Sequencing Modular Synthesizers With Junkie XL

In the latest episode of his Studio Time series, composer Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) continues his look at modular synthesis.

Holkenborg has a massive Dotcom-style 5U system, with modules from Synthesizers.com, Corsynth, STG, Moon Modular, MOS-LAB, SSL and others. It’s scaled for the type of work that he does, film scoring, and for the way he likes to work. The principals he discusses, though, apply equally to more modest modular synths and to Eurorack systems. The cables would just be a lot shorter!

In this episode, Holkenborg focuses on traditional step sequencing. He demonstrates how he uses the Synthesizers.com Q960 Sequential Controller – a recreation of the classic Moog 960 module. He also demonstrates using a quantizer to force voltages to the notes of a scale.

This is part 2 of Holkenborg’s modular synthesis discussion. See Modular Synthesis With Junkie XL for part 1.

10 thoughts on “Sequencing Modular Synthesizers With Junkie XL

    1. How are they bad? What does that even mean.

      Are you complaining that you have to tune them, like most other analog instruments?

      1. Horses for courses, really. Old mate Holkenborg points out a few problems with the modular rig format quite fairly in this video (time spent tuning, modules acting fussy & prone to failure, power issues etc). You might love this format but personally I find it overly complex. Don’t get me wrong, it does look interesting to use & listen to, not to mention educational. But it’s impractical compared to many other options if you just want to play/jam.

        Even if I had the money & time to invest in something like a huge modular synth, I’d still rather grab a good desktop synth for the sake of convenience. Its pretty easy to understand the appeal of simple, clean digital synthesis looking at a wall like this.

        Plus there’s a classic moment of understatement at the 1:08 mark:
        “Let’s grab some cables.”
        *casually reaches towards a few hundred quarter inch leads*

        1. Yep, convenience is NOT where it’s at with modular. And unfortunately that is what most people do, just grab some desktop synth and then after about an hour or so, everything starts sounding the same and you either stop and do something else, or dive head first into your modular and two days go by and ZAAAAANNNNNGGG!
          You trip the light fantastic, or want more modular gear, or need to send more modules to ‘the doctor’ or you yourself feel like you need to see a doctor:)

          1. Of those that use “desktop synths” that sound “the same” and those that use modular and “trip the light fantastic” as you rather preposterously claim, I’ll wager it’s the former that are likely to get quicker results. And actually complete tracks.

              1. Wut? It’s boring to finish what you start now? How’d I miss that memo? :?P

                Deathstarchris, your snobbery’s quite impressive. Please, never stop spouting off!

                If desktop synths give the same boring results, you’re not thinking out of the box. Same as what your girlfriend said: it’s not what you’ve got, but how you use it.

  1. It used to be Jordan Rudess this, Jordan Rudess that. Now it’s walk to wall Junkie XL. You can’t move for Junkies.

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