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:
A couple months ago, the company Sylvia and I work for was throwing out some old Retail Display Cases. Some of them had Plexiglass (Acrylic) sides.
They were also throwing out some other Display Cases, which had thinner sheets of Plexiglass. Some of those pieces were "corners" (right-angles).
So we took home a few sheets and some smaller pieces.
We didn't know what we were going to use these materials for but we've always liked the clear, revealing state of Plexiglass.
After we got everything home, Sylvia mentioned that I've never like our current Synthesizer setup. Although it's a simple, "3-boards held up by some bricks" arrangement, we keep everything covered with a bedsheet, in order to keep the dust off of our music gear. So Sylvia suggested we build a clear, Synthesizer shelving unit.
It took about 5-weeks, a LOT of work and a handful of trips to our local Hardware Store, to buy some tools that we needed.
That was 1 of the 1st things we learned… Cutting Plexiglass too fast will melt it. We also learned that if you cut it while too much vibration is being created, by "hand tools" or "power tools", it will crack.
After spending about $230 for the following tools, our "free" Plexiglass turned out to be not so "free"… and that's not counting our Time and labor:
While designing and building everything, I did remember the Saying:
In my case, though, this didn't help a lot. My Dad still laughs at me (in a good way) for not being able to cut a straight line or hammer a nail properly.
So after everything was cut, drilled, filed (for large sharp edges), sanded (for smaller rough edges), we disassembled the old shelves from the top of my desk and disconnected the 60 or more cables.
So, after the new shelving unit was assembled and ALL the cables reconnected… the shelving unit is about a quarter-inch off. The top of the back-right corner of the back panel is about a quarter-inch higher than the side it's connected to. (I just checked and the back of the side-piece is not touching the desk.)
We didn't discover this until everything was finished. Since it took over 6-hours to assemble everything, we're not about to take it all apart, just to fix a quarter-inch slant. (If you look carefully, you can see the curve in the center shelf, just under the black & green Synth that's sitting on a purple board.)
The top shelf has a large empty area on its left side. This is where our new Modular Synthesizer will be placed. (Sylvia and I went to our local Guitar Center last week and ordered the "case" for the Modules but it's on back-order.) The case we bought is the "Structure 270", made by "Pittsburgh Modular". Here's the link:
These are the pieces of music gear we currently have in this new shelving unit:
Anyway, for those of you interested in this, here are some photos of what Sylvia and I created and how we're using it:
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