MATRIXSYNTH: Eurorack Modular Review by Hefix93 of Velvet Acid Christ



Saturday, March 17, 2007

Eurorack Modular Review by Hefix93 of Velvet Acid Christ

Hefix93 of Velvet Acid Christ sent the following review of his new Eurorack format modular synth featuring Doepfer, Plan b, Livewire and a Kenton Pro Solo for MIDI to CV. You will find samples at the end of the review.

"Kenton pro solo: Amazing midi to cv converter, its tight, real tight with logic sending it midi. i like the portamento and other things i can get out of it.. very good, worth every peny, also can do extra cv modulations with the aux out jack.

Plan b model 15 osc: The saw wav on this is simply mystifying. huh? i mean it is the meanest saw i have ever messed with. PWM is not so great, no attenuator and there is only active pulse on the pwm knob from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock (don't know if this is standard on all modulars, as this is my first) this really irritates me [Update: this is addressed at the end of this review by Peter Grenader of Plan b]. I got neat fm sounds, and sync. the sine is pretty cool. The small frequency knob really kinda irks me, its so hard to dial in any kind of tuning, which makes this a real bummer for live use. I hope i can get the pwm to work how i want in the future, if so, this osc will probably me favorite of all time. Seriously rips. This thing is so mean. I want to have him build me a custom osc based on this model 15 with all the things i want. i hope he will. I want a osc octave switch, pwm attenuator and a bigger freq knob that isn't so overly sensitive and hard to tune (granted, these are the first modular oscillators i have used so). I seriously love this osc.

doepfer a-118 Noise/random: wow, i love the colored noise on this module. and the random voltage thing is kinda neat as a modulator on my filter and other things. nice.

doepfer a-138 mixer: Wow this sounds decent. if you over drive this past 7, it gets pretty aggressive, great for the kind of music i do. nice..

doepfer a-131 VCA: Again decent sounding, and man if you go past 7, it gets real mean. i love it..

doepfer a-143 quad lfo: nice to have 4 lfos, i like the speed switch, this goes real slow and nice and fast. i love it. better than most synth lfos i've had. Can go real fast in the high mode, fm audio. nice...

doepfer a-125: this is the best phaser i've ever had, and i haven't had many, makes the phaser in the virus ti sound like a toy..can sound real thick and heavy, very psychedelic. wow. this will make my psy trance tracks kick major butt..

doepfer a-188-1 1024 bbd: Very cool short delay that does chorus and flange ok, not the best i've heard, the modcan sounds the best so far. but for strange detuned rubber band delay modulation sci fi weird stuff, this thing really rocks, but it makes me wish i had room for the 188-2 instead.. hrmm... still really good for the money.

doepfer a-140 adsr: Very snappy. i mean this thing handled my 160 bpm bass duties at 16th notes very well. better than most stuff i have owned. i have not tried to make kick drums yet or other percussion, so i don't know how well it does there. but for bass and leas, out standing fast poppy envs. i have not messed with the other speed settings other than the m. and that suits my needs so far. i got two of these. and man, i'm loving it.... so fast tho, they can pop, you have to mess with the attack and release a tad, but man. it snaps..

doepfer 1-180 multiples: what can i say, they split the multiply a signal by 3. awesome. does its job well. i get 1 in and 3 out x2 per module, i got 2 of these..

Livewire Frequensteiner multimode filter: i saved the best for last. what can i say, this thing is aggressive, and man, it is simply the best multimode filter i have ever owned. The low pass is very aggressive, as is the bandpass, and the highpass, but man, the high pass is the best on this filter. it hisses and bites and cuts in a mix so well, i cannot explain how much i love it. But honestly i really like all the filter modes a lot. if i push the audio input past 7 or 8, it over drives and gets really mean, i mean super pissed. AMAZING. This thing is worth every penny, i love the knobs, and the nice big frequency knob is much loved here. What other multimode filters have i owned? nordlead, jp8080, virus up to the ti, the jupiter 6, the andromeda. This thing is sick, i mean so great, i cannot rave bout it enough. This is now my favorite synth filter ever. Even beating out my love for the minimoog and jupiter 8 filters.. i'm just into that aggressive exciting sound this thing gives me.

I sold my roland jupiter 8 for this [posted here]: i am not looking back, i love that old vintage lush instruments. but i needed something with more balls and bite and aggression, i got it. What i am able to pull of with this is amazing seriously mean bass and leads, that cut on all frequencies of the spectrum. And all the strange ufo sci blips and beeps that modulars are know for as well. This doesn't sound vintage, it has its own new sound, its stable and alive, but very precise and tight. zippy, and responsive. so much more so than i am used to. the modulations in the andromeda were sluggish and oogy, this is lightning fast and responsive, just how i like it. I am so glad that i took this big step. Sure i have some issues with the implementations on the the plan b model 15 with its pwm strangeness, but other than that, i love it all. I took back my virus ti and vsynths because they just didn't cut into my analog drum machine and monosynth dominated mixes. This thing does. it can get in there with my sh2, and future retro revolution just fine. as to where my virus would sound all faint and wouldn't cut, even with the high pass, it would kinda get lost and not stand out. that is not a problem here with this system. This is why i love analog so much more in the kind of music i make, i need stuff that has presence in the mix. digital doesnt. ANALOG DOES!

Sure after it was all said and done, it cost me about $2750. I bought it all from Analogue Haven .. please if you do buy stuff because of these sound demos, tell them that you heard the clips from velvet acid christ and read this review. I want a hook up for getting him business. I'm addicted to this modular stuff, and i need all the help i can get now.. :) Shawn really is the one who help me build this system. He and i go way back. I'm so glad his store exists now. really helped me out here. i've been lusting after a fat system with a multimode filter for years. I FINALLY HAVE FOUND IT.. i'm so happy..

Oh and by the way, i made a bunch of quick sound demos of the this system doing the typical vac arp lines and basses. Feel free to check em out. I hope this gets you interested in modulars.. They are not just for strange blips and beeps, they can be great musical instruments as well. not just for the weird sci fi. take care.

bryan aka hexfix93 aka phuckhead aka disease factory....."

Samples:
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinera-125vcp.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteiner2lp125vcp1881bbd.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp3.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp4.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerlp5.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerbp6.mp3
http://www.velvetacidchrist.com/synth/model15frequensteinerhp7.mp3

Update via Peter Grenader of Plan b regarding PWM on the Plan b Model 15:"Morning...

The PWM construction is designed that way so that there are more possibilities for the VC input. I played around with this a lot while cooking the VCO, you're going to get some very interesting sounds when the manual offset is positioned to either the far left or right (either into the 'silent' zone) and a VC is applied to pull it back into audio that aren't availible otherwise. My PWM sound is unique, I wanted to keep it that way.

I think there is a misconception that by only having the square audible from 10 to 2 that you're loosing something. You're not - it's all there, it sweeps from full neg, through 0 to 100 duty cycle, then back from 100 to 0 to full positive. it just transverses that from the 10 o' clock pot setting to the 2 o clock pot setting. the balance of the pot regions, when the signal is zero is not wasted, it's there for VC possibilities.

If you own one of these, try it, you'll see what I'm speaking about. Move the pot to silence, apply and VC, then move the pot to so that the square isn't silent and apply the same VC. I didn't want to loose both effects.

hope this helps,

- P "

27 comments:

  1. please don't judge this gear by these examples, All these modules can seriously sound great and unique.
    Sorry, but... if these were the demos I had heard i wouldn't have bought any of these modules.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah its obvious this guy is used to digital keyboards. whatever. Thanks for the verbose commentary, but grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "there is only active pulse on the pwm knob from 10 o'clock to 2 o'clock"

    I was wondering about this as I just bought a Plan B 15 earlier this week, and mine does this as well. I'm curious as to why it is designed this way. However... Minus this pwm oddity, I'm extremely happy with it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well i do harsh trance and industrial, so i make sounds like that. sorry, my sequences are like that too.

    and yeah these things make way more noises than the ones i made. sure it can sound really modular, but i made it sound more like a mono synth for the style of music i do..

    i know some will like it. some will not.. oh well. This is what i like from my synths, fast and aggressive, cutting and fat.. yup. i tried to make this sound aggressive. and i did.

    ReplyDelete
  6. and oh yeah. this is my 2nd day with a modular ever.. cut me some slack, I'm sure i will get the hang of using it better and making it sound more strange. right now, i bought it for those type of sounds i featured in the clips.. so it's doing its job for me..

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hilarious comments from anon #1 and #2.

    The style of the sequences isn't my thing personally, but they certainly show off the character of the modules nicely if you can dislodge your head out of your uptight ivory tower ass long enough to listen.

    And while I'm sure everyone loves your "unique" sounds, this guy actually sells real CDs, that you can, you know, buy in stores... doesn't mean he is above criticism by any means, but then again if there's a modular patched up (in seriously great and unique fashion, of course!) in your basement and no one is around to hear the resulting bizarre noise, does it actually make a sound?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Last time I checked, really crappy music prevails on the "real CDs in real stores" medium. And anyway, the sounds of modulars in real basements wins IMHO

    Sorry for being a dick. It pisses me off when some self prescribed ignoramus professes his 2 day old opinions backed up by unimaginably unimaginative sounds. But all things considered, it's good that this d00d got into modular.

    Also, wassn't the ivory tower the ultimate symbol of human creativity, or something?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Get over yourselves Anon Boys stop hating and start creating ,at least this guy has gone to the trouble of sharing his new found modular love . I think it shows off the Frequensteiner very well ,the Dalek Modulator is pretty sick too !!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Ivory tower isn't the ultimate symbol of creativity, it refers to disconnecting yourself from the real world to the point where the things you create have not only little grounding in reality but also little usefulness.

    Anyway, like I said, the genre of the samples isn't my bag either, but who cares? They show off the character of the modules -- which is the point of a demo -- and he is clearly using them to make the sounds he wants to make. As long as he doesn't claim he can use it to create sounds that he clearly can't, you are basically just complaining that he doesn't share your musical taste. Which is pointless.

    And it's not like he's pandering to the "American Idol" crowd, I don't think there's a big industrial/acid marketing machine brainwashing people into listening to music they don't like. People actually do like that music and buy it. Which is awesome, be happy he's doing it, maybe it will eventually get them more interested in your favorite genre in particular and just electronic music in general. We need all the audience we can get, I'm thankful to anyone and everyone who creates the gateway drugs...

    As for the thing about him only having it a couple days... I have no problem with demos from people who just bought their system. I also like hearing them from people who know their gear in and out, but it's also really cool to hear someone playing with a new toy and trying new things. At least he isn't trying to play the "there's no point in making a demo until I've spent five years working with it and know everything about it and even then demos are pointless" card that so many people seem to play to avoid ever having to put their own creations under fire...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Grenader goes into the PWM oddity in the Plan B users group and how to operate it. It is different in the way it works and also the way it sounds and that's what I dig about it. There are choursing effects, strange frequency effects in it that I haven't heard in any other oscillator.

    ReplyDelete
  12. yeah I'm going to buy some attenuators, and then i will get the wicked pwm he claims. i cant wait.. his module is A++ on sound. if i get the attenuators, i will be super happy.

    now. all you modular freaks.. you know my module list.

    instead of bashing me, you could direct me towards some cool things i could get to make this thing sound weirder? how is the a-126 p\frequency shifter from doepfer, is it good, i'm not liking how bad the 188 bbd degrades the sound quality when i run into it, so i think im going to trade it back and get something else..

    i was thinking about getting these:
    a-126 frequency shifter
    a-137 wave multiplier

    I want wierd fx, and things to make my modular sound more strange.

    i was also pondering if i would like a dual cyclatron. but i got no idea on a lot of this stuff.

    who here has experience with these things?

    should i get a cv sequencer?

    ReplyDelete
  13. hefix...
    please don't judge this crowd by the comments these retards have made about your samples.
    there's exists within the modular crowd a certain type of user who just dusts & polishes the wood on his cabinets all day and turns on his gear when friends come over.
    you may have just met a few, unless that is, they're willing to post some of their work for our critique?
    pm me, i'd be glad to chat with you about modules.

    ReplyDelete
  14. heh... team anonymous.. awesome

    and at least hex has calmed down a bit from his thelemic vegan crusader days.. altho that also means this thread has less entertainment potential

    ReplyDelete
  15. Maybe the 10-2 knob represents a philosophy of an ideal work day -- not 9 to 5.

    Sort of a philosophical duty cycle statement that we all work too hard and need more time to play with our modulars.

    That is, broken on purpouse to remind ourselves of the priorities of life.

    ommm

    ReplyDelete
  16. good theory! bravo

    ReplyDelete
  17. Morning...

    The PWM construction is designed that way so that there are more possibilities for the VC input. I played around with this a lot while cooking the VCO, you're going to get some very interesting sounds when the manual offset is positioned to either the far left or right (either into the 'silent' zone) and a VC is applied to pull it back into audio that aren't availible otherwise. My PWM sound is unique, I wanted to keep it that way.

    I think there is a misconception that by only having the square audible from 10 to 2 that you're loosing something. You're not - it's all there, it sweeps from full neg, through 0 to 100 duty cycle, then back from 100 to 0 to full positive. it just transverses that from the 10 o' clock pot setting to the 2 o clock pot setting. the balance of the pot regions, when the signal is zero is not wasted, it's there for VC possibilities.

    If you own one of these, try it, you'll see what I'm speaking about. Move the pot to silence, apply and VC, then move the pot to so that the square isn't silent and apply the same VC. I didn't want to loose both effects.

    hope this helps,

    - P

    ReplyDelete
  18. you should buy a model 14 next.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Peter, thanks a lot, i do believe in your products. And I'm glad you take the time to talk to us and explain things :)

    And i don't judge this crowd of readers by a couple of anon posts. it's not problem. and i am honestly not offended. people can say what they want. i know i'm not the greatest anything on this earth. so my ego is not all that huge. i know i have much room for improvement. so i listen to it all. but if its totally insulting and pointless, whatever. i dont care.. if i flip out on it and make more drama, well then i play right into the people who say stupid stuff to get attention instead of focusing on what i wanted to in the first place :)

    adam s: what will the model 14 do for me? do you have any clips of it in action?

    ReplyDelete
  20. yes, -1 + -1 does indeed = 0

    ReplyDelete
  21. Peter. After taking you up on your suggestion , I have a much better understandimg of your design. And I must say, it sounds freag'n great! Thanks for showing me the light. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. each half of the model 14 gives you bipolar attenuation of three input sources, which are summed at output. there is an additional output which is, as I understand it, a crossfaded sum of the two processor sums. So, for your basic need of attenuating the pwm control signal, you would use one half of the module. You could continue adding additional control signals to the model 14, and it will let you get the exact kind of control out you want. In short, it's your CV hub, if you will.

    It has other really interesting features that would be best understood by playing with it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. adam, thanks for the advice. but i ended up buying this:

    Doepfer: A-105 24db SSM Low P ass Filter

    Doepfer: A-119 External Input / Envelope Follower

    Doepfer: A-137 Wave Multiplier

    Analogue Solutions: ATT4 Attenuator 4x

    i think this fills out my eurorack portable rack. and i dont plan on buying anymore eurorack.

    now i need to know what modulars are good besides eurorack. mostly i want fx and weird sequencers.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Kwai Chang.
    When you can not only walk the rice carpet, but also spell lose correctly, then you will be ready to leave.

    ReplyDelete
  25. hey hexfix93, you said that the a-137 was unimpressive...but you also named it the waveshaper....a137 is actually the wavemultiplier...the waveshaper is the a-136. were you speaking of the a-136 when you were talking about being dissappointed? or were you talking about the a-137? thanks much for the demos!

    ReplyDelete
  26. What is the best way to control doepfer or livewire modules?
    Does it works with keyboards or midi ? I found some topics about midi to cv converter but dunno if this is applicable in this case.

    Any idea is helpful

    ReplyDelete

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