A friend asked me to perform at night he is organising. I looked at my current setup and thought..."hmm, this isn't going to work."

Right now I am very much studio bound : big mixer, outboard effects, a bunch of smaller devices, big old synth keyboard etc. However I think with some judicious additions I could manage with just the rack. Here is what I have currently:

ModularGrid Rack

How would you change it to make this into a stand-alone techno machine?

Guidelines :
* The rack is a Doepfer 6u 84hp suitcase which has been hacked. It has 6 spaces which can fit a 4hp module, three above the main rows, and three below. This is shown by the blue blind panels: these panels don't actually exist so you cannot replace them to make more space. Unfortunately the person who did the hacking did not do a great job so you cannot fit 2 x 2hp modules in one slot because the screw holes are not well enough aligned.
* Outside of the rack I will have a BeatStep Pro. I might also get an external compressor for the master bus (FMR RNLA, Oto Boum, something like that, suggestions welcome)
* Things which I currently use which I would like to replace are : various delays and reverbs and a Sherman Filterbank, which is usually used as a source of filth, not so much as a filter. Filth is quite important for the sound. And the mixer of course.
* I'm currently using these modules to make music and quite happy with them. I'd really rather not change them, partly for musical reasons, partly for cost reasons.
* I am not going to buy a bigger case.

So it's a pretty tall order, but how would you solve this problem?


Took a crack at this

ModularGrid Rack

1) Vortices for mixing, lots of inputs and tons of flexibility
2) An FX Aid and a second Disting for FX
3) A Happy Nerding Dual Cross Fade to fade between the two of them, letting you functionally use them both for the Vortices' aux out
4) A Shakmat HiPass to keep things clean when you want to
5) A MSCL and a SCLPL for compression and end of chain EQ
6) A Ladik 4 Step Sequencer for either melodies, bass lines, or even as a strong structure creator (have it control some non-pitch CV and triggered by PNW every 64 beats or even more
7) A CP3 which doubles as both another mixer and a distortion effect, could easily swap with another 4HP distortion module of your choice though.


Thanks @troux!

I did not know about Vortices -- it looks like a great solution. Shame it doesn't have sends, but that would really be asking a lot from such a compact mixer. Also the Shakmat hi-pass -- on my current setup most channels have the bass heavily cut, so this would be great. Maybe I even need two!

The only thing you missed which I think is probably needed is some kind of output module to step down to line level. I doubt the sound guy will too pleased at getting modular levels into his desk. I mean, it's what I do at my place, but I know what's going on...


Ugh... my power supply is the Doepfer PSU2 which tops out at 1.2A on both the positive and negative 12V rails... gonna need a less power hungry solution @troux ! (I'm using a MI Volts to get the +5V from the +12V too.)


I've got some ideas @the-erc, I'll take another crack at it this evening.


@the-erc I was thinking about it and thought "Why not swap the 4 step sequencer with a Micro Zeus?" I think that would work 🤔🤔🤔

Edited to add: I also swapped the CP3 with an Isolator so you can get the output levels you want.

ModularGrid Rack


I'm not an electrician but that makes me nervous. Are there no issues with multiple power supplies in the same box like that?


I've had 2 cases with 2 power supplies in running happily for a couple of years... and happily patch between these cases too!


Thanks Jim -- good to know! (Have browsed enough Muff's thread's with Geoff Hinton telling everyone off to get nervous about many power related things.)


Ah yes in an ideal world everyone would have Graham Hinton power supplies

It's like Steevio and using switched mults as gate/trigger mixers - all I can really say is it works for me (and I'm sure a lot of other people) - might not for you - the only way to find out is to try it


Whoops, yeah I meant Graham Hinton... Geoff Hinton is someone completely different


hahaha well I'd never heard of Geoff Hinton before - cool middle name!


Do you really need stereo in a live show? Aren't pretty much all club sound systems mono anyway?


Do you really need stereo in a live show? Aren't pretty much all club sound systems mono anyway?
-- the-erc

Depends. If you're talking about a dance club, then yeah...most of those systems are summed-down to mono before hitting crossovers for the frequency division to the amps for the different driver sections, especially in the low end. However, if you're talking about a venue that primarily deals with live music, those DO tend to be stereo quite a bit of the time.


It is supposed to be a dance night, but all I know about the venue is that will be "a small club". Unhelpful.

Kitting out the rack in mono will save a lot of hp. That said, unless although I add a second PSU per @troux's suggestion, I'm going to run out of juice before I run out of space!


Here's my own attempt. Many ideas stolen from @troux.
ModularGrid Rack

Mixing solution :

  • SSF Vortices is the main mixer, which is stereo. the main outs go into the MSCL (bus compressor) and then the Isolater for output.
  • The four non-kick voices (BIA, Entity, Hats, Disting) get high passed by the Shakmat Hi-Pass and then multed into the Vortices' mono inputs, and also the two 2hp mixers (which are effects sends).
  • The white 2hp mix goes to FX Aid for delay/reverb/etc and comes back to a stereo in on Vortices
  • The black 2hp mix goes to the Kith Ruina for distortion and comes back via one of the stereo ins on Vortices (as mono). Not sure about this... maybe not filthy enough.
  • The Kickall goes into the remaining stereo in of Vortices, (again as mono).

It's a bit perverse to use the stereo inputs for the things which I want dead centre but it makes sense.

Non-mixing additions :

  • extra power!
  • more passive switches
  • I dropped the Takaab SMIX to make space.

I have tried to think about the cable routing, but there's only so much you can do with so much packed into such a small space. And of course I have no EQ anywhere which is not ideal. I was also considering a build around the Befaco Hexmix but, being that bit bigger, it makes doing anything sensible with the effects quite difficult.