ModularGrid Rack

I will be pairing this system with the make noise shared grid. I'm wondering if my mixing/modulation/utility needs are met? I feel i may be overdoing it with the oscillators and could possibly use some more fx in here but would love to hear other opinions. Rack is for music and sound design/processing.


more utilities, more utilities, more utilities...

they are your plumbing, they are what allow you to have more interesting patches...

take a look at my signature - it's a basic guide to getting the most versatility for the least money - then go away and think about it... and think about it some more...

it may mean you need an extra row to fit them in, it may mean that you take stuff out of this rack and replace with different modules, it may mean you don't do anything (but this generally means you haven't thought about it deeply enough)

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

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities


An immediate impression: way too many "big modules". If you can make those smaller by finding more space-efficient modules with the same functions, try that FIRST. Secondly, if you're going to wind up using Mutable clones, make sure their user interface isn't so cramped with tiny knobs that you'll need a pair of tweezers to program 'em. For example, the Michigan uBraids is a good example of how that should work, but the Plaits clone next to it...not so much.

Last: you have two enormous (for this build) sampling modules. Again, there ARE smaller solutions that can fill those functions, and they're where you might want to go with those...or perhaps, just one.

Gonna mess with this for a bit...

(EDIT) OK...here's what I cooked up:
ModularGrid Rack
Hoo, boy...OK, there's a few changes to the original design, but now this thing is VERY OP...

TOP: Starts off with a little Doepfer ute that gives you a ring modulator, sample and hold, and a slew limiter. Then I went with a pair of Klavis Dual Waves mkii for the FOUR oscillators this now has. Those oscillators also can serve as noise sources, and the VCO architecture there is all wavetable. These feed a Veils (if you can find one...otherwise, use Codex Modulex's quad VCAs which are clones of Veils) to control/sum the VCOs pre-VCF. Then for filters, I put in a Tiptop Forbidden Planet, which is a Steiner-Parker Synthacon VCF clone...a VERY lead-line filter! And the other for BASS is a G-Storm clone of the Roland SH-101's lowpass filter...which definitely can bang. The Elements got shrunk so much, it turned into Qu-bit's physical modeller...same idea, more space-efficient. After that there's four more VCAs which you can use post-VCF for the oscillator path and still have a stereo pair left to control the Surface's amplitude. The mixer there is Toppobrillo's Minimix, which is based on Buchla designs and which gives you THREE stereo ins (one is fixed-gain) plus FOUR mono inputs, two of which have CV panners. And at the end is a Happy Nerding Isolator...the new version with the headphone preamp, but with the same good ol' transformers for isolation and, if you hit them a bit harder, warm "big iron" saturation to give the sound more "heft".

MIDDLE: Batumi/Poti for four LFOs, then Maths because...Maths. After that is the "screw with modulation" section, with a Tiptop MISO and an Antumbra dual VCA (same topology as the Veils, even). This gets followed with a Zadar (and its expander), then there's the dual ADSR. After that is an improved clone of the Mutable Clouds, a Calsynth Cell. Now, this can be put into the audio path (above...space got tight!) at a number of points by splitting your main L-R signals, sending one side to the mixer, and the other to Cell, then you can bring the Cell signal back into the Minimix on one of its dedicated stereo faders. You can make this "Y" pretty much anywhere, though; send one Twin Waves into VCA 1 and 2 and the other through 3 and 4, then take outs 2 and 4 and drop that down to the Cell before the filters. Lots of potential trouble there...

BOTTOM: Pretty much 100% control. ES-8, then the Disting XL, and the Pam's. Then I left the Nerdseq in because it felt like a very good match with Dave Rossum's Assimil8r, both functionally AND ergonomically. Note, also, that you can easily break out the Assimil8r's eight individual outs to an external mixer, or you could send its stereo output to the Minimix, in either one of the stereo faders or you could send it as a premixed signal to the Minimix's unity-gain "EXP" stereo input.

To me, this seems a lot more solid. It's now got the necessary utility modules necessary to REALLY make it into a controllable build, plus there's some definite upgrading here, especially with doubling the amount of VCOs. See what you think...


Wow thanks so much I really appreciate! Gonna take this all to heart and re update this rack thanks a ton


I would ditch Pamela’s and replace it with the NerdSeq More CV expander. I have both and find that the Nerd can do nearly everything Pamela’s can: smooth/stepped random, clock divisions, etc. I’ve been seriously thinking of offloading my Pam’s and I’m a great fan of it. Just feeling it’s a bit redundant.