Hey everyone,
Not sure if my rack I built is showing up in the post. I put it together to learn modular patching and use in conjunction with my Deluge. What do you think? Am I missing any critical elements?
I also have a skiff with an Odessa and a After Later Typhoon for extra voices and depth..
I’m getting some janky grooves so far so good


Don't link the JPEG. Link the build page's URL itself...but before doing so, refresh your build page to make sure everything is where it goes, then you'll want to pull up the "screenshot" (under "view") as make sure it matches the build page. If not, then refresh the screenshot. Done right, that should put the build up PLUS the links to dive into it and screw around.

ModularGrid Rack
Thanks! Hope this works this time

Get a bigger case- I recommend the Intellijel 7u case or Tiptop Mantis case. That way you have room for support modules and so forth. You need VCAs, envelope generator, mixer, and modulation sources like LFOs.

OK...for starters, this isn't what I would call a "learning" build. In fact, NOTHING that fits into these little "beauty cases" would be able to manage that unless you go with modules under 4 which point you run into the ergonomic issues of lots of tiny knobs with no space for fingers. You see these WAY too often on YouTube...and I (and an experienced bunch of others here) consider the vast majority of the ones you see there to be essentially useless as all-around modular synths.

In short, this is heading in the wrong direction really fast! A far better and more usable situation would be to get one of the better starting cabs out there right now: the Tiptop Mantis. Then put ALL of the modules you have into that to form a complete and MUCH more educational full system. And if you think that a 2 x 104 hp with beefy power is expensive, then...

Intellijel Palette 62 = $299
Tiptop Mantis = $335

Clearly, it makes more sense in the long run to ditch the little skiffs (keep them for other purposes, though) and put your ENTIRE system in the same place, under the same power. This also helps avoid issues involving possible ground loops from having two devices, each with their own P/S, talking to each other and potentially passing a lot of ground loop hum between them.

In truth, if you want a "learning system"'s free. VCV Rack is a Eurorack emulator that does a VERY good job at behaving like you'd expect the hardware to operate. There's even some modules that replicate familiar ones from MG. I'd suggest messing around with this for a while before whipping out the plastic for actual hardware. It does take a good bit of computer power to run it at crazed synth veteran levels, but you should be able to work out how the basics work before your computer says "ENOUGH!" due to the processing load. My suggestion would be to start exploring what VCAs are for and what they there's not a single one in the above build!

The other suggestion is that you should put up a build that contains ALL of your modules. Don't worry about the order in the cab...plenty of us will likely have a lot to say about it and do TO it. Probably a lot more educational in the long run...

Thanks for the in depth replies. I did get lured into the small cases. They’re so damn attractive until I try and jam everything in them. I’m aware of the VCA uses but didn’t realize that some modules have VCA’s but aren’t the same as freely patchable VCA’s. I think the Modemix was a mistake while I was shopping for a VCA. It appears to modulate the signal more than anything. I’m going to keep forging ahead and diversify my racking evolution.
Thanks gang!

I’m going to keep forging ahead and diversify my racking evolution.
Thanks gang!
-- Lowtide

That's the right attitude, have to be ready to push past mistakes to head for a suitable goal. And that's not just in this, but pretty much anything in music. It's what keeps us in practice rooms for hours on end back in academic days, and it's how you, to borrow the Interwebz phrase, "get gud". It probably also helps that you've got people in the forum with more than a century's collective knowledge, garnered from personal experience, to draw on.

So, what I would suggest is to post up all of the modules you've got in a 2 x 104 hp cab (ie: a Mantis "footprint"), and then let a few of us rip into that, and see what entails. NONE of the results are likely to be the same, either, which should show that there's multiple approaches to a proper result. And don't lose the skiffs! We've still got a semi-running thread on here in which the OP was looking for ideas for a skiff-type device that's modulation-dedicated, for example, and THAT is a good use for them. For example, let's say you have something like a Matrixbrute...plenty of CV/gate I/ why not add a few extra modulation sources, including some that can be fired off by the skiff itself? THAT is what the small cases do best...little "mission-specific" tricks and extras.

Thanks for the in depth replies. I did get lured into the small cases. They’re so damn attractive until I try and jam everything in them. I’m aware of the VCA uses but didn’t realize that some modules have VCA’s but aren’t the same as freely patchable VCA’s. I think the Modemix was a mistake while I was shopping for a VCA. It appears to modulate the signal more than anything. I’m going to keep forging ahead and diversify my racking evolution.
Thanks gang!
-- Lowtide

If you go through the rest of this forum, you will see the #1 issue... by far... is people trying to build-out a tiny first case. They make things exponentially harder using a small case. As you learn modular and more importantly, what direction(s) you want to go in, you WILL add more modules and possibly even get rid of a few others. But more often than not, what you start with won't be enough. They don't call it Eurocrack for no reason.

Give yourself the opportunity to broaden your collection and freely add more modules. Empty space in a case is a GOOD thing. If you do decide to go with a small skiff set-up (for whatever reason), there are plenty of synth-heads looking to upgrade to a bigger case... because the case they originally bought... was WAY too small. :)

Yup...the rule goes something like this: "Always go with a cab (on MG or in real life) that you KNOW is too large...because in all likelihood, it's not." Going with a bigger cab from the start allows you to have better ergonomics, too. While people with small skiffs packed with tiny knobs struggle to control their rigs, someone with a bigger case can have bigger modules, and bigger modules = better ergonomics. When you want that filter sweep, you DON'T want to kick up the LFO speed, change VCO tunings, and other set-ruining nonsense that could be just want that sweep!

I can attest to what Lugia says and the smallest I could make a useful bit of kit was a 4u Intellijel 104 HP palette case and even then was challenging but used a large module Queen of Pentacles that has filter, 7 drum voices, and effects built in as my main sound source and most other modules are support modules. Then my other small setup is a 7u Intellijel case with mostly sequencers and support modules. I love having a monster case that really helps for larger modules.

Ok so here’s the problem child I have created. These are the modules I currently own and I will build into a larger enclosure. My plan is to create nasty bass and leads that I can sample into my deluge to start until I learn more and progress. I have a Keyboard I plan on using but I’m also very interested in the generative aspect of the modular equipment. Thanks for all the input!

ModularGrid Rack

OK...banged on this a whole bunch. A few things were removed (the unbuffered mult, the Mutant Brain, the PipSlope, the 2hp mixer, the headphone tile, and the Stages) and much thrashing around ensued. The result is:
ModularGrid Rack
I treated this as a total fill-out, so that you can get some ideas. Although, it would be quite possible to assemble exactly that above and have a really stonkin' instrument.

TILES: Stereo IN, then the MIDI interface (freed up 8 hp in the 3U stuff), Steppy, a DuATT for mixing/attenuversion, a stereo (mono in) chorus/reverb/delay, then the Stereo OUT.

TOP ROW: Konstant Labs PWRchekr to keep an eye on your DC rails health. Then a buffered mult, as this borders on the edge of necessary due to new CV destinations. Odessa + expander next, then the NE oscillator, and after that, two MORE oscillators with internal quantization. Then the Moddemix (hence the two new can feed one each as carrier sources to a ring mod, or toss them at each other in a single ring mod). Also, note the quantization on the Twin Waves; it also has a clock input to step the quantizing, so you can use a single clock signal for that while it reads something like an LFO to create all sorts of tesselations. Veils follows for VCAs, then your MUM filter is after that for a mono voice. And there's a stereo mixer after this (which is where the voicing goes to stereo) which allows you to pan/mix all four of the VCAs if necessary. And out the other side of that, I put in a Bastl Ikarie, which is a rather neat stereo state-variable VCF to filter the stereo signal. Last is the Typhoon...note where that is, it's important later.

BOTTOM ROW: Pam's, then a Frequency Central Logic Bomb. Now, since you mentioned wanting to mess with generative methods, that Boolean Logic pair has the ability to generate many screwy/complex patterns from the Pam's, the Steppy, and really, all over the place in this. Then the two following modules are for CV "pickoffs"; the Comparator looks at two incoming values and then sends a gate depending on which signal level is where in relation to each other. And the Derivator is for reading CV movement and sending appropriate gates depending on that. Again, these can ALSO bounce off of the Logic Bomb. Erica PICO RND provides noise and other random outputs for the Pachinko...which is actually a smaller clone of Marbles. I tried using the Mutable module...but it was too big here. After that, a Batumi/Poti combo provides four LFOs, then there's a Frap 321 and Happy Nerding 3xVCA, which makes for a good pair of modulation alteration modules. Then a Quadrax with the Qx expander provides four AR or ASR envelopes. But by combining the LFOs and the EGs via the 321, you get even MORE modulation signals, and then the VCAs can control the amplitude of those. And then...a PROPER mixer. The Toppobrillo Stereomix2 gives you four mono input channels with CV over level, pan, AUX send, a CUE bus, mutes per channel, and a mono-send/stereo-return. Oh, and this is where the headphone preamp is now...PLUS it has the ability to be switched to CUE for spot-tuning, etc on the fly while the rest of the mix bubbles along. And this is why the Typhoon and the effect tile are in that general can run them parallel via the AUX loop, or straight-through from the Stereomix2's outputs to the Typhoon and then to the OUT tile.

Now THAT'S an interesting build. It has generative functions (more than I've mentioned here, in fact), it can be MIDI controlled or not via USB, it has isolated I/O via the case's 1/4" jacks, and the whole thing's shot full of easter egg-ish functions from tandemming modules or functions hiding within modules. So...this is what you can potentially get when you mash the skiffs together and then looking at how to complement ALL of those modules with additions and a few subtractions.

Thanks for spending the time to assemble that rack for me! It has a lot of elements I would not have thought of. The generative area looks really interesting. The typhoon on the aux loop is really cool too. The abundance of VCA’s is obvious to me now as well. I can tell the saying is true, you can never have enough VCA’s. I’ve been going over the build several times. I’ve got it saved for reference. Now I will plan on building a case. It’ll be a custom job. It’ll be a while before I get it completely filled but will pick a way at it. I can see you vision in it and will give me a good direction to aim for. It’s got me pretty fired up to get after it.
Thanks again. This is a really helpful community. Glad to have found my way here!