Welcome to Learning Modular: a site for musicians and sonic dabblers alike who are new to modular synthesis. Here you will find a growing list of in-depth articles, thoughtful musings, and videos on subjects such as choosing modules for your system, and putting them to work creating both new and familiar sounds.
One of the potential challenges of using a modular synth is keeping multiple VCOs in tune with each other as well as external instruments as you play up and down a scale. Most VCOs have trim controls to improve their tracking, but they can occasionally be frustrating to use: They may require you to remove the module from the case to access them, or the manufacturer might have not have used high-precision multi-turn potentiometers for the trimming controls. Therefore, I’ve added several AJH Synth V-Scale Variable Precision Buffers to my modular cases, and have been happier for it. What sets it apart is that 4 of its 5 outputs have high-precision trimmers accessible from the front panel, allowing you to improve the tracking of connected modules like VCOs and resonating filters.read more
The Verbos Complex Oscillator is an interesting interpretation of the classic Buchla “complex oscillator” pair where one modulates the other. It too has two oscillators with internal wiring and options so the modulation oscillator on the left can amplitude or...read more
A nice option for an analog VCO to add to your system is the Intellijel Dixie II+: it’s small, has excellent tracking, supports linear and exponential FM as well as PWM and hard sync, and has six different waveforms. In this movie, I demonstrate creating a hard sync patch with the Dixie II+. For those who wonder exactly what’s going on when you use sync, I focus heavily on what’s happening with the waveform output. I also look at the Dixie II+’s unique Flip function.read more
There are a lot of voltage-controlled stereo mixers; perhaps lost in the shuffle is the Verbos Scan & Pan. It features four input channels with both voltage and manual control of level and panning per channel, as well as manual control of a huge amount of input gain. In this video, I demonstrate using the Scan portion of this mixer to combine the different waveforms available from an Intellijel Dixie II+, including its sub-octave output plus its sine wave that is saturated by the Verbos. I particularly have fun using an envelope to articulate that mix per note.read more