Chris Stack, now no longer with Moog Music, is instead spending his time putting out a terrific series of demo videos in which he combines a dream studio of Moog gear. In the last one, we saw him producing stereo ring modulation — and see comments, as someone did take up my challenge to do the same thing with Pd (Pure Data, the open source patching environment).

Now, he’s back with a fantastic set of control voltage demos. For the uninitiated, control voltage is analog voltage routed between modules or instruments not as sound signal, but as a means of modulating parameters. Here, the arpeggiator of the Moog Little Phatty synth, synchronized to MIDI clock so that everything is in time, modulates other synths, effects, and even a Moog Guitar.

The Moog Guitar example is really hauntingly lovely and expressive, meriting mention here. It’s a reminder of what a beautiful electronic instrument the guitar can be – amidst all the tortuous discussions of how to invent new instruments and interfaces, one might be staring you in the face.

I find a lot of my friends are turning to modular techniques and buying modular racks, which is fine, but it bears repeating that the strategy is applicable elsewhere. A couple of pieces of hardware with CV might be enough to get you started, as here, and the same kinds of routing techniques are just as relevant in the realm of the computer. (Let me say that again since some people missed it in comments, etc.: you can do this in the box in software.) That’s good to know in case your budget or physical space can’t accommodate the “real” analog gear. But that’s another reason to check out what people are doing with hardware; even if you do use software, it can be a source of inspiration and ideas. We’re fortunate to get to choose either working method.

But I digress – does this video give you any ideas for ways of working? Specific requests for Chris as he makes new videos? Or are you already off on eBay looking for a deal on a Slim Phatty? And for that matter, those of you who have been clamoring for a Create Analog Music, what would you want to see, given the galaxy of potential devices? (Ancient Buchla modulars? ElectroComps? DIY CV? Let us know.)

Updated: Chris sends over this audio of his friend Jake Wolf on fretless bass working with Chris and more Moog:
Jake Wolf – Chris Stack, fretless bass, Moog Guitar and electronics by chrisstack

Chris writes:

In this one the LP pitch CV is instead going to the oscillator frequency CV input of the ring mod the guitar is running through. You don’t hear it a lot. I fade the ring mod in from time to time with an expression pedal. It show up as some subtly shifting metalic overtones.

Also, Other than Moogerfoogers, I’m running the guitar straight into the mixer. That nice warm distortion comes from overdriving Moogerfoogers.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/tctd/ True Chip Till Death

    man i really need moog to come out a phatty model.. SOOO expensive!

  • http://noisepages.com/members/tctd/ True Chip Till Death

    for their guitar that is..

  • http://music-interface.com mat

    well, nice and expressive video….but do we really need stepmodulated CV for that? I mean, wouldn´t stepmodulated MidiControlChange do the same job in our days? (I am really not sure if I miss a point here)

    If so, there are many ways to do that. As I am myself deep into stepsequencing and stepmodulation, may I mention some of my tools on the Lemur. (Although I am sure that there are others that do the same job)

    Modumat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOdAlqucKCg), done on Lemur direct without max.

    Monomat (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qv0lo4Qrzzc), a free stepsequencer with 2 CC tracks. It was my first stepsequencer in max.

    My actual flagship is SequencomatV3 (http://www.tonvibration.de/SequencomatV3.html) and beneath detailed and into deep notecontrol it hosts 8 independent CC tracks, so you can modulate 8 controls at once… ;)

    I really love stepmodulation of CC :) )

    And you do not need a Moog for that. Not even a Lemur… I am sure there are freeware VST plugins or m4l patches (?)

  • http://music-interface.com mat

    …oh, forgot to mention: and of course you can route that CC modulation to your hardware (guess that was the point…d´oh) as Daniel Troberg (machinedrum) show in one of my SequencomatV3 demovideos with a massive analog rack: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aV3G-38aYcU (great music btw, much better than in my demovideos I mentioned in my last comment)

    So as the variation data is only data, is there any advantage if it is CV instead of CC?

  • Peter Kirn

    @mat: In this case, I think you have to take into account the architecture and intent of this particular design. At a fundamental level, control voltage and MIDI (and any number of other things) are just different solutions to the same problem, though, so of course, you can look at the same basic technique underneath.

  • http://music-interface.com mat

    @peter: got it.

    sure – hardware routing is always impressiv! However, IF I own a Moog I would rather use it for sound than for control data…

    ok, enough of spam from my site ;)

    (sorry to all readers, but as I love stepmodulation I had to comment, even if it was a bit offtopic)

  • http://vimeo.com/groups/emgearhaven Reggie

    @Mat – I think it's a matter of preference. I've found CV to be more expressive that MIDI CC, even though I use both. CV has the edge when it comes to simply plugging in analog gear, like Mooger Foogers, Dark Energy synth, pedals, for example, live and playing without needing to set up MIDI CCs. They both have their pluses and minuses.

  • http://acidboxblues.blogspot.com dyLAB

    i have cv filter control on sh101 and on devilfish – this has given me a few idea for patching

  • J. Phoenix

    Don't forget the Moog MP-201 MIDI & CV foot controller.

    Lots of opportunities for advances CV control there, MIDI synchable, and hands free…

  • http://www.experimentalsynth.com Chris Stack

    @J. Phoenix,  absolutely right about the MP-201.  Here's a video I made while I was still at Moog that shows some of that… 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2-KbK5KwYY

    @Mat, you're right, there are lots of ways to do these things. There always seem to be new discoveries when you mix your methods.  Great videos, by the way!

    @dyLAB, I used to have an SH-101.  Selling it was one of the less intelligent things I've done.  Let us hear what you come up with.

    @Reggie, your bag of tricks is growing exponentially.

    @Peter, you're correct… it's basically all algorithms.  Express them in the language that speaks to you.

  • Peter Kirn

    I think it's also worth saying – Moog's gear isn't cheap, with I believe fairly good reason, but *control voltage* itself absolutely is. So both MIDI and CV are inexpensive, straightforward, intuitive options to add to hardware. From an engineering standpoint, it's pretty easy: CV fits logically into an analog circuit as MIDI does in a digital one. From a user standpoint, you should just go and make … something.

  • vinayk

    How hard would it be to get an instrument like the moog guitar to generate a pitch cv? would it still require a pitch to cv conversion as with the midi pickups? (and hence latency)

  • http://www.experimentalsynth.com Chris Stack

    @vinayk, not sure, but the MIDI version of the Moog Guitar (E1-M) track pretty quickly.

  • GovernorSilver

    I'm learning how to use the Karma functionality in my Korg M3.  After I've acquired sufficient knowledge, I'm going to experiment with syncing my Voyager with the Karma MIDI output.  I presume any of the Voyager's control voltage outputs can be synced to MIDI.

  • http://acidboxblues.blogspot.com/ dyLAB

    @Chris Stack

    here is a little demo thing.

    The arp on the 101 from 606 trigger out and sending cv from the 303 into the sh101 filter in , some drums from the 808 with conga chord line – all synced via ableton to bitsream 3.x and touchprone 5 way din sync splitter

    http://soundcloud.com/dylabs/sh101-filter-in-tb30

    starts off with filter input not connected then connected then reso goes up to self resonate filtered 303 under arp line then some slidey action