Welcome to Learning Modular: a site for musicians and sonic dabblers alike who want to learn more about modular synthesis. Here you will find my online courses, the book Patch & Tweak, a glossary, and additional useful information.
Below are select posts from this web site on fundamental concepts that will hopefully help your modular explorations. This site also contains additional blog posts on trade show reports, excerpts from my courses, and more; click here for the full list.
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.
Some VCAs are labeled as having “linear” response, some are labeled as having “exponential” response, and some have a switch or even a continuously variable control to go between the two. Which one should use you use, and when? Of course, the best answer is “whichever...
I created the original Learning Modular Synthesis course for those who were complete beginners to the world of modular synthesis. The next question became: How do I help users reach the next level? The answer is the Eurorack Expansion Project. The idea is you have a nice core system, and want to know how to intelligently expand it – particularly if you interested in a specific technique or are after a certain sound. I’m tackling this in two parts: an online course, and a weekly series – including a dedicated Patreon page for the hard-core users out there.
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.