Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

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HoyMan
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Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by HoyMan »

Hi guys,

I've been in the euro world for a while now and while i mostly have lots of FX and filters etc i'm trying to find more creative ways of using my modules. I have 2 Moog semimod's a Plaits, Marbles and MATHS plus the fx mentioned. I have no issues using all my modules but i'm trying to be more creative in doing so. When i read threads on here, people often talk about quite complex modulations, using and mangling CV sources, "never having too many VCA's" and so on.

I'm not doing any of these thing's naturally so can anyone advise me on furthering my understanding of these things. Any good videos etc? I guess i'm looking to better my technical knowledge....

Cheers
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hackrobat
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by hackrobat »

The best way is to spend time playing a small modular rig to learn the core elements of sythesis. The big and compex patches are just a combination of the basics. If you don't know about a certain synthesis technique you can learn about the basic idea from youtube and then start trying it out
clwilla
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by clwilla »

Function and random generators are what you want. Probably mixers and VCAs too.

Frap Tools Sapel is amazing (Random Generator)

Frap Tools Falistri is amazing (Function Generator)

Addac506 Stochastic Function Generator is amazing

IME Kermit Mk3 is a modulation powerhouse (Multi-Modulation)

NLC Triple Sloths (Chaos Signal)

Xaoc Devices Batumi (LFOs)

SSF RND Step (S&H)

Instruo Cnoc (Function Generator)

Instruo Ochd (LFOs)
clwilla
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by clwilla »

hackrobat wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 1:02 pm The best way is to spend time playing a small modular rig to learn the core elements of sythesis. The big and compex patches are just a combination of the basics. If you don't know about a certain synthesis technique you can learn about the basic idea from youtube and then start trying it out
YouTube is fine, but in my experience, the book Patch and Tweak brought me much further than most YouTube videos.
etckla
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by etckla »

Big topic

Ive found Mylar Melodies and Monotrail videos to be good on simple patching techniques.

Theres loads on YouTube about Maths. Make Noise videos, James Cigler etc.

One question - are you utilising inputs on your modulation sources? Especially Maths

For example you could send CV from Marbles into channels 2 or 3 of Maths, send Marbles triggers to Maths to trigger the envelopes, send more gates from marbles to Maths Cycle in (thus toggling cycle on and off). Then monitor all the outputs from Maths, especially the outputs on the mix bus.

None of this is guaranteed to sound musical (you might need attenuators or quanrisers for that) but if you can create a big system of modulation that feeds off itself you'll have plenty of interesting interactions to explore.
etckla
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by etckla »

Also this video is awesome and very inspiring

yhf
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by yhf »

HoyMan wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:59 am "never having too many VCA's"
transistorresistor
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by transistorresistor »

one of the things that adding a scope to my system allowed me to make a lot of progress on was CV mixing. Would recommend this to all beginners looking to step up even if you dont identify as a visual learner. If you dont have a multi channel vca that can mix, now might be a good time to jump at getting one. There are tons of options for mixing VCAs but there are also straight mixing modules such as xoac samara which offer some additional features that are really cool for CV.
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studio460
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by studio460 »

I would start with two simple VCOs. When I began in modular in late-2020, I bought several Tiptop Z3000 VCOs. They're among the simplest VCOs, but have a lot of features plus a digital frequency-display. Since all of its waveforms are output concurrently, take any waveform out of one VCO and patch it into the FM-input of the other—voilà—FM-synthesis!

Next, take a simple modulator, function-generator, EG, or LFO and start modifying your inputs and outputs. Then take a second modulator and patch it into the CV of the first modulator (i.e., modulating the modulator). Learning by hands-on experimentation is the best way since you hear the results immediately, where this kind of experiential patching is a fun way to discover modular.

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clwilla
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by clwilla »

transistorresistor wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 2:32 pm one of the things that adding a scope to my system allowed me to make a lot of progress on was CV mixing. Would recommend this to all beginners looking to step up even if you dont identify as a visual learner. If you dont have a multi channel vca that can mix, now might be a good time to jump at getting one. There are tons of options for mixing VCAs but there are also straight mixing modules such as xoac samara which offer some additional features that are really cool for CV.
Concur. Getting a scope provided important nuggets of information that greatly accelerated my understanding of what’s happening. It’s one thing to twist those ADSR knobs until you get what you want. It’s another to see the signal and help figure out what you need to do in order to get what you want, and how twisting those knobs changes the sound. A scope is definitely a tool I use as often as anything in my synth.
60hz
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by 60hz »

Since you have Maths, the illustrated patch book by a fellow wiggler is an obvious starting point:
https://modwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=63068

I also like the "compiled techniques" kind of threads. Here is one with links to similar threads in the comments:
https://modwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=265053

It's often tempting to think "If I only had this other module, I could do this cool patch". While sometimes that's true, often you can do a lot more than you think with your existing setup. This thread is a good reminder to resist the temptation:
https://modwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=250421
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wolfelli
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by wolfelli »

Manuals and tutorials are nice but sometimes it feels more rewarding to discover techniques and tricks individually. When it comes to CV manipulation here are a few paths to take when experimenting:

A good question to keep asking is “What happens if I plug x into y?” Take notes on what the results are and either move on to the next experiment or attempt to make the result pleasing in some way.

Another good question to ask is “How can I get a particular functionality with the modules I currently have?”, then try and patch it with your system. This will build eurorack knowledge and allow you to get to know your system.

A third step is to alternate between these two questions, what happens if.. leads to how can I get… which can unearth some interesting rabbit holes to go down.

For more practical advice, try modulating lfo rates with other lfos, try audio rate modulation instead of using an lfo, use VCAs liberally to dial in results to taste.

Also, get an oscilloscope 😎
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Whelm
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by Whelm »

Well, it's kind of a broad question. But for the VCAs thing, one of the important paradigms in modular is the ability to modulate your modulators. There's various ways this can be done, ie by mixing or switching between different CVs. But one of the most powerful ways to modulate your modulators is to modulate their amplitude, which is what VCAs do.

Basic example, standard patch: osc -> filter -> VCA -> monitors. Then say you have an LFO modulating your filter cutoff. That's fun. But, put that LFO into a VCA first, and you can control that modulation in a myriad of ways. For instance, use another LFO to control the degree to which the first LFO is modulating your filter cutoff.

Another example. Use Osc1 to FM Osc2. Osc1 -> Osc2 -> VCA -> monitors. Nice. But put another VCA between Osc1 and Osc2, and use the same envelop that is opening your output VCA to open your FM VCA and you get FM depth that follows the amplitude of your sequence.

Etc.
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polesay
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by polesay »

Definitely try cross patching and self patching your marbles and maths. For video tutorials, I like Omri Cohen, Diivkid and Monorail tech talk. And there’s always VCV rack to mess about and experiment with whatever you want, for free.
transistorresistor
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by transistorresistor »

wolfelli wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 4:47 pm Also, get an oscilloscope 😎
One thing I would add to my comments about getting a scope:

Im a tech and have two scopes sitting on my bench.

Still, Data seemed really big, and very expensive, and it wasnt clear to me why Id want it in my case. So I put off getting one for about a year. I watch alot of divkids videos and it looks cool as fuck, but it didnt seem like it would be something I would come to rely on.

Since I bought it, it is in every patch both as a tuner and a scope, and I could not imagine having a modular synth without this module. I am very much from the "use your ears" school and still roll my eyes at guys that mix with phase meters, but a scope for a modular synth is gonna unlock some doors that you probably dont even know are there. If you are serious about learning, I think Data or a *good* alternative (zeroscope is abysmal) really should be in someones first 200 hp.

You can dial in some very complex modulations using the mixer on maths and cross patching it but when you have the outputs hooked up to a scope and you can see what its doing, you can bring alot more intention to driving it. I think its also reasonable to consider that once you get a handle on stuff you can take a step away from the scope but it will absolutely speed up your learning curve quite a bit.
everydaycurry
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by everydaycurry »

+1 to the scope, Mordax Data is incredibly useful - I got a Auza Wave Packets and if not for the Data I'd be baffled at getting more precise than "that sounds pretty cool I guess" with tweaking it.
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hackrobat
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by hackrobat »

Agreed on a scope. Doesnt need to be fancy either
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skysaw
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by skysaw »

My simple advice is to try patching everything into everything. Especially if you have no idea what will happen!
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Anxst
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by Anxst »

Definitely agree on trying just randomly patching things and seeing what happens. A scope can really help when you find something you unexpectedly like.

Beyond that, more utilities. Utilities are what bring things together, after all. Function generators, mixers, sequential switches. Mix CV, sequence it in odd ways, fire off envelopes randomly, see where it goes!
ekkomouse
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Re: Advice on modulation, CV and expanding learning

Post by ekkomouse »

All very helpful responses, I’m relatively new as well and am going back to read manuals on each of my modules and searching for online tutorials, sometimes I watch multiple times til I get it. I also try to complete patches from the manuals and videos, and the scope has been immensely helpful, I do use multiple channels of the mordax often.
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