Sunday, January 29, 2012

Eurorack Modular Guitar Filter Fuzz LFO

I love the Eurorack DIY scene.
Although there are a lot of video's without any clear explanation, some video's are simply amazing.
Youtube user mmdroid has put guitar-strings in his Eurorack.
Electric guitar-strings use the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals.

It looks like 2 Dual-Coil pickups were used in this project.
Double-coiled or "humbucker" pickups were invented as a way to reduce or counter the unwanted ambient hum sounds. 
Humbuckers have two coils of opposite magnetic and electric polarity. 
This means that electromagnetic noise hitting both coils should cancel itself out.

Video: 19zoll Gitarre

" modular guitar filter fuzz lfo "
Uploaded by YouTube user mmdroid

Friday, January 27, 2012

Video Synthesis - A-136 Solarization Tests

Besides for audio, some Doepfer (and other (analog modular) synthesizer modules can be used for other purposes too.
For example this A-136 Distortion/Waveshaper in combination with an LZX analogue modular video synthesizer.

LZX Visionary (by LZX Industies) is a line of EuroRack format synthesizer modules designed for creating and manipulating video and images.
Their range consists of 9 different modules so far: a Color Video Encoder, Video Sync Generator, Video Waveform Generator, Triple Video Fader & Key Generator, Video Blending Matrix, Voltage Interface I, Video Ramps, Triple Video Processor and a Voltage Bridge.

It looks like a very versatile range of products that will probably make a lot of video-editors happy.
For modular synth-geeks the layout, functions etc. looks quite familiar with what we do, and i like the idea of video-mixing, LFO-controlled color-swapping, and adding other effects to video with Eurorack modules.
The possibility of adding synthesizer modules that were intended for audio to this system is IMO just brilliant, i can imagine what different LFO's, noise generators and other modulators/waveshapers or perhaps a video sampler will do with video.
The LZX webpage is full with interesting info, basic patch-examples, video's and links to other resources.

I couldn't find a lot of info on the video below, but it is quite new and i found it interesting enough to post it here on my blog.

Video: A-136 Solarization Tests*

" Sean Hannan processes video through the Doepfer A-136 Audio/CV shaping module."
*video has no audio

For more info on video-synthesis check out

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A-143-2 Quad ADSR - Power to the Quads!

Good value-for-money and serious rackspace-savers are Doepfer's Quad modules.
These modules offer four (-duh-) identical but individual modulation sources in one module.

My A-143-2 Quad ADSR is at the heart of my A-100 system.
With 4 envelope generators in one this is a very powerful module, and this is where the 3 individual gate outputs from my MAQ 16/3 come together.
Also see THIS post.

The Gate inputs of the units 2, 3 and 4 are normalled to the Gate input of unit 1, so Gate input 1 is connected to the switching contacts of the Gate input sockets fom submodule 2, 3 and 4 if no other input is connected.
With only one Gate signal applied to Gate input 1, it can be used to trigger all four sub-modules simultaneously.
A switch for each individual channel is available for switching between high, low and medium ranges.

All 4 sub-units have additional input sockets for Re-Trigger, but the re-trigger behaviour of the A-143-2 is slightly different compared to other envelope generators;
During the attack phase the envelope cannot be re-triggered or reset. (unlike the A-140 ADSR envelope, that envelope can be re-triggered while the gate is still open).

Each sub-unit also has three digital outputs (high/low) that sends a trigger signal at the End of Attack (EOA), End of Decay (EOD) and End of Release (EOR).
This is very useful if you want to daisy-chain the sub-modules to create more complex envelopes. (or even complete loops)
The envelope outputs are displayed with LEDs and the maximal envelope voltage (Attack/Decay reversal point) is about +8V.

The Quad series consists of the following Multiple modulation sources so far;
A-143-1 Quad AD, A-143-2 Quad ADSR 
A-143-3 Quad LFO
 (just released), A-143-9
VC Quadratu
re LFO and modules A-142-4 Quad Decay, plus Quad Amplifiers A-132-2 Quad VCA I and A-132-4Quad exp. VCA

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Controlling the Doepfer Modular Synthesizer with a Wiimote

I blogged about the Doepfer Mogli and gesture control earlier on this blog, but in 2007 it was already possible to control your A-100 with a Nintendo Wii Remote (or Wiimote) controller.

Video: Controlling Doepfer modular synth with a Wiimote

" This video is about controlling a modular synth with Nintendo's wiimote gamepad, using Doepfer A-100, Doepfer MCV24, Wiimote and computer.
Softwares used are Bluesoleil, Glovepie and Midi-ox.
This video is not an artistic demonstration but a technical explanation of this system (that can be used for making music ofc). "
Uploaded on Sept. 12, 2007 by YouTube user DamagedMeat

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Doepfer Mogli and Gesture Control

In 1993 Doepfer presented the Mogli MIDI Data Glove Controller, an alternative controller device that was based on a Nintendo Power Glove controller.
It had traditional NES controller buttons on the forearm as well as a program button and buttons labeled 0-9.

The complete Mogli set with Power Glove,
receivers,  Mogli interface box and adapters
There were two ultrasonic speakers (transmitters) in the glove and you had to put three ultrasonic microphones (receivers) around your TV monitor.
The ultrasonic speakers took turns transmitting a short burst (a few pulses) of 40 kHz sound and the system measured the time it took for the sound to reach the microphones.
A triangulation calculation was performed to determine the X, Y, Z location of each of the two speakers, which specified the yaw and roll of the hand.
It could also sense the bend of the individual fingers, the only dimension it couldn't calculate was the pitch of the hand, since the hand can pitch without moving the location of the two ultrasonic speakers.

The Power Glove was originally released in 1989 and was in general a critical and commercial failure.
Partly because of the lack of accuracy and the availability of games (for it's original use with the NES)

The Mogli interface box, Power Glove and adapters
In 1993 Doepfer introduced an external box that could receive the glove's data and convert it into MIDI signals.
The name Mogli stands for 'Midi Output GLove Interface'
The original Mogli interface box was equipped with MIDI in and MIDI out, and it had a red 3-digit LED display.
The display was needed to program the unit ( assign different function to the fingers, to the X/Y/Z coordinates, to the rotating angle and so on).

After a calibrating procedure the glove could be used in different controller modes.
The 'Virtual Play' mode was maybe the most attractive mode, in which could make you play a virtual keyboard in the free space.
In Direct Mode you could assign any movement to any MIDI controller, other modes were Gesture Mode (converting sign-language to MIDI controllers) Vector Mode (position sensing only) and Manipulation Mode (for manipulating incoming MIDI with the glove).

Although i am not the world's greatest electronics-guy i do have a feeling that the original Mogli converter box could be easily transformed into a version that sends Control Voltage and/or Gate signals.
Original Nintendo Power Glove
If you can find one, it will probably just work just fine with one of Doepfer's MIDI-to-CV modules, but you might not get the most out of all the glove's many functions.

The price of the system was 598 DM (i.e. about 300 Euro) for the ready built unit including a Nintendo power glove.
The kit version was 448 DM (i.e. about 225 Euro) incl. Nintendo power glove.
The control box only (without the glove) was 398 DM (i.e, about 200 Euro)
A kit version of the box was also available for just 258 DM (i.e. about 130 Euro)

The unit was available from March 93 until December 1995, but Doepfer had to stop the production because the Nintendo Power Glove was no longer available.
Around 350 units were made in total.
Interesting fact is that the Mogli was also used by Kraftwerk (on 'Pocket Calculator' and 'Music Non Stop') during their concert at the Brucknerhaus in Linz/Austria on the occasion of the ARS Electronica Festival for Art, Technology and Society in 1993.

Okay, i admit that the technology of the Power Glove might be outdated by now, but the idea of controlling sounds/patches with the move of your hand will always stay an interesting subject.
Roland is famous for its D-Beam technology since 1998.
The A-178 Theremin Control Voltage module (or the discontinued A-179 Light Controlled Voltage Source) definitely do not offer all the functionality of a glove like this.

However, i do think we will see some kind of gesture-control-trend coming up this year with the recently announced Kinect motion sensing input device by Microsoft, that was already available for the X-Box platform but that will soon be available for the Windows platform too.
I wonder how soon the first interesting gesture-controlled modular synth-video's will pop up on YouTube...

Find the Mogli's user-manual (in German language only) HERE
Please let me know if you have an English version, or else check the start of my translation project (work in progress).

* Many thanks to Dieter Doepfer for the additional info
Pictures by Gaiana via

Video by studentsmusic added March 1st, 2017:
Doepfer MOGLI Midi Glove (Rare - Vintage)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

SiteTip VI : Vintage Synth Explorer

Okay, many of you already know this site, and i linked to it many times.
If you want to know everything about classic synthesizers, you should really check out before you look any further.

For over 15 years (since 1996) the Vintage Synth Explorer has been providing a fast and easy way to learn about vintage synthesizers.

Their library contains over 750 synths, samplers and drum machines, and is updated regularly.
They claim to be the world's leading synthesizer resource and have grown to include modern digital synthesizers, analog emulators, soft-synths, plug-ins, and other forms of electronic musical instruments.

On this site you will find detailed descriptions and reviews, pictures, audio and video samples, technical specifications, lists of famous users, links and more!

Very nice are also the site's Interactive Timeline of Synthesizer history, that shows a timeline together with synths ordered by production-date and their Glossary of synthesizer terms.

Like i said before, the site is updated very regularly, with both classic and hard-to-find synthesizer-gems; Check out the list with their latest additions for example:
EKO EKOsynth P15Casio HT-3000Waldorf Microwave - RevisitedAlesis Fusion, EMS Synthi Sequencer 256, Casio CT-401 and the MAM ADX1

Don't forget to follow them on Twitter (@vintage_synth) to keep track of the site's latest updates, and/or like them on Facebook

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A-165 Dual Trigger Modifier

The A-165 Dual Trigger Modifier contains two separate and identical trigger modifiers for use with logical / digital levels.
In fact it works pretty similar to the A-175 Dual Voltage Converter, only this module works on Gates, Clock and Triggers.

Each half of this module enables signals, generated by the A-100, to communicate with other instruments (such as an external sequencer), or is simply used for reversing a trigger's polarity.
Whatever signal is patched into the input is inverted by the module, and fed out of the Inv. Out (inverted output) socket.
At the same time, a short trigger signal (of roughly 50 ms) is generated every time an edge of the trigger pulse is sensed (negative as well as positive).
This trigger signal is available at the +/- output.
Two LEDs show the level of signal available at the two outputs.

Because the original and inverted trigger signal are often both needed at the same time, it is possible to use these two inputs as a mini-multiple - using one of them to send the original trigger to another module.

The A-165 manual has a few interesting patch-examples, but i use it the most in combination with my A-160/A-161 Clock Sequencer/Divider combo to mess up my rhythms.

If you are only looking for simple trigger inverters, you might want to take a look at the A-166 Dual Logic module which also has two simple inverters, only minus the  +/- pulse that the A-165 has.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Booktip XII - How To Make A Noise by Simon Cann

Simon Cann is a musician and writer based in London. He is the author of a range of music-related and music business-related books and published this book in 2005. (my copy is the revised 2007 edition)
The book is " a comprehensive, practical guide to sound design and synthesizer programming techniques using subtractive (analog) synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, additive synthesis, wave-sequencing, and sample-based synthesis. "

Every function of a synthesizer gets discussed in this 278-page book, and the author shows practical uses for these building-blocks to make/recreate sounds.
The book is illustrated with many pictures and screen-shots from (software) synthesizers that i had/have never heard of, and that might be the only 'problem' that i have with this book.

In my opinion this book is a bit too much focused on Software synths and some of the sounds can only be created with these soft-synths.
For analog purists (like me) this can be a bit of a trouble, but nevertheless i enjoyed reading it and had fun trying out new patches.
I like the book a lot because it is stuffed with info, patch-ideas and other suggestions, but i advice beginners to start with the more basic synth-books. (check the BookTip section of this blog)

Published by Coombe Hill Publishing
Paperback   178 pages
ISBN10      0955495504
ISBN13      9780955495502

Click here if you want to get hold of the full free download of this book for your tablet or PC.

The author recently wrote 3 digital (not on paper) follow-ups to this book.
A video with more info on these 3 e-books can be found HERE
Find additional info/ ordering details at or
or follow him on Twitter:

Friday, January 06, 2012

Random Video: Doepfer A-100 Modular Madness 1 by Frequenzverschiebung

A new A-100 video that caught my eye today is this next one by YouTube user Frequenzverschiebung, simply called 'Doepfer A-100 Modular Madness 1'

" Random Doepfer A-100 patch, all movement controlled by two LFO modules (A-145, A-146) and noise, S&H (A-118, A-148), SSM2044 filter (A-105), ring mod (A-114), 2 VCO (A-110) and more.
Additional delay and reverb with software plugins ValhallaÜberMod and ValhallaRoom. "

Subscribe to his YouTube channel at

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Filters VI: A-122 24 dB Low Pass Filter VCF3

Module A-122 (VCF 3) is a voltage-controlled low-pass filter, which's circuitry uses a Curtis Electromusic chip (CEM3320), and sounds very similar to the classic Oberheim filter that was used in the OB8, OBX-a and Xpander synthesizers.
(and also in the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 and Roland SH-101)

Because of its different circuitry and controls, the A-122 has a considerably smooth but thin sound, different like the A-120 'Moog-like' filter and other Doepfer filters.
Also the way the resonance behaves is quite different.

Luckily this module does have Voltage Controlled resonance that cannot only be controlled manually, but by voltages as well, right up to self-oscillation.
In this case, the filter behaves like a sine wave oscillator.
In this oscillation mode, you can simply use the FCV1 input to contol the pitch because it also works on the 1V/ octave rule, like regular VCOs.

I love the sound of it, you can use it to make fat and smooth basses up to the squelchier TB-303 style sounds.
A very nice filter, but not on top of my favorite filters list.
PatchPierre rating: 7/10

Check out the short (and not too in-depth) demo that i shot earlier today:
Video: Doepfer A-122 VCF3 Demo

" Short Doepfer A-122 Demo by NetPierre
Starts with a sequenced bassline, generated by my Doepfer MAQ16/3 and Doepfer VCO A-110 (saw wave)
Slow LFO sinewave A-147 into QCV input - ADSR into VC2 input
Drums provided by an Elektron Machinedrum "

As the special circuit CEM3320 used in this module is no longer available the module was discontinued.
Doepfer recommends the A-106-6 XP VCF, that is based on the filter circuit of the Oberheim Xpander, as a replacement module.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

DIY Modular Case Ideas

There are many ways to house your (eurorack) modular synth, i wrote about the pre-manufactured options from Doepfer earlier, find that post HERE, but of course you can also try to build you own case.
There are many ways to make your own A-100/Eurorack case if you start out with just the basic rails and busboard, and you can make it as cheap or expensive as you can.

Check out a few ideas;
Wooden cabinets and side-panels are still very popular amongst (modular) synth enthusiasts.
These simple case standards for the pre-manufactured LC9 cases are very simple, and can be sooo useful Also check out the other great modular pictures on his site.
Matthew Goike (@Goiks) also has some nice wooden cabinets on display and for sale on his website:

...or do what Stretta did (or rather what his brother did), make a high-end wood/brushed aluminium cabinet with integrated LED-lights and some kind of ingenious integrated cable-tree-hanger-thingy.

Stretta's Modular cabinet, made out of wood and brushed aluminium

...with an eye for detail
On his blog he writes: "The basic criteria was to widen the six row monster base/monster case combination another rack width, creating a triple-wide configuration that is easy to reach across. The width of such a configuration is about the same a standard piano keyboard. The curved design brings the top row dow to a more reachable height. The foot print of the system isn't much wider than my previous configuration." ,and
" The 1512 gets its name from the amount of hp it houses. To put this in perspective, the 1512 puts 54U of rack space, all within an arms reach."
Find more pictures of this cabinet HERE
(pictures by )

Tony's Modular Toolcase
Tony Steventon's 'Modular in a Toolbox' case is also a very nice idea.
I personally like it's portability, plus the fact that you can travel with it without having to unpatch your whole system because the lid covers and protects all your patch-cables nicely.

Find his step-by-step building instructions at

Last but not least i find these custom side-panels for Dark Energy very cool. If you are handy, you could make something like this for your Dark Energy, Dark Time or Dark Matter, or try to find a pair of these on eBay.
Find more of these custom-made wooden side-panels at