Hello!
I'm new to the modular/eurorack world and just started building my first rack. The idea is to use it as an effect-rack for live performance. My live set is played from Ableton and sending sounds and modulation to the effects through ES-9. My question is now: what utilities/function modules do I need and benefit from? Maths/Falistri or similar? Would doing it from Cvtools or VCV take away the fun? I have a bunch of midi controllers and a Doepfer Regewerk.

Here is how the rack looks so far:
ModularGrid Rack
Also thinking about adding a Panharmonium.

Thanks in advance!


Maths is never going to be a bad choice - especially if you download and work through the (imo) number 1 learning resource in modular... the 'maths illustrated supplement' - I see Falistri and I see cramped and confusing - but some people seem to love it, each to their own..

not that I would describe either as utilities - they may include things that could be seen as utilities, but should be seen as their own thing and not 'utilities' as such

I always recommend a utility starter set (these are modules that are always going to be useful): links (perhaps not so useful in an effects rack), kinks (discontinued - buy if available, else substitute wmd/ssf toolbox), shades (or similar - multiples of this will be useful without links) and veils - or modules that cover these functionally - nb get a quad cascading vca such as veils or the intellijel version or the triple one from happy nerding - but read the specs and understand the differences before buying!!!

I'd look at the FX Aid XL as an additional effect and a matrix mixer (doepfer make a reasonably priced one) as being incredibly useful for setting up send/returns, mixing modulation sources to derive more interesting ones and creating feedback loops

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


For a small effects rack, especially if you want to continue to use Ableton, you probably want to focus on effects that you can't get on your computer. FX Aid XL is a good in-rack choice for its size and variety, but I don't think it does anything that you can't do better outside a rack. You can try VCVRack for free and see how you like it. That might also be a good way to learn what modulation and utilities you need, though some effects or processors you might want to use in a physical rack won't be available, like Beads.

Maths is big for a rack this size. I prefer Falistri, but it's only slightly smaller. These both have many uses but you may not need their full functionality. Do you know what you want to use them for? Cosmotronic Delta-V is half the size of Maths and does much of what it does. If you just want basic envelopes, you can get smaller and simpler modules (and of course you can get envelopes and LFOs out of the computer also).

In summary, I think your modulation needs depend heavily on the particular physical effects modules you wish to use, and some manual reading and demo watching might shed light on that.


Thank you for the input! I think I need a bigger case :)


I'm not sure if using modular as an effects rack for Ableton Live is the most prudent use. There will always be that latency round-trip between your D-A, effects and then back through the A-D converters. That's not an issue in the studio as you can compensate for latency after-the-fact.

The majority of effects you'll find in Eurorack aren't dependent on sync. You might find yourself better off with a bunch of guitar pedals and an analog mixer when it comes to cost effectiveness, bang-for-buck, and so forth.


Woggle Bug, 2hp LFO, Function and Disting MK4 give me sufficient modulation options for my
small 44 hp case with morphogene as the center piece.


CV Tools isn't a bad way to work, really. Since it's an Ableton plug in an Ableton DAW, the integration should be very easy with the ES-9.

But as for that rack...yep, go bigger. The REAL thing you want here is FX processing with what would essentially be the entire modulation section of a proper build, and that's not going to fit this "beauty case". But make sure to use this build for, as plragde notes, FX that your DAW can't exactly do with the same level of control you'll get manually with a FX build. One other change I'd recommend would be a much beefier power supply, since your build lives or dies depending on whether you get a hefty enough P/S. Always overspec the supply due to inrush currents; if your +12v rail has 1500 mA on it, you want a 2000 mA capacity on that rail. Go at least 25% higher in amperage than you appear to require, as most any circuit has a degree of inrush on power-up. It only lasts a few milliseconds, but it IS enough to pop the supply and shut down the rig in that tiny sliver of time.


I'm not sure if using modular as an effects rack for Ableton Live is the most prudent use. There will always be that latency round-trip between your D-A, effects and then back through the A-D converters. That's not an issue in the studio as you can compensate for latency after-the-fact.

The majority of effects you'll find in Eurorack aren't dependent on sync. You might find yourself better off with a bunch of guitar pedals and an analog mixer when it comes to cost effectiveness, bang-for-buck, and so forth.
-- Ronin1973

My impression was that latency is not much of an issue with es-9 hybrid setups. Would you mind elaborating on potential problems?

I had a mixer/pedal fx setup prior to this but found I wanted more flexibility. I’m really exited about the creativity in sending signals wherever I want :)


CV Tools isn't a bad way to work, really. Since it's an Ableton plug in an Ableton DAW, the integration should be very easy with the ES-9.

But as for that rack...yep, go bigger. The REAL thing you want here is FX processing with what would essentially be the entire modulation section of a proper build, and that's not going to fit this "beauty case". But make sure to use this build for, as plragde notes, FX that your DAW can't exactly do with the same level of control you'll get manually with a FX build. One other change I'd recommend would be a much beefier power supply, since your build lives or dies depending on whether you get a hefty enough P/S. Always overspec the supply due to inrush currents; if your +12v rail has 1500 mA on it, you want a 2000 mA capacity on that rail. Go at least 25% higher in amperage than you appear to require, as most any circuit has a degree of inrush on power-up. It only lasts a few milliseconds, but it IS enough to pop the supply and shut down the rig in that tiny sliver of time.
-- Lugia

Oh yeah thanks for the heads up. Hadn’t realized the margins in power is probably wise.