I've been lurking here, Muffs and on Electro-Music for a while now, tempting myself with a modular synth purchase. After getting a tidy sum back from the government for tax season, I think I'm ready to finally pull the trigger.

Question is: Where should I purchase from?

I've mostly been an in-the-box guy up until now, so most of my purchases have been from Sweetwater. I found this shop when searching for "modular synth", but haven't purchased from them before. From what I could find, it seems like they're a pretty legit place. Another one that comes up a lot in my searching is Analogue Haven.

What do you guys recommend? Also, is buying used a good idea?

Don't know where you're located, but certainly if you're anywhere near NYC, I'd recommend visiting Control in Williamsburg Brooklyn (http://www.ctrl-mod.com). They also do mail-order (including used gear), and from my experience they're the absolute best. Plenty of folks use Analogue Haven too. You won't find much a modular selection from Sweetwater - seems mostly Pittsburgh make, and while I've ordered plenty of studio stuff from them, I doubt they have the expertise to guide you towards your first rack.

Be sure to do your research BEFORE you buy - there's also tons of great info on Muffwigglers.com In particular it's good to check on a module maker's track record re: build quality, customer service and general customer satisfaction. Can't speak to buying used gear here, but have done well on Muff's b/s/t section (buy/sell/trade).

Good luck!

https://www.modularfreq.com :)

I've recently caught the eurocrack habit and have ordered from Perfect Circuit Audio, Detroit Modular (ordering can be flaky using Paypal, twice I had to call to straighten things out - but they ship timely and answer questions quickly - and track reward points for small additional discounts), Analogue Haven, Vintage King Audio, Control, Sweetwater, and Control Voltage with no issues. Many give 10% discounts on holidays. Sign up for their newsletters to get occasional additional discounts. I have not had to return anything, so I can't speak for return hassles. Most, but not all, give free shipping for orders over 100$. Vintage King and Sweetwater both allow 0% no interest over various times and various manufacturers if you use their Synchrony credit cards (just don't miss a payment, as their normal interest rate is something like 25%). I will say that initially I was storing credit card info on various vendor sites as I splurged on module after module (not a good approach), but I was hit with a rash of fraudulent credit card charges, so use Paypal exclusively to hide your credit card details and never store credit card info on vendor sites (I went a decade with no credit card fraud charges, and then bam had to cancel 4 separate cards in a 4 month span - since switching to Paypal no issues). Good luck.

Also, pick up a copy of Patch and Tweak, great overview of just about everything, and google "Northern Coast Synthesis Part 2" for some good reasons to not get into eurocrack (the whole series is worth reading when starting out - it is written by someone who designs modules).

Detroit Modular is my go-to place. I've never had issues ordering from them. I've had a couple of self-created issues, but they sorted me out and I was shipped the right gear. They ship same-day or next day, generally.

Perfect Circuit is very active on Youtube. However they are super-slow to ship. But sometimes they have fantastic sales for holidays.

Sweetwater is fine. But they don't stock a lot of modules.

The other issue with Sweetwater is that there's really no price breaks on buying modular gear from them. Since the Eurorack market relies on pretty fixed "street" pricing, what you see there is almost always going to be the same as from Perfect Circuit, Detroit, VK, etc. Sweetwater is good about having gear they carry in stock, though; having a warehouse complex the size of some small towns lets you do that!

I’ve gotten nice package deals from Detroit Modular. Granted, if you buy a 7U Intellijel and fill it up, there’s some margin to give on.
Regarding Perfect Circuit being slow to ship... my stuff from EricaSynths was here more quickly. That’s from Latvia as opposed from California.

Control is my first choice, then Perfect Circuit, then any of the rest.