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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Running out of rope
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Running out of rope
thelowerrhythm
When you need just one more attenuator, and realize you don't have it, so you have to hunt and peck around the rest of your patch for one you can steal back in compromise.

sad banana cry not this shit again Crash Flamey Metasonix!
Parnelli
Happens far too often I'm afraid!

If I only had one more ___________ !

Right now it's patch cables for me, I find myself running out of 2' and longer cables all the time. I could add Stackables here as well!

I put a row of 1u in so I could take advantage of the Quadratt, I just have to get some now.
thelowerrhythm
Eh, those too. "Oh, I'll just get some cables... for $60."

I keep running into this same attenuator issue and I keep having to eat my VCAs. Planning on picking up a few more Zlob MiniAtt. Dirt cheap and has that summed out. w00t
Parnelli
Yeah cables are damned expensive! If you buy the cheap ones they don't last,and if you buy the expensive ones they only last a bit longer. cry
Blairio
thelowerrhythm wrote:
Eh, those too. "Oh, I'll just get some cables... for $60."

I keep running into this same attenuator issue and I keep having to eat my VCAs. Planning on picking up a few more Zlob MiniAtt. Dirt cheap and has that summed out. w00t


Another alternative is the RYO 'airtenuattor'. you could get three of those for the price of the Zlob(which has two att's), and not use 2HP of rack space.

The Zlob miniatt does look very cool though.
Pelsea
For forty years I’ve been waiting for someone to come out with a bungee patch cord (also an inflatable speaker cabinet, but that’s another story.)

My solution to the cable problem is to make them myself. I get some really long cables for the wire and a pack of 50 cent plugs. They are easy to make, and every wiggler should have cable building and repair in his skill set.

As for the other problem, that’s the attraction of virtual modular systems like Tassman and VCV rack.
thelowerrhythm
I've tried using those floating attenuators before and always wind up just losing them in all the spaghetti. Between that and the bizarre satisfaction of installing unpowered 2hp modules, and I think I'm suck going over that particular cliff.

Cable building is indeed an essential skill. I wish someone would sell a premade kit with X length cable in X number of different colors with X tips. Because I'm not too lazy to make them, but somehow too lazy to dig around and make sure I'm ordering everything so I don't get a package in the mail, find out I forgot something, and go stick my head in the oven. MY ASS IS BLEEDING
lisa
If I want limitless units of everything I use my computer. When using my modular rack I accept the limitations and choose paths where I don't run out of anything. For me this is a survival strategy, to keep me from ever expanding even though I already have more than I need.
cptnal
Indeed, the limitations are part of the attraction. If it starts to become a problem your rack's not right. Dead Banana
Parnelli
I've always had a hard time accepting limitations, it's just something inherent in my nature. One of my favorite quotes was from Henry Ford, who said whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right.

Of course Physical Laws apply.... as do Ohm's Law, et al....
PrimateSynthesis
srsly never
Pelsea
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations. Tchaikovsky wanted his second bassoon to play a low A so Russian bassoons go a half step lower than western ones. (You sometimes see a bassoon with a bit of drain pipe stuck in it.) Ravel wrote a super high Db in Bolero that requires another special key. (Cage wrote even higher, but didn't care if you couldn't play it.)

Wagner commissioned several brand new instruments, including the Heckelphone and the Wagner tuba. Going back further in time, (1632-87) Jean Baptiste Lully caused the complete redesign of most orchestra instruments.

We are lucky that we can just look in a catalog and pick out the new feature we want and get it shipped next day air. As for limitations, to paraphrase Peter Schickele, I play whatever is available--exclusively.
Blairio
Pelsea wrote:
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations.


Yes, but perhaps the focus here is more on musical creativity, and the question of whether a resource constraint (a finite number of patch cables) can be turned to an advantage in that regard.
dubonaire
Blairio wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations.


Yes, but perhaps the focus here is more on musical creativity, and the question of whether a resource constraint (a finite number of patch cables) can be turned to an advantage in that regard.


Up to the individual I suppose. Any kind of constraint can be self-imposed any time, but I don't see the point in not having enough cables if it stops you enacting an idea, that is just stifling creativity. I have many more cables than I need so it's something I never have to think about.

Also, running out of attenuators may come from an unbalanced system which has insufficient utilities for making the most of the noise making modules, so I also find it hard to see that as an ideal place to be.

Take Dave Rossum's Evolution, it has 9 CV inputs and it comes alive when you exploit them. It's the perennial point of PrimateSynthesis's post.

I'm not suggesting these things are rules, there are no rules. But I do think it's a good idea when buying modules to think about how you will modulate them fully if you ever want to.
dubonaire
Blairio wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations.


Yes, but perhaps the focus here is more on musical creativity, and the question of whether a resource constraint (a finite number of patch cables) can be turned to an advantage in that regard.


Up to the individual I suppose. Any kind of constraint can be self-imposed any time, but I don't see the point in not having enough cables if it stops you enacting an idea, that is just stifling creativity. I have many more cables than I need so it's something I never have to think about.

Also, running out of attenuators may come from an unbalanced system which has insufficient utilities for making the most of the noise making modules, so I also find it hard to see that as an ideal place to be.

Take Dave Rossum's Evolution, it has 9 CV inputs and it comes alive when you exploit them. It's the perennial point of PrimateSynthesis's post.

I'm not suggesting these things are rules, there are no rules. But I do think it's a good idea when buying modules to think about how you will modulate them fully if you ever want to from a whole of system perspective.
peripatitis
It seems that "limitation" is the mirage of creativity.
I wouldn't bet on it being a solution to the problem, it would be just too easy smile
dubonaire
peripatitis wrote:
It seems that "limitation" is the mirage of creativity.
I wouldn't bet on it being a solution to the problem, it would be just too easy smile


Yeah I agree. Being able to do a lot with a little is not the same as less axiomatically giving you more.

It's like people who think denial leads to fulfilment. Actually if you don't need anything for fulfilment there is no denial.
AW198
Being able to add extra modules when you think 'if only I had 1 more LFO' or whatever is exactly what drew me from hardwired synths to modular in the first place! Just think how restricted you'd be if your setup wasn't modular...
srogers
I feel this all the time. I think this is exactly how people end up with 12U cases.
Pelsea
Limitations are a two edged sword.

Many of my students were intimidated by the sheer number of possibilities in a well equipped studio, so the first hands on course had assignments like "pick three sounds from the shared library (three contributed by each student, so about 75 10 second clips) and compose a 30 second piece with beginning middle and end." As the courses continued, the assignments became looser and longer.

On the other hand, there comes a point where your own ideas are driving the process, and equipment limitations become an impediment, not a help. Oh, there is a certain thrill in MacGyvering past some technical problem, but that is really a distraction from the music you are trying to create. It takes time away from the actual work and worse, interrupts the creative flow.
Parnelli
Well I am sure to feel the heavy burden of limitation soon enough, as when I retire I will not be able to afford to purchase my way out of a synth problem. Fortunately I will then have something that I presently do not, time. Plenty of time to ply my technical trade as a hobby instead of a career, which is why I was in a bit of a hurry to build what I have now.

Less than a year if I have my way about it!
cptnal
Pelsea wrote:
On the other hand, there comes a point where your own ideas are driving the process, and equipment limitations become an impediment, not a help. Oh, there is a certain thrill in MacGyvering past some technical problem, but that is really a distraction from the music you are trying to create. It takes time away from the actual work and worse, interrupts the creative flow.


I don't disagree. However, for some (well, me anyway) that MacGyvering (love that verb!) is the creative process. Maybe I'm just weird. seriously, i just don't get it

(Enough parentheses for one day.)
Parnelli
You're not alone captnal! Half of the fun for me over the past couple of years has been building cases and fitting them with modules; not just willy nilly, but with a future purpose in mind.

I am a firm believer that it's not what you have that counts, but rather what you make of what you have that does.
papz
The Bill's TinyMixer works nice as an attenuator and can do more :

No power required
Audio or CV passive summing (3 inputs, 1 output - mono or stereo) with attenuators
Audio or CV passive splitting (1 input, 3 outputs - mono or stereo) with attenuators
Fits banana sockets with horizontal or vertical mounting, including a ground one
Fits mono and stereo Cliff minijack sockets. These sockets also accept tinijax.
Fits mono and stereo 9mm pots
Format jumbler
LEDs showing activity on each channel (work with CV only)
Plugs directly into the module's socket using a gender changer
Concatenable

Parnelli
Man those are small!
papz
Hence the name is TinyMixer Mr. Green
thelowerrhythm
Lots of really good thoughts here. Personally, working within limitations is one of the focuses of my art practice, and definitely part of the attraction of modular. Though I also enjoy overcoming them so I can deal with other ones.

I wrote a piece of software that randomly spits out X number of modules from my collection and I force patching exercises based on that.

I also like to build tiny test racks on ModularGrid, for the w00t of it. I find the most challenging size is a dual 60hp rack. with the DFAM as a requirement.
Blairio
dubonaire wrote:
Blairio wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations.


Yes, but perhaps the focus here is more on musical creativity, and the question of whether a resource constraint (a finite number of patch cables) can be turned to an advantage in that regard.


I'm not suggesting these things are rules, there are no rules. But I do think it's a good idea when buying modules to think about how you will modulate them fully if you ever want to from a whole of system perspective.


I guess you could come up with an algorithm for calculating the number of each type of utility module required for a system containing '1-n' oscillators, '1-n sound shapers etc, but there would be a risk of falling into either east coast or west coast orthodoxy.

I for one would have appreciated a few simple rules when I started out in modular, such as:

a. make sure you have at least one VCA (unless you only want drones)
b. aim for at least one envelope generator (for instance to modulate the VCA)
c. aim for at least one LFO (or a VCO capable at running at LFO rates)
d. remember that you cannot 'hear' utilities (only their influence), and there are good brands that offer utilities at very reasonable prices
dubonaire
Blairio wrote:
dubonaire wrote:
Blairio wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
The history of musical instrument development is mostly about overcoming limitations.


Yes, but perhaps the focus here is more on musical creativity, and the question of whether a resource constraint (a finite number of patch cables) can be turned to an advantage in that regard.


I'm not suggesting these things are rules, there are no rules. But I do think it's a good idea when buying modules to think about how you will modulate them fully if you ever want to from a whole of system perspective.


I guess you could come up with an algorithm for calculating the number of each type of utility module required for a system containing '1-n' oscillators, '1-n sound shapers etc, but there would be a risk of falling into either east coast or west coast orthodoxy.

I for one would have appreciated a few simple rules when I started out in modular, such as:

a. make sure you have at least one VCA (unless you only want drones)
b. aim for at least one envelope generator (for instance to modulate the VCA)
c. aim for at least one LFO (or a VCO capable at running at LFO rates)
d. remember that you cannot 'hear' utilities (only their influence), and there are good brands that offer utilities at very reasonable prices


I'm not sure you can do that algorithm thing, because it really depends on so many things, not least the amount of CV-able inputs you have and how many of them come with their own attenuators or attenuverters. It also really does depend on how big your system is and how you use it, and whether you want to patch it and let it do it's thing or you want to wiggle. But I think a key to interesting electronic music is subtle variation in tone and rhythm, and that is something that really can enabled by VCAs, switches, logic, attenuation and inversion.

If you look at a Doepfer standard system, that really is only a 1-2 voice synth, and pretty much contains the elements you will find in a $500 monosynth, but it costs $2.5k.

http://www.doepfer.de/A100_System_BS1_V2.gif

If you look at a Makenoise Shared System, that really is a heavily sequenced complex osc voice with some control, VCAs and effects and costs 4-5k.

People just tend to undercook their modular systems.
zengomi
For the time being, the only constraint I'm willing to embrace is that of working as exclusively as possible within the modular domain.

I see no point in putting limits on what is already a form of limitation. So my system grows in what is, to my mind, a natural way.

Moreover, as long as there are desirable modules on offer, my modular will grow.

As if I could resist INSTRUō or ADDAC.
dooj88
Pelsea wrote:
every wiggler should have cable building and repair in his skill set.


well shit. if the good dr says so, then i've got some work to do. learning this is probably a good confidence booster as well.
thelowerrhythm
dooj88 wrote:
Pelsea wrote:
every wiggler should have cable building and repair in his skill set.


well shit. if the good dr says so, then i've got some work to do. learning this is probably a good confidence booster as well.


For sure. It's also a good start on the road to DIY module work, even if just doing repairs.

Riffing a bit on what someone else said... letting the system grow naturally. I like that. I'm on the same path, more or less. Have slowly started dumping non-Eurorack gear that I don't use anymore, though I'm on the hunt for a good outboard budget EQ. Last I checked there aren't any good stereo 31 band EQs in the Eurorack realm... stormcat
cptnal
Pelsea wrote:
every wiggler should have cable building and repair in his skill set.


Uh oh! There's that 'S' word again. (hides)
mousegarden
Levit8, you can use it as a mixer as well.
I'm paranoid about running out of attenuators, I have 16 in my 15U plus the Levit8, and I still run out.
artieTwelve
papz wrote:
The Bill's TinyMixer works nice as an attenuator and can do more :


I could use 3 of these right now.
electricanada
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