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Choosing a Ring Modulator
Old 18th November 2009
  #1
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Rooftree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Choosing a Ring Modulator

I want to add a ring modulator to my studio setup and I'm wondering about options. I have a Prophet 08, Yamaha CS-15, Korg 01/W used mainly as a controller, plus various soft synths. I'm hoping to add a Voyager some time in the next year or two. The ring mod would be for use with the synths and vocals. There's an outside chance that I'd run an electric guitar through it on a couple of projects.

My first instinct was to buy a Moogerfooger MF-102 ($200 used) and set it up on an effects loop. But I've also been thinking about selling my CS-15 and upgrading to the CS-30, which coincidentally includes a ring modulator. The cost of the upgrade to the CS-30 would be around $400.

I've never used a ring modulator before and I'm not all that familiar with the CS-30's functions. So I'm wondering how the CS-30's ring modulator compares to the Moogerfooger. If the CS-30 ring mod is similar in features and flexibility to the Moogerfooger, then my decision would be easy: get the CS-30 and run the other synths through it.

If anybody here has experience with either of these units I'd appreciate hearing their opinions.
Old 18th November 2009
  #2
Gear Head
 
🎧 10 years
If you want to get the ultimate ring-mod take this
FREQue II

it is quite expensive but the sonic results are stellar and way above anything from Moogerfoogers to Vermona.
It can also do frequency shifting, FM and lots of other sonic tricks.
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
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Rooftree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
The FREQ looks powerful. But I need to keep my costs as low as possible since I'm just dipping my toes into the ring mod world for the first time.
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #4
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NAWAX's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi Rooftree!
I had up to 5 mooger-foogers! The ring mod has always been my favorite. I use it on everything !!
I really think that it's got something special. The cv in/out makes it a blast to use with any other cv gear. It's definitely not a one trick pony.
As it’s only a ring mod it will only provide you a limited number of modulations but I consider it as an instrument by itself.
I also had the electro-harmonix frequency analyzer and it does not even come quite close to the 102 IMHO. If I had to keep only one pedal, it would surely be that one.
For more info on it, you can dig the mooger-fooger section on the moog forum !!

Hope that helps !
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
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Beermaster's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I think you really need to understand what a ring mod does and how it works before making a mistake and buying an expensive 'pedal' or a less flexible rack unit.

Ring Mods rely on two different signals being combined, one being a simple wave form and the other what ever you fancy. Getting most from a RM is being able to accurately control both the 'Ring' input and the other input. Only on a modular synth or a synth with an onboard ring mod can you easily do this as you can connect both

Modular synth makers like Analogue systems offer an RM for Β£85 - tho you'd need to power it in a rack. ( which could be the start of an amazing modular system ! )

Buying a pedal type ringmod with an internal 'ring' osc will make some great sounds but it will not be anyway near as flexible as a dedicated RM which you can select what both inputs are and how they interact.

Beer.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
The 102 is a great ringmod all-around, and has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.. Plugging a CV source into the 'Carrier In' allows use as a volume pedal, manual tremolo, or with a MIDI/CV controller's LFO (ie mp201) you can use it as a sync'd tremolo; otherwise the Carrier In/Out can be use as an internal effects loop... split the signal going in into the audio/carrier in for octavia effects, and use different pitches for dividing.. and there's all the wild stuff, with such warmth and fatness. Check 'Lord of the ringmod' for tips on using it as an oscillator/tracking ringmod-- Or with an MP201 its as easy as 1.2.3 to use the Ringmod, Freqbox etc as oscillators with any of your favorite synths. I'm sure there are plenty of other good options, in other formats at least, but for a $170+ I don't think anything in pedal format comes close.

Somethings that might be considered cons are the coloring always-on preamp, input/output gain via single knob, and 'foogers generally aren't the quietest around, but they're not all noisy and it really varies from setup to setup- the depth and quality of the sounds coming out of the 'foogers outweight any occasional noise imo, and I use 5 of them in my rig. For <$200 you get a lot of control in pedal format.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
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Rooftree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey everybody, thanks for the help! I've owned synths for years, but I'm still a noob when it comes to interfacing them, especially with outboard gear. So I'm just a little confused on a few points . . .

1. I've seen a lot of great comments and reviews for the MF-102. I have confidence it will sound great and be really flexible. If I put it on an effects loop from my small mixing board, then I assume I can use the mixer to fade it in and out of any channel. This would allow me to apply any amount of ring mod to any of my synths (one synth at a time) and to easily silence the ring mod when I don't want to use it. Am I interpreting this correctly?

2. The MF-102 would interface with CV to my Prophet 08 and a Voyager some day. But I'm guessing I'm out of luck with the CS-15 since it uses Hz/Volt.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
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Rooftree's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beermaster ➑️
Ring Mods rely on two different signals being combined, one being a simple wave form and the other what ever you fancy. Getting most from a RM is being able to accurately control both the 'Ring' input and the other input. Only on a modular synth or a synth with an onboard ring mod can you easily do this as you can connect both

. . .

Buying a pedal type ringmod with an internal 'ring' osc will make some great sounds but it will not be anyway near as flexible as a dedicated RM which you can select what both inputs are and how they interact.

Beer.
From reading the CS-30 owners manual, my understanding is that the RM input is only the output from VCF2. The carrier is a sine wave from the LFO or VCO1. The only other control is for the amount of RM. It seems like this implementation is a lot more limited than the type you're referring to. Sounds like you must be a modular guy who's fortunate to have total control.
Old 19th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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NAWAX's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Buying a pedal type ringmod with an internal 'ring' osc will make some great sounds but it will not be anyway near as flexible as a dedicated RM which you can select what both inputs are and how they interact.
I agree that it's easy to find some modular ring mod that have much more flexibility than a MF-102. However, it's clearly not a one trick pony nor a basic pedal. It can also be the first module of a giant modular to come ...
Here's the back panel of it :

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