An Introduction to Modular Synthesis

This series of videos, via , captures an introduction to modular synthesis, presented at MakeNoise Music, featuring designer Tony Rolando, artists Robert Lowe (Lichens) and Richard Devine, and performances of patches from the MakeNoise Shared System Series.

Pt. 2: Modular Synthesis for Musical Purpose with Richard Devine and Robert Lowe

Pt. 3: Modular Synthesis for Musical Purpose with Richard Devine and Robert Lowe

Pt. 4: Modular Synthesis for Musical Purpose with Richard Devine and Robert Lowe

6 thoughts on “An Introduction to Modular Synthesis

  1. From my research, every real modular synth should have these five basic components:
    – voltage controlled chaotic self inverting dual slew infected oscillator (VCCSIDSIO)
    – randomized white to pink noise emoxilator (required for copying 808 hi hats) (RWN for short)
    – voltage controlled attack decay release sustain enveloping elastistical modulator (VCADRSEEM)
    – low frequency offset stew enabled strobe syncing slaving systemized oscillator (LFOSESSSO)
    – Analog to digital demultiplexing central nervous gating controller (ADDCNGR)

    I was surprised these were left out of your 40 minute presentation.
    I am assuming the dog attack broke your concentration and they will be covered in your next series.

    1. Buzzbrain,

      You do realize that someone will now have to build and market these, as if module names were not confusing enough.

  2. @buzzbrain

    you don’t happen to make modules do you? I have some modular gear but haven’t heard of these specific kinds of modules, can you believe it? They are slightly familiar but it seems that there are some added modifiers I don’t understand properly yet. Do your best to describe them to yourself out loud in a wisper and mirror, I’ll understand better then.

    thanks friemp

    1. @Preel, when you decide to get your first tattoo let me know and I’ll email you one of my circuits.

      My analog devices make babies cry and windows shatter. (You can think of them as a cross between Thomas Henry, Tadao Kikumoto and Buchla’s earlier work … but redesigned with exotic specialty components like tl072, 741, 324 and 555 chips &alpha pots!!! -> no whimping out by using CEM, SSM or Burr-Brown chips that are easily found on eBay and do all the design work). All devices are thoroughly tested through a Nexo array utilizing their tdController technology! Die has long since given up replacing the Imperial porcelain plates in our china cabinet.

    1. @Isaiah, most of my work is DETROIT minimal … However, I love playing with modulars just to create noise.

      Here is a live track using a hand built modular (including vcf of my design and vco’s .. blueLantern sold me the blank vco PCBs for $25!).
      Drums are tr909 and a sync circuit from the kick to modular – similar to synthrotek’s offering (no midi).

      this track is simply a 555 lfo into a LM567 tone decoder chip that slowly speeds up (maybe a 2nd ring modulator if I recall). Short clicks in start are same 567 sound source as long rises in middle.

      Modular Synth (2xVco/ vcf/ adsr/sample/hold/ar/ lfo/mix +my extra special cheeze modules like adgtrc) for first track cost probably $275 build.
      I chose 2nd track as it was a $20 setup, as all those alpha pots are a good sixty cents each!
      (build your own with CV!!!!: Thanks SynthGeek!!!! )


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