I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my modular learning how to use the modules with each other. Daren from Control helped me with the patch above. With this patch I have an 8 step sequencer with two rows running. The first row is controlling the pitch of an oscillator and the second a filter cut off and resonance. You will need to use some multiples or Tiptop stackables to make this work. Holding a touch key on the Pressure Points holds the sequences on that step. Adjusting the ADSR’s release really effects the sound. Try adding a sine wave LFO into the ADSR’s Sustain CV control (if your ADSR has one) for some random spikes in the filter opening. Instead of clocking the Pressure Points with a straight clock use something like a uStep and send a few steps a break and then a few more steps for interesting patterns. Lastly try a VCA on the third Pressure Points row for volume control of each step. Enjoy!
“Pressure Points is a controller module, an analog sequencer that is played by hand. Touching the gold plated copper wires (aka Touch Plates), you become part of the circuit, generating a gate signal (Gate OUT), a control signal proportional to the amount of pressure applied (Press OUT) and the 3 Tuned Voltages for the activated Stage.” – Make Noise
For more info: makenoisemusic.com/pressurepoints
So you don’t own a modular but you want to play with one? Check out a web based modular called TrueGrid. Pretty cool huh?
EDIT: Some people let me know this only works in Google Chrome.
“TrueGrid is a fully functional modular web synthesizer which let’s you create, listen and share modular synth patches.” – modulargrid.net
Play now: modulargrid.net/racks/synth
Like many other electronic musicians lately I have been obsessed with my Eurorack modular. A few modules I own really stand out. Three of my favorites are from a company called Synthesis Technology. Synth-tech as people call them is Paul T. Schreiber. If you look at his resume you will see he is an experienced audio engineer. You can hear his expertise in his modules. Enjoy a one hour Wire to the Ear interview with Paul as we discuss Chris Randall, MOTM, an $18,000 home stereo, the end of Blackberry, Tandy Radio Shack, the power of digital, patents and stealing designs, Eurorack power issues, the upcoming E370 Quad Morphing VCO/E371, E102 Digital CV Processor/Quad Temporal Shifter and what would Paul eat as his death row meal.
“So a lot of people grew up drooling in music stores. I drooled in the stereo store and I wanted to have this stereo system that cost $18,000. So I told my wife…” – Paul T Schreiber
For more info: synthtech.com facebook.com/ptschreiber, ctrl-mod.com/synthtech and analoguehaven.com/synthesistechnology
Audio Damage has jumped into the hardware game with 3 Eurorack modules. DubJr, Grainshift and Errorbox are 8HP, $179 each and available now. I love and use AD plug-ins all the time so I am very interested in trying these out.
“during the week of Audio Damage’s tenth anniversary, we have succeeded in releasing a hardware platform for our DSP effects, and are ludicrously proud to unveil the first three Audio Damage hardware products: DubJr, Grainshift, and Errorbox.” – Chris Randall
For more info: audiodamage.com/hardware
Intellijel are one of the most prolific Eurorack modular makers. I personally own a uStep, uVCA and Triatt. I want to add a Planar and their upcoming Metropolis sequencer to my collection.
“Creators of electronic musical instruments and modular synthesizers.” – facebook.com/Intellijel
For more info: intellijel.com
I am really in love with my Flame Tame Machine module and the almost available Flame Arpeggiator 2013 looks incredible. Sean at Analogue Haven says he just got them in and as soon as he prices them they will be for sale on his website.
“The module is a two-channel arpeggiator with seperatly analoge outputs for notes and two optional movable outputs for the sequence clock and the velocity. Both arpeggio tracks (referred to as “ARP” and “BASS”) plays notes also via MIDI-out (different MIDI-channels 1 and 2). The first four notes of the ARP track notebuffer forms the chord. The chord analoge outputs are the CV-outputs 1-4 (notes 1-4). The MIDI-channel of the transmitted chord is channel 3. Use the module-keyboard for setting the chord/scale notes. The one octave of the module-keyboard can move over four octaves (KEYZONE). It’s possible to load preset chords/scales and user defined chords/scales (organized respectively 16 user patches U01..U16). The arpeggiator mode included 9 arpeggio play modes with additional different running directions (up, down, updown, downup) and different variations of noterepeats. You can control functions (as well as Arpeggio-Mode, Noterepeat, Octave-Range, Sequence-Pattern, Transpose ore others) via CV-inputs. Two CV-inputs (USER-1 and USER-2) can be set with individual functions.” – flame.fortschritt-musik.de
For more info: flame.fortschritt-musik.de
The Make Noise Maths is probably the most talked about Eurorack Module. It’s like a swiss army knife. It does many different things and it’s well loved. It just had a 2013 revision. It keeps what I think is the coolest name of any product ever and only costs $10 more. To see all what the new version adds watch the video above.
“MATHS is an analog computer designed for musical purposes. Amongst other things, it will allow you to: Generate a variety of linear, logarithmic, or exponential triggered or continuous functions, Integrate an incoming signal, With no signal applied, generate a variety of linear, logarithmic, or exponential functions. Add, subtract and OR up to 4 signals. Generate analog signals from digital information (Gate / Clock). Generate digital information (Gate / Clock) from analog signals. Delay digital (Gate / Clock) information.” – makenoisemusic.com
For more info: makenoisemusic.com/maths
One of the most important basic modules I need is an ADSR. An Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release shapes the sound or filter so it’s not simply on all the time. Intellijel’s brand new Dual ADSR has some nice tricks up its sleeve. First it has sliders which I find much more useful than knobs. It also has a wicked cycle mode the pulses the ADSR in time. For the type of music I do this is incredible useful!
“Based on the Roland SH-101 design with several enhancements.Manual GATE buttons. Three timing ranges. Normal and inverted outputs. End of Decay (EOD) logic output. Cycle mode. Dynamic level control of the VCA output via built in linear VCA” – intellijel.com
For more info: intellijel.com
Here is a very pretty and nice sounding video demo of the Mutable Instruments Grids, Hexinverter Jupiter Storm, Tiptop Audio CP909 Clap, Cwejman BLD, Innerclock Sync-Gen IIls and more. Chris Whitten has a nice selection of modules don’t you think?
“Video demonstrating several instances of Grids and Jupiter Storm. Kick:TipTop BD909 Cwejman BLD Open Hat:Jupiter Storm Noise>WMD Synchrodyne BPF Noise Percussion:Jupiter Storm Noise>Synchrodyne BPF>WMD MMVCA (stereo panning) Bass:Grids>Cwejman BLD Clap:Grids>Tip Top 909CP>Make Noise Echophon Chords:Grids>Cwejman ADSR-VC2. Bubblesound VCO>Erthenvar Patch Chord>SynchrodyneLPF>Make Noise Echophon Snare:Grids>Jupiter Storm>Echophon No Midi No EQ Sync to Pro Tools>Innerclock IILS” – Chris Whitten
For more info: hexinverter.net and mutable-instruments.net
On Saturday night I went to the second annual Control Voltage Fair at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan. It was at last year’s event where I first got the modular bug. Since that show I learned all I could about the Eurorack modular format and have purchased 31 modules and 4 racks to hold them. The modular “scene” is small and everyone I’ve met online, at Control or at these events has been friendly, helpful and really into it. It was extremely hot and humid on Saturday evening and this year the booths and live shows were outdoors. After a quick walkthrough I first stopped at the Tiptop Audio booth to play with the Trigger Riot and see the new Mix Z prototype. The TR lives up to it’s name as within a 30 seconds you can have a mass of drums making noise. The Mix Z is a mixer with a bus on it’s backside so you don’t have to patch the audio in from Tiptop drum modules. I met Richard Devine at the Make Noise booth. We discussed how he soundproofed his new studio. We also talked about how it’s important for children to hear a lot of music as they develop and how his own kid may end up a little different because of the modular sounds she’s hearing vs Row Row Row Your Boat. Ben Casey from Bangbang was there. He’s the de-facto Elektron dealer in NYC. Musician Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Knas the maker of the Polygamist synth were seen hanging out. Before the actual performances startetd Jeremiah Johnson had a small crowd gather around him while he improvised on the massive Control setup. They had the new Mutable Instruments modules in their giant Goikes racks and Jeremiah was making good noise with them. I talked to him after his was done about European gigs. I enjoyed Keith Fullerton Whitman’s performance. Modular sounds good live and outdoors. I like my music more structured and evil but it had moments where I wondered how he was doing it. Richard Devine’s performance had a certain sound to it. Plucky, vactrolish and for most of it happily quite dark. Due to the Tequila icey drinks they were serving right outside the festival I tired out and missed Lori Napoleon. Be sure to see my entire set of photos on flickr: click here
“People walking by outside audibly confused by the noise pouring out on to the street from RichardDevine ‘s set.” – Anthony Saunders
For more info: rivertorivernyc.com/artists/control-voltage