I’m a full-time producer with a well-equipped studio, but I didn’t have an analog synth until I got my MOTHER-32. I’m learning that I can get more out of its one oscillator than I thought! It sounds great, like moog always does when someone brings one into the studio. I feel that I’m ready to pick up another VCO now (the dixie ii+ looks right for me), and maybe a 2nd envelop generator with more parameters (ADSR to add to the single AD on MOTHER-32).

Here’s my concern: Am I on my way to building a more expensive, clunkier Sub-37? Am I missing the point of modular by getting common components to ultimately augment and run through my MOTHER-32?

Thanks, guys!

That's always the question, isn't it? I've got a nice little 7u and a M32 and it's a ton of fun with a myriad of possibilities. So much so that it's almost a hindrance. I find myself noodling endlessly, diving down into patches for hours only to arrive at the point of exhaustion when I just shut it down and go right to sleep. No recording, no song, just the moment I've enjoyed on my own with some headphones on so as not to keep my wife and kids up all night. I often wonder if would I be working more effectively on the backlog of songs in various states of completion with something less open ended like a Sub 37, or an 0-coast even.

Yes, you are on your way to building something more expensive and clunkier than a Sub 37. Is it worth it? I really can't say. I'm still trying to figure that one out myself.

You're absolutely building something more expensive than a fixed architecture synth. You're also building something that's arguably more flexible than a Sub 37. What's done with that flexibility will certainly vary from person to person. Have fun with it, and if you're not finding yourself as productive as you would like to be, you can always sell things off without much loss – especially if you've been buying modules used.

This all depends on what modules you use, and how many you use. But either way, you are most certainly building something with far more flexibility than a preconfigured synth. Even with just a few modules, you can vastly outperform the Sub37. Makes Noise DPO, and Make Noise Maths, with a Korgasmatron and a basic sequencer has far more capabilities than the Sub37 and for around the same price. Of course the Sub37 has a keyboard and can save your work — but if that's your main concern, you might want to think about an Analog Keys with their new Overbridge capability.

Here's the thing — and it's also a response to a previous commenter — the modular world isn't necessarily about having an easy tool to get those sounds that you like. Trust me, if you go searching for a sound, you'll find a leprechaun first. Not even the engineers of these modules can tell you exactly what is happening once you create a complex patch. So trying to find to a sound that you heard before, or are envisioning, is a very difficulty task (unless we're talking a straight up gritty bass - that's pretty easy). These things are best used as a springboard for creativity. Set up a patch without even considering what the outcome will be — close your eyes, twist some nobs and listen. You'll find a little something in there that you can build a song around. Record it and chop it up. It's like any instrument — the more you play it, the deeper you can go. I've played guitar for 25+ years, and the vast majority of my songs started out from me noodling around until I stumbled upon a nice riff. It's the same with a modular synth.

If you want the classic sounds of a Prophet or a Moog — buy those instruments. If you want a completely new world of inspiration — one that you've created yourself — build a EuroRack.

Happy Twisting!

Well, the point with modular, as far as I am concerned, is to be able to connect "characteristics" of your choice. One set of modules in a setup each have distinct characters, compared to modules in a different setup. This is sort of the point of modular. With two setups or more, or just a larger set of modules, you can combine the individual modules and generate unique timbres. So where does one draw the line then?

The crux of course, is to know whether a module directly compares with one you already have. Most modules likely try have something unique, but the difference can be very subtle, and not worth the expense. On the other hand, and unfortunately for any owner, there are also times when you find a module that is basically the same as what you already got, but with one or two features/capabilities that makes it difficult to justify not exchanging modules, which becomes expensive over time.

There is a recent video from Pittsburgh modular about their 'Primary Oscillator' in which the person states somewhere along the line of, there are so many modules that produce the typical analog waveforms that we wanted to do something not done before. This, to me, sort of reflects on the point of the above. Of course, people will argue until the end of time whether two modules are basically sound the same (or not). Nuances, oscilloscope readings and subjective variety. You have to do a bit of research yourself.

Personally, I would go for something that you do not already have. Meaning, if you already have something that will basically do for you, what the Dixie II+ will do, then why get another one? People will argue for and against this and that, but the bottom line is that it is your money, not theirs. If you are going to spend on something, go for what is going to expand your sound palette.

Or look at it this way, why BUY two shades of blue, when you can mix the one shade of blue with something else and make your own shade of blue? Perhaps if money is not an object, but then what is the fun in that. :) Why not get yellow, which enables you to make your own green, and so on.

Actually, the 'full-time producer with a well-equipped studio' part is the most perplexing thing here, given that you're just NOW getting a rather basic analog patchable. I detect hyperbole.

Anyway, the point of modular is this: when you've exhausted the normal potentialities of existing synth architectures, this allows you to toss all of that out the window and start with your own definitions about how to generate and manipulate sound. Even with the plethora of buttons and knobs that a Sub37 has, you're still dealing with a fixed sound generation path. But when there's no fixed path, you're free to define all of that yourself. Now, if you know synthesis methods pretty well, this isn't a problem. But if not...well, there's potentially a BIG problem.

Consider: two different model kits. One, you have step-by-step directions, plastic parts that snap together, a tube of glue, and decals. The other consists of a number of appropriately-sized pieces of wood, a picture of the end-result, and you're expected to have your own tools, paint, and glue/fasteners. Modular is like the second example. You have the parts...but you have to make them into something. Whereas prebuilds give you the parts, the basics, and all you have to do is twist knobs and such. Most anyone can build the former kit. The latter one is for when you've mastered the former variety and know exactly how to turn those basics into something amazing.

Granted, it wasn't always this way, since back when all of this started, the only choice was modular, period. And this is part of the problem, because modular has this 'cachet' from that history that makes it 'sexier'. But it doesn't make it necessary, because these days, for a large percentage of applications, it's not. I use both modular and non-modular synths, myself...some work perfectly for certain tasks, others are perfect for others.

If you want to know 'why modular?', go back and study the history of synthesizers, back into the pre-synth 'classical studio' period first. Know why they were developed in the first place. And then why the first prebuilts came into existence. And how the first polysynths were developed out of those. And so on. And then, why people DIDN'T use them for quite a while...which is also very important. Understand your instrument...which, as a 'full-time producer', is technically the studio but unless you understand its origins, and the origins of key subcomponents, you're not either. Anyone can say that; walk it, instead. Just sayin'.

The Dixie II is a very vanilla oscillator. Having a third oscillator isn't bad if you're wanting a three voice architecture. I'm not familiar with the Mother-32 architecture itself, so I would ask how do you intend to use this third voice and mix it into the signal flow of the Mother-32?

Once you have that figured out, you may want to go with the Rubicon II if you want to stick with Intellijel. It will give you more options than the Dixie and a ton more in waveforms. Plus it does "thru-zero", which may be something you're interested in.

If you're looking to expand the Mother-32, you may want to consider going for effects and modulation rather than another discrete VCO (unless you plan on modulating with that VCO). You can get some new sounds with the use of wave-folders, complex LFO generators, ring modulators, etc.

As to being a full-time producer, modular is expensive on the bottom-line in both cash and TIME. Playing around with Eurorack to get something you can cook up on a traditional synth isn't a very effective use of time. If you want something special with a bunch of unique modulation, then Eurorack just might be the ticket. But the biggest down-side is that once you pull your patches, they are GONE and can't ever be recreated exactly, even if you remember/document your exact settings.

Okay... that's all my opinion and take it with a grain of salt.

I started of because I had a moog minitaur and I wanted to use something similar to its filter in in stereo. So I bought a mmvcf (which I am selling now btw because I found out that stereo is overhyped lol). 3 years down the rabbit hole I own about 6000 euros worth of eurocrack modules. I have not finished many tracks in the last 3 years but I have played spontaneous live set and I feel that I have vastly progressed in my understanding of electronic music.
And: I am slowly finding my own language in music, unique tones that I like and feel like I own. Big helpers there where wavefolders and the like. Also not trying to emulate classical synthesizer pathways but patching more freely (modules sometimes patch into themselves etc).

Now to the question of adding a Dixie to the mother. A friend went exactly down that road. Needless to say he sold his mother and now has a 2 row 80hp system with the Dixie, ripples, vcf 74, some mutable things etc.
And also: the best 2nd Osc for a mother and the only one that really works to do that: being the 2nd Osc for a mother is... Another mother :).

So tread carefully... :)

I started wanting a Behringer Neutron. That was delayed by about six months of waiting. In the mean time, I filled an Intellijel 104 case save 3HP. When the Neutron arrived, I just threw it on the pile.

I find Eurorack is about discovering me. The BIGGEST challenge is discovering the way that )I( work... not my modules. For example, I loath menus and secret button presses (hold this while turning that). Temps Utile, O_C, the Disting, and I have a love hate relationship that's more hate than love. So I probably will progress with more modules that have dedicated functionality and more intuitive interfaces, analog, interfaces.

I see in my future a BitBox Ver 1 for sampling and looping, probably a few TipTop drum modules, uBurst, an Eloquencer, a mixer, a boatload of Joranalogue, and another Intellijel case, inverted so the 1U is at the bottom and I can use Quadrats as modulation controls and submixers.