My First Modular

March 2007

My goal for the year 2007 was to start with a modular synthesizer. Why? First because of a long time adoration which started some 30 years ago for the Moog Modulars. But in those days these synthesizers where way out of scope, moneywise that is. Second because I own a Doepfer MAQ16/3 and I am not satisfied with the realtime possibilities. I saw the Q960 from Synthesizers.com which seems to me as a fantastic sequencer, also because it is a replica of the old Moog 960 sequencer. But that sequencer does not send MIDI messages but control voltages. I first thought of buying the entry system from Synthesizer.com. I asked for a price quotation but it gets a bit pricy with the extra import tax.

Around 1980 I have expanded my Kawai 100-F with a couple of modules from the ETI and Elektuur magazines. My friend Wieb Klaver helped me with this because he had more knowledge of electronics than me. These modules were:

A picture of the expanded Kawai 100-F:

Kawai 100-F Expanded

A couple of years ago I have build back the Kawai to more or less the original state. And I still have those modules lying around so I thought, why not make a modular myself. This way I can experience relatively cheap if a modular synthesizer is something I like and if so, later expand it with DIY or commercial modules. In the meanwhile I have also purchased another Formant ADSR module and a 3 channel mixer, so I have enough modules for a basic modular synthesizer, something similar to the Synthesizers.com entry system. I also bought a Kenton Pro Solo MKII MIDI-->CV converter to be able to control the Modular from my MIDI keyboards.

An extensive building report of the modular synthesizer can be found at the Dutch Synthesizer Forum www.synthforum.nl. The link for the thread is My First Modular. Beware that the report is in Dutch.

September 2007

The state of the project is that all modules have been build but most of them have to be calibrated of trimmed. An AC-DC Mixer from Yusynth.net has been added to the modules. I also want to add a Ring Modulator on the Noise module.

Below you will find some pictures of the current state. The modules from the left to the right are:

 

My First Modular, Left

 

My First Modular, Right

 

My First Modular, Front

 

My First Modular, Leftside

 

October 2007

The Modular is ready and it is great fun to experiment with it. You can find some music made with the Modular in the 'New Music' section. Beneath you will find some pictures of the modules in the Modular.

The Modulars VCOs

 

The Modulars Noise and Mixer

 

The Modulars VCF and ADSR

 

The Modulars LFOs and AC/DC Mixer

 

The Modulars ADSR and VCA

 

Below a picture of how the Modular is placed right now. On top of the Modular from left to right the Creamware MiniMax ASB, the Doepfer MAQ16/3 with the Lexicon MPX-100 on top and the AKAI Head Rush E2. On the stool below the Kenton Pro Solo MKII, the Behringer VP1 phaser and the Behringer BCN44 MIDI controller. To the right from top to bottom the Korg 900PS, Clavia Nord Lead 1 and Akai AX80. On the desk the ZOOM RhythmTrak RT-323 and the Behringer MX 802A mixer.

The Modulars placement

 

And upfront.

The Modulars placement detail

 

A nice picture with a patched Modular.

The Modular patched