New to video synthesis

Hi there, totally new to all this but fascinated…. I’m curious if anyone could suggest what would be the ideal setup for someone getting into this fresh ?

It seems a passive case is suggested with a dc power module ( is that released yet ?)

What would be the ideal setup of modules getting started with plans to manipulate video from say a vcr playing tapes setup into the system and out to a crt or more modern tv ?

If I used a non powered euro case with the dc power module mentioned in the gen 3 faq, would I still be safe using my audio euro modules with attenuators to modulate the gen 3 lzx modules ? I’m working on an audio euro case and it would be nice to reuse the stuff in there for video modulation as well. If so is it best to house them all in one case ( lzx and my Audio stuff) in one case with euro standard power or seperate them one with standard power and a different case with the power module housing the lzx stuff and patch between them ( would that cause issues mixing power ?)

Sorry for the scattered questions basically what are my best power options and what’s a good minimum viable module setup to learn?

Thanks so much !


If you go strictly with new modules from LZX then DC power is probably best. You can connect an DC 12V adapter straight into the module and use the LZX DC Distro or similar DIY solution to power multiple modules.

To bring video into your system you’ll need an input module like the TBC2, to send out video to a display you’ll need an output module like the ESG3 encoder. The Chromagnon can do these things as well. In all cases these will be analog video signals so depending on your needs you may need other devices to convert to and from digital.

As for actually manipulating the video, most of the Gen3 modules and the Chromagnon would be useful, the keyer and mixer are obvious choices. The Memory Palace is fantastic for manipulating video of course but it’s not currently in production.

I have a mixed A/V rack with a PSU for audio, a PSU for video and then some newer LZX modules using AC/DC power adapters. I use a lot of my audio modulation sources for my video and it works fine, just know that most LZX gear is expecting 0-1v so it will clip anything above that. Cheap eurorack power may also introduce some noise in the video as well but I’m not too well versed with that.


I have found that audio modules used as modulation sources do generally still need fairly clean power or else visible high frequency noise can be introduced into the video system. But YMMV depending on what case/power you have and your tolerance for noise. I wouldn’t worry about it too much at first, but it may need sorting out down the line.

However, if you just pass audio into something like Sensory Translator or Diver, then noise is less an issue.

Given the wide range of third-party video modules now available (see top section here) — none of which use the DC power schema (except some of VH.S’s) — I don’t personally think going 100% DC power is a viable option in the long run. But it is maybe a good place to start.

And then you could introduce a Capsule power (or whatever new solution, if any, LZX releases) or Tiptop Studio Bus or other recommended power supply if you want to grow beyond Gen3 modules.


I think I’d disagree with the “[not] a viable option in the long run” part of this. If you go all-DC and just get LZX Gen 3 modules (and maybe Automata series devices like the Chromagnon) and ignore all the third party modules, you could definitely build a great setup, especially in the long run when there are more Gen3/Automata releases available.

(That said, the third party modules can indeed be pretty cool and great additions to a system. Especially now when so few of the LZX Gen 3 modules are out. I’ve even working on a few that I hope to release sometime, and I’m pretty sure mine will use eurorack power. So no offense to third party modules!)


Fair enough.

Probably should’ve said:

“Given the wide range of third-party video modules available… I personally think going 100% DC power will prove limiting in the long run. But it is maybe a good place to start.”


dont bother trying to enter modular video synthesis right now. Either get video_waaaves/waaave_pool, touchdesigner, lumen etc


Now is the perfect time to enter the realm of modular video synthesis, with all of the new LZX modules entering production after a very long struggle with the pandemic-disrupted supply chain.


I wish I felt like I could agree with you Chad. cheers for being the optimist/salesman in the thread.

I would argue…Maybe after the start of q3??

while I acknowledge that LZX has come leaps and bounds from this point last year. And the year prior….

Correct me if I am over generalizing the issue:

For anyone starting today… or last year… there is still a size-able/ unknown wait for a TBC or an encoder… which is a thing for (most) folks who have the funds and want to purchase a ‘complete’ system today, and start patching in less than a week.

When you stabilize ALL the gen3 offerings
That they’re consistently available and ready to ship….

that I don’t have to stalk…
And pay to the whims ($$$) of those who have need to profit big from resale.

Or to put money into presale orders that are subject to the whims of a global tech shortage and a bespoke design team being stretched thin.

to build a system
With inputs AND outputs ….

Then maybe it could be advisable to folks on the fence about dipping their toes into this, to actually do so.

The LZX world is not for the shallow of pockets to begin with…
But add to that, right now there is a lot of concern /strife (anxiety?) around waiting, price jacking, overpaying, and the like.

I don’t personally want folks to stay away I just think being honest about what the struggle is might be a bit more prudent then trying to push a series of modules where only 2 are actually shipping - of which they don’t do anythjng without at least an encoder.


Now is absolutely the best time to get into modular video synthesis. While TBC2 production will probably take a few months to outpace demand, ESG3 is in production and (assuming there isn’t some additional global catastrophe disrupting the world of manufacturing) will be shipping before summer. Including ESG3, the first five Gen3 modules are all one needs to get started synthesizing video. Gen3 modules offer the best price-per-function value over previous LZX modules, they take up less room, and have simplified power requirements. Getting into video modular now means getting into the best of LZX, so far. And that’s not even mentioning the other amazing products created by others in the 1V video space. So, yes, if you’re getting into modular video now, your timing is good!

@dubpixel you’ve had to suffer through trying to assemble a video synthesizer during the pandemic, which has been disappointing at best. Lack of availability, inflated prices on used items, delays on planned products…these have been the norm for just about every commodity, no matter where you look. Everyone at LZX is working very hard to fulfill 2+ years of promises and impress you in the end. I am sorry to have let you down thus far. We’re much closer to our goal now than ever and I am excited to impress you soon.

Now, back to the topic of the thread!


Thanks for all the replies so, with the gen 3 modules would it be advisable to go with a chromagnon and a few gen 3 modules setup ( which would you guys suggest to overcome any shortcomings/ build a complete system) or would just getting the 5 gen 3 models when available be the wise/ more effective choice ? I realize it’s a matter of opinion probably but opinions are what I want I guess.


The base to any video synth (at least an LZX video synth) is the sync gen and encoder. LZX has had various modules that do these functions in the past, but right this very moment, they don’t have any that you can get in your hands today (without trying to get a used one of the previous generations).

The Chromagnon and the ESG3 will both fill this role (and more) when they’re out. LZX are definitely cranking away to get the Chromagnons out ASAP, but it sounds like the ESG3 is going to beat it into our hands. So if your goal is taking the course of action that will get you videosynthing sooner, I’d go with the ESG3 and some other Gen3 modules.

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If I were starting from scratch…I’d probably grab the five gen 3 modules or Chromagnon and combination of few gen 3 modules like joem mentioned. I might also try and pickup a Special Stage Ming Mecca, Erogenous Tones Structure, or hunt down an Dave Jones MVIP to start playing around with video.

Forgot above but since some LZX Passage modules are currently available I’d pick one up as well!

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Chromagnon is going to be more cost efficient because it is a standalone instrument. So, if you are dipping your toes in the water, that is where to start.

You would need to purchase a case (or rack) to house the modules. A system with those five Gen3 modules and case with power supply costs about twice as much as the Chromagnon.

If you’ve already jumped into the world of eurorack, then definitely get an ESG3 with the other gen3 modules and go that route because odds are you have a few modules that can be used to generate and modulate video signals (especially oscillators). Most Eurorack runs on 0-5v range, so those signals will need to be scaled into the LZX 0-1v standard. Purchasing a scaler is necessary. You might find that you still want to purchase a Chromagnon anyway.

The truth is that if you end up really enjoying video synthesis, then you’ll probably want to expand your system regardless of where you start from.


Gotcha, is the chromagnon alone enough to begin using with an analog source like a vcr in and then out to a crt ?

Also to clarify the esg3 would be my input module if im not mistaken ? And that would be for a single source only ?
Where would the output come from any of the end of chain other modules ?

Where does the tbc2 fall into the equation there ? Is that if you want to sync 2 external sources instead of just one like the esg3? Would that be a replacement for the esg3 if I decided to use two sources or in addition to ??

I’ll have to see what comes around first but I’ll deff consider the chromagnon as a start if it’s sufficient on its own to get started.

Scaler wise, chances are lzx will eventually release one again and until then if I used the chromagnon I could use the lzx oscillator to modulate the chromagnon ?

Chromagnon would be your all-in-one solution, correct. ESG3 is an output encoder, TBC2 is input. You would need both to process external video, but only ESG3 to do pure video synthesis, along with modules to actually synthesize shapes and colors and stuff.

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A case plus power supply for Gen3 modules doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. That’s part of the point of the new Gen3 power inputs (and Chromagnon power input too). For power, you can just use a 12V DC power supply that puts out a few amps, and daisy chain them. (The LZX power distro works too, though it’s a lot pricier because it’s high spec.) Then for a case you can just use any unpowered case. Or just rails and end plates (like a Happy Ending Kit). Or go super low budget and make a cardboard case.


You will be able to do some amount of processing of external raster video using only the Chromagnon.
The Chromagnon contains an input section, a processing workflow and an output encoder.
There is a good thread on Chromagnon Synthesis concepts where the oportunities are explained. I appreciate that it is kind of explained in a way that is mainly understandable to people that are already immersed in the ecosystem.
I’m sure that there will be some demos, soon.

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A few bits of terminology that you might see thrown around here that we sometimes forget aren’t obvious to beginners (sorry!):

encoder = the end of chain module, the output module, it encodes the modular video signals into a composite signal or YPbPr signal that your TV/video monitor can understand

sync generator = a module or part of a module that generates the timing signals that the encoder uses, often this is built into an encoder (as with the ESG3 and Chromagnon) but sometimes an input module like the TBC2 will have this ability also (so it can sync to the input video, or sync the input video to it)

It can be a little confusing because you need both an encoder and a sync generator, and some modules do both and some just do one or the other, while others still don’t do either (like the SMX3). You can have multiple encoders and multiple sync generators in your system, but the duplication may or may not be useful depending on your modules and your use cases.

The Chromagnon really is the jack of all trades when it comes to this, since it can work anywhere in your chain, can be a sync generator, can sync to incoming signals, can be an encoder, all while doing the video processing/generation stuff that it does.


This is a good available option for a scaler. I think SchneidersLaden still has a few brownshoesonly 5:1 modules. Those are great as well.

I was about to say the same thing but I think they meant a case, power AND 5xGen3 would cost almost twice what the Chromagnon costs which is pretty accurate.
Say $400 per module and about $200 for Tip Top Happy Endings and power accessories is $2200 whereas the Chromagnon is $1200.
And that’s not even considering a video input portion which would add another $800 for TBC2.