Time flies. I feel like I just joined this forum and dipped my toe in the modular ocean. I've been sharing rack updates a few times a year since I posted my initial noob "Help Me" plan. I was sort of an old-school synth guy who got disillusioned with making music and sold all my gear years ago. I happened upon some interviews with Genesis P-Orridge and the Cabaret Voltaire guys back in 2019 and got the itch to incorporate synths into an art project that I had been thinking about. The rest is a whirlwind of noise, fun, and an empty wallet.
My initial rack plan was about half the size of my current setup below (still need to buy the Vortices and LRMSMSLR in the picture). The plan was to build something for repetitive noise and abrasive glitchy techno-ish sounds. Somewhere along the way I remembered that I actually enjoy making music in a bunch of different genres. Some days I'm fascinated with Merzbow, other days I'm fascinated with Depeche Mode, or Fad Gadget, or Drexciya, or Boards of Canada, or Japan, or Oren Ambarchi, or Kraftwerk, or Can, or Surgeon, or Prefuse 73, or... you get the picture. So, my rack grew until space and money ran out. And I'm happy.
What I've discovered that I can share with the other noobs is there are a lot of well-intentioned but rigid folks who will tell you how you should do things, but rarely are they right beyond some very simple guidance (buy a bigger rack, don't overlook utilities, etc.). Everyone will do this differently, and what works for someone else will not work for you. Don't run out and buy a dual comparator, Maths, or an analog frequency shifter because someone else says you need those modules. I bought Clouds and hated it. I bought a Disting and hate it (though it still sits mostly unpatched in my rack, just in case).
You will know what you need when you need it. When you reach for something that is not there, that's the next module you should buy, whatever it is. If someone tells you that you are doing it wrong, whether it's because of a tiny case, or not enough VCAs, or too many filters, or whatever, don't worry about it. You'll figure out the direction you are heading along the way. I'm sure there is someone out there having a blast with nothing more than a Basimilus Iteritas Alter and a Pamela's New Workout. And that's all that matters in the grand scheme of things: FUN. No need to suffer for your art like some frustrated Nietzschean hermit. Just have fun with it all.
Buy a few modules that look like fun and see if you can figure out how to make them work. Do the research yourself. Read manuals, watch DivKid/MylarMelodies/etc. videos until your brain starts to think in a British accent. Plug something into something else and see if it sounds cool. Then sell what isn't working to get the next module that will help you achieve the sound you are looking for. It's really that simple. I wasted some money doing this, but I learned a lot along the way and I actually have what I need now. The GAS is gone. Now I'm just tweaking my layout here and there so everything makes sense to ME. It's all a personal journey, not what some random dude on the internet (like myself) tells you is the "right" way. Don't get me wrong, forums are super helpful, but mostly as a way to make sense of what you are experimenting with and experiencing along the way.
Anyway, happy holidays to you all. Thanks for following along with my updates over the past few years. I hope you all are happy, healthy, and having fun!
ModularGrid Rack


What a lovely post to end the year on, I should have gone for 104hp to start with, I can see me being ahem 'finished' when I have about 18U of 104hp ;-)

I should add... All the best for 2022 & Happy New Year


Yeah, 12u 104hp was the original goal. We see how that worked out. Haha. I started with a Make Noise skiff and took a modular approach to that as well. I have four of those now along with two Mantis cases. That’s why I don’t get bent out of shape about the tiny beginner racks. It’s all modular. If people want to expand, they will.
Happy 2022 to you, my friend. Keep having fun and sharing your music!


Well said, very cool build, and I love the name - “Names give objects emotional life.” ergo, Anthropomorphization.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” - Neil Gaiman.

'Chasing After Monsters with a Butterfly Net'
https://reverb.com/shop/nwahs


Great quote @Vow3ll. Words to live by.
I totally ripped off the name for my rack from a Bob Mould album. It fit what I was trying to accomplish though. :)
Take care!


I think this is a great community of diverse opinions. I appreciate the 'rigid' opinions and advice for what they are....some I've taken to heart, some I've taken with a grain of salt and tried something different than what was recommended. In the end though I believe you are right that its a personal journey. For me, I had a vision of what I wanted my system to look like and after nearly a year, I have pretty much arrived at what I wanted...complimentary modular to a couple of synths and a drum machine separate from modular and everything interfacing with Ableton Live with the ability to use the CV capabilities built into Live...all the while asking questions, appreciating the diverse responses and opinions and making a decision based on that and the research/reading I do outside of MG. I only have a Rackbrute 6U and Rackbrute 3U for modular and honestly, I'm feeling ok with that for now. I have so much to learn and experiment with. I can see myself getting another Rackbrute 6U at some point to attach to my Minibrute2 instead of the 3U and using the 3U as an 'experimental' box of sorts. I like the construction of the Rackbrutes and the flexibility they offer for transporting and mixing/matching with the other devices I have. I only bring that up because its probably one of the areas of modular where I've taken more of a fork in the road from the advice of getting a big rack but I appreciate where that advice comes from for sure. we have some similar musical tastes but thanks for shouting out a couple I've never heard of (Merzbow, Drexciya, Oren Ambarchi...will be taking a listen to these in the coming weeks). Much of what I want to evolve my music to is heavily influenced by a lot of the sounds/songs The Crystal Method produces...but I have quite a wide scope of genre's I see myself getting into along the journey.

JB


Merzbow (and all of the harsh noise stuff) is an acquired taste. Tread carefully. Haha
Here's an Oren Ambarchi track that I've had on repeat recently:


Merzbow (and all of the harsh noise stuff) is an acquired taste. Tread carefully. Haha
Here's an Oren Ambarchi track that I've had on repeat recently:

-- farkas

Interesting...is it my headphones or is it just part of the music that I hear lots of clicks/pops whenever a sound seems to be triggered?

JB


Yes, that’s part of the music. That sound is all over the album. Definitely interesting.


Hi Farkas,

Thanks a lot for this great recommendation, I have put Oren Ambarchi (new to me) to my wish list of music on CD/LP to listen :-)

Happy New Year and kind regards, Garfield.

For review reports of Eurorack modules, please refer to https://garfieldmodular.net/ for PDF formatted downloads


Merzbow (and all of the harsh noise stuff) is an acquired taste. Tread carefully. Haha
Here's an Oren Ambarchi track that I've had on repeat recently:
-- farkas

Ok, well I'll just have to consider Merzbow my scotch of music because thats not a taste I'll ever acquire...lol
A couple Oren Ambarchi's things I found were ok...what I really liked of the artists I've not heard of were Drexciya and Prefuse 73.

JB


Haha. Yeah, noise is not for everyone. I grew up on pop and postpunk music but as I’ve gotten older I have moved towards the fringes. Minimalism, noise, drone, and experimental stuff… I think I appreciate the ideas more than the execution these days, though I still love well-crafted songs too. I doubt anyone would want me choosing music for a party nowadays (unless they want to hear an hour of Sunn 0))) or Richie Hawtin). Lol


Hey Farkas, first time post for me here, just wanted to say thanks for the insight into what you have learnt along the way, it helped me to read this as I am new in all this on my own as none of my mates understand the Euro rack thing so I get a lot of rolling eyes and "oh here he goes again.." comments ;)
I too started out by getting disillusioned with my synths and endless mixer /1/4 jack leads running across the room for years and I got to say I feel so much more liberated now within the ER format since selling everything in the summer.

It was good to read your thoughts on the do's and donts and all the mistakes that can be made following well intentioned "advice”.
As a 4 month in noob I've learnt a shed load already but I still feel overwhelmed sometimes on what utilities I need and understanding the mechanics of complex signal manipulation and patch theory. like MylarMelodies and your post pointed out you will know once you just started experimenting and practicing which modules are working for you and which aren’t.
Anyhow, great stuff & HNY22!


Glad you were able to gather something useful G00se222. I suppose your search for the right utilities will depend on the directions your music and overall approach to making music take. I like a lot of hands-on improvisation so a lot of the utilities and modules I've purchased reflect that, some with a lack of CV control over parameters that others would probably want CV control over. There are a lot of folks in here who take a generative approach and probably think that my choice of modules is completely ridiculous and unthinkable. I don't care for menus and unapologetically "digital" sounding modules all that much either, so most of my rack is kind of an east-coast analog subtractive kind of thing. Again, some folks would find that completely uninteresting, but I'm happy and that's all that matters when it comes to the personalized instruments we are all building.
While there are no modules that will appeal to every musician or rack configuration, one of the most useful utility type modules I've found is Happy Nerding's 3xMIA for attenuating, mixing, polarizing CV, etc. They've been hard to find recently, but definitely worth tracking one down. Warm Star makes a matrix mixer called The Bends that can do a lot of the same things. That's a fun module too.
Happy new year to you. Have fun!


Yeah, great post Farkas. Thanks for sharing. Building a modular system is a very personal thing. It leads to a very personal instrument. I’m sure my rack would get slammed for having too much of this and not enough of that, but I really don’t care that much which is why I don’t ask. I’m having a blast making sounds I want to hear.

But I’m definitely not finished. I’m actually about to move to the next level in size with a 13U x 168HP Needham case on order. Looking forward to having all my modules racked and all in one case, including the M32 and Subharmonicon. They’ll be used much more having them available in the case.

Cheers and Happy New Year to all on this awesome forum.


I’m actually about to move to the next level in size with a 13U x 168HP Needham case on order. Looking forward to having all my modules racked and all in one case, including the M32 and Subharmonicon. They’ll be used much more having them available in the case.

-- TumeniKnobs

That's a great size for your rack, and brings up another good point. There's a lot of talk on the forums about leaving semi-modulars outside of the rack due to the cost per hp and all of that. I've probably advised people to consider that cost myself. The more important question to consider is, "how will you make the best use of semi-modulars?" If they will just gather dust by having them sit outside of your main rack, that's a terrible outcome. I had a DFAM that I stopped using after I took it out of my main rack. I've definitely changed my tune on the pros and cons of racking a semi-modular. Rack 'em up, I say! The benefit of getting more use out of a Subharmonicon or Model D outweighs the $1.46 per hp or whatever it amounts to.


Hehe! I agree. If I’ve had enough rack space I’ve had the M32 racked. When I needed more space I returned it to the original stand alone case - but it got less use. At the spend level I’m now at the cost per HP is insignificant, so it’s going into the new case for sure. Cheers!


Hey Farkas! Just wanted to say thanks for the reply and also the Happy Nerding 3xMIA suggestion. Actually I am in two minds with the Lapsus OS I currently own which has 4 channels of attunenverter/attenuator/offset at 10hp - great for live performance which is my main goal but I'm kinda of getting along without it tbh. Going to do more research/practice to see.. It just may be better for me swapping it out for the 3xMIA at the expense of loosing the faders but gaining 2 more channels/polarizer and 4HP free space.
Big "hi" to everyone here also!


Lapsus Os is a great alternative. Probably no need to switch.


Love this topic thank you farkas