Very expensive non-greenbelt land.

starving student
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by starving student » Mon Jun 01, 2015 11:12 am

go semi, go erebus, or go to russia and breakdance............

https://youtu.be/KK7xEbSTY2o?t=46



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2MnghdqqDE

john gordon
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by john gordon » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:52 pm

This set up is around 1900 us. It's not cheap but it looks and sounds pretty cool. Idk.. I guess I could always sell it, I think I'm going to pull the trigger.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqhsLLmGA4c

Tarekith
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by Tarekith » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:03 pm

I "almost' decided to go with a modular myself, but at the last minute I stopped myself. Mainly because I went down the slippery slope of guitar pedals last year, and I learned the hard way how there's always just ONE MORE you HAVE TO HAVE. :) Eventually it got so frustrating I sold almost all of them (kept the Timeline and HOF).

I have a feeling for me personally, I'd always be wanting one more to complete the sounds I was trying to make. And with something like modulars that very rarely means just buying a new module, sooner or later you're buying bugger cases, power supplies, fancy patch cables, etc. You dont HAVE to, but I know me and that's how it would end up, this never ending spiral of spending.

And if I'm honest, while I know I would enjoy the process of creating music that way, I'm not sure I'd really happy with the end results sonically. There's been only a couple times I've been really impressed with the way something sounded that was made on a modular. Usually I find myself thinking I could have made almost the same thing with Zebra2. :)

tedlogan
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by tedlogan » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:40 pm

Tarekith wrote: Usually I find myself thinking I could have made almost the same thing with Zebra2. :)
heh, reminds me of a not-too long ago interview with Hans Zimmer, where he says he's got all these amazing hardware synths (just check his studio on Google - the most beautiful room I've ever seen), and he was writing this score as he tends to do. He ended up not using said hardware and used Zebra 2 instead, for whichever score/part it was, because in the end it was easier to work with and"it sounded just as good". Can't find the article.

Tarekith
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by Tarekith » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:09 pm

He's used it a ton in Batman and things like Inception, him and Howard Scarr are always making some amazing sounds with that thing.

Angstrom
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Re: What's your feeling on going modular?

Post by Angstrom » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:33 pm

I think the real benefit of all hardware is tactility and one knob per function. There's a learnable "interface" to all hardware and that's very beneficial to the music making process.

However modular also has an appeal that is not logical, it's evocative to see a wall of arcane technology, and that feeling is aesthetic crack cocaine. It appeals to the inner child who loved interfaces which looked really really complicated, a Tardis console covered with flashing lights and cables everywhere. The man standing in front of a wall of modular carries a heavy implication of a "he's a mad scientist master of creating unique phat soundz" . While standing in front of Reaktor doesn't really bring the same kudos.

Often it's the aesthetics and fantasy of a potential heroic self which CAN be the over-riding force in G.A.S. and modular buying, the other (very real) benefits are then marshalled to provide a justification for this desire to fulfil a mental image of "what I should look like as a success".

99% of modular synth videos are of a man mindlessly tweaking a resonant filter with a sample and hold the cutoff, while a step sequencer marches meaninglessly through random notes ... bleebleblooblebarlblebleeblebloobleblarble... On several grand worth of equipment.

They are like those guys who own 8 limited edition "signature" guitars. These are the guys guitar store owners must love to see, the easy sale, predicated on a fantasy self. So I think it's worth examining you motiviations clearly before purchasing your first wrap of aesthetic fantasy crack.

That said ... now you should watch Alessandro in his synth cave and have a little cry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MKj_jurDHw (A.C and Sonicstate in the cave of Buchla)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mpaiiHPJaY (A.C and Sonicstate more Buchla)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o4yFxumAuA (A.C and Sonicstate even more Buchla)

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