Hi!

First thank you all for advice I got from this community. You are the best.

I have started to build my modular synth and now I am looking for further advice how to expand from here. I got some modules from locals who were emptying their racks and this is where I am at the moment:
ModularGrid Rack

The case is 9U 125 HP. I measured it with modules and it really is 125 HP wide. I own DFAM and Subharmonicon, so I put them there kinda as their own row, but they live outside the case on the table. From my other synth hobbies I also got Torso T-1 that can output either gates or CVs, six channels in total. Its main output forte is midi, so with a Mutant Brain or similar I could have access to all the sixteen channels, but I have managed just fine with Pam's + Crow + uO_c.

I want to focus on deep techno/house/minimal, but the case seems large enough that it could have some ambient elements as well for more relaxing sessions.

This is what I've been thinking:

Filters/Effects:
MUM M8 (to complete that Akai feel of the Squid)
Blades
Beads

Sources:
A dedicated kick module (it would help keeping the beat together when changing banks on the Squid during performance—even though I like the effect from how it asynchronously loads the new bank)

Modulation/Utilities:
Quadrax + Qx
expanders for Squid & Pam

Controls/Mixing:
Ferry (I got a Specular Tempus pedal that I'd love to use here)
Planar 2 (I want to try performing with a joystick at least)
Jumble Henge (this is also kinda of a filter, but also a mixer—combining this, Planar 2 and some VCAs might be interesting!)
I might also need something to bring it all together (unless it is the Jumble Henge), I've been using the quad VCA as my mixer for now.

Any comments or tips on the module selection? What further modulation sources and utilities should I look to add? Sample & hold comes to mind at least.

I'd also appreciate any and all advice on ambient builds and also how to layout the case efficiently. I've read Lugia's excellent "up-left, down-right" signal flow post, but with my patching experience the correct layout is still hard to visualise. For now I have just been using "these seem to go together" approach.


looks like a decent start and some decent plans... not sure about the double O&C though! I'd rather have more specialist modules!

first thing I'd add would be an end of channel mixer, with enough channels to accommodate a bit of expansion... this may not be a single mixer - it may be a number of mixers and depends on you really - maybe some channels with panning and some stereo channels (work out how many mono and stereo channels you need based on what you are intending to buy and then add some!

plus maybe some sub mixers - but you'll work out these as you need them (I want to mix this and that before doing this with the output - dc-coupled would be the way to go so they can be used for both audio and cv)

and then utilities - the aforementioned sub mixer(s), a way of multing signals (buffered mult for v/oct, passive for everything else - module, stackcables, headphone splitters etc), a matrix mixer, shades or 3*mia, kinks and/or wmd/ssf toolbox

fx aid xl is a useful module to add as it;s very versatile and has a decent amount of modulation inputs and better ergonomics than the non-xl version

personally I try to think (loosely*):

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

as this tends to give the most versatility for the money

*loosely because some modules fall into multiple categories and because multiple oscillators (and sometimes other modules) can form a single sound source - for example your dixie II+, rubicon and a waveshaper could form a single complex oscillator

hope all this helps - have fun!

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

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities


first thing I'd add would be an end of channel mixer, with enough channels to accommodate a bit of expansion...

I haven't just seen the one that makes me go "yeah, this is it!". Once Ferry comes back to stock I could get a Hyrlo to go with it, but it doesn't have panning. Doepfer A-138s would be able to pan mono signals at a very good price, but it has linear level knobs...

not sure about the double O&C though!

I got the the other O&C as a part of a bigger deal and it was so reasonably priced I'll easily get my money back if I want to sell it. I am running the stock firmware on one and Hemispheres on the other and it has been fun learning both firmwares without having the flash the module.

your dixie II+, rubicon and a waveshaper could form a single complex oscillator

That is actually my plan with them! I shall complete the trio with Bifold eventually.

hope all this helps - have fun!
-- JimHowell1970

It sure does help! Thanks! And I am having so much fun already! The Squid feels so great already and I haven't even tried to sample CVs with it yet. I'll keep an eye out for the modules you mentioned. Links+Kinks would be a nice package, but I have not seen Kinks for sale locally or in EU in while (or I am just browsing the wrong used modules markets).


It sure does help! Thanks! And I am having so much fun already! The Squid feels so great already and I haven't even tried to sample CVs with it yet. I'll keep an eye out for the modules you mentioned. Links+Kinks would be a nice package, but I have not seen Kinks for sale locally or in EU in while (or I am just browsing the wrong used modules markets).
-- chlb

kinks has been discontinued - which is a shame

good places for used modules - here, modwiggler, possibly facebook - not sure if there's an EU specific buy/sell group - there's definitely a post-brexit one though

another good resource is wigglehunt - they tend to have shops and reverb only though - there's a couple in the UK at the moment - one of which is Elevator Sound - iirc they are opening up shop in Spain next week

there's not a lot to be saved on kinks used though - so if you can find one I'd just grab it!

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

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities


I usually check here, Wigglehunt and a local forum for used modules. Used Kinks just seems to be elusive, but maybe I'll get one from Spain soon...

Elevator Sound - iirc they are opening up shop in Spain next week
-- JimHowell1970

Oh, thanks for the tip! I try to avoid ordering outside EU because in addition to paying customs I also have to pay to the local post system "for handling" (even if it'd be a courier company delivering my package)... Surprisingly they came up with this new scheme after it was declared that all packages outside the EU have to go through customs even if there'd be no taxes to be paid...


The Moogs aren't in the Eurorack cab? Good! Also, as for the discontinued Mutable Kinks module, have a look at this: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/steady-state-fate-tool-box 2 hp wider, but it's a treasure-trove of utility submodules hiding behind 6 hp and does a few other things the Kinks didn't.

So...OK, let's mess with this...
ModularGrid Rack
Well, now...I started with the original above plus some of the modules you'd suggested. The only major thing I got rid of was the second O&c. Then I just started whipping some of the faves in here...

TOP: Triple buffered mult first, as this is heading into "CV sag" territory without one. Doubled the Dixie2+ VCO, dropped the Rubicon2 in after that. The Quad VCA is next, then one of two Doepfer stereo mixers to set up stereo placement. Then the Salmple, with another Doepfer stereo mixer so that you can take your individual outs from the sampler and mix/pan them to taste. I opted next for a Malekko/Wiard Dual Borg so that you can choose between the two circuits, plus if you want LPGs, it does those. Then the other stereo filter is one of Rossum's Linnaeus dual VCFs, which has some very crazy modulation capabilities, including TZFM.

MIDDLE: Konstant Labs PWRchekr so you can keep an eye on your DC rails. The Liivatera noise source follows, then I went for THE random/s&h/etc source: a Tiptop/Buchla Source of Uncertainty. I added a SSF Tool Box for lots of extra submodule utilities, then the remaining O&c. I put in a 4ms Quad Pingable LFO...four CVable and/or pingable LFOs with a max cycle time of around 71 minutes, great for really slow changes across entire tracks or even an entire live set. Maths after that, then I put the Tangle Quartet here since it's got DC-coupled linear VCAs...a perfect fit with modulation signals. I paired this with a Tiptop MISO for modulation manipulation. Envelope gens are a Quadrax + Qx and then a Xaoc Zadar + Nin for longer/complex envelopes.

BOTTOM: Crow, Pam's, then we're into a set of modules for clock manipulation and Boolean logic: an Eowave quad clock delay, a Ladik dual random clock skipper, Frequency Central's Logic Bomb for the Boolean gates, a Xaoc Bytom for a pulse integrator, then a dual window comparator from Joranalogue. And along with that last one, there's a Ladik Min/Max CV averager and one of their Median averagers, both to extract new CVs from the behavior of incoming ones. After that is a quad quantizer so that you can apply a clock and then use sequencer or modulation CV behavior to derive pitch tesselations. And speaking of sequencers, I put in an Intellijel Metropolix (RYK175-type sequencer). Now, if I remember right, it has internal quantization...but if not, you've got a pair of quants for it and still two more for the above use. Output mixer is a Toppobrillo Stereomix2, which gives you CV over level via the VCAs per input, CVable panning and AUX sends. It also has a mono-in/stereo-out FX bus, muting per channel, and a CUE function that feeds the headphone preamp so that you can touch up things live while no one's the wiser. That AUX bus works great with the Purrtronics spring emulator, which has the same mono-in/stereo-out configuration. And lastly, the XLR outs.

This is how I would approach this, of course...but to me, this seems like a very solid, capable, and comprehensive build. And you can see the "up left/down right" structure...the modulation row does run out to the entire 125 hp, but the "voicing" runs in the left to right signal chain, plus your "control" signals from the Crow and/or Metropolix feed upward on the left side (more or less), and the audio result runs down the right to the Stereomix2.

One other note: if the Purrtronics isn't to your taste, you could easily substitute a Clouds clone that fits the same 8 hp hole. Just one more possibility...


The Moogs aren't in the Eurorack cab? Good!

I actually got them custom side panels so they can sit flush with the rack. And even that cost less than the HP space they'd take if put into the cab.

This is how I would approach this, of course...but to me, this seems like a very solid, capable, and comprehensive build.
-- Lugia

Thanks for the input, Lugia! There are couple of new modules to me, have to read up on those. I got a combination of fever + terrible shoulder pain, so researching modules is a great way to focus on something as I try to nurse myself back to the land of the living.