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Hip Hop Producer moving into modular
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Hip Hop Producer moving into modular
BoscoFlux
Hello everyone,

Been browsing the forum for a few days thought I should introduce myself and ask the never ending question where do I start lol.

Well my back ground...Been producing hip hop for the past 7 years using Native Instruments Maschine and vinyl. I do a mix of modern trap, to old school boom bap.

I have taken an interest in film scoring as of late and I want to expand my musical pallet to more than just hip hop and rnb. I have known about modular synthesis for a while but I never was interested. I guess I just saw noise videos and didn't catch my ear.

After listening to Ski Beats new album "Switched on Bap" and noticing a few of my favorite composers use modular synths, I figure I would try my hand at it. I am ready to get more tactile with my music and create a sound that is unique to me.

I will be using Maschine as the brain of the operation to sequence and send midi signals to my module. Sampling and recording in my daw. Out from the eurorack to the instrument input on my sound card. I will be using the sampler in logic to build my patches.

I am thinking of starting with building a basic synth, VCO, Filter, LFO to start? (of course add in mixer and a midi/cv module) Not sure what else I would need.

My main goal is to have a synth I can do sound design for movie scores and make my personal music (hip hop, rnb,). I want to be able to make fat dirty basses, to some cool rhytmic bleeps and bloops. I know its mono but I love creamy pads. I am inspired by synth wave, i sample it alot for my trap beats. I will be sampling into my maschine and making patches to use in my daw also.

Here are my influences for building this synth

Katana Electric - Ski Beatz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-nYodq-hPI

To Feel Your Best · Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7BJkn1Poew

NGHT DRPS - Against the Clock (STUDIO GOALS)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TxW8wVVVeI

Rival Consoles - Memory Arc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkaQIhFDOrI

So VCO I have been looking at was Plaits by Mutable Instruments, trying to figure out what filter I would need just so many out there the rabbit hole is real lol.

But if you guys could point me in the right direction, all do the digging lol. Budget by the way is $750 to get a working synth I can play with to start patching. I will def add more once I get more funds in. The wife is cool with the new hobby/keeps me out of her hair lol.

Thanks.
youwontsimi
Hey there and welcome,

since you want to use the modular along with your other gear centered around your daw, I think your idea to get a compact bacis modular synth would work quite well.

I started my setup with a semi-modular (pittsburgh modular SV-1 blackbox) that contained everything you need to start experimenting and can later be complemented with other modules.

There are different semi-modulars you could have a look at (moog mother 32, pittsburgh sv-1, make noise 0-coast, ...) which basically follow the same concept. They also fit your budget quite well.

Another option is to start your little setup module by module, but then the budget of 750$ is quite limited. Even the cheapest option of a case (tiptop audio happy ending kit which basically is just some rails and a powersupply) will cost you about 150$. Also i wouldn't start with plaits as your first VCO because it can be quite hard to understand when you're new to modular, but that's just my opinion!
JohnLRice
Welcome BoscoFlux! w00t

FWIW I had suggested the below system last month in another thread. The price shown doesn't include the case/power supply or patch cables and you'll also want some sort of controller or interface like an Arturia Keystep which is only $120.
nickgrys
A basic subtractive voice is a good idea imo. Dr. Dre used a Minimoog Model D, for example, for the synth in Nuthin But a G Thang. I bet you can get pretty close to that sound with a Moog Mother 32.
BoscoFlux
JohnLRice wrote:
Welcome BoscoFlux! w00t

FWIW I had suggested the below system last month in another thread. The price shown doesn't include the case/power supply or patch cables and you'll also want some sort of controller or interface like an Arturia Keystep which is only $120.


I will look into the rig John, I already have a midi keyboard and Maschine will be controlling the synth.

If I did go full modular what VCO should I look into besides Plaits?
JohnLRice
BoscoFlux wrote:
If I did go full modular what VCO should I look into besides Plaits?
d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! d'oh! I had a long post almost done and accidentally closed the browser! (stupid track pad angry )

In brief, I haven't tried a Plaits but have been impressed with the demos. Huge bang for the buck and major instant gratification it seems. For a slightly less expensive and less complex digital VCO consiider the Synth Tech E330. I would also add at least a second VCO and since you are learning I think it would be good to get a analog VCO, like maybe an Intellijel Dixie, Happy Nerding HM, or one of the Doepfer VCOs maybe?

Actually, to be realistic, you should probably plan for having a modular that is in the range of $2500 to $3500 or so and get a 6U 84 hp case (that's two rows of 84 hp) with a good power supply and plan on spending most of your original $700 budget on the case and power supply. You should be able to find the money to fill it in just one to two years, if not sooner, even if you don't think so now! lol The problem with really small cases is that they fill up almost instantly, especially if your first purchases are larger complex modules, and then you realize you need more mixers, attenuators, VCAs, VCOs, more of everything hihi and finding deals on used modules will over flow your case before you know it!

As a reference here's one of my smallest cases, it's 98 hp wide with another 7 hp snuck in sideways. It's fairly complete and quite capable but I'm constantly wishing I could squeeze just one to three more modules into it.
https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/660375
Illiac
Hey BoscoFlux,

Based on all of your preferences, this is exactly where I would recommend starting:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/776518

The 14 HP blank represents Mutable Instruments upcoming "Clouds MKII".
Dave Peck
Based on what you are trying to achieve musically, and on the fact that you're just getting into modular, I would recommend a different tactic - Get a Behringer Model D Minimoog clone and a Behringer Neutron semi-modular and stop there. Lots of instant gratification, and you can begin to dive into modular patching techniques slowly. You can use each instrument by itself, or patch them together for more complex results.

Then, if you decide you are really liking the whole modular thing, you can get a Euro modular case and fill it full of odd modules that will integrate nicely with those two synths and form a larger and much more complex system.

If not, you still have two nice monosynths.
MindMachine
Illiac wrote:
Hey BoscoFlux,

Based on all of your preferences, this is exactly where I would recommend starting:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/776518

The 14 HP blank represents Mutable Instruments upcoming "Clouds MKII".


I think he said he had a budget.

For a $750.00 start budget I would start with a Ladik/Doepfer/EMW rig to test the waters.

Get a cheap 4MS power harness and build your own case.
JohnLRice
MindMachine wrote:
For a $750.00 start budget I would start with a Ladik/Doepfer/EMW rig to test the waters.

Get a cheap 4MS power harness and build your own case.
Good plan, all good stuff at low prices. Also consider some HAppy Nerding which is excellent and has reasonable prices.

Additionally the OP might consider buying mostly used modules from reputable sellers, that way cost will be less, bigger bang for the buck, there is a glut of used modules available right now (check the for sale section on Muff's and Analogue Haven etc) , and if he decides to sell it all there will be little money lost? The down side of course is that you may inherit various problems, either from damaged modules of more likely early/discontinued versions of modules that had design/build issues, and returning them and getting your money back will be difficult or impossible, especially if you just didn't like it, so it can take a lot of research before buying a used module and there is still more risk. So paying more for new modules from a retailer or manufacturer is a safer way to go, especially for someone new to modular who may not know what questions to ask before buying used.
InnnerSight
If it were my money I would be looking at a Behringer Neutron and a Make Noise 0-Coast. This covers a lot of ground regarding sound design and offers lots of ways to experiment. Both take MIDI, so sequencing them with your existing system should be a breeze. Together they offer LFO's, envelopes a filter a LPG and 3 oscillators (which can be modulated independently), plus a BBD delay and a host of other utilities. They will allow you to explore the so-called east coast and west coast synthesis techniques along with some generative sound design, all of which will enhance your sound generation options.

Get a nice reverb as well if you don't have one, this will allow you to easily create those droney sounds that film scores often have. I really like the Valhalla vintage verb.

The bottom line is get something that helps spark your imagination.
hinterlands303
One question I have is how much physical space do you have in your studio, desk, etc.? That makes a pretty big difference in terms of format. Semi-modular desktop synths are great but they end up taking up more space than something you can rack up vertically.

That said, I agree semi-modular is a good way to start. All of the Dreadbox semi-modular synths sound really good and are within your price range. the minibrute 2s could also be a good option because you could add the rackbrute later which will save space.

If you decide to go with a euro set-up rather than semi-modular either buy used or take advantage of the frequent 10% off sales that modular dealers offer for every conceivable holiday. I would also consider waiting a little bit unitl you had $1,000 to spend. $750 is just a little shy of what you would need to get going IMO. For instance - this very basic setup would come in right around $1k: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/777921

Good luck and have fun!
Skamgdi
Have a look at my IG page it may help you out a bit. I am a hip hop producer also and have taken the dive into modular. My page show the progression of my rig. instagram.com/King_Ali.exe. I started with a Mother 32 arturia rackbrute 6u and MI Plaits and grew from there. I made sure to get needed utilities first also IE. Mixer , Maths, Effects (i got erica synths black hole dsp) buffered mult. I feel like after you get you basic building blocks with some research you will start to head in the direction you need to get what you want out of your rig.
InnnerSight
Skamgdi Good to hear more hip-hop and modular synergy going on out there.
Dilibob
You might want to go over deadmou5 master class, is a workflow that might be something u can use: https://www.masterclass.com/classes/deadmau5-teaches-electronic-music- production
boxxgrooved
JohnLRice wrote:
It's fairly complete and quite capable but I'm constantly wishing I could squeeze just one to three more modules into it.

I would like permission to put this on my headstone hihi
Illwiggle
I do hip hop too & got into modular a few yrs back. My advice is to save up more.....and buy a small pre-fab system like the Make Noise system Cartesian or something.....that way you have a ‘complete’ instrument to learn on. The learning curve can be pretty steep, and modular synthesis can only really be learned by patching, and you dont really know thr modules you have or will need without patching. So, I like the idea of a prearranged system for those reasons
Skamgdi
Got some videos up on my youtube now youtube.com/skamgdi11
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