Tonight 2 hours of Modular synthesizer with a live performance and talk with Willy Van Buggenhout.Analog is a good thing but I'm not occurred in the order of analogues ;-) , music and sound as it comes over me, and the dynamic opportunities for activities, rhizomatic development of sound and complexity of improvisation.....
Goyvaerts - Morgan - Van Buggenhout : Wings and Arrows
Willy Van Buggenhout : Betsy's Siren Song (Containerchoirs) : live version at Radio Panik
Willy Van Buggenhout : Red Silver Gold Yellow : live version at Radio Panik
Willy Van Buggenhout : Pointilism : live version at Radio Panik
Willy Van Buggenhout : When Dante Met Virgilio : live version at Radio Panik
Christophe Albertijns, Thomas Olbrechts, Willy Van Buggenhout : at Les Bains
Hotzeniebotsze : The Ticklish Object
Goyvaerts - Morgan - Van Buggenhout : Burial Gounds
The modular synthesizer is a type of synthesizer, usually analogue, consisting of separate specialized modules. The modules are not hardwired together but are connected together, usually with patch cords or a matrix patching system, to create a patch. The voltages from the modules may function as (audio) signals, control voltages, or logic conditions.
There are three basic kinds of modules: source, processor and logic. The basic modular functions are as: signal, control, logic/timing. Outputs are an electricvoltage.
There exist many different types and sub-types of modules – even modules with the same basic function will have different inputs, outputs and controls on various models. There are some standards which manufacturers followed for their range of synthesizers, such as 1V/oct; however, connecting synthesizers from different manufacturers may require cables with different kinds of jacks.
Some standard modules found on almost any modular synth are: sources - characterized by an output, but no signal input; it may have control inputs:
- VCO – Voltage Controlled Oscillator, a continuous voltage source, which will output a signal whose frequency is a function of the settings. In its basic form these may be simple waveforms (most usually a square wave or a sawtooth wave, but also includes pulse, triangle and sine waves), however these can be dynamically changed through such controls as sync, frequency modulation, and self-modulation.
- Noise source - A source that outputs a random voltage. Common types of noise offered by modular synthesizers include white, pink, and low frequency noise.
- LFO - A Low Frequency Oscillator may or may not be voltage-controlled. It may be operated with a period anywhere from a fortieth of a second to several minutes. It is generally used as a control voltage for another module. For example, modulating a VCO will produce frequency modulation, and may create vibrato, while modulating a VCA will produce amplitude modulation, and may create tremolo, depending on the control frequency. The rectangular wave can be used as a logic / timing / trigger function.
- EG - An envelope generator is a transient voltage source. A trigger in the presence of a gate, applied to an Envelope Generator produces a single, shaped voltage. Often configured as ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) it provides a transient voltage that rises and falls. It can be triggered by a keyboard or by another module in the system that produces a rapidly rising trigger in the presence of a gate. Usually it controls the amplitude of a VCA or the center frequency of a VCF, but the patchable structure of the synthesizer makes it possible to use the envelope generator to modulate other parameters such as the frequency or pulse width of the VCO. Simpler EGs (AD or AR) or more complex (DADSR—Delay, Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) are sometimes available.
Processors - characterized by a signal input and an output; it may have control inputs.
- VCF - Voltage Controlled Filter, which attenuates frequencies below (high-pass), above (low-pass) or both below and above (band-pass) a certain frequency. VCFs can also be configured to provide band-reject (notch), whereby the high and low frequencies remain while the middle frequencies are removed. Most VCFs have variable resonance, sometimes voltage-controlled.
- VCA - Voltage Controlled Amplifier, is usually a unity-gain amplifier which varies the amplitude of a signal in response to an applied control voltage. The response curve may be linear or exponential. Also called a two-quadrant multiplier.
- RM - Ring modulator - Two audio inputs are utilized to create sum and difference frequencies while suppressing the original signals. Also called a four-quadrant multiplier or balanced modulator.
- Mixer - a module that adds voltages.
- Slew limiter - is a very-low frequency lowpass filter which slows down changes in voltage. This can be used to create glide or portamento between notes.
- S&H - Sample and hold, is usually used as a control-voltage processor. Depending upon the design, usually an ascending edge (trigger), captures the value of the voltage at the input, and outputs this voltage until the trigger input reads another voltage and repeats the process.
- Sequencer, is a compound module which produces a sequence of voltages, usually set by adjusting values on front panel knobs. Basic sequencers will be stepped by a trigger being applied to the trigger input. More complex designs may have the sequencer step forwards or backwards, or only run for a limited number of stages.
- Custom Control Inputs - It is possible to connect any kind of voltage to a modular synthesizer as long as it remains in the usable voltage range of the instrument, usually -15V to +15V.
Modular synthesizers can be bulky and expensive. Reproducing an exact patch can be difficult or next to impossible. In the late 1970s, modular synthesizers started to be largely supplanted in pop music by highly integrated keyboard synthesizers, racks of MIDI-connected gear, and samplers. However, there continues to be a loyal following of musicians who prefer the physically patched approach, the flexibility and the sound of traditional modulars. Since the late 1990s,[when?] there has been a resurgence in the popularity of analog synthesizers aided by physical standardization practices, an increase in 'retro' gear and interest, decreased production costs and increased electronic reliability and stability, the rediscovered ability of modules to control things other than sound, and a generally heightened education through the development of virtual synthesis systems such as MAX/MSP, Pd and Reaktor etc.