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So this is the year I get to renovate my spare room (supposedly) into a full-blown studio. I'm going to be going 500 Series rack for most of the recording setup, and I'd like to have a small Eurorack hardware synth setup as well--I figured I could start learning the basics with Behringer products since they're easily attainable/don't break the bank, and upgrade if it's something I'm actually able to utilize in a manner I hear in my head.
Mostly I want to do ambient soundscapes, swells, pulses, things like that. Sure, I can do all of that with software synths (and currently do), but there's just something about having a hardware setup on my desktop that appeals to the gearhead in me.
That said, outside of Andrew Huang's (and a few other Youtubers) videos on the basics, I'm as a newborn babe when it comes to this topic. I've a few articles pulled up and am reading about what I'd need, but I figured "Ask the community" would also be a fast way to get the "You need these things at a bare minimum to even make sounds like what you want."
Thank you for your time!
Stuff like this: https://youtu.be/_nxh1Ag9zNc
Very relaxed, calming. From my own work, I use a lot of string type sounds, pads, and drones. That I have actually published where people can hear it: https://youtu.be/-YRUfi8ukok
Stuff that you can have playing in the background and just kind of lean your head back, close your eyes, and drift off with. If that makes any kind of sense at all?
Your definition of ambient vibes is very similar to mine, solusash :)
I've been thinking on this for last few days... there is a lot to unpack here.
I don't have it on my EB, but I do also have a non-trivial amount of $$$ invested in Eurorack gear... it's just on loan to a friend and only about half of the module are in the EB database, so I'm just sort of ignoring it for now.
I'd be shocked if any of the pad tones in that chillwave mix were made with eurorack, and the second vid is explicitly software.
but, dreamy ambience can still be achieved in eurorack, of course, it's just that this type of soundscape isn't necessarily this format's bread and butter. The biggest limiting factor is polyphony, as eurorack is a largely-monophonic endeavor, as I'm sure you're aware.
Some examples of what you can do with several thousands of dollars in Eurorack modules:
In the first link, pads are coming from the Qu-bit Chord module. In the second, the pads are coming from external hardware and being processed by Euro.
I own the Qu-Bit chords module. It's one of the very few modules that can spit out 4 voices arranged into chords on its own, but I wouldn't want to have to rely on this as my only source of synth chords. Needless to say, it doesn't sound like it does in the video on its own, the Chords signal is going through a number of modules in that example.
Now here's what you can do for $600 US with a single Korg WaveState, or any similar wavetable synth that wasn't designed to be as rough-sounding as possible:
What about going with a desktop/standalone hardware synth as your primary sound source, to get true polyphony and patch storage, and utilizing as small Eurorack setup as an FX processor loaded with fun stuff like Mutable Instruments Clouds and Strymon Magneto?
Hey mate. Sliding in to put out some info. Enjoying a cold one after a long day of work. Crazy 4 AM - 11 PM today. Listening to some cool Juno-60 arps through my DT-880 headphones. Quite my daily routine for some time now... when I need to recharge some cosmic energy through my ears into my system. Anyway. Let's delve right into it.
A little disclaimer - everything I write here comes from my subjective tastes in music and my alignment to certain types of sounds. Everyone has different tastes and that is great.
I started Eurorack Modular about 2 years ago I assume... I was quite against it since coming from a vintage/software background. I run a hybrid setup these days to combine the best from both worlds - ie - digital for the ease of recording/editing/mixing + quality reverb/delay FX... I quite like the Valhalla DSP stuff. I am one of the early supporters of Sean. His stuff is absolutely mind blowing. Probably my go-to reverb/delay in the box unless I am using Lexicon or Eventide etc... in outboard form. I like running my stuff through reel to reel or tape machines to give it a little bit more vibe but that's me.
My current setup is fairly straight forward. I am running my vintage external synths/drum machines/acoustic instruments with a pick-up and line out through a combination of outboard rack FX, guitar pedals which I like into a modular eurorack environment through a module that converts these signals to suitable levels that can be run through the "very hot" and "strong" modular signal chain. Then it goes through all kinds of things, you name it - delays, reverbs, distortion, VCA's, chorus, modulation fx, etc., etc. into output module that converts eurorack signal to XLR which then hits a small, compact external stereo mix which is then being sent into a mix bus chain - analog EQ's, compressors, enhancers... hard to name it all really. Anyway, I have found that having an external analog compressor to tame the peaks a little bit and do some footwork before it hits your converters (A/D) really helps to smooth out the output from modular and make it more rounded and balanced.
One thing to take into account is that this will be quite an expensive journey and I am not going to advocate for certain brands and manufacturers. If you want to know more about Behringer's stuff in this regard head to muff wiggler and check out the threads for yourself so you have a better understanding of what you are buying into. I personally like some of their offerings. The eurorack case they make is serving me well so far and it is quite compact. For studio use pretty great. Pricepoint was neat. If you want some other case then there are many other options with good PSU solutions that offer a lot of protection, filters, juice to keep you going until you fill the whole case out.
When it comes to ambient music. That is what I do mainly these days because I quite enjoy it... including drones and more. You will need a lot of VCA, utility, analog logic modules which are usually quite overlooked and which can help you maximize what you already have or will have inside your system. There are also a lot of useful accessories that will help you make more out of what you have. So for instance I have this really organic 8x analog LFO module x 4 in my systems which I can use through a simple splitter with some attenuation and multiply 1 of these lfos by 5 for instance. Send it wherever I want in the signal path. Quite handy for control or to make patches more evolving and always fresh as the time flies by your very eyes.
I have some oscillators and sound generation modules as well but mostly I have redesigned my whole eurorack experience into a "stereo fx box" with a lot of modulation options down the line.
At the end of this "post", I will enclose my current racks I am using. Not all but you can get the idea, check what I am using, maybe you will like some of it but I advise you to make your own research into the sound you want so you can achieve it! Got too many modules now so I will be buying another case to fit it all in. Buying constantly. Second hand, from vendors or direct but it can get expensive in time. I do not regret a single purchase though. Better than investing in crack! But yeah this is "euro crack". :-D
I will be writing a long article for my client in the upcoming days about the choice of a good eurorack case/PSU option for starters soon so you can hit me up and once it is up on their website you can check it out for some good, useful info. It will be in detail containing quite useful information that will help many in their journey. Moreover coming from experience and all the issues you can run into. Great to invest a little bit more and get quality!
It is defo cheaper to get an external hw synth to produce the sounds because polyphony and voices can get very expensive if you want to do proper polyphony, not just paraphony or pseudo polyphony. The implementation of all stated has its own benefits, sound, and vibe though. I use all of the methods when I am looking for a particular vibe.
And yes. You will need a lot of VCA modules to keep it all well fed and going!
Not sure if these links will work but they should. There are some duplicates. No time to properly arrange so I am really sorry.
Just my personal input - if there is one module you need to get to really crank up the stereo width to max then it would be - https://feedback-modules.myshopify.com/products/106-chorus. I currently own 1... will be getting like 4 to 8 in time. I kinda like running my Juno-6/60 or other synths with built in chorus on I into one of these through Instant Lofi Junky... the point being... if you enjoy chorus sounds. I never did and once I got Juno-6 everything changed, lol!
Have a blast and wish you that everything will be well!
I will be adding more gear to my profile here as well but too little time. I focus on what matters most. Like spreading knowledge. Cheers.
there's a real world of difference in how I would go about creating the sounds in your first and second examples.... the first one is more my style and I wouldn't bother with my semimodular stuff. I would use a mix of vintage gear and my prologue and peak probably.... and really lean on the 2 modern polysynths' effects sections and then run all the synths I sued into some modulation or pitch shifting and reverb on a bus, probably lexicon and/or an spx90. The 2nd one I would approach with modular stuff, sure. In all analog you can't go wrong with a neutron or two, maybe a minibrute2 for east coast; and for westcoast I like pittsburgh modular, microvolt or the voltage lab maybe,. Others like the 0coast, I prefer the microvolt having used both. Then You will want your weird stuff in a small case with pwoer supply. Go small to start, it gets expensive. I highly recommend the mutable instruments digital oscillator designs like plumes etc..... and you'll want some utility modules and maybe a weird filter like dave rossum's z plane for eurorack? And don't forget a wicked reverb for those sounds like the eurorack format EQD stuff :-)
my .02, I'm by no means mr modular.... I dabble, but in mono I'm way happier with my beloved ARPs... I tend to be a poly guy, but I play keys.
Hahaha. You know what I am talking about then. :-)) - I kind of enjoy sending it through a lot of modulation/reverb/delay fx... currently I have about 32 delays both analog and digital in the signal chain. If done right it is quite useful without ending with an output that is overkilled.
Totally. I am a huge fan of analog filters in eurorack as you can get a lot of different flavors... recently started getting duplicates so I can run a lot of it in stereo. Quite great to sculpt the sound a little bit more or when you have a "character" filter - great to add some more vibe to og vintage sounds. Works especially great for drums and vintage drum machines.
I haven't forgotten about this, I've just been in and out of the doctor the past few days--I apologize. I'm hoping to have a few days coming up here soon I can sit down and read over everything to properly reply.
Again, I apologize, final legs of reconstructive surgery on my hand, so pretty intense on the physical therapy and the resting bits. And I do thank all of you for taking the time to respond!
:guitar: :metal: :notes:
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