Synthesizers.com system

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.
User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3620
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Gear: more than 150 characters...
Location: zürich
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by pflosi » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:10 pm

meatballfulton wrote:I'd love to hear Cwejman some time
You really should. I only have a few modules, 2x VCO6, MMF1, ADSR-VC2, SPH2, RES4 and RG6, but they all have blown me away. The sound of 2x VCO6 through MMF1 is out of this world. The SPH2 is hands down the best phaser I've ever heard in any format or technology. The RG6 is totally another league it has so many features. And the ADSR-VC2, well I'd never thought that I could get this stoked about an envelope, but once I tried it in my rack I was even completely blown away by that... And I won't even start to praise the RES4, it's not gonna end otherwise...

Wowa is the man.

User avatar
shaft9000
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 2042
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:13 am
Real name: Dave
Gear: Whips chains waxes oils dildos DMT TNT the LHC, and a black rubber duckie
Band: moneymoneymoney
Location: VanNuys, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by shaft9000 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:27 pm

yeah Cwejman's nice
got 2 x RES-4, an ADSR-VC2, MX-4S & an SPH-2 here

i sold the phaser once (to Richard Devine, in fact) because i had other phasers around.
that was a mistake... that has since been corrected.

/
sorry back to .com

my neighbor has one, it's great.
if you go with a wood cabinet and an STG distro board, you can include BOTH .com(MU) and MOTM formats in the same case. Pre-drilled screws in one or the other prevent this, but wood can accommodate a more flexible mounting scheme. Just be sure any panels that need grounding are grounded....and the entire 5U spectrum (in 1/4", at least) is your oyster.
Last edited by shaft9000 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies

User avatar
Hybrid88
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2251
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:26 am
Gear: V-Synth, and other stuff...
Location: Australia

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by Hybrid88 » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:33 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:People are obviously not reading the thread before posting.
If you're referring to me I did read the post so perhaps not so obvious? :lol:

Was just trying to make it clear as it was a bit ambiguous.

I made a small system myself just recently, it sounds great, better than the Voyager to me, nice sounding OSC's and filter - just good. One thing I will say is buy cables... lots and lots of cables. :D

plikestechno
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:36 pm
Gear: Lots. See sig.
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by plikestechno » Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:43 pm

Buy used. That goes for all modular but especially dotcom. A lot of time the resale for dotcom is 50% of new if you don't like it. If you can even find a buyer when the time comes to sell.
Serge/Modcan A/MOTM/Frac/Phenol/Andromeda/Jupiter6Europa/OctaveCatSRM/ARPSolina/ARPPro Soloist/Pro2/Korg770/Juno60/Lambda/Anamono/Little Deformer/Integra7/Microwave1&2/Syncussion/FS1R/Microkorg/Xoxio/VL1M/JD990/MKS50/TX816/DSS1/KARP/TG33/OCoast/SC40

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5831
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:43 am

I'd have to disagree...modules get snapped up almost immediately at the dotcom Yahoo group and they usually go for about 80% of retail.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:52 am

Hybrid88 wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:People are obviously not reading the thread before posting.
If you're referring to me I did read the post so perhaps not so obvious? :lol:
Oh, I just didn't think anyone who had read:
syntheticsolutions wrote:
fh991586 wrote:There is a big difference between a poly synth à la Prophet 5 and a monophonic modular: the same amount of money will not bring you the same thing. You should consider what you are really looking for in the first place...
I know the difference between these machines as would anyone with 1/100th of a brain. A modular has always been a dream however has always seemed unobtainable until I realised you can quite feasibly get one for the same price as what I am being forced to spend on the old poly synths. I was using the P5 as a reference regarding price only, nowhere did I say that I wanted a modular to do or sound anything like a prophet or any other vintage poly..
Would then write:
Hybrid88 wrote:I wouldn't really get a Dotcom looking to quash your interest in those 80's poly's, like apples and watermelons.
or:
shaft9000 wrote:a vintage poly and a modular are very different things (unless its a Korg PS-3xxx series)
;)

plikestechno
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 757
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:36 pm
Gear: Lots. See sig.
Location: Edmonton, Canada

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by plikestechno » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:08 am

meatballfulton wrote:I'd have to disagree...modules get snapped up almost immediately at the dotcom Yahoo group and they usually go for about 80% of retail.
Depends on the module. I've seen lots of stuff sit around on Muff's forever and go for half or less. The most in demand stuff and 3rd party stuff can sometimes get you 80% of original price. Full systems are also hard to sell. I've seen a few system 22s go on Ebay for 1200 or less.

Buy used. Especially just in case you don't like it. Modulars seem sexy to a lot of people on the surface but then they get them and they don't work into their workflow and they end up selling them off for large losses.

Before you buy any modular system maybe see if some people in your city have one you can try out for an afternoon and see if it's your thing.
Serge/Modcan A/MOTM/Frac/Phenol/Andromeda/Jupiter6Europa/OctaveCatSRM/ARPSolina/ARPPro Soloist/Pro2/Korg770/Juno60/Lambda/Anamono/Little Deformer/Integra7/Microwave1&2/Syncussion/FS1R/Microkorg/Xoxio/VL1M/JD990/MKS50/TX816/DSS1/KARP/TG33/OCoast/SC40

User avatar
shaft9000
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 2042
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:13 am
Real name: Dave
Gear: Whips chains waxes oils dildos DMT TNT the LHC, and a black rubber duckie
Band: moneymoneymoney
Location: VanNuys, CA USA
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by shaft9000 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:22 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:People are obviously not reading the thread before posting.
;)
that would appear true from one analytical perspective, except that form and content matter, Stab.

he wrote all of this:
I have been thinking about this long and hard. The prices of vintage synths, keyboards and analogue effects have gone absolutely insane to the point where I can not see myself ever finding any of the synths I desire at a bargain price again.

I have always been looking for a prophet 5 or a memorymoog however the current prices got me thinking. For the same price that I would be paying for either of these vintage keyboards, I could realistically make "the dream" come true and invest in a
before specifying what he's really here for....which, la dee-da: is a...modular(??)
how wouldn't some of us get the impression of a disconnect or unrealistic expectation on the part of the OP? comprehension and interpretation are not the same thing.

he'd get a far more pertinent, direct user cross-section of answers on muffwiggler.
so why ask VSE in the first place about a new modular system?
~~~
anyway, this thread is on the verge of turning us all into thankless snarky dickheads(again). i'm outtahere.
2600.solus.modcan a.eurorack.cs60.JP8.Juno6.A6.sunsyn.volcakeys.jd990.tb303.x0xb0x.revolution.
999.m1am1.RY30.svc350.memotron

shaft9000.muffwiggler.com <- singles & mixtape
shaft9000.bandcamp.com <- spacemusic album
youtube.com/shaft9000 <- various synth demos and studies

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:34 am

I don't think I have an especially high level of reading comprehension skill but it was pretty clear to me that the OP knew that a modular wasn't going to behave like a vintage poly from this statement:
I know the difference between these machines as would anyone with 1/100th of a brain. [snip] I was using the P5 as a reference regarding price only, nowhere did I say that I wanted a modular to do or sound anything like a prophet or any other vintage poly..
I think it was fair for me to say that anyone who kept trying to explain the differences between them after that had obviously not read the whole thread. :thumbleft:

bitmonkey
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:00 am

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by bitmonkey » Wed Feb 19, 2014 4:32 am

Dude! A modular synth is not a Prophet V, hello???!!! LOL, just kidding.

I've got a few modular formats in three 19" racks. Mostly large format, most of which is dotcom. Large format modules are mounted in dotcom rack frames and MOTM-compatible rack rails. I admire the walnut cabinets, but racks work better for a multi-format system, in my opinion. Not as pretty, though.

The big dotcom cabinets are very nice. I recall reading posts to the effect that overseas shipping and import fees are so high that it makes more sense to get cabinets made locally. Or is it that they don't even ship them overseas because the costs would be so high? I forget, sorry! Those cabinets are rather large, so a shipping crate has to be even larger, so the whole bundle is heavy.

Another alternative is the relatively new Box 11 System from Synthesizers.com. It's cool in a Buchla-flattering kind of way, and it looks like it would ship in compact form. (BTW, have you seen the new dotcom modular keyboard?)

In the US, dotcom modules are probably the most economical of the large formats. Elsewhere, your mileage may vary. Plus, there are compatible modules from other makers. Among other modules, STG Soundlabs (also US-based) makes a few different filters that complement the dotcom line. (Disclaimer: I am a friend of STG. By the way, STG uses dotcom VCOs in his personal modular.)

I haven't tried COTK or Moon. I have MOTM-format modules from Synthtech (MOTM), Encore, and a couple of DIY things, plus a few rack rows of Frac and Euro. A Frankensynth isn't for everyone, I know.

About half of my modules were purchased second hand. If you're not in a hurry, it's a good way to go. Dotcom modules are well-made, so dirty/scratchy pots are one of the main risks. I haven't had any issues.

If you want a large format modular system, I can recommend Synthesizers.com. It's a great foundation for a mixed system, and it's a broad enough line to stand alone. It's especially suited to the East Coast and Berlin schools, and obviously not so much to the West Coast style.

A comment on LFOs: People, including me, have openly called for a more compact LFO module from S.com. Roger Arrick isn't budging. His philosophy is that fully-featured VCOs make better LFOs, and he's right! I often use VCOs as LFOs. I love using voltage control on the "LFO", as well as hard sync, and it's great to have so many waveforms available at once. But, I also have a MOTM dual LFO module, because sometimes you reallllly only need a dumb LFO -- say, for a clock -- and the MOTM-390 has two in a single width module (one with voltage control). If I had nothing but dotcom Q106s (plus some Q141s and maybe some Q161s if there was enough room), I'd be quite happy. But, I would have fewer modules in my rack. Life's full of tradeoffs, no?

I'm currently at around 80U of modules, and it all started with a small dotcom Entry System -- it's a Gateway Drug. ;-)

John Mahoney

User avatar
fh991586
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 972
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 10:20 pm
Real name: Francis
Gear: Roland JX3P, D50, U220, MVS1, JP8080.
Korg Kaossilator, Monotrons, MicroKorg, M3R.
Yamaha Motif Rack.
Midines
Location: French Canada

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by fh991586 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:26 am

I find it fascinating how you people talk about modulars, because I have absolutely no knowledge on the subject. The "gateway drug" notion really seems an understatement! :-P
Considering parting away from:
-Roland TR707
-DSI Mopho

User avatar
analoglsd
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 578
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:53 am
Real name: Lance
Gear: Buchla Music Easel, TE OP-1, Korg MS-20, Yamaha RS-7000, Effects Pedals
Location: Oakland, CA
Contact:

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by analoglsd » Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:45 am

As someone mentioned in an earlier post, I would look for a used .com system.
You may even happen upon someone who would be willing to write in a lower import cost and send as a gift.
I've seen a few systems sold locally over the past few months, and they were going for much less than 80% of new.

Either way, you have my support. I've been into synths for years, but have never felt as connected to them as since I went modular.
I've got a euro set-up, but I often fantasize about a .com system just to have more room and clarity when patching and getting to knobs.
Many people want to pretend that the 5U format has a boring selection of modules, and the euro has all the cool s**t, but it just aint true.
There are many manufacturers making amazing 5U modules.
The Synthesis Technology line of modules alone is amazing...

User avatar
meatballfulton
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 5831
Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:29 pm
Gear: Logic Pro X

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:33 pm

Also making cool stuff for 5U: STG, Oakley/Clacktronics, Corsynth

As others have said if you can find an entire dotcom system going used, you will pay less than 80% of list. It's only the individual modules that tend to go for higher prices.

Systems are cheaper because if the seller does not want to break it up, buyers who only want some of the modules aren't interested.

I bought both of my dotcoms used, then added a few modules afterwards.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

tomorrowstops
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 1004
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:55 pm
Location: Portland, ME

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by tomorrowstops » Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:42 pm

Don't forget to check out what Mos-Lab (in France) has to offer. I've been drooling over his recreations of Moog 5u for a long time now...from my comparisons of audio demos, its got a little more character to my ears than the Dotcom stuff. Now of course, the Dotcom stuff sounds awesome as well. But I have yet to pull the trigger on either, myself.

Oh, money

...and the rabbit hole that is going modular!

User avatar
samuraipizzacat29
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 819
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:40 pm
Real name: Nate

Re: Synthesizers.com system

Post by samuraipizzacat29 » Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:16 pm

it's important in the realm of "I'm going to go modular" to understand that there's actually very little a well designed modular system CAN'T do when compared to even poly synths. With proper use of a tuner, filter bank, delays, etc, you can program harmonies easily. If you want to make big, flowy, out of tune chords, well, a modular doesn't do quite that, but you can make more noise than you can shake a stick at. If you use your poly to noodle bass lines and melodies with both hands - don't you usually want different tones for bass than melodies?

All of that "mono vs. poly" argument is somewhat moot anyway because you'll want to sample your modular most of the time.

Definitely agree with consensus you should start with a small system. Learning modular is learning more about electricity than music, at least at the jump. A large .com system will allow you to do additive and subtractive, but is very limiting in the uniquities that make modular so valuable. Of course, it's well documented build quality makes it a sound investment over time. NOT ALL EURO IS DESIGNED TO LAST!!! Also, there's no reason you can't get all of your formats to play nice with each other. It's just different jacks..... (for the most part). So, start with a small basic system and decide how to expand from there.

Post Reply