i am extremely new to all of this honestly. maximum 2 months of researching or just watching youtube videos on the subject. i'm still very much new and inexperienced with patching and signal flow/control flow, but i find it fascinating. I got really excited and ordered a case /power supply and a few modules, which I am now thinking was probably too fast. I should have waited, and learned more first but either way I am super excited to try and begin patching. I would absolutely love any and all opinions about what modules I choose to purchase. I think what I purchased should produce sound? I'd love to know what else you'll think I could use or need for my basic system. I'm sorry about how new I am to this and I apologize if I am butchering any phrasing or information. Any help would be super helpful and greatly appreciated. I'm glad to be apart a cool community that really dig into and love electronic/modular music.

Stats:
Arturia 2x88HP Eurorack Case
Tiptop Audio 808 Bass Drum module
Erica Synths Black Wavetable VCO
Make Noise Maths Complex Function Generator
Intellijel Quad VCA & Mixer
Doepfer A-190-4 USB/MIDI-to-CV/Gate/Sync
Intellijel Dual ADSR
Make Noise Rosie Cue System with FX
Patch Cables
Midi Controller Keyboard


https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1492317.jpg?1614567746

There's a link to the picture of it-I'm not sure how to post it on this forum. Again, please excuse my ignorance. And thanks a ton!
-Justin

ModularGrid Rack


copy and paste the url of your public rack into the thread

this will allow click through etc

I tried to do it for you but your only public rack is not the same as the jpg!

I'll have a look back later and comment once you have fixed the link..


Thank you! Got it fixed!


I can give some input perspective on the doepfer A-190-4. If you need USB, DIN midi and DIN midi trough, yes! But there are other modules that give you much more midi to CV for the buck and for the HP.

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/alm-busy-circuits-alm023-mmmidi
4HP, two full channels with cv gate and velocity + clock and MG lists it with 115€

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/befaco-midi-thing-
6HP, DIN midi, Modes with either two channels with velocity and mod, four CVs+gate or 8 trigger/gates 200€ (or less if you DIY it)


+1 on the mmMidi module from ALM. I've been using it for a while.


I've heard of people not getting on with the doepfer midi module before - so I would swap that out - but I've no idea what for as I don't use midi to control my modular

if you need a dual adsr module there are much smaller, possibly cheaper, ones available - frequency central do a dual adsr in 8hp for example - or upgrade to stages - most people don't use full adsr in modular anyway - and get 2 * asr, or 2 * ad and some more functionality (that you don't have and could use such as sample and hold) - or one six stage envelope, for that matter - you only have a single vco and a drum

I'd rather have a filter and use the vca as output - yeah it'll probably be mono, but so what - fine for now!

I'd probably also want an fx unit of some sort - I like the fx aid xl - lots of options and a decent amount of modulation inputs

I'd next be looking to add some utilities - links, kinks and shades are all incredibly useful for not so much money/space - and make a great utility starter set


My take on the dual ADSR issue would be to check into Doepfer's basic but space-economic Dual ADSR...fits into 8 hp, and you lose the looping switches, but you don't usually loop ADSRs anyway. I'm also not jazzed by using a Rosie as the final mixer...it's more akin to a DJ mixer's output stage, and while that might work in some cases, this probably isn't going to be one of them. Lastly, don't fall into the "drums in a small build" trap here...these sorts of cabs do NOT have the space for a complement of drum modules AND the rest of the stuff. Use a proper drum machine instead, and lock it up to the DAW's MIDI clock.

Definitely need a VCF, though...but that sort of depends on what you're trying to do musically. Some are fine for all purposes, but others are more specific to certain styles. Also, make sure to keep the layout in some sort of order that makes signal routing sense, such as keeping the audio modules together and in a flow that tends to go VCO-VCF-VCA for ease of use.


Thank you guys so much for info! I’m very new to this. I’m very new to this and I will just be happy to get sound out of this. So far I have the Erica Synths VCO and the Tiptop 808 module. The others are in the mail. I ditched a few things, now I’m looking to see what else I will need. I’m curious about my outpost module. I would like an output module that will give stereo outputs.

Anyway this is what my rack looks like at the moment.

ModularGrid Rack

*I got rid of the A-190, The Dual ADSR, and the Make Noise Output module.

Thank you’ll a ton!


output modules are mostly superfluous - mostly attenuators or vcas or mixer output or nothing will work perfectly as final output

if you NEED balanced outputs then buy an output module that has balanced outputs

if you NEED headphones out of the modular - then buy a headphone module (ALM HPO for example)

to be honest I wouldn't worry too much about mono/stereo at the moment - most modules are mono (including the 2 you have)

however, if you still want a stereo output from your modular, then you will need a module that can take mono signals and either stereo-ize them (some fx modules will do this) or pan the mono signal into the stereo field (a panning module - or you could patch it using 2 vcas and probably maths)

a lot of 'stereo' mixers offer mono inputs that they copy to both L & R equally - so still mono, but from 2 speakers

there are also quite a few that have panning - either manual or voltage controlled

this is the way I thin I would go if I were you, but only after more important modules - such as vcas, modulation source, some basic utilties (kinks, links, shades - or equivalents) and at the very least a filter - probably also a reverb or delay

in fact I don't think I would bother with this until you are ready to add more voices

I would just add the maths and the vca and a way to play it - either via a keyboard, a sequencer or a midi interface - if the one you want is unavailable - just find something cheap/used that will do the job for now - and get the one you want when it is available and either sell the stopgap or keep it for backup / additional sequencing duties

and work my way through the maths illustrated manual a good few times - this will help massively in your learning - it will show you what functions you want - you then have to work out if you need to add a module to cover one or more of those functions or if you want to add another modulation source - a disting would also be a good way of doing this - but, unless you get the ex, has the same restrictions as maths - that it can only really do one thing at a time

for midi converters as with mixers go for one with more channels than you think you'll need - the chances are that you will need them at some point in the future - for a mixer (with built in vcas, manual panning and headphone outs) a really cost effective solution is the tesseract modular tex-mix which is expandable - you just buy a master module and as many 4 channel mono or stereo modules as you want - you can even get direct outs - which are post fader! this is what I use - most of the functionality of the WMD performance mixer, but for a lot less money - knobs instead of faders and no vc-panning - but big deal - I have 8 mono channels and 4 stereo channels for somewhere around 300€


The Tex-Mix system is definitely worthwhile, to be sure. I'll second that, plus add some points to this...

When you're choosing a final mixer for a modular system, it's definitely a plus to have a VCA per strip, as this can take some load off of other VCAs in the system to use in more "interesting" ways. While you can get away with manual panning, AUX send/return and the like, it's super-useful to have CV control over levels at the mixer itself. For one thing, you won't need to add VCAs before it, which should save a bit of space. Plus, if you find a suitable mixer that can do CV over the other functions, those then eliminate OTHER modules from the build, such as panners, AUX mixers/distros, and the like. However, keep in mind that when you add modulation destinations, you're ALSO adding a need for more modulation. But there's "workarounds" for that that won't have you adding loads of modulation modules...just depends on how creative you get with patching and module utilization.

But as for output modules...my fascination with them has to do with many years of gigging with dicey AC power systems plus external noise sources (RF especially). See, in North America (and a few other places, like Japan), we've got unbalanced power...one leg of a three-wire AC connection here is "hot", one's "ground", and the last is "neutral", intended as a return for the "hot" line which has the entire 120-ish volts on it. Plus, you often see older construction where clubs are with bogus grounds...looks like three wire, but the electrician violated the hell out of codes by tying the "neutral" and "ground" together...a BIG no-no! Or maybe the stage has its power coming off of two different breakers, so you plug the mixer into one and, inadvertantly, plug the synth into the other...resulting in the lovely hummmmmmmm of a ground loop. Now, much of the rest of the world uses BALANCED power...there's no "neutral", but you get two 120V "hots" referenced to ground for balanced 240V. This is the CORRECT way to deal with AC...but remember, 'Murrika invent 'lektricity, so we am rite!

BUT...if you put in an isolated output, what'll happen there is that the audio gets through the transformer, but the noise gets chucked out, especially if it's trying to crawl back up your audio out line (like in a ground loop or induced RF situations). It's not NECESSARY, mind you...but it does serve as a good "prophylaxis" against garbage getting into the signal, especially if a user plans to gig with their system (or, more likely, gets called to gig with it unexpectedly) and there's questions about the power at the venue. If one of these is in the build, one just proceeds as per normal; if not, you might spend quite a bit of time that you don't really have chasing noise, and being forced to use a kludge to get the gig done, such as using a ground lift (which isn't a good idea!) on some of the gear. The easier thing is to sacrifice 4 or 6 hp for an isolated output module...then you KNOW you're set before problems ever arise.


makes sense... if I was in North America or Japan I would definitely invest in a good output module - thankfully I have balanced power though!


makes sense... if I was in North America or Japan I would definitely invest in a good output module - thankfully I have balanced power though!

-- JimHowell1970

Ahhhh...THAT explains quite a bit! Since you're apparently in a part of the world where the way the grid works is more sensible, you've never battled with weird noise issues like those. Maddening stuff...

But yes, if you're spoiled by balanced power right out of the wall, the need for isolated outputs might not make sense, since that one factor alone gets rid of loads of the nonsense we have to deal with on this side of the pond when some awful sonic crud sneaks into the proceedings. OTOH, if someone's miswired the ground over there, your odds of noise don't increase...but the potential of using ungrounded gear is just plain scary! You could ask Keith Relf of the Yardbirds about that...maybe at the next seance...?


wow, thanks. this is starting to make a lot more sense. i think my original thought that i didn't ask was what the difference or if there is much of a difference than a 'mixer' or an output module or is the mixer basically serving the same function?

also i got the maths because i thought it was a filter. i still also need a envelope generator and a proper filter i suppose-if yall have any suggestions. also for an lfo. thanks a ton!


yes it makes more sense to me too

well filter is one of the things that maths can't do - here is what it can do (which is a lot): https://w2.mat.ucsb.edu/mat276n/resources/systems/CREATEteachingSynth/manuals/8cMaths2013-V1.11-printable.pdf

I would spend some time on youtube and forums researching filters - they all sound different etc...

I'd definitely look at doepfer filters though - as they are inexpensive and decent - mostly based on classic synth filters, as are most others to be honest, to a greater or lesser extent

maybe get a couple so that you can have some variation - one for the sub and one for the main output - maybe a wasp style (gritty) and a smoother moog style one - send each to a different cascading vca channel, but with a different rhythmic envelope going to each and different modulation to the filters and you suddenly get 2 voices from your single vco - buy doepfer and the pair together are cheaper than a lot of other filters - and just as good!

I'd be tempted to get a stages - it'll give you envelopes (from simple decay up to 36 stages if you chain 6 together), lfos, and a host of other functions as and when you need them - including a harmonic oscillator

I'd also recommend something for mixing (copies of) the outputs together to make more interesting patterns - a simple unity gain mixer with no controls will do the job - or a matrix mixer - which will do a much better job, but will be more expensive and take up more space

if the lfos you do get are uni-polar (stages is, for example) you might also want to consider adding something like shades - atttenuversion, offset, precision adder (for accurately adding v/oct signals) and mixer rolled into one

you may be thinking why do I need so many mixers?
(multed and) mixed modulation = (more) complex modulation
mixed lfo and envelope = tremolo effect
mixed v/oct and a tiny tiny bit of modulation (may require multiple levels of attenuation to get the right level) = vibrato
mixed vcos before filter = fatter (due to detuning etc) or accents one vco tuned an octave higher than the other - open filter more for accent
feedback
transposition - precision adder
etc etc

and all that may be for a single voice before hitting a final audio mixer - and most of those might want vcas and you probably want vcas for modulation on top of that - hence the saying - you can never have too many vcas - which should also be extended to mixers imo

as you are planning on playing from a midi keyboard - I'd get the midi converter asap and plan on adding as many simple adsr envelopes (as i suspect this is what you will expect to hear) as the midi converter has gate outputs - doepfer and frequency central both make great dual adsrs that are both reasonably small and inexpensive


Along Jim's lines about filters...yeah, having two different filter characteristics on hand is VERY useful. My take on the "character" VCF would be to go with a Steiner-Parker Synthacon filter...having had a Synthacon and gotten to appreciate the level of "yowl and shriek" that that design can do, it has always struck me as one of the best choices for a "lead voice" out there. Check Tiptop's Forbidden Planet VCF...probably one of the best versions out now in terms of space (8 hp) and super-simplicity. Another great is Doepfer's MS-20 Sallen-Key version, the A-106-1. Not only is it capable of a lot of different timbral colorations, its resonance path has an INSERT point in it...which allows you to mess with the filter with some non-filter things, like delays, wavefolders, distorters, and the like.

MIDI, though...since you want to use a keyboard controller, you may as well have a MIDI interface that knows what a "class compliant" controller is instead of going thru some other MIDI interface from some other synth, etc. So for that sort of thing, plus expandability (up to 64 assignable CV/gate/trig outs), have a look at Expert Sleepers' FH-2.

Lastly, probably one of the best values in modulation signal screwery has to be Tiptop's MISO. $99 for a tool that can make your mod signals do backflips is 100% worth the price of admission! Either it, or 4ms's SISM...either are ultra-useful.


wow, thanks. i have a lot of things to ponder now. i am definitely going to make some changes. i appreciate everyone's input and i think i have a much better idea about things now. I'll probably post again once i have a 'final' setup.


what do y'all think about the erica synths black eg? I want something pretty simple to start with honestly. i want to explore with making my own synth voice for a little while. i have the erica synths wavetable vco already. i'm waiting on the a-106 doepfer x-treme filter, and the intellijel quad vca as soon as my next check comes, or stimulus money. but anyway, this should get me a pretty simple synth voice i presume? any advice or opinions are greatly appreciated as i tend to learn the more i read everyone's replies, etc.. -justin


I love the Erica stuff, but I would probably lean towards the Quadrax for an EG/LFO module as you are starting out. It has four separate EGs with CV control over programmable parameters.
If I remember correctly, the Erica EG is only a single ADSR envelope.
Have fun and good luck!


if you specifically want an adsr - get a doepfer one - they are inexpensive and will do the job perfectly well

otherwise the quadrax seems like a good deal - envelopes and lfos - which you also have in maths (but this is a good thing)

I'd get a matrix mixer next to experiment with combining different modulation sources (and some stackcables so you can use the original modulation source too)


Quadrax can be made even more potent by pairing it with a Maths AND the Qx expander. The Qx allows you to do things like "cascading" different LFO waveforms based on the four pairs of rise/fall settings on the Quadrax, and this plays really nicely with the Maths's ability to screw around with these sorts of signals on its own. And +1 on the Doepfer ADSRs...in fact, the A-140-2 is the exact thing you want: two ADSRs in 8 hp.