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After years of GASing for a eurorack, I have finally delved in. The journey has been a blast so far, and my only regret is that I didn’t start sooner!

At the moment, I am having some issues deciding on how I should proceed with my build. I am looking to make my 7u case a versatile build that can do everything from generative drones and techno, to IDM/Pop. A “swiss army knife” build, of sorts...

My setup currently consists of the DFAM and 0-Coast (both unracked), two sequencers (0-Ctrl, OP-Z) along with a 7u case. The 7u case in question consists of the top two rows of the build linked.

In this build, I have attempted to create my own complex oscillator, with the dixie, sto, fade, and bifold. Also, I am currently unsure how I should proceed with my utility selection. I want to include switches, precision adders, logic modules...but the selection of modules is rather overwhelming. In fact, I am open to replacement suggestions for any of the modules I have. Being that I am a noob, I know my module knowledge is rather limited.

Also, since productions are largely driven by a computer, I can’t help but feel I would do well with an FH-2 or ES-3/ES-6 combo, rather than the intellijel module. I have two hardware synths (Moog Grandmother and DSI Tempest) that I use slaved to ableton, so being able to sync the modular with it all would be rad.

I am also wondering if I should get a dedicated quantizer module such as the intellijel scales. I know o_c has a quantizer function, but the immediacy of a dedicated quantizer module is not lost on me.

edit: 1u row added!


You're going to have problems. The idea that anyone can just step up and create a build that can work on styles from one end of the spectrum to the other is pretty much a fallacy, unless you're up for something in the 4 x 168 zone. This is because the modules that work well for, say generative music really aren't likely to be the ones that'll do the same for synthpop. Mind you, there ARE exceptions...but as I noted, this isn't something that can easily be done even WITH extensive experience. Anyway, the result is that you'd need a BIG system in order to house and power all of the modules that you WON'T be using on one project or another. So unless you've got piles of ca$h, I'd suggest you either try and find a "lane" for this build to drive in, or try and put together something rather basic that you can use with external processing. Except for generative...it's very much a "special case", and requires more than usual in terms of modulation and modulation pick-off modules to create the complex-order control needed for that.

Secondly, you mention that this should be in a 7u cab. I don't see that here. What I DO see, however, is a huge no-no on that bottom row. If you have something that's in a case, and that gets powered by that case, LEAVE IT IN THAT CASE unless you have some urgent, must-do rationale for putting it in the Eurorack cab. For one thing, it kills space that needs to be there for modules that have NO power and NO case. Secondly, once you factor in the cost of housing and powering those devices TWICE, you'll find that you're paying considerably more for the 0-Ctrl and DFAM than you paid when you bought 'em. Anyway, without a tile row in the layout, you're going to have some problems working out the configuration for it.

Now, as for that "complex oscillator" idea...it's not bad. My AE system has six of these sorts of assemblages, consisting of two basic digital oscillators, two VCAs, two full VCOs, a 4-in mixer, and a wavefolder. They work. But with AE's prices, they're very doable. Now, the price for your configuration comes out to $767 and it takes up 28 hp. However, this: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/make-noise-dpo-white-knobs ...is a Make Noise DPO, which is a fo-realz, no-foolin' complex oscillator based on typical Buchla signal flow concepts. And it costs $599, which comes out to $168 LESS. Clearly, the way you've implemented this isn't the right way to proceed unless, like I said before, piles of ca$h, etc.

Stop. Stop right now. You need to take some deep, cleansing breaths and have a seat.

For one thing, NO ONE AT ALL, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER comes onto Modulargrid and whips out a perfect first build. It doesn't happen. Period. Even if you've got extensive experience in synthesis, there is simply too much here to process rapidly, especially in Eurorack. Secondly, there's some major differences between prebuilt (even patchable) synths and true modular architecture, most notably in that you can totally define your instrument and tailor it for your music's needs. But that's a double-edged sword, tbh...mainly because, if you don't know that your music has a "deficiency" that modular SPECIFICALLY can correct, you're more apt to build a hella expensive closet-warmer.

Instead of continuing down a path that WILL result in the horrific detonation of your Magic Plastic, I suggest...

1) Spend time on here studying other, more experienced users' builds. Just go through there, and when you see a name you recognize from their work (and you will!), see how and why they do what they're doing. Gradually, you'll start to notice certain patterns in module complements, signal flow, ergonomics, etc.

2) Get a copy of VCV Rack. VCV is a software emulator for Eurorack (more or less) and contains a huge range of module emulations, some of which are 1:1 software takes on existing Eurorack hardware (Mutable, Instruo, et al). Mind you, it doesn't like to run on underpowered systems, so keep that in mind (and change your computer's power profile to "maximum performance", however you do that on the OS you use)...but that's more or less the sole drawback. You'll find everything at https://vcvrack.com/

3) After that, proceed SLOWLY. Make a build. Remake it. Then remake the remake, and so on. Work toward a refined end-result, not a fast slap-together; Modulargrid ain't a video game, and trying to "speed-run" it will invariably end in disaster, especially when first starting in modular system design. There are simply far more potential "errors" than proper solutions on MG, depending on what you're trying to do. And...

4) Avoid "sexy module syndrome". Yeah, I know...lots of blinkenlichts und tvistenknobs LOOKS cool AF, but unless you make sure to put the right "boring stuff" (VCAs, attenuverters, timing modifiers, etc etc etc) into the build in the right proportions and of the right types, you're guaranteed to wind up with a very expensive albeit pretty to look at noisemaker. The build above is already well on its way to that disastrous end-result, so...yeah, stop. Get to know the right "whats" and "whys" FIRST, and THEN go back to setting up a build that you can whittle into a fine final result. It's very doable, but it doesn't involve instant gratification...and if you've worked with music for any length of time, you should know better than to try and look for that illusion, as it simply doesn't exist. Or rather, it DOES...but the "gratification" only lasts for as long as you're unaware of the mistakes.


You're going to have problems. The idea that anyone can just step up and create a build that can work on styles from one end of the spectrum to the other is pretty much a fallacy, unless you're up for something in the 4 x 168 zone. This is because the modules that work well for, say generative music really aren't likely to be the ones that'll do the same for synthpop. Mind you, there ARE exceptions...but as I noted, this isn't something that can easily be done even WITH extensive experience. Anyway, the result is that you'd need a BIG system in order to house and power all of the modules that you WON'T be using on one project or another. So unless you've got piles of ca$h, I'd suggest you either try and find a "lane" for this build to drive in, or try and put together something rather basic that you can use with external processing. Except for generative...it's very much a "special case", and requires more than usual in terms of modulation and modulation pick-off modules to create the complex-order control needed for that.

Secondly, you mention that this should be in a 7u cab. I don't see that here. What I DO see, however, is a huge no-no on that bottom row. If you have something that's in a case, and that gets powered by that case, LEAVE IT IN THAT CASE unless you have some urgent, must-do rationale for putting it in the Eurorack cab. For one thing, it kills space that needs to be there for modules that have NO power and NO case. Secondly, once you factor in the cost of housing and powering those devices TWICE, you'll find that you're paying considerably more for the 0-Ctrl and DFAM than you paid when you bought 'em. Anyway, without a tile row in the layout, you're going to have some problems working out the configuration for it.

Now, as for that "complex oscillator" idea...it's not bad. My AE system has six of these sorts of assemblages, consisting of two basic digital oscillators, two VCAs, two full VCOs, a 4-in mixer, and a wavefolder. They work. But with AE's prices, they're very doable. Now, the price for your configuration comes out to $767 and it takes up 28 hp. However, this: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/make-noise-dpo-white-knobs ...is a Make Noise DPO, which is a fo-realz, no-foolin' complex oscillator based on typical Buchla signal flow concepts. And it costs $599, which comes out to $168 LESS. Clearly, the way you've implemented this isn't the right way to proceed unless, like I said before, piles of ca$h, etc.

Stop. Stop right now. You need to take some deep, cleansing breaths and have a seat.

For one thing, NO ONE AT ALL, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER comes onto Modulargrid and whips out a perfect first build. It doesn't happen. Period. Even if you've got extensive experience in synthesis, there is simply too much here to process rapidly, especially in Eurorack. Secondly, there's some major differences between prebuilt (even patchable) synths and true modular architecture, most notably in that you can totally define your instrument and tailor it for your music's needs. But that's a double-edged sword, tbh...mainly because, if you don't know that your music has a "deficiency" that modular SPECIFICALLY can correct, you're more apt to build a hella expensive closet-warmer.

Instead of continuing down a path that WILL result in the horrific detonation of your Magic Plastic, I suggest...

1) Spend time on here studying other, more experienced users' builds. Just go through there, and when you see a name you recognize from their work (and you will!), see how and why they do what they're doing. Gradually, you'll start to notice certain patterns in module complements, signal flow, ergonomics, etc.

2) Get a copy of VCV Rack. VCV is a software emulator for Eurorack (more or less) and contains a huge range of module emulations, some of which are 1:1 software takes on existing Eurorack hardware (Mutable, Instruo, et al). Mind you, it doesn't like to run on underpowered systems, so keep that in mind (and change your computer's power profile to "maximum performance", however you do that on the OS you use)...but that's more or less the sole drawback. You'll find everything at https://vcvrack.com/

3) After that, proceed SLOWLY. Make a build. Remake it. Then remake the remake, and so on. Work toward a refined end-result, not a fast slap-together; Modulargrid ain't a video game, and trying to "speed-run" it will invariably end in disaster, especially when first starting in modular system design. There are simply far more potential "errors" than proper solutions on MG, depending on what you're trying to do. And...

4) Avoid "sexy module syndrome". Yeah, I know...lots of blinkenlichts und tvistenknobs LOOKS cool AF, but unless you make sure to put the right "boring stuff" (VCAs, attenuverters, timing modifiers, etc etc etc) into the build in the right proportions and of the right types, you're guaranteed to wind up with a very expensive albeit pretty to look at noisemaker. The build above is already well on its way to that disastrous end-result, so...yeah, stop. Get to know the right "whats" and "whys" FIRST, and THEN go back to setting up a build that you can whittle into a fine final result. It's very doable, but it doesn't involve instant gratification...and if you've worked with music for any length of time, you should know better than to try and look for that illusion, as it simply doesn't exist. Or rather, it DOES...but the "gratification" only lasts for as long as you're unaware of the mistakes.
-- Lugia

Hey Lugia! I’m stoked to have you reply to my post. I’ve ran into many of your posts in the years that I have lurked modular grid, and have definitely internalized a lot of the advice.

As it stands, I already have the rig pictured here. The DFAM and 0-Coast are unracked, but I included them in the post in order to show that they are a part of my setup. I also have a Strega and Subharmonicon coming in soon. And no worries for the credit card, it’s all bought with cash :)

My main purpose in making this post was to get some feedback on the utility of my 7u case. I mainly want the 7u case to supplement my setup with lots of modulation. I do want the case to be able to generate voices on its own, however.

My main reasoning for opting to create my own complex oscillator was so that I could have a wave folder accessible to my other voices. The DPO has a little work around to this, but I’m not sure it would be wise to rely on that.

The rig will mainly be used for Pop/IDM. The generative stuff is not a priority, but I value the option.

Please don’t misunderstand—I very much want the boring modules. I want the precision adder, the logic, the switch mults, etc. But I would also appreciate some help in module selection.

edit: i forgot to mention that i do have some 1u modules (oscilloscope, out, and buffered mult). Modular grid limited me to three rows :(


OK, that clarified a lot...so, I banged around with this a bit, added some mojo, dropped the older-style Doepfer modules (definite depth issue with one of them, and the single EG was replaced with the dual ADSR because...well, more ADSR) and the mult (use some stackcables or inline mults instead...saves the cab space for function). I also kicked the Contour for some space to drop in a Quadrax/Qx, which ups THAT game x4.
ModularGrid Rack
OK...I presumed this was an Intellijel case from your description, so I went with Intellijel tiles. Your MIDI interface is now up there, then a Noise Tools which gives you clocking, S&H, noise, and a slew limiter. The QuadrATT gives you a utility mixer and/or attenuverters. FOUR more VCAs come next for anything you might need some extra VCAs for (like stereo output level control, level control for your FX, etc). After those, you've got a 2-in stereo summing mixer which allows you to parallel the FX Aid below it instead of having to feed through it and using the wet/dry control. After that, your cab's stereo out.

Middle row: STO, Dixie II+...then the REAL missing complex VCO part thanks to Happy Nerding: their FM Aid, which allows thru-zero FM between the two VCOs. Crossfader's after that, then your Bifold. But, continuing with the TZFM thing, I put in Intellijel's take on a complex analog VCO, the Rubicon2. You now have MAD west-coast-style generation going on! Then the Quad VCA lets you impose modulation on four different sources before feeding the Dual Borg. Then, for some fun, I paired the Optomix with an SSF Noise Rainbow 2 so that you now ALSO have a little extra electronic percussion...rather Krautrock-ish style. After this, an Alyseum QMix gives you four channels of level/panning into a stereo sum. But then the OUTPUT fun starts, as you'd use a pair of stackcables to split out your stereo. One pair goes to the Stereo Mixer directly, and the other to the FX Aid XL, then you feed the fully-wet FX Aid's output to the other Stereo Mixer tile's input, and you've got a proper parallel stereo FX return.

Bottom row: Pam's, then a Ladik dual pulse delay allows you to "slip" a couple of clock outputs' timing against a couple of others, letting some neat flam, syncopation, etc activity happen easily. And to make that work in that way (and a few others), I put in a pair of Erica Pico logic gates. Wogglebug, Batumi, then a Frap 321, which is a neat little utility mixer/attenuverter/offset gen-type device that lets you throw different modulation signals at each other to get even more complex modulation signals. A Veils clone is next to give you some modulation-specific VCAs. After that, Maths, then the Qx and Quadrax gives you what the Contour was up to...times four, and then some. And the single ADSR got tossed in favor of the dual ADSR. The O&c follows, then the little sliver on the end is a Konstant Labs PWRcheckr, because it's a good idea to have SOME way to monitor your DC rails' behavior inside the cab.

Result: Majorly beefed-up sound generation, for starters. Having the extra FM capabilities for the two single VCOs will majorly kick them into west-coast turf. And the Rubicon2 complements this arrangement really nicely. And, two voices of noise + LPG percussives, too! Plus, stereo mixing, stereo FX, and parallel FX return ability. Now THAT'S a serious voice row! And the modulation and control...also, massive beef-up. You went from one two-stage to four, then one ADSR to two. Add to that the 321's ability to flip/mangle/alter your modulation, plus the quad VCA...that's ready, too. You could even do basic generative with this, although it's lacking some of the gate pick-offs like comparators, etc. But the Pico Logic actually gives you some very different timing options than just the Pam's alone can. Definitely worth rocking out on now...and complex enough that there's loads of patching options, but not to the point that it's impossible to sort out what's going on. As for the few modules I pulled...well, hey, there's always the next rack, right?


OK, that clarified a lot...
-- Lugia

Wow, thanks for the reply! I don't know anyone else into modular synthesis, so I really appreciate you taking the time to vibe with me on this.

I have no qualms selling any modules that I have, so if you want to replace anything, feel free to do so!

One reason I never went for the MIDI 1u was because it's been hard to come by. I also dislike that it only offers one channel of MIDI. The uMIDI that I have was bought for dirt cheap, so that's the only reason I am using it. What I really would like to do is get an FH-2, since it can convert multiple midi channels into CV. It can also connect to the midi sockets on the intellijel case, so major points there. With that said, I have also been considering an ES-3/ES-6 combo. I am mainly interested in using the ES-3 for pitch sequencing, and the ES-6 for ADAT recording. Perhaps getting an ES-3/ES-6 just for this would be wasteful though, as I can simply stick with a midi/cv interface, and chain a cheap audio interface with lots of inputs + ADAT out to my Motu Ultralite.

If I do go for an Expert Sleepers oriented midi/cv solution, I can't help but feel that the ornament&crime might not get any use. As it stands, I have it in the case as a quantizer, but since I use a computer for my production, I can handle that in my DAW. I am considering a dedicated quantizer module (Intellijel Scales) instead, for playability. No plans for any live modular performance at the moment, but the immediacy of a dedicated module is not lost on me. It's nice to be able to play on the modular without mucking around on the computer. I got the o_C for dirt cheap (built it up with an engineering buddy of mine), so I do not mind parting ways with it.

Totally dig the Rubicon Complex oscillator set up! I can't help but feel that the STO might be too redundant if I added the Rubicon however. Couldn't I just the FM the Rubicon and STO? Perhaps I am being too shortsighted, so please feel free to school me lol. Just want to avoid having too many oscillators, since I will have a total of 4 semi modular systems (0-Coast, Strega, DFAM, Subharmonicon)

I am curious as to why you opted to add three noise noise sources. Would the Wogglebug and and Quantum Rainbow not be enough? The noise tools does clocking and s/h, but I have Pams and the Wogglebug for this. Is including it simply a matter of "modulating the modulator"? I do not mind getting a more featured 3u module to combine what the Noise Tools and Quantum Rainbow does.

My main reason for including the MN Contour was for the dynamic gate input. I like that the contour circuit on the 0-coast responds to gate dynamically, and I wanted to have the opportunity to bring that dynamism to my 7u case as well. Upon further research, however, I am seeing that this functionality can be recreated with a slew limiter. I am unsure how I would on how to recreate that, however. Is this just a function inherent to slew limiters?

Speaking of s/h and slew limiters, I did notice that Toppobrillo is bringing back the Sport Modulator. Perhaps I would do well to wait for it to be released...

I actually have a list of utility modules that interest me, a lot of which were recommendations you made in other threads:

  • 4MS SIMS (I like that it can handle precision adder duties, which the Frap Tools does not seem to do.)
  • Joranalogue Contour 1
  • XAOC Zadar
  • Intellijel Quadrax (which you so awesomely included!)

As it stands, the Batumi is unracked. I actually bought it because I couldn't find a Zadar in stock anywhere. I have about three weeks to return the Batumi to a local vendor, so I am thinking of just getting a Zadar instead. Do you think I could get away with dropping the DUAL ADSR and Batumi in favor of the Zadar? If not, how would your recommendations evolve if I did opt for a Zadar in place of the Batumi?

Also, I am considering replacing the dual borg with two independent filters. I initially bought it because I need two filters, and figued the Malekko design of the dual borg plays well into the west coast voice. However, I am learning that there are various filter designs (ladder, diode, state variable, butterworth, sallen-key), and I value the variety. This is modular after all! The Moog semis certainly handle the ladder design. Do you have any non ladder filter recommendations? If not, what filter designs do you recommend I add to my system? I am highly considering the Joranalogue Filter 8 as one choice, since it packs a ton of functionality.

Super stoked that I can get some drum action going on in the 7u with your configuration though! Should pair along nicely with the DFAM

I find it interesting that you mention comparators are an important of generative music. I don't have much experience with raw logic modules, so it is something I want to dabble in if possible. Couldn't I coax that functionality out of the Maths? I feel as though I came across a patch that accomplishes it, albeit at the cost of multiple channels.

Thank you for your time once again. It has been quite the journey so far, and I am excited for what's to come!


I actually have a list of utility modules that interest me, a lot of which were recommendations you made in other threads:

  • 4MS SIMS (I like that it can handle precision adder duties, which the Frap Tools does not seem to do.)
  • Joranalogue Contour 1
  • XAOC Zadar
  • Intellijel Quadrax (which you so awesomely included!)

hhhhhmmmm ok - to me only one of those modules is an utility - the others are modulation sources

As it stands, the Batumi is unracked. I actually bought it because I couldn't find a Zadar in stock anywhere. I have about three weeks to return the Batumi to a local vendor, so I am thinking of just getting a Zadar instead. Do you think I could get away with dropping the DUAL ADSR and Batumi in favor of the Zadar? If not, how would your recommendations evolve if I did opt for a Zadar in place of the Batumi?

I would try using batumi - it's a great module, but it's an lfo and not an envelope generator as the other 2 are so functions differently - primarily loops not one shots

adsr is more if you want to emulate a keyboard and zadar is a very complex envelope generator, which is a bit wasted if all you use it for are basic envelopes

Also, I am considering replacing the dual borg with two independent filters. I initially bought it because I need two filters, and figued the Malekko design of the dual borg plays well into the west coast voice. However, I am learning that there are various filter designs (ladder, diode, state variable, butterworth, sallen-key), and I value the variety. This is modular after all! The Moog semis certainly handle the ladder design. Do you have any non ladder filter recommendations? If not, what filter designs do you recommend I add to my system? I am highly considering the Joranalogue Filter 8 as one choice, since it packs a ton of functionality.

Filter8 is definitely very popular - I would also suggest looking at doepfer if you want variety - they are inexpensive and do what they say they do! - iirc there's a compare all video on youtube - which will at least give you an idea of how different filter architectures souond even if you don't get one of theirs in the end

I find it interesting that you mention comparators are an important of generative music. I don't have much experience with raw logic modules, so it is something I want to dabble in if possible. Couldn't I coax that functionality out of the Maths? I feel as though I came across a patch that accomplishes it, albeit at the cost of multiple channels.

take a look at the maths illustrated manual to answer that one - I'm considering a joranalogue compare2 - it will do a lot more than maths will in terms of logic

maths is a great module but when it comes to using it for 'interesting' things like almost all swiss army knife modules it can only really do one at a time


hhhhhmmmm ok - to me only one of those modules is an utility - the others are modulation sources

It's been a long night into day and i'm still at it I meant to write modulation sources, but I am thinking the SIMS might be better than the 321, even though it takes up a little more HP

I would try using batumi - it's a great module, but it's an lfo and not an envelope generator as the other 2 are so functions >differently - primarily loops not one shots

adsr is more if you want to emulate a keyboard and zadar is a very complex envelope generator, which is a bit wasted if all you use >it for are basic envelopes

My qualm with the batumi is that it has a divey aspect with no screen. I figure if I opt for a divey modulation source, a screen would be nice. The Zadar can be used as an LFO in a pinch, right? I am also not against adding a dedicated LFO module if I do end up going for the Zadar.

Filter8 is definitely very popular - I would also suggest looking at doepfer if you want variety - they are inexpensive and do what >they say they do! - iirc there's a compare all video on youtube - which will at least give you an idea of how different filter >architectures souond even if you don't get one of theirs in the end

Will definitely do this and meditate on my upcoming filter selection. I realize filter choice is highly personal, so thanks for the tip!

take a look at the maths illustrated manual to answer that one - I'm considering a joranalogue compare2 - it will do a lot more >than maths will in terms of logic

Slowly working my way through it. Most of my homework is tied up with the Allen Strange text at the moment! But dude. That PWM patch on the compare2 sounds sick! Currently watching divkid's video on it haha