Dec 2018:

I'm just starting out in Eurorack. This supplements the semi-modular Moog Grandmother. I've quickly learned the limitations of such a setup, and those limitations have informed most of the modules here, which in turn are putting the Grandmother on a path towards being supplanted completely.

  • Some Grandmother controls don't have encoders attached, so the Offset module helps with those. It also helps with Moog's -5v - +5v pitch offset.
  • The Grandmother's clock doesn't run unless there's an arpeggio or sequence currently running, so the Rebel Tech Clk was added.

Good moves thus far...the Moog bipolar DC thing is annoying, yep. I would've hoped that they'd learned from example that when there's a standard that's making the development of new things possible, you're supposed to follow that trend mainly for the sake of being constructive. My bet is that with the Moog gear's basis in Bob's older circuit designs, it sticks with their older voltage standards...hence the bipolar DC, the continuing presence of the (ugh) S-Trigs on their modular reissues, etc.

One thing you might look at, though, would be the Erica Pico MScale. That's specifically designed to solve the Moog bipolar DC issue, fits in a mere 3 hp, and only costs around $70. That way, you can just route your pitch CV direct to that and the problem's instantly solved in the first patching step outside the Grandmother. As for the EMW Offset Proc...that not only fixes your control issues, but it allows some extra craziness in that you can modulate offsets with it. So, say you have an incoming CV that controls your VCO using a square wave as an offset modulator and a little poking around with the gain control, you can impose a trill of a specific interval onto the VCO CV with that module. And that's just one example of some of the fun you can have with it. My assumption is that EMW mashed an offset source plus an adder in there twice over...not a bad idea at all!

Thanks for the feedback! I was peripherally aware of the MScale. I've tuned by ear the few times I've wanted a harmonic relationship between the GM and Cursus Iteritas, but a precision bias could indeed be helpful down the road. In the meantime, you reminded me to check: there's a global setting to enable the GM to output 0v - +10v. Done.

Yeah, the EMW double adder seems like it'll have a good lifetime as a general utility, so I didn't feel bad about spending $66 on it.

Next steps that I'm considering:

  • an inexpensive noise source (it's annoying to isolate the GM's noise source and use it elsewhere),
  • an envelope/modulation source. I thought a Low-pass Gate might be a good thing to trigger, but tonight I'm a little obsessed with the possibilities opened up by the Malekko AD/LFO,
  • Expert Sleepers Disting as a "sampler plate" of more exotic functions, and
  • an inexpensive sequencer as a general control/dynamic modulation source.

I'm trying not to overthink the sequencer. At first I thought the Korg SQ-1 would be fine, but then the Arturia Beatstep Pro looks so much more capable for the money.

Already arriving:

  • patch cables. My patches are already limited by the number of physical connections I can make.

I actually have both of those sequencers...the SQ-1 is nice for running typical Berlin school-type sequencing loops, plus it plays nice with my MS-20. The BSP is a different beast altogether, though...much more internal complexity and potential, especially with its software configuration capabilities. I did a live piece a few years ago that had two BSPs merged into my Kawai K5m...none of the four patterns were equal length or at the same tempo, which gave me this nonrepeating ambient wash that worked beautifully once the synth was properly processed. If you were going to be forced to make a choice, the BSP is the one to have...but having both is perhaps even better!

The Expert Sleeper is a great sampler plate of audio and CV functionality. It's super clunky to use and requires a cheat-sheet print out or an iPhone open to the manual to adjust anything. For the sub $200US, it's worth the hassle for features you're willing to take a few minutes to set-n-forget.

For simple sequencing, have you looked at a micro Ornaments & Crime? The sequencer, Sequins, is VERY useful and offers a LOT of features for a basic sequencer. Plus you have all of the other modes available (like a dual quantizer, etc.). You're looking at $250-300 for the micro version (8HP). Some functions overlap with the Disting. But that gives you a lot more options between the two modules.