Dear Guys,

I've just made my first Euro project but, before buying, I need a judgement from some experts. This system should be focused on producing melodies and, in the second hand, on integrating some mono sources from my studio synths. Am I really missing something? Is there any module you want to substitute with something else?

Thanks for all your messages. From my past posts you've always encourage me to keep finding better solution. Did I get to a
congruous solution?



ModularGrid Rack

Hi Marco,

What an interesting build! Let's break this down. Currently you have:

Sound Sources (4.5) - Mangrove, Twin Waves, Erica Drum, Mimeophon, [URA kinda?]
VCAs/LPGs (7) - DPLPG [2], ADDAC802[5]
Envelope Generators (4) - Maths [2], A140 [2]
Attenuators (12) - Levit8[8], Maths[4]
Mixers (4) - Levit8, Maths, Mix4, ADDAC802
Filters (2) - Sisters, Polaris
LFOs (6) - Maths (2), Twin Waves (2), Modbox (2)
Clock Modulator (2) - Tempi, Metropolis
Sequencer (2) - Metropolis, Trax
Random (3) - NSE, RND, URA
Quantizer (1) - uTune
Effects (1) - Mimeophon

To me this reads as supporting full voice synth voices and one (2-channel) drum voice, which sounds like what you're after. Sweet! However, there are a few small questions that I would ask. None of these are big and you've done a great job. Just a few things to consider:

  • You say that you are focused on melody creation and to that end you have the Metropolis and the various noise/random sources going into the uTune, but I'm curious how you came to these modules specifically. The Metropolis is a nice sequencer (if not a little large), but the uTune is a somewhat specific quantizer for people who need its microtonal features. It's pretty menu-heavy and I wonder if a more general quantizer like the Intellijel Scales, might not be a better and more versatile choice. If you don't mind menus, and Ornament and Crime would offer a lot more quantizing more (and more) in a similar footprint.

  • You have 2-3 voices and a drum machine, but the Metropolis can only output 1 pitch and 1 gate. I suppose the Trax is there to serve as a second sequencer, but I just want to bring up the idea of something modules like the Rene or the Qu-bit Bloom which have a few more outputs and might be more musically interesting. You could even combine a smaller, conventional sequencer with something weird like the Bloom. You have enough space between your two sequencers that, unless you absolutely need the Roland-style sequencer, you have a lot of perhaps deeper options. You might even consider replacing the Trax with a Euclidean Circles (which gives you 6 whole channels of hand-on gates). I always find that I need more gates than I expect, especially if I'm working with drums. (Remember, a main reason for spending as much space on the Erica as you have is that it has two channels, which means double the inputs, double the shaping)

One final note on sequencers: if you replace your quantizer with something more fully featured like the o_c or the Scales, you get a sequencer(s) there, too.

  • The only thing this rack feels light on is modulation. Other than your Modbox, you are looking at Maths + one of your oscillators in LFO mode. Just like you can never have too many VCAs, I feel like the same is true with LFOs. In addition to modulating a parameter, they are great to modulate a VCA to add extra life/variation to some other modulation/envelope/gate/etc. I'd consider going up to at least a quad lfo (like Batumi). Maths is great in a pinch, but remember that Maths is also your third and fourth envelope (and you have three full voices in this rack). The Mimeophon really gobbles modulation and often wants as much as you can throw at it,

  • You might want to slightly tweak your random plan. You have 14hp of dedicated random/noise/sh modules. Given the small number of non-random modulators, I'd consider scaling down to, perhaps, a Wogglebug or a Turing Machine (great for melodies). Then, you can expand your LFO to a quad that, perhaps, has a random LFO. I think you'll appreciate that extra flexibility.

Those are the main things I would think about. Hope this was at all helpful.


Dear Esmooov,

Thanks for your fast and complete response. I agree with a lot of your observations and so I changed a bit the configuration. The first project was lacking the modulation sources so I added the Batumi (it was a module I was already looking for). Regarding the need of a more hands on quantizer I think I'll conserve the Tubbutec Utune. There're two main reasons: the first is that I'm looking for microtonal sequences (quantizing the ones coming from the Ultra Random Analog?) and the second is that it represents my only bridge with my other midi instruments (computer included). I read through the Tubbutec site that it can act also like a Cv to Midi converter and this is a really cool feature for me.

Second point: If compared with all the other medium size modules, there was really to many space occupied by the Metropolis. Clearly speaking, I adore Roland style melodies...that's the reason why I have put it inside the system...but I have to say that I could be interested also in something different. I've just seen a lot of videos of Qu - Bit Bloom, it is an interesting module...maybe is lacking a bit the intuitivity of the Metropolis but, in the other hand, It seems more un-schematic for experimentation. So, as you can see, I inserted both the Bloom and the Euclidean Circles (another modulo I was already looking for).

The last change I made is the 4ms audio interface that could support stereo signal I/O. This interface, in my opinion, is a good solution to process the stereo sources which come out of the Mimeophon. Another point, if I read well, is that could process two mono (or obviously 1 stereo) sources coming inside the system...this feature, as I initially explained, was another task of my system.

What do you think now? Is it look like a complete system?

Thanks again,


ModularGrid Rack

This all makes a lot of sense and looks great to me! Now, I would start with the first core modules, maybe build one complete voice and experiment how much you can get out of that and then slowly build into your drum voice and your second voice. It can feel overwhelmingly slow, but I'm glad I did this because it gave me time to learn what interfaces and patterns I really enjoyed and which ones I disliked, things I couldn't have anticipated.

Well, it doesn't look great and make a lot of sense to ME! How do you expect to control amplitudes with no VCAs? True, the Quintet has them...but that module's probably going to be quite busy with audio duties, leaving no linear, DC-coupled VCAs to control amplitudes over mod signals via envelopes, LFOs, etc.

Definitely a "sexy" build...but in my book, that's not a good thing. Frankly, I would start over with your basic essentials, but the second time around, add more utility things...VCAs, more envelopes (I tend to view the Maths as an insanely-complex LFO, which is the sort of thing it does very well), and simpler things that are overcomplicated here (like using a $500 mixer as your audio VCAs when the fact is that it can't output stereo, ergo no real need for a stereo out even with the Mimeophon, etc). Really, really ask yourself "Do I truly need this in here?" and don't be afraid to be utterly brutal when making these considerations. Fact is, you could probably cut about $1500-2000 OUT of the cost on this by avoiding the bells-n-whistles modules and simply patching what you want out of "primitives".

Here's a nice rule of thumb to follow: price of module / hp count of module = cost per hp of a given module. Keeping this simple formula in mind when choosing modules, along with the other criteria in use, will go a long way to avoiding superfluous stuff in a build. Try and keep that figure under $25/hp, and you're golden...but when you look at some of what's here, well...the ADDAC 802, f'rinstance, comes in at $41.58/hp. Unless there's a very specific reason for including modules that are that costly, this is something you might want to keep in check, as it leads to both "sexy module syndrome" and the horror of cost-spiraling.

Remember: this is a process. Creating a build like this takes time and diligent pruning at the setup, which MG makes easier and relatively painless. But it still doesn't erase the fact that coming up with an effective modular that'll be usable for years actually takes quite a long time and a lot of work. And a lot of study; don't be fooled by the snazzy looks, what you need to be concerned with is BEHIND the panels.

Hey Lugia, I was hoping for your comment...always a positive criticism. I reflected all day about your words...there was something about the system was not convincing me as much. Frankly is the x-time I came across the idea of making my modular, and this time I really don't want to leave all again.

I tried to rebuild part of the system according to your was lacking vcas so I inserted some mini doepfer modules, they are all cost effective and I assume they do their job well. Again, I add more EGs (Erica and Quadra) and substituted the higly cost ADDAC mixer with a cheap Doepfer real stereo mixer.

As you can see the whole cost of the system decreased a bit, but obviously not by 1500 dollars as you said. I trust you when you say that a system should be run for years and years...if is possible I don't want to keep changing modules, so is better to take correct solution from the start.

What can you say now? It can be a step ahead? Could you please suggest something? I'm a bit depressed right now and I hope in a positive response. Despite rush is always not good I hope to perform the system as soon as possible.

Thanks again,


ModularGrid Rack

OK...MG's screenshot function seems to be smokin' rocks again, so let's see if this sucker posts properly...

ModularGrid Rack's being pretty hateful. At least there IS a link there...

OK, what I did here was to trash a lot of redundancies and whittle the functionality a bit from your prior iteration so that I could drop more RAW POWER into my redux. MIDI interface and sequencer were dropped in favor of a Squarp Hermod, which has both and which does way more. Tempi was dropped in favor of a Pam's; you might want the extra two channels of trig sequencing. Zadar instead of the dual ADSR and the Erica EG/LFO, Quad VCA instead of the discrete dual lose two, but gain some extra mixing capability for either audio or CV (or both, given that you can split out VCAs in it).

Listen I/O was scrapped, and I separated the audio in and outs into separate modules, both located where they should be. You'll also notice that the Happy Nerding OUT has a separate stereo input, which you can use to put the Mimeophon in parallel routing, instead of having to route everything thru it and control the result with the wet/dry control. The Doepfer A-119 also now gives you an envelope follower...very useful for incoming audio, as you can now use the incoming amplitude as a dynamic contour (or most anything else CV-wise). Buffered mult, yep...normally, I'd say keep this OUT, but in this case the build IS moving into the turf where this is needed. And WHY...well, that's next to it: Squarp's new 4-channel sample player module. Then the other new device is a 6-in stereo mixer, with CV over either level (your dedicated audio VCAs) or panning.

Layout was regrouped, and the functions were split between rows: audio UP, CV/mod DOWN.

...and the cherry on the cake: I managed to mash it down another $300, even with all of the hi-octane additions. :-) So, how's that?

Hey Lugia,

Thanks for the improvements, it looks great to me now. I'll probably go for a Pittsburgh Structure Ep 208 case (you've advised it to me in a past treat) both because of the cost and solid power supply to keep the system safe.

Hope to carry out something really enjoyable from this system throughout years.

All the best,


Good choice. The Pittsburgh Structure cabs are built like a brick s**thouse, too, which means all of these widgets will have a very sturdy home. Plus with the +12V rail total PLUS inrush figures coming in at around 2.5A, it's got the P/S that can handle that...and then some! Should be a killer rig once it's built...