7 thoughts on “Buying A Modular Synthesizer

  1. The intro music sounded like an ice cream van prior to the knackers yard. Great interview other than that . Would have been nice to hear the filters in the intro as as a non modular user, I am led to believe this is where the sounds quality lies.

  2. Jim has always delivered useful information and as an actual classical cellist, he’s in a great position to discuss timbre in particular. This is a good primer for newbies, particularly his point about no two modular systems being totally alike. My only “problem” with modulars *is* that the user has to construct their own idea of what defines *their* synth. That pulls the listener further into trying to interpret their personal lexicon, which can be hard to do in a world of such abstraction. The democracy of synths brings with it more of a need to make yourself distinct in the crowd. I’d be a poor candidate for a Buchla; my brain’s lag processor is too slow! It takes an added commitment as a listener to grasp the meaning in a modular piece and that’s something that’s been trained out of us by iPod skips, tweets and near-instant everything. Excellence takes time; so does drinking it in as a finished artifact of the off-line work involved.

    I’m in awe of people who can wring great things out of modulars. I’m so wrapped up in the challenges of actual keyboard playing that sound design is a couple of steps down my personal line. My aims are different. Outlining your musical goals is very similar to defining WHY you need your next module. Getting some precision going is the best way to learn how to branch out effectively instead of just dabbling in Gear Lust. Granny don’t wanna hear you babble about your wave multipliers; she wants to hear “Rock of Ages” or with any luck, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

  3. Big fan of Jim Aiken and his Keyboard articles. Nice to see him still at work!

    I remember when he used to have long rocks tar hair in his article author photos!

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