Hi everybody,

I'm looking on some advice about where to start. Would getting something like a Mother 32, a Lifeforms or Intellijel Atlantis set up be a nice segue in to a modular set up, or would you recommend saving up some extra money and start off with some separate modules? Something like a DPO + Optamix + Maths or a cheaper Doepfer set up and get that 99,- external korg sequencer for instance... My current way of working has been with ableton but I find it boring and uninspiring and want to be more hands on and playful. Wise words welcome! Thank you :-)

Best, R

My first module was the Mother 32 and I now have a few others built around it in a small Doepfer (LC6) case. Personally, I did it this way because the M32 packs a lot of features into a single module at a really good price. If you worked out what it would cost to get the same functionality from separate modules, it would be a lot more. The one thing I don't use very often on the M32 is the sequencer, it's too slow to work with. If you like the Moog sound (it does sound Very good), I say start with the M32 and build up around it.

I've actually started to think I might take it out of the case and put it back in its original enclosure, it's really fun to have right in front of you to play and it works very well standalone. Something very 'pure' about it :)

Thank you for your reply Whunder :-) Been reading a lot of stuff online the last few days and currently I'm most drawn towards the Intellijel Atlantis as it has two VCO's and I've been reading a lot of negative things about the Lifeforms from Pittsburgh. I like the moog sound but as you said, the sequencer seems like a pain. I was thinking of getting a 2nd hand Atlantis with a 2nd hand Mutable Instruments Clouds and a Korg SQ1 as a starter set up. I work with a lot of different materials as a job so building my own case won't be a problem, will be fun actually! I think those modules will give me some fun play time for sure. Like you're saying, the moog feels more like a very cool stand alone unit, but I think the atlantis can stay within a bigger rack as a nice 101 resembling sound. Interested in your thoughts :-)


Sounds perfect to me! I think you'll have a lot of fun with that setup - the Atlantis is super popular and for good reason I think. I thought the Lifeforms looked good - has it had negative reviews?

Been reading this thread, to many negative experiences in my view.. For that price at least. Seems like Intellijel is a bit more quality for the price.


Not sure where you live, but if there's any chance of visiting a store that sells modular, I couldn't recommend that approach enough, even if it means planning a vacation around it. I was turned on to modular serendipitously by a visit to Rough Trade East in London which had a SchneidersLaden demo room in the back. There's absolutely nothing to compare to hands-on experience with a little in-person expertise to help guide you.

If you do the second hand experience - be very careful. Incredibly, even for expensive modules people often just produce non-descriptive lists of gear without photo or condition. You'll want something in good cosmetic condition - if you love the module, you'll be looking at it for a long time, if you re-sell it, you don't want any difficulties making the next buyer unhappy with it's appearance. You may also want to shoot video of your rig, so it's not enough that the module is simply functional.

Take time to do your research, watch a lot of videos and don't buy too much all at once. Check also the service reputations of the makers - hopefully you won't need it, but it's sure frustrating when after buying a buggy module for $500 you discover that the maker isn't returning anyone's email.

If you do not have any experiance regarding modular syths and how to build them by yourself, my recomendation would be to start virtual modular.
Stop. Dont complain. Read ahead!
If you go to Clavia Nords homepage, you will find a virtual modular synth demoing their (meanwhile dis-continued)hardware-Synthesizer named "G2".
This demo is for FREE and can be found here:

If you download it and read the manual, you get an idea of how it is going to be to work with a real modular.
If you start working with it, and you start to wonder why you dont hear anything, its way better to learn this and other Basics in the virtual environment.
This way you avoide the usual traps when starting with modular synthesis from scratch, which is buying modules you realise later on you did not need at all.
Within this virtual modular synth you get hundreds of modules (for free) which you can pull and wire up.
You get voices, oscillators, amps, modulators, input-, output modules, effects and complete synth-voices of course too.

If you start this way and collect your own knowledge from hands on experiance (no matter that its gathered virtually), you will avoide disapointments.
I started this way years ago, and it served me right.

PS: if you start with a Mother32, you have to realise that it may have CV-ins and CV-outs on this synth, but you have to do something with this CVs. Just having the ins and outs does not help you if you do not use this signals or alter/vary this signals somewhere and send them back or somewhere else where they are used for something.
A single Mother32 is alone just a normal synth with one voice.
In regards of modular synthesis, buying a Mother32, its like buying a trailer. You can move in and live inside. But if you want more and move around, you will have to buy an "additional" car thats able to pull it somewhere else.
If you allways want to stay at the same place a Mother32 is fine. If you want to move somewhere else you need to dive deeper into the topic to find out what car you are going to need in the future.
"I want to buy a car" - "Which one, Sir?" - "A blue one" ... is not going to be help you find the correct one.
Try to discover what you want - by learning.
Then, - go shopping!

Cool thanks a lot guys, I live in London so I think I'll hop by London Modular soon. I'm currently very busy and not in a hurry to spend a big amount of money anyway. I don't think the Schneiders Laden in Rough Trade still exists does it? Regarding the virtual modular, I'll look in to it. But I'm pretty sure I want to get in to the real deal too as I see it also as a study project of understanding sound and synthesis better then I currently do.

I'm still doubting between a full voice like the atlantis or paying a little extra for separate modules. Thanks everybody!

The virtual modular doesn't work on the newest version of OSX unfortunately.

I started with a MicroBrute, and now have one M32 and another on the way, supplemented by some modules for utilities and more timbres. My goal is to have a nice hardware mono synth based around the Moog sound and filter. I've owned other modules but am downsizing - although I've tried various filters and oscillators, I always came back to the M32 filter because it sounds absolutely fantastic, as do the oscillators!

If you put a bit of time in to learn the sequencer, it's not too slow either, and is very powerful for the price of the M32! If I really want to jot down a sequence asap, I use the insanely easy MicroBrute sequencer.

If you still use Ableton, I recommend looking at a MicroBrute as a controller - you get a small keyboard, pitch and mod wheels, an LFO that syncs to Ableton's tempo (not many LFOs actually sync in eurorack), and of course the extra envelope, waveforms with various timbre shaping, and the nice little sequencer. It's cheap as heck too, I got one for under £150 on eBay.

If you want to get individual modules, buy them secondhand, look after them, and if you don't like them, sell them on modulargrid or muffwiggler for the same price, so that you break even or lose only a tiny bit of money. It's worth the journey and you will never end up with what you thought you needed.

Just my 2 cents!

On the subject of virtual modular, VCV Rack is really great, free, runs on the most recent version of OS X, and even has a collection of Mutable Instruments modules that you can use.

I am currently building up a hardware rack myself for the first time, but I have found VCV Rack to be a great way to try out certain modules, configurations, etc. to determine whether or not I want to buy the hardware. The software alone, sounds great BTW, I just like the physicality of the hardware rack.

Also, I started out with a Mother 32 myself, and other than the fact that it takes up a lot of HP, I find it integrates well with everything else I have added since and I am not planning on retiring it any time soon.

Also, and my apologies if this is a violation of terms but I searched and it didn't seem to be, I recently started a Slack community for the purpose of real time chat on the subject of all things Eurorack, and as a newbie myself, I have included a getting-started channel. Not much activity in there yet but I mention it in case you might want to join. And bring your friends! :)

Here is the link if you are interested: https://join.slack.com/t/eurorack/shared_invite/enQtMzM0MDIzNDIzNTIxLWVkZjRkYTJmN2M0NGMwNDQxY2IwOThiNTA4NTk0NzRkN2I4ZTEzOTk2MmU0ZWMwYzc1YWE4MzY5NGMyZmU3OTQ

Take care,


My experience with VCV has been rather different. Apparently, the software isn't multiprocessor-capable, and it runs into critical limitations when it exhausts the capacity of a single core among the 16 that it should have at its disposal here. If it could use the rest of the capacity, it would be an outright monster...but in its current iteration, it's best kept to simple builds, especially if any of the sample-based modules are in use.

I like the idea, I like what it could represent...but that limitation is a serious problem for me.

I have been playing with VCV to get my head around some aspects of modular, but still I am getting tired of clicking on a screen. Also having to dig around third party modules for VCV to do some basic stuff gets a bit boring (0.6.0 I hear should help that though).

My initial thought was to buy modules slowly and use VCV rack with the modules but so far that isn't happening.

I reckon the Behringer Neutron is going to be something that I get as it's got plenty of patch points.

I don't have such a problem with using the computer to manipulate controls, etc, probably because I've been doing that so long I either don't notice, or VCV's UI coding is good enough that it doesn't drive me up the wall. As a basic learning tool for the underlying concepts of modular synthesis, I'd have to say that it's unparalleled at this point. Everything behaves like it should, albeit up to a point.

That point is, as I noted, when VCV Rack runs into its processor limitation. And I wasn't too pleased when I got a snarky reply from the developer as to the possibility of it having multiprocessor capabilities in the future. To me, that's a problem, and it's also a problem when the primary developer refers to a professional musician as a 'layperson', as if the point of the VCV project is the coding and not the end-use. It struck me as unprofessional, and gave me certain concerns for the long-term usability of VCV at a large-scale level if the intentions don't involve creating something pro-grade. For cobbling 20-30 modules together to do virtual basic builds, it's fine. But if I want to construct something extremely complex and sizable as to scale...as I've found...it's not going to work after a certain point because timing issues, severe audio glitches, and the like begin to creep in as it hits the top-end limit of the sole processor core it runs on. That's unacceptable as far as I'm concerned.

Consequently, I've been doing a lot less long-term work with it over the past week, after discovering that critical limitation and the developer's apparent unwillingness/inability to address it. I'll keep an eye on it, however, and hopefully this will get dealt with by the time we reach the 1.0 iteration...but I'm not holding my breath.

As for the Behringer Neutron...again, not holding my breath. It took them quite some time to start delivering the Model D in any sizable quantities after making it 'available' to retailers, and despite the fact that some beta users have prototypes, to me, that means nothing. My suggestion would be to avoid Uli's vaporware and instead look at patchables from manufacturers that put product out, instead of teasing about it until hell freezes over; IMHO, Uli Behringer needs to shut the f**k up, quit trolling certain forums to cadge marketing ideas, and stop doing cheezeball renders of 'new products' and hyping his 'development' of things that, frankly, already existed and which shouldn't require much 'developing' in order to bring them up to speed for the 21st century.