I Dream of Wires

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Bitexion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 5:23 am

rjd2 wrote:Holy s**t this thread smells like f**k nerd
Is there ANYTHING more nerdy than modular systems? I think not :)
Ask any owner of a modular system about it and we'll go off about the subtlety of the different filters, how accurate the VCO's are, the output level of the VCA and what colour wires he uses for control and audio CV's.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:02 am

Bitexion wrote:
rjd2 wrote:Holy s**t this thread smells like f**k nerd
Is there ANYTHING more nerdy than modular systems? I think not :)
Is there anything more nerdy than arguing about things on the internet? Doesn't matter what the subject is, there will be some nerd disagreeing with some other nerd (or even worse, SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T RECOGNISE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MINUTE SUB-CLASSIFICATIONS OF HIS (it's always a guy) CHOSEN OBSESSION!) on the internet about it.
Last edited by Stab Frenzy on Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by tekkentool » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:06 am

rjd2 wrote:Holy s**t this thread smells like f**k nerd
Yeah but I thought we already ascertained that goku would be able to beat superman.

I liked your post about skrillex the other day Mr. Rj.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by GuyaGuy » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:18 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
Bitexion wrote:
rjd2 wrote:Holy s**t this thread smells like f**k nerd
Is there ANYTHING more nerdy than modular systems? I think not :)
Is there anything more nerdy than arguing about things on the internet? Doesn't matter what the subject is, there will be some nerd disagreeing with some other nerd (or even worse, SOMEONE WHO DOESN'T RECOGNISE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE MINUTE SUB-CLASSIFICATIONS OF HIS (it's always a guy) CHOSEN OBSESSION!) on the internet about it.
I would call that geeky but not nerdy. :geek:

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Dr. Phibes » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:20 am

rjd2 wrote:Holy s**t this thread smells like f**k nerd
B.O., despair and old electronics?

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by sensorium » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:22 am

Its become apparent that AG is the guy who shows you his trophy case and brags about all of his college degrees as soon as you walk in his house. The guy with the license plates that no-so-humbly read "Doctor". Pretty funny though to see a guy so h**l bent on winning a "my d**k's bigger than yours" contest on a synthesizer forum consisting of about 20 regular posters. Seriously man...dont hurt yourself falling off of your 2 inch high pedestal.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by paults » Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:24 am

Greetings from "that guy" in the 2nd trailer.

Since it's hard to get a "feel" of my background and perspective from an 8 second clip, here is a brief rundown.

I hve been interested in synths eversince I heard "Knife Edge" at a small pizza joint's juke box around 1972. My father was a nuclear physicist and I was into chemistry. I wasn't that much into electronics except liked stereos/speakers/listening to music. I had a chemistry scholarship entering college, but since an entry-level job required a PhD, switched to EE. I had gone to a very small high school that had a *terrible* math department, and the only way I was able to tolerate EE and finally understand what was going on was via the great 'Electronotes' newsletter. This was 1974-1979, and during that time wrote to every synth manufacturer in 'Keyboard' and asked for literature. One packet arrived from Moog, and I'll be damned if Bob himself didn't write a little letter and enclose a business card. I tinkered around with the Electronotes stuff, bought some EMu potted modules, etc.

After I graduated, I went to work for Tandy, the R&D arm of Radio Shack (before everyone gets all high and mighty, we designed most of Alpine, Kenwood and Blaupunkt car stereos). During this time I joined AES, and started annoying Bob at the AES conventions. We hit it off, and I worked on the Tandy MG-1 monosynth along with Rich Walburn (one of the MemoryMoog designers). One of my favorite memories was going to AES around 1986 and I was sitting in this large meeting room (probably 350 empty chairs) waiting for the next session and I hear this distinct, quiet voice going "Hello, Paul" and there is Bob sitting 2 seats over.

We started talking about the Moog modular at the University of Texas (Austin) studio, where I was the lab tech working for the McLeans (Barton and Priscilla) that ran the studio. It was serial #6 and over 1/2 of the circuits were on *perf board*. I mentioned I had a h**l of a time getting schematics, Bob laughed and said "What schematics?". About 3 weeks later he sends me hand drawn blueprints of various things, I guess he and Roger Luther looked up the system. I wish I still had them, I sent them to the studio.

Another great Bob story is the year the Voyager was introducted at NAMM. I had a booth 2 over from Moog's and on Wednesday afternoon while setting up, Bob shuffles over and asks to borrow my DVM. I asked if he needed a soldering iron and he said sure. I said that this will cost you, I don't just let anyone borrow my stuff. He said not to worry. So there is Bob-freaking-Moog sprawled on the floor, trying to fix the Voyager prototype WITH MY s**t. About an hour later, Bob comes over with a sack, and in the sack is a hat, a sweatshirt and and Moog cloth bag that he wrote "I hope this bag is enough" - Bob Moog. How awesome it that?

So, as you can see I have nothing but admiration and respect, not for the synth side of me (MOTM/Synthesis Technology) but ENTIRELY because of Bob Moog I have a MSEE, 9 US patents, and 34 years of (mostly) steady EE employment. ANd I'm not a chemist making generic shampoo for Walmart.

It is safe to say that I have a very different approach/design perspective than most current modular synth manufacturers. I am a full-time EE (not self-taught) that over my career have designed over 100 products and those products range from military missile launch systems to talking doorbells to the Blackberry 9850 cell phone. My designs have sold *millions* of units. So, I am far from a "casual" or "avid hobbiest" designer. This is somewhat ironic in that SynthTech is a "hobby" done in my spare time (cough). BTW: SynthTech was started to do voice compression ASIC design for Texas Instruments (post Speak-n-Spell, for talking books and toys).

Also, I have a limited "formal" music background: I was an organist and was just fair (not even average) and decided the practice time was too involved and would rather study the pipe organs themselves (that is another long post it it's own).

When I decide to start the MOTM kits, I took a large sheet of drafting paper and across the top wrote "What Moog Did Not Have". What I was referring to were technology tools, parts, etc. The list was in no particualr order, just whatever I could think of. It started off like this:

1) CAD for pc boards
2) LEDs
3) heat shrink tubing
4) fast processors
5) cheap 0.1% resistors, cheap 2% film caps
and so on.

I did not focus on the modules, I focused on the *technology*. Hence, my comment in the video: Bob did the best he could with what he had at the time (1967-1974). And let's face it: silicon was pretty sucky, capacitors were VERY expensive and double-sided pc boards were for the military/NASA (4-layer boards like all my Euro modules use were unheard of). Think of it another way: how many people reading this still use a Pioneer 1970 amplifier as their main stereo?

[now I will start stepping on a few toes, if not already]

I personally have never understood the romantic attachment to electronics. The beauty of electronics (and chemistry, and most science) is that things are predictable and can be calculated and analyzed. Chances are very remote that someone can grab 20 random parts, solder them up and something useful happens. Rather, there is MUCH to learn, the math WILL back you up and if you do your homework, the 1st unit shipped and the 12millionth unit will be *identical*. Because engineers like order.

But in the musical electronics genre, there is an interesting (cough) give-and-take. Many end-users interact with the equipment much differently than other electronic users do (I have never seen a blog post extolling the wonders of vintage microwave ovens). Musicians frequently will attach mythical/romantic/insert-whatever-here feelings to certain pieces of equipment. So-and-so's mic pre is wonderful while this one over here "lacks spatial depth". This '67 Tele is better than that '88 Tele BECAUSE IT's A '67 Tele!!!

It places designers in a strange position: on one hand we can just approach a new module strictly as "just a thing that does this" and is made up of inate parts no more interesting than what is in your electric wattmeter on the house. Or we can try to figure out (translate?) what users are saying to some sort of finite "thing". And it's always somewhere in the middle.

In my case, what I do is let the musicians do the listening. I am proud to say that MOTM users are quite good at feeding back comments. I use an extensive beta testing program. Early on, many Internet analog synth pundits really dog-piled me over this fact (one favorite comment was to the effect of I wasn't "hip" enough to be in the 'community' because I was this old guy from Beaumont, TX and what the F did I know about anything).

I have gone on the record saying arguing about synths is like arguing over the taste of beer. I still think that. How can anyone "make their case" about preferring Sound A over B? Certainly not because I tell you so. Rather, what I focus on is what I *can control*: the physical design itself. I can pick the parts, the pc board layout, the firmware. I can choose crappy parts or the best available. I can charge whatever the h**l I want to. If no one buys the damn things, my family does not starve or go homeless. I don't layoff people, close the doors and blow my brains out. I just have a garage full of eBay scrap.

I am proud of my designs. I pick only the top people to work with. As far as I know, I am the only manufacturer offering a *LIFETIME* warranty. I have never denied anyone a schematic, I don't sand the tops off ICs or blob epoxy on my boards.

If anyone has made it this far: just because I am a bit (a lot??!?) more 'boring' in my background doesn't mean I am not just as (if not more) passionate about my modules. When you hear the whole DVD, you will hear *many* similar story arcs, and mine will be different. Not 'better' or 'worse', just 'different'.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Bitexion » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:29 am

sensorium wrote:Its become apparent that AG is the guy who shows you his trophy case and brags about all of his college degrees as soon as you walk in his house. The guy with the license plates that no-so-humbly read "Doctor". Pretty funny though to see a guy so h**l bent on winning a "my d**k's bigger than yours" contest on a synthesizer forum consisting of about 20 regular posters. Seriously man...dont hurt yourself falling off of your 2 inch high pedestal.
And there's also guys like you, who attack people personally instead of staying on topic. Drama queens, turning this forum more into a Paradise Hotel episode than an informative synth forum.
Last edited by Bitexion on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by CZ Rider » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:39 am

paults wrote:Greetings from "that guy" in the 2nd trailer.

Since it's hard to get a "feel" of my background and perspective from an 8 second clip, here is a brief rundown..
Paul, I thought the IDOW trailer was really laim. I would be pissed if I gave my time for a full interview about an instrument or modular, and they chose that 8 seconds for their trailer. Seems taken out of context to make it sound like an old Moog was c**p, just to support this IDOW editors opinion. It's not just you either, listen to the clips they included in that trailer of the other artists. Whomever did the editing on that trailer had a one sided view, and picked the clips that supported that view. Very unprofessional IMHO.

Here is an informative interview with Benge, giving an honest opinion about having a large vintage and modern modular system. The only Benge quote on the IDOW trailer is "large equipment that was hard to move, would literally break down, and go out of tune." Really? That is what IDOW picked out of interviewing Benge? Very one sided. This interview is a little more professionally done by Future Music Magazine and free.




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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by pflosi » Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:56 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
pflosi wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:Ultimately, a person with a Moog modular with enough oscillators, envelopes, and CV control devices can match anything created by anything else...
No, you won't be able to precisely create non-periodic, non-repeating waveforms (vulgo noise) just with additive synthesis. :mrgreen:

I have no idea what "vulgo noise" is. So, perhaps that is my shorcoming... but you are easily able to create non-periodic non-repeating waveforms with additive synthesis. You just need a lot of sine waves, a lot of envelopes, and some means to initiate triggering.
Ok, so I forgot the colon ("vulgo: noise"), I guess I supposed you know what "vulgo" means...
Vulgo:
adverb

in a common manner, commonly
How, if the waveform never repeats, would you recreate it solely by adding up repeating waveforms? "Some means to initiate triggering", these means would have to be random...

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by tekkentool » Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:39 am

Additive synthesis always disappoints me. Not that it can't be super useful but most of what I see purely additive synths used for can be replicated by putting a plain saw wave through 8 reverbs...

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by pflosi » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:17 am

I probably have to add: I don't want to dismiss additive, I think it's a very interesting subject and synthesis method (agree that the hardwired, non-modular implementations are lacking though). I had great fun trying out different stuff with the A6 (in multitimbral "Mix" mode) by adding up the sines. I just want to clarify that it cannot create every possible waveform that other methods can create. Fourier transformation only works with repeating, finite waveforms.

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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Computer Controlled » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:23 pm

suitandtieguy wrote:
Computer Controlled wrote:Eurorack is the most forward thinking of the Modular world. All of the 5u guys are mostly trying to still be Moog like, right down to the looks.
i actually need to take issue with this. i am the only Moog-format modular maker who goes out of his way to look as much like RA Moog period modular gear as possible, from the graphics and typography to the panel printing and fabrication techniques.

also i make some pretty forward-thinking s**t. like sequencing modules that hook into a sync 24 bus to cut down on patching and speed up workflow, and introduce new performance techniques like changing the rate of a sequence on the next downbeat. yes i make (presumably) backwards-thinking s**t like the only Moog CP3-based mixer in modularland, but i'm releasing a digital VCA next month. who the h**l is making a digital VCA right now?

or what about Doug Slocum's Segwencer. that's crazy unique. also Roger Arrick (who brought Moog format back from the dead with Synthesizers.com) designed the best voltage quantiser in modular synth land period up to this point, one that is able to even calibrate itself.

Eric Barbour can talk a lot of incorrect s**t if he wants when there's a camera pointed at him, but Moog format is very definitely not stuck in the seventies.

Damn, i always forget you make large format stuff!
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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Computer Controlled » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:24 pm

bouzoukijoe1 wrote:
Computer Controlled wrote:Eurorack is the most forward thinking of the Modular world. All of the 5u guys are mostly trying to still be Moog like, right down to the looks. The only system that is trying to be different on all fronts is Modcan. They are pure class.
imho, misconception. MOTM/Synth Tech has bridged to eurorack, but innovated a lot in 5U well beyond Moog's original modular. and Schreiber continues to break new ground in both converting his 5U modules to euro as well as developing new ones straight to euro. awesome stuff.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MOTM
http://www.synthtech.com/
http://www.analoguehaven.com/synthesistechnology/

Synthetic Sound Labs too.

http://www.steamsynth.com/ModulesMU.aspx

not just that, but some of the most innovative eurorack designers are, and continue to be inspired by Serge and Buchla. there's lots of innovation in euro, but the connection to history is very strong, so I wouldn't really say euro is most forward thinking. they all are, really (well, almost). I would just say that euro is maybe the most active in terms of sales, new companies, and releasing new modules.
You make a very good point!
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Re: I Dream of Wires

Post by Computer Controlled » Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:36 pm

I must be one of the very few who didn't take Paul's comment out of context. I never thought for a minute that he was dogging Moog. In the 60s, they didn't have the parts available we have now. I'm sure he had to work with a limited supply, and did what he could with what he had available to him. Not sure how anyone could take this the wrong way.
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