Chromamagnon vs. Vidiot

I posted this on Muffwiggler, but I figured I’d try here as well. Ignore if vidiotic!

Vidiot here looking to get into video synth. I’m looking at the LZX options for an all-in-one semimodular solution. I’m interested in

  • Processing external video loops
  • Feedback loops (both the “camera at a screen” kind, and the “cable from output to input” kind)
  • Feeding audio into video parameters
  • Shooting in lots of CV (gates/triggers, LFOs, envelopes, etc.) from my audio eurorack
  • Luma, color, and patterns, with no preference towards one over the other
  • Processing video through eurorack audio (attenuverting mixers, matrix mixers, waveshapers, filters, oscillators, reverb even?)

The Vidiot seems like exactly what I’m looking for. Friendly with both kinds of feedback, ~17 CV inputs, equal space devoted to Luma/color/patterns, keying, external video inputs…and it seems relatively straightforward. Good! I’m dumb!

But it’s been discontinued and the Chromamagnon is the next core module. Others have said it’s a combination of a bunch of modules, so I’ve been watching the tutorials on those. I’ve been reading the posts here. I’ve been staring at the front panel, and it seems like it’s got way fewer inputs, and most of it is dedicated to pattern generation. It looks like an entirely different instrument. I also don’t need lasers…no cats!

Should I be looking for a used Vidiot instead of waiting for Chromamagnon? The Chromamagnon seems to be focused on XY synthesis, and there’s separate 3rd gen core modules for color and texture (?). It’s a cool idea to have 3 core modules with different entry points based on what you’re most interested in, but I’m balanced between color/luma/shapes. Obviously there’s a ton of things I can’t figure anything about from looking at the panel, so I could be way off. But is the Chromamagnon a true successor to the Vidiot if I’m only looking for a semi-modular that does, if not “it all”, some of all of it?

I’ll note that I’ve checked out most of the other all-in-one/core/semi-modular options. Structure, Hypno, DSI, etc. None of them appeal to me. Except Fluxus Duo, that seems like it’d be a sick partner for an LZX semi-modular. Might get one first if I’m waiting around for a while. That’s more of an effects unit than a full synth, though.

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chromagnon will be able to handle some video processing needs as well as XY. The underlying modules are not only great at shape synthesis but also at video processing. That is one of the big gotcha’s with the chromagnon that it uses a small set of modules that will happily do something with whatever inputs you send it.

I guess I would put it like this
you could not wait now and get an instrument which has already been discontinued for several different reasons. An instrument that is fun to play and recognizable once you’ve used it but still with its flaws. You could also wait and get an instrument which is being built on a better understanding of how to serve the community at large with its many different facets.

I know I sold my vidiot because I mostly was keeping it for the extra oscillators when I really thought about it.

things to think about before buying a piece of equipment like this

how am i recording the output?
am I trying to plug external video into the system?
How am I going to do that?
what if I want to plug a computer into the vidiot/chromagnon?
how will I be monitoring my system?
where do i find extra room for a monitor within my already sprawling synth setup?

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Yeah I didn’t mean to imply it could only do XY. But it doesn’t seem like you’d be able to process luma/color/XY all with CV at the same time. My impression is that it’s deeper and Vidiot is broader.

My understanding of the intent behind both instruments is that Vidiot is analogous to a Mother-32 or some similar semi-modular. It seems more intent on drawing outsiders in. The Chromamagnon seems more like a complex oscillator like a DPO/CS-L. Deeper in the context of a larger system, but on its own more limited. I have a deep interest in audio and a broader interest in VS, I think.

This is a great set of questions. I currently have a 6u modular (not too sprawling), VCR, DVD player, cassette video camera, a digital video camera, and one CRT (not too hard to find another). Might have another computer monitor or two lying around that takes composite or HDMI. I should sketch out an exact setup though, you’re right…

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I should clarify: I’m not looking to do performances/installations or anything like that. So I don’t mind having to fiddle or find inelegant signal chains. It’s just for adding a visual element to whatever tunes I make. Low-pressure home “studio” use only.

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Chromagnon is definitely more analogous to Mother-32 than Vidiot is. And I would say it is both broader and deeper than Vidiot. Pattern generation with Chromagnon will involve more animation and complexity than Vidiot provides. Chromagnon has a pre-patched internal feedback input option. The only way Vidiot might have an advantage is in its two channel design. If you’re attached to the idea of using the luma and chroma sections separately, Vidiot is the way to go.

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this may be an unpopular answer, but i am assuming if you are buying video synthesis equipment in these times that the funds are flexible. if this is the case, then you might consider getting a vidiot if one is to become available. when chromagnon releases, you can sell your vidiot–as a matter of fact, there are a lot of users hoping for vidiots to become available in this way.

i have found that lzx gear is hard to come by, if you find yourself having and wanting, then maybe it’s okay to buy and plan on reselling for near or at it’s value.

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You’re definitely on to something there @LILWILLY :+1:t3:
Plenty of people elsewhere have expressed what you said. I think we’d only see a flood of Vidiot sales if Chromagnon also had 2 Oscillator circuits but more importantly, any such sales will only happen after someone has received a preordered Chromagnon and a Vidiot owner can A/B the 2 units & see if its worth keeping the Vidiot. I think they’re going to make a great pair & we WON’T see a flood of sales in early 2021.

if you are processing external video the most important thing to know using the vidiot is that your external video will not be in its original full color. Rather it will be a monochrome version that you are processing via the vidiot.

whereas chromagnon has full component inputs…

that for me would be a dealbreaker. This is another reason I no longer own a vidiot

EDIT:
just for fun here is a picture of a tiny setup for a “news” day we had with our afterschool program a couple years ago. Less video synth and more mixer for this setup but it was still fun. You can see a vidiot nestled inbetween the v440 and v4.

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If you are going to be integrating your existing eurorack system with the LZX 0-1v space, you might consider some Orion modules, (Memory Palace, Fortress, and Diver) as well as a Bridge and a Passage (the Brownshoesonly 5:1 is another excellent option for scaling down your eurorack signals). While this option is more expensive than waiting for the Chromagnon, IMO, the Memory Palace blows the Vidiot out of the water (even without the oscillators), and has a bunch of CV modulation points, with choma and luma keys and vertex mesh displacement. If I’m not mistaken, the Chromagnon will have many of the these functions as well.

For what you would pay for a second-hand Vidiot, you get exponentially more value with the Memory Palace for a couple hundred dollars more. No doubt the MP will need a case, however that case can have room for other modules, including your current Eurorack setup, as you expand your system.

Also, With all those video inputs, when the TBC2 is released, it will help with the multi input. Alternately, used Edirol V-4 off of eBay is never a bad idea if you want to manage a bunch of composite outputs like that VCR and and DVD player. Ultimately your budget will define how you build out your system.

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Pattern complexity vs. independent luma/chroma is an interesting dilemma.

I was one of those people. I assumed when Chromamagnon came out there’d be a glut of used Vidiots and I could pick one up with tax return cash. It seems this isn’t a safe assumption. That is true though, the risk seems low with the resale value.

Thanks for pointing that out! I assumed demos were using B&W footage and didn’t notice. Good to know, but not a dealbreaker for me. I’d probably end up using mostly B&W video sources anyway.

I considered Bridge, but I feel like I have enough attenuverters to do 5:1 already. Fortress and Memory Palace I overlooked because they’re digital, but I’ll give them a fairer shake. Diver does seem very interesting.

Independent power sources with the Chromamagnon and Vidiot is a draw, I’m not feeling expanding my Eurorack just yet.

I wasn’t planning on multi-input, just having a few different patch setups. But I also didn’t think of an external video mixer, which is a cool idea. My budget and aims lean minimalist, which is why an all-in-one/core module is a draw. I’m sure everyone says that initially, like with modular generally.

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It definitely sounds to me like Vidiot is what you want.

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I think so. It’s the most intuitive LZX option for me. I’ll keep an eye out for a used Vidiot, and if one doesn’t appear I’ll opt for a Chromamagnon. Pre-patched internal feedback and more robust animation options are also appealing. There’s a good chance I just need to see a few demo patches to click with the Chromamagnon.

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I’ve thought about external video mixing and realized I’m down to pre-mix videos in software and output them from one medium. I’m fine going in and out of the box with audio. But how well would eurorack audio mixers work for setting up feedback loops?

I suspect my existing CV modules would work really well with video. I have the Intellijel Quadrax, which outputs LFOs, unipolar cycles, bursts, envelopes, and random sources, and one CV offset input can bring the whole module down to 0-1v. I also have Mimetic Digitalis, a sequencer that can randomize steps in the 0-1v range and dial in precise unquantized values within a semitone. And I just got a uO_c running Hemisphere Suite. It has an envelope follower which can output a trigger from audio for both the MD and the Quadrax. It seems like I’d be able to pan two audio signals L/R (say, kick and snare), render that to a DVD under a video, use an RCA to 1/4" adapter, and get two audio sources for synching a whole modulation system from audio.

It’s a tangent, but am I on the right track with this idea?

The key problem I can see is the actual output levels of the dvd player (definitely not +5/-5 bipolar or +10 Unipolar Eurorack ranges) and possible impedance issues. But if the audio is only to trigger envelopes & such, then you should be able to tweek/amp various outputs to appropriate triggering levels.

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Have a good look at the Sensory Translator!
Whilst it’s only a mono input, if you were willing to play around in preparation you could sequence different bands of noise (which correlate with the different frequency bands it follows) to get at least 3 discrete envelope/triggers from it

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Yeah I was thinking DVD/VCR > interface module > envelope follower. Shouldn’t be a problem?

I have, it almost looks solid for audio alone. Sequencing bandpassed noise is a really clever idea!

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I’ve done a bit more reading and watching videos on the precursor modules that make up the Chromagnon (no idea why I kept thinking it was Chromamagnon).

Not sure why I was leaning Vidiot. Chromagnon sounds incredible. Both a huge step forward and a more cohesive core.

Does anyone know if the price will go up after it’s released? I’ve never pre-ordered anything before, but suddenly I’m considering it…

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There’s a lot of anticipation even for the first demo videos let alone the initial deliveries of the first production run.
I can’t say whether the prices significantly went up or down on previous LZX modules while they were or still are in production but if you have the available funds & it won’t cause you any hardship, then go for it. Lars commented on a post a week or so ago saying that initial production on the first PCBs has begun.

If I were a gambler I would place my bet on a price increase down the line. It has happened in the past with modules like Memory Palace which started at $799 in original preorder round, went up to $999 at some point during development, and eventually landed where it is now at $1199.

Preordering can be a way to help support a small company with RD and manufacturing cost. By keeping their preorder in-house 100% of preorder funds go to LZX instead of paying a percentage to platforms like Kickstarter. While it can take a while for the projects to complete, patience can be rewarded with a bit of a price break occasionally, if preordered early, and with some degree of satisfaction knowing that you supported and contributed to the vision LZX. Their stewardship with the funds they raise is impeccable in my experience.

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When I preordered my TBC2 it was 599 and the memory palace was 999
I wish I would have bought another then :wink: haha

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