I'd like to get some input please. I've already purchased the top row of modules. The second row is what I'm looking at to expand my system so I can start learning general synthesis techniques.

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Most of these choices are based on the comments made on previous threads. But I can see where that would be dangerous given the high variability of functions between modules. Obviously, I'd like to avoid unnecessary duplication and modules that are too niche for a beginner setup. So, the bottom row is sort of a usual suspects lineup. The empty space is reserved for more specialized modules I can purchase after I start to figure out how this thing works. What would you guys add or subtract? Thanks.

1) Lose the Multiplicity XV. You won't need it. A massive buffered mult like that is great if you're talking about a 15+ VCO rig, but this isn't going to ever come close to that. Right now, your build shows a DixieII+ and a Plaits, and you can send a CV to both with a plain old passive inline mult with no risk of CV sag. I know you already have this on hand, but it's way off in the overkill zone for a small build and you're losing hp to it.

2) Lose the Quad Invert. Your Triatt has attenuverters already. Plus, it's always better to have attenuverter control over inverse signal levels than dedicated inverters unless there's a specific reason they need to be there (such as providing four inverters for a quad envelope gen).

3) Consider losing the OR module. I don't see enough gate sources here (Pam's notwithstanding) to warrant it.

4) This NEEDS some noise/random source, sample & hold, ring modulation, waveshaping, and especially envelope generators to be a functional, proper synth. You also need some sort of stereo mixer, otherwise the capabilities of that Pitt output module are wasted.

5) Consider doing your effects outboard for the sake of hp. An Erbeverb is a nice thing...provided you have 20 hp to spare and with what's missing here for your stated purpose, you don't have that much space to blow. You might also consider going to a much smaller reverb such as Purrtronics' spring emulator which would also help you "stereoize" your output signal if you find you don't have the room for a proper pannable stereo mixer.

6) Consider using an Optomix instead of the LXD. This way, you have manual level and LPG frequency controls in addition to the regular CV ins, which then makes this a better/more controllable candidate for mixing the two LPG signals to a mono out.

7) Lastly, add a more complex VCF than just the Wasp. It's a great filter, sure, but you'll want more. My suggestion would be Tiptop's Forbidden Planet, something of a Steiner Synthacon VCF clone. Very capable and very interesting-sounding, plus you have multiple filter responses rather than just the lowpass the Wasp offers.

I thought a lot of the functions you note under #4 were being taken care of by the Maths, Disting, Plaits, etc. Are you suggesting I need more than one module to address these functions in the same way that a system needs multiple VCOs; or, are you suggesting that I need modules that are more focused on providing that specific function? For example, the Plaits provides a noise source; so, do I need maybe an A-118 in addition to Plaits?

Can a buffered multi be used as a passive multi?

Any recommendations on a pannable stereo mixer module that would work well with the Pittsburgh?


The latter...using the Disting and other modules to substitute for a relatively simple module such as a noise gen and sample & hold is sort of a waste of the more complex functions they're capable of. That's the real reason for them; leave basic functions to basic modules. Also, the thing about noise is that it comes in a number of different "colors", which are different distributions of noise levels across a given span of spectrum. For example, "blue" noise is weighted more toward higher frequencies, while "red" is heavier on low-end spectral components. When you use these as a source of randomly-distributed signals, these frequency differences translate into different types of behavior by sample & holds, when used as modulation signas, and the like. So while having a noise source is essential, it's also important to be able to control that "colored" distribution factor.

A buffered mult can technically be used for the same function as a passive mult, yes. But they're not the same, so if a given patch function relies on a voltage sag for some of its behavior, a buffered mult won't allow that to occur. And of course in all cases, you cannot mix via a mult -- they only function as one-in, many-out.

Pannable mixer? As of late, I really like Qu-bit's Mixology. It gives you CV over level, pan, AUX send per channel, has an effect send/return, metering, and mute and solo functions, all in 28 hp for $400, which is pretty reasonable as performance mixers go. There are probably cheaper methods, but they'd involve building up a mixer with discrete modules, plus you might not have all of the functionality the Mixology offers for its price.

Great feedback. I see what you mean re: primary function vs. secondary/complementary function. The MG function search might have been adding to my confusion a bit, too. I'll check out some videos of the Mixology. Thanks.

A few suggestions in addition to the excellent suggestions that Lugia made:

Switch to an Intellijel 7U case and put the noise, S&H, Quadratt, and audio I/O, perhaps MIDI module, if you need it.
Do you need all the functions of the metropolis or would a Varigate 8+ get you sorted?
You do need an envelope generator. Consider the XAOC Zadar or Malekko Quad Envelope.
Look at the micro version of certain modules, such as Beehive from Michigan Synth Works instead of Plaits.
The signal mingler looks interesting, but again quite a bit of HP. While not exactly the same, the Klavis Mixwitch does a good amount of the same, but you could add the Logica XT on top of it and get more out of it.
I know Lugia is not keen on FX modules, but I do like them. The question is always: how much control do you really need? Do you just want to add a little richness by adding a touch of delay and reverb, or do you intend to use it as an actual integral component of a patch where the FX changes in character? For the latter, you do need more control. For the former, consider the 2hp Delay and Reverb, or the Pico DSP. The Black Hole DSP2 is also nice and offers a bit more control and stereo. 2hp is hard to beat as a utility FX.
A nice mixer for your setup would be the XAOC Praga.

Oh, I like effects just fine...when there's room for them. The problem is that many good ones take up a lot of hp, and in a small build that can be a problem, especially when the intent of the build is to create something with a lot of use options. In those cases, it's best to concentrate on synth function modules and leave FX as something for outboard, or to go with the smallest possible acceptable options. Even so, there's some killer small effects modules, like Purrtronics' Purrvrrb, Feedback's Chorus 106, the PICO DSP, etc with all of those going the extra distance to work as "stereoizing" modules for modulars which have primarily mono audio paths.

The 7U looks useful, but I've already built a 6U 104 HP case. It wouldn't be difficult to modify if I really felt the need to do so, though. I'm definitely going to sink an unhealthy amount of money into effects at some point. Right now I have to get operational. I can raid my pedalboard in the meantime. Here is my updated layout:

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The Metropolis has been temporarily ejected due to cost constraints. I can use outboard sequencers. The Mixology is in there as a placeholder. I'm still researching options. Any recommendations on a simple, cost effective waveshaper? I know I still need a ring mod, too. Thanks.

Check Tiptop's Fold Processor out...very cost-effective. But if space is more of a concern, then West Oakland's new Sinulator (a six-fold wavefolder!) might be a better pick while still remaining relatively inexpensive. Also, eject the Doepfer A-148 dual S&H and look at their A-184-1 instead. In that, you get sample and hold, a slew gen, AND ring mod, all in a measly 4 hp!

My rack currently looks like the images above. Instead of the Mixology, I think I'm going to add the Mixup to save space (maybe 2).

A few more questions...

I need an additional sound source. Given my current setup, would I get more use out of something like the A-110-6, or something less traditional like the BIA? I definitely like the drum sounds you can get out of the BIA.

I'd also like to get an additional, small sequencer. The Tirana seems to be well reviewed. What are people's thoughts on this module in terms of what it delivers for its size?

The rest of the space will probably get filled with another envelope generator, clock source, external input (for pedals) and maybe a Disting. Are there any misc. modules that are particularly useful just to fill out the case? Maybe a 2hp Arp? Thanks folks.