ModularGrid Rack

Sold all of my turntables, drum machines, records, samplers and synths in an effort to de clutter my house. I have always wanted to get into modular so this was the time. I would like your thoughts on my first rack. I am just fiddling around and wanted a rack that could be an all around style rack. I planned on ambient but I occasionally like to make some stuff with drums. I am enjoying the journey. My wife thinks it is less expensive to "Build your own synthesizer" than to have keyboards and things laying around so let's let her think that, :). Any thoughts are appreciated.

--The Tentacle Monster--


Disclaimer: I'm a modular novice myself. So take my advice with a huge grain of salt. ;)

In general, I feel like you have too many audio modules and far too few cv-generators & utilities.

I'd like to pass an advice on to you - which I got myself:

  • choose a rack-size, which is slightly larger, than you anticipate needing
  • have a concept, what you want to achieve: like ambient with occasional drums
  • buy and fill up your rack incrementally:
    • think about your most minimal combination of modules for your first "complete voice" and start from there
    • take your time getting to know your modules
    • if you find some specific "feature" missing for your goal, check if you already planned your rack with such a module and add only a (view) single one(s)
    • take your time again fiddeling around
    • revise your plan for the rack, as you gain more experience

I took some time to work out a rack suggestion:

It's quite different from the setup you presented above, so I'll try to lay down my reasoning for the module selection and my thoughts about the rack below:

  • I tried to stick to your concept of having a rack for ambient (generative?) music with ocassional drums or different genres in general.
  • Overall I tried to find a good balance between hp per module, ease of use, flexibility and functionality
  • I kept all the 1U modules you chose: they are quite usefull
  • I only selected very view oscillators, a sampler enables you to still mimic more sound-sources
  • enough cv sources enable complex movements and automation
  • enough fx to create atmospheres and more interesting voices

First row, mostly audio modules:

  • BitBox Micro: since the rackspace is quite limited, I feel like a good sampling module - like this - will provide you with the most felxibility: You can use drum samples (save space by not having a couple of percussion specific modules!), layer several sounds to make your arrangements more complex or record cv
  • Ensemble Oscillator: You chose this originally, so I kept this. It seems fitting for the task and quite flexible
  • Basimilus Iteratis Alter: Oscillator, I also kept this from your original design. Seems fine if you like it: bass, lead, percussion, etc
  • Falistri: similar to Maths, but different (and less hp), can be used as sound and cv source, besides all other usefull and versatile features, I like the ring-modulation capability to sculpt your oscillator's sounds even more
  • A-132-4: quad exp vca, probably for audio, excellent hp to usefullness ratio, you always need more vcas
  • Squawk Dirty To Me: nice digital VCF, selectable filter mode, includes vca, filter mode also selectable via cv
  • QPAS: nice advanced VCF, which you already wanted
  • Black Quad VCA2: good 4ch vca & mixer, you already wanted
  • Switch: filler for empty space to enable more advanced patching

    Second row, mostly cv modules:

  • Pamela’s NEW Workout: famouse clock based cv generator, you already wanted, unbeatable

  • Ornament & Crime: another power-house of cv generation
  • Bloom: generative generator for 2 voices, you already chose this
  • ochd: lots of oscillators in view hp, excellent for movement in ambient
  • Zadar: deep, quad envelope (and cyclic = lfo) generator for more complex movement
  • Pons Asinorum: versatile quad envelope / lfo generator in view hp
  • 333: small mixer & mult
  • OSD: combine cv in several kinds (3 times) in only 4hp
  • A-130-8: 8 lin vcas and mixer in only 6hp, best hp / vca count ratio
  • 321: all the necessary cv utilities
  • Melotus Versio: very nice effect module you already chose
  • Milky Way: nice multi-fx module, instead of your chosen "large" Doepfer fx module I suggest 2 separate smaller ones, you could think about using effect pedals and use the space of the fx modules for something else
  • FX Aid XL: another nice multi-fx module with LOTS of fx to choose from (not sure about the current availability though)
  • Jumble Henge: innovative mixer for an easy "final" mixdown

What you might find missing (or not?):

  • more advanced sequencing
  • midi control
  • dedicated performance controls
  • more random voltage sources

Let me know, what you think about these suggestions.

Best regards,

Thank you woeps!

That is some great information. I will digest some of this and let you know what I come up with. I actually have all of the modules in the rack I originally posted and I am messing around making noise figuring things out. I agree that there are not enough cv generators. I will look into your suggestions. I definitely agree that Doepfer FX unit takes up a lot of space that could be accomplished with a smaller unit. I am not married to any of these modules so I appreciate all of the advice.
Thank you again,
The Tentacle Monster

Some great suggestions by woeps there!


I actually have all of the modules in the rack I originally posted and...

Sorry I misunderstood. I thought you were just thinking about accquiring these modules.

Now I see the following ways going forward - depending on your (financial) commitment to eurorack:

  • Sell some modules on the used market and replace them in your rack (one after another).
  • Get a new rack, which is at least twice as large as your current one (13U, 104hp), replacing your current rack. Rearrange your existing modules and fill up "missing" ones gradually.
  • Get 1-2 new racks and plan them "in a modular way". Meaning, to have different racks dedicated to different tasks. E.g. first rack holds stuff for drones and 2-3 "ambient voices" (whatever this might be) - second rack holds 1-2 lead voices and drums/percussion - third rack holds complex sequencer, fx, downmix-utilities and controllers
    Rearrange your existing modules and extend the racks as needed.
    If the first (ambient) rack would have a noise-generator and a (simple) osc with some cv, you would already have some inreresting percussive sounds to play with while not necessarily needing more drum sounds (dependent on your desired style). Together with the sequencing-rack, you would have a nice setup, even for a live gig. (Many cases have the posibility to moint 2 of them together.)
  • or combine the previously described approaches in a meaningfull way

On another note: You might want to think about your requirements for the drums. Do you really need them in eurorack format or do you enjoy "more traditional" drum sounds? - e.g. you could just use something like a TR-8S
next to your modular. This would be more cost- and place-efficient, than building similar features out in eurorack-format.
Or you could use a Black Box (by 1010 music) as a sampler for drum-duties and sampling in general (but with less modulation options, than if it were a sampler-module). This nice little thing is even compatible with eurorack-levels. Adding a midi-module could enable you to use the box also for sequencing.

ModularGrid Rack

Thank you woeps! I appreciate all of the time you spent helping me. I have some more CV generators, you were very right about that. I got rid of that big fx box. I have this new stuff coming on Wed. I don't want to have more than one case, that will be a money pit for me. Still figuring out where to place stuff in the case so this is the tentative placement.Just doing this for fun. I wanted to have the rack play while I draw in my studio. Might replace maths with the module you suggested. I guess I will sell the used modules on ebay or reverb. Thanks again!

Might replace maths with the module you suggested.

download and work your way through the 'maths illustrated supplement''s a great introduction to self patching - think about what's going on and use it as a jumping off point...

I guess I will sell the used modules on ebay or reverb. Thanks again!
-- TheTentacleMonster

I'd try the marketplace here, or when you have enough posts the buy/sell subforum on modwiggler (if you're the same The_Tentacle_Moster - then you need another 97 posts) or facebook groups first - ebay and reverb charge for the privilige and these don't...

"some of the best base-level info to remember can be found in Jim's sigfile" @Lugia

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

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

I am the same tentacle monster. Thank you, I will look up that "Maths Illustrated" Great advice.

2nd update the best i feel. pams and oc will be a great combo. qpas is liquiddy i felt, like a stereo ripples with extra offsett stuff. very cool but not aggerssive enough for me.

id reccomend a better sampler. i hated bitboxs. UI wasnt for me. love erica sample drum. if in doubt, assimil8r! lol