Hi guys,

I'm currently exploring the idea of this amazing thing called eurorack, but I just found out that the cases are like 10 times more expensive than the modules........ Am I missing something here or what?

I would like to build a synth overtime that I can use on the stage (electronica/techno), and I was thinking about a 12U case, but prices are over 1k euro's so I quickly decided there is no way I can afford that ON TOP of the modules themselves.. 6U has crazy prices too, so I guess I might be looking in the wrong places.

I am definitely considering getting everything 2nd hand, but I know that modular stuff usually doesn't drop in price too much, so really what I'm asking here is, are there any affordable (preferrably portable) cases for sale out there or does everyone in fact build their own? (I'm not very good when it comes to electrical shit...)

Probably this has been asked 1million times before and I have skipped through some pages on the forum trying to find it, but forgive me for not finding my answer. I'm also new to this forum.

Thanks in advance and best wishes for 2017 everyone ;)
Precursor


Case+ a good power supply is definitely not cheap, but I think not significant compared to the cost of modules that fill them. e.g. I got my Make Noise skiff used for $185 on ebay, a nice wood 6U case with 5A of TipTop power for $375 from a friend, which is about as good as it gets. Takes some time and patience for the deals.


...I just found out that the cases are like 10 times more expensive than the modules........ Am I missing something here or what?
-- Precursor

Well, cases and power are not exactly cheap. It seems hard to justify a 4 digit amount on a case if you can hardly afford the modules to fill it. Well you don't have to go that expensive. You could DIY build two 6Ux84/104 HP cases with a uZeus and a Toshiba brick each and get away with 300 EUR for 4 rows. Fill that with second hand Doepfers. Yeah right it won't be a fancy FRAP Tools Uno or somesuch but it will be doable on a budget and it will get you going FAST. Once you have that running you can kick back and wait for opportunities.


After much researching I ended up going for the TipTop Mantis case.

Its made out of plastic though, but a very good power supply comes with it for the low cost.

My second alternative was to go down the 3U power module route from either TipTop Audio or 4ms and build a custom case and buy the rails etc.

Yea the branded wood cases are very expensive.


I should also that Synthracks have very nice cases:
https://synthracks.com/6u-eurorack-cases

They also have a bunch of things like rails, rail brackets, helpful things with custom case building:
https://synthracks.com/rails-frames
https://synthracks.com/fixings

for a 6U case I would probably go for a 2x 3U TipTiop Audio uZeus power supplies and for larger builds such as 9U I would maybe consider a 3U TipTop Audio Dual Access connecting to 3x TipTop Audio Studio Bus Boards

http://www.tiptopaudio.com/zeusmicro.php
http://www.tiptopaudio.com/zeusxs.php?goto=dual
http://www.tiptopaudio.com/zeussb.php
http://www.tiptopaudio.com/zeusbua.php

4ms Pedals also offer a great range of power supply for eurorack:
http://www.4mspedals.com/rp-overview.php

Hope some of this info helps you on your eurorack adventures.


Thanks for the great help everyone. I was almost giving up on this whole idea after reading about DIY cases that cost between 400-500 euro's... And then the 'custom' ones ranging from 1-1.5k .... That's nowhere near my budget. I'm thinking of postponing my ideas to the summer when I'll have some more time to build it myself, but the synth racks looked quite affordable. Perhaps I'll start with one of those.

If anyone has other alternatives or ideas (or selling a 2nd hand case w/ power supply lol) I'm still all ears as I'm trying to navigate myself a little bit before spending hundreds of euro's :)

Cheers,
Precursor


...DIY cases that cost between 400-500 euro's... >
-- Precursor

You did notice the 300 EUR figure in my previous post?

That is, case including power.


My 6U 104 hp TipTop Audio case was only 300 GBP, no custom building or time wasting needed.

I have already out grown this size within a month or 2 though, a 9U 126 hp or 168 hp is what I will need eventually I think, but for now not so worried about it because its pretty safe to say 2 out of the 3 rows will be filled with sequencers, clocks, utilities and the likes.

It just depends what you want to do and how you want to go about it, but for your case it sounds like a pre made case might be a better choice for you.

My Eurorack has been sitting idle for months while I slowly buy a bunch of modules that will allow me to make sounds. Live performing, sequencing and extra utilities is for the future.

Some recommendations would be a Doepfer case, TipTop Audio Mantis, or some other not so large 3U or 6U case you should be able to pick up for 300 EUR more or less.

Its probably not the best idea to dive into eurorack just yet if your budget is that tight, for me I have personally accepted being homeless in turn for owning a Eurorack, loving it.

Doepfer has a DIY PSU kit aswell:
http://www.doepfer.de/a100DIYkits


@SpaceV2

I agree on what you say. If you want to get rid of your 6U case, going for a 9U one anytime in the summer I'd be up for taking it from you, so you can go bigger and I can start haha.. Anyway I don't have a big budget at the moment, so I can't start now anyway.

What I was thinking is getting the MakeNoise 0-Coast semi-modular synthesizer, once I saved a little. Then At least I'll have a soundsource. I already own a BeatStep Pro, which allows me to sequence hardware (incl. cv/gate). I think it will be a logical approach to start with the 0-Coast and the BSP, so that I can get into the idea of modular synthesis a little bit and then start to buy a 6U case (maybe 104HP) and some basic modules.

It will be nice that I'll already have a sound source then and some sort of adsr control and parameter controls. Maybe once I understand the fx modules a bit, by then I'll have a better idea of what kind of modular VCO/VCA I'd want to get....
I think I'd want Math and Clouds, so it will cost a lot from the start. I can get a job in September that'll make me about 1.6k which I could completely invest into the rack and start everything up. I guess until then I will play around with the 0-Coast.

In any case it's good to see that there are options for the case. Because if you look at my budget it will probably not exceed 2k anytime soon and spending 500-1000 euro's on a case seems kinda ... pointless. I could also get a prophet desktop for like 1.4k I think it was, so that would make a lot more sense otherwise. But if I can find a 300 euro case I'd definitely be up to start about with modular synthesis :)

Thanks for all the replies guys!
Cheers,
Q / Precursor


@Precursor

Yes, its all about what you are wanting to achieve in the end and how you want to go about it.

A Prophet Desktop would be sick, but the sonic capabilities would be limited compared to eurorack. Id even go so far to say the Make Noise 0 Coast would give the Prophet a run for its money with flexibility and fun factor.
The Prophets sound sick and is obviously a beautiful synth to own, but in my opinion it depends how much Prophet sound you want in your productions or have excess money to waste on hardware. For me personally the Prophet would be great Techno, Ambient, Chill or old school John Carpenter style stuff.

Im not sure what the "BSP" is, but another option for you could be the Erica Synths Pico range, which is another little modular system.

(1) DNQAAOSw44BYV~k0" target="_blank">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Erica-Synths-Pico-Eurorack-Case-Power-Supply-42hp-/162326609458?hash=item25cb6b7e32DNQAAOSw44BYV~k0
(2) WOMAAOSwZQRYZxvV" target="_blank">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Erica-Synths-Pico-VCO-Oscillator-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302182229411?hash=item465b76e5a3WOMAAOSwZQRYZxvV

On the more expensive side of things, there are some similar options available such as:
(1) Roland System 500
(2) Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System-201
(3) Sound Machines Modulor 114

You just have to spend enough time browsing companies products to know whats out there.

Some recommendations for Cases would be:
(1) Doepfer A-100P6
(2) Doepfer A-100LC9
(3) Doepfer A-100LC3
(4) TipTop Audio Mantis
(5) Any kinds of 3U Skiff Case combined with a TipTop Audio uZeus PSU and power brick.
Heres a example of Skiff case that comes with a PSU:
(a) http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/302018843188?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
(b) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Power-6U-104HP-Case-V1-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/121962215659?hash=item1c6583b8eb

(6) Synthrotek also offer alot of cool stuff in regards to cases and psu's:
(a) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Steel-6U-84hp-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302126540028?hash=item46582524fc
(b) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Steel-9U-84hp-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302126540343?hash=item4658252637

(7) Something from SynthRacks.com
(8) Go down the custom case route by either buying side panels or making them yourself:
(a) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Erica-Synths-WOOD-SIDES-1x-6U-THICK-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/301730320410?hash=item464087501a
Buy the rails, screws, threads or sliding nuts and PSU aswell. But you need to consider to time of labour and what kind of tools you will need. Going down the pure custom case route isn't always the best option for people who do not have easy access to tools etc. Plus you would only end up saving about $200 - $300 compared to some of the options above, which is basically 1 new eurorack module, is all that effort really worth it to you ?

Hope this has helped
Goodluck


@Precursor

Yes, its all about what you are wanting to achieve in the end and how you want to go about it.

A Prophet Desktop would be sick, but the sonic capabilities would be limited compared to eurorack. Id even go so far to say the Make Noise 0 Coast would give the Prophet a run for its money with flexibility and fun factor.
The Prophets sound sick and is obviously a beautiful synth to own, but in my opinion it depends how much Prophet sound you want in your productions or have excess money to waste on hardware. For me personally the Prophet would be great Techno, Ambient, Chill or old school John Carpenter style stuff.

Im not sure what the "BSP" is, but another option for you could be the Erica Synths Pico range, which is another little modular system.

(1) DNQAAOSw44BYV~k0" target="_blank">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Erica-Synths-Pico-Eurorack-Case-Power-Supply-42hp-/162326609458?hash=item25cb6b7e32DNQAAOSw44BYV~k0
(2) WOMAAOSwZQRYZxvV" target="_blank">http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Erica-Synths-Pico-VCO-Oscillator-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302182229411?hash=item465b76e5a3WOMAAOSwZQRYZxvV

On the more expensive side of things, there are some similar options available such as:
(1) Roland System 500
(2) Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System-201
(3) Sound Machines Modulor 114

You just have to spend enough time browsing companies products to know whats out there.

Some recommendations for Cases would be:
(1) Doepfer A-100P6
(2) Doepfer A-100LC9
(3) Doepfer A-100LC3
(4) TipTop Audio Mantis
(5) Any kinds of 3U Skiff Case combined with a TipTop Audio uZeus PSU and power brick.
Heres a example of Skiff case that comes with a PSU:
(a) http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/302018843188?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
(b) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Power-6U-104HP-Case-V1-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/121962215659?hash=item1c6583b8eb

(6) Synthrotek also offer alot of cool stuff in regards to cases and psu's:
(a) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Steel-6U-84hp-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302126540028?hash=item46582524fc
(b) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Synthrotek-Cheeks-Steel-9U-84hp-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/302126540343?hash=item4658252637

(7) Something from SynthRacks.com
(8) Go down the custom case route by either buying side panels or making them yourself:
(a) http://www.ebay.com/itm/Erica-Synths-WOOD-SIDES-1x-6U-THICK-Case-EURORACK-NEW-PERFECT-CIRCUIT-/301730320410?hash=item464087501a
Buy the rails, screws, threads or sliding nuts and PSU aswell. But you need to consider to time of labour and what kind of tools you will need. Going down the pure custom case route isn't always the best option for people who do not have easy access to tools etc. Plus you would only end up saving about $200 - $300 compared to some of the options above, which is basically 1 new eurorack module, is all that effort really worth it to you ?

Hope this has helped
Goodluck
-- spaceV2

Hey thanks again for the response! I will check out the options for sure!
BSP = beatstep pro btw, its a hardware sequencer, which saves me some money on the sequencer modules and allows me to use my mfb tanzbar and korg minilogue from easy from one tool.. And hopefully, in the future, a modular synth.

I'm pretty happy about finding the 0-Coast, good chance I'm gonna get that first, but thanks so much for all the ideas, I really need to browse a lot before making decisions it seems, it's all so abundant, there's tonnes and tonnes of options and I really have no clue what's good or bad.
I agree that the prophet is probably not worth its investment, although I do make electronica/techno, so it would come in great for pads. On the other hand, honestly many soft synths make for great pads these days..............

I'm definitely down to make building a rack a summer thing, spending some time on screwing around with screws and rails and drilling holes and stuff like that.. Gotta work for your money right ;) But I'm not suuuper techy, so I'll only go down that road if I'm sure it's not too hard.

Cheers,
Q / Precursor


Make Noise make really really good stuff, I think im going to have a separate skiff case filled purely with make noise utilities in the future (If main case does not fit).
You will definitely want a Maths, theres no reason not to have one in a modular system.

Making a case isn't too hard, all you have to do is make the side panels, a base plate panel (if needed), a back plate panel (if needed), Rails and a power supply.
For custom cases just buy everything from synthracks.com, they sell sets of rails secured in brackets so its really easy to line stuff up and drill holes etc.
https://synthracks.com/shop/eurorack-frame

Then for PSU just use either:
(1) TipTop Audio uZeus module with break out cable and a Power Brick. (You can use however many uZeus you need, can have one in each row of your case etc.)
(2) TipTop Audio Dual Access module and some TipTop Audio Studio Bus Boards and a Power Brick.

The second option delivers more power and allows for 6x Studio Bus boards to be connected to 1x TipTop Audio Dual Access module, the Studio Bus boards have 14 connectors compared to the breakout cables 10 connectors just another thing to consider.

You don't need to be super techy, you just need a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the end, theres no 2 ways about it you will be spending alot of money lol.


Make Noise make really really good stuff, I think im going to have a separate skiff case filled purely with make noise utilities in the future (If main case does not fit).
You will definitely want a Maths, theres no reason not to have one in a modular system.

Making a case isn't too hard, all you have to do is make the side panels, a base plate panel (if needed), a back plate panel (if needed), Rails and a power supply.
For custom cases just buy everything from synthracks.com, they sell sets of rails secured in brackets so its really easy to line stuff up and drill holes etc.
https://synthracks.com/shop/eurorack-frame

Then for PSU just use either:
(1) TipTop Audio uZeus module with break out cable and a Power Brick. (You can use however many uZeus you need, can have one in each row of your case etc.)
(2) TipTop Audio Dual Access module and some TipTop Audio Studio Bus Boards and a Power Brick.

The second option delivers more power and allows for 6x Studio Bus boards to be connected to 1x TipTop Audio Dual Access module, the Studio Bus boards have 14 connectors compared to the breakout cables 10 connectors just another thing to consider.

You don't need to be super techy, you just need a clear idea of what you want to achieve in the end, theres no 2 ways about it you will be spending alot of money lol.
-- spaceV2

Yea I understand it's gonna cost a bit haha.
I read before aswell that the Dual Access is the better option in case you fill your rack with some energy-consuming modules, or in case you want to extend later.. I guess that's the better option?

I'm definitely getting Math and I think it makes sense to get Cloud..

I didn't really specify before what I wanted to achieve but basically what I love about the specific sound of modular synths is that somehow... the arpeggiated sounds and slow evolving melodies really sound very gooooood through other people's systems. I think it makes sense to get a good type of chorus/reverb/tape echo/delay, but then I'm not sure if I want that from within the modular system or as separate pedals... Probably a combination of the two would be most interesting.

In any case I want to use the rack on the stage. So it must be possible to use it in a useful way, without having to patch for 20 minutes. I understand that part of it will be mastering the synth and trying to remember some patch routes that work, but basically I would be running arpeggiators or sequences from my beatstep pro (BSP) and then use the modular rack as a lead synth or some sort of atmospheric pad thing if I add more reverb and sustain.

I'm sure you all know Colin Benders: he's on top of his game.....!
But yea something like these sounds (at 49min)
would be what I'm looking to get from my system in the endgame situation. Obviously it won't start like that, and I'm not looking to make the bass, pad and lead all from the modular setup, but this arp sound .. it just sounds so right!!

Cheers,
Precursor


Well unfortunately its going to cost alot more money if you want it to be a live performing rig of some sort because you need additional sequencers, clocks, dividers, multipliers, envelopes, Quad VCA's and Mixers etc that you may not have needed otherwise in a studio just being a sound generator into the DAW.

The reason why the arps sound so good is because naturally hardware oscillators are more rich and lush compared to software and the hardware sequencers are really efficient to get results with while being hands on.

It looks like Colin is using the Intellijel Metropolis sequencer, I don't think its a arpeggiater module making it happen its something he has programmed himself into the sequencer.

You can just use plugins to process further without having to buy effects modules, but a good reverb and delay is always nice to have.

I bought Clouds for pads and drones aswell ;)


I do realize I might need a bunch more clock-kind-of-modules, although I can send clock, cv and gates from both my beatstep and my tanzbar, so it should be possible to get the "arp" running with little to no extra modules. I already found out that multipliers and dividers aren't always actually that expensive, so that may not be the hardest thing to acquire. In any case, can always extend later :p Don't have to be working right from the start haha

Also drums coming from a modular synth usually don't sound that impressive to me, so I'm happy to do most of the drum sounds from my drum machines... Only thing that I think about all the time is the sidechain compressor haha, making that digitally is super easy, but howwwwwwwww would you make that in a modular setup ?!!


Depending on how many sounds you want to output from the system at any one time you may have to look into things like having multiple filters, quad VCAs, quad Mixers, to get the proper I/O in your system, but if you only want to output 1 arp / sequenced sound at a time then you don't need that stuff.

I havn't got that far into eurorack yet, so I would either presume that some compressor modules come with a side chain signal input or you might have to use something like a envelope follower, im not quite sure.

Drums are tricky, you can make them from basically anything and layer as many things as you want, everyone has a different perception on drums.


Since I already own a minilogue I think I'd just be going for one sound from the modular, perhaps later on two.
If I get a semi-modular synth the sound will start there and once I have enough money to get a second sound source (with VCO/VCA/envelope generator etc etc) I will have two sounds..

Anyway my beatstep has 3 sequencers, two for synths (1x minilogue, 1x modular) and one for drums. I would be using my MFB Tanzbär for drums and perhaps my volca beats. So yea really what I'm looking for from my modular synth is something that can function as a pad ór arp ór a bass, but not simultaneously. I can make either sounds from the minilogue aswell and atm I'm still running from Ableton Live so I could always use soft synths or samples for additional sounds.


Since I already own a minilogue I think I'd just be going for one sound from the modular, perhaps later on two.
If I get a semi-modular synth the sound will start there and once I have enough money to get a second sound source (with VCO/VCA/envelope generator etc etc) I will have two sounds..

Anyway my beatstep has 3 sequencers, two for synths (1x minilogue, 1x modular) and one for drums. I would be using my MFB Tanzbär for drums and perhaps my volca beats. So yea really what I'm looking for from my modular synth is something that can function as a pad ór arp ór a bass, but not simultaneously. I can make either sounds from the minilogue aswell and atm I'm still running from Ableton Live so I could always use soft synths or samples for additional sounds.


ah nice, you already have a bit of gear then.
It sounds like you're starting to get a better idea of what you are wanting to achieve.

Check out some live sets from Surgeon on youtube, dude does some sweet live modular techno sets. He integrates his laptop and Ableton Live into the setup by clocking his modular system from Ableton so everything is in sync, and he just plays the modular live over the top of Ableton which is playing all the bits and pieces which is too hard to integrate into a small portable live modular rig.

goodluck


Yup, I do have more or less an idea of what I want :)
I have actually seen Surgeon live once haha! Very nice indeed

Thanks for all the help anyway, it's likely that I'll build my own eurorack case to save some $$$
Might pick your brain when it comes to it...... Cheers!