ModularGrid Rack

Thoughts on this?
I already have the two Sylph modules.. then there is a sequencer, multi-effect and a mixer..
What are your thoughts on this?

You're trying to do too much in too small a build. I would suggest losing the drum functionality altogether and going with a drum machine off the shelf, as it'll cost less in the long run, plus you'll get more out of one of those than just the snare and kick that's already there in this build.

Secondly, without modulation sources and VCAs, this'll sound as dull as dishwater. VCAs let you control amplitudes for both control and audio signals, and modulation sources can be used with them (envelopes, especially) to better articulate the notes, in addition to the "all-over" purpose of adding some animation to the patches.

Third, single skiffs like this aren't necessarily the best place to start. These are better suited for "mission-specific" builds, such as putting together a modulation "sidecar", extra sequencing, etc. You CAN get a whole synth into one, sure...but it's not all that simple, plus you have to make sure to NOT use big modules so that you can arrive at a playable device that provides all the functionality while not being so cramped that you can't use the instrument properly. A much better place to start would be Tiptop's Mantis case...hefty power, light weight, and not expensive at $350 or less depending on where you are. With 2 x 104 hp, you have plenty of room for modules such as the Nerdseq and Dual FX AND you can get everything else in there that should be in there.

I agree with your points. I already have a complex system in a 2x104. Since I have this old 88HP rack collecting dust, I do not want to sell it or to expand my system so I was wondering if I could turn it in a standalone system, out of mere curiosity.

Let's try to make it work. You'll need small fingers.
ModularGrid Rack

I kept the modules you already have, and the Nerdseq -- if you want a nerdseq nothing else will do.

  • The NerdSeq is the brains of the whole affair; expect to use every output to modulate something.
  • I had 2hp left over at the end so I stuck a hi-hat in here... a hi-hat is always useful.... and here the cables don't get the way too much.
  • Since you have a lot modulation from the NS, I replaced the TT Kick and Snare with BIA. It can do both jobs at the same time, and it is more fun. Added a Dual Attenuverter to give some hands on control of the modulation going into the BIA.
  • Added a filter to go with the CEM VCO; any 4hp filter will do, but the MS-22 seems cool.
  • Added Skis - use one envelope and one VCA with the CEM oscillator, one Envelope with the filter, and the other VCA on the FX send (more later) of the BIA, so you can sequence how when BIA gets sent to effects.
  • I left Rings as it was.

Finally the mixer section.

  • the tiny ph Modular mixer is your FX sub mix : mult an output from each voice into here; this goes into ....
  • the FX Aid XL gives you lots of cool effects and lots of modulation of them; I reckon creative FX use is the key to having fun with this case and making interesting sounds. I don't have an FX Aid but I want one!
  • The main mix is the Erica Drum mixer. It gives you enough (stereo) channels but only one is pannable -- loads of other options.

Anyway, there's one idea. I think this would be flexible enough to do something listenable, but limited enough to make it fun to find the solutions. It really does all hang on how much you like fiddling with the NerdSeq. Personally I would do something else : probably a lot more basic modulators in the rack, and a a beat step pro for the sequencing.

Very interesting ideas, thank you very much!

Gave this a shot this case, it assumes an external sequencer is in use as well as a separate drum machine:
ModularGrid Rack
So, what this got turned into is a dedicated synth. The left side is your modulation, right is the voice.

So, this starts with the Arturia P/S since we're dealing with a Rackbrute if the size is any indication. Then a Batumi + Poti gives you four LFOs, a Zadar + Nin with four envelopes, and between those is a dual After Later VCA (Veils topology) and a Frap 321, with those two being useful for altering your "normal" mod sources into other signals.

Next up, there's a Doepfer A-118-2 for sample and hold, noise, and random signals. This gets followed by...count 'em...FOUR VCOs. Two Klavis Twin Waves mkii modules give you wavetable-based sound generation, plus they come with quantizers on the inputs. These sum down through a Codex Modulex Veils clone and then feed into G-Storm's clone of the Korg Delta filters...lowpass and bandpass, using SSM-style circuitry, giving things a nice, retro feel. This is also the same VCF used in the Korg Polysix and Poly-61. The little sliver next to that is a pair of LPGs, which can also be switched into VCA modes, and then it all feeds into a Frequency Central Stasis Leak for stereo tap-tempo delays, reverb, and chorus. And at the right end, an Erica PICO Output handles your stereo output and headphone levels.

Now, if this isn't an Arturia cab after all, then remove the Arturia P/S and put a Bastl Ciao! at the right end. This will then let you mix a second set of signals over the main feed, which alters your ability to use the LPGs, making them more capable as percussives (via the A-118-2's noise output) panned left and right, plus it gives you balanced 1/4" outputs and, yep, it's got a headphone preamp too. Also, pull the current LPG and PICO Out, then swap in a Make Noise LxD. Plus, this swap would allow you to use the top section of the LxD as a VCA and then this passes on through to the lower section which can function as the LPG itself. Loads of possible swaps...

Pair this up with a Beatstep Pro, and you'll have a potent two-voice (yep...doable!) paraphonic, or stereo gated synth. Just remember to have some inline patching widgets handy, as the build is way too small for mults.