With my long backordered Intellijel Dual ADSR's finally shipping after over a year, rack will be complete this weekend. Monster and Monster base. To be honest, the Behrimoog is mainly in there for the 440 ref.

ModularGrid Rack

ModularGrid Rack


Nice. Congrats!


Nice. Congrats!
-- farkas

Thanks. About a year and a half to build. Felt like a return to modular after many years off. They’re finally where I imagined them 20 years ago. Wondering if anyone has any thoughts on the build.


I'm finally finishing up after 2 and a half years, myself. Yours looks great to me. Well organized and versatile. I'm sure you will hear the usual advice of moving the semi-modulars and mults outside the case to save space, but I'm of the opinion of "do what's best for you". Your rack looks very playable and designed to last a long time. Well done.


Hello @liquidcolor,

Since you are looking to hear thoughts on the build, I'll share with you the two things that stood out to me the most:

  1. I see 11 dual passive multiple modules between the two cases (if I'm counting correctly). That's 22 1-to-3 passive multiples! To me, that seems quite excessive, especially considering that Tiptop Audio stackable cables exist. Personally, I rarely split an output signal to more than two inputs, so I'm essentially replacing one of the 1-to-3 multiples and three normal cables with a single normal cable and one stackable cable. (But I've also never used a rack this big.) It also avoids having large clusters of cables at the multiples and additionally having to route the signal to and from the multiple, which may or may not be near the relevant output and inputs. Overall, using splitting cables saves rack space and money, even if you do have to use a second normal or stackable cable to split to a third input (remember that you can split the signal out of each end of the stackable). But like @farkas mentions, do what works for you. You may have specific plans or needs for your rack that I or others may not understand.

  2. In my view, there is a shortage of sub-mixers and attenuators between the two cases. For example, where are you mixing the outputs of all of your oscillators and other sound sources? I see two Mixups and one Triplatt for sub-mixers. (The two VCA modules also mix, but I would think you'd mostly want to use those for other purposes?) In a smaller case, this would be plenty, but in a rack this size, and considering how many sound sources and filters you have, I would want more mixing power. Dedicated attenuators are also a really big deal to me. In your rack I only see the single Triplatt for this. How are you attenuating the signals going into the CV inputs of the 8-channel Doepfer VCA module and other inputs that don't have dedicated attenuators built in? Some of this may be solved by how you intend to use the Doepfer VCAs in conjunction with the Michigan Synth Works Fader Bank.

My solution: replace nine of the passive mult modules (18 HP total) with three Triplatt and/or Happy Nerding's 3x MIA modules. These are both endlessly useful modules that will give you both more sub-mixing and attenuation capability.

I hope some of that helps in some way!
Chace


I think I read somewhere in the Modular Philosophy 101 class workbook...a rack is never really truly complete...lol

JB


I'm sure you will hear the usual advice of moving the semi-modulars and mults outside the case to save space, but I'm of the opinion of "do what's best for you". Your rack looks very playable and designed to last a long time. Well done.
-- farkas

Thanks! And while I would agree generally about not pulling the semis out of their cases for smaller systems, this is a Doepfer Monster. The B's are in there essentially as a 440 source and because the Sequential Pro One was one of my very first monos (and favorite) years ago. They're both sequenced from a single Nerd MIDI track independently.

  1. I see 11 dual passive multiple modules between the two cases (if I'm counting correctly). That's 22 1-to-3 passive multiples! To me, that seems quite excessive, especially considering that Tiptop Audio stackable cables exist. Personally, I rarely split an output signal to more than two inputs, so I'm essentially replacing one of the 1-to-3 multiples and three normal cables with a single normal cable and one stackable cable. You may have specific plans or needs for your rack that I or others may not understand.

To be honest, some of these mults are just spacers to keep it less cramped. But I do often send one signal to 8 destinations for parallel processing, so they are used. Plus I distribute some clock signals or LFO's throughout the system.

  1. In my view, there is a shortage of sub-mixers and attenuators between the two cases. For example, where are you mixing the outputs of all of your oscillators and other sound sources? I see two Mixups and one Triplatt for sub-mixers. (The two VCA modules also mix, but I would think you'd mostly want to use those for other purposes?) In a smaller case, this would be plenty, but in a rack this size, and considering how many sound sources and filters you have, I would want more mixing power. Dedicated attenuators are also a really big deal to me. In your rack I only see the single Triplatt for this. How are you attenuating the signals going into the CV inputs of the 8-channel Doepfer VCA module and other inputs that don't have dedicated attenuators built in? Some of this may be solved by how you intend to use the Doepfer VCAs in conjunction with the Michigan Synth Works Fader Bank.

-- Chace

You missed the Mutamix, which gives me a swiss army mixer. 1x 6 to 1, 2x 3 to 1, or 3x 2 to 1. I often also use the L and R of the Mixups independently, so that's quite a bit of 2 or 3 oscillator mixing where needed. Also, don't count out the WMD Performance mixer. Each channel can unity mix the A and B inputs for a total of 24 ins (12x 2 to 1.) I generally am not submixing too much within the system and am running the WMD out to a 32 input interface. I've got quite a few DI boxes to bring any other signals out into the DAW. I hear what you’re saying, but have not yet had a moment where I ran out of summing.

As far as attenuators I generally do not need external ones. Most of my CV sources are from the NerdSeq (28 of them) where they are internally scalable. Random sources, envelopes, voltage offsets: all from the Nerd and all totally configurable per pattern or even per step. Here's my latest track for an example:

I think I read somewhere in the Modular Philosophy 101 class workbook...a rack is never really truly complete...lol
-- jb61264

When I had my gigantic Wiard + Frac system, there were a lot of things I wanted/needed that didn't exist and I didn't have time to design. After over a decade off, I approached this system with a clear end goal in mind. I did have to switch cases when two Intellijel 7U and a palette ended up being a little too constricting, but there was no buy, sell, repeat. Broad range of synthesis and sampling methods, proper sequencing and lot's of signal processing. Truly finished here, unless a proper time domain pitch shifter comes out, then a few mults can go to fit that in. Otherwise, I'll use something external.

It's probably because I'm at the end of my "journey" and have over a quarter century experience with modular synths rather than starting out and figuring out how it fits in with my music making. Yea, something like ER-301 might be cool but... I had a Capybara system and also have two kids now. I need immediate results!


  1. I see 11 dual passive multiple modules between the two cases (if I'm counting correctly). That's 22 1-to-3 passive multiples! To me, that seems quite excessive, especially considering that Tiptop Audio stackable cables exist. Personally, I rarely split an output signal to more than two inputs, so I'm essentially replacing one of the 1-to-3 multiples and three normal cables with a single normal cable and one stackable cable. (But I've also never used a rack this big.)

-- Chace

Normally, I would say that mults aren't so useful in smaller builds because they take up functional space. But when you start getting into systems of THIS size, you DO want mults...because at that point, they help to cut down on the cable-snarl across the panel and can make controlling a patch a bit easier because you can easily see where your signal splits come from/go to.

Once you're into these huge Monster Case builds, the "rules" change a bit.

Anyway, this appears to be pretty well-considered in terms of what's needed and what's implemented to deal with that need. About the only change I would make here would be to chuck the theremin controller in row #2, shift the whole row over into that space, then use the new 8 hp space at the left end of the row for the A-119 (to the right of the mult, natch). This would put it in better proximity to the voicing so that it's easier to use external audio for part of the voicing as well.


About the only change I would make here would be to chuck the theremin controller in row #2, shift the whole row over into that space, then use the new 8 hp space at the left end of the row for the A-119 (to the right of the mult, natch). This would put it in better proximity to the voicing so that it's easier to use external audio for part of the voicing as well.

-- Lugia

This is a good idea, however the A-178 can induce noise into susceptible modules so it's up and out of the way. The A-119 is generally being used as an envelope follower while the Joranalogue Recieve is my primary input module. Directly to the right of this modular is the 40 space server rack with my mixer/interface and rack polys. I've found these very slick right angle D-Sub adapters that let me avoid having two D-Sub snakes sticking straight up out of the WMD Performance outputs.

That Joranalogue Receive is incredible sounding, crystal clear and no noise. Same can't be said for the A-119, while not being terrible does have more self-noise and high end roll off.


I see no cup holder, minibar, or mixed-nut dispenser - but, very well done.


That Joranalogue Receive is incredible sounding, crystal clear and no noise. Same can't be said for the A-119, while not being terrible does have more self-noise and high end roll off.

-- liquidcolor

The original ARP 2600 preamp/envelope follower was also a noisy critter. A lot of this seems to be due to impedance mismatching between the input and the device feeding it, which is also a source of noise with some guitar pedals when they have to deal with a mismatch. You might try some experiments with matching transformers before the A-119 input to see if you can find a "magic number" that brings the noise under control.

It's also worth noting that Roman's Input module (now discontinued) in the Sputnik modules had a switch for helping with impedance matching.