Which Nord Modular

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imperets
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Which Nord Modular

Post by imperets » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:57 pm

I'd like to get into virtual modular synthesis and was thinking of buying a Nord Micro Modular. Can someone explain to me how the limitations of it (compared to the regular Nord Modular) affect the workflow and sound creation? If I rarely need more than 2 notes of polyphony in my music, will I be able to construct complex mono or duo-phonic patches before running out of DSP? If yes, then how complex? Could you give me an example?

Also, what are the major differences between the G2 and the classic Modular? Would you wait to save up for a G2 rack, instead of buying a Micro Modular? If you had the money, would you buy the classic Nord Modular or the G2 keyboard?

Thanks in advance.

I'd like to hear feedback from the peolpe that have actually used these synths. :)

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:20 pm

I had a MicroMod and now have the G1 Keyboard. I upgraded for the polyphony and multi-timbral capabilities, but the Micro works great for mono/duo stuff. Of course you lose most of the knobs on the Micro, but just pair it with a good MIDI controller (BCR2000, or something like that) and you've got most of the controls that the keys or rack version has.

I'd say the best way to get an idea of potential patch complexity is to download the Editor software and just start building patches (it shows you the DSP percentage whenever you add a module). Of course you won't be able to hear them without the synth, but you'll see first-hand which types of modules you can and can't use a lot of in a patch.

I've never used the G2, but my understanding is that the main advantage over the G1 is that a lot of the modules (sequencers and such) output MIDI so you can build patches to control external gear as well.
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by nuketifromorbit » Sat Feb 05, 2011 4:43 pm

The g2 version also adds things like reverb, frequency shifting, and delay in the fx section. That being said some people prefer the sound of the g1 to that of the g2. If your on a budget the micro modular is a pretty damn good deal. Its easily the deepest hardware unit you can get for around 300 bucks.

Personally sound wise its my favorite va, but I ended up getting rid of mine because I don't enjoy editing patches with a mouse and doing so just made me want a real modular.
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by imperets » Sat Feb 05, 2011 8:27 pm

Great replies. Thanks!

What exactly do you mean when you say G1? Is that the original nord modular keyboard/rack? I don't really need the effects, cause I can just run it through the virus Ti or use my DAWs built-in effects. This would be for production only. Are you able to automate every parameter on the MicroMod via CC?

Are there any reasons not to get the MicroMod and save up for a G2 engine, other than:
- lack of knobs (well, on both)
- limited polyphony
- no on-board effects
- only one DSP chip - How important is that to an average synth programmer, apart from reduced polyphony?

I hear a lot that the original modular sounds different ("better, grittier, less polished"). Why would that be the case?

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:01 pm

imperets wrote:What exactly do you mean when you say G1? Is that the original nord modular keyboard/rack?
Yes, sorry, it wasn't actually called the G1, but people have taken to calling it that as a shorthand way of differentiating it from the G2.
Are you able to automate every parameter on the MicroMod via CC?
Every one I can think of, and it's easy too; you just right-click on any part of a module (knob, button, whatever) choose MIDI Controller > Other, it'll come of with a dialog box with all the CC numbers (a few are pre-assigned to common stuff, but you can overwrite those if you want), choose the one you want and hit OK.

The Micro Modular seems to hold its value pretty well, so if you buy one and decide later that you want to upgrade to a different version, you should be able to get all or most of your money back selling it.

I'll leave the G2 questions to the G2 users. There are a few here on the forum; I'm sure someone will chime in eventually.
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by GuyaGuy » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:01 pm

imperets wrote:Great replies. Thanks!

What exactly do you mean when you say G1? Is that the original nord modular keyboard/rack? I don't really need the effects, cause I can just run it through the virus Ti or use my DAWs built-in effects. This would be for production only. Are you able to automate every parameter on the MicroMod via CC?

Are there any reasons not to get the MicroMod and save up for a G2 engine, other than:
- lack of knobs (well, on both)
- limited polyphony
- no on-board effects
- only one DSP chip - How important is that to an average synth programmer, apart from reduced polyphony?

I hear a lot that the original modular sounds different ("better, grittier, less polished"). Why would that be the case?
The lack of knobs does not just limit real-time edits but just programing in general. The editing software is complicated. Like, really complicated. And not reliable, at least not on my computer. The sounds were good but I just couldn't be bothered to do all of that work on the computer. (Nothing against editing SW in general. I just really disliked the Micro's.)

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:20 pm

GuyaGuy wrote:The editing software is complicated. Like, really complicated.
Obviously, this is subjective, but I found the software very straightforward and easy to use. You can right-click on any module, select Help and it pops up an explanation of every control (same info as what's in the manual, but I find it very handy to have it right there.) But again, the OP can download the software and mess around with it himself for free.
And not reliable, at least not on my computer.
It can be a tad glitchy, given that it was probably written for Windows 95, but I've found it to be quite usable in XP (trying to adjust the number of voices too quickly sometimes makes it crash). Changing the compatibility mode (right-click on the Editor icon, select Properties > Compatibility tab. It has Windows 95, 98/Me, NT 4.0, or 2000; just pick the one closest to what you're actually using, in my case 2000) helps. And, of course, remember to save often, just like in the bad ol' days. ;)
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by nuketifromorbit » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:37 am

GuyaGuy wrote:
imperets wrote:Great replies. Thanks!

What exactly do you mean when you say G1? Is that the original nord modular keyboard/rack? I don't really need the effects, cause I can just run it through the virus Ti or use my DAWs built-in effects. This would be for production only. Are you able to automate every parameter on the MicroMod via CC?

Are there any reasons not to get the MicroMod and save up for a G2 engine, other than:
- lack of knobs (well, on both)
- limited polyphony
- no on-board effects
- only one DSP chip - How important is that to an average synth programmer, apart from reduced polyphony?

I hear a lot that the original modular sounds different ("better, grittier, less polished"). Why would that be the case?
The lack of knobs does not just limit real-time edits but just programing in general. The editing software is complicated. Like, really complicated. And not reliable, at least not on my computer. The sounds were good but I just couldn't be bothered to do all of that work on the computer. (Nothing against editing SW in general. I just really disliked the Micro's.)
I honestly think the editing software is rather simple to use, its just that modular synthesis isn't exactly the easiest thing to grasp right off the bat. HAlso the software is not very reliable if your using a mac platform. If by chance you have a mac, try out the free open source nomad editor. You can also freely assign midi cc to practically any parameter. I'm a windows user and in my experience the editor performed flawlessly.
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by imperets » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:53 am

I already got the Nomad editor and it works flawlessly on my mac. I think my mind is set on the Micro Modular. I am completely new to modular synthesis, so I think this synth is a great learning tool. The only thing I'm afraid of is that I may end up spending more time programming patches than writing new music.

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by TheKeytarist » Mon Feb 07, 2011 2:57 am

Great Choice
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by speak_onion » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:28 pm

I started with a micro modular, and then got another micromodular, and then I sold both and got a G2 engine (G2 Rack) and it's my favorite synth ever and I use it for pretty much everything. I agree with basically everything said in this thread (except about the editor being overly complex).

However, don't think of the delay portion of the G2 as just an effect. It lets you use delays in the modular process so you can do karplus strong synthesis and strange granular things and whatever else, all with modular inputs and outputs. None of that was possible on the G1 platform. If that doesn't sound like what you want to do, though, stick with the micromod; it's a spectacular machine.

For me the MIDI output and time-based fx made the G2 worth it. And while the harsh/gritty stuff was easier on the G1 platform, it's not impossible on G2; it just takes more patching and complexity. There's some folks on the electro-music forums who have shown some good ways to get those sounds out of the G2.

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by imperets » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:49 am

So I got it. Now I have this problem... I am trying to sequence my MM in Logic 9. I can record MIDI notes, but when I play them back there is no sound and a message pops up in the Modular Editor, which says: "Synth exepction. Error in synth. Open the MIDI dialog and enable the port again."

How do I sequence this instrument in a DAW? I'm using M-Audio Uno MIDI interface. Please, help.

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by pricklyrobot » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:00 am

The Uno only has 1 In and 1 Out, right?

In order to use the Nord Modular editing software and sequence the MicroMod at the same time you'll need 2 sets of MIDI In/Outs. One port will be just for connecting the MicroMod to the edit software (the PC In & PC Out jacks on the MicroMod), the other port you'll hook up to the MicroMod's MIDI In & MIDI Out jacks and use for sending regular external MIDI to and from the MicroMod.
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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by imperets » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:11 am

Which MIDI interface is known to work best with MM?

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Re: Which Nord Modular

Post by speak_onion » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:12 pm

imperets wrote:Which MIDI interface is known to work best with MM?
The UNO will work if you don't need to use the editor at the same time as you sequence from Logic. Just slide the MIDI OUT from the UNO over to the MIDI IN on the MM.

If you need to do both at the same time, any interface with two MIDI outs will work, or you could just get another UNO if you have another USB port for it.

I think a good way to go is to use a Novation Remote Zero, because you can use the MIDI IN and MIDI OUT 1 for the editor, and you can use the MIDI OUT 2 to sequence and you can route any of the control knobs/buttons/faders to the MM also.

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