So I am planning this build

ModularGrid Rack

Does it have enough support and utility modules and if not, what else would you change to improve it?


How are you planning to control this? Aside from the lack of sequencing, the only potential issue I see is the lack of attenuators... maybe replace the scope with another mix/attenuator module (there are a million out there... Shades, Triatt, and on and on). Also not sure you need two filters, in a system with only two oscillators (not counting the drums).


I have Korg SQ-1 and Make Noise 0-ctrl for sequencers as well as Elektron Analog 4. But thinking long term of a rack for sequencers and FX like this:

ModularGrid Rack

I plan to add 2-3 more voices to the setup and remove the clock and sequencer for space purposes. Something like this as update
ModularGrid Rack

Thoughts? By the way, did you know that the Befaco HexVCA has attenuators built in? That eliminates the need to add additional ones.


most vcas with knobs have attenuators built in - doesn't necessarily mean you don't need attenuators too

for example - clouds cv ins benefit massively from attenuation - so I always want attenuators for clouds - do I always want to take up 2-4 of my vcas (some of which have attneuators) for this purpose? no

the same with sending modulation to my cv->midiCC converter - I need a lot of attenuation, but not necessarily VC Attenuation

the same with regular audio level modulation to lzx video modules - that use 0-1v - I need attenuation not necessarily VC Attenuation

in all these cases passive attenuators work perfectly well and are much cheaper than VCAs


What Jim said :)


Case space is a problem to have 20 attenuators for a couple voices when 6 VCAs work. I will see how it goes over time. Right now I only have 2 VCOs so 6 VCA should be adequate. Not sure why an extra passive attenuator would be needed for a small setup? Perfect Circuit has tons of demo videos of small setups and they never use them.

See here:

In their many 62HP setups there are zero attenuators that I can tell and these groove boxes sound amazing.


You came here looking for advice... so I'm not sure why you're arguing against the suggestions you're receiving.

You're showing a video of a 62hp Palette case (which includes a quad attenuator module, even in its very limited space!), to explain why you don't need attenuators in a 6u 84hp case. That seems weird. But even if you take their example, for a similar attenuator to hp ratio, you would need 10-12 in your case. You have 6.

If space is really the issue, my suggestion would be to ditch Links and replace it with an attenuating mixer module. Plenty of 4hp options that will give you at least three channels of attenuation. Both of your NE modules are going to really want some attenuation on their CV inputs... those 6 VCAs will run out quickly (and if you're wasting your VCAs as attenuators, you won't have anything left as an actual VCA). You could easily use 4-5 just on BIA (I always keep a 4ms SISM module right next to my BIA for exactly this reason).


Also, about the Palette groove box thing... sure, they sound amazing. Professional people make these videos, to do a very specific flashy musical thing, in order to get you to part with your cash. But if you had to use the system above for an extended period of time, you'd learn very quickly that it is extraordinarily limited. For short term experiments, those limitations are inspiring. For long-term use, though, they're painful.


Ok guys I am confused. First you say I need more utilities with Links, Kinks and Matrix Mixer. Then you say I need more attenuators. Ok. So what layout do you recommend and why?


Maybe just sell the two cases, modules and buy 2-3 prebuilt systems that have everything like these?

https://busycircuits.com/coupe/

https://www.makenoisemusic.com/synthesizers/black-and-gold-shared-system-plus

I don't see lots of attenuators in these systems built by two professional modular companies unless I am missing something? Plus no guess work for a beginner!


sacguy71 - I didn't actually suggest you buy any attenuators - I just pointed out why you might want some, instead of using vcas - a 2hp trim module is a good idea for example - they are small and cheap - I have one either side of clouds for example

remember attenuators are utility modules too...

in general anything that's not a VCO, LFO, Filter, Effect, Sequencer is an utility

Shakespeare is correct though to a large extent - a lot of the micro case advocates are pulling modules from larger cases to focus on particular modules

these micro racks are great for what they do - but what they do is incredibly limited - what's the point of buying a modular you can realistically only patch 1 or 2 ways? and possibly can't be played in tune with anyone else (see the mylarmelodies micro techno video - no quantizer, no space)


Thanks guys and understand. I made some changes to my planned second rack below to add an Expert Sleepers Disting that has quantizer and many features. I also added a Happy Nerding 3xMIA that has attenuators/mixer:

ModularGrid Rack

Do you think that this is a solid build or would you offer any changes and improvements? I plan to use sequencers outside of the rack to conserve space for utilities, sound and modulation sources. I can get a Mantis case for the sequencers, FX, and other things.

Goal is a portable jam box without using my Elektron gear.


I take it the rack with the overhang and disting mk2 is the one not the picture!

personally I would rather have basic 2hp trims than the MIA in this case - you already have a 6 way vca/mixer - this way you get 6 attenuators, instead of 3 for about the same price


Hi Jim,

Correct, for some reason the images do not get updated in post right away due to lag after changes are made. Thank you for the suggestion to swap out MIA with the 2hp trims. For a clock and quantizer module, what would you recommend?


well I generally use Marbles!!!

otherwise I use a BSP or the computer (audio sample) for clock

the only quantizers I have are the 2hp tune (which is ok) and the sinfonion which is way more than ok - but it is pricey


Ah cool I need to check out Marbles then as potential module. I swapped it out using Pamela's new workout since it has a clock and quantizer. Then added 2hp trim for an additional attenuator:

ModularGrid Rack


I use Marbles as both a (generative) sequencer and a clock

the 'problem' with Marbles (and I think Pams) is that the quantizer is internal = ie you can't quantize external sources with either module - so neither may be what you want

both Marbles and Pams can produce random melodies and quantize them on output - Marbles has the advantage that you can play a new scale in and use that to quantize to - the so called re-mix feature - but Pams has more scales...

I'm considering Pams as a module myself - seems really useful - but I need actual triggerable envelopes more than I need any of the Pams functions and I massively prefer simpler modules


Agree same here which is why something basic like Shakmat Clock O'Pawn and Erica Synths pico quantizer along with 2hp trims would be easier to use and better for me to have options to route to different modules. I have the triggable envelopes covered with Quadra and expander but like simpler modules that don't require a PhD in electronics engineering to learn. I will have my hands full learning modular as well as the two very complex IME modules: Kermit and Bionic Lester to deal with anything else complex. Plus the smaller focused modules cost less money.


regarding quantizers - does the pico quantizer have enough channels?

I see 5 vcos (not counting BIA) and only a 3 way buffered mult... so max 4 in tune at once... given the sequencers you mentioned


Nope and you are correct, I would need a quantizer with enough channels. Thanks for the heads up.

Fortunately I am in no rush and hence planning right now. Just installed the new VPME.de oscilloscope and having fun with them to see how the wave shapes change on different modulation patterns.