Tides is clouds v2, 2nd w/ is crow

Thanks for the reply Luigia! Though I've more or less scrapped the plan from yesterday now(this is the final revision, I'm promising myself that)... I've realized that to truly craft the instrument I want I just need to more or less start over.

That said, Behold...!

ModularGrid Rack

Okay I also just really love how this system looks, but it also seems like it would be a lazerbeam of precision awesomeness to play..

To address some of your previous points - I do run my whole modular system through a Mackie 802VLZ4, which seems to more or less handle the modular levels, though I really have no comparison as this is the only way I've ever done it. Would you still think I could benefit from an output module?
I do have a seperate little 48 hp case which I'm currently using as a little System Concrete style sampler, but I could turn it into an output buffer zone... Maybe with Mutable Instruments Clouds, a Cwejman VC-SC and that Happy Nerding unit you mentioned... Now I'm getting into dreaming territory though :P

Also, I have an Eventide Space connected to the Aux-Send of said mixer, so am covered on the reverb front.

Any thoughts on this current plan?

(edit) Am debating now between Tides v2 and Just Friends.. I feel like I understand the capabilities of Tides a lot more, and that makes it more inviting.. But something about the mystique of Just Friends is hard to shake. It's almost as if because I understand it less it seems more capable -_-

If you're getting the Batumi, get the Poti expander. It's cheap and gives you instant access to different wave shapes, sync/reset options, etc. Most of these functions can be changed by pulling the module and moving jumpers without the Poti. But why suffer that kind of torment?
-- Ronin1973

Hi Ronin1973, I’ve had the Batumi for some time now. I thought about getting the Poti for awhile because ya, pulling it in and out to change waveforms was kind of annoying.. But then some months ago this kind person made this alternate firmware(http://voltexture.hiho.jp/batumi-individual-wavebank-firmware-v1-0-released/)! This added random waveform types(which is typically all I use now) for the middle outputs as well as a new layer of menu to control the type. The added complexity paired with the expert firmware made it a bit of a learning curve, but now that I have it down it feels totally worth it.

Some great ideas here Luigia! The slinky idea reminded me of a spring reverb I owned for a short while(the Ekdhal Moisturizer) which had exposed springs. I really enjoyed running sounds through, even something like a simple drum track, and then playing with the springs in different ways, even just breathing on it would yield cool effects.. Now I miss that weird machine..

On a side note, I just posted a thread about a system makeover I'm planning and I would greatly appreciate some of your thoughts(if you have the time)!

Sorry OP for the total hijacking..

I'm hoping I can bother some of you for some thoughts on my system makeover plan.

So far my strategy has been to cram as much capability into my small case as possible, but it's ended up just feeling like a bit of a mess, and with all the micro sized module's and mini pots it's also become a PITA to play.

So my plan is to simplify down my system to a more clear and sensible instrument, which will hopefully be more inviting to create on.

Here is the plan:

ModularGrid Rack

Quick rundown:

-I like the sound and the immediacy of the STO's, I only have one currently but I think 2 will compliment each other nicely.

-I have one 3 sisters currently. I really enjoy using it as a sound source, but also as a filter. So having 2 only makes sense.

-The SY0.5 is mainly for percussion.

-The Piston Honda will typically be for drones or waveshaping.

-The Koma VCA and the Dynamix will provide shaping and control over the sound sources.

-The Chronoblob and Clouds will be the systems effects(leaving room for clouds v2 here).

-From my little understanding of it the Cold Mac seems like it can fill many many useful utility duties, in 8hp it seems a no brainer for a small setup otherwise lacking in utilities.

One more thing to note is the bottom row is in its own seperate sequencing skiff, so that extra space is an illusion :p

I feel like it looks good.. But my modulargrid intuition has failed me before so my trust in my own judgement is feeling a bit shaken..

So please, any thoughts/critiques are very much appreciated!

Ya wow that’s an interesting approach.. Is that Convolution you are talking about? I don’t know much about this stuff but it sure sounds interesting. I have considered getting something like a Koma Field Kit (or just some basic contact mics) and pairing it with my Eventide Space reverb for some fun experimentation.

Oh ok, I'm glad to hear you weren't telling me to quit making music, that took me back a bit!

But ya woah, I didn't know about all that craziness business.. I have wondered why 303s and 808s went for so much money, especially since there was passable clones on the market by the time I came around. I mean a Minimoog I could sort of understand, but ya that explains it a bit.

I understand where you're coming from though, if gear made the musician than the best musicians would also be the richest who could afford the most and coolest gear, which obviously isn't how things typically work out.
That said the OP was looking for Ambient module recommendations, and so telling him to grab a Pringles can and a pencil might not be the most appropriate advice! :P

Now, not to further derail this thread with our pish posh:

I didn't really consider OP's current setup when giving my last recommendations, since you already have Mother 32/Tides/Disting/Maths, maybe a nice effect module would be a nice place to look next, some ideas: Strymon Magneto, Intellijel Rainmaker, MI Clouds, Make Noise Erb-Verb, Tiptop Z-DSP... The list of cool effect module's could be near endless.

I'm not trying to pretend I know what is necessary to make ambient music, or anything at all for that matter. I did say 'practically necessities', I guess what I meant is that these are the popular tools used today. Though I see that this isn't how it was interpeted.

I made the assumption here that the poster(like many others, including myself) came to modular after being inspired by current popular ambient modular artists - R Beny, Lightbath, Emily Sprague, etc. In which case these module's would be good places to look. I realize I shouldn't have made that assumption though

That being said I see no problem with following trends that speak to you. Personally my only goal is to make sounds that I enjoy listening to, and I doubt that I'm alone there.

I'm not doubting your credentials here, but I don't think anyone has the authority to tell anyone else to 'quit immediately' when it comes to creating sounds, apart from maybe my upstairs landlord.

Rings, Clouds, Morphagene! These 3 are practically necessities in the 'Ambient Modular' genre, if that's a genre.

Thanks Luigia! That MCO sounds real nice.. Though considering I already have a Piston Honda it must just be my GAS flaring up.

If you're thinking of getting rid of Frames due to it's large size you could replace it with the 8hp version (https://www.modulargrid.net/e/michigan-synth-works-planks-2), the sliders keep it very tweakable and you could open up 10hp for something else - maybe a delay such as the Chronoblob?

Great post Luigia.

Reading this 6 months ago before I dove in might just have deterred me, not that I have regrets per se. #5 hits hard.

Seconded, Nonlinear Circuits looks like a greaf place to start! One of thesr days I WILL make that B0ng0

That's very nice to hear, I've gotten a bit OCD about trying to create the 'perfect' 168hp rack over the past few months. The amount of iterations I've squeezed into that time is stupid, I was starting to doubt if I'd ever be happy with it.. But yes, this looks nice.. Maybe it's the one. Happy now I didn't sell the 3 sisters and W/.

Thank you for all the input Luigia,

God's work your doing

another option:

ModularGrid Rack

This looks a bit more rounded to me since I don't get too complex with the Morphagene and 20hp is a lot of space.. Really curious about the Mangrove but have only seen it used in softer settings, I wonder if it can get growly if poked (I assume so?).. The 3 sisters would be a nice counter-balance to the Polivoks's ear bleeding, while the Pluck could (almost) replace my beloved Inharmonic String mode of the Plaits.

Thoughts on this one Luigia?

I know it's highly subjecive, but I'd love to get your take on which setup looks nicer to you, or any tweaks you might have to suggest.

Thank you

That's a really classy case cg_funk, looks awesome next to the sub!

Hmm ya your idea for a layout could be nicer than what I had planned.. Instead of describing here's a photo of how things are currently (http://imgur.com/gallery/oJwSKr8)
With the Lyra being in the spot the Pulsar was planned to take.

I have found for stands these ikea one's (https://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/20302596/) are actually pretty decent, I have one holding up the Lyra in the above photo which is pretty impressive considering the Lyra weighs about as much as a rock of the same size.

I should have mentioned before, the Eventide is hooked up to my mixers Aux/Send which has been working well, I just wish I had a mixer with 2 sends so I could bring in another pedal eventually..

Things are a bit squished on the right side as you can see. I'll have to expirement with your idea, that would free up the Eventide and mixer for easier wiggling!

(Edit: also have been expirementing with the idea of replacing the sq-1 with a Landscape StereoField for some bonkers sound processing and voltages.. Desk might not have enough space for that though)

Thanks for the reply Luigia,

Ya that's right, also the Pulsar 23 will have gate outs I'm sure so can send those back into the rack. Also using a Moffenzeef Stargazer I just got which deceptively deep and a lot of fun. Plan to send that thru Ears most times to make more rythym possibilities.

I did put a lot of thought into the layout as I will have the Pulsar to the left of the case, which is why all the modulation, clocking and sequencing is to the left side. I'd be really curious to hear how you would lay it out differently? I love thinking about layouts, feels like working out a puzzle (which has no end..).

Also have an O/Ax2 which could replace the disting if I find myself needing |Attenuverting and Offsets.. I'm hoping to get by without though.

Any opinions much appreciated ☺

ModularGrid Rack

The idea is to pair this with the Pulsar 23 (when it releases) and an Eventide Space pedal. I feel like it looks pretty good, and more importantly a lot of fun. But my theorizing has proved less than accurate before...

Jeez, that's a relief to hear it looks ok to you.. I've been stressing over my choices like crazy lately. It literally has been keeping me up at night.
I'm just about to order vco's/vcf's for the top rack and am now having all sort of second thoughts. Do you really think 2 filters would be super useful? I mean they would be.. But I can't help but wanting the Plaits AND the Rings instead.. Maybe even keep the 3 sisters but swap out that Morpheus for a few Utilities/samplers. GAH. The decisions never end!

That is funny to hear about the Buchla though.. That thing always looked like something that came down inside an Asteroid or something, at least with the Moog's I can look at them and have some idea of what does what. That being said the Buchla's do sound fantastic (from my limited scope of youtube), There's a video of Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith playing the Music Easel and it's really something special.

Love that example too, hah! That about sums up just how different the two companies philosophies were. Do you think Synthesizers and Electronic Music as a whole would be a lot more interesting if Moog never existed perhaps? Or if the Buchla mindset prevailed over the Moog? I wonder..

Ooh that plaits does look pretty wonderful doesn't it.. Good call on the 2nd filter I looked around and the Morpheus looks amazing, but it's pretty large which makes it a tough choice for my little system...

Here's my new edited version:
ModularGrid Rack

I feel like I'm getting closer to something coherent and fun here.

I swapped out the distings and the sequential circuit to make room for the Morpheus, also swapped the Mangrove for a 2hp osc to make room for the Frames Clone (what do you think of this choice?) It would either be the frames or a 2nd Plaits.. But considering I plan on using this system with some outside sound sources I figured more modulation couldn't be a bad thing..

That's an interesting idea with the Minibrute 2s, I hadn't considered that one.. My plans HAD been to run this system alongside a Koma Field Kit, Lyra 8 (which I already got), Dreadbox (nyx or erebus) and an Arturia Key step.

But it's all just a pretty murky vision at this point.

I guess it only makes sense that those old systems would have problems they didn't know to work around back then.. It's so easy to fetishize those old beasts because of how epic they look and the price they cost, but in reality we are super lucky to live in a time where I kind cram all that ^ into a rack not much bigger than a pizza box.

Have you played with much Buchla stuff? Buchla is a very interesting mystery to me. His systems are so super influential on the world of synthesizers, yet seem very much on the outskirts of it all considering..

I see what you mean (if only a little bit). It is amazing what we can accomplish so easily now. Hell we can do more musically on our smart phones than anybody could 100 years ago I'll bet.

That's too cool you got to use a Model 55... Damn.

I'm starting to realize maybe Generative is a bit above my head for now though. I love the idea of it, and I love listening to it, but I don't know if it's something that's so easy to just jump into as I first thought.

By the way that piece you shared with me was epic. Really beautiful. That would be amazing to witness in a concert hall or someplace I'll bet.

I'm toying with new ideas for Racks now, simple sound sources, lots of modulation like the one you shared (which looks really intersting by the way), I wish I could see it in action to better understand how it would all gel together.

Here's a little prototype of a build I made tonight, it could probably use more filters and VCA's and probably some other stuff I'm not thinking of. I haven't even gotten my first module yet and already 6u feels too limiting haha.

Here's the rack if you care to take a look:
ModularGrid Rack


I feel like I could read this comments for a few years and still find things to soak in.. I liked your example with 'Music for Airports. I love that album but I've never even considered how it was made, I'm excited to go and listen to it again now.

Sal Martirano sounds like he was a revolutionary guy and that Sal-Mar instrument looks nuts, the interface looks so clean it looks like something from 2018 not the early 70's..

Jeez this is a lot to take in.. I will try to learn by listening. That makes sense. I feel like I might need a better grasp of concepts before this would even be really possible though.

Comparator's sound interesting (and confusing). So they take in some sort of source, and when that source reaches a certain level set by the comparator it outputs a trigger or gate.. So you might send the Comparator a sound source with a frequency modulated by say a vco/vca, and when that frequency hits a certain point it would trigger the Comparator..? So in that way you could get like randomized infrequent sequences based off of a predetermined sequence....? Is that at all close to being on the right track?

I didn't really think about how my current gear could fit into all of this. That's interesting.. I will keep my Volca FM anyway, and then just slowly ease my way into Euro.
I did go and buy a rack a few hours ago off of craigslist and I have the O_C on the way. Talk about impulsive.. I will just keep it simple for now. Maybe an OSC, some LFO's and VCA's and just do simple droney things until I have a better grasp on basics.

That's crazy you've been learning about this stuff for 40 years.. Does it still feel like there's more to learn? I guess theirs probably an infinite amount to learn almost.. Out of curiousity I wonder if you wouldn't mind sharing something you have recorded? I would love to have a listen, especially with some kind of description of the process. This is asking a lot though, feel free to tell me to bugger off.

Hey thanks for your in depth response, appreciate it.

1) ya I thought some envelopes could be helpful, I was planning on using the Pamela’s for this for the first while and mainly just experimenting with drones, but I can see your point about using Pamela’s for this as defeating the purpose of modular so maybe I'll rethink this.

2)this is included for cheap with the case I’m looking at so I figured why not.

3) I thought this would be a good first piece because of its many capabilities.. I figured it could wear many hats, Euclidian sequencer, Lfo, EG, many more things I don’t fully understand yet, it looks like it could be pretty essential in a small generative setup like this no? I have considered the Tempi as an alternative, which looks like it's a lot more immediate but a trade off for much less capabilities..

4) thanks for the heads up on the oC, maybe I am actually messaging a guy about getting one right now so we’ll see.

5) I wasn’t actually too sure of clouds function, I just saw it in a lot of people’s rigs whose music I like so I stuck in in there, was going to research more before getting though, but maybe I won't now :P
The morphogene I thought would be Fun for mainly processing external stuff (I have some Synths I will keep, Guitar, fm radio module etc)

I hear where you’re coming from though.. I definitely am rushing into this. It's a habit of mine to do this. I just can't contain my excitement.
It’s just I have found with my synths now my goal is more sonic exploration than building tracks, and it seems even from just my bit of playing with vcvrack that modular suits this purpose better for me, it feels like with modular just the process of creating can be so fun and rewarding, whereas with my setup now it just feels so oriented towards results.. I’m also not much of a keys player (not really my goal) so I always find myself just programming sequences, It feels like I'll dial in a few sequences, tweak some parameters, and then I've hit a dead end. This is what makes self generating modular patches look so appealing to me, there's just so many more options it seems.. Making these big evolving and changing patches where little tweaks can effect the whole structure and sound just seems so cool!

Thank you for your concern and input, but frankly I'm pretty set on learning, and I figure why not just dive in instead of watching youtube videos of it all day..

Hi everyone :)

Now I'm kind of jumping into this.. 4 days ago I was pretty clueless about Eurorack (I still am), but I started watching Emily Sprague and Ann Annie's youtube videos and it's just gotten me so pumped to dive in(I've spent about 10 hours a day researching different modules!).
I do have some experience with Hardware synths (Minilogue, Volcas, boutiques etc) so I'm not a COMPLETE novice, but I've felt sort of uninspired by my gear for the last few months and I think it's high time for a radical change!

Would love to get your opinions on this build.
What could suit me better to begin with than what I have chosen.
What you might choose instead for ambient/generative stuff.
Or just any opinions, thoughts and discussions are totally welcome too!

here it is:
(EDIT: I don't know why but the photo below is showing Akemie's Castle and Sisters, click on the photo to see the actual rack)
ModularGrid Rack

So the top row is phase 1, I plan on getting all of these as soon as possible.
Bottom row will happen gradually as my wallet permits, I also plan on adding maybe a Malekko Voltage Block to the top row soon after phase 1, or maybe a Monome grid + Ansible, something for some more control anyway.

Thank you!