I have this very basic single-voice rack built out of cheap DIY kits and hand-me-downs, in a little case powered by another DIY kit (the Frequency Central Microbus). It's augmented by a Doepfer Dark Energy 1, so I have a second voice and extra envelope, LFO etc which is nice but essentially it's quite a restricted 'straight' little system, and I want something new that will give me a bit of scope for... weirdness

ModularGrid Rack

Some pointers:
- I sequence everything with a beatstep pro and I'm kind of happy with that workflow for 'straight' stuff. I don't need anything with a sequencer
- I have a couple of volcas to do drums for the moment. Modular drum stuff seems like an expensive path to go down so I'm not ready for that yet
- The second oscillator is identical to that built into the Device; I screwed up the Device build and it wouldn't tune properly, so I bought someone else's build for cheap and swapped the PCBs around behind the panels. I might get rid of it to save space, as I only seem to use it as an LFO or to thicken up drones
- I know I don't need two Pocket Calculators - I only ever use one to try and make strange sequences out of the homemade LFO
- Also yes, I know the homemade triple-attenuator is massive. I could probably cut down on the size with a smaller panel (it's three tiny passive PCBs)
- I have two (yes two) Music Thing Spring Reverbs to finish building. One was working for a time but something went wrong so is bricked, and another is an untouched kit. The idea is to have 2 and pan them. You can do mad things with hard panned spring reverbs, an LFO, and the pocket calculator
- I've got decent reverbs and delays through my mixer

I'm happy with where it's going, essentially a slightly less 'semi' modular system which is as much an effects processor as it is a modular synth in its own right.


I'd like to have a bit more strictly 'modular' capability, whether it's some interesting ways of generating patterns, or a few different VCO-type sounds (ie digital oscillators or other sound-generation stuff), or maybe even something that takes an SD card for samples/granular. I make what could be described as 'sort of techno' (ie 4/4 etc) but also 'sort of noise' and drones. I like to run external stuff through it sometimes too like guitars or cheap poly keyboards. Basically I like to experiment!

So I've been looking at multi-function stuff a bit lately. The Disting seems to have a few nice things about it but it seems very small for all that functionality, and some of those functions are maybe a bit too 'utility'? I know some of the Mutable modules (either orig or clones) can do lots of different things. Part of this is budget; as you can see from all the DIY kits, I'm not rolling in dough!

From this very uncertain description of what I want to do, does anyone have any recommendations or suggestions of where to go next? I'm leaning towards getting something that works straight away but if something DIY could be got for cheap then simple through-hole only stuff is about all I'm capable of.

Sorry for rambling. Thanks for getting this far (if you did). Hope you can help!

So actually if I got rid of what I want to get rid of then the rack would look more like this:

ModularGrid Rack

I think you're on the right track with the Disting - sequencing, random, and modulation would definitely expand your rack's functionality tremendously.

If you're into DIY, I think the biggest bang for your buck would be an mxmxmx Ornament and Crime. The O_c has two dominant firmwares at the moment: the default one, which allows it to act as a sequencer, source of random, quadrature LFO, complex envelope generator, quantizer, and a couple other things, but usually one item at a time. The hemispheres firmware cuts down on the scale of these features, but adds a ton of different utilities, and you can run two at once. I have one for each firmware, and they always come in handy. Pusherman has a bunch of kits, including a full (chonky) through-hole kit, and a micro kit with all the surface mount pieces already soldered.

For the glitch effects, I'm not sure if there's currently a good DIY option for that sort of thing, but the QuBit Data Bender sounds right up your alley

Thanks for the tips!

Of course now I've looked and want a Disting EX, which sort of doubles the money I wanted to spend!

I think given that I have such a backlog of DIY to do (the reverbs, a tremolo guitar pedal, a knackered mixer in need of some replacement caps, as well as a complete casio refurb at some point) I shouldn't give myself more work - I never have time (2 kids, job etc)

I'll probably go for a single Disting (maybe 2nd hand) and likely upgrade to an EX later on. That sai, the EX really has a bunch of good stuff - the looper looks pretty exciting on its own as it's syncable and seemingly quite flexible with it. I need to research how to use (I think?) MIDI messages to get it to work with some sort of footswitch - that way I could get rid of my ancient boss RC20 to help towards the cost! And having different oscillator options is also a huge bonus, as it's quite easy to get bored of the two relatively similar analogue sounds I have...

Lots to think about. Maybe I should medtate on it while doing some soldering...

Thanks again!