I'm planning a second rack. My guiding principles have been large modules, old school synthesis and a west coast bias. I'd like it so that I can experiment with patch programability, sonic exploration and happy accidents where I haven't a clue what's going on. I'd also like to think it could create some really pretty sounds too. I don't need it to be self contained in a band-in-a-box way, but I would like to feel that I won't be needing to reach for any other modules when I'm playing with it. It would be great to hear what people think of my selection so far... thanks :)

ModularGrid Rack


Hey ModLifeCrisis,
I‘ve been enjoying your Youtube Videos for quite a while now, I really like them. It‘s been quite obvious to me for a while now this is going to happen.
Must say I‘m all about it and this seems alot like „You“.
However I‘d miss some utilities in there, polarizers, rectifiers. Kinks, FrapTools 333, Shades, something along those lines. I think those would help alot with patch programmability. Maybe the ssf Toolbox might be a good fit?
Also Magneto seems a little big to me. Maybe you could shrink it into something else (same with xpan?) to make room.

All the Best and please continue your Video Series!
Chris


Hey Cangore,
Thanks so much for the advice. I think you are right. I guess the Maths I have fulfils some of those functions, which I won't get with the Random Source DUSG. Interesting. I've not heard of the SSF Toolbox. That looks ultra useful. Perhaps that and Shades might work. I take your point about Magneto, although as I said, part of my plan is to avoid smaller modules - especially if I plan to tweak them. I'm still not 100% on the Verbos Complex Oscillator. I can't really decide on that or the DPO or the Furtherrr Generator (or whatever it's called) without hearing them in person...

Thanks too, for what you say about my videos. I'm never sure whether the world needs more amateur videos about Eurorack, but it's nice to know that you enjoyed them. I haven't made one for a while (partly because of things going on) and also just laziness and my focus being aimed elsewhere at the moment. I do plan to make some more though - I have my Nifty Case patched up with a patch I like that I'm waiting to film...


ModularGrid Rack

Mimeophon would still fit with those two, not exatcly a small delay thing, maybe Chronoblob or even Beads (which I think you talked about wanting before) would too.

Just wanted to check. Maybe some reorganization would be needed.

All the Best,
Chris


Actually I tried and updated the suggestion: Beads leaves an extra 2Hp for Shakmat Sum-Dif which would also help greatly!
Just click on the link to see the updated rework. Don‘t know how to Update the thing here..

Also maybe rethink the Complex VCO, you already have two Ringmods (wogglebug and Serge) and two waveshapers in there Maybe go for two simpler oscillators (Buchla 258 Clone?) or the Serge New Timbral oscillator plus another one?
But that‘s maybe taking it too far from the Original Idea.

Cheers.


Actually I tried and updated the suggestion: Beads leaves an extra 2Hp for Shakmat Sum-Dif which would also help greatly!
Just click on the link to see the updated rework. Don‘t know how to Update the thing here..

Also maybe rethink the Complex VCO, you already have two Ringmods (wogglebug and Serge) and two waveshapers in there Maybe go for two simpler oscillators (Buchla 258 Clone?) or the Serge New Timbral oscillator plus another one?
But that‘s maybe taking it too far from the Original Idea.

Cheers.
-- Cangore

I just clicked on the link. Thanks for the input! That's given me something to think about! I haven't come across that Buchla clone before. Hi Ho, it's off to YouTube I go. :)


One Last Thing,
I just remembered you did a great video on interacting with the modular by using your Hands.
The Er101 seems to be the antithesis of that, atleast to me, have you considered putting Pressure Points in there? Or have you strayed away from that Idea?


One Last Thing,
I just remembered you did a great video on interacting with the modular by using your Hands.
The Er101 seems to be the antithesis of that, atleast to me, have you considered putting Pressure Points in there? Or have you strayed away from that Idea?
-- Cangore

Hi, yep. The ER101 does look a bit fiddly doesn't it. Part of my inspiration was to recreate the Buchla Skylab which I could never justify buying (£15,000 for 10 modules) and the ER101 is the closest thing I've seen to the Buchla 251e sequencer you get in the default Skylab setup. I think I had in mind to pair my next rack with a MakeNoise O-Control or some such because I do still find that my hands are the best CV control I've got... Pressure Points would work too, but of course takes up space. I've been looking again at your revamped version of the modules I chose originally. It does make a lot more sense. I still think I'd like a complex oscillator though - the Skylab has two!
Cheers, MLC


Now you really got me thinking,
This morning when I got up I looked at the build again and noticed that there are almost no VCAs.
Then I read your Post and took a look at the Skylab.

I think that you‘d be best of trying to replicate half of the Audio Path of that thing and definetly drop one random source in favour of a quad envelope (closest Thing in Euro is probably Quadrax plus Expander) and add VCA‘s dedicated to modulation.
Also you completely omitted the Frequency Shifter.I think thats a pretty crucial one. Luckily Doepfer just put out a very reasonably priced one, yes it‘s a little small, but I think it would be your best bet.

Now I tried to do a complete overhaul that makes sense to me, while keeping the modules as big as possible and looking at the Skylab.
ModularGrid Rack

I actually really dig that build, luckily I don‘t have 5 grand to spend on modular right now ;).

Wish you all the Best
Chris

PS: still did not Update, need to click link again.


I do still find that my hands are the best CV control I've got...

-- ModLifeCrisis

Had to look up your “Perfect CV Controller” video on YouTube, and couldn’t agree more. I was just trying to explore this idea in a different thread. Personally, I think the human side is where modular artists find their own artistic voice. I know this is a gear forum, so any discussion of style, artistry, or philosophy is quickly shut down in favor of, “Just buy XYZ module.” I thought your video was an important consideration of something that new modular enthusiasts should ponder just as much as case size, budget, voices, and utilities. Thanks for exploring that idea. Just subscribed to your channel. :)
Also, good luck with your Skylab build.


Now you really got me thinking,
This morning when I got up I looked at the build again and noticed that there are almost no VCAs.
Then I read your Post and took a look at the Skylab.

I think that you‘d be best of trying to replicate half of the Audio Path of that thing and definetly drop one random source in favour of a quad envelope (closest Thing in Euro is probably Quadrax plus Expander) and add VCA‘s dedica
Also you completely omitted the Frequency Shifter.I think thats a pretty crucial one. Luckily Doepfer just put out a very reasonably priced one, yes it‘s a little small, but I think it would be your best bet.

Now I tried to do a complete overhaul that makes sense to me, while keeping the modules as big as possible and looking at the Skylab.
ModularGrid Rack

I actually really dig that build, luckily I don‘t have 5 grand to spend on modular right now ;).

Wish you all the Best
Chris

Hi Chris - that looks very interesting. Thanks. I’m going to have to study it. Couple of things come to mind immediately - think I’d prefer the sound of Mimeophon to Echophon - was there a reason you chose that? Also, what do you think the DUSG brings to the party now that there are four envelope generators? Do you see it as a second oscillator or is it there for all the other stuff it can do?


I do still find that my hands are the best CV control I've got...

-- ModLifeCrisis

Had to look up your “Perfect CV Controller” video on YouTube, and couldn’t agree more. I was just trying to explore this idea in a different thread. Personally, I think the human side is where modular artists find their own artistic voice. I know this is a gear forum, so any discussion of style, artistry, or philosophy is quickly shut down in favor of, “Just buy XYZ module.” I thought your video was an important consideration of something that new modular enthusiasts should ponder just as much as case size, budget, voices, and utilities. Thanks for exploring that idea. Just subscribed to your channel. :)
Also, good luck with your Skylab build.

-- farkas

Hi, thanks. Yep. The more I can get my fingers and gestures involved the better. The Buchla Skylab comes with a weird keyboard thing which is a bugger to program apparently but once set up is very expressive. For this build I’m considering the MN 0-control which doesn’t do as much but would be simpler and hopefully good fun. Thanks for the subscribe too. I’d better make another video! :)


think I’d prefer the sound of Mimeophon to Echophon - was there a reason you chose that? Also, what do you think the DUSG brings to the party now that there are four envelope generators? Do you see it as a second oscillator or is it there for all the other stuff it can do?

-- ModLifeCrisis

Hey ModLifeCrisis,
In terms of the Echophon I simply choose that because it fit and because it has delightfully large knobs. I think that, in terms of effects, whatever floats your boat will be just fine. It‘s just that I‘m personally intrigued by Echophon.
I‘m sure Mimeophon, Morphagene (which you already own) or even beads would all be grand Options too.

Concerning the Dusg, theres many things it can do that Quadrax can not and because of the 4 envelopes of Quadrax you can actually use it for other stuff without running out of Modulation Sources;
-1v/O Tracking VCO
-Slew Limiting
-Filtering
Just to name a few, I‘m sure there‘s much much more that I‘m unaware of, If you really wan‘t to use it‘s full potential I recon you need something else to handle basic Envelopes and LFO‘s.
Simply consider the Krell Patch and how quick you‘ll be down 3 envelopes plus an LFO for Timbre Modulation, that‘s Quadrax used up effectively.
Sure Pams can do LFO‘s and Envelopes too, but only time-synced that I‘m aware of and having a module like Quadrax seems to be more intuitive and more inline with the Skylab.

All the Best
Chris


Thanks Chris. That makes perfect sense. And thanks too for the thought you’ve put into this. I could never afford (or justify) a Skylab but this could be a brilliant alternative and actually have some cool extra bits too, like the echo and the logic circuits. I’ve copied your rack (so now it’s a copy of a copy). Cheers, MLC, aka Mat.


Mat, a couple comments:

— if you are looking at DPO vs Verbos Complex vs Furthrr, may as well also consider Instruo Csl and Mindphaser. I personally love the “complex OSC” setup which is very west coast and to me a big change from what I experienced with lots of prior VST exposure. In other words I find that setup a breath of fresh air. DPO sounds great to me; the dual primary routing is very good and it has a fat warm musical sound to me. CSL a lot of people love but to me it sounds a lot thinner than DPO. Anyways there are some very strong modules in this set and it’s worth some good comparison and consideration. And whatever the spec sheets say, man DPO really sounds great to me…

— from the thread above I have to mention FSS Makrow and ADDAC 306 which are basically macro controllers in modular. I have a hunch 1,2,3 of those might be a great fit with your overall setup.

I’ll have to check out your videos!

Cheers,

Nicholas


Mat, a couple comments:

— if you are looking at DPO vs Verbos Complex vs Furthrr, may as well also consider Instruo Csl and Mindphaser. I personally love the “complex OSC” setup which is very west coast and to me a big change from what I experienced with lots of prior VST exposure. In other words I find that setup a breath of fresh air. DPO sounds great to me; the dual primary routing is very good and it has a fat warm musical sound to me. CSL a lot of people love but to me it sounds a lot thinner than DPO. Anyways there are some very strong modules in this set and it’s worth some good comparison and consideration. And whatever the spec sheets say, man DPO really sounds great to me…

— from the thread above I have to mention FSS Makrow and ADDAC 306 which are basically macro controllers in modular. I have a hunch 1,2,3 of those might be a great fit with your overall setup.

I’ll have to check out your videos!

Cheers,

Nicholas
-- nickgreenberg

Hi Nicholas,
Interested to read your comments about the complex oscillators out there. It's a tricky choice, because whichever one I choose is going to have such a major effect on the eventual sound. I really need to find a shop somewhere which has them all so I can play with each of them and see which floats my boat I guess. I like the look of the FSS Makrow and ADDAC 306, which would be great for transitions. Not sure what I'd take out though. I'm planning to pair the eventual case with a Make Noise 0-CNTRL or something similar to give me some hands on control.
Cheers,
Mat


Mat, hope I'm not overcomplicating the issue. A few more comments:

-- yes there are a lot of options as far as "complex OSCs" go. Some of them are closer to the original Buchla inspiration, some further. We should add Frap Brenso to the list already above.

-- it IS worth reviewing the manuals, faceplates, and demo videos to get a sense of how these are same and different. Also worth of note is the NORMALING of signals in the module is pretty important and IMO kind of hard to really wrap one's head around unless spending a bunch of hands on time with the module. Also, IMO it is a bit hard to learn these types of modules unless one has a handy oscilloscope / FFT analyzer (like DATA or an in-DAW option), or unless one is already super experienced. I certainly needed DATA to help get a grip on DPO.

-- what may make the situation SIMPLER is, a lot of the options are known to be very good options. DPO is a well known and well liked module, and there's a lot of enthusiasm around C-sl and Mindphaser. The other alternatives, I know less well, but I don't know of a "dud" among them. So if you just picked one you're most excited about (and can get your hands on when you want, as stocking can be an issue), then it may be hard to go wrong in this area


I'm really enjoying both the sounds and the functionality of Brenso, but one should note that while the coarse tune and main modulation knobs are large and well-spaced, the attenuverters are small, and there are some very small switches for occasional use. Having all those attenuverters is really handy, though, and the layout and normalling is quite well thought-out.


Mat,
Please Hold on before you buy anything. TipTop and Buchla are collaborating on bringing the 200 Series Modules to Eurorack.
Better see what the prices will be on those and then reevaluate the Build.

Best
Chris


First price indications:
https://tiptopaudio.com/buchla/


First price indications:
https://tiptopaudio.com/buchla/
-- BrumoD

Holy Sh*t thats cheap. Well atleast cheaper than expected.


Mat,
Please Hold on before you buy anything. TipTop and Buchla are collaborating on bringing the 200 Series Modules to Eurorack.
Better see what the prices will be on those and then reevaluate the Build.

Best
Chris
-- Cangore

Thanks. Gosh, who saw that coming? And by the looks of the comment below yours they are not going to cost so much either. That really is very exciting to me. I bet they’ll sell like hot cakes. I wonder if they’ll make the weird keyboard?


OH, HOLY CRAAAAAAAP!!!!!!

First thing I see right off is a 258...for $200!?!?!?! And the 257's getting reissued!?!?! Good lord...

And with Tiptop running the fabrication (I would presume?), we'll really be seeing these, as opposed to Buchla USA's never-gonna-get-done 100 series reissue.


OH, HOLY CRAAAAAAAP!!!!!!

First thing I see right off is a 258...for $200!?!?!?! And the 257's getting reissued!?!?! Good lord...

And with Tiptop running the fabrication (I would presume?), we'll really be seeing these, as opposed to Buchla USA's never-gonna-get-done 100 series reissue.
-- Lugia

I guess one of the ways they’ve kept the price down is the absence of preset management which must make the modules simpler to manufacture. I wonder if they’re using vactrols too, which according to a podcast I listened to with the CEO of Buchla bump the price up. And then I guess they’ll have large production runs. It really is rather exciting news! Having said that, I’m still rather keen on the latest iteration of my next rack but this has thrown a haze of doubt over that …

ModularGrid Rack


Mat, this build seems pretty solid to me.

The 3 points I have questions about:
-- what will PNW be doing in this setup? It's a great module, but I don't see obvious uses for it here
-- why Scan & Pan vs alternatives or other uses of that HP?
-- why the DUSG? Wogglebug + ER101 + Quadrax + QX already give you a lot of CV for this size a rig, I'm not sure DUSG adds a lot of value alongside your other CV, and it sure takes a lot of HP. If this was my setup, I'd be tempted to put Joranalog Morph 4 where DUSG is. Morph4 is totally different than DUSG, but you could do interesting things in this setup with Morph 4 such as pull several outs from DPO and morph them (at LFO, sequenced or audio rate!) or use it to morph CV that's fed to something else.

That's just what I think when looking at this setup and how I normally work. If those modules are good picks for you, no problem.

Last, I should mention I consider 4MS SISM or Tiptop MISO important in any mid to large setup.

BTW re trying to emulate a Buchla setup, I watched the Tiptop / Buchla announcements today and it sounds like modules will be released here and there over the next 12 months. Between release dates and getting a module (they're likely to be popular!) it could take a while to get one.

Cheers,

NG


Mat, this build seems pretty solid to me.

The 3 points I have questions about:
-- what will PNW be doing in this setup? It's a great module, but I don't see obvious uses for it here
-- why Scan & Pan vs alternatives or other uses of that HP?
-- why the DUSG? Wogglebug + ER101 + Quadrax + QX already give you a lot of CV for this size a rig, I'm not sure DUSG adds a lot of value alongside your other CV, and it sure takes a lot of HP. If this was my setup, I'd be tempted to put Joranalog Morph 4 where DUSG is. Morph4 is totally different than DUSG, but you could do interesting things in this setup with Morph 4 such as pull several outs from DPO and morph them (at LFO, sequenced or audio rate!) or use it to morph CV that's fed to something else.

Hi Nick,
Those are good questions and thanks for asking them. I can't promise to give definitive (or even coherent) answers but my thinking was as follows...

PNW is in there to supply a clock to the ER101, which as I understand it, doesn't have an internal clock. I could get a clock from the Wogglebug or the Quadrax or the DUSG but I won't be certain of the BPM with any of these, and I thought that might be useful if I wan't to take anything into my DAW. I also imagine myself using it as an LFO and an additional source of random. But, it might be overkill, as you suggest.

Scan and Pan - that's there I suppose, because I'm trying to recreate the Buchla Skylab, which has a similar mixer (6 channel I think), with the ability to pan the inputs into a stereo field. It looks like it would be kind of fun to create stereo movement. I think Sputnik do one that is even more similar to the Buchla and other smaller options are available but I haven't researched them. Verbos is a pretty reputable brand I guess, and I see the Scan and Pan as the final point in the audio chain.

DUSG - you might well be right about this. I have asked myself the same question (above in this post if I remember rightly) but I guess there are quite a few other things you can do with it. I have considered swapping it out for Maths, which would give me the advantage of another mixer, attenuation, inverters, more logic possibilities and a smaller hp footprint. I might have to end up doing this because I'm not sure how available the ER101 actually is, so I may need to look at another sequencer - possibly the Rene Mk2, which is bigger.

I have never heard of the Morph4, which looks funzies (as my daughter says). I'll check it out.

And yes, I know what you mean about the TipTop Buchla - I imagine it being as hard to get as Beads - frustrating when you decide on a module and then it is unavailable. First world problems of course and I'm very lucky to have the modules I do have already to play with.

Choices, choices, choices... Sometimes I think I should just get a Buchla Easel or a Make Noise Shared System and be done with it... :) I'm sure I'd have a lot of fun with either.

Regards,
Mat


Mat, a few comments

-- re: PNW, what you said makes a lot of sense.
-- S&P and DUSG, IMO you might find more inspiring current alternatives, esp. if you decide to save some of your "I want Buchla-ish stuff" for when the new Tiptop/Buchla stuff is available. While I already have a LOT of modular stuff, I might grab a fair amount of the Tiptop/Buchla stuff when available... it may be just too tempting to resist, even if strictly speaking, I already have a fair amount of that functionality in my rack
-- last, I have to say, the "I want Buchla-ish stuff" urge could go a few ways. For me, a loose interpretation of "west coast" (vs "east coast synthesis") is accretive (vs subtractive), vactrols & LPGs (vs other standard filters & VCAs), happy accidents (vs played / programmed), and innovative / complex (vs "traditional / simple"). Which is to say, I find myself happy scratching a "west coast itch" with a variety of modules, some old some new some innovative, but which hit somehow the west-coast vibe and mentality. If you wanted to go in that direction also, it provides a lot more alternatives vs. having to hew closely to a few Buchla clones/offspring.

Good luck!


Mat, if you're going to consider the Rene, you also should seriously consider pairing it with the Tempi. The Tempi has some "backplane connections" with the Rene that kick up the sequencer's functionality.

Also, I'm not buying Buchla USA's explanation regarding the vactrols. There's plenty of modules on here which use them that DON'T cost an arm and a leg and maybe also your other leg, too. My guess with the 200e modules is that the circuitry for the patch memory as well as the extensive signal processing and other hidden digital gewgaws are the real cost drivers, and not a simple component (that's NOT a chip, so scarcity doesn't apply here) that's an off the shelf item. Maybe Don had the right idea, but the execution of that idea shot the 200e modules off the feasibility charts for most musicians. So I applaud Tiptop's efforts here...we NEED a Buchla that anyone can afford.


vactrols aren't massively expensive - they are compared to a lot of op amps - but not compared to 2614s that are in many vcas etc these days (mutable use them extensively for example) or to stm32 etc chips (MCUs) - there are some restrictions due to what they are made from (they're not RoHs compiant for example) but it can be done reasonably cheaply - look at the dplpg, for example - 2 vactrols and reasonably priced

one point to note is that vactrols are all (as far as I know) through hole - which does add to the cost, especially if the rest is smd based - adds more work that is probably done by hand, compared to smd which will be done by a robot!

at retail prices in uk vactrols are roughly between £3 and £8 + vat - 2164s are about £3 + vat iirc and stms can be over £10 + vat and most mutable modules (built in france) are in the £180-300 price bracket

the 200 series, which the tta/buchla modules are, never had the preset-programmability, that was only in the later 200e series - which are eye wateringly expensive and still being manufactured by BUSA

i suspect the tta/buchla modules will almost definitely be manufactured in thailand where tta are now based - so labour cost is way lower than BUSA - as I think they are actually built in USA - and I'm pretty sure they will be mostly smd based as it's quicker and cheaper for pick'n'place manufacturing - and only the vactrols, panel furniture and finishing will be done by hand

I think the buchla/tta modules are a fantastic development

great for eurorack users - add a bit of authentic buchla for not much cash!

I kept looking at the 208c - but I'm pretty sure I'll just get some of these instead - much more fun and interesting to buy a module every so often than to save up and buy a 208C - 200 is much easier to find (even repeatedly) than nearly 3k in one go!

the only people who seem to object to them are existing buchla users - and the main argument is this is not what Don wanted - true, but in his lifetime the b-company were not making cheap ass clones of everything and anything they could lay their grubby little hands on - faced with that or this I think Don would have (if he were alive today) have gone with licencing over the alternative due to it, being the lesser of 2 evils...

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