RE: [AH] Modular Modules

From Larry Pham
Sent Wed, Mar 14th 2007, 10:35

This message is a keeper!

I will have to refer back to it once I get more modules.

Thanks John.


-----Original Message-----
From: John Mahoney [] 
Sent: March 13, 2007 6:10 PM
To: Larry Pham; 'Analogue Heaven'
Subject: RE: [AH] Modular Modules

At 12:18 AM 3/13/2007, Larry Pham wrote:

>I'll be going with the B series modules. (very nice design)

Very nice, indeed.

>I won't be getting a sequencer at first since I plan to have software like
>Logic, Numerology and Nortron as the brain interfacing with the synth via a
>doepfer MCV24.

Ah, good, I was wondering about a MIDI interface. I've heard good 
things about Numerology.

> > Click dividers and logic modules if you are into sequencing. Signal
> > processors for adjusting CV levels and inverting CVs. Etc... Repeat
> > until broke. ;-)
>Whoa! These are some things I don't have a clue about and that's why I
>wanted a modular system for the sheer control possibilities :) Are these
>used only with a sequencer?

Nope. In the modular world, virtually nothing is used only with a 
certain other thing! :-)

A clock divider lets you trigger different events at different -- but 
related -- intervals. One example is to have an 8-step sequence and a 
4-step sequence running simultaneously, with the 8-step sequence 
running 8 times faster (that is, the shorter sequence is running from 
a divided-by-8 clock). Mix the 4- and 8-step outputs together. Now, 
each run through the 8-step seq will be transposed by a different 
step of the 4-step sequence.

On the other hand, a clock divider also works as a suboctave 
generator. Feed it a pulse wave and it will give you square waves at 
lower octaves. So, you see, it's not just for sequencing.

I would place logic modules (AND, OR, NOT, XOR, etc.) in the category 
of "modules best suited to sequences and self-running patches". Then 
again, an XOR (eXclusive OR) can create sounds like ring modulation 
(the ARP Odyssey "ring mod" is an XOR). And so on...

Signal processors, a.k.a. voltage processors, are for any system. 
Essential modules, they are used to attenuate or boost voltages as 
well as invert them and change the DC offset. "DC offset" is an 
abstract concept, so think of it this way: You increase the DC offset 
of a pitch CV to raise the pitch, and you decrease the DC offset to 
lower the cutoff frequency of a VCF, to give 2 quick examples. 
Several of these modules will not be too many. Some mixers have 
offset and invert functions built in, which is nice.

One module that's often overlooked is the VCA. Yes, you typically 
need one in the signal path. Add another one to handle a velocity CV. 
Then add additional VCAs for every signal on which you'd like 
voltage-controlled level -- VC-mixing and delayed vibrato are 2 quick 
ideas. I've got a Pan/Fade module which is like 2 simple VCAs and a 
CV inverter; one VCA is governed by the control CV which the other 
gets an inverted control CV. This module makes it easy to do 
voltage-controlled panning and cross-fading (which is just another 
name for 2-input mixing). It can also function as a plain VCA, so 
it's a cool module to have.

>I think my first system will be quite basic until I can get the hang of it
>so I'm aiming toward something for bass, leads and sequences. I make more
>techno/electro/downbeat and I like to have everything under control and not
>so much random aleatoric, but we'll have to see if that changes when the
>modular is built :)

Good plan. Enjoy the journey!

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