Great post Luigia.

Reading this 6 months ago before I dove in might just have deterred me, not that I have regrets per se. #5 hits hard.


Thread: Oobba-Doobba

Not gonna bother with most nobs right now, there's a recording I have on my phone for some of that. Rene is in harmonic minor key. Channel 4 is divided by 4. Could also be put on same tempo and/or put in Optomix strike instead of Echophon freeze. Tempi and Pressure Points both optional, latter is just for pressing and messing around with pitch.

Liam "The Lemony Bard" Zaffora-Reeder

Great post. Great post indeed.

Can I add a seventh comment:

7) Time. Like with any instrument, it takes time... a shitload of time to get good at it. Every module you add is another layer of complexity. In order to get the most out of your set-up, you'll have to dive DEEP into every module, even the simplistic ones. You'll have to create a TON of test patches to get a feel for different attributes. The more complex the module, the more time you'll invest. Even if you have years of experience with software synths or polyphonic synths, you're still going to have to put in a ton of work.


Ronin, no worries about the comments. I actually really appreciate the candor and am here precisely for the kinds of advice and info that you won't get from demo videos on a manufacturer's website.

I also should have noted that the goal isn't to use a hybrid DAW/Eurorack setup in the long run. Really the use of Ableton as a sequencer will be for early stages getting that knob wiggling time in and getting experience passing modulation CV around.

Thanks, again.


I looked at the specs on the VCA module here:
http://www.doepfer.de/a1324.htm

Any control voltage above +5v pushes you above unity and into amplification. If you have anything that can measure voltages, you may want to check your modulation source to see if you are, in fact, hitting the VCA harder than +5v in CV. That would explain your unwanted distortion. You can either attenuate the audio signal or attenuate the CV signal.

Using another VCA or attenuator (like an attenuverter) will help keep the signal in check to avoid distortion.


Perhaps I'm missing something here, but perhaps not. Checking the links provided with each module takes me to a website where there's no information on availability, pricing, and so on. The MG listings show prices and claim availability, but the actual company website doesn't seem to indicate...well, much of anything. The module listings there seem to all link to a Github site...while at the same time, some of those same MG listings show those same modules as being available as a prebuilt module or DIY kit.

In short, this is a tad screwy. Perhaps the user who posted these can clarify things?


HI!
Pretty new to modular here.
I've just started my way into this with a Ants! and a Digitakt for some sampling, percussion, sequencing function.
I have finally put some money on the side to start to expand Ants! but even if i have a desktop mixer because some space issue i was thinking to sell it to go modular instead.
Now, I've checked that i would be able to get probably a 0 coast as a second osc and a Field kit fx as a mixer and mangler, i think i would have enough to fund that.
I'm wondering, though, if any mixer module could carry the digitakt line or not.
Do you think it could be easily done just from digitakt outs to any mixer module in, or i necessarily need an interface like intellijel i/o or others to do that?
And anyway, what u think about using modular mixers in general?
Personally i find really interesting the idea of a driven cv mixer for experimenting on performances but i still have a too limited knowledge.
I've looked for my answer in sooo many threads but they re almost all about the contrary, so modular trough desktop mixers, or about desktop synth through modular fx, is there any difference with mixer than fx?
I'm still a bit confused.
Moreover, i was adopting the idea of a field kit fx as well because his mixer capability, is stated on Koma site ''4 Channel Mixer with VCA’s and tone control'', does this means that any vca could possibly act as a mixer?
Thanks!!!


SPAM


My initial thought on my build was that I would save some cash and let my DAW handle the heavy sequence lifting. It seemed a little daft to have an entire MIDI capable DAW and then replicate a portion of it inside of a Eurorack case.

I was wrong.

Hooking it up to the DAW really impacted my workflow. It seemed a better fit for augmented a piece created in a DAW with some Eurorack flavor than as part as a compositional tool. When I'm wiggling and standing there with a handful of patch cables, going to the DAW felt alien. Until the 1010 Music Toolbox comes, I've been using Ornament & Crime as a sequencer.

The point above is don't be afraid to be WRONG about your needs. Your going to order things that sound great on paper you won't use. I have a Lifeforms 8 step microsequencer that gets almost zero use. I bought a Behringer Neutron that rarely has an electron flowing through it. No matter how much planning and exploration you do. You're going to have some regrets. Take it slow, order a handful of things until you experience what direction you ultimately want to go in. You may find yourself... in a shotgun shack... with a beautiful wife... cursing set-up "A" you've spent a fortune on when in your heart you're really a set-up "B" kind of person... because you've found that's what inspires you around modular.

Sorry for the lecture. But responding helps me focus my thoughts as well as helping someone else on the ladder. I would wait on the Akemie's Castle but leave room for it in your rack. Get a feel for a smaller set-up and branch out.


If you don't need panning, you might want to consider Intellijel's Mixup - 4 channels in (2mono, 2stereo), 1 stereo out. They are chainable, they have mutes, and they're relatively cheap. And even if you get 2 of them, you end up with only 12hp.


Thread: Change Log

Nicer Screenshots

The old screenshot server based on a semi-custom deprecated technology. New server should be a bit faster, makes better quality images and relies on standard technology (Node/Puppeteer) and for that reason is easier to maintain.


Ronin, thanks for the comments. The 531 mixer does seem to also be slightly future proofed with the six channels. People usually talk about expansion in terms of buying a larger case than one considers at first, but maybe this would apply to a mixer, too?

Thanks for the clarification on the Disting and the point about the Springray. The latter was completely not obvious and I would have missed that. Reverb modules feel pretty hard because they are fundamentally pretty simple (we all know what reverb sounds like), but as a newcomer without experience it seems hard to know which criteria to use to evaluate and make a choice.

The 1010 is a good suggestion, but with the 1u MIDI, I will also just be able to wire up to Ableton itself if I need that. And in fact, I plan to do just that early on as I get some experience with the first modules and before I get a modular sequencer.

Also respectfully agree on the active/passive mult. It is not a super big price to pay for future proofing.

If the Xaoc module is the Zadar, that looks really nice, too. Compact and the menuing doesn't look like it taxes the brain too much.

I will take your advice to heart about building in stages and letting the not-full case tell me what it needs.


Lugia, thank you for the feedback on the rack. I am going to dive into some of your suggestions from other threads and just ask the potentially stupid newbie questions. So please bear with me or ignore as you see fit...

It is noticeable that you refer to the Akemie's FM as "Chowning FM". Isn't all FM synthesis based on Chowning's work? Is there another kind of FM used in modular? Or are you are just highlighting the fact that the Akemie's is not a simple two oscillator FM with one carrier and one modulator? Just trying to make sure I am not missing anything.

Thanks for the recommendation about the multi-envelope modules. They look very interesting, but I worry that especially with the RADAR and A-143-2 that I don't have enough modulation sources to feed into them. This definitely highlights that a 104/7u case gets filled up incredibly quickly. Seems like the Malekko Quad Envelope or Intellijel Quadra could be space saving alternatives to the RADAR or A-143-2.

Thanks for the tip on the filtering. This raises more afraid-to-ask filter questions: I read/hear a lot about how great Wasp filters are. First, is the Doepfer one THE wasp filter, or is it a general category? Is a Wasp filter a good choice as one's only filter?

The Scan & Pan seems like a great option. One question about those comments: is there something specific about the Verbos mixer that is different from the Roland mixer in how it frees up the VCAs? i.e., would the Roland or any other mixer also free up VCAs?

For the Basimilus vs. Dial-ups, here is my thinking. The demos on the Moffenzeef website maybe don't sell it very well, but the Dial-Up does not seem to have the same range of sounds to my ears. It is not so much a glitch/noise drum that I am after. I am also drawn to the multiple waveforms and the harmonic sculpting and the potentially long decays that make it blur the lines between drum/percussion and bass/synth lines. One way I imagine using it would involve trying to morph a beat into a bass line in a song transition simply by turning the dials and that could free up some time to adjust settings on other voices while they have been taken out of the mix temporarily.

But another question to your point about the Metropolis not having enough gate/trig channels: could the clock divider be used to generate another gate/trig signal? The thing about the Metropolis that is so attractive to me is that it just makes sense. It is very clear how the core parts of the sequencer work. As someone new, I really worry about overloaded knobs and sliders where the state of the whole sequencer can be different from the current state knobs and sliders. And the Varigate 8+ seems like it could have that confusion for me.


Hi Sorid,

I just read your previous post. Three comments:

Did you ever consider the Expert Sleepers FH2 as your CV to DAW interface? It can output CV, gate, and clock. All outputs are available to be CV, gate, or clock (as well as LFOs and ADSRs). It's also expandable. I have one in my rack and like it. Though once you have your DAW booted, you have to quit your DAW to reconfigure it via the web interface. The onboard interface is a bit of a menu dive. However for the price and HP space, it's hard to beat. I also have a Temps Utile module. It can take a clock input and provide up to six clock outputs from /64 to x64. I believe Pamela's New Workout can provide the same if you're not comfortable with custom built stuff.

Zadar vs. Batumi. I think some features overlap but the Batumi is a quad LFO generator while the Zadar is more of an envelope generator. I own the Batumi with the Poti. I like it, but it's not as great as I thought it would be. I would consider having a traditional LFO as well if you're looking for real-time tweaking of values. It can be a little tricky when changing frequencies (faster/slower). The Zadar is in my wishlist due to the unique envelopes it can generate... but I also have the Intellijel dual ADSR. Having a traditional ADSR or two is also a good idea.

Also, buy a bigger case than you think you'll need. By all means add modules to your case like every HP is sacred. But when it comes time to expand, you'll get more value if you have rack space to spare. Of course, this means more upfront costs. But in my opinion it's worth it.

At some point you'll end up biting the bullet and hoping for the best. You might also want to develop a relationship with a reliable Eurorack dealer and ask for some help/suggestions as well. The good ones treat you like a client rather than a one-n-done customer.


First of all I saw that I need to learn much more about the basics of synthesis to delve further into modular builds. So I will play around with the Mini2S and learn with its internal patch bay.

None the less I of course played a little with the setup I posted before and the very useful information of Lugia:

https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_783304.jpg?1542060111

For the case: A couple of days ago I stumbled over the 7U 208HP Intellijel case and thought this would be perfect. Possibly I will build with that one when I start, but for the beginning I decided to stick with the smaller 176 HP setup, to force myself to only include what I really need.

Since I had the most input about the VCOs, I first discarded the drums entirely. Actually I wanted to build something more on the drums side, but I think to go through a VCO pathway is better for the learning process. With the drums gone I also decided to discard the Minibrute in the setup entirely. I will have it at the time I start my first build, but I thought it is better to build a standalone thingy. With the Minibrute gone I need something for the input. And this was the first real problem. First I considered the Mutable Yarns because of the MIDI I/O and up to 4 CVs/Gates for the 4 voices. But in the demos I saw that changing the patterns on the fly gets a lot into menu delving. Next I took a look at the Rene2. It actually does what I want but it seems I need a clock input for it and of course this should be the Tempi. Together this takes a lot of space and is quite expensive. Next I thought about the Doepfer Dark Time Red. This of course is no Eurorack module but it does everything I want for an OK price with 2 CV and Gate outs + clock. In the end I included the Mutant Brain MIDI in in the setup. It has 4x CV for the Twin Waves and more than enough gate outs. I can play it with a MIDI keyboard or over the DAW. That's not perfect but perhaps someone of you has an idea. I am looking for something with min. 2 channels with 2x CV/Gate out, clock and best 16 steps with accessible (less menu stuff) pitch and gate control for each step.

Next I simpled down the build a little bid. I removed the RND, Dual Lag and Shifty. As core part the 2x2 Twin Waves and the Steiner-Parker VCF stay of course. I replaced the Doepfer 142-2 with the KOMA Dual VCA, because: Distortion and Mixing. With the 4x ADSR (s. later) I think I don't need the Doepfer AD/AR (?). The Twin Waves will now be mixed additionally with with the Levit8 (4>1 or 4>2 into KOMA>1) into the filter. I replaced one Doepfer 140-2 with an intellijel Dual ADSR because I like faders much more than knobs. This ADSR can be used for the voices while the 2 Dopfer ADSR can go to VCF cutoff/resonance and/or effects. Right now I consider 2x TipTop Z4000 for the 2nd Doepfer. In the end I also chose Batumi with Poti over Zadar: more control is better. Last I downgraded the 4x VCA to 2x uVCA and hope this will be enough (?).

For the effects I originally decided for Crush-Delay. Since it doesn't have stereo effects I discarded it for an Erica Pico DSP and the uBurst/Clouds. For the PanMix I was thinking about the Verbos Scan&Pan (better control) but decied for the PanMix in the end because of the more channels (2xPicoDSP,2xuBurst, 1-2x post VCF?). I thought about the HN TriTone for a moment, it could act as a post VCF EQ or an additional simple LP/HP filter (some voices over the Planet the others over TriTone into KOMA VCA +Distortion?). Still not sure about this one...

The price now is kinda affordable, also it would fit in an 6U 2x84HP DIY case for the beginning...


Are you sold on getting a RackBrute case? It's nice to have one mounted above your MiniBrute. But if you went with something like the Mantis, you get 208HP rather than 171HP (you sacrifice 5HP for the power supply). If you have the cash, the 7U 108HP Intellijel case is also worthy of consideration as well... you get 208HP of regular space plus 104HP of 1U and a metal lid for your case that will allow you to leave things patched. If you're working live, this will save some considerable time setting up.

I noticed Luigi's build dumps the Noise Engineering stuff. How important are those modules to you?

Even if you get a Zadar, you'll want at least one traditional ADSR unit. Menu diving isn't a lot of fun. You might consider a Tip Top Z4000 as an alternative to the Doepfer. It's only one channel (make it two if you have the space). I believe it's stage of the ADSR can be manipulated by CV, so you can control the length of each stage via CV/sequencer. If you want to make sounds that evolve, you may want ADSRs with this ability.

There are no wrong ways to go about it... only varying levels of disappointment. Start in earnest as you're getting intimate with your modules and learning about their capabilities as well as YOUR capabilities.


The Roland 531 offers six channels of mixing plus pans and pan automation (CV) on every channel. You may or may not want to ditch it depending on your anticipated needs.

The Disting mk4 can only be dialed into one set-up at a time. So you can't use it as a filter and a distortion effect at once. You have a little space left in the rack as-is. I think there's enough room for a 2HP filter.

If you're coming from Ableton you may want to consider a 1010 Music Toolbox as your sequencer rather than the Metropolis. It takes up less space and the workflow is similar to a DAW rather than a classic modular sequencer. That will give you more space for other modules. The springray is just an interface for a spring reverb tank. So you'll have to haul it around with your rack. If that's not a problem, cool. If it is, you can probably replace the SpringRay with something DSP based that is smaller.

The cost between a passive 1U mult and an active one isn't enough to go with the passive. I'd go active and not worry about it. (respectfully disagreeing with Lugia).

That Atlantis module is the real pig in HP real estate, I'd sacrifice first (personal opinion). It's a self-contained synth voice (oscillator, filter, VCA, etc.). So you may be better off using the space for a dedicated filter, another dedicated oscillator, and perhaps some other modulation/envelopes.

Xaoc is coming out with a new envelope generator (digita), with four envelopes. I'd check that out as well and see if it fits into what you're after.

I just started a second 104HP 7U case and most of the space is already accounted for. So you'll really want to consider the size of the modules you've selected, their value, and any need to expand. No matter what you do... you'll feel like you're "wrong" about your choices and then rethink your plans about 4-5 times. Best bet is to build in stages rather than all-in so you can rethink your plans once you've got some knob wiggling time under your belt.


The marketplace here on MG seems to be for modules only, but I have a Pittsburgh Modular Structure EP-270 case that I've been trying to sell. Having no luck on the (rather small) Swedish scene, so if anyone could point me to a site (EU or worldwide) I'd appreciate it! Of course if anyone reading this is interested then feel free to drop me a message. 500 euro.


Stages and Maths would be OK normally, but the Akemie's is going to eat envelopes for breakfast. Remember: Chowning FM is very envelope-intensive...that's how you get your timbral shifts within the duration of an event, by applying multistage envelopes to a lot of the oodles of parameters. If I were you, I'd be looking at a couple of modules that have a lot of envelope generator density, such as Qu-bit's Contour, Doepfer's A-143-2, or a combo of Erogenous Tones' RADAR and Ping. That'd really make the FM pop and jump. Plus, yes, do consider a basic VCF for the Akemie's...the combo of FM + good analog filtering is something you'll really get fond of.

Also, I'd lose the Roland mixer. For one thing, it has its own 1/4" out pair, and your Intellijel cab has that already (plus you also have the Intelljel I/O in the build) and having another pair of outs seems redundant. My take there would be to go smaller, but still stay in stereo. Have a peek at Verbos' Scan & Pan...stereo, four in, VCA level control plus CVable panning, plus some neat capabilities for crossfade/channel scanning that are a bit unusual, all in 14 hp. That also solves your VCA question, given that that mixer can do your exponential audio VCA duties, leaving the Quad VCA free for CVs or other spot applications where a single free VCA is needed.

Hmm...that Basimilus...do you need it? You could jam a couple of Moffenzeef Dial-ups in that space and still have 2 hp left...or, you could reclaim a bit more space and add those plus a Muskrat for three channels of glitch/noise percussives. Or the Dial-ups and maybe a couple of Erica Pico Drums to combine conventional sampled drums with glitched-out ones. So, instead of going with the question of adding a filter for a single percussion source, see if you think that a few of them minus a filter might be more capable. That would require more gate/trig channels than the Metropolis would have, but since you're contemplating the Varigate 8+ already and that one would be more than ample, I'd say go with that instead.

Last, swap the buffered mult for Intellijel's passive one. You're not splitting CVs enough in here to worry about voltage 'sag', so regenerating CVs won't be necessary, and you can save a few bucks that way.


Yupperz...that's how you do it! Just keep in mind that rule of thumb about audio paths, and you'll be able to go totally bonkers with stereo patch creation.


It's not necessary to use a VCA before a filter. However, if you have one that can be placed there, you can then do things such as routing a single VCO through it and then into the VCO mix, and by giving that a longer attack than the post-VCF one, that'll let you add harmonics/VCO density/detunings/etc as a ramp-up as long as the note-on is present. Or even more things; that's just one example. VCAs are the unsung heroes of modular synthesis, really...they allow all sorts of trickery involving controlling audio levels, CV voltages, and the like that wind up upping the complexity of your patch. But it doesn't convert the VCO signal to audio; the VCO outputs audio itself, and the VCA (plus a modulating source) can control that audio level. Also, keep in mind that the six channels of the HN mixer also have VCAs for audio level control

The Synthacon VCF looks simple...but, having owned a real Steiner-Parker Synthacon for many years (traded it for an ARP 2600 quite some time ago), I can tell you that it's anything but, sonically. It's very versatile, does everything from punchy bass to rip-your-ears-off screeches, and pretty much anything in between. There are definite reasons why the Arturia Brutes use them; I put that in in there so that you have some sonic consistency, but with the added potential of two different simultaneous options with the same filter architecture.

The Klavis VCOs are rather deep, functionwise. But I wouldn't toss the Batumi out just because the Klavis oscillators can tune down into subaudio. Batumis can do tricks with their LFO signals (especially with the Poti expander) that lots of other oscillators can't, such as operating in a quadrature mode or in other phase-relational modes on a single frequency. They also have an internal divider mode that has lots of potential for clocking applications. And yes, you can do a lot with the Klavis VCOs + the Shifty, even beyond a 4-stage shift register. For instance, you can switch the Shifty into 2-stage, then have two VCOs per outputted CV for two-part duophony from the same initial incoming CV. And again, that's simply one possibility among numerous ones. Or as you noted, drop all four VCOs on the same pitch for big detuned punchiness. Or three, then have a single one on top as a lead. The list goes on, as you can see.

As for the Zadar...it's nice, but the fact is that, in the early stages of using modular, you're going to want to have modules that require lots of tweak attention and manual manipulation potential. I've always felt that it was more important to reach out and get a handful of parameter control rather than futz around with menus and assignable controls. And you will definitely find uses for the A-140-2 ADSRs (especially given their jumperable custom configuration possibilities) all over the place, even in tandem with the Batumi's LFOs. You could even use the latter to control the time aspects on the former, varying envelope lengths in cyclical fashion. But for the synthesis parts in that build, I went with keeping everything as 'hands-on' as possible, with the only menu-driven device being the Gatestorm sequencer for the percussion sounds, because sequencers need more direct visual feedback to the user than in most other modules, and also because it's very useful to have recall for your sequence loops and you need to see what's being recalled quickly when switching sequences while playing.

Anyway, this is an easier to learn build, as you've kinda noticed. It's possible to get really deep into sound design with this, but all of the controls remain grabable for the most part, making it also more adept for live work in addition to studio. And it's also a build that's more open-ended, allowing for further augmentation in the future with more cabs, devices, etc. Putting it together with the Mini 2S will result in a very potent sequencer-based rig indeed.


ModularGrid Rack

Here is another first time Eurorack build. How am I doing?

My goal: create an instrument/live performance system. Like many others, I have DAW fatigue. I love Ableton, but I strongly desire to get away from the pixels and mouse and into something both tactile and force myself into the live playing limits of a physical thing.

Background: I am an Ableton user and big Max device user. I always end up with many many M4L LFOs and Envelopes and find myself throwing together Max BEAP modules (especially the FM ones) together rather than using Ableton's prepackaged synths/instruments. I have also built some synths from scratch in Max following the Baz and Delicious tutorials. So I have a pretty good understanding of the signal flow and gates and VCAs that lines up with the tutorials I have been watching on modular.

Basic groove box: drums and two synth voices. I think I minimally need delay (Disting) and reverb (Springray) and distortion (via Pedal I/O) for effects. I want to be able to mix within the case.

Self-assessment: I'm gravitating towards the the really big modules and maybe that is coming at the expense of having enough utilities and modulation sources. Notably absent is a dedicated filter (!??!), but the Atlantis has its own. Disting has one, but I am not clear on how much I can make the Disting do multiple things at the same time.

Because it demonstrates my thought process, here are the things I have taken out of previous iterations, mostly but not entirely, in an effort to fight the Big Module Syndrome I suffer from: Erbe Verbe, Z-DSP, Plonk, basic Doepfer filters, Marbles, Hexmix.

I will be starting with the Intellijel case, 1 row modules and Atlantis and using an external MIDI sequencer to get familiar with the Atlantis while I research, plan and save for more modules. All comments welcome, including things like an order to purchase things cuz that won't happen all at once.

My immediate questions right now are:

  • Are Stages and Maths enough modulation?
  • Is the Quad VCA enough VCAs?
  • Can I get away with no filter for the Basimilus and Akemie's Castle?
  • Are there alternatives to the Metropolis to consider (Varigate 8, maybe)?
  • What don't I know yet that is evident in this setup?

Thanks,
Steve


Thanks a lot for you effort! I read a bit into the modules you proposed and I think I can understand most of the principles. One question though: Is it necessary to use a VCA pre VCF? The VCA converts the voltages of the VCOs to an audio signal; right? Doesn't the filter also work with raw voltage signals?

For the modules: The Steiner-Parker filter fits nicely into the setup, I think. Actually when I did the first setup I wanted a more “normal” filter than the Belgrad, but couldn't find any on the first try. The Klavis Twin Waves also look super interesting. I can use them ARP like with the shifty, but I also could use them together as a true polyphonic voice and detune them in regards to each other, right?

I also saw the Zadar EG. Would you recommend it in this setup for ADSR? With the Zadar there also would be additional LFO sources. With the Twin Waves also having a LFO functions perhaps the Batumi + Poti as well as the 4x Doepfer ADSR can be replaced? The Doepfer ADSR seem more classic and straight forward (which I like a lot) but with the Zadar perhaps not necessary.


bought a maths from @bernwerlin and the transaction was as smooth as they come... thanks!


Duudes biiig THX for your answers. You helped me a Lot : )))

I go from the Vco to the mixer to mix the Osc and Sub Osc to a mono signal than in the wasp filter and then i multiple it to two mono signal to go into the black hole and from there into attenuater and interface to record them in true stereo : ))


Mind you, Mutable actually revised their Braids module as the much newer and more capable Plaits. That should also be an option you might want to consider.


Also, always treat audio signal paths in a modular environment as singular, mono paths. So if you have a stereo signal at any point, everything from its outputs on has to be treated as if you were dealing with TWO mono signals. If you combine these back down again in any way other than through more stereo devices, you will have a mono signal as a result. If you keep that rule of thumb in mind, and don't look at a signal as a "single stereo signal", it becomes a bit clearer as to what's going on. Ronin's example above is quite correct, especially that last part regarding outputting the Erica DSP2 into two filters with ganged/matched modulation (or not ganged/matched, if you want to impart more difference between your left and right channels).


There's a lot wrong, actually. For starters, there are exactly zero modulation sources, unless you count the Metropolis, which I don't. No LFOs, envelopes, function gens of any sort spell total disaster for getting any sort of intricate modulation structures across time. Also, no VCAs is another very bad move...you 100% need those for controlling audio or CV levels via...yep...your modulation sources.

As for generating things, you won't be generating much of anything with this build, unless you're opting for driving filters into self-resonance or just using it as a bank of processors (which, without the above two module types, you're still quite screwed). There are no VCOs here. None. And given that pretty much ANY synthesis audio path runs VCO->VCF->VCA, you seem to have a rather serious problem here.

Stop. Delete this atrocity. And before starting over, study some reference material of which there's a good bit lurking in the forums here on MG, other places such as Muff Wiggler, Synthtopia, Vintage Synth Explorer (which is also an excellent reference source for classic designs which are still important to electronic instrument design to this day and which I strongly recommend anyone starting into modular study in depth), and have a look at the excellent documentary "I Dream of Wires", among many other study needs. Otherwise, what you're proposing with this build could be more easily accomplished by piling several thousand dollars in your backyard grill, dousing it with gas, and setting it all on fire.


Thanks!


You're welcome. Whatever you sold the 0Coast for would be the target budget. That way you haven't lost any money on a prior decision... you might even come out ahead.


Stereo can always be summed to mono, but you lose any stereo imaging. If you pass your stereo signal into anything mono, you lose stereo. The bigger question is what is and isn't stereo in the signal path?

Your typical VCO is usually mono. You can plug a mono signal into a stereo mixer and you'll get your mono audio coming out the left and right outputs (assuming you're not panning it left or right). But that's not true stereo. To be "true" stereo there has to be some difference between what's coming out of the left output and the right output.

Does the filter need to go after the Black DSP 2 or can it go before it?

VCO> Mono Mixer Input #1
VCO Sub >Mono Mixer Input #2
Mono Mixer Output > Filter Input
Filter Output>Black DSP 2 Input
Black DSP 2 Left Output> Stereo Mixer Left Input
Black DSP 2 Right Output> Stereo Mixer Right Input
(all assuming that the Black DSP can take a single channel input and apply stereo effects to it with the original input being panned dead center)

If you have a VCA like the Intelligel Quad VCA, you can trigger two VCAs with just one voltage. You can tap the fourth output as a summing mixer and then into the Wasp filter and then the Wasp into the Black DSP as described above.

If the filter has to go after the Black DSP 2 then you can't get around needing two filters. You'll also need to split any CV so it goes to both filters if you're modulating any part of the filter.


That totally makes sense.

Had a feeling I would regret selling the ocoast and I think that plus some extra stuff is the right way to go. Definitely want to add another oscillator so maybe I’ll start the rack there with some midi and clocks as you said. I think what I’m really after is a really big analog sounding monosynth - with the ocoast I could hear the volts in the tone.

Thanks again!


Mutable Instruments made Braids and then discontinued it. Mutable has a policy of open-sourcing (or similar) a lot of their code. The Mutable stuff is great but the modules tend to be a bit large. Since there is an open-door policy 3rd parties have redesigned the module to fit in a smaller space, made 3rd party circuit boards and plates available for purchase as well. So you could go to an electronics supplier, buy all the parts, buy the PCB boards and plate, and literally make your own copy of a Braids unit (the code is available to program into it as well).

Most people would rather just buy a module than get handy with a soldering iron and burn their fingers.

Okay... now to your question:

There shouldn't be any real difference between the modules except price. Granted there may be some difference in the quality of parts, quality of workmanship or non-essential features. The layout is also a little different though the functionality should be the same. The Tall Dog version also claims to be endorsed by someone over at Mutable... I'm not sure if that's worth the $75 price difference... as in I don't have the answer to that question.

I just ordered a Michigan Synthworks uBraids II from Detroit Modular for the $250 price. It gets here next week. I like that it has a couple of faders on it instead of knobs... which I like for real-time wiggling. Contact me in a couple of weeks if you want to know how I like it.


Understood. There are no wrong answers.

I would get another 0Coast then and then skiff to augment it. I wouldn't put the 0Coast in a rack since rackspace is expensive. You know the architecture of the 0Coast, it has the sounds that you want... go for it. You're going to get a different sound out of this set-up than your 0Coast, even if it's the same manufacturer.

You may also want to check out Expert Sleepers FH2 as your MIDI interface instead of Yarns. It connects directly via USB and all 8 outputs can out put CV, gates, and triggers/clocks. Pair that with the 0Coast and you've got the core of your system right there (assuming you want to go all CV and gates). Then augment it with anything else you want. I believe the 0Coast will take MIDI-Clock in, but I don't know if it will output clock. Don't underestimate the need for clock in your future rack.

Bottom-line, do what's best for you and take any advice (especially mine) with a grain of salt. I'd look on eBay for a second-hand 0Coast and get the sounds I've been missing and then build from there.


Thanks for your reply - much appreciated.

I had an ocoast which I sold partly to fund a Prophet 12 (which is great) but I miss the sound of that oscillator so that’s why I wanted to get some make noise stuff.

I guess what I’m after is some of the sonics of a shared system if that makes sense but I don’t think that I would use rene or pressure points much, because I would like to use a daw and a midi keyboard hence yarns. Maybe a lot of that sound comes from the interaction of all the modules though? Will def look into the buffered mult as you said


Hey All,

So it will be obvious I'm a modular synth newbie in a second: What is the functional difference between

https://reverb.com/item/15705859-michigan-synth-works-ubraids-ii-2018-natural-aluminum

and

https://www.perfectcircuit.com/tall-dog-electronics-ubraids-se.html

? There's about CAN$100+/- diffrence between the two.

Thanks,
j.,


Started with one Intellijel 7U 104HP case.
I just ordered a second and some modules to go in it.

The first pic is what I will have by end of next week.
https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_780923.jpg

Here is the final after I sell some more plasma and eat some more Ramen.
https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_774062.jpg

I want to be able to put a foot into ambient tracks as well as some edgy sounds via the Noise Engineering modules. At this point I'm not looking to put together a complete composition inside the box, but build up the basis of tracks and add percussion and arrange in Ableton. I might pick up the Behringer 808 once it comes out at the price point of $400.

I really love the Quadratts for attenuation, attenuverting, as well as manual modulation sources. The knobs are just big enough. This is helpful especially when wanting to manually control any of the 2HP modules with their tiny, tiny pots.

Whatchathink? All comments welcome regardless of perspective.


For what you basically have, I think you'd be better off with a Mother-32, Neutron, or something equivalent unless you're dead set on the VCOs you've selected. Then slowly add a skiff with some modules to compliment or augment what you have. If you're going to stick with your skiff (nothing wrong with that), you might want to add a buffered mult so you can supply both oscillators with the same control voltages and gates. Passively splitting CV that's controlling pitch can cause issues with accurately supplying the intended voltage to the 1/v Octave inputs.


Rainmaker is a bit of a pig when it comes to HP space. But when creating ambient patches, it's a good way to go. I would also look into Tip Top's Z-DSP and the Valhalla series of reverbs.

To save some space you might want to look into the micro or "u" versions of Clouds and Rings. They are 8HP if I recall correctly. They will save you some space for other modules.

I'm anxiously awaiting the Xaoc Zadar to come out. It's four advanced envelope generators in 10HP; perfect for ambiences.

You could also save some space by replacing the Intellijel Metropolis with a 1010 Music Toolbox. I would definitely compare the two and see which fits a little more. The selling point on the Toolbox for me (just ordered it) was the ability to record and loop two simultaneous control voltages from external devices and SAVE it permanently to an SD card. It also has built in LFO generators for all your wiggling delights.

I think you might want a much stronger mixer for blending ambiances as well. That'll chew up more HP than what you have... but might be worth it. Roland makes a six channel mixer with pans and mutes that's in my "must buy" list. It's a lot bigger. But being able to mix/pan up to six sound sources as well as mute them might be pretty handy for ambient mixes.

Oh, and a quantizer... you need one of those. Erica makes one that's about 3HP or you can buy an Ornaments and Crime that's 8HP and get two quantizers and a ton of other features included.

The biggest thing missing would be a clock divider as well as some buffered mults. You'll want a clock divider so you can sync tempos between your sequencer, the Rain Maker, etc. A Pamela's New Workout or a Temps Utile would work wonders there. You may also want to consider a precision adder, attenuverters, and possibly some switches/mutes.

My comments are all over the place... but bottom line, I would research a bit more to find alternates that are smaller and make sure I have plenty of modulation sources.


That blank 2HP is space being kept for the Monome Crow.

disquiet.com

Bought a Brain Seed from @yann, everything great, thanks!


ModularGrid Rack

Does that make sense?

(I plan to use a DAW for sequencing/playing + effects. Thought about a shared system but too much £ and wasn't sure I would need all of it)


Two suggestions:

1

When building a rack on MD, we have two choices of modules: the general pool of modules and modules we own.

I would like a third tab called "Wishlist." When planning out updates to my system, it would be nice to be able to segregate modules further into ones I actually own and those I'm planning to own or I'm interested in.

2

For unicorn users, being able to set a maximum depth for each row and take it into account when placing modules would also be helpful. Granted, the space under each module can vary depending on what's under it having varying heights within the case. But it would be great to get a warning triggered. I've found myself having to rearrange my physical rack when a module or two exceeded the clearance for that particular row or part of a row.


too many sound sources and processors and not enough utilities

for me, I'd want both a mutable instruments kinks and links, an lfo (preferably with multiple outs) and an envelope generator and attenuators/attenuverters - so probably maths or batumi and some 2hp trims, disting never hurts, an lpg and probably a filter

if you're restricted for space by the rack I'd get rid of either the rainmaker or clouds and the smr to make space

otherwise just get a bigger case


ModularGrid Rack
This makes more sense.

First of all, the Minibrute 2 panel (which is lurking on here somewhere) was added so that you can keep its functions in mind as we look at the Rackbrute proper above. Top row is split between your 'voice' and 'drums'. A random CV source at left provides random fluctuating voltages for modulation use. Then a Shifty...this is a four-stage analog shift register/sample and hold which allows psuedo-polyphonic hocketing from a single incoming CV. Each time the module receives a clock pulse, it shifts the held CV to the next register. Then by connecting the registers to separate VCOs (of which there are four next to this, with internal quantizing), you get four-part rotating hocket/arpeggiation-type activity. Two Klavis Twin VCOs are next for four VCOs total. These are very complex oscillators with a lot of internal DSP control, which maximizes function within a tiny space. 4 -> 1 mixer allows you to sum these VCOs with variable levels, then this feeds to Tiptop's new Steiner Synthacon VCF clone. Great filter, lots of sonic possibilities, but still relatively simple and easy to control. Doepfer's new dual EG/VCA combo is last, which gives you an EG/VCA for your pre-VCF signal and one for post.

Drums: Gatestorm gate sequencer is the main pattern control/clock modulator/lots of other programmable things, with its clock incoming (more than likely) from the MB 2S. This generates eight gate patterns. The Delptronics modules to the right are based on the Roland 606 and 808 circuits, and next to that is the expander which allows some extra CV functions over the main drum sounds. A Moffenzeef module provides glitchy/fubar-type percussives, plus a pair of Erica Pico Drums gives you two channels of sampled drums. The drums can be submixed via part of the Levit8 below, and/or individual channels on the stereo mixer.

Bottom row is for modulation sources and mixing. Left side, next to the Power, is a dual lag generator, so that you can add in portamento functions for the voice section above (switchable between up, down, and up/down behaviors) or wherever else simple slew limiting might be useful. Batumi + Poti next; the Poti adds some extra control functionality to the Batumi that can be switched on the fly. Four VCAs after that, which can either function as a mixer or separately, and these can be adjusted for responses anywhere between linear (better for CV control) and exponential (which you more typically use for audio). Four ADSRs are after this. Then the mix section includes the Levit8 from before, a Happy Nerding 6 -> 1 stereo mixer with CV over level control, and then a shrunk-down third party build of the now-unavailable Clouds. This one is by Michigan Synth Works, available directly. A Happy Nerding Isolator at the end gives you a global stereo attenuator, converts synth to line level output, and has dual isolation transformers to help with noise/hum and to add a touch of transformer enharmonics.

All of this fits in the single 6U RackBrute. It costs much less (subtract the MB 2S's $649 from the total), draws less power, has ample internal clearance, and offers more functionality in less space. Now, as for the bass part...what I would suggest is a patchable device of some sort, and there's a few reasons why. First of all, if you want to put things under some level of computer control, it's smarter to have the bass and the MB 2S on two separate MIDI parts. Just makes more musical sense; you don't want everything doing the same exact thing, after all. Secondly, you're going to want to voice that rather differently for maximum 'punch', which also means you want its signal and level control very separate from everything else. Bass being as important as it is, it needs to be treated as its own thing in of itself. Last, you'll want to tweak it and operate it in general differently from the rest of the rig, also because bass is so significant. This means you're probably going to want something with its own internal sequencing or the ability to connect a basic sequencer to it, in addition to having the sound source itself separate, but you will still need to interconnect the clocking. This also means you'll be looking at a small portable stereo mixer to mix the MB 2S, the bass synth, and the stereo out from the RackBrute, plus anything you might add later on (laptop audio, another synth, etc). Very basic little setup, but effective.

As you can see, this is very different from "in the box"...you have to think of things as subunits, which are part of a larger whole, which then come together as a singular instrument, and then those form the whole rig. Inside software, much of the lower level of this process is already decided for you, which is one reason a lot of people jumping directly from solely using software to modular make a lot of critical errors. Now, this above version is A possibility. There are likely others, this one being something I cobbled up on the fly...but it will work very well for your purposes. However, before doing any refinements, study this example, understand how and why it works, then study other examples by experienced synthesists, historical instruments, the underlying concepts in analog synthesis and so on before making changes. And take your time...if you're building a musical instrument, you're building something which you should be using for quite some time. Given that, it should make lots of sense to take the time beforehand to get the most useful long-term result.


Quote
Hello!

Just created this rack by using some modules I've taking into account from recommendations, forums, etc.
I would be using it to generate ambient backgrounds and textures. Also linking it via the Metropolis to an ERM Multiclock, I'm quite new to the modular world so I wanted to know how you guys feel about this rack, is it missing things? What would you add/take away from it?

Regards


Well thanks, this was just the answer I needed I guess.

The most important thing you stated for me is 5) Do I really need it to do that way??? The answer is: I don't have a clue. I use a DAW and finished a couple of tracks. My motives for doing electronic music are 1) Understanding the how and why and 2) Jamming (with low quality output expected). My tracks still keep getting better, which is a clear indication that I am not even close to the end of the learning curve. I think I could go on with software for a couple of years and will not get bored. But always when I a jamming with friends or alone (all kind of setups) I think I want to have some real interaction with my instrument. So I decided to buy some hardware. I am still pretty sure I will buy the Minibrute as first instrument. And then yes of course I was a victim for the coolness of the modular idea. Which was the reason I clicked together that rack and wanted to know if it makes sense. So still I don't know if I will go modular, but let's just assume the answer will be yes for the next few lines:

3) The attenuators: I actually asked myself how much I will need them. I thought of using the LFO into the attenuator multiple and then modulate several targets with it. But I think I will cut them down and only use the Erogenous.

1) Availability and depth: OK, thanks for the info. I assumed it would be enough to select "AVAILABLE" on MG. And for the depth I didn't think of the power modules in the Arturia rack.

2) Space of the modules: OK, this is interesting. I actually tried to minimize the space they use. If you still feel motivated can you be more specific which modules I could reduce and still keep the functionality in the upper 6U part, except the mults? I will redo the 3U part entirely.

4) Hey I like adventure time... ;)

For the plan: IF I decide to do something modular my budget is ~ 800 €/year (+300 € more in the first year for a start setup). So the setup will be finished in like 8 years ... that is quite some time. In the beginning I will depend on the Minibrute, but I want to replace it part by part with modules and in the and just use it as an additional voice. I think I will redo the lower 3U part with VAC, Mixer, Sequencer.


Hey iam new in the modular world and i plann a allrounder rack.
I have a problem with stereo.
I go from wavetable Vco to a stereo mixer to mix the Osc and Sub Osc to a L R signal and go into the Black Dsp 2.
Here comes the problem. i like the wasp filter but i there is only one mono jack input.
Can i go to from the dsp 2 to a normal mixer and mix it into one mono signal and than in the wasp filter or i do must take stereo filter.(not two wasp filter)
Can i mix the 2 signals to a mono signal? or is the stereo information lost?
Or can i go from the dsp 2 to a mixer with headphone output with a symmetric cable and than go into the wasp filter to have a true stereo signal?

Hope you can help me : )


In any case, weakening is necessary, since it is not in this module at all. I agree with the author above, it is best to use converters for control. I once worked for IT and made websites like http://clc.am/iMgCNw and had a friend faced the same problems, but solved it.


Is there anyone who purchased something from DSP synthesizers?
https://dspsynth.eu/webshop/
I've ordered some stuff, and there was nothing from the company. Then I sent an email about my order and got a reply from Jan. He told me that my package has shipped. But more than one month after there was nothing from the company.

P.S. I found another thread about Jan and DSP Synths and understood what happened about it.