Below are all of the blog posts I’ve created for the Learning Modular site. The include instructional videos and articles on important concepts (such as getting started, managing clocks in your modular system, how the different types of FM work, etc.) as well as trade show reports and other writings of interest. To browse a specific category, click on one of the Blog Categories at right.
When putting together your own modular system, a vital component that’s easy to initially overlook is buying a collection of patch cables to use with it. What should you be looking for when you go cable shopping? Most important is that you need cables with plugs which...
Filters are one of the most common and useful module types. They typically dampen broad groups of (or, with feedback turned up, accentuate a select few) harmonics to help focus or clarify a sound. The frequency of these harmonics can be swept by a front panel knob or...
For a variety of reasons, far fewer modular manufacturers chose to exhibit at NAMM this year. This meant it was possible to spend more time playing, talking about, and listening to the gear that was at the show. Here is a summary of what I saw, with a focus on interesting developments and stories:
While putting together a live performance case focused on creating percussion patterns, I ran head-first into a problem that has frustrated many Eurorack users: how to make sure all of your modules agree on where the downbeat is. In this video and article, I sort out what’s going on, and how I fixed it.
We know using one oscillator to frequency modulate another is a lot of fun…but just what is the difference between the different types of FM? I finally got my hands on a module – the Endorphin.es Furthrrrr Generator complex oscillator – that is capable of being switched (with some behind-the-faceplate fiddling) between exponential, linear, and linear through zero FM, so this is a good opportunity to finally make an apples to apples to apples comparison between the three.
I tried to see every module manufacturer I could find at NAMM that had new products, and I think I came pretty close…but I’m sure I missed a few. (My apologies.) Here are the last four I had a chance to chat with and take pictures of.
We are getting close to the end of the companies I visited during this year’s NAMM show, and I’ve been saving some of my favorites for last. Today I talk more about oscillators, semi-modulars, sequencers, granular synthesis, and some modules we saw last year but which...
The 5U or “Moog Unit” (MU) modular format does not get much representation at NAMM, with Moog, Moon Modular and STG Soundlabs being the usual stalwarts. Moog skipped NAMM this year, but an unexpected source – Noise Engineering – stepped into the breech with three new 5U modules – as well as a few new Eurorack ones too, of course. I should also note that Buchla returned to the show floor, recently being bought by Foxtone Music – many have applauded this move as putting it in the hands of someone who truly cares about their history and synthesis in general, rather than just making a profit.
It’s nice to see sound source ideas beyond our beloved sawtooth and square waves become more common in the modular world. In the next two installments I’m going to focus on a pair of these trends: plucked sounds and granular synthesis. Other mini-trends include the Eurorack world going Goth, and further proliferation of CEM3340-based VCOs.