MATRIXSYNTH: Modular Patch/Performances by Mike Thomas

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Modular Patch/Performances by Mike Thomas

Published on May 14, 2017 Mike Thomas

Notes for each further below.

Modular Jam : Lords of the West : Rings, Elements, Clouds, Peaks
Modular Melody: Church of Meta Q - Tides (Parasite), Function, Clouds
Modular Jam: SynthTech E350/E355/E440, Mutable Instruments Elements/Clouds, Pittsburgh SV-1/KB-1
Modular Patch/Performance: Slow to Go
Modular Patch/Performance:- The Big Build
Modular Patch/Performance: Sargasso
Modular Patch/Performance: Fair Winds
Modular Patch/Performance - Over the Clouds
Modular Patch/Performance: March of the Shift Register
Modular Etude #1


1. Modular Jam : Lords of the West : Rings, Elements, Clouds, Peaks

Lords of the West Patch Notes

Involved modules
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Intellijel 1U Random/Clock
4ms Rotating Clock Divider and Breakout
Microbe Modular Meta Sequencer
Mutable Instruments (MI) Rings
MI Clouds
MI Rings
MI Veils
2 x MI Peaks
Ornament & Crime (O+C)
Intellijel 1U Quadratt
Intellijel 1U Buffered Mult
Intellijel 1U Digitank Reverb
Transient Modules 6ch Mixer
Pittsburgh Outs

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Intellijel 1U Random/Clock source drives all timing.
RCD in gate mode.
Microbe Modular Meta Sequencer provides the only true sequence — it’s 1v/oct CV out is fed to Rings’ 1v/oct input.
Rings magically derives triggers from the 1v/oct input. However, I occasionally triggered it with a Track & Hold output from the random/clock source. That’s what I’m doing with that orange cable on the left. And sometimes I left the cable plugged into Rings and unplugged the source side. That effectively “mutes” Rings.
Rings Even output multed to provide FM back to Rings, via Veils modulated by attenuated lower Peaks in LFO mode.
Rings set up in sympathetic string mode with 4 voice polyphony.
Rings Damping and Position parameters wiggled by O+C.
Rings outputs to Clouds.
Clouds Position modulated by multed right channel output. Clouds Freeze alternated by lower Peaks in square LFO mode.
Drum/percussion sounds provided by upper Peaks in 808 mode, triggered by RCD, reverbed by Digitank Reverb.
Elements tuned to a specific note with Gate in provided by RCD. RCD /8 channel hits Strength (got a little out of hand sometimes).
Elements Blow, Bow, Strike Timbre and Damping, Position, and Brightness CVs modulated by O+C.

Finally, I'm "playing" Rings' Strum input by occasionally jacking in the Track and Hold from the Intellijel 1U Random/Clock module. That's why that orange cable is constantly in my left hand. Occasionally, I'll just leave it jacked into the Strum input but NOT plugged into any CV source. That effectively mutes Rings.

Mixing Tricks
- - - - - - - - - -
Elements and Rings are both stereo modules, if you want them to be (I do). Stereo creates some interesting mixing challenges.

Mixing is a little tricky because I don’t have a dedicated stereo panning mixer in this case (I have a nice Sputnik 6ch in my big case). But I *do* have the Transient Modules 2x3 mixer and the Pitts Outs module. I pretend that the individual mixer outputs of the 2x3 are “left” and “right” channels and feed those straight into the Outs’ stereo ins.

Bummer is, if you send a mono signal into a single side/channel of the 2x3 mixer it will come out hard-panned to that channel, with no way to pan it. My trick to convert the 2x3 mixer into a stereo panning mixer is to first send any “single channel mono” signal into a mult and bring two channels out. This makes it a “two channel mono” signal. I then feed the signal into two parallel channels of the mixer as a pair. Then, I can use the individual level controls to pan the mono signal. This is pretty flexible and works fine, but results in a lot of redundant patching and also requires submixing for anything more than a single mono signal. A panning mixer would be more elegant in this case, but I suppose some would argue it would be less “modular”.

For the drums, which start as two separate channels of Peaks, I submix those down to one channel in the Quadratt before doing the above trick. Mixing attenuators or VCAs are pretty much a requirement for this hack if you’re going to mix many signals at all.

2. Modular Melody: Church of Meta Q - Tides (Parasite), Function, Clouds

Church of Meta-Q Patch Notes
A very simple patch. Just one voice, generatively sequenced, being routed through some effects with some modulation to give things motion.

Pamela’s Workout in fairly long gate mode drives all timing.
Ornament and Crime in Meta-Q mode sending random/quantized pitch CV to Tides.
Mutable Instruments Tides Parasite in “two bumps” mode.
Tides Shape and Slope modulated by MI Peaks via Intellijel 1U Quadratt.
Tides Level modulated by Function envelope using Log response.
Function “Both” input modulated by Pittsburgh SV-1 LFO attenuated via Shades.
Tides output into Synthrotek DLY delay module.
DLY into Left/mono input of Clouds.
Clouds in “Looping Delay” Mode.
Clouds Density modulated by MI Peaks in LFO mode attenuated via Shades.

The DLY module distorts very easily. Usually this really annoys me, but in this case I decided to just make it an aspect of the piece.

3. Modular Jam: SynthTech E350/E355/E440, Mutable Instruments Elements/Clouds, Pittsburgh SV-1/KB-1

In order of appearance:

E350 X, Y, Z morph inputs modulated by one channel of Ornament & Crime (O+C) in Quadraturia (LFO) mode, attenuated by Shades. E350 X/Y and Z outputs mixed by Shades/Links and sent to E440. E440 FM1 and E350 EG by Peaks and Blinds (blinds carefully zeroed to act as a “normal” VCA). E440 FM2 modulated by E355 LFO with no attenuation. E440 out to Disting #1 in ping-pong delay mode, and on to Clouds. Clouds position, size, and density modulated by a channel of O+C, and that modulation was modulated by Make Noise Function via Blinds, and on to final stereo mix (whew).

Drums: bass drum from a channel of Peaks. Hats emulated by the noise source of the Pitts SV-1, and on through the Pitts filter and ADSR. Drums triggered by Grids, with a bit of randomization on the hats by MI Branches. Drums were sub-mixed to one channel in the SV-1 mixer, and on to final mix.

“Rhythm” synth: Pitts SV-1 sine and pulse, mixed in Links and sent to Streams in “plucked vactrol” mode (awesome!). Sequenced by Turing Machine, quantized by Disting #2.

Elements, modulated by two channels of O+C in Quadraturia mode, and sent directly to final stereo mix.

E350’s signal chain and Elements were both arpeggiated by the Pitts KB-1 in duophonic two-octave arpeggiator mode. This causes it to interleave notes from the two sound sources. Awesome!

4. Modular Patch/Performance: Slow to Go

In order of appearance:

All trigger/gate timing controlled by multiple channels of ALM Pamela’s Workout and 4ms Rotating Clock Divider.

Very slow two note arpeggio from SV-1, to v/oct input of Synth Tech E350. XY out of E350 to Wiard Borg Filter, then Disting in ping-pong delay mode, and then on to Clouds. Stereo out of Clouds to Sputnik mixer. E350 X and Y morphing controlled by E355 LFO1 attenuated via Shades. Clouds Position and Density controlled by a channel of O+C in LFO mode, attenuated by Shades.

Drum sounds from Peaks, sequenced/controlled by Grids, submitted into one channel and on into the Sputnik mixer. Single repeating bass note from tuned SV-1 Osc 2 sine, routed through Streams in “plucked vactrol” mode.

Lead sound Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc1 sine/saw/pulse/sub mix sequenced by Korg SQ-1. Changes in melodic timing via Doepfer A151 Sequential Switch changing between Pamela’s workout channels. Manual changes to play mode and active gates throughout performance. SV-1 output filtered by SV-1 filter controlled manually and via SV-1 ADSR and on to Disting ping-pong delay mode. Stereo out of Disting to Sputnik mixer.

Lots of manual wiggling: Shades attenuation knobs, SV-1 filter attenuverter and frequency knobs, switching A151 step modes, interacting with SQ-1 controls, adjusting Clouds’ mix control, etc.

5. Modular Patch/Performance:- The Big Build

A little tune I cooked up over the last couple of days.

The patch is composed of three main melodic components. In order of appearance:

- Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc 2 sine+square, sequenced by Turing Machine, and fed into Mutable Instruments Streams channel 1 in “plucked vactrol” mode
- Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc 1 sine+saw+pulse+sub, arpeggiated by Pitts KB-1, fed through Pitts filter and VCA. Filter modulated by Make Noise Function via Mutable Shades attenuator.

- Synthesis Technology E350 Morphing Terrarium, sequenced by Microbe Modular Meta-Sequencer. X/Y channel morphing modulated by E355 Morphing Dual LFO, with X VC attenuated by 2T mixer. X/Y and Z outputs mixed by 2T mixer. Output then routed through Mutable Ripples filter, Synthrotek ADSR, MengQi DPLPG and Disting #2 in stereo/ping-pong delay mode. Final sound sent through Clouds. Clouds parameters and freezing modulated by Function via Shades attenuator.

- Drum sounds from Mutable Peaks sequenced purely from multiple ALM Pamela’s Workout channels and trigger modifiers. High sound trigger timing controlled by two PW channels running at different speeds, with switching controlled by Doepfer A-151 sequential switch. Switch is set to rotate between 3 inputs, and 3rd input is empty, thus providing “rests” in high sound’s rhythm. Triggers further modified by Mutable Branches controlling actual probability of trigger.

Bass tone simply triggered by /16 division trigger.

6. Modular Patch/Performance: Sargasso

Generative ambient tune driven by Turing Machine.

Patch Description

OK, this is a big one, so I can’t really detail every little thing.

Overall clocking by Pamela’s Workout.

Turing Machine sending V/Oct to E350, Quantized by Disting.

Turing Machine clock-in varied between two channels of Pamela’s Workout (different clock div settings) via Doepfer A-152 sequential switch.

Two channels of O+C (Quadraturia mode) modulating volume of E350, one channel for each output (XY and Z), via DPLPG in VCA mode.

Another channel of O+C modulating Morph X of E350, attenuated by Shades.

Y and Z of E350 modulated by E355, which is in-turn modulated by Make Noise Function (attempting to attenuate via 2x3 Transient Modules mixer).

XY out of E350 to Disting II, in ping-pong delay mode.
One out channel of Disting II to Clouds, the other to MI Ripples filter.

MI Ripples filter FM’d by Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc 1 sine.
E350 channels ultimately sent to Clouds L/R inputs.
Clouds parameters modulated by O+C channels (multed).

Clouds “freeze” switched on and off by Pamela’s Workout channel “/8” and long gate (nice!).

“Wowing” bass provided by Pittsburgh SV-1, filter modulated by SV-1 triangle LFO and arp’d by KB-1.

Tuned drum/bass sounds provided by Peaks in DMC drum mode, triggered by Grids, with "chaos" turned up for unpredictability.

All mixed on Sputnik 6-channel stereo mixer. Channel 1/6 CV panned by Function (multed off TM 2x3 mixer). Not sure this was all that effective.

Thanks for watching/listening!

7. Modular Patch/Performance: Fair Winds

Patch notes sprinkled throughout the video. Major modules involved:

Mutable Instruments: Elements, Clouds, Peaks, Ripples, Blinds, Links
PIttsburgh Modular: SV-1, KB-1
Expert Sleepers: Disting
Ornament & Crime (Conjured Circuits build, Magpie panel)
Synthrotek: DLY
Sputnik Modular: 6-channel Stereo Mixer/Out
Korg: SQ-1

8. Modular Patch/Performance - Over the Clouds

Playing around, with (Mutable Instruments) Clouds as an inspiration.

Patch notes, in rough order of appearance:

Clouds, processing a short (and unrecognizable) sample from an Al Dimeola tune. "Played" (sort-of) with Pittsburgh KB-1. Modulated by Ornament and Crime (in Quadraturia mode) and itself (right channel multed and fed into Size CV. Stereo mix.

Bass pedal note by Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc 1, direct to mixer.

Mutable Instruments Elements melody sequenced by channel A of Korg SQ-1. Modulated by Ornament & Crime. Stereo mix.

Secondary/counterpoint melody sequenced by SQ-1 channel B: Pittsburgh SV-1 Osc 2 sine+square, mixed in SV-1, and routed through Expert Sleepers Disting in wave folder mode, and on through the Pitts filter and ADSR. Filter modulated by ADSR. VCA out to Synthrotek DLY.

9. Modular Patch/Performance: March of the Shift Register

A first stab at a more "musical" theme using sequence and random elements. I'm still very much a beginner at this stuff! A very slow build, but there is some ear candy (IMO) in the last third or so).

This is a pretty simple and straightforward patch. Pretty much just two voices: the bass is provided by the Pittsburgh SV-1, and the melody by the Disting (in shift register mode) driving the Mutable Instruments Elements.

Make Noise Function, massively multed, provides the modulation for Elements. The inverted output of Function is modulating the filter frequency on the SV-1 voice.

Peaks, in LFO mode, is modulating the geometry control on Elements. If I had more mults (will be building one) I'd have probably used that LFO on more VC ins.

Korg SQ-1 is running the bass sequence. It's running in 8-step mode, with the B channel used for gate length. I programmed in a few slides to make the bass line "rubbery" when all the steps are in play.

Stereo mix through the Sputnik 6-Channel mixer. This thing is awesome! I just split the headphone out and feed one side to my Zoom H2. I kind of wish the dedicated 3.5mm L/R outs had their own level. Oh well.

10. Modular Etude #1

This is just me noodling with a patch on my rapidly growing eurorack modular setup. This patch can sound *very* different depending on knob twiddling, and will mostly just entertain itself (and me, if not you), if left to its own devices.

There is no actual "random" module in this, unless you count the semi-random triggers produced by my Pittsburgh KB-1. Mostly, the randomness comes from patching MN Function into itself and also modulating it with a channel of Peaks in LFO mode. The other LFO channel of Peaks is modulating many VC inputs on Elements and the Borg filter though a massive multiple. One channel of Elements is split and sent through the Borg. The Borg's Key In is being tickled by a timed trigger from the KB-1.

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