I'm pretty new to all this and have been thinking about buying a Dreadbox NYX or an Atlantis. Since I found this site I've been wondering what it would take to build a modular rack that would be similar to the above semi-modular systems. Could you build one on your own that would sound as good, have all the functions, and not cost as much? Or would it cost more to build a fully modular system?

I've been looking at all the parts myself but there are so many things and most people builds on here seem to be really over the top. So, I thought I'd ask here first and see what kinds of system ya'll would suggest.


Why not both? Get a patchable for your basic functions, then build up a skiff or two (or three, four, etc) with more esoteric things. For eample, a Plankton ANTS! would be nice and cost-effective, but just dropping something like Happy Nerding's FM Aid in that mix to tamper with the ANTS!'s VCOs and allow TZFM makes that $599 box WAY scarier for just the cost of that one module! Add several more, and that simple little patchable can turn into a holy terror for not a pile of cash.

This is sort of my plan for my Digisound 80, actually...adding patchables to build it up, for cheap, into a (rather portable!) monster that cuts the mustard for both studio and live use. Other stuff, certainly, will come along later...but being able to add two of those boxes plus, say, a Modulor114 and a Keystep (on hand already) will turn the original 22-module Digi into something capable of some major sonic heavy lifting. Just an example...

Thanks for the reply!

Yeah, what you are saying makes sense. I like that FM aid for sure.

Yesterday I went to Control here in Brooklyn to see what they had on hand. Spent maybe an hour there playing around with the ton of gear they have setup. After playing with a few of oscillators I kept coming back to the Mangrove by Mannequins. There is something about that module that just sounds so good to my ears.

In my setup I want to be able to send midi data from Ableton and receive the audio signal back. So after talking with the guys there for a bit I came up with this basic setuip if I were to go this route.

ModularGrid Rack

I wonder in this setup if the Maths and Dynamix are a bit redundant or not.

This is also a much bigger expense than just getting a NYX, especially once a case is included, and I'd still need more modules to get up to the same functionality, but damn, that Mangrove sounds good. Since I am just working on music in my spare time for fun I wonder if I really want to go down this rabbit hole or not.....still undecided.

Any idea, if I wanted to build my own case, where I would get the rails and all the parts needed for power?

Synthrotek seems like a best bet if you're going to DIY your skiff somehow. I think their current green/red/blue Super Power setups offer a nice, easy integrated solution, since they tandem with their Noise Filtering busboards. Or, you could just go with a small case that has the built-in power from them as well; a 4U portable case also offers a 1U row for utility tiles (not the Intellijel format, tho) that can increase functionality on basics for cheap.

Dynamix might be a bit pointless, since my take is to go with something denser/cheaper. MATHS, however, is NEVER pointless. It's nothing but sheer CV functionality in 20hp. Do consider an LPG of some kind for easy timbral/dynamic control in a tight hp situation, though.

As for cost, I've used the following rule-of-thumb for quite some time in figuring Eurorack (and other) format cost control:

PRICE / hp = cost-per-hp.

The lower you can make that resultant product from that equation and still get the bang-for-buck you want, the better. This also predisposes one toward more sizable panels, but this isn't always the case, and the end-result isn't generally so control-dense that it makes navigating a patch and working with it in realtime a hideous chore.

The Dynamix is NOT useless in this setup, in fact it is a great choice for a more west-coast type of audio processing, it's two transistor based LPGs with overdrive and sidechain compression, and can even be used as a VCA. Also, I wouldn't recommend anything from synthrotek, especially not their power supplies which are known for catching on fire. There are plenty of better DIY options out there, including one from Dreadbox(https://www.dreadbox-fx.com/hades-diy/). I would recommend looking at modules by RYO, 4ms, befaco, bastl, and particularly Frequency Central, who makes a whole line of SH-101 clone modules.

Hadn't known that point about the Synthrotek P/S flammability issue. Filed for reference. I've also been looking very recently at Koma's Strom and Strom+ setups, too...the ability to daisychain either above OR below the control surface has some appeal, and their busboard cabling assemblies are beefy things plus the tri-color LED rail load indication is extremely handy. More expensive, but I think they might prove to be a 'worth the expense' option.

As for the Dynamix, though...I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to getting that Buchla 'plook' from the LPG, and without the Vactrols, it's just not apt to have that behavior. If staying in the MakeNoise environment was a must, the Optomix makes more sense from an audio standpoint, but I think either are a bit spendy for just two LPGs + a few extra functions. Beyond that, though, the rest of that behavior is likely better done with a few small separate modules: DC-coupled linear VCAs for CV modulation, some added dynamics modules (especially with that opto audio envelope tail!) and distortion post or pre-LPG as needed, etc. Especially if that point about a 4U case with a tile row comes into play, as VCA and Vactrol tiles are quite cheap things, plus an overdrivable signal amp for nastiness in that format is easy, too.