The A100 catalog arrives...yee ghods!

From dacc
Sent Fri, Oct 13th 1995, 10:19

I got this little envelope of Big Head Hurt in the mail today. Doepfer 
A100 catalog. Very scary. Pricelist, even scarier! The most expensive 
module _is_ only $102 (the VCO and the multimode VCF), and the average 
price is around $70. This thing is almost the Bag of Lay's Potato Chips 
of modules, considering how stoopid-cheap everything is. Anyone up for 
building Tonto, the Home Version?
	Actually, though, there are some problems. The current VCO has a 
rather limited range (1 Hz - 5 kHz), but the "high-end VCO" has a greater 
range, and should be out about now for only about $35 more. There's a 
real lack of control devices here, as well; they seem to expect you to 
drive this thing off of a MIDI-CV unit, and there is a matching 
12-channel unit, the MCV12. But no CV/gate keyboard, no sequencer other 
than the now-CV/gate-capable MAQ16/3 or upcoming trigger sequencer called 
the "Schaltwerk" (described as a MIDI-clocked 8 x 16-step pattern-based 
trigger sequencer, ala the Roland TR-style pattern-based button 
interface), certainly nothing like Serge's plethora of sequential sources 
or their TKB. No CV-controlled mixing capabilities, either, unless you go 
about setting that up with several VCA modules + the (either linear or 
log) 4 x 1 manual mixers.
	However, this isn't intended to be something hi-tweak like a 
Serge, I think. It reminds me more of the early 900-series Moog modules, 
to be frank. And I do like the implementation; Doepfer sells you a 6U 19" 
rackmount case which holds two rows of modules and has a 650 ma PS (which 
they say should be enough for that amount of modules...but which also 
outputs standard ol' 12 and 5V, so anyone wanting something hefty could 
just put a 'puter-grade switching supply in instead and _voila!_), and 
into that 6U case you can cram anything you like; to me, this is an 
improvement over the fixed arrangement you find in the Serge system and a 
neat return to user-configurability as found in the old Moog, Buchla, 
E-Mu, etc systems.
	I'm really torn here. I've wanted a Serge for some time, and I 
will certainly be getting several panels when budgets allow. But this 
frees me up to look at getting panels from Serge that're more populated 
with the "exotica", leaving the dirty work to the Doepfer modules. Or 
building up a portable Serge system to "dock" with the Doepfer in the 
studio. Doepfer USA has said their system does work with Serge's CV and gate 
standards (and that they've run across that question numerous times), so 
compatibility problems like what one finds between a lot of systems that 
use nonstandard CV/gate/trigger implementations (EMS's "backwards" CV, 
EML's 1.2V/8ve CV and negative gates, Moog's S-trigger, Korg and Yamaha's 
V/Hz CV) aren't an issue here. In fact, it almost seems logical to graft 
these two things into something...scary. Lots to think about here.
	Anyway, if you want to hurt your own head, Doepfer USA's number 
is 402-894-0384. The documentation is written in a Teutonic Rolandese 
variant, but if you know your tech gibberish, you should get through it 
just fine. And don't count Serge out of the running here, btw; the 
Doepfer does _not_ have things like Serge's comparators, sequential 
sources, shift register, smooth-and stepped voltage generator, and so on. 
It's a good start-point, though, if you want to get your feet wet and 
then go for the hardcore later by adding Serge's mojonics to hot-rod it. 
I seriously recommend that course, in fact.

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