Hello. I am a film composer and I'm designing a small and versatile setup, but I would need some help because I am pretty new at this. I have 84hp in total and I don't want to add more at the moment, because it's a rack attached to the desk in my studio and I love having it there. My intention is to experiment with doing a bit of everything, especially ambient and generative, but in most cases, I am going to use it as one instrument more for my productions, together with my Arturia Keystep 37. I have an external mixer to route my modules there and it goes in stereo to my audio interface. Sometimes it will be the heart of a piece and other I will just make some ambient drones or textures as one more layer or for sound design.

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Could you please tell me if I'm missing something essential? Could you suggest any changes? I think I might be forgetting some nice pieces perfect for what I want.

Thank you very much in advance!

Hey hey. This already looks quite good from a functional point of view. I think all the main aspects should be covered. What I thought was that this is a setup which really involved a lot of menu diving. Half of your modules have soo many functions and menus that it will not be a rack which is intuitive and quick to use and you will spend a lot of time searching in submenus. If you can life with this it is fine. If not I would think of maybe kicking out plaits since soundwise most of the sounds are included in the modes of beads and rings and some of the modules with screens and add a function generator (stages is highly recommended from my side).

Thank you very much for your reply, Ginger89. It is true that there is a lot of multifunction there but, since I have little space, I prefer to have access to a variety of tools for different scenarios, even if it is not as fast and intuitive as it is with specific modules. It's not really a problem.

You are right in what you mention about Plaits, but it seems to me a very good module in what it does and also versatile, and at the moment (from my beginner's perspective) it is difficult to imagine the setup without this piece. Besides, I would love to consider Stages, but it is bigger than Plaits...

Thank you so much again!

I think you would like to have a double stereo mixer (rings and beads) and a line out. It is a lot easier to mix hands on in the case while performing instead of an external mixer. https://www.modulargrid.net/e/ladik-a-312
Also I would certainly keep Plaits, and add a small filter and distortion like https://www.modulargrid.net/e/noise-engineering-viol-ruina-silver-w-knobs

You have lots of Trigger, gate and modulation control there.

For your next 84hp, Ya'no before you up-scale to 104hp and 2 rows ;-)

Some good old fashioned VCA's or simple passive attenuators would be good, add a filter module that will react to Pinging as pings and sweeps are good. VCA-wise you could grab something like a https://www.modulargrid.net/e/future-sound-systems-p-o-c-a-vac1 as it's passive so draws no power and will give you CV-able VCA's.

Grab an Error Instruments Indian Resonator, its got a whole swathe of ambient clicky warbling goodness in it, a great design element.

Make Noise Mimeophon is lots of fun, hopefully one of my next purchases will be a Morphagene, though also tempted by the 2HP Loop.

I thought 84hp would be all I ever needed hahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa Enjoy the ride.

Thank you Pmwmartens and wishbonebrewery for your ideas and suggestions, really helpful. I know that it will be difficult to stop when I complete 84hp, but even if I start a new case separately, I would always like to have this setup as a complete, flexible and self-sufficient piece in many cases, embedded in my desktop. This is why I would like to make good choices with the modules that occupy this rack.

It is true that I have many options for trigger, gate and modulation. I could always use one of the 3 Disting like Envelope-VCA for example, but maybe it would be smart to save room for a quad vca maybe?

I think if I have to replace something I would remove Marbles. I already have it and I really love playing with it, but I think the combination of Palms with uO_C could be more precise, flexible and usable in my case, although I have never tried them. What do you think?

Any piece of advice will be super appreciated.

I'd personally take out the marbles, the plaits and at least one of the distings (the screen on the MK4 sucks, but also having effectively three of them with the dual disting ex is going to be boring). In their place I'd try to fit modulation (maybe quadrax which is a lot packed into one package, or tilt, ochd, a clone of peaks for more compact options), an interesting oscillator (maybe twin waves), a filter to suit your taste, and hopefully there is room for a few vcas (maybe veils or a clone)

Thanks Sythic! I didn’t know about Quadrax and I am absolutely amazed. I was struggling because it’s really difficult to get Stages for a good prize, so I am very happy knowing about Quadrax. I think this setup would be more in balance than the original I shared here. I replaced Marbles for a dual vca and quadrax. I would save marbles for my next setup…😅 What do you think?

About filters, I think I can survive using one of the distings for that, which are also stereo.

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Quadrax is excellent and can self patch in some interesting and fun ways (LFO at audio rate, amplitude modified by a second channel, wave shape wobbled by a third, and pitch affected by the drunken walk alternative mode of the LFO in the 4th channel for example)

Distings is great to fill a gap, but you already have O_C and effectively 3 channels of distings feels overkill / too much choice. If I'm using distings I've exhausted every other way of doing it because the menu on the MK4 is infuriating.

A filter with a variety of modulation would give you more to do with your sound. Steve's ms22 is well regarded and only 4u.

Personally I just don't get on with plaits, I keep going back to it and trying again and again. But it's difficult to tune and whilst very multifunctional, doesn't give me the same joy as something like the twin waves or even the godspeed, (recently I was even enjoying pinging a self oscillating filter through fx more than plaits) and rings does all the interesting modes better. The bastl pizza is also very hot at the moment and worth a look.

I love beads... But also check out the happy herding fx aid... If you happen to find more u to play with

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I've been thinking about all the suggestions you've given me. Thanks again to all. I have literally fallen in love with Steve's MS-22 and also Bastl Pizza... This is the setup I have planned now based on your advice and after watching different demos and reviews.

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Just one last question:
Maybe having BPizza and TW makes no much sense for this setup? I wonder if it would be smart to put for example an FX AID XL instead of the twin waves, or the Bastl Pizza? Because Twin Waves is more versatile I think... Maybe a different oscillator that complement one of these? I don't know, what would you prioritize in this case?

Thank you very much again to everyone! You are so helpful

I agree for a case this big you probably only want one sound source (beads also had over but you probably won't use it often if you are using beads for effects)

I don't know enough about pizza but the twin waves has two oscillators that can fm and am each other, and also double as LFO if needed.

However, without the quadrax you are going to be stuck using the o_c for envelopes which is a shame as it has lots to offer otherwise.

If you do put the quadrax back you can use one of its channels to fm the pizza

One option might be too go to a 6u case 😅

Thank you guys! Very helpful and interesting suggestions, really. I will think about it and definitely I will have to get more space to cover everything I want... hahaha