Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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DukeOfPrunes
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by DukeOfPrunes »

jsleeio wrote: Mon Nov 07, 2022 11:20 pm ah crap sorry. can't be arsed fixing it now though and your comment makes it perfectly clear :-)
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Back Down the Path
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Back Down the Path »

leftbracket wrote: Mon Nov 07, 2022 7:57 pm
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Loads of stuff for sale here (PA/US).
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Carl A
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Carl A »

Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will

Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by analogbrainsurgeon »

Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will

Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
This is an inconvenient thought, lol! On one hand, a big modular environment ("instrument") is a lot of fun and a good way to pass time and have fun, creative conversations in addition to being one of the only really innovative musical platforms where anyone can make anything eventually, from the module level up. On the other hand, a full suit of Elektron boxes would give you a ton of flexibility for a fraction of the price of a large rack and everything would stay in time easily and plug in to a DAW. On Pam's third hand, someone could buy one of each vintage synth for the cost of some massive racks and have a complete mojo filled studio. Still, modular is fun, isn't it? I'm here because I enjoy the hobby and making music/art, and find interacting with the type of people that share this niche to be an interesting and rewarding way to spend my free time. :)
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by starthief »

Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?
Throughout most of the journey I've been really happy with my modular and found it very playable and satisfying. But I think it's best to see it as a flexible, changing system and not something that needs to be completed or perfected.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Carl A »

I've been pretty happy with most of my purchases but can't escape the fact that when I want to really dive deep into sound, I always go back to what I consider to be an actual instrument - (Piano, JP8, Guitar). It's a difficult distinction I know but I guess I just like something fixed that I can (try to) master.

It's the ever changing part that distracts me from actually making music, as soon as I have to think about the physicality of moving a patch cable, my line of thought is interrupted.
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Post by Jazzman »

lisa wrote: Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:05 am I also see loads of creativity and good music.
I agree. Sarah S. combines eurorack with her violin, cello, piano talent along with other synthesizers.

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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Anyone know of any good Black Friday deals?

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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will
I think a large part of the problem is that a lot of modular users don't really have a strong vision of what they want to do, what sort of music (or non-music, if that's a thing) they want to make.

For most musicians, they have a particular style they want to play, and a particular sound they want to hear, which they can generally find in an existing musical instrument.

Modular synthesizer musicians are people who can't find the sound they want from an existing instrument, and are at least as interested in exploring sound itself as they are making music. The problem with Eurorack in particular is that it's so varied, and the community is so focused on the instrument itself, that the actual creativity tends to get drown out by a whole lot of what would normally be background chatter (for all that the guitar world is worse in its gear fetishism, that's generally background to the process of actually making music).
Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
It really depends on the musician. Some good musicians are also good instrument designers (Adolphe Sax jumps immediately to mind); most are not and simply want an instrument that has a particular sound and play style. Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician and part mad scientist to really bring out the full potential of the instrument.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by tokidoki »

luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:07 pm
Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will
I think a large part of the problem is that a lot of modular users don't really have a strong vision of what they want to do, what sort of music (or non-music, if that's a thing) they want to make.

For most musicians, they have a particular style they want to play, and a particular sound they want to hear, which they can generally find in an existing musical instrument.

Modular synthesizer musicians are people who can't find the sound they want from an existing instrument, and are at least as interested in exploring sound itself as they are making music. The problem with Eurorack in particular is that it's so varied, and the community is so focused on the instrument itself, that the actual creativity tends to get drown out by a whole lot of what would normally be background chatter (for all that the guitar world is worse in its gear fetishism, that's generally background to the process of actually making music).
Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
It really depends on the musician. Some good musicians are also good instrument designers (Adolphe Sax jumps immediately to mind); most are not and simply want an instrument that has a particular sound and play style. Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician and part mad scientist to really bring out the full potential of the instrument.
We are part scientist and part mad musician, are we in sync? :party:
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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When in doubt, be like Vince Clarke.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by 22tape »

For me, walls full of modular and rooms full of gear just comes off as a dick swinging contest. It's all disposable. Wigglers, I'd rather hear your music.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by dubonaire »

Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will

Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
Absolutely. Possibly one reason is I never swap modules in and out. Ive slowly added a few modules, at the rate of about 1-2 a year, but most I’ve had for 10 years. In that time I’ve only sold one module, a Macbeth Micromac, because it was not really fitting in with the music I make. I use desktop synths and drum machines as well, but the modular always adds something unique.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by jsleeio »

luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:07 pm Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician
this right here is the thing to most urgently let go, IMO

some folks just want to tinker. why should they need to be musicians?

Voltcontrol wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:06 pm When in doubt, be like Vince Clarke.
room full of hardware, but actual work gets done on the computer? :slapfight:
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by polesay »

Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm Just another thought.......

How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?

I certainly haven't and feeding back into the consumerism discussion, after about 10 years, it's starting to feel like I never will

Is it really a positive thing to ask musicians to be designers as well?
I’ve felt like my system was playable and inspiring from the moment I started with a Pam’s, plaits and beads. I’ve made a fair bit of music with more traditional instruments and synths, but something about modular is just really special and exciting to me.

The rabbit hole aspect is a double edged sword but I just remind myself that less can be more and too many options doesn’t always equal more satisfying or better results.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Voltcontrol »

jsleeio wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:16 pm
luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:07 pm Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician
this right here is the thing to most urgently let go, IMO

some folks just want to tinker. why should they need to be musicians?

Voltcontrol wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:06 pm When in doubt, be like Vince Clarke.
room full of hardware, but actual work gets done on the computer? :slapfight:
:hyper: :hihi:
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by johnstaf »

I have a few of the Moog semi-modular eurorack compatible synths, but I can't allow myself to buy any modules that need to go in a eurorack case, as I know I'll become obsessed with getting modules as soon as I buy the case.

It's in my nature.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by luchog »

jsleeio wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:16 pm
luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:07 pm Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician
this right here is the thing to most urgently let go, IMO

some folks just want to tinker. why should they need to be musicians?
Because modular synthesizers are musical instruments. You're not going to paint a portrait or build a car or plant a garden with one.

Perhaps you need to expand your understanding of what music is and what musicians are.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by DukeOfPrunes »

luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 8:18 pm
jsleeio wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:16 pm
luchog wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:07 pm Modular synthesizer users need to be part musician
this right here is the thing to most urgently let go, IMO

some folks just want to tinker. why should they need to be musicians?
Because modular synthesizers are musical instruments. You're not going to paint a portrait or build a car or plant a garden with one.

Perhaps you need to expand your understanding of what music is and what musicians are.
I guess some tinkerers are just bad musicians. If you're a bad musician and your instrument keeps you coming back for more, then, no harm done and who is to judge? The pretention is at times, very tiring.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by Carl A »

DukeOfPrunes wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 8:35 pm I guess some tinkerers are just bad musicians. If you're a bad musician and your instrument keeps you coming back for more, then, no harm done and who is to judge? The pretention is at times, very tiring.
Interesting observation :tu:

Good/Bad are just divisive labels imo. I'm sure my cat Tabitha believes she is making music (She is actually) when she runs all over the keys, come to think it she has a penchant for vintage heatsinks.

But it's the combination that worries me a little, not for the population but for the individual and the opportunity which modules open up for them.

I.E. An instance where you have a 'Less experienced' musician getting into Eurorack chasing dreams and the sounds that they hear professionals making and 'one' of the potential outcomes of this is a room full of disjointed kit that becomes a heavy burden.

Is an ever changing rig goalless? If it is ever changing isn't it true that you will never master it as in instrument?

Maybe I'm just rambling and the fact that the user gets enjoyment from the gear is enough.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by pieter »

Carl A wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 6:55 am Maybe [...] the fact that the user gets enjoyment from the gear is enough.
It is. If the acquisition of gear doesn't lead to financial, marital, or other trouble, who are we to judge how someone spends their free time and disposable income?

Sadly, there will be people for whom the consumerism has become problematic. The real question is then if they can find an effective support group. This forum is generally not that useful if you're struggling with GAS, but I could see a subforum here for those who struggle with gear addition.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

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starthief wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:18 pm
Carl A wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 12:03 pm How many actually feel that through their modular journey they had ended up with a playable instrument that they have gelled with?
Throughout most of the journey I've been really happy with my modular and found it very playable and satisfying. But I think it's best to see it as a flexible, changing system and not something that needs to be completed or perfected.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by notmiserlouagain »

Consumerism or not, depends on the user not on the synth.
A different question would be is the current Euroboom driven by consumerism?
I think so, but why not. One can critique consumerism (of course starting with oneself), but that got nothing to do with synths specifically...

The often mentioned comparison to "traditional" musical instruments is not useful, I think. I play several of those and it took me quite some time with everyone of them to reach a level for it to not sound embarassing.
Synth is different, a sequencer has no problem keeping time, a quantizer has no problems finding the right notes of egyptian-mixolydian-b5#13-scale (I made that up), so one can have a modular for eight weeks and play an impressive solo-gig with it, with a grasp on the concepts and good ideas, it´s possible. While modular synths severely lacks the bodily/physical aspects of getting deep into the groove with other musicians, having to play every note full focus, it offers the great possibilty to concentrate on the "conceptual" side of music and play a whole "band" single handedly.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by DukeOfPrunes »

notmiserlouagain wrote: Fri Nov 25, 2022 8:45 am Consumerism or not, depends on the user not on the synth.
A different question would be is the current Euroboom driven by consumerism?
I think so, but why not. One can critique consumerism (of course starting with oneself), but that got nothing to do with synths specifically...

The often mentioned comparison to "traditional" musical instruments is not useful, I think. I play several of those and it took me quite some time with everyone of them to reach a level for it to not sound embarassing.
Synth is different, a sequencer has no problem keeping time, a quantizer has no problems finding the right notes of egyptian-mixolydian-b5#13-scale (I made that up), so one can have a modular for eight weeks and play an impressive solo-gig with it, with a grasp on the concepts and good ideas, it´s possible. While modular synths severely lacks the bodily/physical aspects of getting deep into the groove with other musicians, having to play every note full focus, it offers the great possibilty to concentrate on the "conceptual" side of music and play a whole "band" single handedly.
Very insightful indeed! A couple of reasons I switched from electric guitar to modular, was the preservation of my ear drums and being able to sit down (I've never been able to play guitar sitting down, too restrictive.) while playing, which enables longer playing sessions.

I've tried multiple options to play electric guitar at safe volumes and it just doesn't cut it. As David Gilmour famously said: "You know, once you've had that guitar up so loud on the stage, where you can lean back and volume will stop you from falling backward, that's a hard drug to kick."

With a modular rig, you know that you don't need 100 watt heads to enjoy the sounds emanating from the speakers and that is a very gratifying feeling.
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Re: Is Eurorack just extreme consumerism?

Post by tcrist »

Buying a musical instrument is not like buying a piece of furniture. A module is not merely "a thing." It represents a small but significant part of how we understand and express lived experience. The quality of the instrument becomes your voice so one needs to choose it carefully. Making music involves building a language deep enough in its sophistication to satisfactorily describe one's experience. These modules are important tools that support human communication. That is empathy. Not consumerism.

I have patched things together since I was 13 (now in my 50s). No one told me to do that. It was instinctual and the manipulation of sound was mostly how I communicated to others. Now I share that interest with 10 and 11 year olds in a STEM school where I teach an hour each day (my side hustle from university professor duties). The kids LOVE modular. No consumerism there for sure.

But also, the builders, designers, and engineers of these modules are extraordinary people. One look at the back of a Zlob F3DB and the sheer workmanship and artistry is immediate. I will miss Émilie Gillet for her brilliance in providing a means to describe and control the content of a certain experience in each of her modules. There is something remarkably beautiful about that and something that goes far beyond any notion of materialism.
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