With a bit of extra income coming in from multiple sources, I'm really considering taking the dive, but i have some concerns. I'm thinking about getting basically the AE modular starter rack 1, rehoused in their 16u eurorack adapter, with a few changes and putting that in a Tiptop Audio Mantis for future expansion, along with an Arturia Keystep. I understand that the AE system is limited to 0-5 volts on CV, is it also limited to 0-5 volts in it's audio signal? I don't want to plug in my guitar or, say, a line of One sample players and blow up my AE system. If it is limited to 0-5 for Audio, what would I do to step down levels simply? Would I use a VCA? Is an audio signal's voltage the same as it's amplitude? like instrument level vs line level vs modular level?

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

I guess it also warrants asking, am I barking up the wrong tree? I really like fat, dark, warm synthwave tones like Lazerhawk, Malo, Power Glove, Carpenter Brut, Magic Sword, etc, etc. It seems like, at least on Youtube, the majority of patches I see are things like house, trap, techno, ambient, experimental. Not very many synthwave patches. Anybody have any experience with making Synthwave on a modular? I'd think an AE with an Arturia would be as good of a place to start as any, but I'm hesitant. Should I start with my idea for an AE and a Keystep? or perhaps go for an all in one Korg or Behringer? I just hate the thought of losing the ability to shape my sound with a guitar pedal or an effect in the middle of the patch, just not at the output. EDIT. Isn't crippling self doubt just the greatest? At lease I ain't suffering from Dunning Kruger!

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

In the AE environment, you MUST constrain signals to a 0 to +5V scale. It's just how the system works, probably due to part of its origins being in Stanley Lunetta's design work. Now, to get signals in and out, that's what the 4I/O modules are for...they do all of the voltage voodoo. But if you want proper scaling, that will require the MASTER and its MIDI interfacing, since the AE also isn't exactly 1V/8va.

There's also a second solution, especially for CV/gate/trig signals, and that's Soundmachines' Nanobridge. That was designed for their Nanosynth...again, some Lunetta ideas in there...and costs a whopping $40! w00t! This provides 14 channels of bidirectional I/O for control signals (primarily) and when you use the AE's +5 and GND as its references, it will autoconstrain things to the proper range.

I use all of these, btw...pitch CVs via the pair of MASTERs, audio I/O via a pair of 4I/Os, and a Nanobridge for all of the other stuff. I can also drive my AE system via Ableton's CV Tools thru a used/cheap MOTU 828FW mkii ($120 on Reverb), which is capable of dealing with the voltage scaling issue and can give me eight simultaneous channels of scaled CVs if I should need that.

EDIT: You (and others looking at the AE, of course) might find even more answers over at their forum, which you can access via their site at https://www.tangiblewaves.com/ Lots of knowledge flying around there, including some tasty DIY action (company-encouraged, even!).


I had forgotten the I/O automatically handled voltage levels. Guess I just wigged out a bit there. Shoulda known that

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

I wonder how well the Zoia euroburo would play with that master AE module. Doesn't the Zoia have midi control modules on board along with midi in and out? Take a sequencer from a euro module and route it to the Master module with the Zoia, letting the Zoia handle notes and octaves?

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

Yep...the MIDI is relatively basic-ish on the AE's MASTER, but it can still do lots of crazy things. To accomplish the really wacky stuff, though, I'll be relying on CV Tools. Even though we don't have any solution like the Expert Sleepers stuff (although, you CAN use their Silent Way software for this same voodoo, too) in the AE environment, it's still cheap and easy to get a used DC-coupled audio interface off of eBay or Reverb, hook that puppy up to the DAW, and make the magic happen that way.