Hi there!
After spending a few weeks reading Patch&Tweak I've decide to start to build my first Eurorack.
Something oriented to Ambient (what else is new!).
I know what many of pro users here are gonna tell me, I should waste my money on TipTop Mantis,
or Doepfer case, build something bigger, and save a 30% of my new build to enlarge.
I'm looking for something playable without wasting a lot of money, and I think it could be possible with this approach.
But I'm a new here, and every comment of you would help me to start off on the right foot.

Thanks !!!

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hahahahaha - if you think anything in modular is a waste of money, I'd suggest walking away now

everyone I've come across who started like this (tiny case) has come to 'regret it' within 3-6 months - as they end up buying another case and then another and another

buy a decent sized case to start with (the ones you mentioned are very good) and you are less likely to get into the hobby of buying eurorack cases - I made the mistake of buying a 6u/72hp case to start with - and 5 year later have 1500hp... may have stopped at a mantis, if I'd bought that to start with

if you want to save money - build one - it's easy - a couple of bits of wood and a power supply, but not a uZeus as they need a heat sink... I like the befaco excalibus for DIY cases

here's the link to the actual rack (not a jpg which is next to useless)
ModularGrid Rack

dump the 2 functions and the shifty

add 2 * fx aid xl, stages and a basic starter set of utilities - links, kinks (discontinued - buy it if you can find it - substitute: wmd/ssf toolbox) and shades - consider a matrix mixer

download 'maths illustrated supplement', play until you start to reach for something you don't have and then add that - repeat until death

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


Hello new person. Welcome to modular. Here are some pointers.

When posting a picture of your rack, don't post a GIF. Post a link to the rack and MG should populate the space with your rack as a clickable link so others can examine your module choices. It's very helpful.

You're putting big modules into a small space. You're more than likely not going to get what you expect from this set-up. You're missing a lot of functional utility modules.

How will this thing play notes? Will you be driving this from an external CV controller or external sequencer? Do you plan on sync'ing anything?

How will you record the output? Modular synths work at a level higher than the "line level".

You stated you've spent a few weeks reading "Patch & Tweak." No offense, but if you understood the material, this wouldn't be your rack. Why did you select two slew limiters AND the Maths module? You have a shift register. But how will it function in this rack and what exactly are you going to feed it with?

If you want playable, you should go with a semi-modular synth and save yourself a bunch of money at this point. A semi-modular like a Behringer Neutron, Moog Mother-32, or a Arturia MicroBrute 2 might give you a better outlet without breaking the bank or pushing you to spend money on modules when you aren't getting the entire concept of the modular environment.


Well, I'm not going to tell you to waste money on a Mantis cab. I'm going to tell you to get one because it WON'T BE a waste of money, as opposed to building a 1-row system that lacks space for proper functionality unless you do it all in 2-4 hp modules...at which point the build will be unplayable unless you've got toothpicks for fingers. I know people see these all the time on YouTube and think that "hey...I can do that too!"...and the simple fact is that the people doing those clips have been working with modular for a long time and while THEY can set up a workable build in some tiny cases, those builds tend to be "mission-specific" for a certain piece or specific gigs. They almost never result in a good, all-around system...which is what the goal SHOULD be.

Or a far better idea might be for you to snag a B.2600. Don't worry, NOBODY likes Uli Behringer, so don't feel guilty. Fact is, the ARP 2600 was and still IS one of the best teaching synths in existence, period, full-stop! It also comes in at $600-ish, while your build above is considerably higher in cost. No, it won't be a waste of money either, as that 2600 plays just fine with Eurorack, and once you get some modular experience with it, you can use it as a "core" device in a larger Eurorack setup. And thanks to Behringer's slavish replication of the original, their 2600 acts and sounds just right...and this is coming from someone who first used an ARP 2600 back in 1980. Tack on a basic sequencer like the Korg SQ-1, and you're golden!


Thanks y'all for your advices.
The truth is that I am still quite lost / overwhelmed by the amount of information in the form of videos, reviews, articles and stuff like that. I know that these questions tend to be quite recurrent, and the most forum veterans, they will be tired of answering.

I chose a 104HP system, thanks to a Perfect Circuit video where Sarah Relaid recommended starting with a small system, and I started with that idea in mind. As you mention, in the long run, the investment of money will be much higher due to the lack of space and the poor decision of the modules acquired.

In the current scenario, and given my little experience, I consider the following:
Start with a semi-modular system where the options I was considering are,
Make Noise O-Coast / O-Ctrl - Mother32 / DFAM / Subharmonicon.

Other options are, as Lugia suggests, is to get a B2600 and gain experience, to later, and with better knowledge, move to a really coherent Eurorack system in terms of modules and orientation of the sound that I'm looking for.

Do you think that is a good option start with a semi-modular system?

Thanks again!


well it's definitely an option...
personally I think that if you want a modular you are better just going straight to modular...
starting small is a very, very good idea - but that doesn't mean that the case has to reflect that - a slightly bigger case is always going to beat a tiny case economically - and experience points towards the fact that modular is fun and more modules are more fun - there's a reason they call it eurocrack!
saying that there are no wrong paths - just some are more expensive than others - buying used in particular will save money but only because if you realise that you are on the wrong path you'll have lost less if you come to sell it.. not that I've ever sold any modules - I just accumulate - that module that wasn't working for me 6 months ago does now as I have xyz module to plug into it, etc

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


If you had mentioned the Sarah Belle Reid video as a motivation in your first post, the responses might have been different. Along those lines, context on what other synths, grooveboxes, samplers, or keyboards you have owned or own now, what if anything you plan to use alongside Eurorack, and more than one word ("ambient") about what you hope to achieve would also help.

I watched the video, and while she makes some good points, others are contradictory. She's right to say start small and slowly, but she conflates starting with a few modules and using a small case. She is doing that for performance, but she's probably not performing with just what you see. There is probably more extensive sequencing, drum machines, effects pedals, a mixer, and so on. More importantly, she knows a lot about what she is doing, and is not a beginner.

She says 2-3 sound sources... in 84hp. That's half the rack, leaving not much other space for other things. She has two Functions because Maths wouldn't fit. Maths is two Functions plus more, so all of them together unbalance your rack. Even Maths alone is rather wide. There are smaller alternatives, like the Cosmotronic Delta-V, or Quadrax. (There are also smaller clones of the Mutable Instruments modules, but ergonomics are an issue.)

She is also using an 0-ctrl, and you said nothing about external sequencing. That's why she chose Shifty, to mix up the sequence coming in, but it doesn't really make sense for your rack by itself. Marbles can generate random sequences, Plaits is a sound source, Ikarie both a sound source and sound shaper, Veils a good quad VCA and mixer. That leaves you some space, and you should think about how to use it. I don't think it's impossible to put together 104hp that will sound good. But you might find it limiting and give up, or decide to get a bigger case. If the second, the smaller case can still be useful to you, or you can sell it.

As for semi-modular, at the risk of muddying the waters further, I will mention something I was considering before I went full Eurorack: the Pittsburgh Modular SV-1b Blackbox, and a Korg SQ-1 (or a small keyboard that puts out CV) for about $800 total.


If you had mentioned the Sarah Belle Reid video as a motivation in your first post, the responses might have been different.
-- plragde

Ah, yes...I've seen that Sarah Belle Reid piece too. Had to turn it off as I personally don't like hurling projectiles at my TV. That gets expensive after a while.

One salient point to keep in mind here is that she has a very tight relationship with PC. And PC is in the business of selling hardware. Make of that little revelation what you will (I know what I make of it!).