Heyhey people,
I'm planning on building towards a coherent, fully thought out system and I'm looking to get other people's feedback on what to change, what to improve etc. I know that fully planning out a system in advance doesn't really fully work out but I'd like to have a general idea of what I'm going for. Quick side note: I got the sonic lullaby module joke-gifted by a few friends about a year ago and since the idea of a sample-driven noise machine came mostly from that, I'd love to have it in there, but as much as it'd be funny, it'll probably be the first one to go as soon as I need some space.

This is what my current plan is looking like:
ModularGrid Rack

First off, what I want it to do: I want it to have at least one drone-ish synth voice and the sample manipulation of the morphagene. Haven't got any of the modules yet except the one I mentioned earlier and the QPAS, so everything's up to (possibly) be changed. Planning to sequence it with either my DAW or external gear, so I dont't think I'll be needing a sequencing module. What I'm mostly looking for is some advice for some modulation or utility I might want/need and some thoughts on the CIP as main synth voice. I really love the gritty sound that comes out of that thing, but there are a lot of other modules covering need for dark/aggressive sounds and I most likely don't know half of em. Also, since that would probably be the first mentioned advice, I don't really want to get a bigger case since I'd like it to be somewhat portable and dedicated in what it does. Don't worry, I've got another relatively empty case sitting here if the need for more modules arises.

Thanks in advance for any advice guys!

Hello Blackmaul,

If it were me, and trying to keep the spirit of what your goals are (drone-synth voice + sample manipulation through Morphagene), I would do something like this:

(May need to click the picture to see the most recent arrangement.)

ModularGrid Rack

Here are my thoughts:

  1. I'm thinking the Cursus Iteritas Percido is a bit too big for the case and freeing up some room for other functionality would be a good idea. As far as I understand, Cursus Iteritas is a stripped down version of CIP that's less than half its size in HP. I think you would still be able to get plenty of the gritty tones you're after with the CI. Also, adding a flexible filter like Belgrad after it will further allow a massive range of other tones.

  2. The 1U Row:
    a. The 1U Golden Master felt like it could be swapped out for something more generally useful.
    b. I'm a huge fan of Intellijel's 1U Quadratt (and the Duatt when you have a little bit of extra space to fill in). Here I'm seeing the Quadratt as a way to more precisely attenuate modulation going into CI and Belgrad and/or mixing the outs of CI, Belgrad (as kind of a dry/wet level with CI or using Belgrad as a resonant oscillator on its own), and Krach (if you want to add noise).
    c. Added Krach to use as a gritty modulation source or to mix in as audio like mentioned above.
    d. Kept the 1U Stereo In module as a way to get external sound into Morphagene. If that's not how you're planning on using Morphagene, then I, personally, would probably swap it out for a different 1U tile.
    e. Added the Sloth Chaos for smooth randomness to the drone, sample manipulation, or effects.
    f. I've never used nor am I very familiar with Ornament and Crime, but I would want to use it a source of modulation in this build - probably LFOs. There may be more HP-efficient options out there for this purpose.
    g. I'm not sure whether it's possible to place the MIDI and Out modules where I've put them, but that seems ideal to me - having the Out at the far right by the final mixer (see below) and the MIDI above the synth voice.

  3. Quadrax is a very flexible source of modulation - something that I think you need more of in the build. It would be ideal to have at least two of it's channels as envelopes (to filter and VCA) if you want to try a more traditional subtractive synth voice architecture at some point with the CI/Belgrad.

  4. Keeping your core of Morphagene and QPAS. I interpreted your inclusion of the QPAS (other than you already own it) as a way to further process the Morphagene's output. Both are stereo, so you could have some interesting things going on there.

  5. Swapped out the Black Hole DSP2 for FX Aid XL (it's less expensive, less HP, and better rated).

  6. Added the 4X Stereo Mix as a compact stereo final output mixer before the 1U Out module. That way you can keep your stereo things in stereo while mixing with your synth voice.

  7. Swapped out the Black Quad VCA2 for Veils (2020). It's slightly less expensive, same HP, and has additional functionality.

  8. Added the RND STEP as another source of randomness. I have no experience with the Disting (I'm not a fan of multi-mode modules, in general), but I think some of it's functions could create interesting things with the RND STEP, so I put those two next to each other.

  9. And sadly, I would do away with the music box module. I could see some really interesting things going on with it and the Morphagene, but I would rather use the HP for something else. You could always sample it for use in the Morphagene without having it in the final rack.

Overall, it looks like a fun build. And, of course, this is just how I would do it. And I certainly wouldn't limit myself to patching it only in the ways mentioned above - those are just starting points. I hope some of that might help you!

Best regards,

Well - I'll recommend the bigger case anyway - get a Mantis - it's probably about 3" bigger, possibly cheaper and means that you can add the modules you want not what intellijel pushes you towards in terms of midi and output modules - plus it's still very ,very portable (unless you are a small child), almost definitely has better power and just as importantly gets rid of the 1u row - there is nothing compelling in 1u that can't be done in 3u in 1/4 of the hp!!!

other point and possibly the one that you should pay more attention to - why the disting mk2??? get a mk4!!!! same size and more possibilities - also actually available new

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

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

+1 on the Mantis as well. Fact is, it's $335 street in the USA, has excellent current output from its P/S, and is lightweight for portability. You can even get a matching gig bag for it, and if you feel the need to expand it, just get the expander links that match the cases. This would also make it easier to use some of the larger modules from the first build above, although I think you should try to keep the "panel bloat" to a minimum.

Well you definitely need bigger travel case either get an Intellijel 7u case or the Tiptop Mantis case. Replace the massive Loquelic Iteritas Percido with either a Loquelic Iteritas or Manis Iteritas and replace the massive Erica Synths Blackhole DSP v2 with Happy Nerding FX Aid.

I went thru this recently to create a smaller travel setup instead of hauling monster case around. For my needs, I had to use at least two small travel cases to have sufficient modulation, sequencers, support tools and mixers. I was able to get a lot in my 4u Intellijel Palette case but did add 1u support modules like Apex, DVCA, and Milky Way 1u to free up space in the main case.

Okay, so, I've been looking though all of your feedback and changing a few things, now this is what I ended up with:

ModularGrid Rack

First off, you're probably right about getting a bigger case even though I wasn't a fan of it at first. I've known about the Mantis beforehand - a friend of mine owns one, and for some reason I've found it to be a bit clunky and, as stupid as it sounds, somewhat ugly, so that's why I didn't want to get one. @sacguy71 's other suggestion of simply getting the Intellijel 7U case is probably the most obvious solution, so that might be what I'm going to do. That also allows me to keep the Midi 1U module which I'll be relying a lot on and saves me space for a bigger 3U 5-pin Midi in module (and since the case is bigger I can keep the stupid music box in for now). Other than that, I love most of @Chace 's changes, so I integrated a lot of that, pretty much only changing the 4X Stereo Mix for a PanMix, since I've got more space to work with now. Added a spring reverb, since that sounds like it could be fun, changed the CIP for a Loquelic Iteritas and stuck in a Maths, because if I got the space, why wouldn't I.

If there's anything else you think could/needs to be changed or added, I'm always happy about suggestions. For now, many thanks to all of you for helping me out!

Probably worthwhile to at the QX expander onto that Quadrax for only $70 and 4HP more you add quite a bit of modulation muscle.