Total synth beginner here. I bought a Mother-32 at the Moog factory after taking their tour, and have noodled around with it and watched lots on YouTube over the last year. Now I want to expand and explore, so I ordered a DFAM, two Moog 60HP Eurorack cases (yes, I should have gotten 2x 104HP, but this actually gets me more space for modules), and several modules to start.

Here's my current plan: https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_730184.jpg

All that empty space exists in the top bay because today I ordered that second 60HP Moog case. In fact, I have already ordered everything you see there except the four Intellijel modules. I think I made a cognitive mistake in ordering the Abstract Data 3xVCA as it has no knobs to control the output voltage, only CV inputs, so I'll probably have to get another VCA as well. I have no idea how I will use the MATHS, but apparently I need it, so I ordered it. Growth space is a concern, so that's what drove me to order the narrow 4HP Frequency Central System X Envelope and to design in the 2HP Intellijel buffered mult.

Based on my plan, (a) what mistakes have I already made, and (b) what have I completely overlooked?

(For context, I have a lifelong interest in music, though I've mostly played guitar, sung, and played classical piano as a kid. My original intent in buying the Mother-32 was to get some traditional Moog sounds with a MIDI keyboard and be done. Now I'm liking the ambient stuff and the rhythmic modular stuff I'm hearing on YouTube. I'm not so interested in the more chaotic or abrasive stuff. I also have a Korg Minilogue which I have not explored much, but would like to integrate. I also have a MOD Duo from www.moddevices.com, which will serve as my infinite off-board effects unit, hence the Rosie output module with an "effects loop.")

Thanks for any insights!!


Decent start, I think...but be very careful about module depths with the Moog skiffs. They aren't exactly symmetrical, bottom-wise, and that can restrict the possible choices of modules. Best rule of thumb with those is to stay under 35mm depth (I think you get 40 or so, maximum, in practical terms). Alternately, consider going to a different housing and use the Moogs in a double-tier configuration alongside.

As for the Korg, the only direct interconnection options you have with the modular is via the SYNC ports, which use a positive 'click' sync. This isn't exactly the same as what the Moogs use, which is a positive-going 5V pulse. However, they might still sync nicely via this, given that the threshold value for the Moogs is 3.2V and they react (according to the docs) to anything in that range having a 1msec leading edge. Still, it may make more sense to sync via MIDI clock between the Korg and Moogs, and then use the Moogs to 'translate' trigger/gate functions for the rest of the Eurorack modules. The Korg would also make for a better controller overall, instead of the M32's 'chiclet' keys.

Thanks for the tips. Yeah, I've had to rule out a few modules based on depth. Based on spec, up to 49mm should be OK, but now I'm worried about the asymmetry you mention. I will hold off on ordering any more modules until I get my current orders in hand and test them out in the case.

With the second 60HP case, I have the luxury of adding a few other components, so I'm thinking a VCA with knobs (Erica Synths Polivoks...?) and maybe the Batumi LFO (which I've seen some glowing reviews of), subject, of course, to depth constraints. Another option is to replace some of the Intellijel modules I've sketched out (VCO, Filter, Mult, and Quantizer) with some other ones which could now be wider. I'm open to any inputs on that!

Thanks again,

I'm a noob myself, but on a similar path / starting point so thought I would chime in. I wanted to build a modular system to get a lot of standard vintage lead and bass sounds and have a lot of control, but then also get really crazy with heavily modulated / textural sounds too.
ModularGrid Rack
Of the above rack, I have the Mother 32 and the Blue Lantern Looping Envelope so far, and the rest is just a bare bones plan for future purchases. For lead sounds, having a true fully adjustable ADSR gives you more control than the limited envelope generator the M32 has. Plus, since I want to do some ambient / layered / textural stuff, having a looping envelope with CV input free to modulate things other than the VCA will definitely come in handy.
A second utility VCO, with sine and triangle waves, gives waveforms the M32 doesn't have already. A clean sine wave is often the starting point for ambient sounds.
A "pluck" sound source like Mutable Instruments Rings, or the 2HP Pluck is a popular sound that works well in rhythmic ambient stuff.
The Tides is on my list mainly for the variety of LFO waveforms possible, since it can help create some slow, evolving modulated patches, though there are tons of LFOs to choose from, many with CV control.
Some variant of Clouds is a definite for my planned rack, to mangle and stretch sounds.
Effects like delay and reverb are important if you want to go down the ambient road. I don't have any here because I have that all outboard already.
I actually had a Korg Minilogue and sold it to help fund starting a Modular. Most of the stuff it did that I liked, like brassy pad sounds, can be done so easily in a softsynth like Korg's Mono/Poly vst that's available for $50. I don't miss it that much, especially for leads and arpeggios.

Tides is nice due to the long cyclical periods available. Another useful modulation generator for long, generative work is the 4ms PEG which can have a great deal of variance in cycle duration/phase, plus there's a lot to be said for the various iterations of the Serge VCS (ie: Maths, Doepfer A-171-2, etc) for similar work, especially in tandem with the others. That module can also double as a user-definable-waveshape oscillator/LFO with the waveshape under CV.

As for ambient sounds, I tend to stay away from simple sine waves, since they have no harmonics that allow them to 'rise' in the mix. Instead, if I can make use of more complex waveforms and then slowly modulate their spectra via subtractive methods or, if using digital generation, by modulating the different formants themselves, this tends to give me a result that catches the ear better. It tends to mean more work in terms of programming effective sounds, but the final result is that I can have simpler compositional structures that more effectively draw a listener into the patterning, and with the gradual timbral shifting, this can be played out over rather long durations. Plus, it's worth noting that one of the most effective and beloved ambient works, Brian Eno's "1/1", has very little in the way of time-based processing aside of some basic 'room' reverberance. There's loads of different ways to approach ambient music.

Thanks for the thoughts on this. I'm liking the idea of Rings or Pluck, and Tides. I've thought about Clouds. Somehow, my intent is to try to keep things as analog as possible until I have really exhausted myself in that realm, and only then add digital effects like Clouds, or things like wavetable VCOs (thinking Erica Synths here). With my MOD Duo (www.moddevices.com), I will have tons of offboard effects.

I guess this will all start to come together once I play with what I have already ordered for a while, and start to realize what I, personally, feel I'm missing. If anyone can recommend replacements for the four Intellijel modules I have not yet ordered (or confirm they are just awesome), that would be great: Dixie II (not Plus), uVCF, Mult, and uScale.

Also, inputs on my (rash?) decision to get a VCA with only CV and no knobs would be great. I was figuring I could control it with the Maths... And finally, now that I have room, I'm thinking of adding a dedicated LFO like the quad Batumi (but should I really be looking at Tides? Or can I get by for a while with only the Dixie II and Maths)?

Again, these are really noob questions, and a lot will likely become very clear when I plug it all in...!


The DixieII is a bit limiting, compared to the II+. However, my sugestion would be to sidestep these altogether and look at a Doepfer A-110-6 instead. This gives you TZFM, both LFO and VCO operation, and quadrature outputs so that you can have synced but phase-different LFO curves. Complex, both as a modulation and audio source. As for the rest of the Intellijel stuff, makes sense to me. Another modulation suggestion might be the Doepfer A-171-2, which is more or less half of a Maths and is derived from the classic Serge VCS...this would give you CVable waveshape/duration from LFO range up into audio and it can also act well as a two-stage EG. Not a bad compliment to a Maths at all.

Thanks for the tips. I will look into all those modules. I need to balance complexity (i.e. stuff I will never fully comprehend) and my desire for nice, pure, analog simplicity, with the fact that I don't want to start off buying stuff I'll immediately want to replace. So I'll give the VCO a rethink and look into the Doepfer!