looking for ideas/help choosing modules for creating ambient drone music. so far I have the moog mother 32, which i plan on keeping it outside of the rack, disting mk4 and tide. I plan on adding maths, and shades mixer/attenuverter. any help would be appreciated


Rings, Clouds, Morphagene! These 3 are practically necessities in the 'Ambient Modular' genre, if that's a genre.


Hmmm...perhaps I should quit making ambient, then. My Digisound 80 has none of those...so none of my 15+ albums of ambient work are valid anymore.

(NB: the equipment doesn't make the music. The artist does. Believing that certain pieces of equipment are "necessities" is an utter fallacy, and a great way to kill ones' creativity by becoming reliant on specific musical "crutches". If you can make incredible ambient music with a couple of steel drums, a touch of reverb and multitracking with no other electronics at all (see Stephan Micus' work for this example), then do so. But if you have to labor under the misapprehension that you MUST have X piece of gear to do Y sort of music, then quit immediately, as you're not really making something that truly speaks of who you are musically.)


I'm not trying to pretend I know what is necessary to make ambient music, or anything at all for that matter. I did say 'practically necessities', I guess what I meant is that these are the popular tools used today. Though I see that this isn't how it was interpeted.

I made the assumption here that the poster(like many others, including myself) came to modular after being inspired by current popular ambient modular artists - R Beny, Lightbath, Emily Sprague, etc. In which case these module's would be good places to look. I realize I shouldn't have made that assumption though

That being said I see no problem with following trends that speak to you. Personally my only goal is to make sounds that I enjoy listening to, and I doubt that I'm alone there.

I'm not doubting your credentials here, but I don't think anyone has the authority to tell anyone else to 'quit immediately' when it comes to creating sounds, apart from maybe my upstairs landlord.


What I would do is download VCV rack. The basic set-up is free. I believe that it comes with a knock-off of Clouds. Try your hand at producing ambient sounds in VCV rack FIRST. Once you're able to make something you like, you can emulate your set-up in a real Eurorack case. I'd get the skills first so that you know what you're looking for before spending a small fortune on what you think that you need.

As Lugia stated, you don't necessarily need to use what's currently popular for the genre. It really depends on where you want to go and what appeals to your own tastes.


Well, "quit immediately" as in stopping believing that X music MUST be done with Y devices. I recall the psychotic behavior that went on during the early phases of acid in the early 1990s, where people believed that "real techno" required every synth used to be analog, you had to have a TB-303 and other "church of Roland" accoutrements, and if your track had the ultimate bass patch, you won 1,000,000 Internets. This was incredibly stupid, and I know for a fact that as the prices of 303s, etc started to skyrocket to nosebleed levels, that false notion DID stop people from trying with whatever they could get their hands on. The 303 went from a "we pay you to get it out of here" device to something that was eventually pulling down wads of cash in the $3k range. And unless your dad was an investment banker, you weren't getting one.

And even crazier than this was the fact that, when you go back and review classic tracks out of Detroit or Chicago from the late 1980s and early 1990s, while you do find some artists using these (esp. Larry Heard, who kicked that 303 acid sound off with "Washing Machine" c. 1987), you would also find a lot of digital synths and off-brand things in peoples' arsenals. Hell, one of the Belleville Three, Derrick May, did tons of his basslines on a cheap Yamaha DX-100, such as on "Nude Photo" and kickstarted the "house piano" riff thing using a Korg M1 on "Strings of Life". No analog in those, nope.

So, yeah...I'm a definite believer in the idea that if you possess the ability to make music, you can make something just as good with a Pringles can, a pencil, a mic and a loop pedal as you could with a moving van full of TB-303s and TR-808s (another device that went into economic extinction during that same nonsense). The GEAR is only a tool and the MUSICIAN creates, not the other way around.


Oh ok, I'm glad to hear you weren't telling me to quit making music, that took me back a bit!

But ya woah, I didn't know about all that craziness business.. I have wondered why 303s and 808s went for so much money, especially since there was passable clones on the market by the time I came around. I mean a Minimoog I could sort of understand, but ya that explains it a bit.

I understand where you're coming from though, if gear made the musician than the best musicians would also be the richest who could afford the most and coolest gear, which obviously isn't how things typically work out.
That said the OP was looking for Ambient module recommendations, and so telling him to grab a Pringles can and a pencil might not be the most appropriate advice! :P

Now, not to further derail this thread with our pish posh:

I didn't really consider OP's current setup when giving my last recommendations, since you already have Mother 32/Tides/Disting/Maths, maybe a nice effect module would be a nice place to look next, some ideas: Strymon Magneto, Intellijel Rainmaker, MI Clouds, Make Noise Erb-Verb, Tiptop Z-DSP... The list of cool effect module's could be near endless.


Right...that period of hyperinflation of analog synths started about 1992, was in full swing everywhere by 1994. Up until then, used synths could be bought for prices that made (and to my reckoning, still do make) sense. But watching things go full-on crazy where prices for a monosynth such as a Pro-One, one of which I bought used in mid-1993 for $80, suddenly and unwarrantedly exploded to something like $750 by the start of 1995...none of this made any sense whatsoever from a purely economic standpoint. But when you encountered a lot of the buzz on the Internet, in print media, and ESPECIALLY through Mark Vail's "Vintage Synthesizers" book where arguments were being pushed that these devices were essential...then it made sense. Or rather, more obvious, yet still utterly senseless.

Anyway, pointing the OP toward effects actually makes more sense. Consider: Brian Eno's "Thursday Afternoon", one of the landmark ambient albums of all time, really has very little going on as far as musical events. What carries the weight in there is actually some elaborately-crafted time-domain processing work. These also offer a wide variety of possible results within an ambient palette, since the real key to that is to craft the imaginary acoustical venue then introduce very basic material into it to 'ring' the 'space' that's been 'composed'. I would even suggest that the OP go with a couple of send/return modules and then inject some stompboxes into the system with those, and then spend less time making the synth noises and more on 'playing' the processing to re-envision what one actually 'performs on' for ambient work. It even works on Pringle's cans...nope, not joking there! A very light 'ping' with a pencil into a properly-filtered reverb at over 45 seconds of T60 will sound quite ambient, indeed!


Ya wow that’s an interesting approach.. Is that Convolution you are talking about? I don’t know much about this stuff but it sure sounds interesting. I have considered getting something like a Koma Field Kit (or just some basic contact mics) and pairing it with my Eventide Space reverb for some fun experimentation.


Nope, just plain-jane algorithmic digital reverb. That Eventide box should be perfect for that sort of thing. There's a lot of possibilities in using contact mics, too, especially with something that's designed for that such as the Field Kit. For example, try stretching out a metal Slinky (the plastic ones will not work for this) between two points, and place a contact mix on either end. Then fiddle around with the Slinky...tapping it, springing it back and forth, etc. Or run a signal in one end via a transducer to a contact mic on the other end for utterly fucko bizarro spring reverb craziness. Another fun one: get a ride cymbal and a violin bow. Put the cymbal on a stand and contact mix it right at the top of the bell so the mic doesn't impede its ringing. Now bow the cymbal. MUCH craziness of an ambient-ish variety...sort of like a cheapo version of what Stockhausen was up to with his "Mikrophonie I".

Electronic music doesn't have to involve a synth. Sometimes some weird amplification methods and processing works...sometimes even better!


Some great ideas here Luigia! The slinky idea reminded me of a spring reverb I owned for a short while(the Ekdhal Moisturizer) which had exposed springs. I really enjoyed running sounds through, even something like a simple drum track, and then playing with the springs in different ways, even just breathing on it would yield cool effects.. Now I miss that weird machine..

On a side note, I just posted a thread about a system makeover I'm planning and I would greatly appreciate some of your thoughts(if you have the time)!

Sorry OP for the total hijacking..


Hey Placebo, the Z-DSP's internal rate clock is also clockable to an external input. That means you can get some grunginess out of it. I've had mine for about a month but it hasn't seen much action... yet.


damn, I was just looking for recommendations lol


Lol indeed!

Let’s recap what happened here as it seems perfectly illustrative of how modular grid can be at its worst.

The OP asks a very straightforward question looking for suggestions for modules that would be helpful for making ambient music. They receive a straightforward reply: “Rings, Clouds, Morphagene! These 3 are practically necessities in the 'Ambient Modular' genre...”

And then Lugia, apparently feeling slighted (that’s the only explanation that makes some sense), sarcastically remarks that they should quit making ambient music since they haven’t used those… that none of their “15+ albums of ambient work are valid anymore.”

Honestly, could it have been any more OBVIOUS that placebo92 was being suggestive and just trying to help? How anyone could interpret their response as implying that one needs those three modules to make ambient music is crazy!

Lugia then writes that a belief that certain equipment is necessary is a great way to kill one’s creativity. While there’s certainly truth to that, is this not a forum dedicated to helping people learn about equipment? Within this context, how helpful is that sort of comment? And that question is actually a bit of a tangent, since my main issue here is the fact that this thread became pretty much totally hijacked and did little to help the OP (hence their very understandable reply above). Modular synths are a pretty specific instrument… Might it be beneficial to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s a good reason they’ve decided to invest all of the time, money, and effort required to use one, instead of, say, choosing to use a contact mic with a slinky?

Lugia clearly know a lot about gear, but I’m also reminded of professors who know their subject well and still make awful teachers. This is not the first time (or second or third, etc) that I’ve read their posts and found them not only unhelpful but actually discouraging.

IMO advice should always be taken with handfuls of salt, but... If you’re on this forum and reading this there’s probably a good reason. And… (referencing many other threads here), there are worse things than putting together a modular setup that lacks VCAs and envelope generators, or buying a module and having to return or sell it cuz it doesn’t do what you were hoping, or even spending thousands of dollars and countless time only to realize you’d be better off with a Pringles can. My point is these “mistakes” may be frustrating while they’re happening but they’ll also likely be priceless learning experiences that ultimately help define what you’re after.


I'm not understanding the point of Hazel's post. It seems to be hyper-critical of those who responded a year ago.

To shed some light on my take on the community: we're not sales people. This isn't a music store. We're not going to make a recommendation without giving some background. There will be side conversations related to the original post but straying away a little from the original post. That happens in most casual conversations. Lugia has a valid point regarding making ambient music. It's not the module du jour that makes a genre work. It's the knowledge acquired producing it.

In my short experience with modular, there's a large segment of new people who seek out specific modules but do not have the experience or knowledge to create a system around those modules that will work as a viable creative platform. So the conversation centers around someone putting together a collection of attractive modules with no infrastructure built in to actually make them work as a cohesive instrument.

Besides criticism of other members and their decades of experience... what are you offering to this year old thread?

Something to think about.


Ronin1973:

I came across this thread while researching suggestions for eurorack modules that would be good for making ambient music. I think it’s pretty understandable I was left feeling frustrated.

Conversations often stray from the original topic in interesting ways but I disagree this strayed “a little”. It’s more like it took an immediate detour and then started to get back on track towards the end (and yes, I’m aware that I haven’t helped in this regard). If the OP had asked for advice about creative methods for making ambient music, or for people’s feedback regarding the importance of using specific gear, this likely would have been a very helpful thread.

I was admittedly being intentionally critical, but still, I find your response a little surprising. Lugia wrote: “if you have to labor under the misapprehension that you MUST have X piece of gear to do Y sort of music, then quit immediately, as you're not really making something that truly speaks of who you are musically.” Honestly, what could be more critical than that?

Personally, I agree that focusing too much on gear can be a hindrance and distraction, but there’s also a big difference between writing that doing so “kills ones’ creativity” and suggesting someone should quit making music because they believe they need X equipment. IMO it’s totally valid for someone to believe that a particular module is an integral and necessary part of their setup because of the unique properties it has.

I was trying to offer a different perspective. I found this thread because I had the same question as the OP but found this for the most part discouraging. I wrote what I did for others who might feel similarly. In the last paragraph I was kind of questioning the helpfulness of advice in general, but you make a valid point that this is an old thread that likely won’t get much attention.


Eurorack is pretty trendy today. There are a lot of people who are excited to get into it. I don't blame them.

But in the rush to get into the genre of synthesizer, they often don't bother understanding what makes Eurorack actually WORK.

So a nice percentage of racks that are put up for advice are like the one above. Recommending modules for ambient music making... no problem. Discourse and disagreement on what modules to recommend? Always.

However, simply acting like a sales clerk and watching people throw good money after bad is a thorn in the side of many people in this forum. Is it their money? No. Is it going to affect them personally? No.

However, it does affect the genre of synthesis. When people walk away from a bad experience... they blame the gear and the genre. Yet they refuse to learn how control voltage systems ACTUALLY work. The rack above follows suit. The recommendation to buy module-du-jour for making ambient music from... THAT RACK... you're just piling on the bad.

As I said, I can't speak for Lugia. But I believe his views are similar to mine. We want people to have great experiences and really enjoy their racks and cases. But they have to get past the first hurdle of what exactly IS a modular synth and how do you interface with it?


Thanks, Ronin, for both of your replies, and I apologize if my first post sounded harsher than it needed to.

I’m not sure I agree with everything you wrote here. I’m not especially familiar with the Mother 32 but it seems like a very capable synth in it’s own right. The prospect of integrating it with a small eurorack setup that includes Disting, Tides, Maths, and Shades, and then adding some of the modules that placebo suggested (Strymon Magneto, Intellijel Rainmaker, MI Clouds, Make Noise Erb-Verb, Tiptop Z-DSP) seems to me far from “just piling on the bad.” It seems a bit strange to me that you can agree with the creative potential of a slinky or Pringles can (which I agree with too btw) but make the statement you did about the above setup. (It’s also worth noting that Lugia agreed with placebo’s recommendation to add effects modules to this rack.)

I apologize if these posts of mine aren’t helping as that’s really my intention, but I feel like the following point is valid: I think statements like yours above, and the quotes of Lugia’s that I’ve referenced, may in fact do just as much harm to the genre of synthesis than less-than-perfect setups that require the user to make adjustments as they begin to learn more.

I also think it’s possible there may be a bit more space for different approaches to a modular setup than it seems you and Lugia believe. An example… A rack that was posted a few days ago received the following criticism: “There's an Elements...and a Rings? OK with the Department of Redundancy Department, perhaps, but a waste of space otherwise. Lose one or the other.” Note they didn’t merely point out that these two modules are similar; they more or less gave an order. Yet I recall a video popping up in my youtube suggestions recently that featured a 6U case that not only had Elements and Rings, but Elements + two Rings (all three of which were being used). If I remember correctly it was quite lovely, had thousands of views and many enthusiastic comments. Might the OP of that thread have benefited from using both of those modules in a rack that was 12U / 84HP? I don’t know, but I think it’s reasonable to suggest that it’s a possibility.

Look: I hope it goes without saying that I’m not trying to start anything, or to insult anyone personally. We both agree that modular synths are wonderful instruments, and I agree that many people likely don’t do the necessary research required to get into this – that they post racks with serious flaws and that they benefit greatly from the advice of you, Lugia, and others… With a subject that can be so daunting though (it terms of learning curve and cost) I’ve found what I see as an unnecessary level of discouragement in many of the posts I’ve come across.


As someone recently on the receiving end of some blunt but probably fair criticism for my proposed rack, I thought I would give my thoughts on this thread. I do think criticism, blunt or otherwise, can be useful. But there's a difference between being told your rack is lacking and what you need to learn, and being told to "quit immediately" if you don't pass whatever artistic litmus test. Hazel's post struck me as a thoughtful response to a thread which had a mix of helpful and holier-than-thou posts. That the first reply was "I'm not understanding the point" of the post surprised me, because I thought it made a lot of good points, especially the last paragraph about the value of making mistakes.

I take Ronin's words at face value that "we want people to have great experiences and really enjoy their racks and cases. But they have to get past the first hurdle of what exactly IS a modular synth and how do you interface with it?" Many hobbies have hurdles for beginners. (Especially track and field.) To extend the running metaphor: yes, you have to get over the hurdles yourself, but a good coach can help you get ready to jump them.

For a forum where criticism almost seems to be the default response, there was a strange lack of self-criticism in the replies to Hazel's post. Instead, it was dismissed with "Besides criticism of other members and their decades of experience... what are you offering to this year old thread?" which both misses and underscores the point. Beyond this particular thread, I agree that there tends to be an "an unnecessary level of discouragement" in this community. And that's a shame, because this forum could be missing out on a lot of posters who either feel intimidated or just put off by the general tone.

Maybe I'd see things differently if I knew a lot more about modular and synthesis and attenuverters, if that's even a real word. But consider the opposite: how would the most experienced people here view the forum if they were coming here for the first time, without all their knowledge and experience? Would they want to stay and learn, or find somewhere else more welcoming? I ask that because I'm asking myself the same question.


Thanks tyson… the last thing I want for active members of this forum to feel is like they’re being ganged up on, but it’s also nice to know I’m not alone here.

I managed to track down the video I mentioned in my last post. Whether or not this music is one’s taste is of course not the point. It has 33k views and over a thousand likes and the first two comments are: “this wins the grammy for best generative synth track” (Lugia’s thread titled “Why your 6U x 84 generative rig won't work” might be worth bringing up). And then: “This just leaves me breathless everytime I listen to it. It's almost painfully beautiful..”
Scroll further down and someone posts: “Amazing! How is it possible to obtain more information on a setup like this? I am no musician but I would love to have something like this at home and play around with it. I guess it will be a diccicult task to master...”

Here’s an answer/plausible scenario. Do some research and come across a site called modular grid with the unique feature of being able to create a virtual rack which you can submit for feedback. Post a similar setup to this video (or even an identical one). Receive criticism along the lines of this:

  1. Lots of attractive modules but totally lacking in utility modules. Will make a great decoration or prop but good luck making music with it.

  2. TWO Rings + an Elements and Plonk! Call the redundancy department. And way too many mutable instruments modules. Plus these are available in smaller HP so a total waste of space.

  3. I see an Optomix but no real VCAs? Totally unusable.

  4. I suggest doing a lot more research before posting another rack. Etc, etc…

Looking at a price tag around 5 thousand dollars and facing comments like these, feel really discouraged (and confused?) and never take the next steps towards getting into modular synthesis.

Was the genre of synthesis potentially just harmed?


Hope you understand what I mean, I'm German speaking.

A few Months ago i started my Eurorack Journey and asked for Advice here on Modgrid. I also got Advice from Lugia and Ronin.

I really appreciated this because these People have lots of knowledge in Eurorack.

Maybe the Answers from Lugia sound a bit "grumpy"sometimes but I think he really cares that people don't waste their Money on a non Working Rack.

Lugia puts a lot of time and effort in his replies and advice.

But I agree with you. When someone posts his Rack on MG an the first thing they read is "unusable" or "doesn't work" may be a bit
discouraging for Eurorack Beginners :-)

But like I said. I think Lugia really cares that Beginners got the most out of their Money and a proper working Rack.


Thanks tyson… the last thing I want for active members of this forum to feel is like they’re being ganged up on, but it’s also nice to know I’m not alone here.

I managed to track down the video I mentioned in my last post. Whether or not this music is one’s taste is of course not the point. It has 33k views and over a thousand likes and the first two comments are: “this wins the grammy for best generative synth track” (Lugia’s thread titled “Why your 6U x 84 generative rig won't work” might be worth bringing up). And then: “This just leaves me breathless everytime I listen to it. It's almost painfully beautiful..”
Scroll further down and someone posts: “Amazing! How is it possible to obtain more information on a setup like this? I am no musician but I would love to have something like this at home and play around with it. I guess it will be a diccicult task to master...”

Here’s an answer/plausible scenario. Do some research and come across a site called modular grid with the unique feature of being able to create a virtual rack which you can submit for feedback. Post a similar setup to this video (or even an identical one). Receive criticism along the lines of this:

  1. Lots of attractive modules but totally lacking in utility modules. Will make a great decoration or prop but good luck making music with it.

  2. TWO Rings + an Elements and Plonk! Call the redundancy department. And way too many mutable instruments modules. Plus these are available in smaller HP so a total waste of space.

  3. I see an Optomix but no real VCAs? Totally unusable.

  4. I suggest doing a lot more research before posting another rack. Etc, etc…

Looking at a price tag around 5 thousand dollars and facing comments like these, feel really discouraged (and confused?) and never take the next steps towards getting into modular synthesis.

Was the genre of synthesis potentially just harmed?
-- Hazel

Thanks for the post. Ann Annie is pretty famous in modular. The rack you're looking at works. But I seriously doubt that this rack is all of Ann Annie's modules. This rack was probably specifically built for this piece by someone with some serious knowledge and talent. If you want to reproduce this song with those sounds... perfect. But we're discussing what usually turns out to be someone's full kit that has to be more than a one-trick-pony.


Thanks for the post. Ann Annie is pretty famous in modular. The rack you're looking at works. But I seriously doubt that this rack is all of Ann Annie's modules. This rack was probably specifically built for this piece by someone with some serious knowledge and talent. If you want to reproduce this song with those sounds... perfect. But we're discussing what usually turns out to be someone's full kit that has to be more than a one-trick-pony.
-- Ronin1973

Exactly. While I certainly detect the sound of some axe-grinding here, the poster of that bad noise doesn't seem to be taking that last part into account.

The vast majority of beginners putting racks up on the MG Forum might be trying to create rigs for what they think is a specific purpose, but much of that "purpose" comes from a misreading of seeing others using purpose-built systems (like Ann Annie's here) to create specific works that that rig was built for. And I don't think anyone on here would realistically believe that it's a good idea to optimize a rig for a beginner that's purpose-built for a very narrow range of work, nor would any modular synth beginner be happy with one of these systems that only does a few things, albeit amazingly well.

I'm very much reminded of the TB-303 here. Yes, it's this much-worshipped synth. Originals still go for a couple of grand. But the cold, hard reality of the 303 is that it really only makes about 6-7 different noises really well, barring modifications. So if someone were to come up to me, or Ronin, et al with one of these little plastic boxes and ask if they could get a good "Blade Runner" Vangelis sound out of it...well, they probably need some "splainin", not merely about the difference between a CS-80 and a TB-303, but about what criteria is needed for a proper synth that can handle A LOT of different possibilities. Some of us might be a bit rough around the edges about this, true...but when you consider that we're trying to help bedazzled kids in a candy store of epic proportions avoid the awful feeling of realizing they've spent several grand on a modular rig that only does a handful of things correctly, well, sometimes a "reality brick" thru the "fascination window" is an expedient way to get those people to realize that what they're planning might not only be a money pit, but a potential experience so dissatisfying that they're apt to bail on music (especially if they're really just starting out). It might seem less "triggery" to nice up what we're trying to say, but I'd much rather get someone triggered and thinking instead of coddling them in platitudes, lies about their build, etc and then letting them discover on their own that they've blown several grand on The Machine That Goes "Ping!". The latter isn't a responsible stance at all.


I'd much rather get someone triggered and thinking instead of coddling them in platitudes, lies about their build, etc and then letting them discover on their own that they've blown several grand on The Machine That Goes "Ping!". The latter isn't a responsible stance at all.

-- Lugia

That's what I named my rig when I started out... because I appreciated the irony.


Thanks, Lugia, for chiming in. I’m going to try to make a few points and then I’ll be taking a break from this. (I don’t mean for that to sound as temperamental as it may.)

You wrote: “...nor would any modular synth beginner be happy with one of these systems that only does a few things, albeit amazingly well.” I don’t agree with this at all and think it’s completely plausible that many beginners would be thrilled with a rack like the above – even with something quite a lot smaller and more restrictive. And this might relate to my next point, which is that another significant problem I’ve found on this forum is a tendency to IMPOSE one’s own values/interests onto others. Example: the very first response to a rack that was posted several days ago (made by you) was…
“Well, first off...it's really...ah...BLACK. But that's not good. Invariably, if you're creating a Eurorack along a certain look, then all you'll wind up with is a decorative prop...”

You know what I think is totally okay? Wanting to design an all-black rack. I also think it’s alright not to care at all about how your rack looks. What’s not okay are statements like yours, which not only neglect to take into account what might be important to the OP, but also actually insult them for caring about X.

This is getting into the details of Ronin’s last post and gesturing more towards a tangent, but the comment “one-trick-pony” and the implication that Ann Annie has more or less tapped all of the creative potential of that rack with a single 4 and half minute track seems ridiculous. And given your points in this thread emphasizing how much can be done with so little (steel drums with a little reverb, slinky, Pringles can) it seems ironic.

Also: perhaps I’m wrong, but based on the comments I’ve encountered on this forum I highly doubt if someone had posted a rack similar to the above, they would have received a response like Ronin’s, telling them that the rack worked but lacked versatility. I think it’s much more likely the response would have been along the lines of what I wrote...

“Some of us might be a bit rough around the edges about this, true...but when you consider that we're trying to help bedazzled kids in a candy store of epic proportions avoid the awful feeling of realizing they've spent several grand on a modular rig that only does a handful of things correctly, well, sometimes a "reality brick" thru the "fascination window" is an expedient way to get those people to realize...”

Besides the unnecessary condescension here, I fear that more than anything, Lugia, your “reality brick” is an effective tool to help people think more like you, and value the same things as you.

For any readers that might be interested, I came across this interview with Ann Annie and found it insightful and inspiring. I also found that it kind of contradicted Lugia and Ronin’s points. Also! I learned that Ann Annie’s first step into eurorack was with a Mother 32, and a 42HP rack with only one module. Kind of ironic considering the OP of this thread... You see: eurorack can all start with a very simple, restrictive setup. There’s a good chance you’ll have an excellent time with it, and as you begin to learn more, you’ll start realizing the next best steps you should take towards creating your own personal, ideal rack.


Well, if you think you can do better, Hazel, then jump right on in. If you don't like how some of us do this, then you're perfectly welcome to give it a shot yourself.

Seriously. You're complaining a lot about style here...why not show us some substance?


Thanks, Lugia, for chiming in. I’m going to try to make a few points and then I’ll be taking a break from this. (I don’t mean for that to sound as temperamental as it may.)
blah
blah
b;aj
For any readers that might be interested, I came across this interview with Ann Annie and found it insightful and inspiring. I also found that it kind of contradicted Lugia and Ronin’s points. Also! I learned that Ann Annie’s first step into eurorack was with a Mother 32, and a 42HP rack with only one module. Kind of ironic considering the OP of this thread... You see: eurorack can all start with a very simple, restrictive setup. There’s a good chance you’ll have an excellent time with it, and as you begin to learn more, you’ll start realizing the next best steps you should take towards creating your own personal, ideal rack.

-- Hazel

You seem like a passive-aggressive troll that has nothing of any substance to seriously contribute... but hey... that's just my opinion. You seem pretty much all about criticizing others. I agree with Lugia... show me some substance.


Hi everyone !

I'll try to contribute to this discussion in the most constructive way I can.
To understand my perspective, I also have been on the receiving end of advice about a rack project being a total noob in Eurorack, not too long ago. I suppose the rack I submitted was showing enough research because I received very constructive comments, I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and had a few laughs. Maybe creating something along the lines of "How to build your first rack" and "how to constructively ask for advice to help others help you" could help everyone get the same experience.

On one hand, it's true that some comments made on newcomers' racks may be perceived as harsh, the same points could have been made while being less "dismissive" of the proposed idea, for example by pointing to learning resources about the misunderstood concepts that lead to a "less functional" rack or asking more information about the poster's goal with the rack and their knowledge about it. I personally don't have any issues with the tone but I also can totally see some sensitive people being discouraged by it sometimes, since there's a good chance MG will be (like it was for me) their first contact with the Eurorack community, as it gets recommended in a lot of YT videos for beginners. Being told your rack is unusable as a first comment could be discouraging for some people, even if that's very close to the truth. That being said, what should you tell someone who planned a rack based on faceplate color (for the record, I did that too at first) ? Sure it's fine if people want to do it (more module sales, more money for development of new modules, amarite ?), but we're building devices to make sound primarily or at least that is what most people do with Eurorack, so if someone is building a wall of black faceplates instead, I'd say "decorative" is a fitting adjective for the rack (even if "usable" and "fun" could be just as fitting in some situations), that's even the announced goal in a way.

On the other hand, those comments (or at the least the substance) were very important for me as they made me challenge a lot of my decisions for module selection or even where I was going with Eurorack in general. I still made a couple of mistakes but it would have been way more costly without the help of some people here, Lugia and Ronin included (thanks guys, really). I for one would have hated seeing the limits of my rack after only a few patches, I am SO GLAD that didn't happen and I probably owe it a lot to the advice that was provided here. Sure, in a way I agree with Hazel's point about being able to use one of those "less functional" racks. I would actually go further and say that starting with a very limited setup and picking your modules based on the limitations YOU encounter is a great strategy for learning. That being said, I strongly believe that while those racks may be fun to play with at least for a while, telling a future buyer of Eurorack about the limits of such a rack is an absolute must so they can make an informed buying decision. MG might be their first and only stop before the buying act, so it's important to make sure people understand what they would get for their hard earned money. They might not even have too much cash to spend on mistakes, even if those mistakes can teach you things as well. It's totally fine to build a rack that people would call unusable, a one-trick-pony or the modular equivalent of a Pringles can with a slinky I guess, as long as you understand well that it is what you are doing.

I suppose the most important for me is to get the information I need regardless of the tone, so I'm just grateful for whatever knowledge I can grab


Wow. I appreciate hearing others' experiences here, but the sycophancy and lack of self-awareness in Ronin's last post just drives home what toxic tendencies this forum unfortunately has. (Talk of "triggering" is sort of a giveaway.) Style and substance are of course not two unrelated things, and the irony of not appreciating either here is a bit much. Anyway, thanks, Hazel, for the lovely video links. And thanks for sticking your head above the parapet with your well-written, and, yes, substantial contributions to this thread. Hope to hear more from you on another forum.


Wow. I appreciate hearing others' experiences here, but the sycophancy and lack of self-awareness in Ronin's last post just drives home what toxic tendencies this forum unfortunately has. (Talk of "triggering" is sort of a giveaway.) Style and substance are of course not two unrelated things, and the irony of not appreciating either here is a bit much. Anyway, thanks, Hazel, for the lovely video links. And thanks for sticking your head above the parapet with your well-written, and, yes, substantial contributions to this thread. Hope to hear more from you on another forum.
-- tyson

I'm completely aware of myself. I just find it infantile to sit and be critical of someone who is HELPING you. If you want someone to stroke your hair and tell you what a good boy you are... that's not happening. You get curt and frank advice. When you toss a bunch of modules in a rack and ask for feedback. That's what you get. If you'd like to show me the errors in my suggestions. If you disagree with my suggestions... fine too. I also learn a lot from other peoples' advice.

What I won't do is baby you in your excitement to put something in the box without knowing what knowing what you need to make the box work. Sorry if I'm not playing the social-media, social-correctness game that is so important to you. But it seems YOU and quite a few others have decided to plant your flag on some sort of social etiquette rant rather than learning how to use a control voltage synthesizer. Do you have any other complaints or social snowflake boo-hoos or are we done?


After that symphony of self-awareness, I don't need to add anything, except to point out that you're the only one in this thread who seems to be melting down over a little criticism. But good one about us snowflakes.


Seeing as you are all talking about the different methods of making music....

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Jeck


Ha, nice, didn't know about Philip Jeck, thanks for sharing :)


After that symphony of self-awareness, I don't need to add anything, except to point out that you're the only one in this thread who seems to be melting down over a little criticism. But good one about us snowflakes.
-- tyson

You must be reading things in your outrage voice again. Zero meltdown. I really don't care, honestly. Everything was moving along nicely and someone got triggered and felt the need to social justice warrior all over the forum. Is there anyone else feeling sensitive who needs a tissue?


Random Ambience with Modular Synths

Equipment used:

Mutable Instruments - Marbles Random Sampler
Mutable Instruments – Elements Modal Synthesizer
Make Noise – DPO
Make Noise – Soundhack Erbe-Verb


Everything was moving along nicely and someone got triggered and felt the need to social justice warrior all over the forum. Is there anyone else feeling sensitive who needs a tissue?
-- Ronin1973

Ronin, can you phrase any of that without using the laziest of cliches? The tough guy bit might work better if you use your own words. Then again, it might not.


Well, I think I can phrase it just fine...

There's an awful lot of people who're sick and damn tired of this pathological NEED that some people on the Internet have to interject themselves into something when they feel they can "police" the conversation. This isn't a right-wing or a left-wing opinion, either...it's quite widespread. And don't go making political assumptions about the posters, either; you're quite apt to be incredibly wrong about those.

Much of the work that I and others have been doing on here to proctor new users into making sensible instrument choices, ones which will result in well-rounded systems that these new users will enjoy and build upon for years to come, was getting done JUST FINE before you and Hazel opted to come in here and shit-mist everything. You hear about how the whole PC stance "chills" open conversation? Well, this is a fine example of exactly that in action. Did you two bother to check to see how this would fly with the MG admins before opening up the stinkburger? I would surmise that the answer is "no".

If you don't like the way we discuss things, fine. But you can keep your psuedocultural policing impulses to yourselves, and go find some other books to burn elsewhere. Music is simply too important for PC clowns to use it as a doormat for espousing their personal greivances about other peoples' language usage, and MG itself is too important and broadbased a resource for you to try and resteer it into some narrower lane of communication and expression.


It’s worth pointing out, Lugia and Ronin, that nothing I’ve expressed has anything whatsoever to do with political correctness.

Everything that I’ve written, both referencing this thread and with quotes from others, I did for one purpose: To question the extent to which certain advice being given on this forum actually helped the user construct a rack that they were satisfied with – something that you both continue to claim is your ultimate aim.

Please look back at this thread, Lugia. Before my first post you were the most active contributor. Point out one single bit of advice you offered that actually helped the OP design a rack that they could “enjoy and build upon for years to come”. It seems obvious that you saw an opportunity to make a point – one that you care about – but that had nothing to do with helping the OP. I quoted advice that you gave in other threads to point out that lack of help, or bad advice, is not something that seems to happen only occasionally.

For sake of clarity: I don’t particularly care about political correctness (not that it’s relevant). I believe that harsh criticism can be helpful and necessary, which is in fact, why some of my criticism has been harsh. Most importantly, it seems reasonable to me that someone should be able to highlight a lack of help, or question certain advice on this forum, and do so without being called a “passive-aggressive troll”, having their post quoted but replaced with “blah, blah, blah”, and told to “shut the (expletive) up” (I see that’s been deleted now). At the risk of being painfully clear, I couldn’t care less about the language or name calling. Rather, Ronin, I don’t think you can write that’s it’s “fine” to point out errors/disagree with suggestions, and then when someone does, write the above without contradiction.

I doubt anyone is getting much out of this thread, so in answer to your question, Ronin, I am indeed done.


Lugia,

I reread Hazel's and my posts to see if I might be crazy, and if we were indeed doing all these terrible things you accused us of, including metaphorical book burning. I'd like to think that I would recognize the Fahrenheit 451 impulse in myself if it emerged. But that's just not even close to what happened here. Hazel criticized a particular comment you made which I happened to agree was unnecessarily discouraging. Neither of us were trying to move things "into some narrower lane" of discussion. When you start by telling someone to "quit immediately," the discussion doesn't need more narrowing.

Instead of acknowledging the obvious, that alienating new or potential members of MG is not a good thing, there's mostly been lashing out and doubling down. Indeed, the only person on this thread who has apologized (twice) is Hazel. Now we've reached the reductio ad absurdum of refusing to give an inch, which is that criticism of you equals "policing." By that logic, any criticism you don't agree with, or which isn't presented deferentially enough, is attempted censorship and an existential threat. You conveniently cast yourself as a champion of free speech and those who disagree with you as villains. It's self-serving. It's false. Even if Hazel and I did match these caricatures you've drawn of us, do you actually believe we would have any chance of succeeding in our scheme to stifle free expression? If so, that's giving me way more power than I have or want, and others less credit than they deserve. This community may be small, but most of its members cannot possibly be that brittle.


You don't like when people are curt and when people don't baby you. Got it. Find somewhere else to troll. I looked up all of your posts here. Tyson has ONE post that Lugia and I were gracious enough to help out with. Hazel has done nothing but troll.

As far as the two of you HELPING anyone... nothing... not a single post. Isn't that amazing? You love to criticize others but have done NOTHING to help anyone else. The majority of BOTH of your posts are just criticizing other members.

Now I get it... both of you seem rather intelligent and have a lot to socially opine about. But you contribute NOTHING. In your quest to turn this forum into a "safe-space" all you've managed to do is piss off the people who are actually helping people through their first steps into modular.

I have a really novel idea... how about the two of you show us by example. You can reply to other peoples' posts and show us exactly how a reply should be crafted with some sage advice on what's right or wrong with a rack. Once each of you has at least 20 of these posts HELPING other people, come back and critique others.

Until then, you are the epitomy of trolls. Just take a look at your posting history and try to argue against it. I'll make some popcorn.


Wow, helping others… what a novel idea. Do you need a tissue, Ronin? Have you downloaded VCV rack? There, I think I've got you matched. As for Lugia, making popcorn seems more apt to help than any of the advice of theirs I’ve quoted.
:) :)


Wow, helping others… what a novel idea. Do you need a tissue, Ronin? Have you downloaded VCV rack? There, I think I've got you matched. As for Lugia, making popcorn seems more apt to help than any of the advice of theirs I’ve quoted.
:) :)

-- Hazel

And there we have it. What have YOU done to participate in the community? You've criticized and been critical of others. But when all of the inflammatory posting is done. You have nothing. Yes. I recommend VCV Rack to people starting out. So do a lot of other regulars. It's free and really helps people get their heads around the modular architecture. You should download it if you haven't already. It'll really help you.

You're dismissive of Lugia's advice. I've found it invaluable and so have many other PARTICIPANTS in these forums. There's decades of experience in his posts if you care to read the forums and learn something.

I'm not sure why you're hell bent on attacking people. But if that's all you have to bring to the table, then it's all you have. If you do have some usable advice, I'm happy to take it.

I'm currently at a crossroad in my set-up. I want a Westlicht Performer but will probably have to commission it to be built. But on the other hand I have an FH2 and thinking of expanding with another 8 outputs. But I'm really not keen being dependent on my PC and would like to venture into some live playing. If I go live, I may want to go with a Shakmat Clock o' Pawn as my clock source. Would you recommend the Shakmat?

Thanks


What I just did was mimicked the way in which you’ve repeatedly responded to my posts. Before that, I’ve made every effort to be clear and polite regarding my reasons for posting, which again (again) have nothing to do with desiring a “safe-space”, or with politically correct issues, or with trying to criticize or attack anyone personally. I did write the following quite a while back:

Look: I hope it goes without saying that I’m not trying to start anything, or to insult anyone personally. We both agree that modular synths are wonderful instruments, and I agree that many people likely don’t do the necessary research required to get into this – that they post racks with serious flaws and that they benefit greatly from the advice of you, Lugia, and others…

I’ve not been trolling, and while I haven’t responded directly to proposed racks, I think it’s possible there are additional ways to offer help.

Might it be possible for us to maturely discuss some of the points I’ve brought up – to respond to them without resorting to tissue-talk, or framing things inaccurately (PC/safe-space talk), or going on about “let’s see if I can do better” as though this were a contest, etc..? I truly think doing so could be helpful.

Also please note: It was the first post for the user that began this thread. Their second and final post was: “damn, I was just looking for recommendations lol”. Despite a very straightforward, likely easily answerable question, they clearly didn't feel helped by the suggestions you and Lugia offered (and no, I’m not personally criticizing either of you).


Start a fire then be the one to discuss fire safety... got it.

What you have done... intentionally or inadvertently is troll this thread. ALL of your posts have been in this thread and they are critical of everyone. Let me slow clap that for you.

Then you mock others who actually help people. You are acting as a troll even if you think you have some sort of moral high-ground. As it's just you complaining and justifying your insults against some hyperbolic straw-men you make everyone out to be.

The bottom line is that you have contributed nothing. Your bag is empty. This is all that you have. When you do post something constructive, I'd be really happy to see it. But so far you haven't. What IS your level of knowledge regarding modular? You seem to be the master of forum etiquette and will to put the hammer down on anyone who doesn't live up to your standards. But as far as substance. You have none.

I'm going to drop this conversation right here. There's nothing much more to discuss. You don't have the goods. You've been judged and found wanting.


If the capacity to not misinterpret the clearest of statements is any indication of one’s ability to offer meaningful advice, I respectfully suggest you stick to popcorn, Ronin.

Although I intentionally imitated your responses a couple of posts ago, I haven’t mocked anyone. I’ve criticized advice, not the people giving it. I’ve tried to clearly and politely express my points, have apologized when my criticism seemed harsher than it need to be, and even apologized if my posts weren’t helping as much as I intended to. All of this talk of political correctness, behaving like a “social justice warrior”, wanting to create a “safe-space”, “policing”, being the “master of forum etiquette”, etc, has all just been totally irrelevant.

For my sake, and anyone reading with similar questions, I’ve brought up several issues that I believe could be potentially very helpful to discuss, clarify, and answer. I might search elsewhere, and perhaps others should do the same, but for sake of clarity here are some of them:

  1. Starting out with a semi-modular synth seems like a common, affordable, and potentially great way to get into modular. With something like the OP's setup – a Mother 32 and a small rack filled with Disting, Tides, Maths, and Shades, would adding some effects modules be a good idea for someone interested in making ambient drone music? Lugia agreed with this suggestion, referencing Eno’s Thursday Afternoon (one of my favs). You wrote that doing so amounted to “piling on the bad.”

  2. Lugia’s response to a proposed rack that contained Elements and Rings was that having both is a waste of space and told the user they should “lose one or the other.” Lugia does seem very knowledgeable, but there seem to be many people benefiting from using both, even 2x Elements or 2x Rings.
    https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=167755&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

  3. Is it really unreasonable to put thought into the design of one’s rack? One is, after all, spending thousands of dollars on it and will hopefully be using it for countless hours. Is it really so superficial to want an all-black rack? Is that really tantamount to a “decorative prop”. If so, a Make Noise shared system seems like an awfully expensive decoration.

  4. Is the belief that a specific piece of gear is necessary for a particular result really so harmful that a musician who believes this should “quit immediately?” If so, (and I doubt I’m alone here) it seems some of my favorite artists should stop making music.

  5. Given that regardless of one’s musical background, getting into modular synthesis and designing one’s first rack takes a certain level of guess work, is it better for someone with a specific goal to try to design a “purpose-built” system or to opt for something more versatile. I think there may be pros and cons to both, but I’m guessing that with either scenario, it’s very likely the user will end up having to replace several modules and redesign their rack. IMO, depending on how certain someone is that they’re after a particular result, it might actually make more sense to aim for designing a rack that can achieve a specific result at the expense of versatility.

  6. It seems people understandably design a rack with the hopes of requiring the least amount of redesigning and with the least likelihood that they'll encounter problems/mistakes. But even to the extent that this is possible, might there actually be some value in making mistakes? Several months ago I nearly posted a question here that in retrospect was painfully easy to resolve (not so easy though, I should point out, that sales reps couldn’t offer much help). I ended up having to return two modules (though I payed zero restocking fees) and was frustrated for days, but I ended up learning a lot that I didn’t intend to.

Anyway it’s been real… //