I've got the semi-modular MiniBrute 2s and I'm looking for a reasonable way to expand it to modular setup. I currently route its output into VCV Rack and add extra stuff: mostly rhythm section (perc/bass) and effects; sometimes other voices. This is all fun, but it's not really a hybrid modular setup: I just route one audio channel from Minibrute into VCV rack. I enjoy fiddling the actual knobs, so I'd like to start assembling the case that would shift the weight from DAW more into hardware, maybe eventually getting rid of the PC completely. This is not supposed to be a live setup any time soon.
Now, I would be grateful for advice on rack construction there. My plan so far:
- For the second voice or rhythmic sounds, get Mutable Instruments Plaits. Everyone loves Plaits :D
- Something for triggering percussive Plaits with. I was thinking about either Pamela's New Workout or Grids. How should I choose? I was leaning towards PNW, because I can also use it for all kinds of modulation (LFO/random); Minibrute 2s has nice sequencer, but the modulation is a bit limited (e.g. LFO's have no offset).
- Modulation. In VCV rack, I sometimes do simple CV manipulations, e.g. modulate envelope output with an LFO, so I would need something for that. I was considering IntelliJel Quad VCA, because it seems quite versatile (both lin and exp, and is a mixer), but I'm not sure if that's not an overkill this early. Or perhaps just save for Maths instead?
- For effects, keep the poor man's output to DAW for the moment. I think adding a reverb/delay as a last step is rather easy in the DAW. Later on maybe Clouds? I know a lot of people use Expert Sleepers Disting, but as long as I have a PC in the loop anyway I don't see a benefit of using it.
- More percussion? I like twisted rhythms in general, and I'm worried that I will not have enough drums&clicks. In VCV rack, I make extensive use of 16-step trigger sequencers with all kinds of sound sources. I was thinking about Basimilus Iteritas Alter, but I've read that it tends to dominate the patch and that it's crunchy; I'd rather do something smooth/soft and I may be short on VCAs/attenuators to make that happen. I would totally use a module that has two trigger inputs and produces two different sounds there, so that I can patch two PNW outputs there. Does such a thing exist? Or can I just keep hitting Plaits four times a second and still make it sound nice?
- For sequencing... Nothing, at the moment. Minibrute has a 4-track sequencer, and each of these tracks can be of any type; with PNW being a good trigger/modulation source, I can devote 3 or even 4 tracks of Minibrute for pitch sequencing.
- Case - I should have probably started with this - everyone keeps saying "get a bigger case", so I guess I'll skip the single-row episode and go for a 6U.
I haven't bought anything yet, so it's a good time to point out everything :)
Ah, I should mention that I don't have a dedicated studio, so I have to set up my gear on a table for every session, and then clean it up. As far as I understand this means I should not get the cheapest cases; I was thinking about RackBrute 6U or TipTop Mantis.
Now, I'm not going to do all of this at once; I'd do this one item at a time and see how it goes - since I'm starting with Minibrute, I can immediately plug any new modules and fool around. I would be very grateful for any comments and hints, though.