ModularGrid Rack

Dear community,
I started with Erica's Techno System in mind. Revisited from today's available standpoint of choice of modules see my build below...
Basic idea is to create a simple groove box with some sound variety on it.

Thank You for your help.

Added my first rack idea:
ModularGrid Rack

Basic thoughts on it:
– Already own the case, Hi-HatD, Clap, SY-05, Pam, a Novation Peak and an Erica Bassline DB01
– Create drums with Maths, BlackVCO, Quartet, + add some punch by LedRover
– Record or enrich with own samples using Sample Drum
– I will do muting/unmuting on the tracks through the sequencer for now
– EQ will be done in the DAW. Alternative on my external mixer replacing the ES-8 with an Erica Link.
– The overseer works as a kind of DJ mixer for transitions, might be replaced with FX when mixing externally
– I want to have a Lapsus OS to manually control to open, close CV Aux (FX Aid) of the WMD Mixer which has very tiny knobs.

Do you have better ideas to replace the Drum Sequencer as it uses a lot of space?
Is anything missing? Should I ditch another voice and add more utilities?
I tried to replace the WMD Mixer but it is very hard to build finding an alternative for AUX chain with CV control on it.

Hi CBD1000

thanks for reaching out!!

top row - kind of ok - too many sound sources in my opinion = BUT it is a percussion rack! so not surprising really

bottom row - it's all sequencer and mixer

overall - not that balanced - I would want more modulation and utilities (but then I almost always do) and from the looks of it you realise this yourself, already!

so 2 possible solutions:

  1. add another row for modulation and utilities

  2. remove stuff and replace with smaller modules

so more space in the top row - dump the tangle quartet and the ledRover - replace with veils - 20dB+ of gain introduces quite a lot of grit! and you get 4 channels of it and they are vcas!!

I'm not going to comment on the drum modules - voices/vcos are a very personal choice - but they are big and there are other modules that will do similar things in less space (but they may not be as ergonomic!!)

as for the sequencer and the mixer:
work out what functions you absolutely must have for drum programming - could they be met with the pams and clever use of logic modules and other utilities? do you need recall (Pams even has that!!) - have you also looked at other similar modules - tiptop and robaux swt16+ spring to mind! robaux may be diy only, idk - but if you want it and you can't solder and don't want to learn there are many, many builders out there who will make it for you

regarding the wmd pm - I very very nearly bought one of these... but after months of thinking about it ended up getting a Tesseract Modular Tex-Mix system because

it has most of the functionality that I wanted
what functionality it doesn't have is easily patchable (auto-panning and cv over aux) with other modules*
it's very inexpensive - I diy'ed mine - but they are not much more built (the diy is really the panel furniture and headers - smd pre-soldered)
expandable - want more channels add another module with either 4 mono or 4 stereo channels - want direct outs? they are post-fader! want mutes - they are built in as is a cue mix

*this is the key note here - it's modular - learn how to patch basic functions (utilities) to do other things - you may not need 2 channels of auto-panning more than 20% of the time but you will probably need more vcas, modulation, inverters, etc etc the rest of the time - if you have a comparator and a vca you have a compressor (if you know how to patch it) etc etc etc

Thank You Jim for your time. I will take your suggestions into consideration. Especially the Tesseract combination looks very interesting. Yes, the choice of voices is quite custom – but hey it is modular so I can change them any time ;)

I started tracking my use of knobs on each module during a performance. I want to get a better feel for balance of ergonomics versus flexibility that is really needed. Do I really need to (de)tune my drums all the time or is it just about fiddling on the decays? And can this be done via a single CV controller? I will split / ditch the sequencing probably into smaller parts or use external devices for that. That also means I will miss using accents on the Ericas. Maybe someone has experienced the same challenges? What is your take on using a B.Percall and utilities instead?

What is your opinion about great modulation sources? Is it better to have many sources or many combined? Should I focus on the Ericas modulator with great ergonomics but only two sources? What about Stages Mutable instruments or Intellijel Quadrax with more value for each hp. Or just go super small with a lot of Pico EG from Erica Synths or Doepfers? I love the richness and flexibility of PAM but in my experience this module requires a bit of menu diving and I am mostly using it for keeping the rack in sync. Speaking about utilities what is the ratio for each modulation source? Or how many LINKs and KINGs?

Thank You


no idea about Befaco Percall - although I have a few of their modules and power supplies this is not one of them - they are usually pretty decent - all mine are diy - I think SynthDIYGuy does a good youtube demo of this module (he often builds them and then demos them sometimes in separate videos)

modulation? big topic and I see you asking about utilities too, here's my take:

in my opinion:

you are better off with fewer sound sources than sound modifiers
you are better off with fewer sound sources than modulation sources
you are better off with fewer modulation sources than utilities

in other words

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

where modulation sources and utilities are at least 50% - possibly more if sequencers and any output modules are to be considered utilities

this is because:

you can mult (utility) a sound source and send it to multiple sound modifiers through separate vcas (utility) opened and closed by different envelope generators (modulation)
you can mult (utility) a sound modifier and send it to multiple mixer (utility) or vca (utility) channels
sound sources and sound modifiers usually have quite a few modulation inputs each some of which may need attenuators (utility) before them
you can mult (utility), modify (utility) and mix (utility) modulation sources and send them to many modulation inputs

etc etc - see how often the word utility pops up

but a sound source could be a trio of VCOs, or a complex oscillator, or a complete voice or have 3 outputs and get counted as 3, or also be an lfo and get counted as modulation too or a modulation source could be a quad in which case it probably counts as more than one

what it boils down to is in all probability you will need more mixers of various types and cascading vcas and other utilities than you think you do now

but take all this with a pinch of salt - but - it depends on you and how you patch - for example you might need only one or 2 vcas per voice, you might need 10, you might want 16 you might not want any

buy modules as you feel you need them.. if you think you could use another XYZ module then pick that up - that's why it's useful to have a swiss army knife module such as disting - you can immediately grab that extra vca or delay or whatever that you need and if you keep needing it replace it with an actual module and then disting is free to plug whatever gap comes up next

Thank you for this detailed view on modulation. I will take into consideration to ease out some voices. My goal is to build a machine that allows some subtle modulation but more hands on groove capabilities. This means turning voices on/off, mixing FX in out quickly and changing patterns on the fly. I could boil it down to Kick, Hi-Hat, Clap or Snare and another Voice for Bleeps and Blops. Are you guys planning to post some let's say basic setups that newbies like me can build on? Just to get a feel for good balance, good basic modules to start with. Can be small. Thanks again for sharing and caring.