ModularGrid Rack
Hi Everyone

Looking for some advice, tipps & tricks before jumping into the world of modular! Heads up - Long post ahead!

Some Background information:
I've been researching and learning about modular for about half a year now. Mainly from watching tons of videos, checking out this forum, reading Pacht&Tweak and now I finally want to get my hands on some modules. I think I got some basic knowledge built up but I learn a lot faster if I can actually try out some stuff I read and hear the outcome. I've been producing mostly electronic music (dub techno, micro house, deep tech) with Ableton and some outboard gear like the Nord Lead A1, Korg MS-20 mini and TR8.

What kind of sound would I like to achieve?
I really like the sound from Plaits and Tides. Absolutely love the chord modes on those modules, which I would like to use for making rhythmic, evolving patterns / soundscapes. I really like the sound of clouds. So I decided that I would get a secondhand Module or go for the microburst or microclouds, whichever is easier to get my hands on here in the Europe. I want Plonk to be my source of percussive sounds, which I would like to run through Rainmaker to create some interesting rhythm. Love how you can modulate the pitch of all 16 taps from Rainmaker. Batumi will be my main source of modulation. I also really like the way Nebulae works, especially the option to manipulate speed and pitch separate. I want to use Nebulae to record random samples from Plonk to create little Sample Packs. I once read that with a firmware update, you can record directly onto the USB stick. With Sisters I think I got a great sounding Filter, but I'm also open for suggestions. And I really dig the analog sound of the STO in combination with the Optomix Lowpass Gate, which also gives me some mixing capabilities.

Starting Plan:
For the Case, I want to go with Intellijel's 104HP 7U Case (+12 V output at 3000 mA, -12 V output at 3000 mA and +5 V output at 1500 mA. - I think that should give me enough headroom?)
For the first Modules I'm considering Plaits, Tides and Plonk as my soundsources, the 1U tiles for Midi, Ins & Outs, VCA/Mixer, a multiple, as well as a headphone amplifier for some utility. In the Future, I want to set-up Pamelas New Workout as a slave from the 1U Midi Module, which syncs to ether some hardware or Ableton (I hope that makes sense?). I also want to start with the quad VCA (or is the 1U tile enough for the start? From all I hear, you can never have to many VCA's :D), the Envelope Generator from Erica Synth, Batumi für modulation, and Clouds for effects. Does it make sense to start with these modules or am I going to fast?

I want to hold up on the eloquencer. At the moment, I'm not sure which sequencer ist the best choice (I'm also thinking about voltage block or 1010s Toolbox). So for the start, I thought I would use Arturia's Keystep.
I want to get to know my other soundsources first, before getting the STO. And I don't want to start with to much.

Next up in line to purchase after getting to know my first modules in the Starting Plan would be Rainmaker and the Nebulae V2. I looked at some alternatives, like the Tape Delay Unit Magneto from Strymon, Morphogene, or the sampler from 4MS, but kept coming back to these two. Maybe someone with experience with these Modules can give me some insight to why they chose one over the other?

Sorry for the long post, but I hope I could give some insight on what I would like from my future Modular System. I'm really looking forward to not only a great learning experience, but also the little sonic surprises you get while experimenting with different patches.
Thanks a lot for reading and any kind of feedback will be highly appreciated!

You did your research well here...I don't see anything that I can really fault in this build. As for the VCA implementation, go ahead and put the Quad VCA in, since VCA control is such a basic function and you'll want all of the basics in place before making the final decisions.

As for the later bits: the Nebulae isn't a bad choice, and another option to consider if you can find the space would be MakeNoise's Morphagene. Replacing the Rainmaker, though...I wouldn't. If you want an insanely-comprehensive and complex delay line, that module rivals even some of the most complex and celebrated outboard gear, and that makes it an optimal pick for its purpose.

Sequencing: have you also considered outboard? I'm planning for a KOMA Komplex, myself...the concept seems very open-ended, capable both in studio and live work. It would also free up space for additional modules in the cab itself, while defining the sequencer as a proper controller by placement. But there's plenty of possibilities beyond that one, like the Squarp Pyramid or Kilpatrick's Carbon.

Thanks for the positive feedback. Really glad to hear I'm going in the right direction, especially from such an experienced synthesist like you Lugia. The quad VCA will be on the "first to buy" list :)

Morphagene seems like a great choice too. I'll give myself some more time to think about that. But I gotta agree, Rainmaker seems to be an amazing delay module with endless possibilities. Definitely going for this one.

As for sequencing. Outboard gear is an option, thanks for the suggestions. At first glance, I like the Squarp Pyramid. But since I will be moving the system from my apartment to my studio quite a bit (which is another reason why I went for the Intellijel Case), I think the best option, in the long run, will be a sequencer in the system itself. Just not sure which one to get. Voltage Block + Varigate looks also nice. So many options.....

One more question: is the Sisters Filter enough to start, or should I put the Optomix on the "first to buy" also?

Both, as they're not the same sort of thing. The Sisters is a very weird sort of multimode-meets-formant arrangement, great for overall spectral reworking. But the Optomix is actually a pair of lowpass gates with a summing mixer, which means you can take your Sisters outputs on into that and apply the percussive Buchla-esque 'plooks' with the Optomixes LPGs. Put a normal Sisters output on one LPG and the "Centre" on another, and you can tandem your sound back and forth percussively in patterns between "clean" and "FMed" filter responses. Fun stuff!

Oh okay, that makes sense! Thanks again for those tipps. Sounds like a ton of fun. Can't wait to try it out myself and hear the result!

You can find micro versions of Plaits and Tides. That will save you some HP to add in other modules. I would get the Poti expander for the Batumi. Being able to access the additional LFO waveforms as well as sync and reset functions without pulling the module and moving jumpers is a MUST in my opinion.

I would also look at the 2HP line and think about logic modules and switches after you get the core of your system up and running and start thinking about more complex patching.

So what's going in case #2? They don't call it Eurocrack for no reason. :)