What do you think about this rack, for ambience/generative, any advice?

ModularGrid Rack


Hi Mator1900,

Are you really already that old? Born in 1900? ;-) Just joking.

My first reaction: Extreme far too small case. Second impression, quite a few fancy modules but I am missing some basic but important stuff, like: VCOs, LFOs (I saw one), envelopes (I saw one), filters, VCAs and perhaps here and there a few more modules. If you are not familiar with these standard components then please do first some reading & homework before start to plan a modular system. Don't even think about buying one yet, knowing what you want is an important pre-phase of this.

But your question is difficult to answer with just the very little input you give us. Basic information like: how much experience do you have on synthesizers, and on modular systems? The more information you provide the more accurate I/we can try to help you.

So even without really knowing what you want, get yourself a much, much bigger case and don't put everything straight from the beginning full. Keep for example one row free for future extensions otherwise you end up with buying a second case pretty soon.

One little feedback about the audio output module, personally I would put that either in the bottom left or bottom right corner, depending where your cables need to go to your external mixer or device. Putting that one in the middle seems not so handy to me (regarding cables blocking you when you patch and want to turn knobs, etcetera). Unless you have of course a good reason to put it there in the middle, then it's fine.

Oh yes, and do you really need two Expert Sleepers - Disting mk4s? One wouldn't do it? Do I also see two Plucks? Really needed?

Good luck with your planning and kind regards, Garfield Modular.


For generative? One thought: it's too small. Another thought: why are there two buffered mults in a rig that really has only three "oscillators" (one of which has input buffering)? A third: where are the filters?

This isn't going to work for the purpose you're aiming for. Proper generative systems involve A LOT of modulation sources, various ways of altering timing structures, plenty of ways of combining and interacting between modulators, and a rather extensive but generally uniform set of audio paths. For example: there's two VCAs here, but the 2180 VCA isn't one that can work with CVs or modulation signals. It's not a DC-coupled linear VCA, and instead, it's one primarily for audio work. Cool beanz for audio...but if you want variation with your modulation levels, that won't be happening here.

While the addition of a tile row (and, IMHO, the correct sort of tile row...sorry, Intellijel!) is a really great idea for moving basic utilities out of the 3U turf, this rig isn't where it needs to be overall. For one thing, you're trying to use a very small cab for a "big cab" purpose, and this never works well. Secondly, there's lots missing. My advice would be to start over...and if you're intent on doing proper generative work, you should start with a case that's several times this size. In fact, that advice goes for ALL builds; NEVER start in a small case, but instead, start very large and pare down from there to the point where the functionality you want is just supportable. THEN resize the case.

The other thing I would suggest would be to get a copy of VCV Rack. Work out your generative ideas in there, then start figuring out how to transfer the ideas from that virtual Eurorack environment to a real one. This should not only give you a much better idea of the scale you should be working on here, but a very clear idea of what sort of modules this needs, what sort of actual outlay is involved, etc.


I'm in club Intellijel... Lycans rules!

Building in a small case is akin to going from building grandfather clocks to wristwatches. The amount of knowledge and precision becomes of the utmost importance. Getting the most mileage out of a handful of modules requires this knowledge and experience. Getting a small rack correct the first time around without experience is going to be a tough task.

Ambient tracks produced via modular generally have lots of modulation involved... some blatant and a lot is very subtle. There's going to be lots of small modulation in order to keep the sound fresh and evolving. Listening to one plain oscillator drone on... not very entertaining.

People are enticed to start with a small rack because it's less expensive to put together. But if it can't do what you're hoping it will do, you're throwing your money away.

+1 on VCV rack. That's what I started on (even though I've been into synthesizers for about 30 years). If you can build the sort of ambient patches you like in VCV Rack, you can translate all of those virtual modules into a shopping list for real world modules. VCV Rack is FREE. It does have some paid modules available. But nothing that's a show-stopper if you don't have it. Get in some virtual time before you spend thousands of dollars on real world equipment. Your bank account will thank you.