This is probably the most vexing part of Eurorack for me at the moment.
What is the best, most efficient way to lay out the modules? My take on
it for now has been to look at how older things like the Arp 2600 or the
Moog System 55 where put together but while the VCO/VCF/VCA thing
seems logical, once the wires start multiplying like rabbits it might not
be. Should the CV control sorts of modules like LFOs and Maths and such
be in the center to allow them access to all the other modules? What was
your experience once you actually started exploring sounds? My only
caveat here is that this will be used in a home studio. I won't have to worry
about doing things on the fly at a show or anything.

This is a really good question as I only know from trial and error - not sure if there is a guide out there.

So you want to keep the things like LFO's and other modulation sources kind of in the middle with the clocks and the sequencers so the cable runs are shorter. then the envelopes, then the filters, then the osciallators.. on the lower rt. corner slap the final mixer. Effects also near the mixer since you usually send those directly over. Get some of those double plug in type patch cords too those are a huge help.

This is a subject that is just starting to confuse me too, so far I have bought quite a few of the great little 2hp modules and it does give quite a bit of constraint for fingers and patching. So I'm now thinking about Layout, all the small 2hp modules want to be scattered around so they are more accessible around lager hp modules.
I'm basically working across 3 rows, and I'm thinking i want to try and have the control bits like modulators, sequencers and Mixing on the bottom row then push the sound sources up and maybe the effects too.
I'm hoping things just become apparent where they should go as I buy more modules!!!
I'm half tempted to get another case and purpose it just for the output sections of mixer, effects etc etc

Good Luck!

Don't replicate the actual module layouts...just the signal flow!

If you look at the ARP 2600, you'll see a pattern: sources are up and leftward, VCF and VCA up and more middle, mixer up and right. MOST modulation sources are down, with the exception of the two EGs.

Now, what this does is to set up a signal flow in which modulation and CVs come UP to the sources and modifiers. Then the audio from these goes ACROSS from left to right. Now, this is where it stops as the output on the 2600 is right above the mixer...but in a Eurorack build, it's possible to make the flow even clearer by following the ARP 2600 pattern and THEN "correcting" for the different format. So, in Eurorack, you'd want your sources (VCOs, external in, etc) in the upper row and left then toward the center. Sum these (and waveshape them, ring mod, etc etc) at the right end and send the audio DOWN to row 2, where you have your filters and effects, then DOWN once more to a performance mixer and out. Meanwhile, your control/timing should be in the lower row, next to the mixer (which is technically also a controller when you think about it!) and its signals should feed UP. Above that row are modulation sources...LFOs, EGs, noise and S&H, that they can "branch" out from that area to affect the surrounding modules as well as tamper with the upward-moving CV/mod signals heading to the sources above them.

Now THAT is how you lay one of these out. Everything is in "blocks", so that when you need to adjust something which you hear is wrong, you can more instinctively go to the area where the problem is coming from. And the flow makes sense: up-left, down-right.

Thanks all. As usual part of the charm of Eurorack is that you have to dig in and experiment. Much like early
computers there are no real guidposts for questions like this yet. I think there is a logic to how the workflow
should go so your not stretching cables into knots when you don't have to. Thanks for concrete information
based on your experiences. Gotta love Modulargrid for that. ^.^

Hello Lugia, All,

Currently I have five rows rack and use roughly a few brands per row (Doepfer and Erica Synths have each their own row; the rest of the brands are smaller (in my setup) and share with other brands a row. Then per row I start on the left hand side (roughly indication, going here from left to right) with input modules (MIDI) and clock stuff, then multiples, then oscillators & LFOs, then EGs, filters, effects and mixers, somewhere around here a few multiples again (I know perhaps a few too many but I like to have enough multiples around the modules) and ending with VCAs and output modules on the right (my external mixer is on the right hand side).

So far I felt it was "kind of okay" however now I am trying to use it polyphonic and slowly but surely I am struggling too with what is logical? What makes more sense? How to manage certain connections with shorter patch cables?

Your idea, Lugia, is quite interesting, I am going to give that some serious thoughts. How is your mentioned setup holding up when you are getting more voices (say four or more voices) parallel involved, does it still work out good? Not getting crazy of the many cables blocking almost everywhere? ;-) I am luckily taking that with some good portion of humour, i.e. it doesn't bother me too much, using one hand to "move away the many cables", so the other hand has space to reach the knobs... not very suitable for a live setup to say at the least. Though it came to my mind being an octopus and having 8 "hands" would be kind of easy...

Next question, nasty one... My rack is close to full and no further space, the only possibility is getting another rack on the other side of my desk, still within almost hand reach if I turn my body but completely away from my current rack, due to space constraints, I have no other option (or not to extend at all, which I don't consider as an actual option :-) ). I am planning to use the Doepfer A-180-9 to interconnect these "two rack sides" with each other.

So what would then be a logical setup? I have no clue yet other than keeping up my current configuration of continuing the newer rack for other brands per row principle, however the idea of Lugia would be interesting and would make sense too; using that for each "rack side".

Any suggestions and any one else who uses a different setup that might help to simplify the complexity of "module positioning" are welcome.

Thank you very much in advance and kind regards, Garfield.

I'm kind of in the same place. My self built rack is almost full. I could replace it with a different one 20hp wider, but that'd be quite expensive for relatively little gain. I'd also be left with quite an amount of rails in a size I wouldn't have any usage for. So...
Take the opportunity and stop the madness of an ever growing system? Or get a smaller, possibly portable second one?
Should that be a standalone system or more of an extension?
On the minus side the first (additional case) option would probably mean duplicate functions eating up valuable space. On the plus side, a portable case opens up new possibilities (live performance, jamming with other people, patching on the sofa, drowning while making a modular YouTube video in a fisher boat out on the Atlantic Ocean...).
The latter (extension) option would necessitate very careful planning as to what sort of signals get send back and forth and thus limit the versatility. When reading about modules like the A-180-9 I got the sense that there might/will be some amount of crosstalk. So it'd probably a good idea to also take that into account. But that option could also mean less switching about of modules between "live" and "studio" rack.
I don't know. Was that too long and rambling? Did it make sense? What was the question again?
My current rack layout is similar to Lugia's suggestion, except my CV tools are more like above and in between the filters and fx. I'm not yet satisfied with some aspects of that and will reorder everything once I've decided on how to go ahead regarding a new rack.

Even when working in polyphonic or multitimbral patches, this layout method works...because it has the built-in asset of, if something sounds wrong, you can be very sure just by listening as to where the wrongness is. So it actually tends to make complex patches easier to sort out and use. Yes, the patchcord jungle is fairly daunting...but if you're talking about complex orders of control, several layers of patching, etc, it's going to get that way anyway, so adopting a method that's worked for decades (I based it on the ARP 2600 layout, basically) you get the complexity AND a method for controlling it that makes a bit more sense.

Yep, it's a modular. If there's no jungle, it's not being used.

Oh, I've also had two manufacturer specific areas. Still have one. While it looked nice (unpatched), I found it makes the whole rack less obvious to use. Of course, for some modules - and especially with Mutable - where it belongs kind of depends on which mode it is in. Grouping at least the extremely mutable Mutable stuff could be a reasonable solution.

Hi Senor-bling and Lugia,

Senor-bling: Thanks for your thoughts and that crosstalk "thingy", hmm, yes, good point. I was hoping to solve that (partly) by using at least Cat 6 Ethernet cables (i.e. shielded), but I am not sure if that's sufficient and yes, this is going to be an experiment... hopefully a good one :-)

Yet another good point: It's modular, if there's no jungle, it's not being used, yes! You are totally right about that :-) But if you get feelings of rather wanting to be an octopus than a human being to handle all the cables... not sure then ;-) Or perhaps it's a deal that one day I will hold all your cables so you have your both hands free to handle all the modular stuff and the other day you hold all my cables so I can use my both hands using the modular? ;-) Of course I am joking and enjoying modular whereby the patching part is almost half the fun for me.

Lugia: It's good to hear that your suggested setup holds up on complex patches too, that indicates to me that I have to serious consider that setup. Well, I will be honest with you, I am pretty lazy and not looking forward in changing quite a bit of my modules' position, unscrewing the modules, moving them, etcetera, that is what I try to keep to a minimum. I still see the benefit of your setup, so I guess I will struggle a bit longer till I can't hold it any longer and then, most likely during Christmas holidays or so, removing all the modules and start with a complete new startup, your idea might be taken then :-) !

Thank you both for your input and kind regards, Garfield.