Hi, after receiving advice on this site, I am interested in acquiring a Tiptop Mantis. But I'm also drawn to the 6U Rackbrute.
I did some research and believe the Mantis has a little more HP space and a better power supply- the Zeus power supply. But the build also seems less sturdy than the Rackbrute, and the Rackbrute might be OK for me power and space wise. It doesn't bother me about the Mantis being plastic. The Zeus power supply might be healthier for the modules I buy, but I like the less wobbly looking Rackbrute.
They are priced around the same price.
Also, I would need a The Type I plug (as defined by the IEC) for Australian wall power sockets.
The standard voltage in Australia is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
Has anyone had experience with either of, or, preferably, both of these cases, (the Tiptop Mantis and the 6U Rackbrute)?
Hi cristoo. I went through the same deliberation about four months ago and have just ordered my second TipTop Mantis. I'm extremely happy with the first one. Plenty of power, decent build quality, the Mantis has 208hp vs the Rackbrute's 171hp (with power supply installed). The bottom row of the Mantis is something like 60mm deep, so you probably won't run into too many modules that won't fit. Some of the Doepfer modules are especially deep, so you should probably compare case depth too. If I remember correctly, they both have threaded rails, so you won't have to deal with sliding nuts.
I think the Rackbrute is meant to be a compliment to the Arturia Minibrute, so if you have one of those as an external synth, it may make sense to get the Rackbrute from an aesthetic perspective. Also, will you be transporting your case to gigs? The Mantis is light, but I don't think I would take it outside of my home without a Decksaver cover and a case/padded bag. Aside from these concerns, the Mantis wins in my book.
The only downside I can think of is that I was not initially fond of the vertical configuration for my Mantis. It didn't feel as stable as I hoped, so I have been using it in the 45-degree and horizontal configurations until my second one and dual mounting brackets arrive.
Hope this helps. Good luck and have fun!
I own both and agree with your initial thoughts. I would buy both again, just received my 2nd RB6U today and a 2nd Mantis is on the shopping list. Don´t assume you won´t want a bigger system, I made that mistake at the beginning, but see where that got me :).
Adding to your findings:
- Got my 2nd RB before the 2nd Mantis. I´m building a small portable system first, studio extension comes later. As that unit has mostly black faceplate modules, the RB looks much better. That does of course not impact how modules sound. It´s just a bit of eye candy on top of the important things.
- Metal case, more solid, but also much heavier.
- There is an Arturia softshell Travelbag that looks solid, has paddings etc. Check MW for reviews on the Mantis bag.
- Combine 2 RBs with a flexible angle between them, this also serves as a carrying handle. Much better suited for medium live systems if you perform or move between home studio and friend´s places.
- Said Combo gives you a gap between upper and lower, good if you can use that, bad if you don´t. I feed longer cables there to get them out of the way.
- Smaller PSU in an odd width (5hp). If you run out of power and can´t move modules between cases, there are option like StrongPWR (4hp). They add to the overall cost of course. I hit the limit, but was able to move things. Use modulargrid to estimate power consumption.
- Placement of PSU module is a bit limited, as the default cable to the distribution board is quite short. It has a standard connector though, an extension is possible, but may need a custom approach. I´m also concerned about interference, but that´s theoretical for now.
- No decksaver option, so dust protection must be improvised (or fold the upper above the lower in my case).
- Without the bracket, a single RB works great on desktop, but is still a bit higher than the Mantis. If you work in studio only and place it directly on the desktop, Mantis is preferred.
- Much more elegant formfactor, the curved design is just very, very nice. Does not alter sound, but makes the modular just so much sexier to look at. You may disagree. Looks great with silver faceplates.
- Plastic. Sturdy plastic, but plastic. Color may change over a long time, think old computers, but then again a paintjob can easily be done. I actually think about spraying mine in screaming orange, but that´s a different story.
- Fixed angle for the brackets. May or may not be a good thing, I can´t tell yet. The slight angle of the upper row is a godsend already, much appreciated, so I assume TTA did their homework. Brackets will give more stability, but I think I´ll probably skip them and build something with a custom angle.
- Dual Mantis is definitely immobile (when using brackets). Gives you gapless connection, pros and cons see above.
- Depending on your needs, price/performance ratio is on par with the RB, it´s just the question if you want to get mobility features vs power and space. Your usecase will decide that.
- Much beefier PSU, does not waste hp, more connectors from the board.
So in all honesty, it´s a draw in most cases unless your application would make one or the other difference a deciding factor.
Timeline of my shopping: RB #1, Mantis #2, RB #2. Next stop Mantis #2. So from my perspective, both are good value and I haven´t found any showstoppers.
Mantis - almost always slightly better value for money ($/hp) and doesn't use a power module - so doesn't waste space!!!
I'll probably buy a second one next year - when I run out of space in my current racks
I use a guitar stand for each of my DIY 9u/104hp and they are reasonably stable - the Mantis would be more so - if you want portability this may be a good solution instead of the bracket
I went with the 7U Intellijel case. More expensive but is all aluminum in the chassis and comes with a locking lid and a carrying handle.
But for your FIRST case and a choice between the Mantis and Rack Brute, I'd go with the Mantis... especially if it's not meant to leave the house. The Mantis also comes with adjustable legs. I find that to be important as you'll be spending hours looking down at your rack. I don't like giving up a rackspace for power supplies.
The only downside to the Mantis is that it isn't stackable like the Rackbrute. But my own personal taste is that I don't like my rig vertical or in a "wall" configuration. I like table-top views. Those may be considerations for you as well.
Thanks for all the feedback. I probably will get the Mantis.
I actually had a dream about buying a rack and all I remember was saying to someone "People spend this much money on furniture and furniture doesn't even do anything."
I've had over-heating problems with my Rackbrute 6U, its getting sent back after a lengthy trouble shooting session with Arturia Support, it smelt like melting plastic, when i put the exact same module + more into my Tiptop Happy Ending Kit they all run cool. Real shame to be honest as it was about the prefect size / setup for the money and for my plans.
Bought it from Bax-shop in the UK, having real trouble getting them to send a return shipping label for it, they keep saying they have emailed it but nothing ever arrives.
Frankly, I'm of the school of thought where the POWER SUPPLY and BUILD reign supreme. Case ergonomics are one thing...but if you've bought a case that has a power capacity that's near or at the max current load for its P/S, you're utterly screwed.
Let's compare two VERY different 2 x 104s...the Mantis, which we're dealing with here, and Pittsburgh's EP-208.
On first glance, the choice seems totally obvious: the Mantis retails at USD 335, the EP-208 at 699. Buy the Mantis and YAAAAAAYYYYcheepnizz...
Let's lift the hood on these. The Mantis offers a power supply with a whopping 3A on the +12V rail. But...look more closely, and this is a distributed 3A; each section for the +12V rail has a max capacity of 1A. The remaining rails are pretty pedestrian: 1.1A on the -12V rail, and only 300 mA on the 5V. You get 36 bus connectors, threaded rails, plastic housing with stacking brackets. Max depth is claimed at 61mm, but really is more like 55mm so that you have room for power ribbons.
Now, the more expensive EP-208. In this case, you get 4A on the +12V, 3A on the -12V and 2A on the 5V rails. No "zones", either; if you need all 4A on one header, you got it. 40 connectors here, sliding nuts, a beefy WOOD housing with carry handle and lid, and a maximum depth potential of 107 mm, but really most are around 90mm. Either way, the depth capabilities trash the Mantis, as do the power capacities.
Now...let's have some fun! Let's load BOTH cases with about $4k worth of modules, hand them to you, and say "You need to take ONE of these and smack it against the wall REALLY EFFIN' HARD, and whatever's left, YOU GET!" I don't think you'll want to try this with the Mantis, frankly...but from my experience with wood-cased synths, whatever's in the Pitt should be relatively OK.
Basically, it's NOT JUST about the power. That's important, sure, but once you've found your suitable current over-spec (and you should ALWAYS majorly over-spec power...more amperage is always better than almost not enough!), take what's in the case into account and go for durability. Ample INNER space is good for heat dissipation, and that's good for all of your build's components. Rugged housings protect against ANY impact...and it doesn't matter to your synth if that impact comes during a load-in at a gig or if your cab slips off your worktable.
Sure, I think it's great that these cheaper cases ARE bringing down Eurorack cab prices at the lower end, as those prices were approaching total psychosis just 2-3 years ago. But there's a big difference between a cheaper case and a compromised case, and while some users would be fine with a plastic case like the Mantis, the minute it's out of your studio, it's in a certain degree of danger...along with its contents. Keep that in mind...