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I am made from the wires of my synthesizer. - Still Alive! [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Still Alive! [Jul. 21st, 2006|11:36 am]
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Yuck, I've neglected this journal! I've just been busy with life and other stuff, but I'm about to start this thing up again with some new entries to get caught up.

Here's a pic of the modular's current state:

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A little dark, but you can see that there are some new modules - another envelope, an external instrument input interface, two multiples. I'm going to do entries on those things and their applications next.

Also, I just traded/sold what little other remaining gear I had and ended up with some cash plus a cool Roland TR-606 drum machine, fresh out of 1982.

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While the 606's own sounds are cool but pretty limited, I mainly wanted it because it has two trigger outputs that you can program alongside its drum sounds, each of which sends a quick voltage blast out to whatever you patch it to - namely, my modular! Working with only the little 16-step patterns that the 606 can do, I'm forced to get creative and end up coming up with fun little "happy accidents" based on how the modular triggers in response to the 606's voltage outputs. Really, it's about getting into that mindset that guys like Giorgio Moroder and Phil Oakey (The Human League) had to be into back in the day; it's just more in line with the whole voltage-controlled modular way of working than using Cubase or digital sequencers. Not that I'm abandoning Cubase or anything like, but it's fun to have another, more primitive option for sequencing.to shake things up a little bit.

With the money that I have left over, I'm trying to make a decision whether to buy an old Roland MC-202 (early digital sequencer that spits out analogue voltages) or the Moog CP-251 (a little box that I can add to the modular that gives me the functionality of five or six modules without taking up any space in the cabinet). The MC-202 is a primitive, confusing "calculator"-style sequencer that makes it almost impossible to accomplish whatever melody or rhythm you set out to make, but the upside is that you invariably come up with all sorts of "happy accidents" that are more interesting than whatever you were initially trying to program. I'm interested in the idea of more sequencing options, especially weirdo MC-style ones, but I'd also like the extra functionality of the Moog CP, which would really add a ton of new stuff I can do with the modular.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sarendipatree
2006-07-21 04:44 pm (UTC)

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I'd say go for the CP-251. Not only does it take up less space, but I betcha its a little less expensive than the five or six modules it'd be useful in the place of.

It is totally fun to take samples of non-click-tracked audio (read modular's output) and bash them into song-material via non-linear editing (say, Cubase).

Looks like fun shiite. 'Specially with that 606 in the mix.
[User Picture]From: bleepsandbloops
2006-07-23 07:18 am (UTC)

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I've had a lot of fun just throwing down several minutes of tweaking with the modular, then chopping, time-stretching to fit bars, etc. in Cubase. Definitely a great way to come up with cool variations on stuff.
[User Picture]From: sarendipatree
2006-07-21 04:47 pm (UTC)

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(oh, also, if you got the cp-251, you'd hae a lag-accumulator and sample&hold, so you could shape the 606's cv output a reasonable spot.)
[User Picture]From: syruss
2006-07-21 05:18 pm (UTC)

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He’s alive! And the modular is looking good!

Those CP-251s are nice… but I’d go with the 202. Consider that the CP-251 is still being manufactured and isn’t about to become hard to find while the 202 is only going to get less available. Also, all of the functionality of the CP-251 is available in DotCom modules. Yes it costs a little more to ass all the individual modules, but if you’re a purist… That said, I’m a big fan of the belief that anything with a ¼” jack is fodder for hooking up to the modular, and anything without a ¼” jack can probably be adapted to ¼”.
Oh, and one more thing… Sample/Hold. Once you put one in your modular (CP251 or the Q117) you’ll want more.
[User Picture]From: bleepsandbloops
2006-07-23 07:05 am (UTC)

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One of the main things about the CP vs. individual modules is that I'm quickly running out of room in my cabinet, especially once I account for the remaining few modules in the plan. Once the plan finishes, I'll only have about four or five open slots, and there are a few S-com modules that I'd really like to get (the Moog ladder filter, another Amp module, a signal processor, the slew limiter). While I'd eventually like to have a second cabinet, I probably won't be getting one soon, as it'll be about $500 to just get another empty cabinet w/ power supply - so I have to cram as much functionality into this cabinet as I possibly can. The CP-251 will give me a bunch of more boring "utility" modules (multiple, two attenuators, two simple LFO shapes, another noise source, etc.) while still leaving me some open slots in the cabinet for those S-Com modules that I want.

I really love Sample and Hold - it's a really underrated function that can do SO much more than the "random LFO shape" effect that it's usually used for. One of the things I like about the CP-251's sample and hold is that in addition to the traditional hard-stepped output, it also offers a smoothed output (I guess they route the CV through the lag processor or something), which can be fun and interesting. But on the other hand, the S-Com sample and hold can be gated from an external source, so you can drive it to weirder rates and clock it to other things. I guess I'd ideally like to have both, so I'll probably get the CP first and add an S-Com sample and hold in my second cabinet.
[User Picture]From: solipsistnation
2006-07-21 08:12 pm (UTC)

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202+606+delay pedal+headphone amp = portable battery-powered techno fun!

But I agree, it's pretty funky to use. Lots of fun to play with, and super-fat sound (it's more or less an SH101 in a different box), and it has 2 channels of sequencer so you can play it and the modular at once.

I'd go for the 202, but I'm probably biased...

[User Picture]From: bleepsandbloops
2006-07-23 07:09 am (UTC)

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I had an SH-101 for a few years, and it's only now that it's gone that I'm starting to miss its sound. I always heard the 101's sound described as "plasticky," but I never realized just how "plastic" it sounds until I started playing with thicker-sounding synths. There's something about that plastic sound that just feels like it has extra bounce when playing back tweaky little sequences.

My idea for a little setup is to have the 202 synced to code on one track of tape or my DAW, slave the 606 to the 202's DIN-sync output. The 202 sequences itself on one track, the modular with its second/external track, and then the 606 plays its own patterns and also triggers envelopes on the modular using its trigger outs. Nice little setup.
[User Picture]From: solipsistnation
2006-07-24 12:07 pm (UTC)

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That sounds like endless hours of fun. Go for it... 8)

(I used to take my 202, 606, delay pedal, and headphone amp on planes with me. I got some super-weird looks from people. I bet I couldn't get away with that any more.)
[User Picture]From: andy_squirrel
2006-07-23 12:31 am (UTC)

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Wow, im surprised you bought all those blank panels!!!!.....i keep wanting blank panels but for 12 bucks a pop??? HELLL NO! and you bought six??? 72 bucks......you can get a whole other module for that much......
At least that has been my justification for having a gaping hole in my cabinet....i'd take the noise source or sample&hold over those any day....

also wanted to mention i aquired a TR606 a couple days ago too...its pretty fun but im afraid to use the triggers on it because of their high voltage output....let me know if you fry anything!

cheers
[User Picture]From: bleepsandbloops
2006-07-23 07:15 am (UTC)

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I actually got the blank panels from a friend of mine that had some .Com modules racked up and made some changes to his setup so he didn't need them anymore. He gave them to me for free, so I used them to just fill in those gaps in the interim. Believe me, I wouldn't spend that type of cash on blank panels!

I was worried about the 606's triggers too, since I don't really know that much about the technical/voltage side of things other than that most .Com modules go from -5v to +5v. I was concerned that the +14v trigger outs from the 606 would be too high and might "fry" my modules, but I asked around on the Yahoo group and other people were using 606's to trigger with no problems. I know one guy on there is crazy about using his FutureRetro Mobius, and that thing sends +15v triggers, so I figured there was nothing to worry about. I guess I should e-mail Roger and get the official word, but no problems so far.
[User Picture]From: mr_fluffy
2006-07-23 03:10 am (UTC)

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I almost bought a 606 with individual outputs for cheap... It would have went along perfectly with my SH-101, but I couldn't afford to just throw the cash around....

I'd say go for the Moog. Man, One day I'll get started on my very own DotCom setup...with a nice walnut cabinet, and the expensive matching keyboard...
[User Picture]From: bleepsandbloops
2006-07-23 07:17 am (UTC)

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Those walnut cabinets look great, but I've always prefered the "Roland System 700" look of the portable cabinet that I chose.
[User Picture]From: mr_fluffy
2006-07-23 07:46 am (UTC)

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yeah... If I get a job this fall I might start putting together a DotCom setup, I think I'm gonna go with the unfinished cabinet and paint it myself..
[User Picture]From: horty_pie
2006-07-23 07:49 am (UTC)

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Yeah, that unfinished cabinet is a great deal. If you have any artistic skills, you could really hook it up and personalize it.
[User Picture]From: mr_fluffy
2006-07-23 07:53 am (UTC)

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Maybe red to go with my SH-101...hahah

I never was good with painting... but I could draw it out first on the wood and get some of my more paint inclinded friends to finish it...
From: (Anonymous)
2007-06-09 11:41 am (UTC)

10 the most interesting things that you can get free

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MESSAGE
From: (Anonymous)
2010-02-20 08:34 am (UTC)

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Cool modular synth! I borrowed an Ems Synthi-AKS for a while once and loved it. Now I love the fact that Reason lets me make unusual connections on the back-pannel and use it in a similar way to make wonderful organic sound-scapes!

TG
From: (Anonymous)
2010-02-20 08:35 am (UTC)

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Sorry, forgot to add my website, which might be of interest to those reading here . . .

http://multitrackmixers.com/