I’m a Eurorack newbie. I’ve planned my first rack and I’d really appreciate any comments before I bite the bullet and whack out the credit card.

My goal with the rack is to use it to create sounds that are difficult to produce in my DAW with soft synths, and to just get a creative blast from working hands-on with hardware rather than plugins.

That said, I’d like to use the rack in conjunction with Ableton Live, sending the output back to Live via an ES-9 for effects processing, mixing and final production.

With this in mind, I’ve mainly chosen modules that seem to deliver functionality that’s unique to modular: Morphagene, Arbhar, etc. The rack also has a sequencer, and I’m intending to use CV Tools via the ES-9, but I like the idea of generating happy accidents on the rack using the sequencer’s probability functions, and just generally playing around and noodling.

The sound sources are an Instruo Ts-L, an Odessa, a Chainsaw, Morphagene and Arbhar, driven by a Vector sequencer. Although I’d like to apply most of the effects on the computer, the rack also has a Mimeophon just because I really love it. 😊

I may have too much fun stuff and not enough utility modules - I’ve got no idea! Any advice is appreciated.
ModularGrid Rack


Personally I think you have way to much in the way of feature modules - and not enough support

I'd take out the five12 vector sequencer expander and replace it with a quad cascading vca (either mutable veils or intellijel) - I might then take out the xaoc vca - whilst you can never have too many vcas - in this size case I. should think 4 is enough - you can always add a 1u if you find you need more

in the space of the xaoc vca I'd probably add kinks and a 2hp passive mult

BUT I would strongly recommend that you go very slowly - buy a minimum viable modular synthesizer for you

a sound source
a modulation source
a sound modifier
es9

as a starting point and become familiar with each module and patching them together - probably a few weeks - then add another module and learn how it works and integrates into your workflow

I would leave the sequencer to last - if you can cope with the workflow with es9 - if not I'd be tempted to buy a simpler sequencer like the korg sq1 - which will always be handy to have - even if you don't use it constantly


Hi and welcome Majestic. I agree with everything Jim said. You will want more VCAs than just the Tallin, and you do have too many feature modules and not enough utilities. The Zadar and Batumi will offer great modulation possibilities, but you will want to attenuate/invert/control some of that modulation (a Happy Nerding 3xMIA and a quad VCA, maybe?). Jim's suggestion of starting with the Korg SQ1 is spot-on as well. You may find that you want to go a different route than the more expensive Vector Sequencer.
I prefer larger modules too, so I had to get a much bigger case to accommodate the utilities that make the fun modules more exciting. All of the feature modules you have chosen are great, but you won't get the most out of them the way you have planned this out in such a small footprint.
My final food-for-thought is to consider a different polyphonic source besides the Chainsaw. I had the Chainsaw along with the WMD Triad, and found it to be very limited for the cost. I ultimately decided on an external hardware polysynth. Just an idea to consider.
Have fun and good luck!


That's a serious system you're thinking of. As it stands, you could do some real things with that system.

I would worry that if you're new to eurorack, then you jumping right to that very sophisticated a system, you wouldn't deeply investigate each module's potential. I would start with a core set of modules, and step up from there. When I got Arbhar, I had to set it aside in it's own case so I could learn it by itself, without the distraction of the rest of my system.

The VCA suggestions so far are good ones. Tallin is a great sound VCA, but you'll want more VCAs, and something like the Quad VCA or the MI Veils will give you a lot more possibilities.

I'm not sure about the Vector for a system this size. Vector looks like a great sequencer, but it's only got 2 tracks, right? With as many voices as this system has, I would want a minimum of 4 sequencer tracks. Either Vector needs a smaller backup sequencer, or I would look into Eloquencer, USTA, Stillson Hammer or Metron with a CV expander. Don't get me wrong, Vector looks great.

You're on the right path, and you've often obviously really thought this out. Keep working!


Hey, thanks everyone for the helpful advice, I really appreciate it.

I've decided to remove the Vector and just sequence everything from Live initially via CV Tools. I can always add an on-board sequencer later if I click with modular. It takes a lot of hp and cash for something I can (somewhat) replicate in my DAW. Although I'm really tempted to add a Metropolis there! If only it could handle more than one voice...

I've replaced the Tallin with a Quad VCA. I may go with two Tallins instead - the overdrive saturation sounds so good! Just have to decide if it's worth the difference in price...

I removed the Chainsaw. It's actually the only module in the rack that I was a bit hesitant about anyway...it seems like a one-trick pony, albeit a very good one. I can get the supersaw and those beautiful string sounds (from DivKid's video) on my DAW (even on my Virus hardware), so again, it's not something I should add to the rack.

I've also added a Maths (now that I have space!). I have a 1U Quadratt and 1U Buffered Mult as well as 1U Noise Tools. Do you think I'm missing anything critical now in support modules?

Do you guys think I need a Quadrax, or will the Zadar/Maths/etc be enough?

I also have the little 1U scope as a learning/debugging tool (I rely on a scope a lot when using VCV Rack, it's really helped me locate issues when I can't work out what's going on). :)

I do agree that I should start smaller and add modules gradually. The only reason I've included so much here is because of postage costs - there's a massive difference in shipping costs from the US to my part of the world if you ship everything together. That said, I noticed it's much cheaper to ship from Germany, so I need to investigate that route.


I think you will be fine with the Batumi/Zadar/Maths combo. No need to add Quadrax at this point.


All that seems like a good idea
a lot of people like the overdrive on veils too - so maybe take a look. at that
as for an oscilloscope -if you are using the one in vcv rack - why not keep using it? as you have the es9

I would try going to muffwiggler - there's a list of stores stickied in the eurorack forum - there are stores worldwide - not just US and DE! you might find something a bit more convenient!


I think you will be fine with the Batumi/Zadar/Maths combo. No need to add Quadrax at this point.
-- farkas

Fantastic, thank you. :)


a lot of people like the overdrive on veils too - so maybe take a look. at that
-- JimHowell1970

I definitely will, I really like all the MI stuff - thanks.

as for an oscilloscope -if you are using the one in vcv rack - why not keep using it? as you have the es9
-- JimHowell1970

To be honest, I hadn't thought of doing that! Does it run as a VST/AU? Anyway, yes, I'll look into that.

I would try going to muffwiggler - there's a list of stores stickied in the eurorack forum - there are stores worldwide - not just US and DE! you might find something a bit more convenient!
-- JimHowell1970

I've been reading their forums but not the stores - I'll take a look. Thank you!


If you are in the States, make sure you check out Juno Records (in the UK) before buying any XAOC. Their prices are great, and their shipping is cheap too.

Also: you're probably going to want the 3hp expander for Odessa. I use it every time I use the module. So I'd suggest adding that in from the start.


If you are in the States, make sure you check out Juno Records (in the UK) before buying any XAOC. Their prices are great, and their shipping is cheap too.
-- Shakespeare

I'm in Asia, but you're right, their prices are actually the best I've seen! I'll keep them in mind when I order, thank you.

Also: you're probably going to want the 3hp expander for Odessa. I use it every time I use the module. So I'd suggest adding that in from the start.
-- Shakespeare

Thanks, that looks a like a must-buy for Odessa. I guess I need to add more VCFs and VCAs now though. :)