Hi there folks,

So like a lot of people, I’ve begun to dive into the world of Eurorack modular… I’m in the process of building my first rack and am looking for some guidance. My goal is to build a jamming/ambient/generative machine (with a little loungy/weird house thrown into the mix) that will be supplemented by a few external hardware synths and contain a bunch of DIY modules.

Ideally, I’m looking to build with the Arturia Rackbrute cases - either a 6U and a 3U, or perhaps a second 6U down the line… I’ve started with 1 of the 6U units.

The external hardware consists of:

  • Korg MS-20 mini
  • Behringer Crave
  • drum machine - currently an Arturia Drumbrute Impact, but am thinking to replace it with a Roland TR-6S for a larger palette of percussion sounds
  • Arturia KeyStep Pro to handle clock, sequencing and MIDI for now…
    ** and while I’m dreaming up my dream machine, I’d love to throw a Moog Subharmonicon/DFAM combo into the mix **

Some notes:

  • First row is modules I currently own, in a Rackbrute 6U case
  • Second row is incoming modules
  • Row 3 & 4 are potential modules to add - including as many DIY as I can!

I feel like I’m heading in about 20 different directions at once while trying to plan, so would love some feedback, constructive criticism and advice…

Thanks in advance everyone!


‘I feel like I’m heading in about 20 different directions at once while trying to plan, so would love some feedback, constructive criticism and advice…’

This is a common situation and also very logical. You can't and shouldn't try to plan everything. As for a trip, you leave by defining a few essential places to visit, but it is then, on the spot, that you will discover the interest or the desire to visit others. Otherwise the process is too mental and, indeed, you can go crazy imagining 20 directions at once!

That said, in your list I see at least two that you will never be disappointed with: Maths and Disting mk4. They are not the most exotic modules, but they are like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower... pretty much unmissable.


‘I feel like I’m heading in about 20 different directions at once while trying to plan, so would love some feedback, constructive criticism and advice…’

This is a common situation and also very logical. You can't and shouldn't try to plan everything. As for a trip, you leave by defining a few essential places to visit, but it is then, on the spot, that you will discover the interest or the desire to visit others. Otherwise the process is too mental and, indeed, you can go crazy imagining 20 directions at once!

That said, in your list I see at least two that you will never be disappointed with: Maths and Disting mk4. They are not the most exotic modules, but they are like the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower... pretty much unmissable.
-- Sweelinck

Thanks Sweelinck,

Haha! Well said… I like your travel analogy… I had hit a point of “gear paralysis” yesterday, not sure which way to go next…

You’re absolutely right… you never really know what’s around the corner until you poke your head down the alley! I got too hung up on the “end” of the journey/build, instead of exploring it as it evolves, playing with each new addition to the adventure!

I feel the same way about Maths… it’s multi-function and quite flexible in its’ routing options. I had planned for it to be next on my purchase list. I was torn on the Disting MK IV, but I think it will give me a ton of options to figure out what direction I would like to explore in a dedicated module.

After that? A Pam’s, some utilities, another voice option (2HP Pluck or a uRings clone - or another DIY VCO). I do love the soldering and assembly aspects, so I have to remember to keep that in mind…

Thanks again for the insight and advice!

== Aaron


I feel the same way about Maths… it’s multi-function and quite flexible in its’ routing options. I had planned for it to be next on my purchase list. I was torn on the Disting MK IV, but I think it will give me a ton of options to figure out what direction I would like to explore in a dedicated module.

Maths is brilliant - download the 'maths illustrated supplement' it is a great primer for patching in general and patch-programming in particular...

Disting is a great module - but take it slowly, set up favourites - which allows you to put 8 of the algorithms next to each other and restrict yourself to them for a month or 2 - if you find one that you gravitate to replace that algorithm with another and buy a dedicated module to cover the functionality in your rack - if you don't gel with any particular algo then swap some different ones in to the favourites - don't try to go through every algorithm to see if you like them - this often causes frustration and the thought that the manual will be constantly necessary...

After that? A Pam’s, some utilities, another voice option (2HP Pluck or a uRings clone - or another DIY VCO). I do love the soldering and assembly aspects, so I have to remember to keep that in mind…
-- aheath73

yes, yes, yes - but get a real rings, not a clone - ergonomics is important & you have the space - but more so I think Emilie deserves to be paid for designing the module and writing the code

try to aim for:

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

it will give you a more balanced modular and the most options for the least money

saying that 5 or 6 sound sources is probably ok in 12u and note that some modules - Rings and filters that can self-oscillate, ro example, can count as both sound sources and sound modulators

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


Maths is brilliant - download the 'maths illustrated supplement' it is a great primer for patching in general and patch-programming in particular...

Disting is a great module - but take it slowly, set up favourites - which allows you to put 8 of the algorithms next to each other and restrict yourself to them for a month or 2 - if you find one that you gravitate to replace that algorithm with another and buy a dedicated module to cover the functionality in your rack - if you don't gel with any particular algo then swap some different ones in to the favourites - don't try to go through every algorithm to see if you like them - this often causes frustration and the thought that the manual will be constantly necessary...

After that? A Pam’s, some utilities, another voice option (2HP Pluck or a uRings clone - or another DIY VCO). I do love the soldering and assembly aspects, so I have to remember to keep that in mind…
-- aheath73

yes, yes, yes - but get a real rings, not a clone - ergonomics is important & you have the space - but more so I think Emilie deserves to be paid for designing the module and writing the code

try to aim for:

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

it will give you a more balanced modular and the most options for the least money

saying that 5 or 6 sound sources is probably ok in 12u and note that some modules - Rings and filters that can self-oscillate, ro example, can count as both sound sources and sound modulators

-- JimHowell1970

Awesome! Thanks Jim…

Great points to consider:

  • thanks for the suggested Maths guide

  • I can totally see how a multi-algorithm module like Disting could be discouraging with TOO many options! I like the idea of a focused approach with a handful of functions at a time. That would be my plan - to eventually swap out features I like to a separate module… like you said, I have a bit of elbow room with the 12u, which is where I think I’ll end up at some point…

  • I agree with the genuine MI Rings point - the Tall Dog uClouds that I already have does feel a bit cramped with its mini pots…but it was a good deal at its’ used price - and it makes good sense to reward the creatives like Emilie! On a related note, do you think Rings and the 2HP Pluck are too similar to co-exist? I do like the sound of the 4-voice polyphony in the Pluck….

  • your order of operations makes total sense… too easy to get hung up on the shiny sound modules! I love the idea of the Turing Machine and Maths for instance… so many bizarre routing possibilities, modulations and utilities are indeed the heartbeat of the system.

Thanks for the amazing food for thought so far…

Keep it coming… this is invaluable information!

== Aaron


Awesome! Thanks Jim…

No problem

Great points to consider:

  • thanks for the suggested Maths guide

  • I can totally see how a multi-algorithm module like Disting could be discouraging with TOO many options! I like the idea of a focused approach with a handful of functions at a time. That would be my plan - to eventually swap out features I like to a separate module… like you said, I have a bit of elbow room with the 12u, which is where I think I’ll end up at some point…

I've had mine for roughly 4 years and used it mostly as a tape delay - I finally broke down and bought a Magneto this year... and I still use it mainly as a tape delay - I love delays! but I do have a big-ish rack (1500hp - about to add another 336hp of space - but I like to keep a reasonable amount of blind panels in there too - probably 8% of the space - and I won't be filling the extra 336hp

  • I agree with the genuine MI Rings point - the Tall Dog uClouds that I already have does feel a bit cramped with its mini pots…but it was a good deal at its’ used price - and it makes good sense to reward the creatives like Emilie! On a related note, do you think Rings and the 2HP Pluck are too similar to co-exist? I do like the sound of the 4-voice polyphony in the Pluck….

Well all my Mutable modules are either originals or DIY built by me, I've got Rings and Plaits and have a full size Elements in my DIY backlog - hopefully I'll get round to it sometime in the next 6 months or so!

So I really don't see a problem with having both Rings and a 2hp pluck - both have the 4 note polyphony going on - think of it like a rock band with 2 guitarists...

  • your order of operations makes total sense… too easy to get hung up on the shiny sound modules! I love the idea of the Turing Machine and Maths for instance… so many bizarre routing possibilities, modulations and utilities are indeed the heartbeat of the system.

Thanks for the amazing food for thought so far…

Keep it coming… this is invaluable information!

== Aaron

-- aheath73

I think if you are going to get more than a couple of sound sources I'd be tempted to swap the turning machine out for something like Marbles (which is effectively 3 turing machines + grids)

a matrix mixer is a phenomenal utility to add for deriving more interesting modulation cv from a limited number of sources - mult a few to it and mix them together to get another 4 modulation signals for example (or use it for send/return or feedback patching) - so versatile!

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


Well all my Mutable modules are either originals or DIY built by me, I've got Rings and Plaits and have a full size Elements in my DIY backlog - hopefully I'll get round to it sometime in the next 6 months or so!

So I really don't see a problem with having both Rings and a 2hp pluck - both have the 4 note polyphony going on - think of it like a rock band with 2 guitarists...

Nice! I love the idea of a DIY Plaits and Rings if I can find them… may I ask where you sourced them?

I think if you are going to get more than a couple of sound sources I'd be tempted to swap the turning machine out for something like Marbles (which is effectively 3 turing machines + grids)

Hmmm…. Interesting concept. I do have a soft spot for the diy nature of the Turing machine though…. It’s still on its way to me in Canada, so we’ll see how I get along with it and whether I want to expand on its concept and capabilities.

a matrix mixer is a phenomenal utility to add for deriving more interesting modulation cv from a limited number of sources - mult a few to it and mix them together to get another 4 modulation signals for example (or use it for send/return or feedback patching) - so versatile!

-- JimHowell1970

Hmmm… Well you learn something every day! Lol… I had kind of dismissed matrix mixers. But that comes from not really understanding their function. Looks like I have a new topic to research! Gosh this rabbit hole just keeps going deeper, doesn’t it? Ha ha!

Definitely need to get some delay into my chain as well! I’ve been on a Pink Floyd kick the last few days, especially the Wish You Were Here, Meddle and Momentary Lapse of Reason albums…. Delay in boatloads and 2 guitarists!


Cheers!

== Aaron


Well all my Mutable modules are either originals or DIY built by me, I've got Rings and Plaits and have a full size Elements in my DIY backlog - hopefully I'll get round to it sometime in the next 6 months or so!

So I really don't see a problem with having both Rings and a 2hp pluck - both have the 4 note polyphony going on - think of it like a rock band with 2 guitarists...

Nice! I love the idea of a DIY Plaits and Rings if I can find them… may I ask where you sourced them?

My Rings and Plaits are originals - they are in the really difficult levels of DIY mutable - you'll want to work your way up to them - if you haven't done any smd DIY yet I'd recommend starting with something a lot more DIY friendly (branches or shades for example or a nlc triple sloth or a nobots buffered mult) - generally you can buy pcbs and panels from pushermanproductions, amazingsynths or synthcube and the components from thonk (panel furniture) and mouser or whoever you usually buy your electronics components from - all the mutable modules are open-sourced on Emilie's github (pichonettes)

I think if you are going to get more than a couple of sound sources I'd be tempted to swap the turning machine out for something like Marbles (which is effectively 3 turing machines + grids)

Hmmm…. Interesting concept. I do have a soft spot for the diy nature of the Turing machine though…. It’s still on its way to me in Canada, so we’ll see how I get along with it and whether I want to expand on its concept and capabilities.

a matrix mixer is a phenomenal utility to add for deriving more interesting modulation cv from a limited number of sources - mult a few to it and mix them together to get another 4 modulation signals for example (or use it for send/return or feedback patching) - so versatile!

-- JimHowell1970

Hmmm… Well you learn something every day! Lol… I had kind of dismissed matrix mixers. But that comes from not really understanding their function. Looks like I have a new topic to research! Gosh this rabbit hole just keeps going deeper, doesn’t it? Ha ha!

absolutely deeper and deeper and deeper - I started with a 6u/72hp rack and I'm now about to hit about 1800hp of rack space! which I am hoping will last me through until the end of next year - unless I need a 2nd tiptop mantis for performing...

don't go anywhere near video though - hahaha - I did - see: https://www.instagram.com/jimhowell1970/ - but be warned it's another pill to swallow down that rabbit hole...

Definitely need to get some delay into my chain as well! I’ve been on a Pink Floyd kick the last few days, especially the Wish You Were Here, Meddle and Momentary Lapse of Reason albums…. Delay in boatloads and 2 guitarists!


Cheers!

== Aaron

-- aheath73

yeah delay and reverb go a long way - you might want to look at the happy nerding fx aid (xl) as you can get both with modulation and bit crushing in stereo (or use as dual mono) in a single module that way (plus there are over 100 different algos that you can load into the 32 slots)

pink floyd!!! I was just thinking what to listen to whilst doing the washing up... and now I know! thanks

Ummagumma it is!!!

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


"Oh, just one more thing" :) Don't part with your Drumbrute Impact if you master it well, it will be still useful for a long time to come. Think about Rample, Plonk, Chimera, Basimilus or ADDAC100 series (some DIY kits) in your rack instead. Look for CV control. Have a nice trip!


yeah - modular drums are expensive and you can probably get 80% of what you can with eurorack with a drumbrute at 10% of the cost

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


Yes I think I will stick with outboard drums for the most part… I agree that it can get expensive, but really eurorack in general isn’t cheap! 😂 I’m thinking of perhaps a Befaco Kickall in kit form, maybe another Pico Drums…although it is annoying that it doesn’t remember the last sample used… you have to start from scratch every time you turn it on!

I like the Drumbrute, but I don’t love it… ideally, I think I’d sell it to fund a Roland machine like the TR-6S… the Drumbrute sounds great and has a super easy interface, but has a rather narrow sound palette… I’ll probably sit on that decision for now though and focus on the rack instead.



yeah delay and reverb go a long way - you might want to look at the happy nerding fx aid (xl) as you can get both with modulation and bit crushing in stereo (or use as dual mono) in a single module that way (plus there are over 100 different algos that you can load into the 32 slots)

pink floyd!!! I was just thinking what to listen to whilst doing the washing up... and now I know! thanks

Ummagumma it is!!!

-- JimHowell1970

Ummagumma! Can’t believe I forgot that one… so good! Listening to it now as I tear apart my studio space and begin the rebuild to make my hardware synths better able to play nicely with the eurorack! Luckily it’s a small space, which is why I’m planning on 2x 6u cases max footprint.