Spielsachen: Is More Less?

The Spielsachen setup has grown and become more complex, on its path to the “Future of the Future” integration stage. Strangely, as the system has become more complex, my patches (and music) has become more simple.

Rather than turning this into a long-winded systems engineering rant, let’s go through the setup of my last video.

Music

I think it’s called “minimal techno”. There’s a bass drum, and two (mono) synth voices, each of these three parts controlled by a 16-step pattern sequencer. Oldskool.

The result is me learning things mainly. As there are no edits, the music (and video) is lengthy.

Gear

A key component was the recently acquired Makenoise Rene Mk.2 which controls the two tuned synth voices, and gets its clock from a Korg Volca Kick (which, obviously, does the bass drum).

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Lacking a full-blown review at this point, let’s just note that I used but a small portion of this thing’s potential here. I didn’t use state (the “Z-axis”), and I didn’t use the cartesian sequencer, either. I even forgot to play around with changing tonalities, which is nicely possible with this thing. There’s still much to explore!

Speaking of the Kick: It has been collecting dust for some time, but I placed it into the Spielsachen setup again as the Analog Rytm was resting next to my bed while I was trying to properly learn its sequencer. I was torn between the Kick and DFAM for the bass drum voice, but in the end opted for the former as it allows easier/quicker change of rhythm.

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Both synth voices are one oscillator/one filter/VCA/two envelopes each. For the first (or second?) voice I opted for the Nanozwerg Pro (something I still need to review): a (discontinued) voice module that packs quite a punch in a mere 24TE (and it cost less than 250 bucks).

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To beef it up a little, I first added a distortion thing (Synthrotek 308 – great, as all things by Synthrotek).

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(And yes, I got a few of the Hopscotch cables I recently talked about).

As for the other voice, some more detailed considerations were in order: I opted for the A-111-3 oscillator, A-108 filter (greatest LPF on the planet), 2hp Dual VCA (of which I only used one) and A-140-2 Dual Envelope.

I first thought about adding the usual does of stompbox effects, then decided against it: let’s keep it simple. But I still wanted a delay. The only (proper, i.e. analogue) delay with more than a few ms I have is the Doepfer thing.

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And with that: done! I opted to use the Spielsachen mixer for combining the signals, but could have done without it.PICT_20190620_175355.JPG

All in all: three synth voices. And mono output.

How small could you get this?

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As usual, the digital mockup was done with the great modulargrid.net site.

Right now, the stuff is spread over a skiff case, a Monster Base, and then there’s a mixer. We won’t get rid of the Volca – but what about the rest? Using comparably small modules, we can put this into a 80TE case and still have 4TE to spare. Like, for a Disting (which would allow us to divide/multiply clocks, for example). And we can power the Volca from this. Two cases, one power connector, fits in a mid-sized backpack. That’s small in my book.

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