Moog or Buchla

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Very big philosophical questions at stake here with implications for our present time

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Moog 7
Buchla 5


Milton Parker, Friday, 1 March 2013 00:25 (five years ago) Permalink

510 REPRESENT!!!!

sarahell, Friday, 1 March 2013 08:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Is this a debate re: the philosophy of both manufacturer's, their place in music history, the quality of their instruments or the compositional implications of their instruments? (Moog for the first three and Buchla for the last)

plotzin (flamboyant goon tie included), Friday, 1 March 2013 10:23 (five years ago) Permalink

East Coast vs. West Coast fite!

I guess it's the idea of either taking a basic waveform and using filters and envelopes to get the result you want versus taking a basic waveform and modulating it every which way to make a complex waveform to get the result you want. I've only ever played a Buchla modular IRL, but every non-modular analog I've owned (Juno 106, Akai AX-60 and 80, Korg Monotron) comes from the Moog school of synthesis. But even describing it that way feels like painting with a really broad brush.

Realistically though, I don't think that the two are as far apart as people make them out to be. At least in the modular space, while the two have their differences, those signal paths are not hard-wired. With enough creativity one could do enough with their patching to obtain similar results with either. It's a false dichotomy; the thinking that a Moog can't be as avant-garde, or that a Buchla can't lay down a fat bassline is just wrong. Moog did make a ring modulator, and Buchla did make low-pass and resonant filters.

Perhaps, as a non-musician who just loves the sounds that things can make and their potential, Buchla has more going for it. We can lament the fact that Don never made a "MiniBuchla" that really took off like the Minimoog (yes, I am aware of the Music Easel), and never became a household name. Moog wins this based solely on influence. All the late 70s-early 80s US and Japanese synth manufacturers owe a huge debt to Moog.

But even if the tides turn and alternative control devices and the types of sounds pioneered on his devices come into vogue for the next 30 years, I doubt Buchla will ever get to enjoy his day in the sun. I'll choose him because I'm sympathetic to the underdog, and because his synths used banana cables.

naus, Friday, 1 March 2013 16:06 (five years ago) Permalink

Buchla documentary will contain 100% less DJ Spooky than the Moog documentary

vote accordingly

Milton Parker, Friday, 1 March 2013 20:16 (five years ago) Permalink

forehead palm for not reading the kickstarter pitch before posting, jesus criminy

still voting for the future

Milton Parker, Friday, 1 March 2013 20:22 (five years ago) Permalink

hahaha that killed me

O_o-O_O-o_O (jjjusten), Friday, 1 March 2013 20:24 (five years ago) Permalink

DJ Spooky - the Bono of electronic music documentaries

These goons are from Galactor and who gives a s*** (snoball), Friday, 1 March 2013 22:35 (five years ago) Permalink

otmmmmmm

Gunoka Cuntles (Matt P), Friday, 1 March 2013 22:36 (five years ago) Permalink

On a similar vintage synth tip...HOLY S*#T KORG are reissuing the Korg MS-20!!!

I always wanted one of those.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZUrCOpKGcy4

earlnash, Friday, 1 March 2013 23:06 (five years ago) Permalink

(also the Sub Phatty which sounds more like something from Subway)

These goons are from Galactor and who gives a s*** (snoball), Friday, 1 March 2013 23:19 (five years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Saturday, 2 March 2013 00:01 (five years ago) Permalink

http://buchla.com/images/modules/200e_266e.jpg

Milton Parker, Saturday, 2 March 2013 02:34 (five years ago) Permalink

Buchla documentary will contain 100% less DJ Spooky than the Moog documentary

they wanted to briefly interview me for this because I had a funny Don Buchla story. </pvmic>

sarahell, Saturday, 2 March 2013 03:01 (five years ago) Permalink

what's the story!

Gunoka Cuntles (Matt P), Saturday, 2 March 2013 03:03 (five years ago) Permalink

Does voting Moog make me popist?

EveningStar (Sund4r), Saturday, 2 March 2013 04:12 (five years ago) Permalink

it makes you a Moog voter

Gunoka Cuntles (Matt P), Saturday, 2 March 2013 04:20 (five years ago) Permalink

D0n was on the guest list for a concert presented by my employer. He shows up late, and because of his appearance, the nice woman selling tickets at first thought he was one of the neighborhood street people who suffer from various forms of mental illness. She was surprised and relieved to find out that he was indeed on the guest list.

sarahell, Saturday, 2 March 2013 04:59 (five years ago) Permalink

We'll run this one again in a few years

Milton Parker, Sunday, 3 March 2013 00:00 (five years ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Sunday, 3 March 2013 00:01 (five years ago) Permalink

that homeless guy gave moog a run for his money!

Gunoka Cuntles (Matt P), Sunday, 3 March 2013 02:34 (five years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

We can lament the fact that Don never made a "MiniBuchla" that really took off like the Minimoog (yes, I am aware of the Music Easel), and never became a household name. Moog wins this based solely on influence. All the late 70s-early 80s US and Japanese synth manufacturers owe a huge debt to Moog.

But even if the tides turn and alternative control devices and the types of sounds pioneered on his devices come into vogue for the next 30 years, I doubt Buchla will ever get to enjoy his day in the sun. I'll choose him because I'm sympathetic to the underdog, and because his synths used banana cables.

― naus, Friday, March 1, 2013 4:06 PM (5 months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

While this sounds sensible looking backwards on the last 40-50 years, Buchla was so far ahead that the people are only really catching up to him now. Alternative assignable control surfaces, those banana plugs enabling multiple patching, implementation of random number generation, the modular renaissance & softsynth development of the last ten years has quietly leaned that way & now take so many of his innovations & approaches for granted.

Basically: it just isn't an accident that the AniMoog not only looks more like a Buchla Music Easel than anything Bob Moog ever designed himself, the expanded sound of it, to my ears, tacks towards Buchla as well.

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:25 (five years ago) Permalink

that's more than a direct reference; it's capitulation

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:35 (five years ago) Permalink

The model 248 Multiple Arbitrary Function Generator

http://rubidium.dyndns.org/~magnus/synths/companies/buchla/Buchla_248desc_01a_100.gif

Unencumbered by engineering expediency or presumed musical aesthetics

Milton Parker, Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:40 (five years ago) Permalink

I've been using a 200e modular for the past year and I haven't cracked it. It remains somewhat inscrutable. I mean, I know every corner of it but it's still such a challenge. After working for an hour to get "a sound" I usually give up and dial it in on my ARP 2600 in a couple minutes. The CV modulation stuff hasn't demonstrated its usefulness wrt cost-- easier to program that stuff in Bidule or Max. That said, the "quad dynamics manager" + "quad function generator" are so magnificent sounding-- essentially an envelope generator and a 4x lo-pass + VCA-- the source of the Subotnick "pop"-- that I'd recommend those two modules to anyone who could afford them.

ship who you wanna ship (flamboyant goon tie included), Wednesday, 21 August 2013 23:36 (five years ago) Permalink

Inscrutable is a pretty good word for the Buchla. I've maybe spent 10 hours total over as many years with a 200e, and even when I like what I'm hearing, I've never reached a point where I feel like I really know what I'm doing; or, just at the point when you start to feel like you do, and get comfortable enough to 'expressively' stretch out and begin pushing it, I accidentally change one parameter that radically shifts every relationship, and changing that knob or patch or switch back to where it was does not restore the sound to where it was before the change. (I know this describes nearly everyone's initial experiences with a modular; you're basically just turning knobs in the dark until you learn the architecture -- I guess my point is, that's more easily done on the Moog & the Arp, but on the Buchla the architecture just kind of seems to remain a little unstable. While Buchla has been caught out from time to time by zealous beta testers about certain behaviors that are actually just broken and not 'randomized', more often than not, it's actually the aesthetic, it's by design, a feature not a bug)

The most common complaint I've heard among users who've shelled out $15-25k for a new 200e is the lack of motorized knobs; it's 2013, but nope you still can't save patches on your Buchla, not going to happen, record that sound now if you like it because it's not coming back. This is the opposite of, say, the Moog Voyager, where it's very easy to quickly gain control of a Moog Voyager and make it do what you want, and then save the sound for later. Buchlas, from the beginning are hostile to the entire idea of dialing anything in.

Milton Parker, Friday, 23 August 2013 01:01 (five years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

http://vimeo.com/96808503

Milton Parker, Thursday, 11 December 2014 02:02 (four years ago) Permalink

wow, looks good. love the dude with the disappearing percussion

Free Me's Electric Trumpet (Moodles), Thursday, 11 December 2014 02:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Watching that clip sent me down the path of watching a million Buchla YouTubes. Now I really wish I had a Music Easel. Anyone on here got four grand they can spare?

Free Me's Electric Trumpet (Moodles), Friday, 12 December 2014 04:42 (four years ago) Permalink

i'm in an improv band with a dude who has one, it seems cool but i expected to be more blown away by the sound

don't ask me why i posted this (electricsound), Friday, 12 December 2014 04:45 (four years ago) Permalink

and it's hard to imagine any sound being so amazing that it truly justifies the absurd price. But then I see videos like these and I'm just like damn....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhtar8FlgzU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loeGOKchnuU

Free Me's Electric Trumpet (Moodles), Friday, 12 December 2014 14:03 (four years ago) Permalink

Or this:

http://vimeo.com/902069

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 11:53 (three years ago) Permalink

Kaitlyn totally rules I can't wait for that record

fgti, Tuesday, 23 December 2014 13:31 (three years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
one year passes...

big-ass buchla (200 series clone modules mostly with some 200e stuff) in the MESS collection - took a long look at it last time I was in there playing with the two VCS3s, must book in some time with it.

Justin Townes' URL (haitch), Thursday, 1 September 2016 02:17 (two years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

The man passes.

Dibs on the Owlsey refrigerator.

Milton Parker, Friday, 16 September 2016 22:06 (two years ago) Permalink

That is meant with the greatest possible respect of course.

I have three or four stories I'll try to nail down later, but heroes seldom come this large.

Milton Parker, Friday, 16 September 2016 22:07 (two years ago) Permalink

RIP

Dominique, Friday, 16 September 2016 22:29 (two years ago) Permalink

Sad sad sad news.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 16 September 2016 22:38 (two years ago) Permalink

thread should be hopping a bit more but I guess we are on a sub board

I didn't know him too well, over the last ten years it got to the point where he'd smile and wave if he saw me at a party, we'd had enough in the way of extended conversations about software design and the deleterious influence of the corporations spearheading the work into DAW / plug-in / soft synth design -- though he wasn't ever going to pursue soft synth design himself, no way, he was at least very interested in tracking the issues involved

first time we met was at a dinner at Keith McMillen's in the late 90's, about eight people, skewing young. I was blown away he was there, but he was completely impossible to engage; listening intently, but would cold face stare down any direct address. about twice he made a completely non-sequitous Donald Duck quacking noise. he stayed to the end, on the way out Keith said 'Seeya Don!' while he was walking away and Don made the duck noise again without looking back or saying anything else

other key moment was at an AES panel at Recombinant over 10 years ago. heavy hitters, Buchla, Chowning, Linn, Mathews, Oberheim, Dave Smith. History of instrument design, adoring audience asking historical questions. Panel was trying to steer conversation back to their current work, but also touched by the degree to which the young crowd were respectful. Buchla not answering any questions whatsoever, even when directly addressed. Then, out of nowhere, in response to a question about the difference between R&D in the 60's and R&D in the 00's, Buchla suddenly speaks up and says 'The main difference between instrument design in the 60's, and instrument design today, is that in the 60's, there were people who were genuinely interested in the potential of electronic music.' Long pause. Then nothing, no followup, and I think that's the only thing he said the whole panel, the kind of bald criticism that sort of called bullshit on the entire panel & the entire convention really, but the rest of the panel was mostly smiles because it was SO DON and if you wanted to know anything else about what he really thought, well, you'd just have to talk to him

Scharpen's 'Buchla' documentary is on pause; I don't think they made their kickstarter to a degree that allows them the weeks it'll take to cut it all together. But they definitely have enough footage in the can for an amazing film so hopefully it's only a matter of time and public focus.

Milton Parker, Saturday, 17 September 2016 21:59 (two years ago) Permalink

milton that dinner party story is fantastic.

seems a shame that it happens right as the Ciani/KAS collab has come out - most high-profile buchla-driven record in a while surely?

I like the Suzanne Ciani comment in the guardian's obit: "He never wore matching socks, but oddly, as an enthusiastic tennis opponent, always wore pristine tennis whites"

Executive Ball Clicker (euphemism) (haitch), Monday, 19 September 2016 04:27 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Great piece. As a graduate of Oberlin's electronic music program, I can confirm Ostertag's story that all those amazing analog instruments were still there in the 90s—the Putney, Moog Modular and Buchla—and sadly, still untouched as well. I imagine they are quite popular today.

Buchla reminds me of a certain kind of man from his generation – much like my father in law and some other friends of that age. These men grew up being told men didn't show emotions but in truth had many. They were libertarian in their political beliefs but socially liberal. They hid behind bushy beards, hats and glasses. And they spoke very, very little – but when they did say something made it count. The ones I know were in the newspaper industry – but most intense, socially awkward people tend to be drawn to jobs that allow them to make that an asset not a hindrance. We are lucky Buchla chose the profession he did.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 2 January 2017 16:40 (one year ago) Permalink

They sold the moog modular to buy a bunch of k2000 workstations or similar. And they used to have more heat but the sold it before us. John Mcentire of tortoise got his Synthi from Oberlin.

dan selzer, Monday, 2 January 2017 16:51 (one year ago) Permalink

Heat was a typo. Meant to say gear.

dan selzer, Monday, 2 January 2017 16:53 (one year ago) Permalink

I'd love to have my hands on a synthi someday. I recently got the (stunningly accomplished) iOS recreation of it and it's such a great world of its own.

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Monday, 2 January 2017 19:48 (one year ago) Permalink

The thing that was amazing is that all of us actually made fun of the Buchla – no one in the program during the 90s had any appreciation whatsoever for what Buchla, or even Moog, had accomplished. That said, it was probably more of a reflection on the glut of terrible academic electronic music over the previous two decades than anything else.

Naive Teen Idol, Monday, 2 January 2017 21:43 (one year ago) Permalink

Much LA Boog

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Monday, 2 January 2017 21:51 (one year ago) Permalink

Bullshit man, I totally appreciated and got it, I just didn't have the patience, motivation or discipline to make use of those synths! I remember one long night in the studio using the modular moog sequencer trying to make it sound good and not being able to and pretty much giving up.

dan selzer, Monday, 2 January 2017 22:24 (one year ago) Permalink

Dan, you were always more aware of the history – but your post sort of proves my point, doesn't it? Most of us looked at all that gear as relics that were barely worth the time to plug in and turn on much less make music on.

Again, it's easy to see why in retrospect – we were in the middle of this terrible ROMpler/menu diving era in synthesis. And our professors were products of an era in university composition that felt as if it had been hermetically sealed.

But looking back, if we weren't learning about this stuff, what were we learning? Not being force fed a steady diet of Moog, Buchla, Serge, EMS ... studying composers like Henri/Schaefer, Subotnick, Radigue for more than a month ... and learning subtractive, additive and FM synthesis cold (to say nothing about not being required to learn the electronics behind any of it) was just a huge missed opportunity. Pretty much everything I know about any of this stuff I ended up teaching myself years later.

But as big of a factor was that almost nobody cared about this era of electronic music at the time. It's almost hard to believe today.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 3 January 2017 06:06 (one year ago) Permalink

My Oberlin rant killed the thread.

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 7 January 2017 14:17 (one year ago) Permalink

What the hell were people thinking during the General MIDI / ROMpler age? Who were the jerks who sat around in the GM Star Chamber and decided "everyone needs a helicopter?" I want an oral history of this. Bad decisions are more important to learn about than good ones.

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Saturday, 7 January 2017 14:55 (one year ago) Permalink

Hahaha

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 7 January 2017 16:11 (one year ago) Permalink

You're crazy to act as if that age is a relic of the past. It's back. The y2k aesthetic is strong and people are getting excited by machines like Jorge m1s, Roland d50, Yamaha TG 33. Time to invest in some emu proteus modules.

dan selzer, Saturday, 7 January 2017 16:26 (one year ago) Permalink

Jorge had the best m1. Obv that should read Korg.

dan selzer, Saturday, 7 January 2017 16:27 (one year ago) Permalink

The Yamaha TG33 is an all time classic though. That's one of the few pieces from my collection that I really wish I still had. That and the TQ5

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Sunday, 8 January 2017 01:15 (one year ago) Permalink

Funny you should mention that...

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 8 January 2017 01:18 (one year ago) Permalink

I just sold my TG-33. Original owner! Have to make room for baby and am downsizing. Not that that thing is a monster, but every bit of space counts.

dan selzer, Sunday, 8 January 2017 01:40 (one year ago) Permalink

also babby is expensive

The beaver is not the bad guy (El Tomboto), Sunday, 8 January 2017 02:34 (one year ago) Permalink

Dan, meant to congratulate you. You need these. Buchla would have approved.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 8 January 2017 13:22 (one year ago) Permalink


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