Synth has become the main arena for sonic experimentation in electronic music—and beyond.
Modular synthesis shares a long history, let me make it easy for yall, starting with modular synth is not the easy, i mean you gotta take care of lot of stuff, specifically what kinda knobs you got and what happens when you gonna Fiddle the knob here and there.
The audio manipulation possibilities of modular synthesis are endless and trust me once you understand each control or lets say get an idea then you can totally go nuts and create super cool sounds.
Modular synthesis can be termed as an open-ended approach to synthesis in which multiple modules are interconnected using patch cables, see if you have a virtual setup then the patch cable will be virtual , but if you are using hardware then you gotta buy some patch cables to connect these modules with each other and create a signal flow.
Each of the Digital signal processing module is specifically designed to carry out a single synthesis function, allowing them to be patched into any part of the control or audio signal path, thus enhancing flexibility and modularity, multiple digital signal processing modules are connected in a random fashion totally based on what you decide.
Let say you have few modules it can be a delay module, reverb module, ADSR module, flanger module , sin oscillator etc etc and then you just have to connect them in a way that the input passed through a system and gives you an output, now once you do it the input and output are linked to the system, i mean if you have a certain in-out you can easily get a certain output, and if you want something else then just change the patch cables here and there and now you got a new system and new set of output.
Take it in a simple way you got SIN wave input now pass it to different modular units you have, it can be anything until and unless you go to an in and out in them, connect all the ins and outs together in a series or parallel way totally depends on you and then make a clean signal flow which result to an output, if you mess around without knowing what the heck each modular unit do then you will not be able to understand what the heck in happening.
I am not a big fan of this setup but whenever i have used them in studios i always understand each of the modules real well, then decide a signal flow on a piece of paper, i usually design 3-4 patch config on paper and then just use em , tweak the parameters of each module and try to get the right sound design that i want, i mean take a horizontal and vertical approach towards it.
Synths weren’t quite considered instruments way back then. they were operated by geeks with big nerdy glasses but now as you see with the help of cheap ass hardware and software everyone has a freaking synth, not everyone but at least who ever wanna buy it.
Synth technology has improved tremendously since back then , organizations like ARP realized that most musicians would set up their signal in a way they feel like and this is quite obvious because everyone has a certain sound in his/her mind.
Lot of synth are pre patched i mean the connection between the modules are made already and that kinda makes the job easy, i mean i am a fan of these kinda synth because along with synth i use sound board and drum machine and that can be lot of stuff during live situation and anyways my job is not to look geeky on stage but to play whatever i feel like.
- Mixing and matching modules isn’t easy it can be bit complex, so it will be great it you Stick to integrated synths for more practical synthesis duties and let the modular be more about experimentation .
- Mixing and matching modules can be a complex task and trust me it is, i mean lot of patch cable here and there , that is why i choose integrated synths for pragmatic live experience and i use modular for the experimental purpose or to design a crazy sound
- Leverage polyphony as much as you can but dont make it a habit , i mean a single sin wave can create magic if you know what you wanna do with it.
- I prefer digital modules all the time, just because of the price factor and the ease of use, plus they all come up with great software integration.
Make Effects, control devices and voltage manipulators your best friends in the synth world they will be doing majority of the magic for you .
A kick ass sequencer is the name of the game, step sequencer are the new yes, or i mean have always been a yes, but the point is sequencing is what drives soul to the synth game.
Be creative, for me modular synth is like a canvas so many options to choose from i mean you just can geek out whole day and in the end you may or may not find the sound you are looking for.