ModularGrid Rack

A beginner is looking for some advice.... I'm aiming to build a rack for ambient-like sounds, experimental, organic, (Kaitlyn Arielia Smith, Arp, Ann Annie,...) In addition to that I have a Aturia Mikrofreak.
I'm quite unsure about the sequencing and quantization abilieties and. Would be nice hear some advices. And sure this will be a growing thing... Thank you so much in advance!

Sequencing and Quantization: bloom and turing machine + scales and pams = overkill for the number of voices you have, if you ask me - get a few buffered mults, tune vcos to intervals, use sample and hold, use divided clocks for triggers etc etc and get rid of at least the tm

Why the field kit? - and it's a big module...

the quad vca - i don't think you'll get on with this one - or at least I wouldn't - it is a quad vca, but there is only one set of controls - great for playing chords, but not what I'd want as a first quad vca - get the a-135-2 instead if you want 8hp and doepfer - I prefer veils - especially for beginners it's a really useful and simple quad cascading vca - lots of gain for external inputs (unlike most vcas - which are really attenuators) and overdrives quite nicely - but is more expensive and bigger!

I'd want more utilities - especially for multing, mixing and modifying modulation - probably some more submixers for audio too, possibly a panning mixer so that you can take your mono sources and pan them to stereo - so that you can process them with the mimeophon and morphagene

Hello Mezlamezla,

Welcome to and to modular synthesizers!

I like the size of your case, not too small, finally a beginner with a bigger case :-) Very good, keep it at this size (or consider even one more 84 HP row, you will see, you need the space in the (near) future).

My next advice is to keep, if possible, even a slightly bit more space free for future use, you have kept one row free, very good, when you start with this rack, don't buy everything in one go though, start with the more easy and simple/standard modules/functions and then consider the more complex and larger modules. So, if possible try to keep two rows free to start with.

Ditch that large Lifeforms module and the Koma, I am sure they are fantastic modules but look at their sizes! 48 HP + 36 HP = 84 HP, that's one entire row of your rack, or 25% of your entire rack space capacity...

Now we have space :-) I see you got a Plaits there, that's good, many people (including myself) are very happy with that one however consider a second oscillator to come into play. Be it an STO of Make Noise, or a Dixie - II+ from Intellijel or any thing that you would like and kind of makes sense.

I also see from Make Noise the Maths & Contour modules, both good modules. I am myself still not sure about the Maths if that was a good investment, yes it's a good module but for that kind of money, for the size of it? Am I sure? No... to be honest. But if you must have a Maths (because nearly everybody got one ;-) ) then perhaps consider the Contour to exchange against a more classical ADSR to get yourself easier started within modular? I can recommend the Doepfer - A-140-1, a standard plain ADSR that does what it needs to do, nothing fancy but good to start with and to understand an envelope in a bit easier way. But up to you, if you are happy with those envelopes Match (that's more than just a simple envelope, I know) and the Contour then go for it. My advice is, that it can't harm to take two envelopes from different brands to see a bit the differences and the (other) possibilities that the market has to offer.

The Make Noise Morphagene and Mimeophon are nice modules, I am pretty sure about that, but to start with those modules, are you sure? Perhaps if you like them so much that you start with one first (the most favourite one) and you leave the other one out first, once you build up experience with your rack then (re-)consider of taking the second module? These are quite complex modules and as a beginner to start with complex modules, I am not too sure if that's the right approach? :-) But if you are as nuts as I am and you like complex stuff, then go for one of them to start with; but you can't say I haven't warned you!

I would consider one more filter, the Doepfer Wasp filter is a nice one so you can keep that one in your rack but consider another additional filter, like a multimode filter for example. The Wasp filter is a nice one but a bit weird one too, so putting a multimode filter next to it that might give you just a bit more filter possibilities that you might need.

This Pamela's New Workout seems to be a great clock module, many people here in the forum have it and are (very) happy with it. I don't have it but I think it's good to keep it in here, you can't do much wrong with that.

I do miss some LFOs though, consider to take two LFOs or if you like to take it easy, start with one first but you will see that sooner or later you need more LFOs. If you want a simple, plain but (very) good LFO, start with the Doepfer - A-145-1. It's simple straight forward with this LFO but that's actually the beauty of this module, it's so sublime because of being so straight forward. I use it in almost every patch.

I don't see an audio (input/) output interface either? It's not per se a must but advisable to consider it. The Intellijel - Audio I/O is a nice one otherwise consider the Befaco - Out v3. And before you put everything to an output module, you need to send it through a mixer first. I don't think I saw a mixer in your rack? So consider that too.

The rest of the modules up to you, check for each module if you really need them to start with? Instead of starting with so many "fancy" modules consider to add rather a nice effects module to give your sound a nice final touch before you send it to your external mixer unless you have external effects then of course you can use those.

Well that's it for the moment. Do some more homework, if I may advise so. Lots of reading and checking is required for modular synthesizers. Don't think you can learn this over one night, this takes ages of preparations, reading, learning and understanding. How you take my above info is up to you, you have to make the final decisions. There is with modular synthesizer actually no real wrong or no real good, at the end it's up to you how you fill up your rack (but do it slowly, step by step and build up experience with each step and re-adjust your opinion about modules and the entire concept). I am just trying to avoid here for you a disappointment because that would be pity, it's too expensive for that. But once you found your way into modular synthesizers, there is no way back and you only want to be more intensively busy with it :-)

Good luck, have fun and kind regards, Garfield Modular.

Just a +1 for Veils. It was my first VCA and, despite owning several others, I still reach for it first. It just drives really well. Nice VCA.

Wow, thank you so much for your thoughtful advices! I really appreciate your effort! Surely there is a lot to learn, which is part of the beauty of it... but besides reading and listening to pros I need to get my hands dirty ;) I'll update the rack after some more research and will explain those choices more detailed... I'll keep you updated!

Thank you!

great idea - but try this no more than 5-6 modules - just the ones you will start with:

a sound source, a sound modifier, a modulation source, a way to play, a quad cascading vca - and something else that you think you want/need

and then once everyone has gone - huh - looks ok to me - buy it and play with it, at least until you have a good idea how everything works together - and don't worry about what modules to buy to fill your case - they will work themselves out over time - maybe after a month or 2 add another module or 2 and repeat