Eurorack is an exciting and enticing concept for many but the complexity and expensive cost of entry can be enough to turn many potential users away. There is also lots of confusion between what you can and can't do. Our advice to anyone trying to get into eurorack is see how it could fit into your existing setup, and just go for it!
Last week, I came upon an Arturia Microbrute and Drumbrute super cheap at a local synth swap. These little devices work really well together and are a great place to start with synths/drum machines. They're CV compatibility made me instantly want to make this system and in turn, this blog post and accompanying video.
One of my friends in the local synth community is interested in putting together a small eurorack system for processing his 303 acid boxes. The dude loves acid music and is obsessed with the 303 909 combo. I decided to make a little post and video inspired by him using the two new pieces of gear I had acquired.
Using a bare bones set up I put together something that was a blast to play with and that had a bunch of options for interaction. Had I spent more time, I probably could have made a bunch of videos with this set up, changing the routing and what controls what, but I had a blast doing what I did.
I learned that you don't need anything crazy to have some fun. I scrounged two adapters to get the 1/8th inch signal into the interface and just used the headphone outputs of the MB and DB to get audio into the modular. I didn't need any extra gain as the devices provided plenty, and no attenuation on my outs as the interface handled the signal beautifully. The weird thing is that in the video, it looks like my volume is really low, but that's because I wasn't using the master output. In fact, my HP out level was almost maxed as I liked the sound of the TRSHMSTR more when it was driven with a hot signal.
In this video, I created a small eurorack system made for processing external gear using the Doepfer Beauty case, the Shakmat Knight's Gallop, a WMD Aperture, and WMD Aperture.
I am clocking the Shakmat Knight's Gallop with the Clock out on the DrumBrute and then using the KG to create the triggers for the sequencer on the Microbrute. This way I can create interesting rhythmic sequences with only programming a few notes and change up the rhythm easily with the turn of a knob.
The Microbrute and Drumbrute are running into the TRSHMSTR and Aperture respectively (via their headphone outs!) and eventually I control the filter frequencies of each module with the CV outs on the Microbrute's patchbay. Though the Drumbrute has a built in filter, you cannot control it dynamically with the LFO or with CV. Also, the Aperture has a character that I love on drums due to it's variable bandwidth and feedback control.
The TRSHMSTR crushes the bass line and with a little help from the Microbrute's envelope CV output, it gets a nice and gnarly squelch pretty quick. Both of the modules are running directly into my audio interface via 1/8" to 1/4" adapters and 1/4" cables. This is fine to do as long as you aren't clipping the input of your interface or mixer. If you are having clipping issued due to high volume, add an attenuator.
If you have hardware synths that you love, are thinking about getting into eurorack but don't know where to start, try some processing! It's super fun and relatively easy to understand. Also, processing let's you start making music immediately with what you already have, which we here at WMD believe is the most important part. Make music and have fun doing it!
No talking in this video, just tunage and some complimentary text spelling out what happens as it happens.
For more information on Aperture: For more information on TRSHMSTR:
Intro music is the Sequential Circuits TOM running through a Geiger Counter PRO. Full video of that coming soon ;)
More info at https://wmdevices.com/ Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/WMDevices Twitter: https://twitter.com/wmdevices Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/wmdevices/
We host an event on the second Monday of each month called Freq Boutique. It is held at a bar in Denver, Colorado called Fort Greene.
At the time of this post, we have just had our 15th event. It has grown substantially from a small group under 10 meeting up and sharing patch ideas in a performance setting to an event with a consistent attendance of 30-40 people.
Freq Boutique is run much like an open-mic for modular synthesizer performers. Each month, people sign-up online for a chance to play. A week in advance, we run the lottery and pick 6 performers and a set order at random.
For news and sign-up opportunites at Freq Boutique, subscribe here:
Superbooth was a major success! We had such a good time seeing everyone and met some incredible new friends as well.
It's such a cool feeling to be a part of something that is growing as fast as the synthesizer industry. Superbooth has absolutely blown up in the past three years and we feel incredibly lucky to have been a part of it from the beginning.
Our newest module, Fracture, is a versatile percussion module with a wide range of sounds. Aimed at making analog style claps, loose feeling hip-hop style samples, and even voltage controlled applause, it is a super fun module to work with. It was great getting to show people what it can do and seeing everyone's positive responses.
The Eurorack industry as a whole is growing out of control. The amount of new companies that show every year is staggering. Another notable part of the Superbooth experience was the sheer amount of Eurorack and synthesizer users that come out. We got to see some incredible performances that really inspired us to keep doing what we do. Learning more about the way that people make music with this gear is such a rewarding thing.
Alex gave a talk on the philosophy behind our newest modules as well as the WMD approach to making music within the modular. He starts with a performance, then quickly runs through the feature set on the WMD Performance Mixer and our new Trigger Sequencer prototype. The event was recorded so you can check it out for yourself right here!
We saw a ton of gear. One of the standouts for us was the Schlappi Engineering Angle Grinder, a quad VCO with gnarly output. I think we were all taken back by Eric's attitude. He's one of the nicest guys ever but when it comes to his design philosophy, he designs stuff that makes the sounds he digs. He doesn't really care if it's not everyone's thing, he knows that people align with his sound, he's just got to get his gear to them. It's always inspiring to talk with new manufactures and get a sense of why they're into what they're doing. Eric was one of those guys.
After Superbooth, Alex went on to Prague and BRNO CZ. as well as Glasgow, UK doing demos and playing some shows out in various venues. He performed with the same rig that you see above, all improvised live sets. I wish we had some video footage from the events but unfortunately, they were the type of thing where you just "had to be there".
We will be doing more features on the story of WMD, the design philosophy, and our approach to music making in the future. We're excited to share it with you all.
WMD will be attending the annual synthesizer conference in Berlin, Germany, SUPERBOOTH.
We will be showing off progress on our newest and possibly most anticipated creation yet, the Advanced Trigger Sequencer Prototype. Create long trigger sequences, save them to memory, arrange parts and songs, and save it all to memory. Since our last showing at NAMM 2018 we've added Triplets, Mutes, Saving and loading, and a ton more.
We will be showcasing our most recent Eurorack Module release FRACTURE.
... and here's a little secret ... New Digital VCA is coming at SuperBooth. It's smaller and more powerful than the first version. More coming on that soon ;)
This jam started out with a new concept in sequencing a bass line using the WMD Arpitecht.
I was messing around with the idea of creating movement by using the Notes mask on the Arpitecht to create chord and interval shapes. Another lane of sequencing was disabling the root note so the sequence didn't always begin on "C". Then, using lots and lots of reset gates to keep the bass line on the root of the chord progression, rather than the root of the scale. Every once and a while i'd let up on the reset signals and let the Arpitecht roll through the chord or octaves in order to create some fun variation.
The next step was to highlight and support that bass line by adding chords and a lead with another Arpitecht and it's expander the Triad. For this, instead of sequencing notes, I left that input empty and just used the Notes knob and Triad knob to select a standard 1-3-5 triad. From there I sequenced both Transpose and Scale. I would transpose the chord so it's root would be on the root note my bass line sat on. From there I sequenced scale just a bit to switch between Major and Minor accordingly. I personally have studied music theory quite a bit so it's second nature whether the chord needs to be major or minor. However whenever in doubt, just use your ears. Think to yourself, does this sound right? If you aren't sure, just try it the other way. It's usually pretty obvious. If it isn't, just go with what YOU like best. It's your music :)
The text in the video outlines the voices I was using. All but the chords, I accidently left them out (sorry). The Pads are 3 Noise Engineering Sync Iter oscillators going through the aperture filter which is having it's frequency band modulated by modbox.
A quick shout out to 4ms for making the Dual Looping Delay. This thing is super fun and ended up being the star of the show. I am taking the lead arpeggiation into it via a send on the WMD Performance Mixer and looping it. It's synced to the whole song via the ping input. Reverse, hold, and moving around the time knob helped make a super washy swell that was fun to riff on and made for a nice way to transition from one part to another.
Fresh Pots is a weekly podcast hosted by the WMD crew where we talk about gear news, music news, production techniques and more. With new episodes released every Wednesday (or there around), you can check it out HERE.
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram as we are constantly updating both with tips, tricks, tutorials, and patch examples. Up this week, the Arpitecht.
We have had lots of questions on how to patch up the Arpitecht as an arpeggiator vs. quantizer, and how to sequence it with supporting eurorack modules. This new set of videos is a great place to start when thinking about adding it to your modular synth rig.
Our good friend Pedro Eustache, a monster wind player an synthesis enthusiast, came into the shop a few months ago while on tour with the Hans Zimmer orchestra. He brought his home-made mini eurorack case which features the WMD Synchrodyne and a Expert Sleepers Disting being used as a synth voice. He controls this little set up with a vintage Lyricon Wind Driver, a piece that looks similar to a clarinet, but translates the expressiveness of Pedro's playing into CV information. Alex set up a quick patch and the two jammed it out.
For more information on Pedro, check out his website.
SuperBooth is a new conference for music manufacturers put on by Andreas Schneider and the great folks over at Schneidersladen. They threw such a great party last year, we figured we'd take a second run in Berlin!
We will have the Arpitecht, Triad, and Overseer with us along with something new ;)
We are excited to get to see some old friends and new faces and show off some new gear!
For more info about Superbooth, visit: www.superbooth.com