Hello Modular Grid community,
Im a beginner learning to get into this Modular world and I need some advices.
Does this system make sense? What do I have? What do I miss? And is this good for ambient setup?

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1st advice do a lot of research before you spend any money - read lots of noob threads
most of them say to post a link to your public rack - so we can click through and help you

here it is :
ModularGrid Rack

to a large extent almost any modules can be used to make any type of music

however mostly when I think of ambient I think of delays and reverbs, vcas and sample and hold and to some extent granular - not really enough of these - unless you are intending to use the distings for this - in which case while disting is an excellent module - get dedicated ones of these - multiples in fact

what do you already own?

big hint - remove the semis from the rack - they already have cases and take up too much space

no where near enough utilities - more mixers (of a variety of types), vcas (I would like to be saying more vcas, but unfortunately you have not done enough research to learn the value of vcas yet), attenuverters, offsets, switches etc

if I wanted 2 disting mk4s I'd buy the EX model instead - more features etc etc

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


+1 on removing the Subby and Strega. Doing this sort of thing only makes sense if you MUST minimize your rig for travel and don't want to keep track of the cabs that SHOULD contain those two. Otherwise, this is a massive waste of valuable (and expensive, if you're really planning on putting this in a traditional A-100 Doepfer cab!) rack space and power resources which, if these two devices stay in their already-powered cabs, you'll actually be able to use for modules that DON'T have power and DON'T come already cased.

As for the rest...hard to say. Since about half of the build is taken up by those two devices alone, it would probably make more sense to delete this build and start again, this time NOT putting cased and powered devices in with regular Eurorack modules. One thing, though...what you have in actual modules is nowhere near being suitable as a synth voice. Without VCAs, you have no way to control ANY signal levels, for starters. There are no mixers, no attenuators, no ways to invert signals, and so on which you need to work with both modulation and audio signals.

It would appear that you're following either some misinformation, or you're attempting to proceed with something VERY expensive without the requisite information. Either way, you're about to create a vast black hole into which money gets poured and no useful sounds come back out. A far better approach would be for you to get a copy of VCV Rack (it's free: https://vcvrack.com/) and start exploring what various modules/circuits actually do. Spend a few months with it...THEN attempt another build on MG. I guarantee you that, with the info gleaned from VCV Rack and hours spent with it learning synthesis basics and beyond, you won't put together something that looks like the above. Instead, hopefully, you'll wind up then with a real system, capable of all of what we associate with good modular builds.


Thank you for all your honest opinions. Im just looking on a good deal on a Doepfer system with some basic modules, so I want to plan a system on this forum to get ideas and vision for the long way. I will also have to learn more about utilities and vcas. I will have to build up this system slowly, and maybe ideas will changes over time. Im just glad to plan a system on here, reading modules, and interacting with this nice community. Thank you so much!

however mostly when I think of ambient I think of delays and reverbs, vcas and sample and hold and to some extent granular - not really enough of these - unless you are intending to use the distings for this - in which case while disting is an excellent module - get dedicated ones of these - multiples in fact

What can I use the distings for this case?

what you have in actual modules is nowhere near being suitable as a synth voice.

Which modules should I go for to complete a synth voice with my basic modules?

And what are your thoughts on Behringer modules?
Thank you for your advices!


distings can be used for lots of things - including almost everything I mentioned (not sure there is a granular algo) - I really recommend that you read the manual of every module you are considering buying before you buy it - otherwise you will be buying modules that do not do what you want them to - possibly confusing different types of module etc

but each disting can only do 1 thing at a time - unless you get the ex which mostly works as 2 mk4s - although some algos use all of it at once

for a complete basic synth voice you need:

a sound source (a vco), a sound modifier (a low pass filter), a modulation source (an lfo/envelope generator/function generator), a way to listen (I'd use a quad cascading vca such as veils to start with) and a way to play it (sequencer/midi->cv/cv keyboard)

I also strongly recommend links/kinks/shades as a great starter utility set

for a modulation source - I always recommend Make Noise Maths as it is a brilliant learning tool, mainly because of the 'maths illustrated supplement' it is a guide to self patching (patch programming) maths with 32 illustrated examples - a great way to learn modular thinking and patching - working your way through the supplement a few times is a great learning experience - in fact I'd usually recommend this as a first module to go with semis - it will replace both the doepfer dual slew limiter and function generator and add a second function generator and some other useful functions - and only take up another 4 hp

I'd much rather have Doepfer modules (I have quite a few actually) than behringer (I have none) - they are inexpensive, but have a much longer track record of manufacturing eurorack modules - Dieter invented the format - Uli seems to be an ass - not just because of cloning everything and anything (and sometimes in a dumb way - exact clones of early synth modules are not always totally compatible with other eurorack modules etc)

nb personally I wouldn't want a doepfer midi->cv module (I've heard some people have difficulty getting them to work - not sure which ones though) - I'd want more channels though

there are many other inexpensive brands - and some more expensive brands make modules that are more than worth the extra $/€/£ - due to combining functions cleverly

at the end of the day it comes down to do you want to support the big company with poor ethics, or a smaller company with (at least slightly) better ones - do you want to give your money to the original designer (if possible) or do you not care

personally I prefer smaller sometimes more innovative companies (Doepfer is 4 people in Germany, Mutable is 1 in France etc etc) behringer is 1000s mostly in China

behringer quality appears to be poor (nb this is based on watching a few videos and reading forums, I've never seen a behringer module in real life - although I have seen other products from them that were poor quality in the past) - they use stickers on their knobs that have a tendency to fall off, print on panels that is easy to remove etc etc

as always when something appears on the market and appears to be significantly cheaper than a lot of the competition - the 1st question should be how?

economies of scale - behringer can achieve economy of scale like no other synth manufacturer - partly due to their size, but also due to the fact that they own factories that manufacture a lot of 'reissue' chips - which they and other manufacturers use

quality of components - most module manufacturers use thonkiconn jack sockets - these have nuts for the front panel - and also use pots with nuts to hold them to the front panel (and put knobs on them that don't fall apart, see above) these hold the module together well - behringer uses neither from what I can see - they'd be much better if they had spent an extra 2$/€/£ on panel components and charged an extra 10$/€/£

cheap manufacture - behringer is effectively a fmcg company - all their manufacture is in china - most modular companies either build themselves in their garage or shed or attic - or get stuff fabricated locally - Mutable uses a fab in france for example

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


just to add that in my experience it doesn't matter whether you buy used modules, new modules, cheap modules, expensive modules, DIY them yourself - you spend the same amount of money on modules - you just get more modules for your money (and possibly some tools - soldering iron etc and wood work equipment mainly - so you can build more cases)

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


What I recommend is a Doepfer A100 Basic System. That will get you started with a case/power, basic modules and support modules to learn to create music on modular systems. I started that way and it was helpful. Under 2k, get it all and Doepfer modules sound great. Some info:

http://www.doepfer.de/a100s_e.htm#A-100%20Basic%20System%201

I expanded quickly and still use most of my Doepfer modules.


Or you could queue up and get one of Uli's ARP 2600 clones. As opposed to some of Behringer's other knockoffs, they actually managed to nail this one; mine works as if it were a much cleaner "rev.4", having used a "rev.4" "orange" ARP 2600 back in the early 1980s when it was still relatively new. I suppose that the large number of eyes on Uli kept him on point on this reissue, since Korg's lunch was his for the stealing after Korg's repetitive screwups with the "same" instrument. $600-ish for what I would say is the best "teaching instrument" (I actually learned on MTSU's "rev.2", many years ago) in synthesis is a pretty decent deal.

I don't like Uli's behavior. I don't like him trying to copy shit he's not entitled to (Arturia Keystep, Mutable Plaits, Intellijel's Quad VCA and a much longer list of pro audio gear dating way on back to dbx and Mackie in the early 1990s), and I don't at all approve of his antics with people who have an issue with his behavior (Peter Kirn, the forum users connected with Sequential that Uli threatened to sue without grounds, et al). As long as he copies devices that are either unobtainable or which can benefit from a smaller/more convenient form factor, that's cool. But he doesn't seem to like staying in that lane. Pretty unfortunate, really.


Thank you for all your helps!

What I recommend is a Doepfer A100 Basic System.

I think I will start off with some Doepfer modules to get some basic learning and ideas. I will also have to learn more about vcas and utilities to help building up this system through time.
For more deeper learning, I will definitely get a Maths for sure.
What are your thoughts about the Beatstep Pro? Is it a good sequencer to control my modular system since I dont want to use the computer to control the system?

Or you could queue up and get one of Uli's ARP 2600 clones.

Sure that the ARP 2600 is a sexy synth. Do you refer to use it as a standalone synth or to interacting with your modular system?


Or you could queue up and get one of Uli's ARP 2600 clones.

Sure that the ARP 2600 is a sexy synth. Do you refer to use it as a standalone synth or to interacting with your modular system?

-- baygiooday

Yes, and yes. The B.2600 is part of a larger "environment" in my studio for all of the modular and patchable gear, located especially so that it has ample access to the Digisound 80. I've used that 2600 + Digisound combination for literally decades, and given that Uli's version works just like an original "rev.4" (when new! one that's been sitting around since 1978 won't sound like a new one), the "fit" should be fine. I already know that the patching spec is identical to typical Eurorack norms (just like the original), so no concerns there.

As for the BSP, I have two, along with a basic Keystep and a Keystep Pro. Given that we're talking synth controller here, I've found that the KSP is super-useful with modular setups, since you have a manual keyboard, the usual mod controls (ribbons), but the clocking and multiple lanes of sequencing is stepped-up from prior efforts. More elaborate, more powerful. But the pair of BSPs also has some perks...such as being able to set up four different but harmonically-related MIDI structures that loop but never re-match, then merging that down and sending it to a single synth as an evolving backdrop across all four lanes sent by the pair.

However, I would still strongly suggest having a MIDI interface here. Even if you don't want to send MIDI note messages, you're still going to want to lock up the sequencing to the DAW's clock, and you'll need a basic interface to do that. Fact is, though, just get a proper one that can handle two voices or more...because you'll eventually want that AND then to be able to use other time-locked controllers along with it.


Hi Lugia,

You received already your (orange?) B. 2600? How is it? Up to your expectations?

I thought/remembered that you were interested in the Grey version? Please share your first impression about the B. 2600, I am quite curious, I am waiting for the Blue Marvin.

Thank you very much in advance and kind regards, Garfield.

For review reports of Eurorack modules, please refer to https://garfieldmodular.net/ for PDF formatted downloads


It actually was quite a bit of a shock. After reading a lot of the online noise about it, I was expecting a box of utter nonsense. Instead, what showed up acted exactly like a 3-4 year old "Orange" from ARP's late days that I used back in the early 1980s, especially when you switched the VCF to the 4072 setting. I've tried to patch things up on it that I know that the ARP was excellent at, and all of the settings are pretty much where they should be after accounting for the shorter throw on the faders. Uli even compensated for the thermal issues in the original by venting the cabinet to keep the electronics inside more stable.

The sole annoyance is, yep, the LEDs in the controls. But you can turn them down to a point where they're not quite so eye-shatteringly-bright. I also like the balanced 1/4" outs, as they appear to ensure ZERO passage of DC offsets to the outputs; this was a long-running issue with the originals, with the "thumpy" VCAs that weren't really "thumpy", but what people were hearing was the typical ARP 2600 DC offset creeping into the output. Get rid of it, and you lose the thump. Besides, DC + amp + speaker = some pretty ugly shit. Fire, even.

Granted, you hear plenty of noise on various forums about how the B.2600 isn't "quite like" the original. I would argue that that's somewhat wrong. It acts like a NEW ARP 2600...not one that's been in use (or worse, in storage) for a few decades, and the vast majority of synthesists these days have never heard a more-or-less new ARP 2600. For that set, well, here's your chance to check that out.

However, while I think this new version of the 2600 is pretty fantastic, I will admit that I still have some very strong feelings about Uli and how he chooses to conduct his business. I would feel a lot better about owning any of Behringer's equipment if he'd learn to moderate many of the more...ah...excessive aspects of his behavior and stop the various outbursts of nastiness that he's become known for.


Hi Lugia,

Oh wow, that sounds indeed much better than expected and indeed lucky that the brightness of the LEDs can be turned down without the eyes are being burned out by the bright LEDs ;-) I actually miss that LED brightness functionality on those Eurorack modules that use LEDs (or lights). By "Eurorack law" actually every module with LEDs/lights should have a small dimmer knob to lower down the brightness of LEDs (or lights) or even dim it so far that's just off. I sometimes like to have the LED lights but I usually like to have it pretty dim indeed.

I can't wait for the Blue Marvin, though I agree with you that the copy/paste behaviour (of existing currently available models) is one of disgusting :-(

So the B. 2600 can be used without any worries of getting any DC components to the speakers? Have you tested that already some way? I wouldn't like to fry my just acquired new monitors :-(

Thanks a lot for sharing your feedback on the B. 2600 and kind regards, Garfield.

For review reports of Eurorack modules, please refer to https://garfieldmodular.net/ for PDF formatted downloads


Interesting...I just went thru the manual, and while I was led to believe that the 1/4" outs were balanced, they are in fact 1/4" TS, which is a tad annoying. But there ARE ways to fix that...

Method #1 - Do it in software. Check this: https://www.kvraudio.com/product/doffset-by-wire-grind I use this whenever some sort of DC offset manages to sneak into things in Ableton, and it should be easy enough to track through this plugin to strip any DC before it gets into monitoring.

Method #2 - Do it in hardware. A couple of these little Lehle boxes that are made just for this purpose will fix the DC offset: https://www.amazon.com/Lehle-DC-Filter-Removes-DC-Offset-Voltages/dp/B00KTEZ1O2/ref=sr11?dchild=1&keywords=dc+offset&qid=1625881768&s=musical-instruments&sr=1-1

Method #3 - Void your warranty. It's a pretty simple modification to add a pair of 1/4" TRS jacks, and by "dead bugging" a pair of audio transformers onto these and putting this inline after the 3.5mm outputs (you DO want to keep these DC coupled in case you want to use the 2600 as a complex modulation source). The manual states that these two sets of outputs are paralleled, so this would be the correct method for this mod.

For the present, my needs are being served by WireGrind's Doffset VST if/when there's a DC issue. But if I were to take this out for live work, I'd want to either have a pair of the Lehle filters in hand, or I could just as easily hand this to my local tech to refit the 1/4" outs. Same time, though, having used the ARP 2600 for as long as I have, you get a good eye as to which settings have the potential for DC issues, and you try and avoid that in a number of different ways.


Hello Lugia,

Thank you very much for replying with so many details and methods :-) I think I go for method #2, the Lehle DC Filter. It seems that this is a stereo filter, so instead of a pair of these Lehle filters, one Lehle DC filter should be enough if the description of this filter is correct. I checked two online stores here (in Germany) who sell this at 35 bucks by the way and both claim this is a stereo filter. Pity it doesn't has two separate inputs and outputs :-( Perhaps still getting a pair of it.

Thank you very much and kind regards, Garfield.

For review reports of Eurorack modules, please refer to https://garfieldmodular.net/ for PDF formatted downloads


Sho'nuff! It IS a stereo filter, apparently...uses 1/4" TRS for the I/O. Of course, that could also be to pass balanced signals through the device, too, but Lehle's site says it can do stereo. Must be true, even though it doesn't look like it would!

One other VERY nifty point to it is the max voltage: 9.75Vrms. This means that you could actually slap these into a modular patch as "offset killers" where you've got DC offset as a patch function, but you don't want that offset in the output. I might have to snarf up a couple of these, in addition to using Doffset when DC sneaks in in Ableton. Our American prices aren't quite as nice as the ones in Deutschland, tho...


Hi Lugia,

Finally something cheaper here in Europe than in North America ;-) It's usually the other way around...

Are you going to visit the Superbooth? If yes, you could during your visit buy a few of those DC filters from Lehle.

Kind regards, Garfield.

For review reports of Eurorack modules, please refer to https://garfieldmodular.net/ for PDF formatted downloads


Thank you for all your honest opinions. Im just looking on a good deal on a Doepfer system with some basic modules, so I want to plan a system on this forum to get ideas and vision for the long way. I will also have to learn more about utilities and vcas. I will have to build up this system slowly, and maybe ideas will changes over time. Im just glad to plan a system on here, reading modules, and interacting with this nice community. Thank you so much!
-- baygiooday

Designing your own system is awesome. But that might be a bit much for someone who doesn't have any hands on experience in modular. No one starts out knowing what they are doing... only assuming that they know.

Make Noise and Roland have some nice preconfigured systems.

The 500 series from Roland is pretty much a classic modular system in Eurorack. You can't go wrong there.
Make Noise has a few contemporary preconfigured systems that incorporate digital modules.

Behringer just came out with their own preconfigured systems as well. I don't think you can go wrong there either. Behringer is notorious, though.


Designing your own system is awesome. But that might be a bit much for someone who doesn't have any hands on experience in modular. No one starts out knowing what they are doing... only assuming that they know.

Make Noise and Roland have some nice preconfigured systems.

The 500 series from Roland is pretty much a classic modular system in Eurorack. You can't go wrong there.
Make Noise has a few contemporary preconfigured systems that incorporate digital modules.

Behringer just came out with their own preconfigured systems as well. I don't think you can go wrong there either. Behringer is notorious, though.

-- Ronin1973

Thank for your advice!
Maybe I will start with those Doepfer modules. After adding a filter,vca, attenuverter, would it be a usable synth voice?
I would like to learn about the signal flow, and then the modulation, effects,... Where could I read more about it? Is there any threads that will help with basic knowledge?


Where could I read more about it? Is there any threads that will help with basic knowledge?

-- baygiooday
Chris Meyer has some great courses available here: https://learningmodular.com/

JB


I would like to learn about the signal flow, and then the modulation, effects,... Where could I read more about it? Is there any threads that will help with basic knowledge?

-- baygiooday

JB's advice is on point, if you want to read on it even more, there's plethora of knowledge to be gained in the stickies here: https://modwiggler.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16


Thank for your advice!
Maybe I will start with those Doepfer modules. After adding a filter,vca, attenuverter, would it be a usable synth voice?
I would like to learn about the signal flow, and then the modulation, effects,... Where could I read more about it? Is there any threads that will help with basic knowledge?

-- baygiooday

You might want to research "Eurorack Synth Voices". A synth voice is generally a complete compliment of VCOs, filters, VCAs, LFO, etc. Most if not all elements are normalized (internally patched) with the ability to break those normal connections and reroute them for advanced patching.

The Behringer Neutron can be considered a synth voice and at $300US is a pretty good set-up for learning on. The Intellijel Atlantis is a great synth voice. But it's more expensive and requires a case to power it.

As far as learning. There are tons of great tutorials on Youtube that take you through the very basics of modular design and use.


things I learned a shitton from when I started out..
* Behringer Crave (±150euro patchable monosynth)
* Patch & Tweak book
* VCVrack
* YouTube


-- jb61264

-- toodee

-- Ronin1973

-- T0MMI001

Thank you for all your helps!
I will learn some basic knowledge and then expand my system slowly. I will need your helps in the future!
Another question: Which do you think is better? A synth voice module or a bunch of modules to complete a synth voice?


Another question: Which do you think is better? A synth voice module or a bunch of modules to complete a synth voice?
-- baygiooday

Depends partly on what music you're doing and whether you need to work fast (as in live gigging) or not (studio work). If the former, you might benefit from some single-module voices. But if the rig is only going to see studio work, I'd suggest going with the individual module plan. Also, if doing music with complex sonic elements, individual modules give you the flexibility needed for that...such as for immersive ambient. But if you're aiming for a techno/EDM-type direction, it wouldn't be a bad thing to make your "bleep" and "bass" voices be single module voices.


Depends partly on what music you're doing and whether you need to work fast (as in live gigging) or not (studio work). If the former, you might benefit from some single-module voices. But if the rig is only going to see studio work, I'd suggest going with the individual module plan. Also, if doing music with complex sonic elements, individual modules give you the flexibility needed for that...such as for immersive ambient. But if you're aiming for a techno/EDM-type direction, it wouldn't be a bad thing to make your "bleep" and "bass" voices be single module voices.

-- Lugia

Thank you for your advice!
I still have a lot to learn so it is better to go for some basic modules for the learning path. I will do more research and if I like any synth voice module I will add it on the second row later.
Please check my set up again! Do you think it is a good starting point? Does the addition of attenuverter, filter, VCA, and Maths make it usable?
I need some honest advices to help build up my first row from those Doepfer modules.
Thank you so much!


OK...I did a bit to set up the general areas you'd want the various modules in. Note that my typical layouts put the audio sources and modifiers up top, modulation across the center, and mixing and effects in the bottom along with control systems. This allows for an "up on left, down on right" signal flow which makes the build much easier to patch and control.
ModularGrid Rack
You'll notice how the existing modules break up into the overall scheme. Also, if you don't already have that MIDI interface, you'll likely have a lot of trouble finding one as Doepfer discontinued it.

Now, one issue I do have is with the cab size. Those 84 hp rows are kinda tight, so it makes choosing just the right modules more important...and one way to choose is by function density. For example: there's a very basic Doepfer ADSR that fits into 8 hp. But if you put in one of their A-140-2 modules instead, you then get TWO envelope generators that work the same way (actually, the A-140-2 EGs also give you CV over time, which the A-140 doesn't have) in the same space. Note that there is a point where you can go too far with this; when you've gotten to a point that it's difficult to play the synth because the controls are all too tightly bunched, that's what "too far" looks like. But if you keep the density to somewhere within reason, you can majorly increase the build's capabilities without the need to go to a bigger cab, AND you'd still get more capabilities.


-- Lugia

Thank you so much for helping!
In where I live, I already have a lot of trouble finding modules, cases, and any things related. Any things I can find will alway be behringer. I will have to find modules in other countries market, which will be difficult and expensive. So this is gonna be a long long way.
Therefore, I want to collect a basic set up so I can learn for a year or two before making any further step. Thank a lot for your efforts. It will take me a long time to fill that 9U 84hp case.

Do you know anywhere that I can find documents about Ambient music and composing? I want to read that while learning my modular too.
I will be back here for more informations, advices, ideas and visions.
Thank all you kindly people that helping me out!