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To Modular or Semi-modular - That is the question
Old 28th January 2009
  #1
Lives for gear
 
iangomes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
To Modular or Semi-modular - That is the question

hey gs gang, so I've been on a big 'I want a fr xs' kick lately, but i've been having a lot of trouble getting one (my local distributor has been 'waiting' for them for months now). Anyway, in the meantime, i've been working on a diy euro modular rack case (6u), and now I am trying to make a choice.
Should I go straight out with a modular (i have about 1200CAD to spend on it), or wait for the frxs, and then add a few modular bits and pieces as I go...

I have a few pros and cons if you wish to read:
Modular: Pro - Could get way more complex than the frxs alone after a while, and could get me some of the more interesting sounds that i've been looking for.
Con - ****in expensive to start out. I planned on a:
- Cwejman VCO-2RM
- A190 midi to cv
- A131 VCA
- A140 ADSR
and that pretty much blows the whole budget! (the Cwejman takes most of it but i thought it couldn't hurt to get high quality oscillators to start with). To get a frxs equivalent in a modular, i would probably have to drop a lot more cash, but at that point, it would most likely be much more powerful than the xs anyway.

Quickly (since this is getting long), the xs:
Pro - Cheaper, full functionality right away, has it's own sound
Con - Could be limited later on compared to the modular. Not as versatile


Anyway, i trust your opinions, and I could sure use some help, so if you've got some time to help me out, i'd be very greatful! thanks!
Old 28th January 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
Logo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Get the XS and expand with modules!

It's really nice to have a pre-patched synth for moments when inspiration strikes and you want some standard sounds (even though the XS is far from standard). Add some modules and it completely changes character. Best of both worlds and half the fun of owning the XS...

Here is my setup:


Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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iangomes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
ah, thank you sir. I got the idea to do both a few months ago, and then was disappointed when I saw your setup here on gs and felt very unoriginal lol. what kind of sounds are you getting out of that sweet setup?
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I used switching jacks to put a lot of normalization into my .Com modular, it saves a huge amount of time and cables but doesn't effect the modularity at all, so best of both worlds.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Addict
 
Kent's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
In short: Start with the XS and then graft a modular system onto it. It's a great solution especially if you are just starting the system.
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #6
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iangomes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
alright, i guess the search for an effin xs continues then! haha, when i get it i'm sure I won't regret the wait, although it is very trying right now
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Gear Head
 
Logo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by iangomes ➑️
ah, thank you sir. I got the idea to do both a few months ago, and then was disappointed when I saw your setup here on gs and felt very unoriginal lol. what kind of sounds are you getting out of that sweet setup?
It sounds very very nasty. Almost too nasty, I've since added a a spring reverb and want some sort of low pass gate for some ole school flavor.

I need to record more with it, I've been in modular zone out mode since I got it. Here is a little bass clip from a dumb remix I just finished:

http://djyoyomama.com/music/modularbass.wav
Old 28th January 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
iangomes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
i'm going to listen to that right when I get home. damn this school using linux, none of the media players will open that!
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #9
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent ➑️
Start with the XS and then graft a modular system onto it.
That seems sensible.
As long as the semi-modular has all the patch points it shouldn't restrict your options once you start adding individual modules.

I'm yet to be convinced there are 'high quality' oscillators and lesser quality ones.
Most oscillators sound very similar to me. It's all the other stuff, filters chiefly, that shape a synths character.
I note you pay more for oscillators that include advanced features - more wave shapes, more waveshaping/morphing and more modulation routings, and that stuff is certainly worth paying more for sometimes, but a sine wave is a sine wave IMO.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
iangomes's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
That seems sensible.
As long as the semi-modular has all the patch points it shouldn't restrict your options once you start adding individual modules.

I'm yet to be convinced there are 'high quality' oscillators and lesser quality ones.
Most oscillators sound very similar to me. It's all the other stuff, filters chiefly, that shape a synths character.
I note you pay more for oscillators that include advanced features - more wave shapes, more waveshaping/morphing and more modulation routings, and that stuff is certainly worth paying more for sometimes, but a sine wave is a sine wave IMO.
thanks for the input! as for the xs, i think it has a decent number of patch points... i made a list somewhere... let me find it.

here it is:
Out:
CV Out
MOD W out
Vel out
LFO out
Wave A, B, C
Gate out
Env1 +/-
Filter out
Main out

In:
CV In
OSC Mod
Audio In
Filter Mod
Vel In
Gate In
Amp In

it doesn't seem that extensive
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Guru
 
chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
FWIW, I integrated an Arp 2600 into my Doepfer/AS/Roland 100M system with no problems at all.

My Doepfer and Roland systems were fully functioning modular units in their own right, but it was great to patch in some of the 2600's features too.
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Moderator
 
Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
The A-131 is ok, and has attenuators.
Also look at the A-132-3, it will be my next purchase, it seems to be better sounding and more headroom (according to user reviews)

Oscillators? I'd love a few Cwejman modules, but personally don't like the sound of the oscillator that much. (STRICTLY personal opinion)
I'd go for a combination of a Plan B m15 (triangle core), and an MFB Osc2 (triple DCO) or Doepfer A-110 (standard, but not bad). Or go radical, and wait for the Harvestman Piston Honda, wavetable OSC. The analogue solutions one seems very good quality (tracks really well) Plenty of character, all different. A matter of taste.
The A-110 needs a prescision CV control, A-176. You can also use that for the VCA A-132-1 and A-132-3 too. You can do without, but it's a handy module regardless.

Semi Modular? Yeah I guess that's ok. I just like modular synths a lot. My ARP Axxes play ball with the modular, and I'm going to have one modded so it has patch points in and out. heh
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Kent's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by iangomes ➑️
thanks for the input! as for the xs, i think it has a decent number of patch points... i made a list somewhere... let me find it.

here it is: etc......

it doesn't seem that extensive
Honestly, it sounds like everything that you would need and what makes sense given the architecture of that synth. I say, "Go for it!"
Old 29th January 2009 | Show parent
  #14
Deleted d2a68cc
Guest
I'm not really bringing anything new ot the table, but I'll just paste something I wrote on a different forum a few months ago:

Quote:
Originally Posted by me
What is the draw of a modular system for you - the ability to mix and match modules by different vendors, breaking a synthesis chain into its basic components and building it up with the components you like best or just the ability to patch components together in topologies that a fixed architecture synth might not allow? Perhaps it's a combination of those, or something else entirely?

If you're mostly interested in a good "baseline" analogue with tweakability beyond what you'd find in a vanilla monosynth, then maybe a semi-modular, like the Anyware SEMtex XL, Evenfall Mini Modular or Cwejman S1 Mk2 {if you've got the scrilla} would be worth finding and auditioning. The Evenfall was Christopher MacDonald and Grant Richter's attempt to create a semi-modular ARP Odyssey, while the SEMtex XL is Anyware's take on the Oberheim SEM {with a number of enhancements and a form factor similar to the Korg MS-20's}. The Evenfall can be obtained for around a grand or a little more, but the SEMtex XL has gone for anywhere from 1600 to 2000 USD in recent sales. Both are "half-normalled"; they have existing, musically useful audio and control signal flows that can be broken and diverted, split and whatever else you would expect from a modular synth. Then, if you're really sold on the modular living, you'll have an expandable synth that can interface with most modular formats and also act as a front-end, since each has terrific integrated MIDI/CV conversion.

Just my .014 Euro.
I still haven't used the FR XS, but ears I trust liked it very much.
Old 30th January 2009 | Show parent
  #15
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Doktorfuture's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I used to think all oscillators were the same. But surprisingly, they're not. When you mod them together, or sync them in certain ways they show their differences even more.

I wouldn't say some are 'high quality' and some are not. Rather, they just have differences.

Also, analog sine-waves produced by analog systems have some interesting properties because they're not perfect sine-waves. They could have different symmetry, a tiny blip at certain points etc... Some sound pure, some are more wooly.

P
Old 9th January 2010 | Show parent
  #16
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dlmorley's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
ARP 2600 is for me the ideal synth for working with. Easy if needed. Deep when required.
Superb thing.

One thing that I like is the Cwejman VM1 type thing where you have a voice in a module (same as my ARP modular 1045) so if you had one of them in a modular setup (or the doepfer version for less money) you could have the best of both worlds.
Old 9th March 2011 | Show parent
  #17
Here for the gear
 
wbelote's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Triez,

Can you explain or show what these switching jacks are?

Thanks
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