I recently watched 2 videos which provided some good information on Eurorack Synthesizers. Both were over 3-hours long. These are just 2 of a 4-Part series.
The Presenter is "DivKid", a VERY knowledgeable person in the Eurorack community. One of the other people in these Episodes is Kim Bjorn. He's the Author / Producer of 3 books:
The 3rd person in these videos is Chris Meyer, who also has a LOT of highly useful information on Eurorack Systems. In fact, he co-wrote "Patch and Tweak" with Kim and Chris also has his own YouTube Channel, called: "Learning Modular".
These 4 Episodes are, basically, of Chris installing Modules into his newly-modified SEVEN ROW Eurorack case!!! That's right… Seven, horizontal rows in a monster case!
As he's installing them, he explains how he installed the massive power supply as well as why he chose certain Modules over others. All 3 share their Eurorack knowledge as his case is slowly filled-in. So, the information provided is not "step-by-step" but, as you pay attention to what they're talking about, you'll find some interesting nuggets.
Here's the Link to Episode 1:
Here's the Link to Episode 2:
There were only 2 Episodes available when I wrote this but here's the Link to where you can find the others:
Here's the Link to Chris Meyer's "Learning Modular" YouTube Channel:
I just wanted to pass along a few more resources which provide helpful information on "what" Synthesizers are and "how" the various components can be used.
Before I do that, I want to mention something I haven't heard anyone talk about… "Patch Cables" and, specifically, "how many" Patch Cables should you buy?
There is no mathematical formula to this question. However, the rule-of-thumb would be "more is better". My very loose guideline for "how many" to buy would be:
Again, this is not a locked-in-stone way of approaching this.
Yes, you can count the "Patch Points" (Cable-connection "holes" / "sockets") on each Module, and buy THAT MANY Cables, but that doesn't really work. In most cases, buying that many Cables would simply give you a LOT more Cables than your Synthesizer would ever be able to use.
Right now, we have 61-Patch Cables… BUT, combined, our 3 Synthesizers (ARP 2600, Behringer Neutron and a partially completed Eurorack Synth) contain 280-Patch Points. So, of course, we still have "Patch Cables" on our "buy more Eurorack items" list.
Patch Cable Length
In a previous Post, I included a link to a "helpful tips" video by Robin Vincent.
Here's that link:
One of the things he learned, when performing Live with his Eurorack Synthesizer, is that he used short Cables whenever possible. The downside to this, he discovered, was that these Cables not only blocked the Modules they crossed (which they always do) but their tightness made it difficult for him to easily get his fingers through to the Knobs and Switches.
Instead, it may sometimes be a good idea to use longer Cables and have them droop down and away from most of the Modules you'll be using in that Patch.
Patch Cable Colors
When I took Synthesizer Lessons in the 70s, Patch Cables were only available in "gray". (That's all "I" saw, anyway.) Today, there are LOTS of colors to choose from and there are 2 types of Synthesists, regarding which colors to buy:
This really comes down to "personal preference". For "us", even though Sylvia loves "Purple", we do our best to select as many different colors for each Patch as we can.
When using a single color for an entire Patch, it can be continually frustrating, when you have to keep following and re-finding where each Cable goes, just to tweak something "quickly".
It's "sometimes" possible to use one color for "Modulation" (Envelopes, LFOs, etc.) and another color for "Audio". Let's say "Red" for Modulation and "Green" for Audio. However, there are 2 problems with this approach:
Here are a few articles and videos where you can find a lot of helpful information on understanding Synthesizers (in no particular order):
This article is titled: "What are CV, Gate and Triggers, and how do they relate to semi-modular synthesis?"
The following article is titled: "Synth Terminology And Basics for Beginners". It covers:
Here's the link to that article:
Here's the link to a Robin Vincent video titled: "Molten Modular 15 - Discovering oscillators with the Make Noise STO".
Here's another good video by Robin Vincent. This one's titled: "Molten Modular 24 - Discovering Envelopes featuring TINRS Edgecutter".
Here's Robin Vincent's main YouTube Channel:
Modular Grid: The best place to go for "all things Eurorack related".
Of course there are LOTS of other sources of information online. Even with all the information and links I've provided here, there are still a few facets of Synthesizers which were not mentioned in the above articles and videos, such as:
Music Columnist and Synthesizer explorer, Robin Vincent, has created a video titled: "25 - Top tips for performing live with Eurorack".
A day or 2 before, he had performed with part of his Eurorack Synthesizer in a local restaurant in England, where he's from. During that performance, he realized several things which he hadn't planned for. So he created this video, in order to pass this valuable information on to others.
Here's the link:
I had been thinking about Alternative Tunings for Music for several weeks. I even did a lot of research to see if any of the current Eurorack, Modular Synthesizer Modules would allow me to actually pick my own "Frequencies".
Several weeks ago, I was thinking about the "A equals 440Hz" (Cycles-Per-Second, Frequency) and that some say "A" should really be set to 432-Hz.
As I was looking at those numbers, I noticed that they are "8" numbers apart from each other. Since I used to do some very basic programming, a few decades ago, my mind instantly thought there might be something to that relationship…
From there, I did something "thinking" and some "math" and settled on the number "32". Computers are based on multiples of "2", which are "zeros" and "ones". Home computers in the early 80s had 8-bit Processors, which is a multiple of "2". I settled on "32" because "2", "4", "8" and "16" Cycles were too close to each other for my note-building exercise. 32 seemed to be the smallest number of Cycles-Per-Second which the Human ear could distinguish a difference in Pitch AND it would take-up an entire Music Keyboard, just to have at least 2 "Octaves".
I left "A" at 448, as a starting point. I then "added" 32, to find higher Notes or "subtracted" 32, to find lower Notes. This gave me these Frequencies:
Since I couldn't find any "easy-to-use" Synthesizer Modules, which would allow me to enter the "Frequencies" I wanted, I did some testing. A few days ago, I used "Audacity" (audio manipulation software) to produce those 13-Tones. I was going to load them into Apple's "GarageBand" software, in order to move them around and stretch them, just to see if this new "Scale" would sound good… or not.
That quickly became a bit complicated so I stopped.
Today, Sylvia reminded me that our Korg Krome Keyboard offers Tunings and Scale creation. So I checked the Manual and turned it ON. It was a bit tricky and did take me a few hours but I was able to set those Frequencies.
So, other than "I just wasn't happy with what I was hearing", I began to wonder… "why"? Is it because those are simply Frequencies which work against each other or is it that my brain is programmed to identify certain sound combinations as "good" and others as "bad"?
Here's the link to the "Disting Mk4":
Here's the link to the "µTune":
Here's the link to the "Audacity" software:
In doing my 1st calculations, I took used the "Note-to-Frequency" Chart on this page:
I then plugged those numbers into the Frequency-Semitone calculator on this page:
Today, Sylvia and I received 2 new Modules for the Eurorack Synthesizer we're creating.
After a lot of research, planning our budget, saving our money and talking it over, last Thursday, Sylvia and I bought 2 new Modules:
Granted, we eat fried potatoes for supper every night and a can of soup for Lunch, when we go to work, but I have no idea how we managed to "save" and "pay for" those items. I'm not really that good at this type of money-juggling. I have enough trouble remembering to deduct each day's purchases from our Checkbook. "Sylvia" is the financial Wizard in OUR family! I do my best to continually stay tuned-in to her energies and to act-on any suggestions she provides.
As for the timing of this purchase… THAT was also interesting… We bought these from "Detroit Modular" (see links above), which is located in Michigan. We ordered them Thursday morning and the expected delivery was "by Monday". (It was shipped through the Post Office.) Up until Friday night, their Tracking information showed that our package was still traveling through the various States, on its way to us, here, in North Carolina. When I checked their Tracking information this morning, Saturday, it showed that it was to be delivered "today"!
We used the website "Modular Grid", in order to learn about some of the Modules available and to create this Synthesizer using their free software.
This is a picture of our "Modular Grid" Synthesizer. It shows which Modules we currently have and where I placed them. (Of course, they can always be moved. If needed.)
Although we currently have 4 Modules, we don't enough Synthesizer elements to make a complete sound.
Right now, Sylvia and I have an Oscillator, Envelope Generator, a "MIDI-to-CV" converter (so we can play notes in this "Analog" Synth using our "Digital" keyboard) and a Multiple.
To complete the "building blocks", we still need a VCA and VCF.
What I can tell about these Modules, especially the new ones is…
In just testing the Envelope Generator, I had to use the Multiple several times. At one point, I used 3 of its sections and 10 of its 15 Patch-Points. More than once, today, I told Sylvia: "It's a good thing we bought this Multiple."
It wasn't just "a multiple". We did a lot of research, watched a few videos and read several pages of descriptions before deciding on this particular Module. It has:
As for the "Envelope Generator"…
I've been wanting us to have a "delayed Gate" feature in a Synthesizer for quite a while. We may still purchase a Module which only provides that feature but this A-143-2 Module not only has FOUR Envelope Generators, each can be Triggered (activate) separately from the others or Triggered when any of the others has completed its cycle.
I was able to create a 4-stage, one-after-the-other Envelope today. I was also able to create a looping waveshape. Sort of like a customized LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator).
Anyway, so far, we're finding that both Modules were well worth the money.
For March, Sylvia and I have selected a very powerful Modular Synthesizer, for this month's "Review" and "Drawing", on our crowd-funding page.
For details on this very capable, musical tool, visit its product page:
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