Cwejman + Livewire Modules Arrive!
After playing with Justin McGrath's Cwejman S1 semi modular synth for months, I had to find a way to get those deadly envelopes into my modular setup. Daily, I tortured myself by going to Analoghaven and through some soul searching, decided to sell some gear. Things I weren't using were piling up and I didn't want my modular setup to become out of control. I already have so many modules laying around (so sad) and I travel way too much to have an insane modular setup. Richard Devine convinced me to grab the Livewire Dalek on our retarded talks about metal and modular gear. We seem to go for the most aggressive and violent sounding modules with some sort of intelligence.
I check Analoghavens used section like a crack habit and have never seen Livewire or Cwejman modules there. When I saw them on the page, I didn't think, I just started clicking. Afterwards I realized what I've done to my financial situation though I didn't care too much. My priorities are a bit backwards.
The Cwejman VM-1 has a nice weight to it and it's constructed beautifully. There is a plate on the back for protection and its incredibly thin/shallow (like its big brother, the S1) compared to doepfer modules. I believe it is safe to say that the Cwejman modules are among the best constructed modules on the market. The back plate has some holes where you can calibrate the oscillator. The knobs themselves are easier to turn than Doepfer pots.
The Livewire Dalek is like any standard Euro rack module but at first glance, the knobs and layout are different. There is some strange dark adhesive on the sides of the boards, I decided I'm not going to bother cleaning as i dont have to look at it in two minutes ayhow. The module is deeper than Doepfer modules and probably 3 times as deep as the Cwejman and it barely squeezes in the case.
I thought I knew how I wanted the setup to be. I mean, I thought about it day in and out for months but when it finally gets down to it, I crumble. I hate taking out modules i will use and my other g6 case is in another state.
I unplugged the power cord from the back of the case and unscrewed all the modules I would be replacing.
After reading about the Cwejman modules power supplies I had to be sure of the correct way to install it before turning it on. so i called Analoghaven and got in touch with Antonio who is always helpful. There is a red stripe on the power cord and it has to be facing up. You can see me finding a bent knob on one of my modules and I keep fingering it. I have never seen that knob bent before but realized I took this box around with me Europe and its had its share of abuse. Airplanes, trains, cars, drunks, drug addicts, and worst of all, other musicians. Some asshole even spilled beer on it in Madrid, but thankfully the lid was closed and it didn't get through. Either way, I don't recommend you even try.
I always get confused with how to hook up the A-155 sequencer to the A-154 controller, so you can see me fiddling with that for a while. trial and error for a good 10 minutes. Which I don't recommend. You should probably read the manual that has diagrams. Eventually things start working and you can see me breaking in the new modules.
After playing for 5 minutes, I'll share some thoughts.
The Cwejman VM-1 is exactly what i thought it would be, a self contained synthesizer with great thick oscillator with 7 waveforms, a standard multimode filter, and an envelope generator/vca to kill for. the envelopes are the sickest I've ever played with, creating a extremely aggressive and sharp synth. the multimode filter is white bread, but the q-peak adds extra grime to the mix and having all the parameters cv-able makes it versatile. There is one downfall with the layout, which happens to be 3 switches caught between the knobs. It's a strange place to put them, but I couldn't really think of a better location on the face.
The Livewire Dalek modulator is sick as hell. I can't even explain what it does right now, but I can tell its used mostly to mangle your sound through two vco's that can be used to ring modulate your sound into oblivion. The vco outputs are interesting to listen to alone as they don't simply rise and fall, but I'm not quite sure how I will use them yet. Cosmetically its very similar to Doepfer gear, but I prefer Livewire layouts as they are a bit more interesting to look at, and a major plus is different sized knobs.
All in all, I'll be starving this month for these two modules and of course its worth it.
If you have any hard questions, dont ask me. Check out Felix Inferious's review of the Dalek Modulator! Read the proper review on the Cwejman VM-1 here.