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Would you rather have a modular or analog poly?
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #61
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
The Euro Modular system has more variety, more 'out of the box' options. Dotcom is more of a traditional format - ala 70's Moog.
Old 8th March 2014
  #62
BM0
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T.O. Son of Four Voice with SEM Pro modules would be my ideal synth.
Old 8th March 2014
  #63
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🎧 5 years
I tried to have both options in one, in the shape of a large-ish old modular coupled with a polyphonic cvkeyboard. It turned out to be a great idea in theory, but in reality a massive time waster and not very practical. Some very interesting sounds to be had, but once you arrive at them you hesitate to change the patch.

I would go for a polyphonic with good modulation possibilities, like a Prophet-10, and then just get on with recording.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #64
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🎧 15 years
You have to be focused and not afraid of commitment.
I typically take 5 to 20 minutes to create a patch. I record it, pull everything out and start again on the next required sound.
Pre-wired synths are definitely faster and more immediate though it's true.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #65
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guns N Dope ➑️
The whole "modulars are only for sci fi bug noise" trope is so dated. They can be whatever you want to build.
Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it usually is a duck. Or in this case, a silly duck-like noise that is as irritating as it is useless. I can't think of the last time I saw/heard a modular demo where anything remotely useful or musical was coming out of the system. And when it was an actual musical sound/sequence, it was usually something that you could create on a decent poly in one tenth the time for a lot less money.

So I think it is fair to say that modulars are mostly good for "sci fi bug noises". The only exception is maybe interesting melodic and percussive sequences. But you can probably create cooler sequences of this sort on a $600 Evolver that is the size of a book (and not a bookcase).

Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having fun creating odd bleeps and bloops with a modular. Just like there is nothing wrong with creating weird noise beds with a Radio Shack transistor radio kit. But neither process has much to do with music.
Old 8th March 2014
  #66
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🎧 5 years
Modular because I can already buy a prepatched vintage analog poly, and if something goes wrong with the module, I can replace it with any other module that does the same.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #67
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it usually is a duck. Or in this case, a silly duck-like noise that is as irritating as it is useless. I can't think of the last time I saw/heard a modular demo where anything remotely useful or musical was coming out of the system. And when it was an actual musical sound/sequence, it was usually something that you could create on a decent poly in one tenth the time for a lot less money.

So I think it is fair to say that modulars are mostly good for "sci fi bug noises". The only exception is maybe interesting melodic and percussive sequences. But you can probably create cooler sequences of this sort on a $600 Evolver that is the size of a book (and not a bookcase).

Look, there is nothing absolutely wrong with having fun creating odd bleeps and bloops with a modular. Just like there is nothing wrong with creating weird noise beds with a Radio Shack transistor radio kit. But neither process has much to do with music.
You are not the arbiter of what is and is not art.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #68
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosium ➑️
You are not the arbiter of what is and is not art.
I never said I was. But 10 minutes of grating noises is not most people's idea of music. Art maybe, music no.
Old 8th March 2014
  #69
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Great and fun question. I always thought of getting a modular, but I always ended up getting high-end, complex analog polys (and a few monos) instead. Truth is, I'm quite afraid to open that modular door, because, well, a modular system is never finished... so I would be tempted to sink all available money into new modules. Add the fact that probably I would spend all waking time searching for cool patches (and no memory to save them!), and the little sanity I'm left with would become a distant memory.

That said, I have a friend who owns both a HUGE modular system (mostly Moog) and a few great analog polys (OB8, Omega, etc.). Well, every time I visit him, we end up playing with the modular.... always. It's so much fun that sometimes we go on for hours. We almost never fire up the polys. (this could serve as a confirmation that perhaps, not having a modular at home it's a kind of wise move! heh )
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #70
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
I never said I was. But 10 minutes of grating noises is not most people's idea of music. Art maybe, music no.
Most people are terribly uninteresting.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #71
BM0
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
I never said I was. But 10 minutes of grating noises is not most people's idea of music. Art maybe, music no.
It is my idea of someone that doesn't really know what they are doing and just randomly inserting patch cables and turning knobs until they come up with a sound that is neat for about two minutes of my life. Not that there is anything wrong with it. It is just not something that would make me want a modular. However, I know that a modular is capable of sounds and music just like any synth. As for art, random rhythmic noises and sounds are more an artistic expression of the machine rather than the person, in my opinion.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #72
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by gadget fiend ➑️
i can't think of the last time i saw/heard a modular demo where anything remotely useful or musical was coming out of the system. And when it was an actual musical sound/sequence, it was usually something that you could create on a decent poly in one tenth the time for a lot less money.
But would you have created it on a poly? Thats the question. There are things I created on modulars that after you listen to it you think that you could play it on a poly but would you have written it that way. Highly unlikely.

This video IMO kills your argument.



Old 8th March 2014
  #73
BM0
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^ that is one of the better modular demos I've heard. Someone that actually knows how to operate it and program an actual melody and rhythm.
Old 8th March 2014
  #74
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Given that I have 4 analog poly synths, I'm looking to unload a couple (and a mono or two) and build a small modular setup. I'm gonna start with the Intellijel Atlantis and go from there I think.

If I could only have one of the two, I'd want a poly over a modular, but modular sure looks fun.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #75
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaosium ➑️
Most people are terribly uninteresting.
I can't argue with that. LOL.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #76
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo Starr ➑️
This video IMO kills your argument.
Huh? That's a cool track. But there is no sound in it that you couldn't create with a couple of decent analog or hybrid synths. You wouldn't even need a poly. Anyone could knock up something like that on an Evolver, a Pulse or even a Shruthi. Of course, you would have to multi-track the parts if you have just a single mono synth. But I've heard way more interesting demos done on an Evolver, for instance, than this modular demo.

So I stand by my statement that for just about any musical sequence, a modular doesn't add much to your rig (other than size, cost, and a mess of cables) if you already have a couple of analog or analog/digital hybrid synths with decent modulation capabilities.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #77
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it usually is a duck. Or in this case, a silly duck-like noise that is as irritating as it is useless. I can't think of the last time I saw/heard a modular demo where anything remotely useful or musical was coming out of the system. And when it was an actual musical sound/sequence, it was usually something that you could create on a decent poly in one tenth the time for a lot less money.
That's nuts.
The actual first users of modular were Walter Carlos (Switched On Bach), Beaver and Kraus (Stevie Wonder's producers), Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder and ELP.
You really couldn't write a list of more melodic, even conventional musicians.
It's like saying electric guitar is only capable of being played like Eddie Van Halen.
Old 8th March 2014
  #78
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🎧 10 years
As someone who has had both separately for close to 20 years and both in one to varying degrees I can say it depends on which strengths you want and compromises you can deal with.

As for strengths, obviously a poly can play chords and has memory recall. One thing I found with my first poly is even a solo monophonic line sounds different when one can hear the decay of the last note continue as another is played. Just a point I make when people say one note at a time is all they ever need.

As for modulars, sure they get a bad rep as someone buys some and go around showing off their hard to listen to youtube videos. Obviously what can be very satisfying to mess with doesn't mean anyone wants to listen to you do it. That said, think about it. It's the base components of a synth as well as all sorts of processing modules with knobby interfaces far beyond any fixed architecture synth. Take that for what your use is. If you only need a basic synth sound then it's overkill. On the other hand, look at it as the perfect custom synth. You want more than what's on a fixed architecture synth, no problem, you buy as much as you desire and connect it however you want.

The only thing I think can compare to a modular is some sort of digital modular emulation. That's something with a hybrid set of strengths and weaknesses.

Actually there have been poly modular synths since the 70s. It's all about what the compromise and expense is exactly. TONTO was poly in the 1970s. The catch with early attempts like a Polyfusion with poly keyboard is all the modules needed and how do you change a patch? Some people love tweaking while playing, doubt anyone loves trying to set up the same patch manually for multiple voices multiple times. One also saw the Korg PS series with plenty of different compromises. As mentioned Matrix modulation synths seemed sort of modular-like to a limited degree. Then Buchla 200e since the mid 2000s comes really close and isn't exactly cheap. Don has knob position recall and a patch matrix mixer with recall which will repatch a limited number of cables.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #79
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️

So I stand by my statement that for just about any musical sequence, a modular doesn't add anything to your rig
here's the thing though.
My modular has analog oscillators, phase displacement oscillators and digital oscillators. I have standard envelopes, and vactrol envelopes. I have a module based on an EAst German resonant equaliser and two different kinds of multi-mode filters.
I have two different kinds of drum modules, an analog 909 style set and a digital set emulating the sample based drum machines. I can combine these components in any number and in any way I wish.
Name me one, or even two, analog polys that offer that amount of variety, flexibility and creative avenues to go down?
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #80
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
here's the thing though.
My modular has analog oscillators, phase displacement oscillators and digital oscillators. I have standard envelopes, and vactrol envelopes. I have a module based on an EAst German resonant equaliser and two different kinds of multi-mode filters.
I have two different kinds of drum modules, an analog 909 style set and a digital set emulating the sample based drum machines. I can combine these components in any number and in any way I wish.
Name me one, or even two, analog polys that offer that amount of variety, flexibility and creative avenues to go down?
Well that sounds like an amazing rig, I don't even know what some of that stuff is lol. I have 2 polys I use together that might have almost that kind of capability-the Poly Evolver and the Analog Keys. I'm still learning both of them but there is a lot of horsepower under those two hoods.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #81
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
here's the thing though.
My modular has analog oscillators, phase displacement oscillators and digital oscillators. I have standard envelopes, and vactrol envelopes. I have a module based on an EAst German resonant equaliser and two different kinds of multi-mode filters.
I have two different kinds of drum modules, an analog 909 style set and a digital set emulating the sample based drum machines. I can combine these components in any number and in any way I wish.
Name me one, or even two, analog polys that offer that amount of variety, flexibility and creative avenues to go down?
I remember standing in line at Guitar Center Hollywood about 25 years ago about to buy a copy of Turbosynth. I was going on and on to a buddy of mine about how you could apply this or that processing to a sound. Just blabbering on like a total computer nerd about how amazing (just amazing!) this software was. Believe it or not, Thomas Dolby was standing at the counter as well. He turned to me and asked, "But what will that actually sound like and how do you intend to use it?" I was taken aback that someone (especially Thomas Dolby!) would question whether there should be a musical purpose to some high tech sound design tool. Wasn't it enough to just have all of these amazing capabilities whether the music produced with them was complete crap?

So I will ask the same type of question: What will an "East German resonant equalizer" actually do for you that any old EQ won't? Just having the capability seems sort of pointless if it doesn't enhance (excuse the pun) your music in some significant, noticeable way.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #82
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso ➑️
That's nuts.
The actual first users of modular were Walter Carlos (Switched On Bach), Beaver and Kraus (Stevie Wonder's producers), Tangerine Dream, Giorgio Moroder and ELP.
You really couldn't write a list of more melodic, even conventional musicians.
Uhm, did you actually read my post? I didn't say that you couldn't use modular synths for conventional synth sounds/parts - only that you can typically use any analog or hybrid synth (mono or poly) with decent modulation capabilities to create the same type of sound in far less time and with far less effort.

If the Matrix 12 had been around when Wendy Carlos was creating Switched on Bach, she probably would have used it for 99% of the music.
Old 8th March 2014
  #83
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
I want both, at the same time, in the same unit. Come on arturia! Do it!
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #84
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chrisso's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
Uhm, did you actually read my post? I didn't say that you couldn't use modular synths for conventional synth sounds/parts - only that you can typically use any analog or hybrid synth (mono or poly) with decent modulation capabilities to create the same type of sound in far less time and with far less effort.
Yes, but you also started the post with "if it quacks like a duck, it is a duck".
Which is exactly why I brought up all the early heros of modular music who overwhelmingly made melodic music, not quacking, parping and bleeping.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #85
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
I was taken aback that someone (especially Thomas Dolby!) would question whether there should be a musical purpose to some high tech sound design tool. Wasn't it enough to just have all of these amazing capabilities whether the music produced with them was complete crap?
Yeah, I've been a full time professional since 1980. I did a lot of music for tv in the 1990's using Doepfer, Roland 100M, Serge and Buchla. Mainstream type stuff for the BBC, Discovery Channel etc.
there is NOTHING in my studio that doesn't have a useful purpose or a musical use. For one Discovery Channel doco I brought in a guitarist and processed all his playing through my Serge modular - the Frequency Shifter and Wave Multipliers in particular. the result was a hybrid guitar/synth type sound that worked well with the subject matter.
You could do something very similar now with plug-ins, but this was before plug-ins apart from basic eq, and compression.



Quote:
So I will ask the same type of question: What will an "East German resonant equalizer" actually do for you that any old EQ won't?
Firstly, I don't own an East German Resonant EQ other than this modern modular remake. It cost less than $200. I doubt I'd find anything of similar quality in a rack mount for less than $200. The other thing is it's a resonant eq. The effect is much more over the top than a standard eq. Frequencies start to ring, boom even. It's great for drums.
But the other thing is you are missing the whole interconnectivity angle of a modular system. It's almost endless the possible combinations of modules I can use to create the sound. I can mix a digital oscillator with an analog one.
Whatever Dolby says, you can't discount the creative need. I'm inspired by designing my own sounds, like no one else's, and not even like the sounds I was making the day before. That's MUCH harder to do when you are dealing with someone else's choice of components, as in a hardwired, preconfigured synth.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #86
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Abraxis's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
, a modular doesn't add much to your rig
Well, it adds a synth to your rig. Nothing more nothing less. One that will bring a sound (or set of sounds) and have pros and cons just like any other synth. There is nothing inherently special about modulars that limit them to certain types of music.

What is special about modulars for me is the ability to rout things in pretty much any way you can imagine. Have a modulator modulating a sequencer that is sequencing a modulator if you want. Or just have a VCO>VCF>VCA patch. It's not just how they sound (often great, but alot of synths sound great), but also the way of working with them and the interaction of sound and modulation with various clocks, logic, switches, sequencers. I also like the ability to build exactly the synth I want, and then when I want to change the sound, swap out an oscillator or filter or vca or voltage controlled effect, now it's a new synth. I'm looking forward to buying a Tiptop Trigger Riot for my system to spit out up to eight streams of triggers that can all be controlled in real time and interact in a myriad of ways. I don't know of any other hardware that can do that. It's gonna be a riot.

Like anything else, there will be people that are drawn to this sort of thing and people that aren't. I could see where if I was a working musician that needed to be productive or was in a band and needed consistency, I might greatly prefer a poly, but I'm not much of a musician and like exploring the sonic spaces I can coax out of my rack. So personally I'd choose modular.

Gusgus' Arabian Horse and James Holden's Inheritors are two recent examples largely done on modular and I think they both sound amazing and are what they are at least partially because of the hardware they were made on.

Someone earlier in the thread mentioned they would buy a small modular and then save for a poly. I'd recommend doing it the other way around because if you like the modular, it will be hard to save for anything else.
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #87
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maisonvague's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Fiend ➑️
Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it usually is a duck. Or in this case, a silly duck-like noise that is as irritating as it is useless. I can't think of the last time I saw/heard a modular demo where anything remotely useful or musical was coming out of the system. And when it was an actual musical sound/sequence, it was usually something that you could create on a decent poly in one tenth the time for a lot less money.

So I think it is fair to say that modulars are mostly good for "sci fi bug noises". The only exception is maybe interesting melodic and percussive sequences. But you can probably create cooler sequences of this sort on a $600 Evolver that is the size of a book (and not a bookcase).

Look, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having fun creating odd bleeps and bloops with a modular. Just like there is nothing wrong with creating weird noise beds with a Radio Shack transistor radio kit. But neither process has much to do with music.
Except the duck doesn't have to stay a duck. It can become a swan, a pelican, a goose, a pterodactyl, whatever. That's the beauty of modular synthesizers.

As for the other points in your post, I'm not going to even bother addressing them because frankly, I see no value in discussing modulars with someone with such strong and, in my opinion, narrow-minded views. Sorry.

I'd rather discuss them with chrisso!
Old 8th March 2014 | Show parent
  #88
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by parquix ➑️
I am also thinking of selling my Jupiter 8 in exchange for a dot com system 66, any thoughts about this?

I do like my JP8, but the modular thing is just bad ass.
My advice would be don't trade something you like for something you haven't tried.

Why not order one of the smaller .com systems you don't have to pay for in one go ?
That way you can get an idea of what the synthesizers.com stuff is like before parting with the JP8.
Old 8th March 2014
  #89
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Modular

there's only so much you can do with a non modular synth
Old 8th March 2014
  #90
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vertflyer ➑️
If a genie offered you one, and you had neither (or could switch), which would you rather have?
Modular -- but of course with enough modules to play polyphonically when desired.
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