Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Tip IX : A-119 As a Clock Generator

A quick tip that i 'borrowed' from the Yahoo Doepfer A-100 User Group is this next one:

It could happen that you run out of MIDI or other signal-converters to synchronize your A-100 system.
If you have a free channel out on your soundcard you can use the A-119 Ext. Input / Envelope Follower to produce some kind of clock signal as an alternative.

To do this you should create a channel in your favorite sequencer/ sampler/ sound-card that sends out 16th notes of some short sounds like a rim-shot, snare,claves or woodblock for example.
The A-119 can simply turn this audio-signal into a (steady) gate signal, which can be multiplied/divided and used throughout your A-100 system.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from PatchPierre

PatchPierre wishes all the regular and occasional readers of my blog a very merry Christmas!
I am having a little writing-break these days, so here's an old video this time;

Usually i am not a huge fan of those free-running modular synth- patches, especially the noisey ones, but this video (by YouTube user belempa1) definitely has some musical value... and ehhh what a nice rack! ;-)

Video: Doepfer Monster Modular 2

" This is a patch that i always wanted, a dreamy sound like that from Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze.
A single oscillator; Audio Frequency Generator Livewire, has a strong personality and the quality is superb.
The A-149-1 and 2 Doepfer, which incorporates some features of the "Source of Uncertainty" by Don Buchla, are the essential elements of this patch. This patch in a loop without any external effect." *

roughly translated

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A-132 Dual VCA

Module A-132-1 Dual Low Cost VCA contains two simple voltage controlled amplifiers, each with a linear response.
They are most suitable for controlling the level of all kinds of control voltages like LFO or ADSR amount,  Joystick or Wheels voltage etc.

In non-critical situations though, these VCAs can also be used to control audio signals, and i have to say it still sounds pretty good; audio controlled by an ADSR or Ribbon voltage through this module.
Amplification is controlled by the sum of the voltages patched into the two CV inputs.

Although these 'Dual' modules are small and don't have many other controls (like knobs or switches), they are very useful low-cost solutions for your amplification needs...

They are cheaper (two-for-the-price-of-one) than the A-130/131 VCA's so you could consider using one of these in your next setup if you are on a budget or want to spare valuable rack-space...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

CD-Tip VI : More Electronic Music by Badings - Henk Badings

Henk Badings is still pretty unknown to a lot of us, but he was a classical-schooled Dutch composer/ engineer who was born in 1907 and passed away in 1987.

He had been composing since his youth, but after the 2nd World War he discovered (early) electronic and tape-music.
From 1956 until 1963 he worked with other Dutch electronic music pioneers like Dick Raaijmakers (who declined Stanley Kubrick's request to make the Clockwork Orange soundtrack)  en Tom Dissevelt in the acclaimed Philips NatLab.

He has written symphonies, concerto's, electronic and film music in his life, but this 2CD-set contains 5 of his most important electronic works.
Did they already "partly cover Badings' Electronic Music on the Popular Electronics Boxset (Basta 3091412), here's the best of the rest, to say so" (so not containing tracks that were already on THESE CD's that i reviewed earlier)

Fans that like Wendy Carlos, other NatLab CD's that i posted and such will probably like this collection of weird and sometimes dreamy, well composed soundscapes and even the more progressive electronic poetry-slam track "Dialogues for Man and Machine" with lyrics by Dutch singer/poet Ramses Shaffy

  Capriccio (1959) for violin and 2 sound tracks - Henk Badings by Basta Music

More info and tracklisting HERE
Published by Basta Music
Cat. Nr.: 3091 722
A more comprehensive list of all his works can be found HERE (in Dutch)
- also see

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Raul Pena's 12 Days of Modular (Complete Playlist)

Raul Pena just finished a new video series for the upcoming holidays.
It's called the 12 days of Modular, so he posted one video a day for 12 days,
themed around Modular Synthesis and sound.
Very nice demonstrations of Sound Sources and Modulation, accompanied by waveform views.
"Good for seeing wave-forms, annoying the neighbors, or lots of other uses."
No talking, just sound. Sound and Video by Raul Pena

As always feel free to leave feedback (on his YouTube playlist, not here...)

Full Playlist : 12 Days of Modular / Parts 1 - 12 /
                                      Total length 29 minutes and 36 seconds

Please take some time to fill out Raul's short survey regarding information, suggestions for future videos. 
(no sales or money involved) 

Just information that will help guide the interest/content of the videos.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

150th PatchPierre Post

Woooooot! ...all over again. :-)
My 150th post already, who would have thought that?
I didn't expect to still be able to post every 3 to 4 days, because i thought there wasn't much to blog about anymore, but it looks like i was wrong...
Okay, my posts are not always very long and pretty basic (so far), but that is the whole point of this blog; 'basic A-100 -news, -tips, -patches, sound-examples and other general (Eurorack analog modular) synthesizer info', for all modular synthesizer enthusiasts...

I found a good schedule to write now; when i am in the mood, a good part of my Sunday afternoons is spent on writing 2 or 3 posts and if there is any news (new video's / news from the forums / new thoughts) i try to fit them in between the 'regular' posting schedule.

The traffic-numbers are still going up, but slowly; I expect to reach 3000 page-views this or next month (was around 1700 last May, at the moment of my 100th post, and around 1000 in October last year).
The visitors come from 102 different counties, and it feels like my blog is slowly changing into some kind of Doepfer A-100 archive, which is also very cool.
I hope my numbers will keep on growing, but i'm not yet sure how to do that and where i could promote my site some more.
If you have an idea on how i could do this feel free to let me know, and feel free to let the whole world know about my blog... of course...
Spam it where you can ;-)

I must say i was very pleased to see Raul Pena's amazing A-100 tutorial video's popping up this summer.
Great video's that were very informative and clearer than i could ever have written for you in English.
It did save me the time to write about some hard to explain modules, like the A-188 for example...
Also check out his 12 days of Modular series HERE

So what can you expect in my next 50 posts?
I haven't even written about all the modules that i own, so you will see a bit more of that, even some more short reviews of the simple basic modules.
Sadly i don't have a big budget to invest in new modules at the moment.
A few more synth-books are on my book-shelf that i will write about.

Starting next year the CD-Tip section of the blog will include some more 'classic synthesizer albums', instead of the how-to-, sample- and more off-beat CD-tips i posted so far.
Although i am not a professional CD-reviewer i would like to let you know what CD's i find worth listening to.
Think of 70's and early 80's albums like "Cyborg" by Klaus Schulze, "Switched on Bach" by Wendy Carlos and Tomita's "Pictures at an Exhibition" or "The Planets".
I guess i should not name more now, but if you have any suggestions please leave a comment below.

Thank you all again for your feedback / re-tweets / +1's and Facebook likes so far.
I'm looking forward to write my next 50 posts...

(also check my 50th post from December 7, 2010,
                                          and my 100th post from May 22, 2011)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Booktip XI - Das grosse Buch zum A-110 Modular Synthesizer (in German Language)

A very interesting book by Andreas Krebs is almost out... although it is (still) only available in the German language.
The author has been working with analog (and other) synthesizers for around 30 years and has already written and maintained a pretty impressive blog.
His " Big Book to the Doepfer A-100 Modular-Synthesizer" will be available at the end of 2011/Now

In 320 pages he systematically goes through the most interesting modules in full detail and suggests unusual patches from his 'trick-book'
The book, illustrated with over 400 images, is nice for starters and also very interesting for the more advanced users.
Check out the table of contents HERE (pdf) and some preview pages HERE (pdf)

It is confirmed that an English version of this book is also in the making, but i guess it will take some time before that will be released...
I think i'll just wait for the English version...

Release date : early December 2011
Price: Euro 29,90 € plus shipping
Find more info and ordering details at:
German version available via Doepfer in early 2012

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A-130 + A-131 Voltage Controlled Amplifiers

A Voltage Controlled Amplifier ( VCA or variable-gain amplifier) is an electronic amplifier that varies its gain depending on an incoming control voltage (or CV).
It is one of the most basic building blocks for a modular synthesizer.
Find more on this on Wikipedia.
Modules A-130 and A-131 are very simple VCA's that can be found in most basic Doepfer systems.

For audio signals, you would normally use the exponential VCA (A-131), and for control voltages the linear VCA (A-130), but it doesn't always have to be that way, though.

The amount of amplification of the VCAs is determined by the voltage at the CV input and the position of the gain control, which sets the overall gain in the system.
The VCA has two audio inputs, each with an attenuator.
They are amplified by the combination of the gain and the two CV controls.

The old versions of A-130/131 (those with CEM3381/CEM3382, which are actually 2 VCA's on one chip*) are not able to process slowly varying control voltages (AC coupled in/output).
The newer versions of A-130/131 (those with CA3080) are able to process even slowly varying control voltages (DC coupled in/outputs).

*it might be worth investigating these a bit more for a future DIY treatment

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Most Wanted Update - MSY2 Module for A-100 System

Old Version of the MSY2,
the newer ones are in black
Great news...

It looks like the idea that i posted in December 2010 for some kind of extended version of an MSY2 module for the A-100 wasn't that bad.

In the Yahoo Doepfer A-100 Usergroup Dieter Doepfer recently announced that they "...are working on a modular version of the MSY2 with some additional features ( USB interface, several outputs with different clock dividing factors and polarity and some more )."

The MSY2 MIDI-to-SYNC/Clock Interface can be used to convert Midi clock into analog clock signals.

There is no release date or price available so far.