Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

For discussion of the Voltage Modular synthesis ecosystem.
19hz
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 13, 2022 6:24 pm

Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by 19hz » Thu Jan 13, 2022 7:07 pm

I have the MRB https://store.cherryaudio.com/modules/lowpass-gate, which sounds great, and I have run the Arturia Easel VST inside Voltage Modular which is OK - but of course is not same as having module emulations. I have been using existing modules to patch together an envelope that is looping but also gives an 'End of Cycle' trigger, or making 'Complex Oscillator' by patching two together for example and have found the ARP/ Moog step sequencers useful.

Any recommendations for modules or techniques to emulate Buchla style?

ColinP
Posts: 275
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by ColinP » Thu Jan 13, 2022 7:50 pm

Forgive me for shamelessly plugging my own modules but the AHR Generator might be of interest...

https://store.cherryaudio.com/modules/ahr-generator

Also maybe the Dual VCA...

https://store.cherryaudio.com/modules/dual-vca-2
Adroit Synthesis

MRBarton
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by MRBarton » Sat Jan 15, 2022 1:35 am

Please forgive the negative vibe of this post, but I'm going to tell you why you haven't seen any Buchla-esque modules from me. I'm not a fan of the Buchla signal paradigm, and if you're going to emulate a Buchla module, I think you'd have to respect it otherwise it ain't a Buchla. Namely, Don Buchla did something I don't like at all in that he separated what it means to be audio vs what it means to be a control signal. In true modular synth fashion, a signal is a signal is a signal and most synths make no distinction between audio and control. You can plug anything into anything. Buchla has audio on minijacks and CVs on bananas. In my opinion, this is just nuts. To make matters worse, the audio is fairly low level and AC (capacitor) coupled everywhere, whereas CVs are 0-10v DC. Nuts. A true Buchla module would have a hard time coexisting with VM modules.

And to quote Dr. Ostrow, "This thing runs counter to every known law of adaptive evolution."
Snaps to anyone that knows where that's from. No Googling allowed!

--mb

UrbanCyborg
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:23 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by UrbanCyborg » Sat Jan 15, 2022 7:39 am

Forbidden Planet, of course! BTW, love all your modules. The best.

ColinP
Posts: 275
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:46 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by ColinP » Sat Jan 15, 2022 6:22 pm

Hi Mark,

19hz said they were interested in Buchla-style techniques and modules rather than exact replicas. It seems a bit strange to criticise Buchla and then say that one must pay "respect" and make exact replicas warts and all.

I don't understand the whole fascination with emulations of 1970's technology. The designs and circuitry of the time really weren't some pinnacle nor the last word in synthesis.

Your points about signal levels, AC coupling and asymmetry between CV and audio are valid from an engineering POV but in practice how often do we use CV for audio or audio for CV? Apart from FM - which Buchla modules implement as an audio connection.

I'd interpret Buchla style synthesis as what we now call West Coast style. That's starting with simple waveforms and adding harmonic richness using things like FM and wave folding, simplifying things by using low-pass gates, focusing on voltage control of everything, using more avant garde control mechanisms.

All this in contrast with East Coast style that begins with harmonically rich signals and filters out the unwanted bits and then applies easy to control modulations that fit well with mainstream musical genres. Hence the VCO, VCF, VCA, EG, LFO model that's so familiar.

There isn't some either or situation. The recent popularity of West Coast approaches isn't a threat to East Coast style.

We should embrace everything and feel free to modify and push boundaries rather than try to recreate some golden age that never really existed.
Adroit Synthesis

Steve W
Posts: 228
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:55 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by Steve W » Sat Jan 15, 2022 8:24 pm

I appreciate the initial question, the discussion points, and the various points of view. Back "in the day," I worked on a Moog (early '70s) and am absolutely delighted that I stumbled onto VM and now there's an amazing VM900 with more modules than I had access back then that I can now use to recapture the creative sensibilities I had back then with a digital Moog clone in the privacy of my living space. Much kudos to MRB for his role in making the VM900 happen!

The other day, I posed the question to an on-line acquaintance of the past 10 years or so who started working with a Buchla a few years before I started with the Moog and got some ideas to use in my own contemporary electronic musicmaking. And with ColinP's AHR Generator (which I hooked up to his CV Watcher yesterday), I can also see potential for the kinds of things I am exploring.

I only learn of this East Coast/West Coast controversy (or competition) within the past ten years or so. For decades I had no idea that there was a war going on as a number of websites seem to imply.

So, as a child of the '60s and as a pluralist, I say to you all, "Make Music, Not War!" ;-)

To the module makers, I'd like to I think there's enough room for people to make high caliber modules of the kind each feels most comfortable making. It is interesting to know the rationale for their choices.

MRBarton
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by MRBarton » Sat Jan 15, 2022 9:15 pm

How about I'm going to agree with everybody because I actually do, and thanks for all the kind words. I was just posing my dislike for the Buchla signal paradigm. I totally forgot that I did a Buchla module already (Lowpass Gate -- thanks for reminding me). With that one, you don't run into any paradigm problems because it's really just a VCF/A in function. When Cynthia Webster and I were doing the hardware Zeroscillator, it took an extra circuit board and 3 design iterations to accommodate the signals. We wound up with a mini and a banana at every position and lots of opamps to translate the signal levels. The ZO is a prime example of why the separation of signals is a bad idea.

East Coast / West Coast is such a gross generalization which has acquired a modern definition of its own. There was plenty of West going on in the East and vice versa. From the beginning there was lots of avant garde in New York and lots of imitative synthesis in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I try to never use the terms, but I definitely know it when I hear it.

And the snaps are awarded to UrbanCyborg! Forbidden Planet -- that's about as West Coast as you can get, yet it was created in Greenwich Village, NY by a wacky beatnick married couple.

To end on a high note let's just say, if you want Buchla module recreations, that might happen, but if you want Buchla-esque modules, that could definitely happen. Also it should be mentioned that the VM store has zillions of Buchla-esque modules already. There's modules with all kinds of functions Buchla could only dream about, but they're in the Buchla style in that they are "alternative", and that's West Coast.

schoekah
Posts: 180
Joined: Wed Oct 16, 2019 3:24 am

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by schoekah » Sat Jan 15, 2022 10:31 pm

MRBarton wrote:
Sat Jan 15, 2022 9:15 pm
Also it should be mentioned that the VM store has zillions of Buchla-esque modules already. There's modules with all kinds of functions Buchla could only dream about, but they're in the Buchla style in that they are "alternative", and that's West Coast.
Anyone care to play the module sommelier, and write an article or video leading us on a guided tour of some lesser-known gems of the Voltage Modular store?

UrbanCyborg
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2021 9:23 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by UrbanCyborg » Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:34 am

How about Zeroscillator, Digital Vocoder, JK's Sample Swarm, , FM Station, eFemerizer, Harmony II, and Oscillatorro?

Aside to Mark: I'm guessing you like Forbidden Planet a lot, given that you also use Robbie's side of the dress discussion in one of the presets in MRB Laboratory Presets 2. The snaps were tasty.

MRBarton
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Looking for 'Buchla esque' modules...

Post by MRBarton » Mon Jan 17, 2022 3:53 am

UrbanCyborg wrote:
Mon Jan 17, 2022 2:34 am
Aside to Mark: I'm guessing you like Forbidden Planet a lot, given that you also use Robbie's side of the dress discussion in one of the presets in MRB Laboratory Presets 2. The snaps were tasty.
Yep, always been a fave. Aside from it being a great sci-fi movie, the electronic soundtrack put the hook in me early and it's amazing how well it stands up today. My baby brother got hit even harder though: the-robotman.com
If you have a few tens of thousands of spare dollars laying around, he can fix you up.

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