I ordered the modules and 7u case just as designed. Very excited to get started. As you can see, I've started to design the top row as well!

That amount should be plenty.

Also, unless you have a specific use for Steppy, you might want to replace it with a 4Robots (1U Intellijel friendly) version of Ornaments & Crimes. It's a multi-utility module that includes a quantizer, basic sequencer(with CV, gates or envelopes), and a lot of other nice features that you can use with yoru system. You might need to ditch the USB 1U... but that's not a big sacrifice. It's a bit more than a standard O&C. But I love mine. The sequencer is basic... BUT it'll be great for those times when you don't want to mess around with your computer and just jam out on your synths. Or if you want a sequence going internally that responds to... your logic module! :)

The 4Robots version can also scale beyond +5 volts to I think around 8volts... giving your envelopes some more bite.

Thanks for the thoughts and questions

For mixing, the Pico III has 2 x 3 channel mixers plus a 2 channel mix out.

For attenuation, the Lapsus Os gives me a 4-channel attenuator/attenuverter. Do you think I need more than that?

Good thoughts on the Monsoon and logic. The 0-coast has a simple 2 in-2 out Maths circuit but without any logic.

...bought a Doepfer module from @TonvaterJan - everything fine - thanks a lot!

I maybe say the wrong word, when i say polyphonic it's more like multiple sound for exemple: bass melody etc ...
not play chords on a keyboard.
so i should add a VCO & a mixer or LFO for exemple ?
and i would love to add a granular sampler. for exemple i love the sound of the Cloud by mutable instrument that i use a lot in vcv rack,i sometimes put it on my moog with my soundcard.
also how can i control the frequency of my other vco if a add one ? i need to put an another sequencer ?

How do you intend on mixing everything? How will you attenuate or invert modulation signals? Depending on what you have in semi-modular... I think I'd want the Monsoon and the logic module first. Most semi-modulars don't have logic circuits.

If you want polyphony, buy a polyphonic synth. Ganging monophonic synths or even Eurorack isn't very efficient.

I wouldn't be afraid to get into Eurorack. But another semi-modular synth would be way less expensive than diving fulling into Eurorack. There are a lot semi-modular and even synth-voices (complete synths in Eurorack format).

I would probably go with a skiff and pick up modules to supplement the Mother 32 where you feel it is weak or to give you options with alternate filters and effects. Effects like wavefolders, distortion, ring modulation, CV modulation, attenuverters, etc. can spice up what you have.

Hello all,
Would love your thoughts on this planned setup. This is designed to be used in combination with the semi-modular gear I already have so is light on basic modules like VCO/VCA. For example, with the 0-coast, System III and mini-brute, I have 5 VCOs to play with.

ModularGrid Rack

My goals are to extend my semi-modular setup to have more room for experimentation with rhythms (Marbles, Logic, and Steppy plus my BSP and KeyStep), sound processing (Monsoon, Rings, MMF), and be able to perform live (hence the Palette case) with my other gear. The compressed versions of Rings and Plaits get in the way of easy live playing but the Lapsus Os gives a lot of flexibility in quickly modulating parameters of other modules like those. Drums are through TR-8S and/or Live depending on setup.

Would love thoughts on this general setup and on which to get first. With my budget, I can afford the case, 1u modules, plus one or two other modules now. Thinking of starting with Monsoon and Marbles then adding others next year as I can afford them.

P.S. Thanks to all the posters and commenters here. I have learned a ton just from reading this forum.

Cheers to @ChristophRemmery for the ADDAC601 - super fast shipping (international EU delivery in two days!) and everything packed really carefully and in top condition. Definitely recommend!

Probably not. If you read the info on Doepfer's site, you'll notice that this isn't exactly a "traditional" gesture controller. It has some obvious drawbacks, especially regarding the capacitance, that would tend to make it less of a "proper" rod or ring. It seems to me that it would make infinitely more sense to use a Moog Etherwave Plus to send proper CVs and gate to a modular, given that the Etherwave has its aerials in optimized positions already and the circuitry is designed to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, it's a wooden box (NOT metal) which should be easier to control and calibrate, and it can be located away from metal or other things that might cause an unexpected signal.

-- Lugia

Oh, thanks for explaining.

"Control eurorack with Etherwave Plus" is what I am doing right now. But when I saw again those A178, I got a spark of a hope that I possibly can dramatically reduce a size of my road case (minus one etherwave, which is definitely more room to put a more pairs of socks). But I still want to be able to play all things I can do on a "normal" Etherwave.

Again, thank you for keeping me in place!

Hello !, thanks for all your advises.

i already do some VCV rack but maybe d'ont patch like it should be, for the moog i already mastery it because i'm not new to sythesis i already do some digital sythesis (FM8,Massive,Serum) but i wanted to do live music and have a different way to do it. i think you are right i'm not ready for eurorack, so what do you think about buy an another mother 32 or a DFAM to expand it and to have more possibilities, because i feel very limited and i would like to do polyphony and make live music without computeur or looper.

what do you think about that ?


What Maths is is a simplified analog computer that's been set up to work in a Eurorack synth environment. As such, it outputs complex voltage curves (like an actual one does) but it doesn't use Boolean logic per se. Boolean works well in a digital environment, but it wouldn't really be useful in an analog one unless you had some way of translating voltage levels/behaviors into on/off pulses, such as with a bunch of comparators.

Marbles is similar...but again, not a Boolean device.
-- Lugia

The more you know!
Thanks Lugia.

What Maths is is a simplified analog computer that's been set up to work in a Eurorack synth environment. As such, it outputs complex voltage curves (like an actual one does) but it doesn't use Boolean logic per se. Boolean works well in a digital environment, but it wouldn't really be useful in an analog one unless you had some way of translating voltage levels/behaviors into on/off pulses, such as with a bunch of comparators.

Marbles is similar...but again, not a Boolean device.

Hi Naugrim,

You are welcome. How about that one from Doepfer, the A-130? It's reasonably priced and if you build up enough experience with it and you want a more fancy one you can consider that for the future.

With logic modules I meant logic functions like: AND, OR, NAND, NOR, XOR, etcetera. You don't straight away have to buy it but keep it in mind. Once you have build up experience with your rack then you might want to look into it to play around with CVs and make it more exciting. I am myself rather new on that field as well and still have to do quite some homework in that area before I would be able to give you better advice than this.

Make Noise Maths goes into that direction but is not a "pure" logic module on its own; Maths is just a wonder on its own :-) Marbles I don't know it well enough but I don't think it's a logic module as such.

Generally I would recommend to not fully plan the second row yet, keep some blank space left, you will need it in the future to adjust the ideas (and experience) you have now. So in the future you can add a few modules without having the issue of straight away need to buy a new case...

Good luck and kind regards, Garfield.

Hi Nerophix,

Pfeew... With a budget of Euro 700 I would recommend to put your plans on hold and save first a bit more so you feel financially more comfortable. A good rack is already Euro 700 (Intellijel 7U for example). If you go for low cost Doepfer, the A-100LS9 is at Euro 349, that's about the smallest I would consider if I were you. With that there is only Euro 351 left for your budget, for that you wouldn't get all those modules you displayed in the rack...

Sorry, I wouldn't know what MMG or Clouds can be replaced by.

For "classic" modules and looking at your budget, please have a look at some of the Doepfer modules, they are reasonably priced and are good products. I got several modules of Doepfer myself and I am quite happy with them.

I still recommend to play first a lot more around with the Moog, that gives you more experience and also for yourself a better idea of what you want and meanwhile you can try to save some more money to increase your budget. Then next year if your budget is hopefully in 4 digits area then plan again, by then you should better idea of what you want regarding your experiences with the Moog.

Good luck and kind regards, Garfield.

Honestly, this build has some very serious problems. You only have one mixer, a linear one. There are no VCAs here for either audio or CV/mod level control. Having the M32 in the cab with everything else is expensive and a waste of space...unless you like paying to power and case a device twice, don't do this. There's nothing to correct the crosspatching issues between Eurorack and the Moog. And why in god's name is the P/S in the middleof the row where you'll have the power cable subject to easy disconnection while patching?

OK...you have the M32 already. Do you feel that you've exhausted the possibilities it offers, and this is why you "need" Eurorack, or is this just "something cool" that looks right...until you run smack-dab into the wall of technical issues and MONEY that Eurorack poses?

I strongly suggest some considerable time be spent with VCV Rack before going further. The extreme "Sexy Module" problem above indicates to me that, while you have an idea of what's needed, you don't understand what else has to be there to make those "classics" work in the way they can. There are a LOT of "boring" modules that modular synths require in addition to the snazzy ones; get a copy of VCV Rack and you'll see what I mean.

Drones are easy; probably one of the very best primers on how that's done well has to be Klaus Schulze's "Cyborg". But then, "Cyborg" also shows how you have to keep a degree of variation in the soundscape to maintain listener interest.

Eno's processes are really different, though. He tends to think more along the lines of interacting systems (probably a lot of his Stafford Beer influence coming thru there) and how to get them to continually output a changing result across time. This is why you have the odd interlocking sequencer parts working how they do in "Discreet Music" and then, of course, the inequal-length tape loops of "Music for Airports". As opposed to Klaus Schulze above, Eno's works of these sorts are just as capable of NOT being listened to actively as otherwise; try this with "Cyborg", though, and the results just sound like your HVAC system is malfunctioning or something similar.

Hi Garfield Modular,

Thanks for your insights! Could you recommend a linear VCA? And as far as logic goes, does Maths and/or Marbles fit the bill?

As for the in/out, yes, that's a definite purchase in 1U. The other option would be to get the ES-9 coming out, but then everything doesn't fit so snugly. :)

I'm not expecting to compose a symphony on this thing, just do between 1 and 3 voices at a time. I'll pipe them into Ableton when I can add additional tracks from VCV Rack or Reaktor Blocks - or just other non-modular content.

At the end of this journey I want to make a system that I can sit down and tweak until I find the sounds I'm looking for, not something I need menu dive with. I think I have that with this simple system so far (aside from Pamela's Workout).

I appreciate you taking the time to respond.


Hello, thank you for the answer !, yes the moog is compatible with eurorack and it's the only "module" that i have.

i have other questions for you:
What "classics" modules do you recommend me to add and what module should i remove ?
whats first modules should i buy to start because i have 700 € to start (including the case but i am going to build it myself)?
For the MMG what module can i buy to replace it ?
The clouds by mutable is too not more available but i see some clones on ebay.

thanks again :)

Hi Naugrim,

First I thought "what a small system" but having a good look at it, for the fact that's so small, it's quite complete. You got your VCOs, LFOs, filters, envelopes and VCAs/mixer. You could consider a linear VCA for CVs, a logic module might come in handy and the obvious as you mentioned yourself already, a sequencer and a few effect modules.

Regarding the 1U definitely look into Audio input/output in combination with (if you go for it) Intellijel 7U case to make sure you got everything you need. Or are you going to do that via your computer too? But you mentioned that if you are not connected to a computer, so I still would consider that (audio input/output module I mean).

It's not a huge system, rather small, so don't expect wonders from it, however you got the most basic modules covered. So get experience with it and with that experience then decide how you are going to fill up the second row and that second row will be faster full then you might think or want ;-)

Good luck with the planning and kind regards, Garfield Modular.

Hi Nerophix,

You got quite some nice fancy modules in this rack ;-) That's nice to see but it certainly has disadvantages too...

Depending on what you have already, but assuming here you have no other devices just that what you are planning here in the above shown rack then you got yourself too many fancy modules planned and too less classic and basic components like oscillators, LFOs (okay I saw that Doepfer A-145, that one together with the Moog that might be enough to start with), filters, envelopes (yes I saw the Maths but that one is too nice to use just use it as an envelope; of all the fancy modules at least keep this one, nice module), VCAs, audio input & output module and in your cases you might want to check if the Moog can be directly used with a Eurorack system, if I am not mistaken that's not 100% compatible, so better check that first before you start.

You also got far too less space. So why not leave the Moog out and put that back in it's original casing, that saves you a lot of space that you really will need with the above mentioned modules.

Regarding the music you like to create, I have no experience with that so can't help you there, perhaps other members can give you some advice into that direction.

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the Make Noise MMG, are you sure you are still able to buy that one? I can't find it with my regular dealers, so you might want to check that too.

Kind regards, Garfield Modular.

The short answer is there isn't a single module to add that will give you drones or ambient sounds. That's a discussion that seems to happen in every new post. I'd get in some more wiggle time and then start scouring the internet and Youtube. You might even want to boot up VCV Rack and take a spin on that platform. I think you might find you need a stack of modules to do it well or an innate understanding of the architecture of drones (Brian Eno level).

I'm building a single 104HP row that I'm going to be using primarily with Ableton (thus the ES-8). I will expand it to another row sometime next year, but this has to be it for now. I'll sequence, process effects, and provide additional LFOs and envelopes through Ableton and the Push 2.

Take a look and let me know if there are any 1U "must haves" I can get for this case (it's the 7u Intellijel case that has 2 104 HP rows as well as a row for 1U modules). Also, am I missing anything obvious? I feel like this is a pretty basic design.

Additionally, my goal is to make melodic ambient music. I also like to have interesting percussive sounds. I would have liked to include the Plonk as well, but decided to go with Pamela's Workout to provide a clock and sequencing for when I'm not connected to a computer. This is the module I'm least committed to, seeing as I'll be connected to the computer most, if not all, of the time. Not to mention the fact that there is quit a bit of menu diving.

If you have any thoughts on other modules I should add to the second row, that would be appreciated as well. I was thinking of some additional voices (plonk for percussive sounds and a "gnarly" sounding oscillator for drones), another filter, reverb and delay, a tactile sequencer (I'm liking the Polyend Seq and the Sequentix Cirklon as well as Erica Synths new sequencer, but might consider another in-case module if it was easy to use).

This is my first modular synth, so I'd value any of your thoughts on my plunge!

Thank you for a great reply! It was very helpful.

I totally get the idea that it's a lot of money for just one functionallity, when the Elektrons already have very powerful sequencers. The reason I'm thinking about Bloom as an alternative, is that I would like to have the opportunity for creating happy accidents, to create music more intuitively. I've been interested in Marbles earlier, but I think Bloom might just be a little more interesting. I've just looked a little into the Squarps, but don't know a lot about them. But from what I understand, they are similar to the Elektrons (at least the Pyramid), that the sequencers are very powerful (when you know what you want), but perhaps not as intuitive as Bloom (when you want to just follow the flow, and see where it takes you).

I've also been very interested in Eurorack for a long time, so this might be a way to start. I could then add, say an 0-coast, which would be a cool combo with the Bloom.

Hello, i would like to have your opinion on my rack.
to start my eurorack i already buy the moog mother 32 so i built the rack around it.
My goal is to have a ambient sound (like r beny for exemple) but also techno stuff ,so i wanted to make a polyvalent system

What do you think about it ?
(sorry for the english it's not my first language)

ModularGrid Rack
(the picture may only show the mother 32 click on it to fix it)

Thanks guys, DixieII+ actually seems a very powerful option, and I'm considering traditional LFO&ADSR modules too.
Lugia you're right, but to make a long story short, removing PICO System III is unfortunately not an option (at least for now).
I'll check Intellijel Noise Tools opportunities; thanks for pointing it out.
Is there any suggestion for a module to build ambient drone and pads ? Maybe a granular synthesis tool ? (I am looking at MI clouds clone - not so easy to found in europe - or morphagene).
Thanks again for your help

TBH, you're making this more difficult than it should be by having that PICO System III in the Eurorack case instead of its own case. That eats up far too much panel space for something that's already got a cab and power on its own. By taking that out and putting it back where it belongs, you then have ample room for modules that will work to expand this AND which can be big enough to be easily controllable and well-featured. Another consideration would be to remove anything that doesn't have clear and apparent functionality; while o-scopes are nice if you're doing complex sound design where you need to know waveform content, they're pretty much pointless for a gigging instrument. Lose that, then you have space for the clocking, etc that's on the Intellijel Noise Tools tile...which, fwiw, is a far more functional and essential module than the Zeroscope.

Guys, is there just ANY video, where we can see how this module is operated by a professional theremin player playing a melody?
-- spooncrackling

Probably not. If you read the info on Doepfer's site, you'll notice that this isn't exactly a "traditional" gesture controller. It has some obvious drawbacks, especially regarding the capacitance, that would tend to make it less of a "proper" rod or ring. It seems to me that it would make infinitely more sense to use a Moog Etherwave Plus to send proper CVs and gate to a modular, given that the Etherwave has its aerials in optimized positions already and the circuitry is designed to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, it's a wooden box (NOT metal) which should be easier to control and calibrate, and it can be located away from metal or other things that might cause an unexpected signal.

In theory, yes. However, unless you already have a Eurorack rig, this seems sort of inefficient. You're talking about $519 for the modules alone, plus whatever case/power you'd have to get if you don't already have that on hand. And then, you'd only have two channels (and no velocity...the Bloom doesn't transmit that). Plus, both of those Elektron boxes already have sequencing onboard.

If the idea here is to employ a master sequencer to control the Elektrons, or to inject random variables into the behavior of those boxes, it would seem to me to make more sense to employ a standalone device such as a Squarp Pyramid (if you don't have a Eurorack rig already) or a Squarp Hermod (if you do). The Hermod has MIDI (no need for the Doepfer module), does transmit velocity and aftertouch (bonus), has ample randomization and parameter stacking for days. And the Pyramid is basically a beefier Hermod in its own self-contained case. Plus the Hermod actually comes in at $20 less than the Qu-bit/Doepfer pair and gives you eight tracks whereas the original idea only offered two.

thanks for taking the time to reply Ronin. a lot of not so obvious ideas and some lesser known modules i will look closely...
indeed i was thinking off some logic modules maybe the disting have some i must invest more time in it.
Yes i think the SS need some time to be dedicated and is really worth the effort.
Actually i have outboard effects in my mix console . the modular effects are covered by the prism and warp with the parasite firmware.

I'd definitely let the ShapeShifter mature in your workflow before adding any new modules.
If you pull the Warps and the TipTop 909 modules, that frees up 18HP.

My first thought was a Worng Vector Space for creating some interesting modulation sources by using what you have onboard. But it's 20HP. So you'd have to find another module to cut out.

A Befaco dual attenuverter would be nice since it can attenuvert as well as offset.

A Clep Diaz or two might be useful for some additional glitchiness.

There's also a lack of effects unless the Disting is being pressed into generating reverbs, delays, etc.

You could also make a go of adding some simple mute switches. Noise Engineering makes a bank of 4 that fits in 4HP. Joranalogue makes a Select 4, which is more involved.

I don't see any logic modules either. A Joranalogue Compare 2 or even something more simple (like a Blue Lantern logic module) might add some tastiness to your patches: AND, OR, NOR, NAND, XOR, etc...

Just some ideas off the top of my head... but it's all going to come down to what makes the experience better for you.

If your needs are being taken care of between the Eloquencer and PNW, there's no reason to expand into a dedicated LFO and clock modules. However, you are eating up outputs that can go towards other functions.

The Eloquencer and PNW may or may not be able to modulate their own LFOs and clocks... or at least not as well as a dedicated module. It all comes down to usage. So take everything with a grain of salt.

As far as the 2HP VCO. It has a features in it. But take a look at an Intellijel Dixie II+. You get more waveforms, a sub output, attenuators, you can select the octave playback, linear and exponential FM modulation (plus a secondary FM source), you can shift the VCO into LFO territory.

The 2HP VCO is $129. The Dixie II+ is $229. 2HP vs 8HP. But if you're going to put another VCO into your system, I'd go with the Dixie as you'll get more out of it. You could go with another VCO... but the 2HP is lacking features that are important in my opinion.

Rather than the 2HP MMF, look at the Steady State Fate MMF. There's a $50 difference. But you also get 1V/Oct tracking, plus FM and a PING input. You'll get more use out of the Steady State Fate.

There's no problem with the Mutable Instruments stuff. But I've found having traditional envelope generators onboard to be a worthwhile investment over modules that require a lot of button pressing and memorization of modes and features.

Again, all with a grain of salt.

Hi man, if you feel like you don't have enough modulation, you should pay attention to multipliers. These modules are not that big and can be very useful, especially on a "reduced" setup like the Arturia's ecosytem. It will help your modular to evolve in the same way during your live sessions.

Hello modular friends.
I have been designing this rack for about a year now. Started with a neutron and a dfam ,pam & akemie , now here i am ModularGrid Rack
Primary goal for this system is producing aleatoric stochastic rythms & glitch. I should receive the shapeshifter tomorrow. I don’t have the neutron anymore but i’m keeping the dfam. What do you think of this system, is There any big flow or some way to improve it?
Keep in mind i don’t want to change my case and go for a bigger system than 6U 104hp. I think i could use better the 8hp Space occupied by the bd-909 and also the warp 10hp.

Bought a module to @gesta. Everything perfect, nice package and module in good shape.

Thanks to @maddest for MI Veils. Module came pretty fast and very well packed, without any technical or optical issues. I recommend.

Thread: Bookla Bongo

The full one is on Moodle, so I'm not gonna finish this one.
Many editable parts
Work in progress
Could also just put Tempi directly in, but that's no fun.
Could just do the one pink clock, also no fun.

Liam "The Lemony Bard" Zaffora-Reeder

Thanks @tethys for the Clouds. Shipping took a while, but at the end, all was well. Clouds in good shape.

Thanks to @tomlaan for the Maths. Super fast shipping, well packed, module as described. Thanks again!

I hope this is the right place to post the thread. I am playing my modular system in a jam Band and I use the Bassdrum of our drummer as a trigger via piezo going to a Make Noise Function that then serves for example as a LFO for my filter so that with every kick the filter opens.

Since I am relatively new to the modular world I am still looking for a way to multiply this signal to get for example a rhythmic pattern that is more or less in sync with the bassdrum. Moreover I am looking for a possibility to turn the bassdrum signal into a clock signal to create synced arpeggios.
How can I achieve this? Would a Make Noise Tempi be a Good Module for this task?

Thanks in Advance!

Thanks for your suggestions.
My case is an Intellijel 7U 104; I've checked power supply and according to modulargrid info it seems ok.
Kink is in my list and an additional ADSR module was there too... I have to rethink about it.
Good catch on ES-9.
As for clock divisions and additional LFO, I'm relying on Eloquencer and Pamela's New Workowt that are providing both. Is there an added value to have LFO and clock divider separated from the 2 modules ?
I have some doubts about Stages and Marbles; maybe Eloquencer an Pam's are already providing enough uncertainity/randomness and envelope/lfo services so that Stages and Marbles become sort of a duplicates.

Speaking of complex sources to possibly substitute 2hp VCo& MMF & Stages & Marbles, what are you suggesting ?
Maybe something completely different from what I already have such as make Noise Morphagene ? Something else ?

THanks for your help

First and foremost, double check to see if your case power supply will handle all of these modules. You have a few power hungry modules. Check the +12V and -12V draws.

Next up, you might want to check out the Expert Sleepers ES-9. If you're planning on using VCV Rack, you'll have more ins and outs across the digital divide.

The 2HP VCO and MMF are pretty basic. They'll work. But if it were my rig, I'd want modules that are beefier if they are sound sources and filtering.

I would want Kinks. I would also want two ADSR envelopes and a dedicated LFO module thrown in there. A clock divider or module capable of creating clock divisions would be nice too, as you probably don't want to depend on your computer to generate clocks or divide/multiply them.

Here's another: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/make-noise-o-coast

Ah, ok. Apart from the sci-fi bit at the end I wouldn't call it "bleep-bloops" but good to know where you're coming from.

I did find this video also...

Better to watch on YT so you can read the description. I'm no theremin expert, but it seems to me if you want the A-178 to sound more akin to a real theremin you need a pair of them as in the video. Perhaps I'm mistaken but didn't Doepfer design this as a way to use the principles of the theremin as a control method for Eurorack modules, rather than as a 'true' theremin. :-)

thanks to @aphew_goodman! good buyer.

ModularGrid Rack

Hi, this is my corrent setup.
I was planning to add:
- MI Marbles
- MI Stages
- MI Kinks
- 2hp VCO
- 2hp MMF

What do you think ? Any suggestion ?

I want to use Qu-bit Bloom as a midi-sequencer for my synths (Elektron Digitakt, Digitone). I plan on using the Doepfer A 192-2 in order to translate CV to MIDI . This combo could trigger gate, pitch, and velocity on my synths, right?

I might add something to modulate Bloom, but other than that, do I need anything else?


Thread: PK1 104HP

My comments here: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/8186 seem applicable here as well.

Thread: Next step?

In a generative environment, you'll see loads of sequencers, switches, LFOs, VCAs, and clocking sources. You'll find sample & hold circuits, lots of effects, etc. I think there's a false believe that generative, ambient, or "drone" set-ups are simple.
-- Ronin1973

A very false belief, indeed! While drone can be simpler, it gets very irritating without some subtle internal variation, which means extra modulation sources and the right utility modules to keep them reined in.

But where it really goes off the rails is with ambient and generative.

One look at the history of ambient AND generative music brings us to a very important nexus: Brian Eno's "Music for Airports". If you are trying to do this sort of music, you need to be familiar with those four pieces! All of these pieces are both ambient and generative...but the generative process is being driven not by synth circuits, but inequally-long tape loops. I remember seeing Bang on a Can Allstars performing these back in the early 2000s (at the U of IL...which is a hilarious joke in of itself if you know anything about Illinois' composition department) and I asked Evan Ziporyn afterward about the process of trying to transcribe something like that. He showed me the transcribed score to "1/1", with lots of weird incremental time signature changes, strange notational values and the like...because it was accurate to Eno's original late 1970s tape loop realization.

Now, let's forward to the present. Technically, yes, you can do something very much like "1/1" in a modular environment. But consider...the thing that makes the original work is the slow drift-apart of the various looped fragments, ALL of which are on loops that mathematically should NEVER match up again. Now, try and figure how to translate that sort of temporal drift into a set of modules and patch connections. Ain't so easy, izzit?

First of all, you'll notice that using 2-3 modules for your generative process "core" just won't cut it. Instead, you'd be looking at a pretty complex concatenation of modulation sources, none of which should match up again once in motion. Some are faster, some are slower, and a few "governor" sources will be running at extremely slow speeds. Think hours here. Then from this, you'll need to extract various timing information...clocking, clock modulators, triggers and gates to fire other things, etc. These build up a web of conditional logic processes and resultant states. In some cases, actual Boolean logic processes can get used to alter timing positions, and in others, gradual reshaping of modulation curves can do some of this.

The funny thing is, a generative rig will likely wind up having more "process" architecture than "voice". Once you've gotten some experience with ambient and/or generative music, you tend to find that simpler sounds = more cohesive results. This doesn't mean you can just hook up your VCOs to individual VCAs, set up the triggers, and walk off, though...rather, like in drone music, some slight timbral variation is critical. BUT NOT MUCH. A good example would be this thought experiment: take the beginning of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" and rip out the rhythmic cohesiveness...let all the sounds just drift in time. Simple, effective. And interestingly, that pretty well describes the feel on a lot of Miles' later "In a Silent Way" just ten years later.

One other thing to keep in mind: this sort of music can be actively listened to...but that's actually not the original intent. Instead, most ambient, most generative ambient, and some drone (as long as you're not talking about Sunn o))) or something similar) is meant to NOT be listened to, but as an "acoustical colorant" for spaces. You should be able to set up a generative patch of that sort, start it up, then lower the volume to near-liminal levels to experience how it should sound. Then leave it on for...oh...a day or so and see if it works (which includes being able to all but ignore it). If you eventually forget you have it running, congrats! It works!