Hi every one,

This is my first step in modular.
So first of all, thank you for adimitting me in the community. And excuse my approximative English :)

Modular is not the center piece of my setup.
I use an hardware drum machine (TR8S) and a couple of analog synths.
Some of them are semi-modular or modular-compatible (Pro-1 / Circuit Mono Station )
I also have a beatstep pro.
I'm mainly making techno and electro, inspired by Detroit and Berlin based productions.
I also love Surgeon, that is one of my favourite artists.

I just bought the Arturia Rackbrute 3U / 88HP
I would like to add some percussive, evolutive random patterns to my music, as well as ambient pads or drones with a bunch of effects for intros and transitions.
Here are the modules I'm sure for the moment.
I've chosen the SY 0.5 cause he makes exactly the sounds I'm looking for, percussives but pitchables untill you can play notes with. Can adjust the enveloppes too.
Pam's would sequence and control the sounds using beatstep pro clock (I also like the varigate 4+, but he has less functions)
I already have pico DSP for fx and disting MK4. I could change the dsp later for a Erica Synths dual fx or other.
I know that I need VCA's, a filter, Utility, maybe distortion, another voice module (I like Piston Honda sounds) and so on.
But I don't know what could be the more valuables module for the little amount of available space in the rack.

So, knowing this I would be glad to have your modules suggestions ! ;)

Thanks a lot, C├ędric


Welcome, here are my recommendations.

Get a larger rack you will need it.

VCAs and attenuators- I recommend these as they are mandatory for any modular system. 2HP makes small one.
Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas Alter (BIA) a beast of a percussion techno module
Modulation sources: you need them. Consider something like a Make Noise Maths and Batumi quad LFO.
Mixer- a small mixer like Intellijel mixup would be super useful. Happy Nerding makes nice small mixers as well for Eurorack.
Logic- Kinks is a great small one for that and more.
Mults- Links is super helpful

Here is an improved rack to show you what would help you reach your techno goals:

ModularGrid Rack

I also suggest that you first download a free copy of the VCVRack software and try out various patches and different modules. This greatly helped me when I started working with modular. Most of your setup will need to be support and utility modules- boring but essential. Stuff like envelopes, attenuators, VCAs, sequential switch and so forth.

Cheers,
Sacguy


Hi, and thank you for your reply !
everything you offer me reassures me, because if you look at my rack projects you will find equivalent modules!
I got stuck on the BIA for a long time, but after watching a few videos, I found the sy 0.5 to be more versatile and tame, and adding Viol Ruina to it, I think it can be even crazier.
Why not adding A Noise Ingeneering voice instead of the Plaits ­čśë
As a modulation source / utility, the mutable instruments stages seems clearer to me than Maths for a beginner, what do you think?
I am also interested in the Intelligel quad VCA which can perform the functions of VCA and mixing, so quite close to your recommandations.
Finally I was on the right track;)
Thanks a lot for the rack, I'm studying this. ­čśë
Concerning the rack, I can go bigger once this one is full. First I searched the 6U, but no used one is available for the moment.

C├ędric


I have been doing something similar for a little while, and techno in 88 hp is quite possible, especially if you have other gear too. See for example :

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9056

In my setup Pam's is the heart of everything. To get the best out it you will probably want the Pexp-1 expander. I also strongly recommend getting a switched OR module like the Low-Gain Short Bus or the Ladik S-260. This will turn Pam's into a much more powerful trigger sequencer, because you can use the switched OR to overlay sequences. Pam is also a very capable modulation source, and it can be quantised to pitch to generate melodic loops (your Beatstep Pro is probably a better option for this though!) To make the most of this you will need a CV mixer, and a logic module (e.g. Mutable Instruments Kinks or SSF Tool-box) could be quite handy too.

I am assuming you are going to get more percussive voices here. I second Sacguy's recommendation of BIA - it's very good, and with some creative (clocked!) modulation it can be many different "voices" at the same time. A low-pass gate is a nice thing to have : will let a "normal" oscillator do more interesting percussive things when needed.

I have no suggestions for pads and general ambience, other than to use Disting as a sample player, with loads of delay and reverb. If I had infinite budget I would get the Instruo Saich, but it is very expensive and quite large.

p.s If you haven't already seen it, Mylarmelodies' video about making a tiny techno system has many good ideas.


Hi Cedric,

Sure glad to help as always. The reason why I recommend a much larger rack from the get go is to not repeat the stupid mistakes that I made this year when I got started with my first modular system. I bought a Doepfer A100 Basic System 6U that was half full of Doepfer modules which are superb but quickly filled that up and then bought an empty Doepfer 6U case/power that was filled quickly as well. The fun modules tend to be quite pigs in HP size and want 20-30HP easily for a complex oscillator or large drum voice and that is why a larger case is best even if you only need less to start. You can fill in gaps with cheap blank HP slates and decorate those as you expand. Heck now with 2 full Doepfer 6U cases, I just bought a much larger empty case 14U MDLR so I won't keep running into this issue. You can always get a small skiff pod case if you want to do anything mobile.


I have been doing something similar for a little while, and techno in 88 hp is quite possible, especially if you have other gear too. See for example :

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/9056

In my setup Pam's is the heart of everything. To get the best out it you will probably want the Pexp-1 expander. I also strongly recommend getting a switched OR module like the Low-Gain Short Bus or the Ladik S-260. This will turn Pam's into a much more powerful trigger sequencer, because you can use the switched OR to overlay sequences. Pam is also a very capable modulation source, and it can be quantised to pitch to generate melodic loops (your Beatstep Pro is probably a better option for this though!) To make the most of this you will need a CV mixer, and a logic module (e.g. Mutable Instruments Kinks or SSF Tool-box) could be quite handy too.

I am assuming you are going to get more percussive voices here. I second Sacguy's recommendation of BIA - it's very good, and with some creative (clocked!) modulation it can be many different "voices" at the same time. A low-pass gate is a nice thing to have : will let a "normal" oscillator do more interesting percussive things when needed.

I have no suggestions for pads and general ambience, other than to use Disting as a sample player, with loads of delay and reverb. If I had infinite budget I would get the Instruo Saich, but it is very expensive and quite large.

p.s If you haven't already seen it, Mylarmelodies' video about making a tiny techno system has many good ideas.

-- the-erc

Hi the-erc, thank you for your feedback, I'll take a look at the video.
Didn't think about switched OR and low pass gate / vca
Here is the rack after sacguy and your recommandations.
I added MI Kinks, Low Gain shortbus and Make Noise Optomix for low pass gate/vca
BIA is back too :)

https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1385725.jpg

Kind regards,

C├ędric


Excellent, you are on the right track now Cedric!

The key is to start slow and have fun and learn :-)

I have a lot more modular gear now but probably will get a very small case for portable rig in future. I also recommend simple and often overlooked tools like knurlies- these things are cheap and wonderful for moving modules around without needed a screwdriver and such, splitter 1-5 mults hex devices that work like passive mults without taking up precious rack space HP and stackable cables like those from Tiptop audio. I am actually making a video tutorial on these things for beginners. Stay tuned!

Cheers,
sacguy


Did you really want to have two Pico DSPs?

Two obvious things you are still missing here : a mixer and a VCA. Ditch the second Pico DSP and you could get one of each from 2hp.

That said, I would start picking up the modules one by one and see what you actually need for the way you play. Some of these modules (Disting, Stages, BIA, Pam) have a lot possibilities and depending how you use them you might change your mind about the others, especially in combination with your other gear.


Did you really want to have two Pico DSPs?

Two obvious things you are still missing here : a mixer and a VCA. Ditch the second Pico DSP and you could get one of each from 2hp.

That said, I would start picking up the modules one by one and see what you actually need for the way you play. Some of these modules (Disting, Stages, BIA, Pam) have a lot possibilities and depending how you use them you might change your mind about the others, especially in combination with your other gear.
-- the-erc

As I put 2 voices, I considered having a different effect for each of them.
It may be a reflex from using effect pedals on my synths and drum machines :)
I thought Optomix was a good option to start with, cause he has low pass gain, vca and mix functions. As reading your advice, I realise that not really. ;)
Starting my rack project, I was interested by Unify mixer, and intelligel quad VCA. Then I realised that I could use optomix to mangle the sounds and gain space. I'm curious about your opinion on this choice and the alternative options.
Here is where my rack is stuck for the moment, because of money ;) Don't hesitate to complete it, I would be glad.
46 HP left !!! :))

https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1386516.jpg

Cheers,
C├ędric


Excellent, you are on the right track now Cedric!

The key is to start slow and have fun and learn :-)

I have a lot more modular gear now but probably will get a very small case for portable rig in future. I also recommend simple and often overlooked tools like knurlies- these things are cheap and wonderful for moving modules around without needed a screwdriver and such, splitter 1-5 mults hex devices that work like passive mults without taking up precious rack space HP and stackable cables like those from Tiptop audio. I am actually making a video tutorial on these things for beginners. Stay tuned!

Cheers,
sacguy
-- sacguy71

I will ! do you have a link towards your tutorials ?
I always forget knurlies in my orders... :(
You're right, every one should have splitter(s) in his rack, I will find a 2hp as soon as I can invest, cause for the moment, even if I bought my rack and modules mint, I have to wait for the next ..
Can you tell me more about kinks functions ? It's the only module In this project I'm not sure how to use ..

Kind regards,
C├ędric


Actually, sacguy was talking about inline mults, not ones in the cab. In a small build like this, you have to optimize your space for maximum functionality (one of the huge reasons why small builds are VERY difficult to get right), and leaving the multiples OUT is one way to recover space. Instead of those, get some of the passive, inline type, such as what you see here: https://www.perfectcircuit.com/eurorack-modular-synths/splitters-hubs.html or some stackcables.

There's only a few reasons to have mult modules: having enough destinations for your pitch CV that you see "voltage sag" that affects tuning and/or scaling (and here, you'd need a BUFFERED mult, not a passive) is one. Another is because the build is large enough to have them without robbing space from functional modules. But beyond those, there's not a lot of solid arguments for them if you simply have a few of the inline ones on hand.


Thanks Lugia, I missunderstood.
I have a couple of tiptop stackables and those splitters are perfect.


Here's an attempt.
ModularGrid Rack

The left side is your sequencing and modulation section. The combination of Pam's, Kinks, and Short Bus gives you a wealth of gate, trigger, and clocked modulation options to drive your modulation hungry voices. Stages is huge for such a small box but it does two crucial things: envelopes and sequences. I'm currently obsessed with it, so it's in the box. O/A/x2 will give some hands on control over all that modulation; some of BIA parameters are very sensitive and trying to get them right directly on Pam is a pain.

The noise out of Kinks will go to one of the Optomix channels to be percussion.

SY0.5 and BIA are your main percussive voices. Tiptop One does whatever they can't : chords, pads, ambience. And probably hihats :-/ Disting can do whatever is missing elsewhere.

The Doepfer dual VCA gives you the choice of linear and exponential response; maybe not actually needed because both Pam and Stages give you control over shape, but still handy I think. The knobs are not too tiny. With your choice of voices and the Optomix there you are more likely to use this for CV than audio.

The ergonomic disaster now begins. The idea is to use stack cables to bus the inputs of the two 2hp Mixers together. One is then your main mix and the other is your FX send to the Pico DSP. Hopefully you are not going to be tweaking too much, unless you have very small fingers! My preference would be to ditch this section entirely, mix on a real mixer and use outboard for effects. You will obviously need an external mixer for you other gear anyway.

I kept all the things you already had, but given a free choice I would have ditched the Optomix and the Tiptop One.
* Tiptop One can be replaced by Disting which is a perfectly good sample player, with lots of modes.
* Optomix is very big for what it is, and since your voices all have their own envelopes the need for an LPG is less.
With the 12 hp saved you might get :
* a FILTER. Lots of good options for 8hp or less, pick one to your taste.
* a "normal" VCO : Doepfer A-111-3 or 2hp VCO are flexible compact options, but there are plenty more.
* more utilities.
I might go for : 2hp VCO, 2hp Tune (to help Stages be melodic), Make Noise LxD, Doepfer A-121-3 Mulitmode filter.

I'm sure there is a lot of room for improvement but I think this has the potential to make a lot of fun (if minimalistic) techno, even without any other instruments.


ModularGrid Rack

Wow !
Thank you so much for taking on your time to work on my rack. I really appreciate.
Considering your very usefull recommandations, it may be an alternative version of my terminal 3U rack, waiting for a second row :)

I replaced BIA by Loquelic, which is a more complex oscillator but can do percs too.
I consider my Pro-1 like a "normal" vco and it's semi-modular, so I can patch his vco ;)
I absolutely wanted a filter too. Hesitating between different models, I've chosen the Ripples for the moment.
Fx have been ditched. I can route the stereo out of the rack towards a Zoom ms70cdr I own (or buy later another used), which is a very versatile and good sounding pedal.
The outputs of the pedal are routed in an analog audio / usb mixer (soundcraft signature MTK)
I also ditched tiptop sampler. As I plan to get an octatrack for performing and manage samples, it will be my unique source. And disting is still there.
I hope Soleo Vero from noise engineering is OK for keeping everything in tune.


I quite fancy Ripples, but I think I will run of rack before I get one :)

You're sailing very close to the wind on VCAs with this edit. You only have two now, and since the Loquelic (I think) has no amp envelope of its own, one of those will need to permanently allocated to that. This seems like not enough.

You could use Disting I guess but since you have 1hp left over (unforgivable) a better option may be to replace Mixup with a smaller mixer and a dual VCA. There are loads of options. (It would be better to choose a mixer which works for CV and audio; the Mixup is for audio only.)


ModularGrid Rack

I just regret the lack of stereo out, but maybe I can cheat with quad vca :)


Actually, since this mod removes the effects module, I would suggest hunting down an outboard unit that will allow you to "stereoize" the mono output. And for that, you can't do much better than hunting down a good ol' Yamaha SPX90. These days, they go for dimes on the dollar on Reverb, eBay, etc, and they have a great, character-filled sound and loads of "abuse potential". You WILL need some way to attenuate the output level, though, as synth-level signals are going to be too hot for the SPX90's front end.

One other thing: move the Malekko MIX 4 so that it's more usable with the Marbles. This way, you can also use four of the Marbles' individual outputs to put together complex composite modulation waveforms. Definitely a bonus, and the MIX 4's DC-coupling allows for that to happen.


Thanx Lugia for the SPX90 recommandation. I'll watch the next selling notifications here in France.
Cheers,
C├ędric.


I also have a Soundcraft Signature MTK and with the channel trim pots turned to minimum there is no issue taking audio straight from the modular into the desk -- additional attenuation is not needed. Then you can put your effects on a mixer bus or send.

@Lugia -- listening to some SPX90 demo clips.
https://www.vintagedigital.com.au/yamaha-spx90-multi-effects-processor/
You're not selling one are you? I might need the classic sound of "Large Scale Integration" when I start my synthwave side project :) . It is possible I am unduly influenced by the extremely 80s test samples, impossible to be sure.


Hi every one,

I realized that soleo vero is a manual tuner.
What I was looking for, is a module on wich I can select the scale with a switch, in order the synth voices play only the notes in the selected scale, or that reduce easily the amount of the pitch lfo, and his position in the scale.
Is it possible ? lol


You are looking for a quantizer. Yes, there are many available.
It looks like you have a Disting MK4 in your rack. This has both a quantizer and a tuner.


Great, Thank you farkas !
As a beginner I was stuck on "tune" function.
I'll try with disting, and if I want to use it for another function I'll look for a quantizer.
Cheers


@Lugia -- listening to some SPX90 demo clips.
https://www.vintagedigital.com.au/yamaha-spx90-multi-effects-processor/
You're not selling one are you?
-- the-erc

Oh, HELL no! I've got two at present, and my lab gear rig also has its guitar cousin, the SPX50D. I've been totally nuts over the SPX90 sound ever since they came out and caught everyone's attention in Nashville. That lower bitrate actually works in here, adds a little bit of "grit" that ups the character, especially on the reverb algorithms. But if you can't turn up one, here's some substitutes:

Korg DRV2000 (more or less Korg's answer to the SPX90; I also have two of these, one of them in the lab gear rig as well)
Ibanez SDR1000 (actually made for Ibanez by Sony, hence the lettering: "Sony Digital Reverb"...also has full stereo signal path!)
Boss SE50/SE70 (little halfrack thing...KILLER capabilities, plus there's a VOCODER hiding in it! The 70 is a bit cleaner, fyi)

None of these should cost more than US$ 150, tbh...