I've been building my first rack this year and am trying to understand what makes sense and what does not in my current plans. Because I only have 12 of these modules, some of them here (eg. the Joranalogue and Hex modules) were less thought through than, say the second row that I really like and play with daily.
I've been super inspired by this video from Hainbach: and am trying to escape tracks layering and the groovebox-like kind of rack, that I don't find inspiring at all. So, I've been selling most of my early buys (sequencers and drum modules) and although percussion is still a big part of what I do, I'm much more happy with building the percs myself - I plan to use the R*S equalizer for these mainly, same with the boogie filter. I'm also quite inspired by east-coast synthesizing, like most of you, and I probably miss some of the required modules to get that.
Modules I have already:
- Just friends
- 1 mangrove
- cold mac
- quad VCA
- delay no more
- Takaab lpg
- diode chaos
Next modules I'm buying:
- Serge res EQ
- Boogie filter (or Borg?)
- Contour 1 (or Maths?)
Voilà :) So, what do you think? What should I rethink and what feels right already here?
Thanks for your time, Hugo
There's a bunch of issues here. First up, if you're looking to lose something, lose the drum modules. These days, the drum machines we're getting don't have many disadvantages over modular drums, so my suggestion would be to get a standalone. DO make sure it has clock in and clock out, though, as there'll be times you'll want to drive the Pam's with it, and at other times you'll need to drive the drum machine's clock with something in the cab. Also...noise module. Very necessary if you're trying to design your own percussives.
Next up...of the Joranalogues, I'd lose the Contour. As you'd suspected, Maths fits MUCH better here. The Dual comparator and the CV processor are super-useful for a number of things...the latter, modulation tampering and the former, if you add some Boolean logic, is a fantastic way to screw with clocking behavior by using freerunning slow LFOs to shut down and/or turn on different voicepaths.
BORG filter, not the Boogie. Rationale here is that the Borg gives you two VCF/gates with variable response. And this means you can have screwy things like a bandpass gate or a highpass gate in addition to the typical LPG thing, or you can couple both up together for weird filter curves.
I would also consider adding some dedicated ADSR envelopes for your main VCF, main VCA, and the like. The Zadar is awesome (esp. with its expander; the Batumi has one as well) but it seems more like the proper implement for all sorts of other modulation sources that you can implement all over the place in this build. Have a look at Doepfer's A-140-2...it also gives you some CV over envelope parameters, and it's only 8 hp.
The VCOs need a submixer. Since it's a set-n-forget module as a rule, a 2hp one will work here. BTW, since you really only have the three VCOs here, you can toss the Buffered Mult. These come in handy when you get above a certain amount of splits in a single CV and you want to avoid detuning from voltage sag...but three isn't quite in that area yet. More like five (or more) works with these. And you don't need buffering for anything else, so I'd suggest keeping some inline mults handy so that you can regain space you'd lose to mults.
Last thing I'd consider here would be to reorder the rack so that the signal flow makes more sense. As an example, right now you've got the Diode Chaos in the upper right...and the Select2, which has your sample and hold capability, is bottom-middle. These really need to be co-located, and there's plenty of other spots that need this, too. Try and envision what you're doing here as building up functional "blocks"...random sources here, VCOs there, filters in...well, you get the idea. Grouping by function really snaps a modular's capabilities into focus.
Thanks a ton for your answer, I can't stress enough how useful it is to me :)
On drum modules: alright, it makes sense to drop them all + I didn't mention that I also had a DFAM. I totally forgot about noise modules indeed. Do you have preferences on these? I found the entropy by Zlob, that also has an expander that adds blue and purple noise. The noise and filter from Verbos seems interesting too.
Maths: check ✅ To me, another argument for going with Maths is also the ton of ressources available. I will also wait a bit before buying the Joranalogue, as they feel a bit less necessary than a number of other modules. Also, I feel like the Just Friends already offers nice ways to screw with clocks.
On Borg, would you go for the Borg 2 rather than the dual borg? I'm having difficulties to find any of them but I'm planning to trade my Jove 80 as soon as one of them is available.
Yeah, I didn't really pay attention to the order of the modules, I'll make an updated version of the rack once I digest all the information you gave me.
Ho, one last question: what do you think of the Cold Mac in this configuration? I haven't enjoyed it as much as I thought I'd do but it may come from my lack of actual modules. The manual mentions a "Cross FM combinations" patch that seems quite nice but requires 2 mangroves - I only have one at the moment. You mentioned the need of a submixer so maybe the cold mac could act as one?
personally I prefer simple functional blocks for utilities and preferably ones that can handle audio and cv at the same time - plus manuals in plain english help - so I would never buy a cold mac, or recommend one
combinations of basic utilities - multiples (can be stackcables/headphone splitters), mixers (matrix, panning, small utiltiy), modification (logic, sample and hold, rectification), a sequential switch, a quad cascading vca... either as individual modules, or as small combinations (links, kinks etc)
^^ This. It's sort of amazing how many rack help threads come down to variations on this advice. Just about every new system needs Links + Kinks + Shades + Veils (or equivalent choices from other manufacturers). It's not 100% universal, but it's pretty close.