Links

Modular Links

'Real' Modular synth manufacturers

  • Analogue Haven Not a manufacturer as such, but stockists of a huge range of modular gear, including Livewire, Metasonix, Blacet, Cwejman, etc.

  • Analogue Systems Makers of the RS Integrator Modular systems

  • Analogue Solutions Makers of the Concussor Modular system

  • Anyware Instruments Makers of the SEMTex system

  • EMS Electronic Music Studios (EMS) - Home of the legendary Synthi A and VCS3. Great site with lots of product history, etc.

  • Blacet Electronics for Music research. Lots of cool modules for sale!

  • Buchla  One time makers of many modular sytems, follow the 'Historical' link for an overview of their modular products. 

  • Canadian Modulars They're Canadian and they make Modular synth systems!

  • Cirocco Modular Synthesizers Hans Zimmer has a large Cirocco system.

  • Curetronic German Module manufacturers.

  • Cwejman Swedish Module manufacturers.

  • Cyndustries American Module manufacturers, making modules in 5 different formats.

  • Doepfer Makers of the A-100 modular system, as well as some cool midi controllers

  • Electro-Acoustic Research Makers of the 'Plan B' range of modules and the 'Synthbox' modular racks.

  • Harvestman Makers of the 'Malgorithm', 'Polivoks VCF' & 'Zorlon Cannon' modules, with more intriguing modules to come.

  • MacBeth Studio Systems MacBeth synthesizers.

  • Mattson Mini Modular Makers of the MMM Phoenix series.

  • Metasonix Makers of a number of modules using vintage vacuum tubes.

  • Modular SquareSellers of all sorts of Modular stuff

  • The Moog FoundationArchive site for Bob Moog's creations

  • Paia Makers of the 9700 Series Analogue Modular Synth system.

  • Synth Database (www.sequencer.de) Not manufacturers, but they maintain a large database of modular synt manufacturers and systems.

  • SMS (Synthetic Music Systems) UK based Modular Synth manufacturer. Makers of the Mars and Planet7 systems.

  • Synthesis Technology Modular Synths, including the M(other) O(f) A(ll) M(odulars). Another useful site with tips, etc.

  • Technosaurus Makers of the Selector system and the Microcon & Cyclodon modules

  • The Wiard Synthesizer Company Makers of the Wiard Modular synth system

  • WWW.SYNTHESIZERS.COM Another Modular Synth manufacturer, with a very useful site full of links, book suggestions, a wiki, tutorials, etc.

  • Egres Unofficial Serge synth site

  • The SOS Guide To Choosing A Modular Synth An article summarising the decisions facing anyone considering building themselves a modular system, along with useful information about many of the above manufacturers.

Other Pulsar Links

  • Zarg Music - John Bowen's devices, and Wavelength too. John helped Creamware design the Modular Synth. Before that, well read about his previous projects here!

  • Wavelength - Stephen Hummel has been creating outstanding devices for the platform since the outset.

  • Wolfgang Steckenleiter - Links (& pics) to all the 3rd party devices available, plus many of his own devices available 

  • Huicholity - Another 3rd party developer - Sidechain compressor, Comb Filter, etc

  • Orbitone - One of the first 3rd party developers for Pulsar, no longer active, but their products are still available

  • D-Vice - Wierd and wonderful stuff, including the Filther Filter !

  • Ars Resonar - More weirdness including the Sonoquid device

  • Sonic Timeworks - Home of the 4080L reverb, and other 'classic' plugins

  • Neutron. Retron, TransPlanet and many other Pulsar Plugins.

  • Infinite Vortex -  Pulsar FAQ, DAW setup advice, complete systems for sale, etc.

Other Links

  • SynthSchool.Com Learn synthesis from the master himself. Adern's Red_MuZe is the force behind this online eLearning environment.

  • ModularSynth.Com Great starting page for all things Modular - links, pics, etc.

  • Muff's modules Modular synth discussion forum

  • KVRAudio modular synthesis forum Forum for discussion of Modular Synthesis, with emphasis on VSTi's such as Reaktor, VAZ, etc.

  • Arturia Makers of the Moog Modular V virtual modular synth.

  • PSOFT Makers of the VOID virtual modular synth.

  • Native Instruments Makers of the Reaktor virtual modular synth.

  • Applied Acoustics Makers of the Tassman virtual modular synth.

  • KarmaFX Makers of the KarmaFX virtual modular synth.

  • u-he Makers of the ACE (Any Cable Anywhere) virtual modular synth.

  • Synthfool And I thought I was a gear whore. Check this site out for some wonderful pics of some massive modular systems, plus brochures, links, etc, etc. Very informative 

  • Nord Modular tutorials Very informative set of tutorials, well worth the read. Aimed at Nord Modular users, but the techniques can be applied to any modular system. The main Nord site is here

  • Wizoo homepage. Wizards Of Oscillators. Publishers of many informative books about synthesis, and also guides to using specific  synths, they have a very good Modular FAQ.

  • Introduction to Synthesizers by Thomas Kolb - Excellent, well-written, clearly illustrated guide to basic synthesis techniques.

  • SynthMuseum.com Huge site with details of hundreds of Synths, magazine articles, music reviews, etc. Well worth a visit.

  • Music Machines Loads Of Pictures & Info. About Vintage Analogue Equipment.

  • Analogue Modular Systems, Inc  Stockists of Vintage Analogue Modular kit. 

  • Modular square  Stockists of many different Modular systems and accessories. 

  • The Synthesizer Network Includes an excellent introduction to Modular construction techniques, patching, etc. Most examples based around the Doepfer A100 system, but the theory holds true for any modular system. 

  • The Synthesizer Picture Archive - Comprehensive collection of pictures of synths, plus links, FAQ, etc.

  • Synthzone - A very comprehensive site with info and links for pretty much every synth imaginable...

  • Synthesizer FAQ  - A good place to start if you want to learn about different types of synthesis, etc.

  • ARP 2500 Modular - Sound on Sound Retrozone article

  • Emu Modular Synthesizers - Sound on Sound Retrozone article

  • Synth DIY - Sound On Sound article on resources for building your own synths

  • VintageSynth.com  Big site, with links, pictures, audio, dedicated to all things synthular - Not just the vintage ones.

  • Old Tech Vintage Synth site  - Virtual Museum, online resources & Synths for sale

  • Creative Synth Interesting and eclectic collection of articles on synthesis and other topics.

  • Sweetwater word for the day Archive. A very useful searchable glossary of musical and recording terminology.

  • Sound On Sound Glossary

  • The Audities Foundation. Committed to the preservation of electronic musical instruments. A huge collection of Instruments, documentation, etc.

  • Synthesizer Layouts Schematics for the following synths: 

  • Roland Junos & Juno-106, Roland SH-series & SH-101, Korg Polys & EX-800, Roland Jupiters & MKS-80, Yamaha DX-100, Yamaha DX-7 and also DX algorithms

  • The Analogue Cottage A site dedicated to Analog music production techniques. Here you will also find the excellent course The Art of Analog Modular Synthesis by Voltage Control for sale at $15.

  • Emulator Archives Archives of E-mu synthesizers, including articles on classic E-mu modular systems.

  • 120 Years of Electronic Music Telharmoniums, Trautoniums and Theremins. A history of electronic music generation.

  • Matrixsynth blog An excellent blog, with lots of news, pictures, movies, etc.

  • 36 15 MOOG Another great synth related blog.

  • Moogswings Another moog blog.

  • VicMod Modular synth blog

  • Steampunk! Amazing etched brass modular synth

Books & Articles

  • Advanced programming techniques for Modular Synthesizers Indispensible stuff - written for the Clavia Nord Modular, but useful for any synthesist.
  • The Fine Art of Programming Synthesizers Interesting articles from Keyboard magazine with all sorts of tips on Synth programming techniques.
  • The Art of Analog Modular Synthesis by Voltage Control as mentioned already from The Analogue Cottage.
  • "Vintage Synthesizers: Pioneering Designers, Groundbreaking Instruments, Collecting Tips, Mutants of Technology" by Mark Vail. Not much theory, but lots of fascinating stuff on the history of Analogue synths. Great pictures too. Back beat Books. ISBN: 0879306033
  • Synthesizer Basics by Brent Hurtig. An introduction to the basic concepts and parts of the basic monophonic analogue synths of the 60's and 70's.  Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation; ISBN: 0881887145
  • Sound Synthesis and Sampling by Martin Russ. Introduction to the major concepts of Synthesis and sampling. Quite dry, but its all in there. Focal Press; ISBN: 0240514297 Also available in a CD-ROM edition.
  • The modular modeller  - Sound On Sound article about physical modelling with a modular synth.
  • Programming Analogue Synths - 130 page free tutorial from Access, makers of the acclaimed Virus & Indigo synths.
  • Sound Basics - Understanding Sound and Synthesizers by Koblo.

Sound On Sound is an excellent magazine which not only reviews all the latest gear (slobber !) but also has regular in depth articles on all aspects of recording and synthesis. Articles from back issues are on line at www.sospubs.co.uk with the exception of the last three months.

Since May 1999 they have been running a monthly series called Synth Secrets which is  a very good place to start if you are new to the whole area of synthesis and what the different synthesis techniques are about. Focusing primarily on Subtractive Synthesis the articles contain a wealth of information on all aspects of sound synthesis.

Here's an overview of the articles (or you can follow this link for a SOS page with links to all):

1 May '99 Introduction - Waves and Harmonics - How simple waveforms like sawtooth and squarewaves contain all the ingredients needed to synthesize pitched instruments.
2 June '99 The sonic raw materials required to mimic unpitched percussion.
3 July '99 How the components of sound change over time, and the sorts of tools subtractive synths give you to emulate this process - envelopes, oscillators and LFOs,
4 Aug '99 Of Filters & Phase Relationships - filters, and the havoc they wreak on the signals that pass through them.
5 Sept '99 Further With Filters
6 Oct '99 Of Responses And Resonance - How changing the resonance & cut-off of a filter effects the sound. Self-oscillation explained.
7 Nov '99 Envelopes, Gates & Triggers
8 Dec '99 The limitations of the ‘classic’ ADSR envelope with reference to a practical synthesis example, and explains some of the different types of envelopes found on ‘classic’ analogue synths, from AR envelopes right up to highly flexible digitally controlled EGs.
9 Jan '00 An Introduction To VCAs
10 Feb '00 Modulation - the magic ingredient that makes all the other elements sound interesting...
11 Mar '00 Amplitude Modulation - How audio-frequency modulation of the amplitude of a signal
12 Apr '00 Frequency Modulation - what happens when you use one audio-frequency signal to modulate the frequency of another...
13 May '00 Applies the theory to the practical implementation of FM synthesis on Yamaha’s digital synths, as well as modular and non-modular analogues.
14 Jun '00 An Introduction To Additive Synthesis - Every pitched sound can be thought of as a collection of individual sine waves at frequencies related to the fundamental. This month, Gordon Reid’s series on the basics of synthesis explores a powerful method of synthesis that works by manipulating these individual harmonics.
15 July '00 An introduction to ESP's and Vocoders:   On the effects that can be achieved when subtractive synthesis components are applied not to the output from oscillators, but to real-world sounds — such as human speech.
16 Aug '00 From Sample and Hold to Sample-Rate Converters - Gordon Reid introduces the synthesis modules that allow you to create a number of commonly used 'random’ effects, and their close relatives — analogue sequencers.
17 Sep '00 From Sample & Hold To Sample-Rate Converters (2). 
18 Oct '00 Priorities and triggers.  Prioritising notes on Monophonic Synths.
19 Nov '00 Duophony - After stretching the capabilities of analogue monosynths, manufacturers came up with the duophonic synthesizer. But was this synth merely duophonic or did it offer a more powerful duo-timbral architecture? Did it offer single triggering or multi-triggering, and were there different ways in which you could combine the sounds generated?
20 Dec '00 Introducing Polyphony - Having explored the way monophonic and duophonic analogue keyboards work, Gordon Reid puts away his Minimoog and Odyssey and descends into the complex world of polyphonic synths to a flourish of complex jazz chords
21 Jan '01 From Polyphony to Digital Synths - Polyphony is hard to achieve on analogue synths without incurring hideous expense. This month, Gordon Reid looks at how manufacturers employed digital technology to overcome this problem
22 Feb '01 From Springs, Plates & Buckets To Physical Modelling - Even old modular synths offered analogue effects. This month’s synthesis history lesson reveals how the freely patchable nature of modular synths allowed these to be used to create convincing acoustic instrument sounds.
23 Mar '01 The theory of analogue formant synthesis, how it relates to the human voice, and modern digital synths like Yamaha’s FS1R.
24 Apr '01 Synthesizing Wind Instruments - Gordon Reid embarks on a journey to synthesize convincing woodwind and brass. This month, he considers how these instruments make their sounds in real life.
25 May '01 Synthesizing Wind  Instruments Pt II. Building on lessons of last month, the article finishes with a patch diagram which is recreated for the Modular II as 'SOS Brass'.
26 Jun '01 Brass Synthesis on a Minimoog. Putting some of the lessons from the last two articles into practice.
27 Jul '01 Roland SH101 / Arp Axxe Brass Synthesis. More practical examples of implementing the lessons from articles 24 & 25.
28 Aug '01 Synthesizing Plucked Strings. Part 1 - The theory.
29 Sep '01 Synthesizing Plucked Strings. Part 2 - The practice - Synthesizing a guitar using a modular system.
39 Oct '01 Synthesizing Plucked Strings. Part 3 - The practice - Synthesizing electric guitars.
31 Nov '01 Synthesizing Percussion. Part 1 - Pitched drums.
32 Dec '01 Synthesizing Percussion. Part 1 - Timpani.
33 Jan '02 Synthesizing Drums: The Bass Drum
34 Feb '02 Practical Bass Drum Synthesis
35 Mar '02 Synthesizing Drums: The Snare Drum
36 Apr '02 Practical Snare Drum Synthesis
37 May '02 Analysing Metallic Percussion
38 Jun '02 Synthesizing Realistic Cymbals
39 Jul '02 Practical Cymbal Synthesis
40 Aug '02 Synthesizing Bells
41 Sep '02 Synthesizing Cowbells & Claves
42 Oct '02 Synthesizing Pianos
43 Nov '02 Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 1
44 Dec '02 Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 2
45 Jan '03 Synthesizing Acoustic Pianos On The Roland JX10 Part 3
46 Feb '03 Synthesizing Strings: String Machines
47 Mar '03 Synthesizing Strings: Pulse Width Modulation & String Sounds
48 Apr '03 Synthesizing Strings: Synthesizing violins
49 May '03 Synthesizing Strings: Practical Bowed-string Synthesis
50 Jun '03 Practical Bowed-string Synthesis (continued)
51 Jul '03 Articulation & Bowed-string Synthesis
52 Aug '03 Synthesizing Pan Pipes
53 Sep '03 Synthesizing Simple Flutes
54 Oct '03 Practical Flute Synthesis
55 Nov '03 Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs Part1.
56 Dec '03 Synthesizing Tonewheel Organs Part2.
57 Jan '04 Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part1
58 Feb '04 Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 2
59 Mar '04 Synthesizing The Rest Of The Hammond Organ: Part 3
60 Apr '04 From Analogue To Digital Effects
61 May '04 Creative Synthesis With Delays
62 Jun '04 More Creative Synthesis With Delays
63 Jul '04 The Secret of the Big Red Button

* Denotes issues currently available only to e-subscribers. These articles are normally made available to non-subscribers 6 months after the paper issue is published. 

Another SOS series which is well worth reading is the Synth School series of Articles by Paul Wiffen, which discusses in depth the history of synthesis techniques and programming techniques.

1 Jun '97 ANALOGUE OSCILLATORS, FILTERS & LFOS
2 Aug '97 RESONANCE, ENVELOPES & ROUTING
3 Sep '97 DIGITAL SYNTHESIS — FM, PD & VPM
4 Oct 97 ADDITIVE SYNTHESIS
5 Dec 97 THE ORIGINS OF S&S
6 Feb 98 BUILDING ON PCM - THE NEXT GENERATIONS
7 Apr 98 TRANSITIONAL SYNTHESIS
8 Jun '98 WAVE SEQUENCING TO Z-PLANE SYNTHESIS
9 Jul '98 THE IMITATION OF ANALOGUE
10 Aug '98 MODELLING ELECTRIC INSTRUMENTS
11 Sep '98 MODELLING STRINGS & WIND INSTRUMENTS
12 Oct '98 THE WAY AHEAD

 Also check out the Exploring Analogue series of articles which started with "The Mighty Modular".

1 May '94 The Mighty Modular
2 Jun '94 Everything in Modulation
3 Jul '94 Sequentially Speaking

Miscellaneous

  • Peter Murphy Icons Music lovers should look at Pete's extraordinary series of Rock Icons.
  • Vibratonic Oxford based music project based out of the FunkLab.

  • The F.P.D.A. The Florence Park Dub Almighty - great reggae and dub collective.

  • Michael Amos Great books, including "The Rocktastic Corduroy Peach"!

Video

Not all modular related - but some great clips from the history of synthesizers.
Peter Ustinov introduces a documentary on Suzanne Ciani. 'In the future women with soundchips in their earings will listen to Beethoven symphonies.'
Edd Kalehoff At The Moog Synthesizer, advertising Schaefer's beer. 'When you're having more than one'.
Bob Moog in a 1980's BBC Micro Live special on electronic music.
The Screen Savers: History of The Moog Synthesizer - Interview with Bob Moog.
Bob Moog demonstrates the Fairlight in 1983. Part 1.
Bob Moog demonstrates the Fairlight in 1983. Part 2.
Bob Moog demonstrates the Fairlight in 1983. Part 3.
Bob Moog demonstrates the Fairlight in 1983. Part 4.
Laurie Spiegel - "Improvisations on a 'Concerto Generator'"
Popol Vuh - Improvisation (1971)
Thomas Dolby, Herbie Hancock, Howard Jones, and Stevie Wonder in Los Angeles(1985).
Herbie Hancock demonstrates the Synclavier on Sesame Street!
Stevie Wonder performs Superstition on Sesame Street! I know he's playing a Clav, not a modular synth, but how could I not post this!

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