I've wanted to build a modular synthesizer for years, but I think now's the time. I want to build something small and inexpensive (~$2000), but one that will keep me entertained and diving into new sounds while not updating it for a matter of months while at college. I have a general idea of how to go about it (I think), different sounds and artists I'd like to emulate, and modules I find really interesting, such as:
Mannequins - Just Friends
ALM - Akemie's Taiko, Akemie's Castle
Qu-Bit - Nebulae V2, Chance
Pittsburgh - Primary Oscillator
Malekko - Varigate 4+, 8+

I want to pair it to Earthquaker Devices's Avalanche Run because I love how that pedal sounds, but that's besides the point. Here are the modules I selected considering what I find interesting and what I think will keep me interested for a long time without updating it:

Feedback? I'm a noob and I want the maximum potential out of my small system, so please give me feedback.

Hi AJfish114,

I saw nobody replied you yet, I am new to modular synths as well and I am in a very similar position like you as well, planning a modular system, checking out modules etcetera. I have the kind of luck of having a quite large music shop not too far away from where I live and where I can test quite a few modules (not all though). Some feedback from me:

  • Regarding Malekko - Varigate 4+ or 8+, it really depends on what you want, if you don't mind to "dive a bit in the menu" then this might be good. If you are interested you can go in this forum to the Modular Discussion section and then look for the thread called "Sequencer search, with repeat option". Up to you if you want to read the entire thread however I just got a good advice or two from some members here, please scroll down to almost the bottom of that thread starting with the reply from Lugia on Monday, the 20th of May and the reply after his one, the reply by Ronin1973. Especially the latter reply, read his opinion, I think that might be very useful for both of us, since we are new to this :-)

I have tested the Varigate 8+ a bit, without a manual (and being new to modular synths) this isn't an easy module to understand, you really need to get the manual next to it and get started with it. So if you don't mind that plus the menu structures, then you should be fine.

  • The endorphin.es, the Furrrrhhh generator or however it's correctly spelled ;-) I had a chance of testing that for a very short time, first there was no noise at all and I had to turn one main knob quite a bit (it's actually an encoder that's why at first I didn't got sound out of it because someone just turned it for "hours" to one side :-) ). But once you get sound out of it, oh yes, beautiful oscillators and oscillator mixes you can get out of that module. For myself I feel it's a "bit" too expensive but I really can understand why you would like to have it, good one!

  • The Maths module from Make Noise is on my wishlist as well, I had a quick look at it and tested it just shortly only at that shop here not far away from my home. This is a complicated module, nothing against that, only not sure if we as beginners should consider that to start with, I will start first with some easier modules from Make Noise (are there any? ;-) ) and then a year later or so I also will consider the Maths. It seems to be very powerful in its possibilities. You can't really do anything wrong with getting that module is what I understood from people I have met at that store. One person I met said this must be part of any modular system... well not sure if that's correct but I guess it indicates that it is a module we should consider for sure!

  • The wogglebug from the same brand, that's a fun module, at least in my opinion. I just checked my written down comments I made when I had tested this module, yes, I had tons of fun with it, just for myself I must ask the honest question to myself: "Do I really need it?" Not sure, but it's good mood fun this module; so up to you really.

All other modules you have shown or mentioned I can't comment on because I haven't tested them yet.

From ALM those Alkemie's modules, I haven't seen them yet in the shop, they might not have them so I wouldn't be able to test it. If you have the change of testing them or once you got them, I would be very curious about your comments on these modules, please keep me updated, thank you!

Good luck with the search for the perfect setup! What I have learned so far is... that finding that perfect setup might be a kind of illussion. I think, and that's what you are doing so that's good, start small (meaning, keep some budget to buy later on some more modules once you have gained experience with your new setup) and extend by gained experience with the modules you seem to need and/or like, something like that I will do too :-)