Michael A. Firman’s
Serge Configuration

Here is my Serge configuration and a brief writeup on how it came to be. All columns map: “top module is the left most module”

     [#1]  [#2]  [#3]  [#4] [#5]  [#6]  [#7]  [#8]  [#9]
      PCO   PCO   RS    QUO  DSG   TKB   SQP4  PCO   DSG
      NTO   PCO   PCO   SSG  QSEQ        SQP5  PCO   DTG
      DSG   VCM   NTO   NOI  SQP8        SQP4  EQ    PDIV
      TWS   ADSR  DSG   DTG  ADP               XFAD  DSG
      VCF2  ADSR  RING  STR  ADP               EQ    DTG
      QVM   2ASR  VCFQ  PDIV ADP               XFAD  PDIV
            2VCA  VCFS  NCOM                   MAX   BOOL
            MIX   NCOM  CMX                          APCR
                        ACPR                         COMP

I designed (ordered new from STS) panels 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 9. I acquired panels 1, 3, and 7 used (I had Rex at STS completely redo panels 1 and 3. He put on new front panels and boxes and all new plugs and pots since these panels were pretty beat up when I bought them).

Note that panel 1 has a TWS on it. If I didn't get this used and already configured, I would not have gotten this module. It struck me as not very useful since the NTOs do a similar job right in the module. Since the time I got this panel, however, I've begun using this module a little more, for PWM sort of effects, and I'm finding it more interesting (Thanks to Doug Masala for the hint about this module being pretty hip). Note also that on panels 1 and 3 there are one of each filter type. I think if I were designing a panel I would not have done one of each, although I have used all of them. The VCFS has a mixer (two input) in it so if one is tight on space it's a good item. I like variable Q filters (I have a couple of them on another modular that I own - the Digisound-80) so I lean toward that filter type. The QVM is a very nice module and, if one has the space, it is great. It has panning and VCAs on each of the four channels, plus it has unattinuated left and right inputs so that you can chain in other mixers.

Now I'll explain how these panels came to be. Before I had any Serge equipment I built a Digisound-80 modular synthesizer (24 modules in two racks). The Digisound-80 didn't have a sequencer associated with it and I wanted one to drive it. I designed panel 5 to function as the "stand-alone" sequencer panel for the Digisound-80 (Hence the three ADPs that implement banana plug to mini-plug connectivity, the Digisound-80 uses mini-jacks). I became more interested in sequencing and ordered a TKB. I would have gotten the TKB initially but I wanted an on-board clock source for the sequencer and the TKB doesn't have an internal clock (I used the DSG to generate clock pulses on panel 5). I also thought that the quantizer would be a handy item with which to play. I ran across the two panels 1 and 3 used (on the net) as I have mentioned above. At this point I decided that I'd make the Serge into a "stand-alone" synth and, to that end, got panel 2 to round out a four panel system. A bit later I got curious about certain modules and put together panel 4. Panel 7 came from Doug Masala, who was selling it on the net (he was actually selling two of them - identical, but he backed out of the second one at the last minute). Finally panels 8 and 9 sort of complete my quest (more modules about which I was curious). 8 has the EQs and the MAX which I had wanted to play with for a while. Panel 9 is basically a timing utility panel (with the two sets of DSG-DTG-PDIV triples) and has a BOOL on it (again, something I thought would be good to experiment with - by training I'm a logician so I couldn't pass it up), and the Active processor to do some CV fading type things and a comparator to make automatic decisions.

I've mounted all this stuff in three SKB mixer cases (so that they tilt up out of the cases - way cool) in the following arrangement:

     CASE #1  CASE #2  CASE #3
     PANEL #2 PANEL #1 PANEL #8
     PANEL #3 PANEL #7 PANEL #9
     PANEL #4 PANEL #6 PANEL #5

But I change this arrangement around a lot. I also found four bright orange 6' Pamona cables which help span the distance sometimes.

Nine Serge panels in three SKB cases.