Serge Modular Music System

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The Serge synthesizer aka Serge Modular Music System or Serge Modular system is an analogue modular synthesizer originally designed by CalArts professor Serge Tcherepnin, beginning in 1974.


In 1992 Serge production and intellectual property were taken over by Sound Transform Systems (STS) of Oakland, California, founded by Rex Probe in 1984.[1]


The original Serge panel was pre-drilled aluminum with panel art on paper glued on and covered with protective mylar film.[2][3]


Unlike other synthesizer systems with components designed to control the basics of musical sounds, such as pitch, duration, amplitude envelope, timbre. The intent of the Serge system is that the electronics speaks for itself. It makes interesting (although "un-musical") functions such as positive slew, negative slew, peak and trough, comparators, processors, wave shapers, etc. available .[4] Typically Serge modules are multipurpose, e.g. the Serge TKB is a touch activated keyboard, analogue programmer and sequencer, while the Serge Universal Slope Generator can serve as an envelope generator, slew processor, LFO, VCO, frequency divider, lowpass VCF, trigger/gate delay, or envelope follower.[1]


Serge uses banana jacks for patching.[1] The Serge connector color scheme is more about the type signal than its function but with some flexibility e.g. some CVs can go negative. Many black inputs are AC coupled, but most black outputs are not.[5][6]

Signal Color[7][8] Comment
Audio or signal  black  AC coupled signals
CVs  blue  DC coupled signals
Pulse in/out  red  Trigger signals
Sync  purple  Pink noise out on the Animal panel[9][10]
Special uses  yellow , orange , green [10]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Vintage Synthesizers: Groundbreaking Instruments and Pioneering Designers of Electronic Music Synthesizers by Mark Vail, Backbeat Books, 2000, ISBN 0879306033
  2. ^ What and Why Paperface?, coa-modular, 3 Jun 2012
  3. ^ Classic Serge, CGS
  4. ^ Foreword by Serge Tcherepnin, A guide to the Euro-Serge Modular Synthesizer by Laurie Biddulph.
  5. ^ Serge Maintenance Info, Muff Wiggler forum, Nov 2010
  6. ^ If you could color code your inputs...., Muff Wiggler forum, Apr 2010
  7. ^ Serge Fans FAQ
  8. ^ Serge Guidebook by Rich Gold.
  9. ^ The Serge "Animal" - a massive modular in 4U
  10. ^ a b Best of CGS Build Thread, Muff Wiggler forum, 1 Jul 2011

External links