Re: [AH] doepfer modular systems (long)

From David Trenkel
Sent Tue, Dec 1st 1998, 04:37

At 5:09 PM 11/30/98, JNDK wrote:
>The A-110 VCO (basic oscillator) sounds kinda cold to my ears, and
>has a limited range.  There is also a high end VCO (A-111) which I did
>have the chance to play with so I'll leave that one for someone else to

I think the A-111 sounds terrific, very stable, very smooth, and has a wide
frequency response. If I was putting my system together again, I'd use all
A-111's if I could afford it.
>The A-114 Dual Ring Mod is a good bargain, and does its duty without too
>much carrier bleed-through.

Agreed. I sometimes wish it had an on-board oscillator so I didn't have to
tie up an oscillator as a carrier, but that'd be a more complex module.
>The A-115 Audio Divider is a nice module to have if you only have a
>VCOs, but I would have wanted it to have some CV control for the
>levels of each sub frequency.  This sounded to me like a souped-up
>version of
>the Roland SH-101's sub oscillator scheme.

I like the A-115 quite a bit, often running things other than square waves
through it for really wierd sounds.
>I really enjoyed the A-116 Waveform Processor and would recommend it
>as a solution to the cold sounding A-110 VCO.  It features enough
>to be used as a powerful mangling tool.  I felt it gave the otherwise
>A-110 waveforms some guts.  I also used it on modulation sources.

Agreed. The A-116 is one of the more subtle and interesting modules I've used.
>The A-121 Multimode VCF was a disappointment.  I felt it lacked
>in the gain department and I did not enjoy the manner in which it jumped
>into self-oscillation.  It is a good all-in-one module, but use it on
>critical tonal components.  It has a good CV implementation, but stay
>away from the QCV 1 input (see self-oscillation comment).

Here I completely disagree, I LOVE the sound of the A-121, I greatly prefer
it over the A-120 moog-style filter. The nasty, screamy quality of the
self-oscillation is part of what makes it appeal to me. Dif'rent strokes.
>The A-122 VCF 3 does its job quite nicely, but a little too politely
>for my taste; as with the A-121, it lacks a bit of guts and
>too abruptly.  Maybe the A-120 (which is based on the Moog tranny
>ladder design) sounds warmer, but I did not have the chance to play
>with one.  I opted for the A-122 because the A-123 lacked a QCV in...

Haven't used the 122 or 123, but I think the A-120 sounds kind of bland.

>I often found myself not using the A-146 (because it could not be used
>an audio range oscillator for FM nor a precisely synchronous source of
>Most of the time, I used it as a master clock for the A-155 sequencer
>because of
>its variable duty cycle.

My A-146 does go into the audio range. I agree that it should have a reset
in, and wish the wave-skewing could be voltage controlled.

>My overall thoughts:
>I thought the construction of the unit (in terms of sound quality) could
>have been
>a bit better.  Doepfer use ribbon cables to connect the various modules
>to a bus
>bar in the frame.  There was a bit of cross-talk in between the modules,
>so I
>would recommend you do a fair bit of planning before you finalize your
I've had no problems with hum or crosstalk in my system, and I feel it's
built solidly enough to withstand my abuse. I've taken it to gigs, and have
dismantled and re-assembled mine several times, never had a problem.
>Minor gripes aside, the A-100 system which features over 60 (?) modules
>is a lot of modular for very little cash.  It should not really be
>compared to
>a Moog or Serge system because it costs way less, but I'm left wondering
>fewer better implemented modules would not have been better in the long

Agreed. My only previous modular experience was with an ARP 2600 and a
collection of (never-working) PAIA modules at the music school I attended
some 15 years ago. Always wanted to have a modular that I could afford, the
Doepfer was the first modular system that I could. I'm constantly inspired
by mine.

Dave Trenkel :  :

"...there will come a day when you won't have to use
gasoline. You'd simply take a cassette and put it in
your car, let it run. You'd have to have the proper
type of music. Like you take two sticks, put 'em
together, make fire. You take some notes and rub 'em
together - dum, dum, dum, dum - fire, cosmic fire."
                                            -Sun Ra