I've been tentatively trying get started in modular for awhile now, but I think it's time. I plan on using the rig with my Digitakt as controller/drums/samples, and eventually hope to incorporate the modular rig into my full setup where Digitakt controls several keyboard synths.

I'm planning on getting the nifty bundle (with cellz and chipz) and adding Dreadbox Eudemonia, Expert Sleeper Disting, and nanoRings. My thinking is I'll try to fill up about half the empty space now and leave about 30hp to expand when I get a better sense of where to go next. That means I have another 8hp left after those modules (maybe some reverb? another filter?).

My question: Am I overlooking some sort of utility (or simply useful) module I will regret not having from the start?


Hi and welcome.
A few things to consider: Disting does a lot, but not all at once. To get anything out of the modular format, you're going to want a lot more modulation capabilities and utilities. Envelopes, LFOs, mixers, mults, quantizers, sample and hold, etc. All the stuff that Disting can do, but dedicated modules for those functions.
I have read and heard, um, "mixed" reviews on Cellz and Chipz. I haven't used them and don't plan to, so someone else here may be able to comment on their usefulness, durability, and sound quality in practice.
I don't know what your total budget is, but I would REALLY recommend saving up a little more and investing in a system that is a bit larger if you really want to get into modular. What exactly do you want this system to contribute to your music that can't be accomplished with a different format? Tiny systems like the one you are proposing aren't all that useful unless it's targeted towards a very specific sound or process. What kind of music are you playing?
Just wanted to throw some ideas and food for thought out there. Let us know if we can answer any further questions.
Have fun and good luck!


A few things to consider: Disting does a lot, but not all at once. To get anything out of the modular format, you're going to want a lot more modulation capabilities and utilities. Envelopes, LFOs, mixers, mults, quantizers, sample and hold, etc. All the stuff that Disting can do, but dedicated modules for those functions.
-- farkas

Yep. My thinking was having many functions in a small unit would help me figure out my next steps for expansion.

I have read and heard, um, "mixed" reviews on Cellz and Chipz. I haven't used them and don't plan to, so someone else here may be able to comment on their usefulness, durability, and sound quality in practice.
-- farkas

I've heard the same, but given the bundle itself is only $60 more than the case alone, I think it's worth trying out the modules.

I don't know what your total budget is, but I would REALLY recommend saving up a little more and investing in a system that is a bit larger if you really want to get into modular. What exactly do you want this system to contribute to your music that can't be accomplished with a different format? Tiny systems like the one you are proposing aren't all that useful unless it's targeted towards a very specific sound or process. What kind of music are you playing?
-- farkas

I see this advice a lot and it makes sense. I think it's important for me to start focused, though, and not overwhelm myself at the beginning. Also, it's frankly cheaper to just buy a second nifty case down the line than get a 6U case now it would take me years to fill. Please tell me this is misguided if you think so, though!

At the risk of sounding like IDK what I want to do, I'm genre agnostic. I like to make IDM, techno, hip hop...kind of depends on my mood. I want to start with modular because I like the idea of really shaping the sounds I'm getting out of my synth so I can get that much closer to producing the music I hear in my head. I'm also not tied down to keyboards since I can barely play one and I'm want to explore new ways to create melodies, surprise myself with new sounds, and find new inspiration.

Just wanted to throw some ideas and food for thought out there. Let us know if we can answer any further questions.
Have fun and good luck!
-- farkas
I appreciate it!


I mean, there's a reason you see this advice a lot.
The truth is, you could probably get a more useful synth by starting with a $180 used Behringer Crave. It's a semi-modular monosynth with a decent filter, sequencer, envelopes, LFOs, I/O mixer, VCA, and patch points so you can expand into Eurorack later. You're going to need a lot of functions at the same time to get anything out of modular. If you stick to your original plan, you will need that extra Nifty Case before you can even blink. It's not a cheap hobby, unfortunately, and getting the sounds in your head out from this format likely isn't going to happen without a sizable investment (whether upfront or long term).
Your proposed plan has an oscillator, a resonator with tiny knobs, a filter/VCA combo, a sequencer, and a menu-divey multi-function module. How will you control pitch AND amplitude over time? How will you clock your sequencer if you want to use the Chips LFO for one of those other tasks? How will you introduce randomness? How will you modulate the frequency and resonance of your filter at the same time as opening and closing your VCAs? Will you need effects like reverb and delay? Simply put, there's a lot of functions in a good synthesizer, and until you have those functions (and usually more than one of each), you won't be able to synthesize a wide range of sounds.
I'd like you to see your ideas come to life, so I'm helping you set expectations about what you might be able to get out of a tiny rack. You will almost instantly see the limitations of something this size.
Have fun and good luck.


there is a reason that they call it eurocrack

it's because it's gonna be a near-constant drain (however small) for the rest of your life if you get into it

it has advantages over lots of other similar endeavours in that you may actually have something left to show for it and it probably won't kill you, but never the less it always ends up as - what's the next module (or modules) and where is the next case coming from, often at the same time - unless you have near unlimited funds

your maths is way out with buying a second case!!! I kinda knew EU prices - but I just checked sweetwater for US - they are about the same

2 * Nifty case $538 168hp = $3.20/hp
1 * tiptop Mantis $335 204hp = $1.64/hp

with the left over you can buy a better midi->cv converter - everything else in the nifty case is superfluous and can easily be replaced for under $30 - a passive mult and a 1/4"->1/8" cable (and you may still have money left over)

so buy the bigger case - you will need it - imo 84hp is ok for 1 voice, once you add in the support modules you need to get it to do anything interesting, you may be able to fit 3-4 in to a mantis, if you choose wisely

as for the 'bundle' - why would you waste even $60 on modules you probably will not want in 2-3 months time

put the money towards something you do want - such as a better case or modules

once you have about $1000 to spend at once get the case and a couple of modules

as starter modules -

Rings - get an OG - pay some respect to Emilie for designing it and it has a massive advantage that you don't need a filter or vca after it

Maths - how to learn modular synthesis in a single module - well not quite, but as patch-programmable analog computers go - it's a great module!!

if you want midi sequencing get a midi->cv module (mutant brain if you can find one is a good buy) or maybe a korg sq-1 - I think it can do midi->cv too, but don't quote me on that - they are inexpensive and handy to have around

and that's it - work your way through the illustrated maths manual a few times, try all the easter egg modes of rings, next module should be a quad cascading vca - veils for example - then you might want to think about exploring disting (I'd try to get the EX if possible)

every week / month throw a bit in a kitty and when you have enough for the next module buy it - then patch it with everything else and work out what's missing and repeat!!!

or as @farkas suggested get a crave


there is a reason that they call it eurocrack
-- JimHowell1970

I just thought it was because "Euroheroin" doesn't trip off the tongue as nicely... ;-)


@Lugia,

Definitions for modular:

Eurorack= crack
Buchla= cocaine
Serge= heroin
5U/Moog= pot


hahaha - where I come from they call heroin "smack" - so it still rhymes!!!


sacguy, you missed one: the AE system (MY primary) = unfiltered Camels. Also spendy, also addictive, but nowhere near as finance-imploding.