Firs off...I am not a musician but both of my young sons are taking piano and drums. I love music of course and just recently started getting into basic music theory (western scales), partly to help my sons. Modular synth has always fascinated me. I am a programmer and enjoy exploring complicated systems. What's more fun than sonic Lego! I've been messing around with VCV Rack and learning the basics but one of the things that drew me to modular is its "tactileness", something VCV Rack cannot emulate.

So, I've been doing a bit of research and trying to figure out what I might like in a system. This is challenging because I am still learning. I want to slowly buy modules and learn them. I am having trouble narrowing down what I need. In VCV Rack if I need something, I just add it. I really like the big 80s synth sound and I'd love to dip my toe into some generative stuff. The rack you see below is kind of just a bag of modules I am interested in more than a complete system.

These questions are on my mind:


I'd like 3 or 4 VCOs. I do own a plaits already but need some other recommendations.


Bloom looks like it would be quite powerful for generating melodies. I've been having fun with the Muxlicer in VCV rack. I tossed the Janolouge Step 8 on there because it intrigued me and I've been playing with Shift registers a bit and this things looks insane! So now I am wondering how the Step 8 and Bloom could work together. I don't think I need all of these in this rack though.


Obviously the Maths is in there but do I need more LFOs. The Data does have 2 LFOs if I need more in a pinch I guess.


It seems like I need at least one more filter to cover 3 or 4 VCOs. Are there good dual filters that are kind of compact?


Tossed a A-118-2 because its small. A Marbles would be cool but its pretty big. What else am I overlooking?


Trying to save some space I stuffed the 2HP drum modules in there.


What else am I missing for a well rounded system? More effects, more randomness? The Data takes up some space but the scope in VCV rack has been invaluable to my understanding modular (It also looks amazing).

I know you guys probably get these sorts of posts a lot so any advice is greatly appreciated. I wish I could articulate more precisely what I want my system to do but I am still learning what I enjoy as do research and explore VCV Rack. Thanks!

ModularGrid Rack

Since you're already using VCV, why not get an Expert Sleepers ES9 so you can compliment the growing rack with whatever you need - I still rely on VCV for the end mixer and a lot of end of chain effects, not to mention modulation CV sources from VCV back into my physical rack. I also use VCV scopes for visualizing modulation - somethimes with a bank of 8 or more on bigger generative patches, endlessly fascinating... I'm not interested in performance so incorporating VCV with my desk-bound system is a no-brainer for me.

Other thing to consider - are you planning on taking your kids on the modular journey? If so maybe some bigger modules is a good idea, for ergonomics and clear workflow etc (I guess I'm referring to the drum modules, the other modules look great for learning)

Finally, consider a Noise Reap for your second VCO. You get two oscillators and normalized freq control between them. It's analog and can get really dirty so could compliment the digital Plaits.

Since you're already using VCV, why not get an Expert Sleepers ES9 so you can compliment the growing rack with whatever you need ...
-- Manbearpignick

I was balking at the price of the ES9 but it almost seems like a no brainer at this point. Especially as I want to build up my rack slowly. At first I wasn't considering even hooking my rack up to the computer.

I'll also look into the Noise Reap. Does anyone have thoughts on the Intellijel Dixie 2? Seems to pack a lot of punch for its size. Thanks!