Hi,

I'd like to get some feedback on my 'proposed' rack. Just to give you some explanations of what I'm thinking of doing so that you can see my logic, I should first point out that I also have a few bits of gear which aren't shown here. I already have a 'Pittsburgh Mod. Lifeforms SV-1b', a 'Make Noise 0-coast' and a Synthstrom Deluge, which I use as a sequencer, send CV/Gate etc, when needed. There's a few other things I use, but these are the three bits which I'll be linking to the rack.

Although my main interest is sound manipulation - hence the 1010 Bitbox Micro - I'll also be making use of the rack for plain melodic stuff using the oscillators from the SV-1b, etc.

One important thing first, is that I hesitate between MI's Stages and a Make Noise Maths. I've read good things about Stages, and using it on VCV Rack does show interesting multiple functions (an envelope, an LFO, and even a limited sequencer). Also, Maths seems to be permanently out of stock whenever I look (I'm in Europe), which doesn't help. As for the other modules I've chosen, here's a few comments (my logic):

  • Multiple - MI Links: I thought the polyvalent uses of this multiple could cover many situations.
  • LFO - Doepfer A-145-4: Not too expensive, takes up little space, and seems quite adaptable/functional.
  • Attenuverter/Mixer /etc - 3x MIA: seems to do a lot, and covers both CV and audio as well.
  • VCA - Quad VCA: This looks interesting, but maybe I should choose between the 3x MIA or this, or will both work well together?
  • Clock - Pamela's NEW Workout: seems the most interesting option for a clock, and many other uses too.
  • Out - Befaco's OUT V3: Well, I just chose this because I saw SynthDad using it in a video, and since I need an out, why not, although maybe there's better (or cheaper) options? I also thought the headphone out could be very useful whilst preparing manipulated sounds - before playing them live.

So, if I could have some feedback, I'd be really grateful. What have I doubled that's not useful, and naturally, what have I forgotten to make the whole thing work (I plan to buy a case with power - ex: an Eowave). And lastly, although - as you all know - it would be possible just to keep filling a rack until you have everything, I'd like to keep this portable, and expand it later, if needed. After all, one can never have too many cases!

Thanks in advance - joesh

Whoops: ModularGrid Rack


Hi joesh. Post the link to your proposed rack here, so everyone can see it.
Links is definitely one of the handiest modules I own. It was one of the first I purchased, and has survived in my case ever since. As far as LFOs, the DivKid Ochd is popular for a reason, and the same with Maths. Maths can do a bit of everything, and while it's not immediately intuitive it is worth purchasing a well-cared-for used one (or waiting for a new one). PNW is also one of the most important modules in my rack.
I am a fan of the 3xMIA, but I recently discovered the Warm Star Electronics The Bends cv controlled matrix mixer, and would HIGHLY recommend checking it out over the 3xMIA. It can do similar things and more, but with cv control (which the 3xMIA doesn't have). Very cool module and excellent price to hp ratio. A quad or hex VCA should also be one of your earliest investments.
I'm sure others will have some recommendations when we see your rack, but it sounds like you are headed in the right direction with your initial module choices.
Have fun and good luck!


Firstly, thanks Farkas, that's already helpful. Sorry I forgot to put the rack in, but I for some reason I just forgot to add that in. I'm not sure if it's correct (my link), as I see all the white space of a jpg. If I've missed something on 'my modular' page, maybe you can explain how I should of shown my rack?

Anyhow, I just had a quick look at Bends, and indeed it looks interesting. I'll leave the 3xMIA in the set-up for the moment, just so people can comment. But I have you suggestion 'chalked' up for consideration once I get a few more comments.

BTW, I imagine, from your remark about the VCA, that the Intelijel Quad VCA is a good idea.

Thanks again.


Yes, the Quad VCA is a good choice. It has both linear and exponential response curves (for cv and audio, respectively). A lot of folks here like MI Veils for a quad VCA. Similar module in 10hp.


Yes, the Quad VCA is a good choice. It has both linear and exponential response curves (for cv and audio, respectively). A lot of folks here like MI Veils for a quad VCA. Similar module in 10hp.
-- farkas

Thanks, just looked Veils over, indeed, it seems a nice alternative - and I see what you mean for the space too.

What's interesting here (the forum), is that you get some nice alternative suggestions, which when you're ordering stuff, can be a very useful if modules are out of stock or simply discontinued.


Of the modules mentioned, I have A-145-4, Quad VCA, 3xMIA, Pam's, and the Out v3, and like them all. One nice feature of the Out is the cue input, which lets you audition sounds being constructed without repatching. I also have 3xVCA, and should have considered Veils as a Quad VCA alternative. As a Maths alternative, I was considering the Cosmotronic Delta-V (which is small) before I went with Falistri. I really like Falistri, but I wanted more than two envelopes, and to be able to use it as one or two oscillators. So I added Quadrax, which is packed with functionality. You are tight on space, so some careful planning is needed, and then availability will be an issue...


Of the modules mentioned, I have A-145-4, Quad VCA, 3xMIA, Pam's, and the Out v3, and like them all. One nice feature of the Out is the cue input, which lets you audition sounds being constructed without repatching. I also have 3xVCA, and should have considered Veils as a Quad VCA alternative. As a Maths alternative, I was considering the Cosmotronic Delta-V (which is small) before I went with Falistri. I really like Falistri, but I wanted more than two envelopes, and to be able to use it as one or two oscillators. So I added Quadrax, which is packed with functionality. You are tight on space, so some careful planning is needed, and then availability will be an issue...
-- plragde

Thanks plragde. The space is indeed tight, but at present my thinking is to make it compact, but with interesting functionality, and keeping the price a little under control too.

In the meanwhile, I've started sketching another rack with some of these suggestions in it. I'm looking at the Falistri at present, which looks interesting - when I get a chance to see how it works.


I think you're overlimiting yourself here. If the criteria for the build is that it needs to be powered and portable, I would recommend looking at a Tiptop Mantis. Very adequate power, great form factor (2 x 104), and you can even get a custom gigbag for it from Tiptop. Trying to do what you want in 1 x 84 hp is just going to be an exercise in frustration, if the modules you're thinking about are any clue.


If the criteria for the build is that it needs to be powered and portable, I would recommend looking at a Tiptop Mantis.
-- Lugia

Thanks Luigi, that's quite a coincidence, I had indeed looked at the TipTop cases - I'd seen someone talking about them somewhere, I'll definitely look into that as a serious possibility.


They're quality, and one of the better starter cabs out there. Expandable, too...Tiptop makes a "hinge" that you can use to put a second Mantis together with the first. Check it out: https://tiptopaudio.com/mantis/

And while they ARE made of plastic overall, they use metal rails for module mounting, so no real difference there.


Hey joesh,
I wanted to share my opinion on Stages vs Maths, since that's a decision I also made not that long ago.
I went with Stages and it's a lovely module. however I also have an additional Analog function Generator in my Rack. which I'd be tempted to say is like one half of Maths, but that's not the case (I also have shades from MI for attenuverters offsets and mixing, that plus a single function Generator is a lot more like half a maths and suddenly takes up 12HP). One difference between the Function Generator that is hard to Grasp and describe for me is the immediacy. Stages is digital at heart and if you want to clock it or something it will take a few clocks to settle into a steady rhythm sometimes, sometimes there's artefacts, etc., there's a few times I've found myself wishing it would be more "playable" more "immediate". However I think that the possibilities with that module are almost endless but I recon it's a very different mindset to the Rampage, Maths, Doepfer A-171-2, Falistri, Delta-V and alike. It's a means to an End, very versatile but at the same time intentionally limited and focused. It's weird to describe but it really drools with the Mutable Instruments way of doing stuff.
I love it, but you might not.

All the Best
Chris


Hey joesh,
I wanted to share my opinion on Stages vs Maths, since that's a decision I also made not that long ago.
I went with Stages and it's a lovely module. however I also have an additional Analog function Generator in my Rack. [...]. It's weird to describe but it really drools with the Mutable Instruments way of doing stuff.
I love it, but you might not.

All the Best
Chris
-- Cangore

Hi Chris, that's great thanks.

I guess when it comes to Maths vs Alternative, it seems I'll probably have to make a decision, and then just try it. As most people, it's not really the idea of not having Maths, more the idea of trying something else. I have to admit Falistri looks very interesting from what I've seen when watching reviews and demos. However, apart from Mod Wiggler discussions, which some seem very positive concerning Stages, I was intrigued to understand that you can loop your 6 waves to use as LFOs, or envelopes, and more (it seems). In comparison Falistri only has 2 loop-able possibilities (please correct me if I'm wrong)? But, on the other hand, there seems to be other features which make Falistri very tempting.

Anyhow, I guess the search goes on for what fits best where. So, I'll probably make a plunge next week and order some - or most of the modules - up on the rack and see how it works out. I just have to decide on a suitable case, preferably powered, and then press ..... buy!

I thought this review/tutorial (which I'm sure you all know) seemed to put the alternative Maths problem into context:


falistri always looks over complicated and cluttered - people complain about maths being difficult to understand, which to me is utter rubbish

there's also a really good reason for buying maths over anyother similar module - the maths illustrated supplement, which is a marvelous learning resource - even if you don't buy the module read the supplement a few times - you may then end up buying the module...

as for availability of Maths - I saw Blicken Synth in UK has received 2 shipments from Make Noise in the last few days including Maths - so they should be starting to filter into other shops soon

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


Thanks Jim, I'll check that out, sounds an interesting idea - also glad to here/read that Make Noise is re shipping again. There seemed to be a real slow down from them over the past year due to the pandemic (I guess).


it's not just make noise - everyone has been affected to some extent - and it's not over yet!!
not only is manufacturing capacity down for ICs etc, but shipping of components has been problematic and manufacture of actual modules and then shipping them and then retailers etc etc - it all adds up

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


Yes, buying modules has become an exercise in patience. I am now registering months ahead of planned module expansion at many sites and buying modules as soon as I get a re-stock notification because if you don't get something you are interested in as soon as it becomes available (even pre-order) you could completely miss a re-stock and be waiting another six months if not longer.

I recently picked up a steppy this way and glad I did because it was out-of-stock in about 24 hours.


some modules are selling out before the restock emails are sent out - possibly due to pre-orders - the email from Blicken stated that they had received Optomixes, but they had sold out before they sent the mail!!! so if you particularly want something just order it and have patience

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


Joesh, a few comments:

-- I agree with Lugia, if you have space and $s for a larger case, why not leave yourself some expansion room? That said, Cangore recently put up a very nice small build (https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/10432); yes it can be done.

-- PNW, Stages, Quad VCA, I have those, those are great. PNW is so good I'd recommend it almost without restriction. Stages is great also BUT since it is so flexible it takes some time and work to understand; I have DATA which helps a lot, I can run Stages into DATA to really see what the envelope is doing as I tweak stages. The Divkid video on Stages is also a big help. I would take Stages over Maths in a smaller build, but that's just me, I use Stages more than Maths. BTW the Loopop video on Maths is excellent, dispels a lot of the "wtf is this" questions. Aside from Maths, you could consider Joranalogue Contour 1.

-- you mentioned you have some external gear (sequencer) etc you would use with the new Modular setup. I would encourage you (if you haven't already) to fully think through how you link and synchronize those. It's very doable; it'll just save you some headaches

-- so much stuff is stocked out lately, I tend to go with options I like that are also in stock vs. waiting forever for a particular module to be available, who knows when it will?

Hope this helps!

Nicholas


I don't find Falistri overcomplicated and cluttered. I chose it over Maths because it seemed more straightforward to me (plus I liked the aesthetics better, a small bonus). The Frap modules have a lot of modulation options with attenuverters, which really helps. Falistri has both bipolar and unipolar outputs. Shape does not affect cycle time, which is important when using it as an oscillator. It tracks V/oct really well. Maths can do some things that Falistri cannot, and vice-versa. I'm pretty happy with it so far.


I have a Falistri and a Maths and like them both. Falistri does a ton for 18HP and it does have some really unique features. One thing I will point out that I don't like about it though is that the green and yellow sections are not actually function generators, they're envelope generators which means that some of the cooler things Maths can do Falistri can't. So from my PoV if you're interested in learning some of the basics of analog synthesis, if you value tactile interaction (IMHO Maths is the more ergonomic of the two) and you have other support utilities Maths would be the pick, if you don't have much room for other utilities and you just need a module to get 5/6 different things done pretty well, then Falistri is a solid choice with the bonus that it can also function pretty well as an oscillator.


I don't find Falistri overcomplicated and cluttered.
-- plragde

good - my impression is just from looking at pictures of it - I'm sure it's a great module, just not for me!

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


if you don't have much room for other utilities
-- troux

then your case is too small!

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


Thanks everyone, brilliant suggestions and advice. It looks as though I need to take a look over Stages, Maths and Falistri, and then make a choice - or even buy two of those!

Big thanks for the input everyone.


Since many people ask questions and ask for suggestions, I sometimes wonder what solution(s) they ended up chosing. So, I thought I'd finish this post with the results of my questions here and on Mod Wriggler, and show people what I came up with.

Firstly, thanks for all the suggestions, as you'll see below, I did finally put together my first rack. I decided to stay with the 104HP, as a way of focusing on what to pick for modules - although that will change/expand in the future (as we all know).

I decided to go/try the no Maths route, after all what you've never had you can't miss. I went with the Quadrax and a Falistri. They're both very interesting modules and I'm amazed at what you can do with them. I also dropped Stages and ALM Pam's New Workout due to availability (at the beginning). Since a friend of mine talked about Ornament and Crime, I wondered if it could be an alternative to Pam's, which when I looked into it, it seemed a more interesting choice, with many more possibilities/uses - Robin Rimbaud called it a Swiss Army knife of modular.

Lastly, most of the modules were chosen because of their multi functions. As an example, the Quadrax can do so many different things, and the Joranalogue Filter 8 is quite exceptional in being a filter, a VCO, LFO, a slew generator, etc.

Anyhow, here's the solution that I came up with - I should add once again, I have a Pittsburgh Mod. SV-1b, Make Noise 0-coast and a Synthstrom Deluge which I use to work with this rack.

ModularGrid Rack

Any comments and/or suggestions welcome as always.


Slippery Slope mode engaged, have fun planning your expansion.


I have a Mattis case for sale

https://www.facebook.com/BrokenFormAudio

Got a Mantis Case and a Squarp Hermod for sale,PM Me


Since a friend of mine talked about Ornament and Crime, I wondered if it could be an alternative to Pam's, which when I looked >into it, it seemed a more interesting choice, with many more possibilities/uses - Robin Rimbaud called it a Swiss Army knife of >modular.

Yes and no about OC. It's a great module, but its more about CV than gates/triggers. Temps Utile would be closer to Pam's New Workout. But not a 1:1 comparison. I'd hold out for a Pam's if you can but you can still keep the OC. Your Pittsburgh has a clock-out. So that should be fine for driving

For a case of this size, why do you have a precision adder and a buffered mult? Also with the Quadrax and Falistri, you can probably ditch the A-145. The Frap Tools 333 summing mixer... that's not needed either. That's 18HP of stuff you probably don't need and a fair bit of money.

Go with a Disting EX at 8HP and you can replace most of that stuff.
That still leaves you with 10HP to play with once you get settled.