Hey Modular World,

So my first rack consists of

6U Rack Brute Arturia case
Arturia power
Moog - Mother 32
Moog - DFAM
Qubit -Chord
Make Noise - Maths

I have 4hp left and need to figure out what to put it.

Do i need a VCA? i think i need some kind of stereo/ headphone module?

Please help!!! thank you!!!

Actually, you should only have 3 hp left, which is actually a bit worse than 4.

I'm looking at a build of what you're describing here, and it seems to me that you may have painted yourself into a corner, so to speak. The problem stems from a couple of things:

1) The Moog synths should probably stay in their own cabs. That way, you have them under their own power supplies, and they have their own audio outs (and can be used for the Rackbrute's audio out, in theory). This would then free up 120 hp in the Arturia cab. Plus, the DFAM + M32 combo in Moog's double-cab stand looks ass-kickin'.

2) You seem to be falling into the 'sexy module trap'. Yeah, some of these might look really killer and seem to pack loads of function if you base that concept on module size. However, this is a real problem, because both assumptions are often pretty wrong. Now, I will note that in the case of the Maths, it's a correct assumption...but maybe not so much with the Chord. While it looks like a must-have, it's actually more of a specialized device. It's also 28 hp, which is a bad idea for inclusion in a limited space rack. If this were something designed specifically for polyphonic use, which is what Qu-bit's quad stuff excels at, that would be a good choice...but then the Moogs would be a lousy choice. Or if you were doing a lot of sequencer-based generative stuff, the Chord would be awesome, but that doesn't seem to be the point of this cab.

The truth is, you need to be looking at smaller modules if you're going to go for maximum function in a 2 x 88hp cab. And you also want to look at what I call 'boring' modules...because in of themselves, they might be boring, but in tandem with one or two other devices, they open up those devices' potential massively. And again, these same 'boring' modules can also open up the Moog devices' potential.

Case in point: a comparator. Ladik makes one that fits in 4 hp, looks boring. Just emits a gate in a few ways when a voltage threshold gets crossed. Ho-hum.

Now, take that same boring comparator and feed a weird CV curve into it off of the Maths. Send the gate to an EG that treats an incoming gate as indicating a 'hold' state. Now, feed that envelope to a linear VCA that has a CV out from a sequencer passing thru it so that the envelope controls the VCA's passing CV level. Now, send that resulting voltage on to a VCO, but gate the VCO so that audio doesn't pass when the comparator's level is 'low'. OK...now jam all of that activity into only 16 hp.

Impossible? Well, I'm looking at that very thing in this other browser window over here...

Yeah, some modules look dull, some seem like they're too small to do the job, and so on. Not true, though. This is just a basic example of what presumably 'underpowered' modules can do, in conjunction with other sleepy-looking stuff.

My suggestion...like I said, re-cab the Moogs and free up your space. Keep the two modules that you do have, and figure out how to anchor an auxiliary cab around them, one that compliments the functions of the Moogs. But before doing that, spend some (a lot) of time on MG studying others' builds, and spend a lot of time with the Moogs to discover their strengths and weaknesses, and how each could be made better by subsections in the Arturia cab build, keeping your module sizes small to jam maximum function in minimum space. In the end, you'll wind up with a much more powerful system with a lot more complexity and capability.

Wow, thanks for the thorough answer here. Extremely helpful. Although, still a bit overwhelmed.

If i were to keep with this set up for awhile, how do you i play them all at once? do you i need to patch each module into an outside mixer. Is there an 3hp or 2hp that would provide me with mixing ability and headphone and stereo out?

I totally agree with you about spending all my time working with the mother 32 and the dfam but i was hoping to keep them all in the same rig to be efficient with space (small apartment). Its definitely my plan to pull the moogs out eventually, but my thought now was to bring them all together in a rack and learn them and store them easily.

Interesting, about what you are saying about using the moogs as audio out for the rackbrute though...

I don't know, kind of lost....

Well, there's the Erica Pico Out...that's a 3 hp stereo out module with a headphone amp. But trying to cram both functions into the same remaining 3 hp will be virtually impossible. The other idea would be to use a Erica Pico CV Mix...this is a DC-coupled 3 to 1 mixer, and with that you can mix both audio and control voltages. CV mixers have to be DC-coupled, since you can't pass extremely low frequency signals such as LFOs or DC voltage values via an AC-coupled mixer. Those are for audio only. The reason I'm suggesting that particular mixer is because you can use it for mixing modulation curves out of the Maths when you need to do that, or for an audio mixer when that's called for.

As for using the Moogs as outputs, there are several points into which you can patch on the M32 to put a synth-level signal into it as part of its signal flow. Probably the best points for audio would be one of the VC Mix inputs, probably the HPF patchpoint (Mix 2), as that lets you keep the low-pass engaged for your M32's signal and you can CV the mix between that and the audio signals on the rack. As for CV signal patchpoints...anything that notes that it's a CV function on the M32's patchpanel will take a CV or modulation signal. So for example, to modulate the LFO's speed you'd patch in a signal from one side of the Maths, set that up with the slopes you want, config it to loop, and then your M32's LFO time is sweeping up and down. The DFAM has similarly-usable patchpoints on it also. Not quite sure, however, if the Moogs want to see line-level audio or synth-level at their "Ext Audio" patchpoints, but a bit of experimentation can sort that out.

Best thing I could suggest is: study this site. This pretty much IS the compendium for everything modular on the Internet with the exception of cases, which are one of the few parts of a modular synth that MG doesn't cover. But if it goes IN the case, 99.9 times out of 100, it's here. But read up on what the basic modules do, for starters. Muff Wiggler: also helpful, plus spending some time on Doepfer's website seeing how their modules function (Dieter is good about going into detail) isn't a bad idea at all.

As for taking up space, you will find...sooner or later...that electronic music equipment somehow breeds like rats and overtakes everything. Expect it.

As far as limited space:
Get the Moogs out of the rack as Lugia suggested.

Here are some recommendations:
Expert Sleepers Disting Mk4. I find it clunky to use. But for the price and the space it's hard to beat. The module offers a lot of functionality. I used it as a wildcard in my patches as well as a great sampler (not musical but like a box of chocolates) of functionality. Do I need a dedicated quantizer, precision adder, etc? If I find myself using a particular function over and over, I probably should investigate buying a dedicated module for that functionality.

Ornaments and Crime/Temps Utile (micro versions): Each one is around the $250 mark. They are multi-function modules as well. Same principle as above.

The Disting is 4HP, the OC and TU are 8HP each. So for $700 and 20HP you get a boatload of functionality for a very young rack. As you learn more and want to expand your capabilities you can grow your rack around them.