ModularGrid Rack

Hi folks!

Have a potential NiftyCase 84hp rack design here hat I need a little help with. Have Beatstep Pro and Microfreak on the side for control and have a couple questions:

1) is it possible to use both the BSP and the microfreak simultaneously for control? Both have CV outs but can they be used at the same time?

2) is there anything you’d switch out/add/remove? With this unit I’m not looking to explore everything modular has to offer - this is perhaps just a relatively high priced suped up synth voice with utilities & generative functions to pair with a future 2nd rack (but I’m ok with that!).

3) which 3-4 modules should I get first so that it’s at least playable right away? Already have the case, Plaits clone, Clouds and the BSP and Microfreak - and the Nifty is pre-equipped with power & MIDI conversion.

Thanks and have a good one!

Edit: for some reason it’s showing an older photo of this rack design - please click on it to see what’s currently planned. Thx

OK...let's go through this...

1) How do you mean "use" here? Technically, you can have as many controllers as your build has patchpoints, if you wanted to go that far. If you're trying to use them as simultaneous CV sources for the SAME function, though, you'd need an adder to arithmetically combine the CV values. However, this is apt to get a little bit OUT of control, as you'll have to juggle the behavior of both the BSP and uFreak at the same time and keep your mind on what the CV combination results are going to be...which is apt to get VERY tedious. My suggestion would be to pick ONE controller and stick with that...especially given that this build only has a single VCO in the first place.

2) This isn't "high priced". Trust me, the cost could go LOADS higher, even in 3U x 84; load it with Cwejman and Schippmann modules, and you'll see what I mean. But I can tell you right now, this build is neither suited for real generative work nor could you call it "suped up". Fact is, it's kinda underpowered...with the cab itself being the main problem here. So if I were switching out anything here, I'd start with the cab itself. These little skiff builds might pop up on YouTube and all that, but much of that YT activity is pretty misleading, as smaller systems like this are actually rather difficult to configure...sometimes even for experienced modular users!

3) See #2 above. Seriously, I wouldn't be worrying about modules right now...the case itself, and the lack of space it's causing, is the biggest stumbling block here. And while the Cre8 cab is $199, another $136 could've gotten you into a 2 x 104 powered cab, the Tiptop Mantis. Fix that first, THEN start exploring module options.

Hi Lugia:

I appreciate you taking the time to not only have a look & try to help but also for not sugar coating anything and being straight up!

Thought about it some more and am going the Mantis route with a handful of modules to start and will see where it goes from there. Have also been advised that these “mini” versions of the MI modules are a little too mini and damn near impossible to work with. Am likely letting the excitement of a new musical challenge and discovery (and a dash of fetishism) get the best of me at times! This is a fantastic resource and poking around & making your own virtual rack is a double edged sword!

One of the reasons I was looking to go small was that whenever I’d read an interview with a modular musician (whether it be Keith Fullerton Whitman or Robert Aiki Lowe or Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Etc Etc) they’d always say the same thing when asked for advice for beginners: start small!

Anyways - thanks for commenting and all the best to ya!

Sure, but there's "small" and then there's TOO small. With both Keith and Kaitlyn's work, they're used to working with larger modular systems, so you've got to approach that "small" with that point of scale in mind. Also, Kaitlyn's "small" is often something like her Buchla Sound Easel...physically small, but as far as capabilities, not small at all!

That being said, the Mantis pretty much IS the sort of "small" that's being tossed around there. 208 hp, fits in Tiptop's own gig bag, etc...ample room for the right sort of modules, but nowhere near the size of a big studio rig. Building up something along the general equivalency as an Easel in that sort of cab is pretty easy(ish), but in the previous skiff, that wasn't going to happen, mainly because the Buchla has loads of interconnectivity inside of it that isn't so apparent until you sit down with one. Eurorack modules are just not set up like that, so you've got to make sure you've got the room to compensate between "Buchla small" and "Eurorack small".

Thanks again Lugia - went with a used Mantis this morning for $600 Canadian (which is like $20 American lol) and updated accordingly. ModularGrid Rack

The seller also threw in a tin of screws, carrying case and patchcords so i really lucked out!

Haven’t spent too much time in the actual forum here (or any online forum) and am mainly just playing with the rack creation tool but I’m blown away by the support and shared ideas throughout.

Big thanks in order to you (and not just for me but for helping out so many others I’m sure)

Have a good night and take care!

Edit: I won’t come close to filling this for a long time but am hoping for a 2nd voice.

Congratulations on your new case!

If you haven't bought the mutable clones yet - I would be seriously tempted to go for the originals
you have a lot more space in the mantis compared to your original rack - they don't cost a lot more in most cases and are significantly more ergonomic than a majority of the clones

there are 4-6 voices in there already (the plaits, rings, clouds clones and disting - 5 if you include maths - and 6 if you include the marbles clone!!!) - I would concentrate on modulation and utilities for supporting these modules rather than adding a 6th voice - links, kinks and shades make a great starter utility set for example - I'd definitely also want more envelope generators (get a quad - maybe zadar? and batumi) - and more vcas (veils is great) - and a better end of chain mixer (I use a tex-mix which is excellent value for money and expandable - and easily diy-able if you can solder) - maybe also a nice effects unit - fx aid xl is great value and decent ergonomically and modulation wise

re filling the case - that's what I thought when I bought my first case - 6 months later I bought a second case - 4.5 years later I have 1500hp with enough space free for my diy backlog!

"some of the best base-level info to remember can be found in Jim's sigfile" @Lugia

Utility modules are the dull polish that makes the shiny modules actually shine!!!

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

Thanks so much Jim! Good points to consider!

1500hp!! Damn! You’re packing some serious heat! An old buddy of mine in town has like (and I’m likely guessing low) $50,000 worth of gear (buchlas, full Moog systems, homemade wall mounted spring reverbs, stuff for modular camcorder video art and a bunch of wild shit like saws, bows and the type of stuff you’d only see at art installations) so I’ve seen first hand how original plans can expand right quick! (He’s a genius though with off the charts curiosity!)

I’ve already ordered the mutable clones unfortunately but am used to tiny knobs (have a few Volcas: FM, Modular, Keys and Drum). Will spread the clones apart a bit so they’re not too close to each other I suppose.

Also have a BSP pro and Microfreak for some added fun (and an AFX station)

So I’m guessing I’m still on the hunt for:

1) MIDI in (mutant brain perhaps or cheaper module)

2) Quad ADSR (zadar or the dopfer one)

3) End of chain mixer (Tex-mix or similarly priced alternative)

4) links and kinks

5) an FX unit (FX aid xl or pico dsp)

5) More vca’s (veils)

6) a basic analogue OSC (Dixie2 or STO?)

7) Pam’s New Workout

MIDI in might be next as I have a few iPad apps that I’d like to incorporate into this from time to time (AUM, miRack, Rozeta suite, Xynthesizr, Genome etc) for alternate sequencing. Am trying to avoid computers/screens etc but an iPad isn’t quite as bad for that as a laptop.

I appreciate the help from all here and wish all of you a great weekend! Stay safe and thanks for the help! Maybe 5 years from now I’ll be giving some pointers (as long as the world doesn’t go full out totalitarian and we’re still allowed to own things based on our social credit scores!)

this user has left ModularGrid

I highly recommend Batumi for LFO that thing rocks especially with the Poti expander. Utilities- agree with Jim here: kinks/links is great combo and I also recommend SSF/WMD Toolbox. Toolbox is a small module power packed with all sorts of goodies like comparator, switch, logic and so forth. For VCA- the Intellijel Quad VCA is really good and super easy to use. Pam is a great clock and can do other tricks up her sleeve like random sequences and Euclidian patterns. A good mixer would be Mixup by Intellijel or perhaps a 4 channel mixer like Qu-bit Mixology.

I found larger case good start point as you will outgrow the small case fast! I filled up two Doepfer 6u cases and use those for travel now. The Mantis cases are great.

by the time you take into account 4 guitars and a bass, fx pedals etc, I'm probably way over that

my modular is a combined audio video synthesizer

if i remember rightly you can use the bsp as a midi interface - but I might be mistaken - I have one but never tried to use it for that = definitely woorth checking the manual

I need more envelopes - I'm thinking Zadar (when available) AND the Doepfer a-143-1

"some of the best base-level info to remember can be found in Jim's sigfile" @Lugia

Utility modules are the dull polish that makes the shiny modules actually shine!!!

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities