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Eurorack Serge Implementation Guide

Legendary synthesizer revived by Random * Source

Along with Buchla, Serge is a west coast synthesizer that has had a great influence on the modern world of Eurolac.There are various versions of the legendary synthesizer that has exposed circuits in the DIY spirit since its inception.Here, we will briefly introduce the history of Serge and introduce the points to enjoy Serge at Eurorack. Clockface's Random * Source product pagehere

Random * Source Serge

History of Serge synthesizers

The Serge synthesizer is a West Coast style synthesizer alongside Buchla, which has been developed by Serge Tcherepnin since about 70. Around 65, Serge discovered that touching points on the circuit board of a Japanese transistor radio produced a strange sound, and he exposed those patch points in the form of pots (knobs) and jacks to access users. I realized that I could make an electronic musical instrument that produces sounds that conventional musical instruments do not have, and I became interested in the development of synthesizers.

Meanwhile, Serge met Morton Subotnick, who was already involved in the development of the Buchla 100 series at that time, and hit it off. At CalArts, where he was working at that time, he started developing a full-scale West Coast synthesizer that also served as an educational purpose for students. .. In the early days of Serge until around 75, the panel was printed by pasting paper to reduce costs, so it is sometimes called Paperface.From that time to the present day, the circuit developed by Mr. Serge is called Serge synthesizer in a broad sense.Individual modules are sometimes called XNUMXst generation, XNUMXnd generation, etc. depending on the time of development, Paperface period is XNUMXst to XNUMXnd generation, famous masterpiece modules such as DSG, TKB, VCFQ are XNUMXrd generation, Wilson Analog Delay etc. will be the XNUMXth generation.

paperface73-75 reprint of Paperface Serge with metal panels

 Until around 86, Serge developed and produced Serge at his own company, Serge Modular Music Systems (SMMS), but with the advent of digital synths and MIDI, he moved away from synth development. ..Regarding the manufacture of synths developed up to that point, a manufacturer called Sound Transform Systems (STS) took over Serge's assets, and in the 90s, it continued to produce and sell under the name of STS.

As the subsequent synth DIY community develops on the Internet, Serge will gradually revive. From the Serge DIY community, synth designers and manufacturers (Ken Stone, Elby, 73-75, etc.) who make boards and panels based on circuit diagrams and sell them with the permission of Mr. Serge have begun to appear after 2000. It was.With the explosive rise of the Eurorack format, Serge's DIY module also appeared in the Eurorack version, and Serge's philosophy-inspired Make Noise became a big hit, a concept that Serge had through Eurorack. Will be accepted by current modular users.

Germany's Random * Source is the definitive manufacturer of Eurorack Serge. We actually welcomed Mr. Serge as the "Chief Innovation Officer" and collaborated to start updating and modernizing past modules and developing new 5th generation modules.

With the advent of Random * Source, high quality, manufacturer-manufactured Serge is now much easier to obtain.In addition, Serge was mainly sold as a set panel with several modules, but since it is sold in module units at R * S, you can build a system using only your favorite Serge modules as much as you like. It is now possible.Now is the easiest time to build your own original Serge system.In the next section, we will introduce the points to note and tips for building the original Serge.

 

Mr. Serge, who is rarely exposed, was interviewed by Waveshaper Media two years ago and has been made public.

Features of Serge Synthesizer

The Serge synthesizer has the following distinctive features:

  • It is modularized by dividing it into simple circuits that can be said to be the smallest units that make up a synth.
  • It is possible to patch input / output points that are not seemingly musical.
  • Each module has a wide time range and can process / generate from 1 millisecond audio to CV that takes 30 seconds to convert.

Thanks to these features, any Serge module can bring out an extremely large number of features depending on the patch.For example, the Slew circuit, which delays voltage changes, is an important module that functions as an oscillator, LFO, filter, divider, etc. in Serge's system.You can clock the sequencer with an oscillator waveform to create harmonics and subharmonics, or apply a filter to the CV to use it as a through.Another feature of Serge is that by using voltage control, the time range can be changed extremely widely, and it is easy to perform a feedback patch that returns the output to the input by utilizing a large number of inputs and outputs.

Core module of Serge system

What module should I start with to deploy the Serge system in Eurorack? In Serge, there are many abstract modules that are programmed by patching, and I think that there are many parts that can only be understood by actually combining and patching.First of all, you can try various patches by using two multifunctional modules such as DSG and SSG, and one or two of your favorite sound related modules (oscillator, filter, wave shaper, etc.).If you choose a module with such a balance, for example, there are the following four.

4 Recommended Modules to Get Started with Serge

  • Random*Source Serge Dual Universal Slope Generator Mk2 (DSG)

    ¥65,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 59,909)
    Pre-Order
    Serge's original "army knife" module, which is also a powerful oscillator!

    The MUSICAL FEATURES Serge Dual Universal Slope Generator (DSG) is the most versatile module in the Serge system that can provide a wide range of functions for both CV and audio.Many Eurorack function generators have this module ...

    details
  • Random*Source Serge Variable Q Filter (VCFQ)

    ¥47,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 43,545)
    Pre-Order
    High-quality, versatile multi-mode VCF.CV processing is also possible by operating in the sub audio range

    The MUSICAL FEATURES VCFQ (Serge Extended Variable Resonance Filter) is the most prominent filter in the Serge system and one of the important Serge modules. The Random * Source version of this machine is Serge Tcherepnin ...

    details
  • Random*Source Serge New Timbral Oscillator (NTO)

    ¥67,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 61,727)
    Pre-Order
    Serge's core analog oscillator with vintage sound quality and high precision

    MUSICAL FEATURES NTO is an analog oscillator that forms the core of the Serge system. It features a vintage sound and high precision, and also has a variable waveform Variable output and portamentable 1V / Oct input. Numerous output waveforms are available for modulation of each parameter.

    details
  • Random*Source Serge Smooth and Stepped Generator (SSG)

    ¥48,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 44,455)
    Pre-Order
    Serge's leading swiss army knife module that combines through and sample & hold to perform various processing of CV and audio

    MUSICAL FEATURES SSG (Smooth & Stepped Generator) is a patch-programmable composite multifunction module that provides various through and sample functions for audio and CV, and is one of the essential modules of the Serge system. ...

    details

DSGAlso known as DUSG, is the ultimate army knife module in Serge that inspired Make Noise Maths. Even if you have two DSGs, you will be able to use them sufficiently.Separate envelope for VCA to retain multi-DSG potential until the second half of the patchExtended ADSRIt is also good to use.VCFQIs a filter, but it is a famous module suitable for pinging that inputs a short pulse to the filter and oscillates it for a moment to create a percussive sound.As a candidate other than VCFQ with emphasis on the sound processVCM,RESEQCan be mentioned.NTOIs Serge's flagship oscillator, but Serge has many other sources of oscillation, so if accurate tracking isn't important, it's a good idea to remove the NTO and insert a second DSG.SSGIs Serge's Swiss Army knife module next to DSG. It does sample and hold, which DSG cannot (exactly) do, and the Couple output can also be used for zero cross detection.Unique wave shaping is also possible because it supports the audio range. The combination of DSG and SSG is quite powerful, but avoid SSG because it is more difficult than DSG.SEQ8XLAnd DSG can be combined (what you can do with SSG is completely different).

Considering the balance as a system, I have presented a set of 4 modules and alternatives above, but since the VCA function is weak in this set (although it is possible with DSG), it may be made by another company as described later, so VCA It would be nice to have at least.Also combined multiple modulesPanel setLooking at the contents of, module selection may also be helpful.

 


Modules from other manufacturers that are compatible with Serge

The advantage of building Serge with Eurorack is that you can easily install modules made by other companies.Not all Serge modules developed so far exist in Eurorack, so the range of patches will be overwhelmingly widened by including modules from other companies.Assuming a Serge-based system, I chose a relatively simple one in the list below.

When incorporating third-party modules into the Eurorack Serge system, be aware of the difference in voltage range.The Eurorack oscillator is Peak to Peak at 10V (10Vpp), while the Serge output voltage is 4-5Vpp.It is not as small as the line level (~ 2Vpp), but when using it with other companies' products, pass it through a signal booster or attenuator if necessary.

VCA

Since the current R * S Serge has only a large-scale VCA lineup such as the Equal Power Stereo Mixer, it is also recommended to introduce a VCA made by another company. It is best to have CV processing, gain boost, and independent offset (bias) control. The Intellijel Designs Quad VCA can double the output volume with the Boost switch, and the CV input is Serge standard 5V for unity gain.Therefore, it is compatible with Serge, and even if the output from the envelope such as DSG is patched to CV in and the output from Serge module such as NTO is patched to signal in, the output level is quite Eurorack level just by turning on the Boost switch. Approaching.

Clock divider

Although the clock divider exists as a Serge module, it is not yet available as a dedicated module for the R * S Eurorack Serge.If you have a patch and think "I want a clock divider here", please use a multi-output clock divider. 4ms RCD is one of the recommended space-saving. It has been confirmed to work at the gate from R * S Serge.Response at audio rate is limited.

Quantizer

If you want to take advantage of Serge's flexibility and also produce sounds along the 12 scales, we recommend installing a quantizer.

Effect spring reverb

Some people may still want an effect, even if it's just a bonus. Compact multi-effects such as Happy Nerding FX Aid are recommended.Spring reverb is also a standard effect in Serge. R * S hasn't released any reverb, so it's a good idea to use Intellijel Springray.

multiple

Originally, 4U Serge uses a banana cable, so you can stack multiple cables and branch the signal.Eurorack can also be done with Tiptop's Stack cable, but it is less durable than banana cable, so if you use a lot of branches, use multiple as well.

4U Serge with banana cable

Third-party modules recommended to complement the Serge system

  • Intellijel Designs Quad VCA

    ¥28,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 26,273)
    Coming Soon
    A 4CH VCA mixer that combines high-quality features and functionality

    MUSICAL FEATURES Quad VCA is a 4CH VCA mixer with 12 high-performance and high-quality VCAs housed in 4HP. The output is a nested mixer, so that the output of each VCA will be mixed with the output of the next channel unless patched. Therefore, patch only CH2 and CH4 outputs ...

    details
  • 4ms Rotating Clock Divider ( RCD )

    ¥26,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 24,455)
    In Stock
    4HP's classic and experimental clock divider!

    MUSICAL FEATURES A compact clock divider Rotating Clock Divider (RCD) that allows CV control with a unique number of divisions. Divides the input clock at various ratios and outputs the decimated clock from each output. Also "Rotate"...

    details
  • Happy Nerding FX AID (Silver)

    Out of Stock
    Customizable and compact stereo multi-effects unit

    MUSICAL FEATURES Happy Nerding? FX AID is a compact stereo multi-effects unit based on Spin FV-1 that can load many original programmed effects. It has 8 banks that store 4 effects, and 32 effects are included by default ...

    details
  • WMD Buffered Mult

    ¥19,900 (Tax excluded ¥ 18,091)
    In Stock
    3 channel buffed multiple with LED

    MUSICAL FEATURES 3X3 output multiple modules. If the input of each channel is not patched, the input signal of the previous channel will be internally connected. Therefore, it can be used as multiple 1X9 output. Each channel is equipped with an LED ...

    details

Serge Useful Links

 

 

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