patchable 0027

VOICE

Our modular and our voices. A rare combination, indeed.

Think of a band. One of the beauties of modular is that it allows us the ability to effectively perform the music of multiple members of a band without looking like this:

Mary Poppins GIF - Mary Poppins Bert - Discover & Share GIFs

None the less, the modern modular musician rarely embraces their inner vocalist and brings a voice into the mix. This of course does happen on occasion, but it’s pretty uncommon. It’s understandable that some modular artists don’t have a five octave range and prefer not to be the singer. There is no shame in that. However, this shouldn’t stop us from using our voice in alternative ways, perhaps even as a tool.

There’s lots of interesting ways to use your voice in modular, be it as vocals, or otherwise.

THE CHALLENGE

Use your voice! However you’d like. Of course, this Patchable welcomes singing – but it also will celebrate alternative methods to integrate our voices into the modular performance. We encourage you to make your voice an integral aspect of the performance; feel free to also explore more than one of these techniques if you wish. 

Here are some ideas to get started: 

  • Pre-record & sample! Read a poem out loud, tell us a story, hum a tune, sample and enjoy. Fine tune to taste. Chop it up, process it, sequence it. Go HAM.
  • Modulate it! Some lucky few of you have vocoders or talk boxes, but there are other ways to bring your voice into your machine in interesting and creative ways. A Ring Mod for example will get your voice sounding pretty alien. Mic into the signal input, then use an oscillator output into the carrier and before you know it things will start sounding like robots, aliens, haunting radio transmissions and more. Walker Farrell and Make Noise made a really fun video about this process about a year ago – check it out
  • Real time processing! Very similar to sampling, but challenge yourself to do it all in real time. Send your voice right into the modular, and as you talk and sing, experiment with different ways to manipulate and morph it. A granular module would certainly be a fun starting point.
  • Turn into a modulator! Turn your voice into a modulation source, envelopes, with a simple envelope follower. Lots of modules have envelope followers which allow you to turn the relative volume of your voice into modulation. Between Maths or Disting I’m guessing most reading now already have the ability.
  • Sing! Obviously! What a strange and unfamiliar notion! 

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS THROUGH THE MONTH OF JUNE.

  1. Create an original piece of music using the framework above. For normal Patchable submissions, please detail about what times in the performance you implement each step, and what they are.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0027 in the track title and the number of the patchable you chose. A completed track title would look like this: NICEVICE PATCHABLE-0027
  3. Upload your track to Soundcloud. 
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

PLAY YOUR PATCH LIVE

If you would like to play a performance on Patchable Performers, please contact @saddleuptherobots or @vcloki on Discord to apply for a time slot.

Don’t forget to press record (!) and then post your set after the show.

PATCHABLE 0026

STEREO

Have you spent any time on Modular Grid looking at new modules recently? I know you have. Don’t lie. It’s unflattering.

I’m sure we’ve all noticed there’s no shortage of stereo modules now available. In fact, stereo has been a common module feature for at least the past year.. It may actually be more bizarre to see a big module released nowadays that’s mono only. 

There’s a reason for this: stereo in modular is seriously freaking cool! Patches are more immersive, making it easy to discover new textures not feasible in mono. Your tracks simply become much more varied and unique, setting you apart from other modular artists. It creates a much more active listening experience for your audience. 

There was a time when stereo wasn’t all the rage in eurorack. For many years most modules released did not prioritize stereo patching. Around 2018/2019 the field widened – but chances are most of the modules you have in your rack weren’t explicitly designed for stereo use. 

You know the drill. It’s time to get creative and change that. 

THE CHALLENGE

Build a stereo patch – optimally without using modules inherently designed for stereo (dual L&R outputs). That said, we here at NYMS really, really dig stereo patches – so we won’t explicitly forbid the use of stereo out modules, (especially if it means we get to hear some really cool music or sound design as a result), but that’s not really in the spirit of a Patchable. With some creative patching, mono modules can be patched for stereo output. Take charge and find ways to create stereo patches from modules that were not explicitly made for this task. 

Here are some neat tricks to help you accomplish this: 

  • To set up the audio chain you do not need much – it’s as simple as duplicating a single VCO output. A buffered mult, or normalled VCA works fine. Send those to a dual (or more) VCA which can be fed into the left and right of your mixing board / audio interface. 
  • Now, make things interesting by using unique envelopes with different timing to feed into the VCAs. If you time your gates to have them fire at opposite timings, or use something like the EOC on Maths to fire a gate over to Envelope A once Envelope B finishes, you can very quickly and easily recreate the classic “ping-pong” effect! 
  • Another fun way to get a stereo patch going is to use multi-output modules, like a VCO with 2+ waveform outputs, or a filter with LP & BP outs (or any combination…HP & Notch, whatever). Send one to Left VCA and one to Right VCA and you have diversified sound already. This can get dizzying and unsettling for a listener on headphones if the two sounds are high frequencies or really unique from one another – so take caution…unless you actually want to make your listener uneasy. You sadist. 
  • One way to correct for some of this instability is by using mid-side processing. It is a technique for “widening” your stereo field and creating a fuller stereo image by taking 2 channels of audio and creating two new channels – the Sum and the Difference. iZotope explains the concept better, but essentially the Mid = the sum or overlap of L+R inputs, and the Side = difference of the L+R inputs. To achieve this you need a module that can give you the sum and difference outputs of any two unique inputs. Kinks, LRMSMSLR, SumDiff were all made to do this…but what about a module that nearly all of us have🤔

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS THROUGH THE MONTH OF MAY.

  1. Create an original piece of music using the framework above. For normal Patchable submissions, please detail about what times in the performance you implement each step, and what they are.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0026 in the track title and the number of the patchable you chose. A completed track title would look like this: SurroundedSound PATCHABLE-0026
  3. Upload your track to Soundcloud. 
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

PLAY YOUR PATCH LIVE

If you would like to play a performance on Patchable Performers, please contact @saddleuptherobots or @vcloki on Discord to apply for a time slot.

Don’t forget to press record (!) and then post your set after the show. Needless to say, we recommend watching this one wearing headphones.

PATCHABLE 0025

REPETITION

The pleasures of sequencing.

Sequencers are an absolutely essential tool for the aspiring and established modular musicians alike. One of the main draws to modular is the variety of seriously cool and unique sequencers. There’s no shortage of our lovable HP hogs out there, each offering their owner an ability to craft a rhythm, pattern, riff or melody all their own.

Unfortunately, there’s the downside to sequencing. More often than not, phrases can become repetitive, really, really repetitive. You may start with a nice sequence but as it plays while you proceed to build your track it can begin to feel less interesting, and a lot more irritating. And while there’s even some science to prove that we as humans really like repetition in music, the modular musician may want greater variation and complexity.

Patchable encourages learning by means of embracing challenge, head on. So this month we’re going to learn about avoiding repetition by creating a whole lot of it.

THE CHALLENGE

This month’s challenge tasks the performer to use just one sequencer track to perform an entire composition. Build it, mult it, then slice, sample, modulate, divide, and do whatever it takes to keep things fresh. Here are some ideas to get you started: 

  • Switch things up: Use a switch (or better yet, a sequential switch) to move the phrase around your system, into and out of different modules
  • S&H the result: Send your sequence into a sample and hold; use it to create a new derivative of the original
  • Remember your sequencers built in functionality: Bust out the manual! Transpose, retrigger, set conditions, change the run length, fill, divide, anything and everything
  • Apply logic: Use gate logic to give your sequence an entirely new feel
  • Vary the sound itself: Push your pattern using filters and effect modules, create feedback loops, distort and destroy, build a sound bath with endless reverb and delay, use that Beads you inevitably just bought and granularize it into something entirely new…
  • Modulate it!: Duh. Your 1V/Oct input may be repetitive, but that doesn’t mean the other CV inputs need to be
  • Reset: Don’t forget about your reset functionality. Using that in creative ways and with unique timings can lead to interesting new variances on your existing sequence

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL.

  1. Create an original piece of music using the framework above. For normal Patchable submissions, please detail about what times in the performance you implement each step, and what they are.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0025 in the track title and the number of the patchable you chose. A completed track title would look like this: AgainAndAgainAndAgainAndAgainAndA PATCHABLE-0025
  3. Upload your track to Soundcloud. 
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

PLAY YOUR PATCH LIVE

If you would like to play a performance on Patchable Performers, please contact @saddleuptherobots on Discord to apply for a time slot.

Don’t forget to press record (!) and then post your set on Soundcloud after the show.

NYMS Showcase

Beginning in July 2021 the NYMS Showcase will return to a once monthly live in-person show. We are planning to stream and/or record each event

NYMS Showcase

The NYMS Showcase is a monthly curated live in-person show.  No interviews or talking heads, just the best cross-section of what modular synthesizer musicians have to offer.  

Philosophy 

Fun and dedicated performances from talented, known and burgeoning artists using modular synths. Played for a welcoming, supportive and excited audience.

Format 

A monthly show featuring 6 talented artists . There is no minimum or maximum length set, but we encourage 20-30 minute slots. Artists are free to use any musical tools at their disposal, though part of the setup must include some form of modular synthesizer.  

Booking

Artists interested in playing live should first join us on discord Feel free to reach out to a curator with any questions.

If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to us on discord.

Past Performances

Patchable 0017

RE:DRUM MACHINE

Drum machines are technological paragons of rhythmic production and exploration.  While it is easy to credit the beautiful design behind the beat boxes we adore, the real genius lies in the application by artists.  Abstracting the idea of the drum machine further and placing focus on the artist is what this Patchable is all about.

THE CHALLENGE

For this Patchable we challenge you to create your own drum machine using modular components.  Create each drum voice using any modules that are not drum modules. Using this drum machine make a song that is percussion based. You are free to use any modules except the following:

  • No drum modules
  • No samplers
  • No voice modules which require a trig input to emit sound – VCOs with a trig in are permitted, so long as the trig is not used

Other things to note:

  • no sampled drum loops or sounds
  • Using a delay, looper or sampler to effect your drum voices in real time, is allowed.
  • Using a single cycle waveform to create a VCO from a sample is allowed.

HOW TO PLAY

THIS PATCHABLE RUNS FOR THE MONTH OF AUGUST – DEADLINE AUGUST 31

  1. Create an original piece of music. It does not have to be a complete track. Ideas are welcome.
  2. Include the suffix PATCHABLE-0017 in the track title.  A completed track title would look like this: Spiral Vortex PATCHABLE-0017
  3. Upload your track to soundcloud by end of day, August 31st.
  4. Include a link to your track and patch notes in the comments below.

Patchable Performers

This month’s Patchable Performers, on Aug 27th, is based on this Patchable. The live show will incorporate a twist on the concept. If you wish to perform this Patchable, live, on the show, please message @saddleuptherobots, or @VCLoki on discord for information. 

PLEASE NOTE: If you’re interested in performing the patchable live, do NOT post a recording to the site, until after the show. We want the performances to be a surprise.

Patchable 0017 – RE:DRUM MACHINE by DYSONANT, video by Photonbath

PATCHABLE PERFORMERS

Encouraging new performance behaviors via utilization of arbitrary constraints

PATCHABLE PERFORMERS is a curated electronic music live streaming show run by New York Modular Society.  

For almost a year now the New York Modular Society has been pushing it’s member-base to think outside the box via a patching challenge we call Patchable. On a regular basis our members are challenged to compose a piece of music using some sort of constraint, or common perspective.

These often fall into 5 common themes: 

  • Theory
  • Patching Technique
  • Environmental
  • Sound Design
  • Setup 

We want to use these themes to challenge NYMS members to think differently about performance art, as well as music composition in it’s own right. Patchable Performers exists to offer NYMS members a new way to think about performing live, and showcase their new techniques to an impassioned audience.

Philosophy 

Challenge yourself.

Format 

A monthly show which runs on the 4th Wednesday of every month. Each month will feature a variety of performers all taking on the same patchable challenge for that month. The Patchable for the performance show will possibly be different than the Patchable in the #patchables channel on the NYMS discord server. Set length, Show length, and Artist count will depend on community interest in each monthly challenge. Artists will likely be required to use a modular, or semi-modular synthesizer for each challenge (again, unless the scenario dictates otherwise). 

Curators

  • Saddleuptherobots
  • VCLoki
  • Mr William

Booking

Artists interested in playing live should first join us on the NYMS discord server.

Artists must also read and understand the following:

The information contained within How To Stream MUSIC TO Twitch From your Computer is extremely important, as Artists will not be allowed to stream if they are not following the instructions contained within. Should an Artist need assistance in setting their streaming settings as dictated above, please reach out in the #streaming channel on the NYMS discord server.

Feel free to reach out to a curator with any questions.  

Other Reading

Arbitrary Constraints

Past Performances

OFF THE GRID

OFF THE GRID is a curated experimental music live streaming show run by New York Modular Society.  

Experimental music as a genre is difficult to define due to its highly subjective nature. Rather than imposing limits or strictly defining a genre, we simply desire to encourage experimentation. We welcome everybody, including those who do not define themselves as experimental artists but would like to explore the more experimental side of their creativity. 

This is a crazy counterpart to the main NYMS show. Open to well known and less established or experienced artists, people who love to push the limits of their instruments and boundaries of musical expression.  This is a show where abstract sonic exploration can be appreciated by a welcoming audience.

Philosophy 

Friendship, respect and equality. Freedom of musical expression. Spirit of free will and experimentation. 

Format 

A monthly show that runs for 90-120 minutes. We will have 3-4 artists perform at each show. There is no minimum or maximum length set, but we encourage 30 minute slots. Artists are free to use any musical tools at their disposal, though part of the setup must include a form of modular synthesizer.  

Booking

Artists interested in playing live should first join us on discord Feel free to reach out to a curator with any questions.  

You must also read and understand these articles This information is essential to be able to stream.

If you have any questions at all about these articles or need assistance, please reach out to us on discord.

Curators

  • Black Dingus
  • Makamqore
  • Dysonant

Past Performances

ARTIST STREAMING KIT

We are excited you want to stream with us.  Our goal is to provide everyone with an easy to use process to get you up and running. Here are a few things you need to know to ensure a smooth and fun show.

Requirements

First please read and make sure you can meet the requirements and configuration for streaming here https://nyms.love/2020/04/26/how-to-stream-to-twitch-from-your-computer/

We encourage live streaming but if you cannot meet these requirements we will accept a live, pre-recorded one take video performance.

Streaming Details

Streaming key and ingest server URL will be issued to you on Discord during testing. Your key may change for the performance.

Testing

Please ensure you are tested.  When you are confirmed to play, please send a message in the #artist-support channel to @producer to schedule a test.

Your setup for the test must be exactly the same as it will for your performance.  Same camera, same audio inputs, same network etc.

Graphics & Promotion

We will create all graphic assets for the live stream. Please do not create your own title cards or display your artist name on screen.

We will deliver social graphics to you to promote on your social channels before the show. Feel free to create your own promotions as well.

Performance Process

On the night of the performance you need to have access to Discord.  You will be invited to the channel #green-room.  This is where we will communicate with you about when to start streaming and start performing.  The process is this:

  • You will be asked to start streaming roughly 10-15 minutes before your set begins and wait on standby.
  • We will confirm we are receiving your stream. 
    • If you are experiencing streaming issues that cannot be resolved quickly, we may have to move to the next artist. 
  • While the previous artist wraps up, remain on standby.
  • We will display your UP NEXT CARD and let you know in Discord you will be going live shortly.
  • We will then send a message that you are live and should begin your set

How to stream music to twitch from your computer

We want you to stream and for viewers to see the amazing art you are creating. Join us on Discord and introduce yourself. This is a community and like any community we would expect to know a new neighbor before we hand out keys to our home. The same goes for streaming keys.

Tech Requirements

  • You must stream using OBS on a computer. No mobile devices allowed.
  • You must be hardwired via ethernet cable. No WiFi allowed.

Streaming Specs

  • 720p (1280×720 pixels) 30fps
  • video: H.264 1500kb/s to 4000kb/s
  • audio: AAC 160kb/s, Sample Rate: 44.1kHz, Stereo

Basic Performance tips

  • Set your camera to 720p (higher settings do not improve quality, it only makes the encoder work harder)
  • Set your audio interface to 44.1kHz (higher settings do not improve quality, it just makes your computer work harder)
  • Quit and close applications, services and background apps
    • anti-virus
    • back-up
    • anything that uses CPU and network

Helpful Resources

Recommended Gear

There are many options out there, these suggestions are simply to get you started.

STEP BY STEP HOW TO STREAM

Initial Set Up

  1. Register an account on twitch.
  2. Follow https://www.twitch.tv/newyorkmodularsociety
  3. Download OBS – Open Broadcaster Software https://obsproject.com

Configure OBS

  1. Skip the Auto Configuration
  2. Open Settings
OBS Settings
  1. Streaming service setup
    1. Select “Stream” from the sidebar.
    2. Select “Custom” from the “Service” drop down
    3. Input the ingest server URL — rtmp://ingest.golightstream.com/inbound/
    4. Copy and paste your stream key (be careful to select the whole thing)
Pasted Graphic.png
  1. Test you upload speed at https://www.speedtest.net
Pasted Graphic 8.png
  1. OBS Output Settings (see below image)
    1. Select “Output” in the settings sidebar
    2. Select “Advanced” from the Output Mode dropdown
    3. Select “x264” from the Encoder drop down.  (If you have a modern Nvidia or ATI GPU in your computer, selecting “Hardware Encoder” will improve encoding, CPU usage and speed.)
    4. Do not check this box. Your video settings everywhere should be 1280×720 so you should not need to downscale the output.
    5. Select “CBR” from the Rate Control drop down
    6. Depending on your upload speed, this should be set to 1500-4500Kbps.  Ensure you are only using 50% of your upload speed.  For example, if you upload speed is 3Mbps (3000Kbps) then you should set this to “1500 Kbps”.  Set it higher and you may get frame drops which cause audio skipping.
    7. Set Keyframe Interval to “2”.  If this is blank or 0 your stream will not display.
    8. Start by selecting “Very Fast” for CPU Usage Preset.  Setting this higher sends lower quality but improves performance.  It should be somewhere between medium – very fast.
    9. Leave this alone, but sometimes setting it to animation can help with quality.

Hardware encoder settings in below image:

10. Select the Audio tab and make sure all tracks Audio Bitrate are set to 160

Pasted Graphic 2.png
  1. OBS Video settings
    1. Select the “Video” tab in the settings sidebar
    2. Select 1280×720 from the Base Resolution dropdown
    3. Select 1280×720 from the Output Resolution dropdown
    4. If steps 2 & 3 are followed, this becomes less necessary, since you will not be doing any video downscaling.  Selecting “Bicubic” should be fine.
    5. Select “30” form the Common FPS Values dropdown
Pasted Graphic 4.png
  1. OBS Audio settings
    1. Select “Audio” in the settings sidebar
    2. Select “44.1kHz” from the Sample  Rate dropdown
    3. Select “Stereo” from the Channels dropdown
Pasted Graphic 5.png
  1. Click “OK”

Set up your Stream Scene

  1. Right click on “Scene” in the lower left of the OBS screen and select “Rename”
Pasted Graphic 16.png
  1. Click “+” in the lower left “Sources” section.
Pasted Graphic 17.png
  1. Select “Video Capture Device”
  1. Rename the device in the “Create New” input field. Then click “OK”
Pasted Graphic 19.png
  1. Select your camera source.
Pasted Graphic_1.png
  1. You should see video.  If you do, Click “OK”. If not, check you camera connection.
Pasted Graphic 2_1.png

Setting Up an Audio Source

This is where things get complicated and specific to your system.  If you are sending a stereo signal to your audio interface you may be able to just select it from the “Audio Input Capture” source “Device” drop down in OBS.  If you are running more channels or sending audio through your DAW then you will need to create a virtual Input on your Operating System.  You can do that with these utilities:

Mac OS

Windows

  1. Click the “+” in the “Sources” section of OBS and select “Audio Input Capture”
select audio source
  1. Select your interface or virtual audio device from the “Device” drop down. Then click OK. I this case I have a virtual device named “Modular Audio”
Pasted Graphic 7_1.png
  1. Set your gain structure.  Turn up the audio from your Modular pretty loud but ensure it is not clipping and you have some headroom. Then using the OBS Audio Mixer make sure your loudest noises are hitting the RED but never go more than 1/2 into RED.  OBS audio meter is a little weird in that it is not clipping if in RED.  The bottom of RED is about -9dB.
  1. Ensure you are not double monitoring the audio. Click on the gear icon “⚙“ and select “Advanced Audio Properties”
do not get echos
  1. From the “Audio Monitoring” column, make sure you select “Monitor Off” for all of your audio sources.
turn monitoring off

Test your stream

You need to ensure you are not dropping any frames to ensure audio quality.  Audio is more important than video for the experience.  Test by streaming to your own twitch channel.  You will need to change the streaming service and key to do this.

  1. Click “Start Streaming”
Pasted Graphic 9.png
  1. In your Menu Bar  select “View > Stats”
Pasted Graphic 8.png
  1. Review your stats
    1. This should always say 0/### (0.0%) 
    2. This should always say 0/### (0.0%) 
    3. This should always say 0/### (0.0%) 
    4. This is an indicator of your network capacity and what you are trying to send.

BAD EXAMPLE

Pasted Graphic 7.png

GOOD EXAMPLE

Pasted Graphic 10.png

Ready to Stream

By now you should be ready to stream.  A few last steps will help ensure a smooth show.

  1. Make sure you join us on Discord
    1. Admins will let you know when it is good to start streaming.
  2. Make sure you have a browser window open to the NYMS Twitch channel during your stream. MAKE SURE YOU MUTE THIS VIDEO ON TWITCH. Issues can arise during a stream and people in the chat will usually mention these.
    1. You can view and engage with chat.  
    2. You can see if your stream is working as expected.
  3. Be respectful of time slots.  If someone is coming up after you, try to finish a few minutes early.
  4. In OBS, click “Start Streaming”
start streaming
  1. After your performance let the stream continue for about 2 minutes.
  2. Join the twitch chat and bask in the glory of the accolades you will receive.

Additional note

Each individual performance is uploaded to our YouTube channel in the weeks following the show.

If any streaming issue occurred during your performance, we may have to edit out the glitchiest parts for a smooth viewing experience. To make sure your full performance is featured, you have the option to record video and audio directly in OBS and provide the file to us. As live streaming can be stressful, you may forget to hit the record button when you start your stream. To circumvent that issue, in the General settings OBS has an option to automatically record when streaming is initiated.

By default, OBS is set to record using the MKV format which cannot be uploaded to YouTube. In the Output settings, please set the recording format to MOV.

Updated March 8th, 2021

X
X