What to keep? + going modular

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condit79
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What to keep? + going modular

Post by condit79 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 7:32 pm

So right now I have 2 monosynths and pile of polys and I'm wanting to simplify my life. I do this mostly for fun and I'm thinking of getting down to the essentials and I also have a chance to get a bunch of 5u Moog format or Eurorack modules for a good deal so I'm thinking of trimming back the herd a bit.

Here's my plan, but I'd love some feedback.
The music I make is a mix of psych, dub and "pop" with processed drum machines and a bit of aphex twin thrown in for good measure. My music is up at soundcloud.com/lvoe for reference.

Right now, my thought is to keep my Virus for a good poly/arpeggiators/pads and then the modular for bass/leads/efx sounds and will have a sequencer on board or maybe just sequence things at first with my ipad. I also have a Paia Fatman for a second simple raw mono to sequence/play as well. I'm also thinking that I'll add in the new akai mpk with cv outs, step sequencer and arpeggiators as a controller as it seems pretty amazing to control a modular setup and gives me a good midi/cv option as well...

The things on the chopping block are my ION, Tetra, and Arp Solus monosynth and possibly the MG-1 (the modules I'm getting will have a Moogish tone to them).

Keeping it all would be cool, but I find myself just letting stuff sit around and I've gotten a lot of new gear lately and love the sound of it all but am I crazy to just simplify my workflow? I'm thinking it'll be nice to have modular to focus on when I get it and also that a lot of this stuff will just sit around anyway once I get the new system up and running.

Have any of you gone this route? I'm excited about the audio processing abilities of a modular setup and the endless patch possibilities.

Am I crazy (actually I know I am, but whatever) to change things up this much?

On that note, buy all my stuff in the buy/sell section so I can get my tweak on!
soundcloud.com/lvoe

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by space6oy » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:08 pm

what MPK has CV outs? not finding anything about that on their site...

you aren't crazy to keep your lineup slim. i'm way less productive because of having way too much gear.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by nathanscribe » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:49 pm

space6oy wrote:what MPK has CV outs? not finding anything about that on their site...
http://www.akaipro.com/max49

+1 for trimming. I've got too many polys for my own good, and sold one the other week. Then I slipped and bought a replacement. Oh well. I did sell off a few monos though, and haven't missed them. Down to just the 20 or so now. :lol:

I do this with effects too. They're so easy to pick up just to try out, and then keep around because they're possibly one day going to be useful, maybe...

Regarding monos: my own advice would be to keep what you use the most, sell the rest, and take comfort in the fact that any modular you buy will cover all the functionality you need in that arena.

Regarding polys: keep a core of however many you feel is a good number for you. Keep what gives you the sounds you actually *like* playing with and *use* a lot. Even if you think your FabSyn UltraWob makes a brilliant chorussed steam-train bell pad *and* makes you a bacon butty in the morning, if you don't ever use it on anything, wave it goodbye.

I think it comes down to how much time and room you want to give to your kit. Collecting stuff is pretty easy, given the cash - getting the best out of what you have is harder, and gets harder if you don't give each item the attention required to really milk it.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by space6oy » Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:52 pm

thanks, didn't bother looking at those since it isn't an MPK.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by samuraipizzacat29 » Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:30 pm

my first recommendation is just a recognition that you'll be losing polyphony. it's not a big deal imo, but just a reminder that you'll have to brush up on your sampling, or be happy with having "one instrument" in your modular. idk if that makes sense, i hope it does.....

also, the modular doesn't have very much "sound processing capabilities". or at least not as much as a pc, ipad, rack effects, etc have. unless you're planning to bone up on filters. most of what a modular does is cv processing which is semi diametrically opposed to audio processing. at least my modular is built on a few signal/audio creating modules, and then everything else is waveshaping and timbre changing (filters, waveshapers, etc) cv processing (sequencers, quantizers, glide/lag, attenuators, envelopes/ar generators) so the actual signal chain almost takes a side-step to everything else that goes on to mess with it. of course wavefolders, filters, other weird stuff is exactly the processing you're talking about, but there's a ton of other modules that need to support it for it to be effective.

if you're looking for any answer other than "keep it all" you're asking the wrong question..... :twisted: haha. contrarily, my opinion is to sell any analog poly that's not immediately necessarily, get a good cheap va, good software, and dump everything else into anything modular and/or software you know you'll really use. the modular is a money pit if you're not into doing it yourself. even then it's a money pit.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:25 am

samuraipizzacat29 wrote:the modular is a money pit if you're not into doing it yourself. even then it's a money pit.
money pit it sure is. dump it all except for the Virus. you're going to need every penny. :lol:

if you have at least one VA like the Virus, all you will really need apart from the modular is a MIDI sequencer+drum machine that can save and play your transpositions and progressions easier than on a modular. IMO if you do anything that vaguely resembles conventional music, you're going to need a MIDI sequencer. or a computer (for sequencing/multi-tracking/overdubbing).

my personal take is that a good, simple modular-inclusive setup without computers is: 2 VAs, one sequencer/drum machine, and one modular. plus whatever effects you're into. you could probably get away with just one VA, but it depends on your music.

oh and definitely go for euro, not 5u, unless you have A LOT of space. and $5000 spent on euro will get you a little farther than $5000 spent on 5u. on the other hand, 5u is built much much nicer.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by samuraipizzacat29 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:32 am

All of that but you're going to want to be good at sampling. Especially With a modular it becomes increasingly necessary to sample everything you do. Most guys I know just let the computer run when they're patching. That way you don't miss anything. So whatever your best weapon of choice is for accomplishing that, don't forget it.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by condit79 » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:51 pm

Thanks for the insight guys. I actually got an offer on most my gear that'll get me 2k to get rolling. In the end I'll still have a virus, the mg1, a paia fatman, monotribe, er1, ipad w/io dock, and the modular all running to ableton. I'm actually getting a deal on about 3/4 of what I'd need to start a modular system so my 2k will actually get me pretty far. If I feel short on modules after 2k Maybe the mg1will go, but damn I love it so much. Three ago it was my first synth (I played guitar, hammered dulcimer, trumpet and bass before that) so there's the sentimental part of me that wants this one as my forever synth. Plus I actually personally de-goo-ed it and added the mods so there's that too.

Re:signal processing, I'm going to have 3 filters of varying types so thatll be the main mangling that'll happen in general. Im going to a synth meetup next weekend to get some facetime with some modules so we'll see where I stand in a week. Maybe by then I'll just decide to take the cash and buy a new lens and stayed pared down to the essentials.

About sampling, I do tons of that w ableton and a launchpad to keep the clips separated out, and if I want to go sans computer for that I can always use the zoom and just record it going to a tube amp. :D
soundcloud.com/lvoe

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by skizzle » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:27 pm

check out these mg-1 mods. i still have my first synth, a rogue, and have passed up some pretty crazy trade offers for it.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:01 am

I am on my way to just having my modular, a polysynth, a sampler/sequencer (octatrack) and a laptop. It's a really good way to get stuff done; polysynth can double as your keyboard controller, modular can do a whatever your imagination/modules can come up with, laptop can fill any gaps, something like the ES-3 and silent way can be used to link the laptop and modular.

If I were you I'd ditch the fatman (can't integrate with the modular) and ER-1 as well, the ipad and monotribe are both worth keeping cause they're small and fun and can be used with teh modular (I have both of them) and the MG-1 has sentimental value.

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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:24 pm

condit79 wrote:Have any of you gone this route? I'm excited about the audio processing abilities of a modular setup and the endless patch possibilities.
In 2005 I replaced my entire early 90s era MIDI rig (an SQ80 plus a rack full of other instruments and FX processors, MIDI interface/patchbay/tape sync) with a Motif workstation and then spent a few years trying different modulars (pAiA, MFB and dotcom) as my "second" synth.

I'll admit I finally ended up replacing the modulars with a DSI Evolver which is close enough for my actual needs.

Still I heartily endorse the less is more attitude. Your thinking is sound, a modern multitimbral polysynth like the Virus does what used to take a handful of instruments and the modular (esp. if coupled with a sampler) can fill in the gaps.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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condit79
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Re: What to keep? + going modular

Post by condit79 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 6:36 am

Thanks for the input. I ended up finding some great deals on used dot com modules and am adding in some stg soundlabs stuff as I'm friends with them. The paia will for sure go once all is said and done here and my biggest quandary now is what reclaimed lumber to use for the case. I have tons of cool old boards so this could get interesting. I'm just excited to have the different filter options and the wave folder, plus an instrument control input to run things like my hammered dulcimer to the synth with some internal mics.

We'll see where my music ends up, but I'm so excited about all of this I an barely concentrate on anything else right now. The idea of designing my own sounds from scratch ally gets me going.
soundcloud.com/lvoe

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