At the moment I have a minimal setup (and would like to keep it that way 😉). My gear outside of the Doepfer Eurorack case consists of:

  • Moog Grandmother (I see/use this as different modules and use it as keyboard controller)
  • Akai MPC One (lots of CV options, still exploring this one)
  • iPad (with LOTS of synths, drumcomputers and effects)

My 2 x 84 HP Doepfer rack has:

  • Mutable Instruments Tides (for modulation stuff and as oscillator)
  • Mutable Instruments Braids (different digital oscillator stuff)
  • Ornament & Crime (with Hemisphere) (for modulation, short sequences etc.)
  • Erica Polivoks filter (nice dirty filter with character)
  • Malekko Dual Borg (an even more dirty filter, brilliant for its sweet spots)
  • AJH Synth ringmodulator, mixer, sub (a warm sounding ringmodulator, can also add a nice sub and overdrive)
  • Audio Damage Odio (to bring the iPad effects and synths into my Eurorack)
  • Moog DFAM (great and fun tool!)
  • Jack Plugg Typhoon (just received this one, pretty cool)

Right now I have about 8HP left, in the worst case scenario I could remove the DFAM and put it in its original case (I guess I will eventually do that). At the moment I have about € 300,00 to spend and am in search for a new module. I’m not using the Eurorack to sequence complete tracks, it’s meant to be my tiny soundlab where I sample the sounds from and eventually use them in my MPC. This could be drums, leads or even some soundscapes and pads.
The reason I’m asking for some advice is that I don’t want to end up with a lot of overlap. I had seen a Malekko Voltage block, but I can also use the MPC One to sequence and modulate stuff, I could invest in a multiFX but also have that iPad that has quite some nice FX onboard like the plugins from Eventide. Most preferably a module that could be used in several ways...some things that came to my mind were:

  • Mutable Instruments Peaks (with or without the Dead Man’s Catch Firmware)
  • Mutable Instruments Rings
  • Intellijel Quad VCA

Also had a look at the Intellijel Plonk because of the physical modelling aspect but after reading a bit I think I pass on this one....

But.....I’m open for suggestions....goal is to be able to get the most possible variaties of sound out of that small case. Truly hope you guys can help me out on this 🤞

How do you interface your phone and MPC with the modular?

I’m using the Audio Damage Odio for that. It brings up the volume to Eurorack level so audio could be passed through and send back for effects, could be recorded and/or the iOS synths could be used to be processed by the external gear. If I want to sync it to tempo I have several options for that, most logical would be the MPC as masterclock through midi and/or CV/Gate by creating a separate track to send a pulse.

Having looked at several VCA’s I’m in doubt.....yes I definitely see some advantages on expanding with such a module, but my current setup already has quite a lot of attenuation possibilities. So an extra VCA could be added later on, it’s not necessary at this specific moment. Rings seems to be fun although I question myself if I’m going to use it actively....also got a resonator app within miRack and another separate plugin. Although I expect the physical Rings module would sound better, the characteristic is already there. Peaks seems to be fun for its diverse functions, envelope, lfo, small sequencer etc. Have also been thinking of an extra oscillator but also think I got that covered too.

Moog Grandmother (2 oscillators, a 3th when using the LFO)
Moog DFAM (2 oscillators)
Mutable Instruments Braids (1 more exotic oscillator)
Mutable Instruments Tides (1 “limited” wavetable oscillator)
iPad with a lot of sources for sound.

Odio has 1 in/out pair, each. That would serve the phone to work either as a sound source or fx processor or a recorder. Pick one.
Where is the USB from the Odio going? Where does the MPC come in? How do you work with the MIDI clock coming from the MPC? How do you actually use the modulation from the MPC in your rack? Where is it all being mixed/coming together, where recorded?
You have multiple sound sources but without the necessary utilities and plumbing it's going to be a disparate collection of gear rather than a workable instrument, as it appears to me.

USB from the Odio goes into the camera connector kit for iPad so that the in/outputs can be used. MPC One is used as clock/trigger for eurorack, Grandmother is just to play keys and sample the output. Creating sounds/loops is the main goal.

While thinking of it...I think a VCA could be worthwhile to look for. Speaking in metafor: I have the tools to create/sculpt/clay something but do seem to miss the water

First I would remove the DFAM from the rack to recover 60HP!
And I would choose a good Quad Vca: not only for attenuation...
Then it depends on the music or sounds you want to produce.

I agree with Sweelinck 100%. That’s sound advice.

+1 on that!

First I would remove the DFAM from the rack to recover 60HP!
And I would choose a good Quad Vca: not only for attenuation...
Then it depends on the music or sounds you want to produce.
-- Sweelinck

That’s what I mentioned, it would be better to remove the DFAM to recover some space 😇.
Thanks a lot for the advice people, looking for a good quality VCA right know. At the moment three are on my wishlist in the following order:

  1. Intellijel Quad VCA
  2. Mutable Instruments Veils
  3. Malekko Quad VCA (the scanning feature seems nice)

the first 2 are definitely voltage controlled amplifiers!- so they can double as input modules - and potentially add some grit if needed - not sure about the malekko

most vcas, whilst technically amplifiers, have a max gain of 1 - so really constitute a different class of module - voltage controlled attenuators - which makes things as confusing as before as the TLA is still VCA!

I've got the older mutable veils - and I like that - no need to upgrade to the newer version, which I expect would be just as good if not better (and a little smaller) - so I recommend veils over the other 2 - but at the end of the day it's up to you: get the one you can find, at the price you want to pay, with the features you want!

The Malekko seems to be linear only instead of Veils and the Intellijel that also allows you to use an exponential curve. From what I’ve read the Intellijel can overdrive in a nice way, the Malekko does this too but sounds harsher. But availability is a thing.....already messaged someone for an Intellijel.

I wouldn't buy a linear only vca as a first vca - as it infers that it was designed only for CV and not audio

Veils overdrives very nicely - and is smaller - so that would be my pick! mutable manufacture also seems to be ok-ish based on new releases being available - so I'd expect that to be easiest to find, but that might not be the case as I've not looked

Change of plans.....VCA’s are the next purchase since I do need them. Problem is I couldn’t find any on the short term. I just bought a Doepfer P9 (3 x 84 hp and PSU3). Since I have limited space, it’s more convenient for me to have the DFAM in the rack. I know it’s 60HP but I use it a lot for different things. Last week I made a plan with the P9 and this rack seems much better. Still plenty of room for a couple of VCA’s and modulation stuff + some oscillators and an extra filter. Still thanks for opening my eyes about the VCA’s!

I just took a look at your rack - the public one in your profile

it's not just vcas you need it's utilities in general - in fact I would go so far as to say it needs nothing but utilities and maybe another modulation source - even if you take the dfam out in the future - there are enough feature modules and voices

good luck with the hunt for a quad cascading vca... might be worth looking for a used one and/or try! I just looked there are a few originals about new and used - the older version of veils is a great module if you can spare thee extra 2 hp (which you can!)

Thanks for checking out the rack Jim! I’m not new to synths but am new to Eurorack and it’s possibilities. To be quite honest I’m already having lots of fun with it. I added a “planning” rack with some things I would like to add (with the knowledge I have right now). Besides the quad VCA a Peaks module is high on my wishlist for its LFO, envelope and other functions but also the Disting MK4. IF I would add two of these (or a second VCA module) and even add a Ripples filter I still have 24 HP left. Open for suggestions on certain utility modules that do things the O & C Hemisphere and Disting do not cover. If there is still space left I might eventually add an extra oscillator but as you correctly mention, that should be the last thing I need. Especially since certain modules also are able to function as an oscillator (although they lose their other functionality then). With my current cashflow/willingness to invest the rack should be finished in about a year.

well I don't really class O&C or disting as utility modules - they are too complex - and you can only use one or 2 functions at a time - and for me neither is Maths really - I just see Maths as Maths (same any other DUSG descendant) - it can do multiple things - but I'd rather have all that functionality in individual modules - and always keep maths for it's own thing

they are great learning tools - especially disting, for working out what modules you need - as opposed to the ones you want - and Maths for learning patch programming techniques that are useful throughout modular synthesis (see the illustrated guide - it has 32 different patches for maths)

matrix mixers (doepfer or aisynthesis perhaps) , sequential switches (doepfer is hard to beat for a simple one), offset/attnuversion (shades or similar), utility mixers, sample and hold etc etc etc

mostly they are inexpensive and relatively small - compared to 'feature' modules which are often expensive and large -

basically all the different plumbing functions that are (effectively) hidden in fixed architecture synths - which is why newbies often forget about them - because they have never actually realised that they exist - these are the things that are used to multiply, modify and merge particularly modulation signals - they are the dull polish that make the shiny expensive modules actually shine - they are often also crucial in interfacing between modules that have different voltage requirements for i/o

a well balanced mature modular should be around 50% modulation sources and utility modules (including end of chain mixers, etc) - most of which should be utility modules imo - fewer modulation sources and more utilities will give more complex modulation options than a lot of modulation sources and fewer utilities - probably works out much cheaper too!!