ModularGrid Rack

Hello! I’m a small town Canadian newbie with a love for sound who is looking to make the leap to modular. I have a few hardware synths (Microfreak, AFX Station) and a few Volcas (FM, Modular, Keys and Drum) but am just about ready to step away from that (and Ableton and iPad apps) and make the modular leap.

Am looking to fill an 84hp NiftyCase (that has MIDI to CV and audio out built in apparently) to make my first rack with about a $2,250 budget. (Already have a Beatstep pro to sequence)

If anyone could take a look at this and give some pointers or make any changes/suggestions that would be extremely appreciated.

Am aiming to make a solid, all-in-one starter system using Plaits as the primary OSC.

Thanks in advance and have a great day!


Hi and welcome

if you have a BSP for sequencing I would not start with the nifty or any other case that has any built in midi-cv conversion - you do not need it

I would get either the mantis (if you can find one) or the doepfer lc9 instead - these are better value for money

I think the module choice (especially with the BSP) is a good start I would swap out the disting for the newer version and the pico dsp for a fx aid xl (similar but more varied and with better ergonomics and more modulation inputs)

you could consider dropping batumi and possibly Pams even, at least, to start with - you have enough with the Maths I think to start

I'd go for veils over the intellijel quad vca, but that's mostly taste

I'd add mutable instruments links and kinks and something like shades (there are a lot of similar modules) as they are incredibly helpful in patching and to grab a few stackcables or headphone splitters to use as passive mults

if you are not going to fill the case in 1 go I would recommend using blind panels (cereal box card is fine) to stop unwanted metal objects (loose dangling cables for instance) shorting out the power etc


Hi Jim!

Thanks for taking the time for some helpful input!

Will likely go with the Mantis now as eventually I’d like to get a Rene in there (which would never fit in the smaller Nifty one). That FX Aid XL looks like a winner too!

Will likely pull the trigger on making this a reality soon and am gonna start with:

  • Mantis 104hp x 2 case
  • Beatstep Pro (already have it)
  • Plaits
  • Veils
  • Maths

And add the rest from there bit by bit.

With the above mentioned modules will I need anything else to get started or would that be enough function wise?

Thanks again and have a good one!


the thing you might want most is a filter - whilst plaits has one built in, it's a good idea to get used to using one and willl give you more flexibility - also I'd get the utilities I mentioned (or similar) earlier rather than later - they'll help you get your head round patching more, especially combined with working your way through the maths illustrated manual a few times


I would say maybe ditch the Pico DSP and get a Disting EX instead of the Disting mk4. The Disting EX rules extremely hard especially in a small rack.