Hi all,

I am looking to construct a portable eurorack to play basslines and leads. This will be my first modular equipment, and I've selected a Intellijel 3U+1U 62hp case. A bigger case is not practical as I foresee a lot of moving in the next couple years. Suggestions on the modules I'm thinking of are appriciated :). Thanks!

ModularGrid Rack

Welcome to Eurorack.

You're buying a case and completely filling it. You'll have to buy a second case if you want to expand. I hear what you're saying but the reality is that most people want additional functionality once they get some wiggle-time in with their modular.

For the price, I prefer Intellijel's old 4U 104HP case... but they stopped making them. If you can find one of those 2nd hand, I'd recommend pouncing on it.

For the size of your case the Metropolis is just too big. It's nice to have a sequencer in the case. But you'd save money and do better buying something like a Keystep Pro or a Beatstep Pro. The Metropolis can't sync to MIDI so whatever you create with it won't sync to anything else without some more modules... but you don't have the room. If you really want a sequencer, I'd look for something smaller that has the ability to sync to MIDI.

You need mixers. You have none. The Intellijel VCA can sum two inputs. But there's no way to control the proportions of each signal. The 2HP VCAs do not sum according to the manual.

There's no LFO in the set-up. I'd think about that as LFOs are pretty common in most synth systems.

Overall... I think you COULD keep this case to make a basic system if you replace the Metropolis with another sequencer (internal or external) that has MIDI and then reclaim the saved space for additional modules you may want or need. Small systems are much harder to put together than larger systems as you're trying to balance space with practical functionality. The value of a small system is usually so limited that they are no more capable than a plug-out synth like a Behringer Neutron or a Moog Mother 32. Honestly, I'd recommend buying a Moog Mother 32 rather than what you have here. Less expensive and more features.

Thanks Ronin! Guess I have some more thinking to do :).

The Mother 32 does indeed seem like good value for the money.

I hope that doesn't put you off of getting into Eurorack. Most semi-modular synths are a good value for those just getting into Eurorack. Small systems just don't provide a lot of value for the money. If you have the money and are going to expand in the near future... they make more sense. But you have to cram a lot of features into a small space and that too has to be a consideration.

You'll also find something called a "synth voice" which is basically a Eurorack module that contains all if not most of what you need for a synthesizer. Intellijel also makes the Atlantis module which is based on the Roland MS101. That too would also make a great starting module. But you'd have to supply a MIDI to CV converter if you want to use a controller or you DAW to address it.

Just don't think of any starter modules or synths as entry-level. Most of them aren't. The Mother-32 or Atlantis still hold there own in a massive system. So you won't lose value if you expand. You just might end up with some redundancy or options depending on how you look at it.

Are you going to take another crack at sketching up another rack? You didn't pick bad modules at all. It's just the configuration would make things difficult for you. I hope you try again.

I think I will let go off the idea of the small system, and look for a bigger case (maybe slightly bigger even than the 4U 104HP you mentioned, as long as it's still relatively portable) with at first "only" a few basic modules including either the Atlantis or Mother32.

I'll be back when I got a clearer plan, thanks for your kind advice and encouragement. :)

The Intellijel 7U would be a great choice as it's in the same series and you can still plan on using the 1Us... just note that the Intellijel 1U standard IS NOT the Pulp Logic standard for 1U. So be sure any 1U modules will fit in your specific rack.

With the Mother32, you CAN put it in the rack. But that's something you should really have a good think about as the Mother32 comes in its own case with its own power supply. So putting it in a rack means you lose that many HP for modules that need to be in your rack.

The more you research, the more you'll know. Oh... and always devote some space in your build for adding a few more modules. Even if it's 20HP... the ability to squeeze in that ONE module that would really set things off once you've started USING your system is some good headroom to have.

Thanks for the heads up about the 1U standards :).

I think I'll start with a Metropolis+Atlantis+stereo line out 1U in a 104hp 7U case and play with that. After that maybe a Maths or a reverb, no rush to decide.

The Atlantis sounds nicer to me than the Mother on the audio I've listened to, and the Metropolis looks like soooo much fun.