After covering a few lesser-known (in the US) European modular companies in the previous installment, this time around I’m going to cover three of the better known US manufacturers. The themes running through this installment are live performance and sample manipulation.
When you’re configuring your modular synthesizer, it’s easy to leave out the all-important utility modules that will help glue together a patch as well as open up creative options. In this note, we’re going to talk about what I call “utility mixers” – not the final mixer with optional effects sends and the such, but tools to combine signals in the middle of a patch.
One of the primary reasons to make the move from pre-configured synthesizers to patchable modular synthesis is the ability to create your own instrument – be it to pick and choose your favorite flavors of synth building blocks, to expand it in ways you prefer, or to explore new signal paths and configurations. A common question is: Where do you start? Keeping in mind there’s no single right answer (and very few wrong ones), here are a few different approaches and their potential trade-offs.