Re: [AH] 25 uses for 25 feet of modular?

From Mark Pulver
Sent Sun, May 9th 1999, 15:29

John Papiewski (11:06 PM 5/8/99) wrote:

 >The other piece is, don't get too impressed with the thought of 25 feet of
 >Moog modular.  Moog's module palette was pretty limited - VCO,
 >VCA, VCF, with a couple other gadgets here and there, so a big system will
 >only repeat the same modules.

The basis of having a lot of "common" modules is that you need this 
repetition to pull of synthesis techniques like FM, granular, etc from the 
ground up.

The Zimmer Moog (reference http://www.synthfool.com/hans.html) has a huge 
amount of the common VCO, VCF, etc modules, but this system is has been 
used for incredible sonics.

Think of a common approach to synthesizing a Hammond organ on a traditional 
synth. You generally will use square waveforms for the root sound, and 
triangles for percussion, then route everything through a low pass filter 
to keep the upper harmonics from the squares out of the picture.

The root of a real Hammond sound is sine waves... But you'll need a number 
of them, all with separate level controls, to pull off truly "synthesizing" 
a Hammond. Filter wise - there should be any - there aren't any on a 
Hammond; but it's hard to remove the filter from the audio path in a 
traditional synth. On a modular, it's just a patchcord placement. :)

On a modular you can also get into the other aspects of a Hammond... The 
percussion needs to be handled through a separate envelope shaper, easy on 
a modular, but usually simulated with a filter blip on a more common synth.

The natural distortion on a Hammond can be tricky as well. Quite often 
you'll find the higher harmonics distorting more than the lower or mids. 
Again, with separate sine oscillators and audio paths on a modular, it's 
pretty easy to patch in additional gain where you need it.


Having a large modular system comprised of common modules isn't for 
everyone, but it can be a wild experience if you're into breaking sonics 
apart into little pieces. The additional of more esoteric modules (like 
waveshapers, complex tone genrators, etc) just enhances the experience. :)


 >And Moog modules are BIG anyway
 >- A lot of panel real estate used by the phone jacks, dials, multiples, etc.
 >25 feet of modules is probably as big as a Moog gets.  I've
 >seen Buchla and Serge modulars that would be much more powerful, and I can
 >imagine someone putting together a truly nasty Doepfer modular
 >together in a relatively small package.

Ahhh... but "size DOES matter". :)

The great thing about a Moog panel layout is that there's a TON of space 
for your fingers. Doepfer (and other panels) get crowded pretty quick.

Something else... "...would be much more powerful..". For some modules (eg, 
a sample and hold) you can actually BUILD this module out of other things 
like a DC coupled VCA and LFO. But granted, there is definitely a ton of 
flexibility in some Serge modules like the NTO, and trying to replicate 
something like that piecemeal is probably impossible.


Mark

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