Hello,

I'm trying to put a system together and I'm trying to take my time as much as possible: to be able to gather information and of course, to stay within my monthly budget.

All I have at the moment is a TipTop Mantis case, Pam's New Workout and the 4ms Listen Four. I also ordered the 3x MIA at Schneider's, but it's not on stock. I'm trying to make a system to be able to create evolving ambient with some interesting rythms, and maybe also some faster electronic music.

My current plan looks like this:

ModularGrid Rack

I'm thinking of getting Plaits, Mimetic Digitalis and Milky Way to start, and then slowly progressing further. I'm also thinking of adding an external Sequencer, like a Beatstep Pro at some point. I figure the Mindphaser would be among the last things I'll get.

As you can see, filters are missing. I'm pretty unsure at this point how many and which ones I should go for. As for effects, maybe I should also get another unit next to the Milky Way.

Thanks in advance for anyone giving their opinion.


a effects module that get reccommended alot here is the FX Aid XL(gonna get that one myself later this year)

Also if you wanna get a 2nd mantis case,and you are located in EU.i have one i dont use anymore,pm me if interested

https://www.facebook.com/BrokenFormAudio

Got a Mantis Case for sale,PM Me


Another fave, also 6 hp: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/frequency-central-stasis-leak-

The Stasis Leak has the ability to "stereoize" signals via its effects...mono in, stereo out, with your choice of tap delay, chorus, or reverb.


some of the fx aid algorithms do the mono->stereo thing too

you are trying to do too much of it in too small a space

I would pick either evolving ambient or faster electronic music to start with and also leave out the drums (drum machines are so much cheaper)

there are too many sound sources in the rack - and not enough support modules to get the most out of them

a good place to start looking would be mixing - try to imagine mixing the sound sources/modifiers in the rack - some of them are stereo - some are mono - not enough channels to manage all of it well - no mono->stereo sub-mixing to feed to the effects - your mixing solution needs a serious rethink - yes you could 'mix' everything - using veils etc - but your options are very limited and won't leave a lot of mising /vca channels for other things

you probably want a filter for the MCO

Maths/quadrax/pams is probably more than enough for modulation - what's your use case for o&c?

mimetic digitalis looks very fiddly for a sequencer - I would do some research - if possible try one out before buying - sequencers are quite important in terms of workflow - if you don't get on with your sequencer(s) you will not get one with your modular

also the lack of something to combine triggers would seem frustrating - euclidean circles and pams - maybe a trigger combiner - or a switched multiple

and speaking of multiples - I would get a few stackcables and/or headphone splitters as well as looking at a buffered mult or maybe 2 (often they come in pairs) - perhaps links - that has 2 - one of which can be used as a a 2in 1 out mixer/precision adder (for adding v/oct signals) and a second simple mixer - very useful - as is kinks if you can find one (3 useful utilities you don't have)

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


Thank you very much for your advice, it's really useful.

I'm becoming increasingly convinced, that a system this size will not be able to do all the things I originally imagined it would. I think I have to re-evaluate my plans. I'm glad I haven't invested much in parts yet.


No problem

I think the best way to look at it is that it is as a long term project

get a minimum viable synth:

sound source (vco) - plaits is popular and versatile
sound modifier (filter, delay etc) - I'd go for a low pass filter probably - doepfer do quite a few different ones for a reasonable price
modulation source (lfo/env gen/functino gen) - maths - google - 'maths illustrated supplement'
a way to listen - you got it already -4ms module
a way to play - again already got it - Pam's - will do
a decent sized case - already got it - mantis

and ideally a few utility modules - I usually recommend links, kinks, shades, veils (or similar modules - mia instead of shades for example)

and start patching - give it at least a month to learn those modules - as you patch you will work out what you are missing - take note and research and ask questions - buy one of the modules that you are missing, whatever that is -

then buy modules slowly - and save for the next case by sticking (cost of case * hp of module)/ (hp of case) in a jar - when your case is full you will have money for the next one!

you can build up a decent sized modular that will do what you want (and that you will know very well) over as long as you want to take - even a budget of €50-100/month will fill a mantis in a few years - this gives you time to research each new module thoroughly and to learn it back to front in conjunction with your existing modules

in lots of ways this is much better than buying loads of modules at once as that method can be overwhelming and often leads to not knowing your modules that well

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


Thanks again, this is very sound advice!


Maths/quadrax/pams is probably more than enough for modulation - what's your use case for o&c?

O&C is a great universal module. It can do duty as a sequencer, modulation source, quantizer, and so forth. It was a module I started with and would still recommend.

mimetic digitalis looks very fiddly for a sequencer - I would do some research - if possible try one out before buying - sequencers are quite important in terms of workflow - if you don't get on with your sequencer(s) you will not get one with your modular

I own a Mimetic Digitalis. It's nice for improv stuff. I find it preferable for modulations but for note pitch... not as much. But it's 16 steps by 4 channels in a small space. If you have the room for a dedicated 16x4... by all means. But for jamming, it's nice, especially hooking it up to a couple of Euclideans for advancing steps or jumping/resetting the sequencee.

also the lack of something to combine triggers would seem frustrating - euclidean circles and pams - maybe a trigger combiner - or a switched multiple

A logic module capable of "OR" is great for combining triggers. A Blue Lantern CMOS party is $80US.

-- JimHowell1970


Thank you for your advice.

Could you recommend a dedicated 16x4 CV sequencer that you enjoy? Are we talking René, or is there something more cost effective and beginner friendly?


I enjoy the Malekko Voltage Block, a 16x8 CV sequencer. Very fun to use. It is 20hp, so it takes up some space, but I've found it very useful for modulation and tweaking arpeggios on the fly.