The Ultimate Synth* - Need input

    • completely subjective terminology.

So here is the next phase of my setup:

You all have demonstrated your competence on this forum over and over. I highly respect many of you, and am grateful that so many of you have been so kind as to give me advice. I feel this particular thread will receive far better advice and solutions here than on any other forum I know of. I think it ties in enough with O|D to not be in bad form. :slight_smile:

I had originally planned to go smaller and not bigger, but what I’ve found is that this size allows me to have a wide selection of digital and analog modules. Now the digital nexuses are present, it becomes important to give them source material to work with.

Now I have Cwejman VCO-2RMs in there, but the truth is, I’ll probably never be able to find them.

So the basic explanation for this setup is:
The ER-301 and SSP are the brain centers of the rack. They amplify the content of the racks exponentially, and make all things possible. The 1010 Synthbox module is going to be replaced, and I’m not sure with what to replace it with yet, but it will be a filter.

The lower fh-2 and expanders are to be played with either the roli seaboard blocks, linnstrument, or Continuum Fingerboard. The upper fh-2 is a sequencer. I’m working on an android sequencer app that will send out midi over USB. This is the preferred method, but I can plug anything else that sends USB midi as well. (computer, etc., etc.) The wealth of outputs there means that the sequences can be complicated and will be MPE based sequences.

So my questions are:

-What high quality VCO’s should I get to replace the Cwejman modules, as I’ll never probably be able to get 3 of them? Sonic diversity is great, but honestly quality is the most important.
-What filter would you recommend? I LOVE the Rossum Evolution! Hands down my favorite filter. I had a korgasmatron II before that and it was pretty great, but went into the harsh VERY quickly. As the SSP can be any filter there is a VST for, I would like to keep the filter selection to something analog and not easily done in digital.
-Should I replace the 1010 toolbox with a er-101/2 combo?

Thanks for any and ALL feedback!

PS: Here the link to the actual MG page in case you want to see the current changes to the plan:
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/682261

Edit: depending on when you look at this the setup will not be the original. Just know that a 1010 synthbox and toolbox were removed to get to where it is now.

2d

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That is an amazing and slightly insane plan. Love it.

I think you’re right about the VCO-2RMs. It’s not quite impossible to get them, but to find three, you’ll definitely have to be prepared to wait a long time and then pay rather absurd prices (the build quality is great, the sound is clean and I like the aesthetic, but I think the prices they are going for have little to do with what you get for it).

The question is what you’d define as qualities that a high quality VCO has. I’d say: stability, great tracking over many octaves, well-implemented linear and exponential fm as well as a reasonable tuning system (i.e. no fiddly knob that is hard to get in tune) and the obvious features you’d want from an analog VCO such as PWM. With that said, I’d pick either the Doepfer A-111-2 or the SSF Spectrum. Personally, I’d pick the Doepfer, as the lin fm on the Spectrum is rather subtle, but maybe that’s not even important to you - as you have a lot of things that can do FM in the digital domain.

I absolutely agree on the Rossum Evolution being one of the nicest filters of all. I’d recommend checking out a Twin Peak design (either the one from Klangbau Köln or Epoch). They FM incredibly nicely and the sort of sound you’re getting from there is very hard to reproduce digitally - at least that has been my experience so far.

As for the ER-101/102 combo, it seems like it depends very much on personal preference and workflow. I think it’s perfect for developing polyphonic ideas and thus seems like a great fit for this sort of system, but then again you might use this system entirely differently from what I imagine when I look at it.

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I`d love to get my hands on vco-2rm as well. There will be a batch made by cwejman but that would be probably next year - worth waiting though.

When it comes for filter I recommend three sisters. It`s excellent!

And yes, you should replace the 1010 toolbox with a er-101/2 combo :slight_smile:

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I love the workflow! I’ve watched all the videos. Sometimes I think Brian and I are brothers or something. Hahahaha.

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Exactly what I mean. I’ve been very impressed with the A-111-3s I have, but I think because I have them there might be too much sonically overlapping there with the 111-2 even though they have more features. Spectrums look way nice. I asked on Muffs a while ago what people thought was the most technically advanced analog oscillator, and MANY people said the Schippmann CS-8 Omega-Phi. Super expensive though, and I’m really not sure the price is justified.

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Schippmann is an ace but the price is big. Im not saying its not worth, its just too big for me. There is also Macbeth, but i think its even harder to get one than cwejman.

I`m using furthrrrr generator these days and i love it.

For analogue, I have and use these:

+1 for Furtherrrr Generator - super bendy sounds!

Also Birdkids’ Bateleur - superb oscillator, combine with a complimentary FM oscillator and a capable wave folder and oh my!

Carstens products are certainly excellent beyond what most people would expect and I don’t doubt that the prices he asks are fair considering the parts he uses and the work he puts into it. My (limited) experience with his products was that there was a very lab-equipment sort of vibe and that I couldn’t notice a difference in sound when comparing them to other oscillators beyond the small differences you always get between oscillators. I’m sure that there are some things that the omega-phi performs better at than other oscillators, but I’m not sure that those things are musically relevant at all. I think Carsten may be a bit too obsessed with the technical side of things - which can be a good thing, in that it will lead to a product that is as close to perfect as it can be, but can also be bad in that it can lead to losing sight of the goal (which usually is making music)

Personally, I couldn’t possibly justify the price.

In that vein, I used to lust after the cwejman stuff, especially the S1, but then I realised that the landscape for these things changed so much from the days when they really were quite exceptional and there are plenty of comparable products out there now. I settled on the Birdkids as it is to my ears, even better than the cwejman! Maybe thats heresy, but I don’t care, I trust my ears and my wallet and spiritual being thank me :wink:

Another option: Serge NTO - is superb, I never owned this - only built it a few times for customers but in calibrating I realised that it was something special - that whole R*S Serge line is excellent by the way!

It certainly is. There’s a lot of Voltage Standards issues with it, though. The filters distort very easily when you send in signals most eurorack filters would not mind at all and the signals you get out of the TWF and VCM tend to be rather low in volume. Also very spacious panels, which could be either positive or negative depending on taste. I’ve had a small system of Eurorack-R*S, but all it did was make me want a “real” banana system again. Didn’t really seem to fit well into the rest of my system.

Do you mind me asking where you got your R*S modules from and what your rationale is for some of these observations? I ask because I have come across a few that do not behave as they should and it’s basically down to the build quality. I ‘think’ a lot of problems come from the styro caps and folk damaging them with too much heat while soldering; they are really sensitive.

I have built quite a lot of nearly all of the modules available, but only actually own the VCF Q and never have any issues with that at all - it’s sounds amazing, I definitely don’t have distortion issues!

Voltage Standards, well, personally I don’t see that as ever being an issue - I just deal with it, unless it is so far off it’s at line level (ST E580 anyone? :roll_eyes:) which is just absurd for a Euro module, and besides, I have a whole case of Harvestman :joy:

Totally understand why you would want the banana system - one day :wink:

Sorry if we’re meandering off topic… oops!

we were just talking about the vco-2rms and one just made it’s way on modulargrid (just in case someone is interested in paying that price for it).

@anon83620728 The modules were built either by Darrin Wiener of patchpoint or myself (and I trust both of us to build modules well). As far as voltage standards are concerned: I personally couldn’t care less, but I felt it was sort of relevant as the other thread was made by @2disbetter.

I had a large serge system a long time ago, but when eurorack got bigger it was just way more attractive, especially in terms of things you can do within a limited space.

Crumbs… no oscillator is worth that much - at that point it makes me think that the whole point is to make fools of people and their money - it’s a bit like high end audio cables!

Fair enough, re.R*S stuff, and yes, I take your point about the VS relevancy :slight_smile:

I agree re. the serge stuff, at the moment I have my analogue box and then all the Harvestman, MI, OD and Monomes which are predominantly digital. I could see me swapping the analogue box for something Serge, but the rest doesn’t really compare!

Agreed on the price. I recently sold my QMMG, just to find it being flipped for 150 Euro more a week later. I don’t like that this sort of behavior is a part of this scene, but what can you do… It’s particularly sad as the rare modules are now even harder to get just because people try to make a profit.

Indeed - what can you do? I don’t like the way things are at the moment where an awful lot of folk seem to think that the only thing that matters is money, I am pretty sure it’s a mistake!

Oh, I heard good things about L-1 http://www.l-1.su

Folk say they are very high quality but very reasonably priced!

It is a REALLY discouraging thing. The influx of eurorack growth has had some negative side effects like this. I have a real problem paying for anything beyond what the manufacturer itself wants for it new. I am also not someone who can obsessively wait for an email so I can be the first to order something when it comes back in stock.

Lots of good stuff in this thread. It kind of has me thinking I can swap out the 1010 stuff and stay in a 12U. Finding a three sisters module was a little difficult, but found one from cymru beats.

101/2 ordered.

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I got lucky and found two of them separately on MW for $1k total within a week of each other, about a year and a half ago. Over $2k for that oscillator is absolutely ridiculous–scarce or not–and sincerely not worth it unless you are literally made of money…and even then, idk. Yeesh!

Do you really need the multiple Z3000’s? I feel like those could all be easily made (and sound great) in the 301, freeing up a ton of room for other outside goodies.

Totally Neil! My reasoning there, is that, by having the oscillators in multiple they can be used in a 4 voice patch, either alone (as sequenced) or as a layer elsewhere. If I had a bunch of different things there I would have a lot of sound sources for sure, but would be forced to use the SSP / 301 for everything. So this just lets me noodle a little less complicated sometimes.

I am thinking about sticking to a 12U though, and getting rid of 3 of the z3000s, getting 1 spectrum, and one harmonic osc. I would just loose the ability to play sudo poly with them outside of SSP/301 action.

Not sure though. Here is how that looks:

The thing I realized is that I already have a set of 4 oscillators (Doepfer A-111-3s) I can use for simple noodling (usually more concerned with playing something than sound design). I’ll probably drop 1 to 2 distings, and then just leave the top row for oscillators and other sound sources.

Good to se you added some filters. One thing I notice is that you are using a unity gain mixer for your Doepfer VCO set. With four VCOs you are going to end up with a fairly high mix output voltage. There is a jumper option to attenuate inputs to -6db which perhaps you knew, but I really think mixing VCOs works better when you can individually attenuate the VCO outputs to taste. Otherwise, have you considered the A-111-4 Quad Precision VCO?