Learning Modular Synthesis: Eurorack Expansion

The "Eurorack Expansion" series core rackLet’s say you already have a semi-modular synth (such as the Moog Mother-32), or a small full-modular system. What should you add next? And how do you get the most out of what you just bought? Those are the very issues I tackle in this extensive (7 hour) course, which is the logical follow-up to Learning Modular Synthesis and Learning Modular Synthesis: Moog Mother-32.

After an introductory movie demonstrating how I will be displaying audio, control voltages, and harmonic spectra as well as the color-coding for patch cables in this course, Chapter 1 goes over what I consider to be the main utility or “glue” modules you should consider for any system, including mixers, VCAs, multi-function modules such as the Expert Sleepers Disting, and more. I then look at six major types of modules – oscillators, filters, other sound modifiers (waveshapers etc.), modulation sources, level control modules (VCAs, mixers, and the such), and modular effects – and show you what to look for and how to patch them into your system. I also look at three representative but very different modules in each category, explaining their features and demonstrating common synthesis tricks and techniques they enable. By the end, I think you’ll have a much better idea what features to look for in a module, which ones might create the sounds you’re looking for, and how to make good use of them once they’re in your system. Here is the introductory movie from this course:

This course is available now through Lynda.com and LinkedIn Learning. If you don’t already have a Lynda.com account, register through lynda.com/trial/chrismeyer and you’ll receive your first 30 days free before your credit card is charged.

In addition to this course, I will regularly releasing movies on additional modules; see the Eurorack Expansion Project page for more details. I have also created a post on the “glue” modules I chose for the teaching rack I use in this course: The Eurorack Expansion Host Rack.


Table of Contents for
Learning Modular Synthesis: Eurorack Expansion

Introduction

  1. Welcome
  2. Waveforms, harmonics, and voltages

Chapter 1: Integrating with a Eurorack system

  1. Getting sound out
  2. Comparing built-in and dedicated MIDI-to-CV converters
  3. Getting more expression out of your controller
  4. Introducing the multi-function Disting
  5. Improving articulation with a second envelope
  6. Patching VCAs for alternate outputs
  7. Using VCAs to control modulation depth
  8. Mixing oscillator waveforms
  9. Mixing and altering control voltages

Chapter 2: Adding a second oscillator

  1. Adding a second oscillator: tuning
  2. Adding a second oscillator: waveforms
  3. Intellijel Dixie II+: overview
  4. Dixie II+: waveforms
  5. Dixie II+: hard sync & flip
  6. Dixie II+: static FM (frequency modulation)
  7. Dixie II+: dynamic FM
  8. Verbos Complex Oscillator: overview
  9. Verbos Complex: harmonics (waveshaping)
  10. Verbos Complex: FM (frequency modulation)
  11. Verbos Complex: AM (amplitude modulation)
  12. Verbos Complex: soft sync
  13. Mutable Instruments Braids: overview
  14. MI Braids: wavetable synthesis
  15. MI Braids: analog emulations
  16. MI Braids: West Coast techniques
  17. MI Braids: vocal and formant synthesis
  18. MI Braids: physical modeling
  19. MI Braids: percussion synthesis
  20. MI Braids: other algorithms

Chapter 3: Alternative filters

  1. Patching in a different filter
  2. Doepfer A-106-5 SEM filter: overview
  3. Doepfer SEM: alternate filter modes
  4. Erica Dtech VCF: overview
  5. Erica Dtech: exploring instability
  6. Doepfer A-127 Triple VCRF: formants
  7. Doepfer VCRF: adding motion

Chapter 4: Waveshapers and other sound modifiers

  1. Patching in a sound modifier
  2. Random*Source Serge Wave Multipliers: overview + VCA
  3. RS Wave Multipliers: wavefolding (odd harmonics)
  4. RS Wave Multiplers: full wave rectifiers (even harmonics)
  5. AJH Synth Ring SM: overview + mixer
  6. AJH Ring SM: sub bass
  7. AJH Ring SM: ring modulation
  8. Happy Nerding Super Sawtor

Chapter 5: Envelopes, LFOs, and other modulation sources

  1. Adding a different modulation source
  2. WMD MultiMode Envelope + Expander: overview
  3. WMD MME: envelope shapes
  4. WMD MME: envelope modes
  5. WMD MME: voltage control + expander
  6. IME Kermit Dual Modulation Aid: overview
  7. IME Kermit: votage control & cross-modulation
  8. IME Kermit: tap tempo
  9. IME Kermit: lo-fi VCO
  10. Sputnik West Coast Random Source: overview + noise
  11. Sputnik WCRS: fluctuating random
  12. Sputnik WCRS: quantized & stored random
  13. Sputnik WCRS: switch + sample & hold

Chapter 6: Level control: amplifiers, mixers, and low pass gates

  1. Patching in another mixer or voltage controlled amp (VCA)
  2. STG Soundlabs .mix
  3. Verbos Scan & Pan: overview
  4. Verbos Scan & Pan: voltage controlled panning
  5. Verbos Scan & Pan: waveform mixing
  6. Lifeforms Dynamic Impulse Filter: overview
  7. Lifeforms DIF: melodic uses
  8. Lifeforms DIF: “Buchla bongos”
  9. Lifeforms DIF: processing percussion

Chapter 7: Effects modules

  1. Patching in and controlling modular effects
  2. Roland 572: phase shifter
  3. Roland 572: analog delay + chorus
  4. Roland 572: gate delay
  5. WMD/SSF DPLR VC Delay: overview
  6. WMD/SSF DPLR: interactive performance
  7. Synthrotek Verb: low-fi reverb
  8. Synthrotek Verb: modulated resonator

Conclusion: And there’s a lot more

  1. Going further