I purchased a Noise Engineering Basimilus Iteritas Alter from @uebl.
I received a module in mint state, packaged to travel the world and it was shipped super fast.
As icing on the cake, communication was great and he was really helpful, making sure I was set for success with my new module.

Highly recommended seller !


But part of me just wonders "is there a point to all this typing?" if so many people have been conditioned into that TL;DR mentality, often to the point that not even rudimentary research has been done before setting out on this technically-complex and usually-expensive path.

There is a point because some of us are eager to learn :D
You may remember helping me a little while ago, all of you, and perhaps I haven't made it clear enough in the previous posts but your advice has been truly invaluable. I am now reading up your advice elsewhere on the forum about other people's beginner rigs and it's just as useful.

As many, I started learning about modular through Youtube and as Ronin puts it very well, the "unsexy side of Eurorack" does not get much love there (with a few honorables exceptions). I didn't assume that because of knowing about synthesis with "traditional" synths I would understand modular, but the issue was finding info about what makes a rig functional in the modular sense. I knew that throwing sexy modules in a rig would not give me something coherent but I had issues finding organized advice on the modules you don't see in the videos. When you don't have much experience in modular, how do you figure out if you need buffered mults, logic modules, what your final patches should look like and if you're going to be short on VCA's or if a switch multiple could really make a difference in the rig?

An advice that goes around a lot is "know what you want to do before you start buying modules" but reading from you guys about how it all works together as a system (e.g. why one needs utility modules to make a generative rig possible) makes a real difference for beginners who are ready to put in the time to read manuals or guides. I'm fairly certain it's impossible to avoid having some people getting overexcited over some videos and giving in to the TL;DR/I want it now mentality. It's very difficult to fight this and to be honest, I still remember the excitement I felt when I decided I would actually get into modular, it was truly hard not to be an idiot and start a cart on some web shop :) Nevertheless, there will always be people who are willing to do the research and since MG is the number one site being talked about in the Youtube videos as a "want to know more?" sort of place, we all end up here sooner or later. Having that sort of authoritative resource being produced here would mean a good number of those looking for learning resources would end up reading this one.

Reading your advice here did save me from a few mistakes and a few choices I would have regretted. Now that I'm playing with my rig daily and I start grasping the concepts I missed, I understand how important that initial advice was.

If I can be of any help to make this happen, proof reading, beginner's mistakes I made, etc, I'd be happy to assist.

Best regards,
D.


@gesta is a great seller, I received modules well packaged, delivery was fast and communication was a breeze. Thanks again ! :)


Hi Garfield !

Honestly I'm not sure I can personally recommend Three Sisters right now since I haven't personally tested it, I'm relying on a friend who knows the "music" I make and he played with it a bit when he travelled, I don't have a dealer handy to test modules apart from the limited stock that makes it to the shop in my town unfortunately. As you put it, "just blindly" is all I have to work with most times.Demos on the web seem to demonstrate what my friend told me about it though, a filter with character and interesting I/O, I'm particularly curious to test in person the Centre and All outputs... But I'll tell you all about it when it makes it here, I just paid for a second hand one form a guy offering a good deal on a Plaits :) All in all, I think the Plaits is a better choice for me due to a larger sound palette than the Basimilus Iteritas Alter.

About the search for sequencers, I find it difficult as well, it sure requires a lot of research. Ground Control and the Black Sequencer both look great but at 40HP+, I feel I don't have the space. Getting one of those in would mean getting rid of other things I need or upgrade to a second 7U already, I just can't afford it :) The menu diving is not scaring me, both the Squarp and the ToolBox are way simpler than the Octatrack which is known to be a complex, "menu-divy" machine, the important thing for me is accessibility of the important functions during performance which seems to be on point for both devices (mutes, pattern switching in sync, etc can be accessed almost immediately). The deciding factor will be wether or not Hermod can switch project on the fly and in sync with the external clock coming from the OT, its 8 tracks are more flexible than the layout offered by ToolBox and it's less expensive but 8 sequences per project is just not enough for me.

A bit more about the T-sL: I think placement in the rack is very important because one absolutely needs access to the small knobs. Yesterday evening's experiment was about testing that module further (I'm still learning stuff so daily practice is my life now), and it further confirmed that I can get amazing tones from it by feeding it a lot of modulation and playing with those attenuators, provided that I can physically access the knobs :) Through the QPAS, with a pitch-shift delay from the Pico DSP and a touch of reverb from the Disting, it sounded amazing ! Worse case scenario, I can use the attenuators from the Quadratt 1U, although they're usually full pretty early in the patch, very useful performance tool that one.

I know understand what you meant by not wanting to tame the OctaSource. I realized that applying its modulations to key parameters (clever patching is everything, I know hehe), the change in sound or groove you can get by modulating its phase or wave is just ridiculous. Another module rewarding experimentation a lot, a simple but effective design really. I wonder what would happen if you patch one of its outputs back into the phase input, I'll try that some day soon :)

Best,
Diego


Ha, seems I missed Ronin's answer, no email to tell me about this one weirdly enough.

Coming from Elektron machines, I don't mind a little bit of menu diving so maybe that's why I'm not bothered by the many functions included in the Disting and the need for a manual close-by. Another thing is that I intend to use it first to determine, as you suggested, which functions I find myself using the most and outline my future needs so I'm rarely changing function on it, looking at the manual every once in a while is fine. It's been stuck on Stereo Reverb mode for the best part of last week, so considering getting the 2hp Verb...

Thank you for going deeper in the sequencer subject, I've been investigating this all weekend. Basically, I don't find the Mimetic Digitalis (MD for short) hard to use, rather I find it limited for a few reasons:
- No onboard scaling
- Only 1 clock input, no division per track
- No copy/paste operations for a pattern or a step
- No way to go to the previous step other than Origin + advancing to it manually
These points make me spend too much time on programming sequences and out of laziness, I end up making simplistic stuff that gets boring very quickly. To be honest the MD feels to me like it would be better suited for CV modulation only (especially doing those tricks you describe with its inputs) rather than using it to sequence pitch like I'm doing now.

I've been looking at 1010Music's Toolbox or Squarp's Hermod to replace the Pamela's New Workout + MD combo I'm currently using to sequence the synth voices (I use steppy for the Pico DRUMS): more sequences, more tracks, hell, with one of those options I could maybe even remove Pam's New Workout entirely if it's really capable and feature packed.
I find the 8 sequences per project of the Hermod limiting as well, I posted a question on their forum yesterday to know if switching project can be done while keeping sync, no answer yet.

This is my shopping list for the sequencer:

ABSOLUTE MUST HAVES

- CV and Gate sequencing for 3 tracks
- Clock + Start/Stop via CV control
- Independent track length or clock division
- Around 26HP max, space in my rack is very limited and I dont want to end up with a rack completely full just yet
- At least 16 sequences of minimum 16 steps each

VERY APPRECIATED

- Mutes per track 
- More CV capable outputs and sequences for tight parameter control on other modules
- At least 32 sequences of minimum 32 steps each
- Scales (I suck at music theory)

EXTRAS

- More sequences/projects
- Transpose sequences via CV
- Variable gate length per step
- Value gliding between steps

Do you guys have suggestions, any opinions about the 2 last contenders I picked or other options I haven't considered ?

The fever for new modules is unlikely to leave me any time soon especially if I go for one of the above sequencers which could allow me to remove the MIDI module in 1U format to direct MIDI straight from the OT to the sequencer, this would open up some more space in that 1U section. In fact, there is a O&C module for the Intellijel 1U format (Plum Audio's 1uO_c 4Robots), I just haven't had the time yet to look at that module too much. How useful is it, what do you use it for, what do you think I should be using it for in my setup ? In short, why are you suggesting it, am I missing out ?

As for filters (addressing Garfield's points about this), I think Mannequin's Sisters (nice quality setting with CV input) should be a nice fit for the sound I'm going for.

Finally, my search for the 3rd voice is nearing its end, the fight is between Noise Engineering's Basimilus Iteritas Alter and Mutable's Plaits, I'm currently heavily leaning towards the latter. Haven't played with the BSA and only a short amount of time with the Plaits but it seemed very deep in terms of the different sounds you can get from a single algorithm, and it has more than one :)

This is the current plan for the future:

ModularGrid Rack


Hi Garfield !

Holidays were nice, I needed that time off :)

So the mixer change, yeah, a lot of thinking and hesitating went in there, but I think overall the double Mixup is a superior option for me for now: I get more channels (2 stereo with mute switches and volume knob, 2 without but I can handle that in other modules as well), I still have mutes and more importantly, I realized I could just do away with the audio I/O entirely if I give up external input by connecting the Mixup output straight to the case's output, I could just then take that same output with patch cables to the headphones out (the signal is duplicated between the out plugs and another "hidden" channel with the connector on the back panel). Losing panning per channel is indeed a big downside but since some modules give me stereo imaging (QPAS, Pico DSP, Mimeophon), I can still create interesting stuff in the stereo space. The Doepfer A-134 was not part of my plan so it wasn't meant to solve that, it was given to me by someone who had no use for it but had not seen my setup plans :-p

I agree with what you're saying about Pico modules, clever placement within the case is important, and they're still to be considered as 'set and forget' items more than playable ones.

My opinion (being a massive noob) about the Ts-L is that it's very beefy and precise, it offers a few ways to modulate it but the small knobs on the bottom can be hard to manipulate when patching is done, I would have loved bigger knobs. This might just be bad decisions by me, mind you, setting it next to PNW was maybe not the best idea.

Sounds like we have similar filter opinions. What would be your recommendation to pair with the T-sL or Basimilus Iteritas Alter ?

I did what you recommend for the OctaSource. For now I like it to be a bit predictable, but experimentation will surely come soon. It's definitely very handy as a massive source of synced modulation !

I did see that sourcing the Disting can be a bit tricky but I managed to find some stock. Maybe I got lucky :)

I'm still debating the role of the OT in the setup, some days I want to use it as a looper and nothing more, some days I think I should keep most drums and complex MIDI patterns in there. Maybe it's just how I manage having an OT, I'm never quite sure how I want to use it and end up doing a bit of everything in disorganized fashion :-D

About Stages, I could start by saying that I wish I had 2. It is very playable and easy to understand, no menus or complex button combinations, the only thing to remember is what each state does (changed by the little button available per slider). Really, it comes down to your understanding of Eurorack and how clever your patching is, in my opinion. I realized I didn't know half as much as I thought I knew about enveloppes so exploring this will be another few hours but so far, I'm very happy with this module and would surely recommend it. If you're after enveloppes only though, maybe the Quadra from Intellijel is another option to look at, I hesitated between those 2 for a while...

Getting a Eurorack in the middle of end of year activity peaks at work, RIP my sleep patterns, couldn't be happier though :-)

All the best,
Diego


Hi Lugia & Garfield !

I hope life is treating you well and that you're having a good time, wherever you are :D

The case and modules arrived some days ago. As you probably guessed, the setup has evolved based on my investigations and further head scratching, here it is:

ModularGrid Rack

  • the Doepfer mixer module is gone, replaced by 2 linked Intellijel Mixup modules, essentially a 8HP gain (12 vs 20 for the Doepfer solution) with more channels. Quite happy with those except the ones I received were delivered with channel 1 broken (I suspect ModularSquare sent me returns instead of new ones).

  • I'm ok with Pico modules. I guess I have slim enough fingers to handle those, the limited size is not an issue for me at all.

  • Erica EG was replaced with the more adaptive Stages, I figure that between that and the Maths, I have the envelopes I need right now, in case I need an extra one a Pico Mod might come back in, or maybe one of those 2hp modules if I need space.

  • Black Dual Filter was replaced by a QPAS and a Doepfer Wasp filter. They're both amazing in their own style, no regrets here, Wasp's sound is right up my alley, any knob turn sounds good, almost feels like it's too easy lol. And the QPAS, well, I don't even know if I can call it "just" a filter, it's very very deep. I won't be able to comment on the Erica module though :)

  • I took a different approach on effects. For now, I just use a Pico DSP instead of the bulkier Black Hole DSP, with a plan to get a Make Noise Mimeophon when stock is back, sounds like something that is right up my alley and is more inviting to sonic exploration.

  • You were both right about the OctaSource, doubting its presence was a mistake, modulation fun for days, I just need to learn how to tame the beast, so to speak :)

  • Got a Pamela's NW, and again I feel like this was the right choice, its wide range of options is great for both modulation exploration and sequencing, it's a keeper for sure and it was immediately obvious why it's one of the best rated modules out there.

  • Introduced drums into the setup, using a couple of Pico DRUMS and a Steppy for this. It's basic but it works great, mainly thanks to the amazing Steppy, very fun sequencer really, with the very useful mutes to circumvent the absence of mutes and only 1 output for 2 drum sounds on the Pico's.

  • Replaced the Fusion VCO with a Ts-L from Instruo, saving HP and getting a different sound. Haven't explored this one too much yet but from what I've heard so far, it sounds pretty good. I spent more time with the Black Wavetable as of now though.

  • I love the Quad VCA, it's Boost is great for creating distorsion and it's super precise, if I had infinite space I'd get another !

  • I was expecting the Mimetic Digitalis to be a bit easier to use, but I might just need more time with it.

  • the A-134 was an unexpected gift so as long as I have space in my current setup, it's staying, I currently use it as a VCO mixer.

  • Maths is soooo useful, it's the ultimate Eurorack toolbox, also obvious why everyone recommends getting one. Mainly using it as an envelope generator or LFO, but I have plans to spend a lot of time exploring just that module.

  • Everyone should get a Disting. With that much functionality in so few HP, it's basically a must-have in my book. Already used it as reverb before the Pico DSP arrived, quantizer, filter, sample player, ... I'll probably spend a day or two exploring each of the functions, sounds like quite a lot of fun can be had doing just that.

This setup is great paired with an Octatrack, for now I have simply setup the OT as a looper using the XFader transition trick, this is ace :) I'm debating what will be done in the modular and what will be done in the OT, originally I was thinking of leaving the bass drum in the OT for example, I like using the OT's compressor on those but having introduced the Steppy and Pico DRUMS, I almost feel like I could do everything in the 7U case and just use the OT for transitions and effects.

Dreams for the future include
- a Basimilus Iteritas Alter to create weird percussions or basslines, demos sound amazing and more importantly, I think I can get sounds out of it that will be useable very fast... It's also a more complete voice using limited space which is nice
- an extra filter couldn't hurt if I get a BIA, I was thinking a MMF from SSF/WMD
- probably a Batumi for extra LFO's, not sure I need it, I'll decide in a few months when I have played more with what I have

That's where I am right now. I'd be happy to answer questions you may have on the setup !

Have a good one !

Diego, a happy Euroracker


Hi Lugia & Garfield !

I’m actually laughing out loud imagining the next iteration of my setup just being a bunch of Octasources and a Pico VCO :-D

Thanks again, now I have to try and forget this fantastic setup you help me build in order to fully enjoy my time off work ;-)

I’ll report back when my bank account is bled dry and I’m a happy camper.

All the best and take care,
Diego


Hey !

I'm on holidays in the countryside so limited access to the interwebs.

Genius idea to remove the Doepfer and Erica VCAs to replace it with the Intellijel one, I got the Tool-Box in the new version.

I have one last doubt: is the Octasource too much ? Would you keep it ? Sometimes I think it's going to be as fun as it is crazy, sometimes I think that it might be a bit excessive and that a smaller/cheaper module could be enough and would free up some space for small utilities.

I'll start ordering all that when I'm back from holidays and able to receive parcels :)

Cheers !
Diego


Good day Garfield, Lugia and all the rest of the fine people on here !

Indeed, the A-160-2 is a much better option, I changed that and added the A-166 too. Crazy rhythmic patterns, here I come :)

As getting rid of the Doepfer mixer was maybe a little too minimalist, I put the A-138p and A-138o back in the setup. As much as I'd like to add a comparator or another small FX module, looks like by adding the mixer back and the logic module I filled up all the space, I even had to move the Clep Diaz up to get everything to fit in there. Oh God :)

Updated version:
ModularGrid Rack

I got an email back form Erica Synths stating that they could maybe offer a discount for a large purchase and I'll see if I can source some modules from the 2nd hand market to reduce costs, but now I feel comfortable about the setup.

I'm repeating myself but I don't care: THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP ! You guys made my day, for a few days in a row :)

Cheers !
Diego

PS: not sure if you have the same issue: on my machine the Pico MODs are not shown properly in the preview above, gotta click on it to view the rack which shows the modules properly.


Hi ! Great input here :)

Here we go, v3:
ModularGrid Rack

Lugia, you have a point about the price difference for the black modules and I like the idea of using the aluminum panels as dividers.

The 7U case has been on my mind all day to be honest. It just makes more sense, I guess, the 1Us are great to get utility modules on the cheap while freeing up some 3U space down below. In case I want to get crazy in the future, they have a system to mount a second one on top. The case itself is pricier but it seems like it's worth it, so v3 has changed case :)

Intellijel has a 1U tile for headphones. But you'll have to split your stereo signal from your mix to the headphones and your 1U audio input. I think a better choice would be getting a 3U unit that has independent headphone and line outputs with separate control over each and keep the Intellijel in and out for line level gear you want to bring into your system like external reverbs or traditional synths.

-- Ronin1973

1U Audio I/O + 1U heaphones module + 1U buffered mult seems to get me what I want, all in the same space, and I feel like having a 3U line output module and unused line I/O at the back of the case would be sort of weird, right ?

The Mimetic Digitalis has replaced the Vox Digitalis, seems like a better option, thanks for pointing me to it (I had actually watched that video, not sure why I dismissed it). I also added a Clep Diaz, the module seems like a lot of fun (I watched the video only about that module, from Rick Tinez as well). I couldn't resist addind a Lapsus Os too.

I could use the 1U Quadratt as a mixer (and get rid of the Doepfer A-138 modules for now). Not getting me a 1U µMIDI would be folly at that point.

A second Pico Mod is back too, it's cheap enough. I removed the Batumi for now, but a clock divider made its way into the setup, I think it will come in very handy.

How does it look ? :)

I also have the Erica Synth Dual FX. But i don't like it that much. I would prefer a nice delay Module like the 4MS DLD and for Reverb something like the Erbe Verb. Both of these Modules are 20HP. I need more Space.

-- Quantum_Eraser

I've been looking at the Erica Synth Dual FX for a while but it seemed a bit underwhelming. What is your issue with it ?
Yeah, more space, I suppose I'll have that problem too at some point :)


Hi Garfield !

Wow, thanks a lot for the great feedback ! I’m really appreciative of the detailed answer, helps me out tremendously :)
So taking into account your input, here is v2:

ModularGrid Rack

I understand your concern with the Pico modules. In fact, I have the same concern, but my plan was to use them as “set once and forget” modules, setting parameter values for the patch and the never touch it again until the next patch, as opposed to bigger modules with bigger knobs and more space I will use in a more performance-oriented manner. Now that you’re expressing those doubts, I’m thinking I should really see if those couldn’t be replaced by more user friendly modules.

You’re absolutely right about EG’s, the A-140v alone probably isn’t enough. I was originally thinking that the Pico MOD’s that I added would do the job (I put one between the VCA module and the mixer), but taking into accounts your remarks about the size of the modules not being practical, I’m now leaning again towards a bigger EG module. Turns out the Black VC EG and its expander have been discontinued but they still have some stock over at Erica Synths, with a nice discount (40%), I’ll go for that. There would still be some room left for another A-140v but would that be useful ?

I’m not sure either why the Black Mixer was left in there, I added the beefier Doepfer mixer and forgot to take the Black Mixer out but indeed it’s not needed, well spotted. Frees up some space for that EG and its expander too :)

For output, I have no idea what I was thinking, thanks a bunch for setting me straight ! So I got rid of the Erica Synths Output module and introduced the 138-o. For the final balanced output, the Intellijel Audio I/O brings balanced input to the game so I could bring the rest of the instruments easily but I went with the Befaco Output for now because Audio I/O has no headphone output, which I think would come really handy for “quick” patching jams with just the modular. I’m no expert at levels, but using a 3.5mm To 1 / 4" Jack adapter, couldn’t I simply plug my desktop synth output to say the Black Hole module input ? That would be neat ! It would totally kill the need for an Intellijel’s Audio I/O, wouldn’t need such a complete i/o module. I'll do some research.

About the double modules, you’re right again, there are duplicates: the 2 Pico Logic were there to provide Maths-like functions but it might just be overkill. Erica Synths confirmed over email that the reason I can’t find any on their site is because they have been discontinued, so I guess that solves the issue. The 2 Pico Mod were, well, me guessing they’d be fun and that you can never have too much modulation. The v2 of my rack only has 1. Pico DSP was to complement the Black Hole, basically to have 2 independent effects on 2 different sound sources to blend them together at the end of the chain, but my plan was to get only the Black Hole first and see what’s up. I removed the Pico DSP, I’ll see if that space gets filled up by something else.

You bring valid points about the presence of the Pico Atten while already having similar modules and since Erica Synths confirmed that module has also been discontinued, it’s now simply gone.

I agree again with the need for more LFOs. Erica Synths Modulator was discontinued by Erica Synths as well so that’s another one I’ll get on discount I suppose. It has multiple outs. I also added a Batumi from Xaoc Devices in the plan but that’s probably one that will come later.

Another thing I did is get rid of the MIDI module, I figure the Analog Four that I already own has 4 CV outputs so I’ll just use those. I might get one of those BeatStep Pro that everyone seems to be rocking or some other similar CV sequencer in case I need more, the MIDI was a way to reduce things to only OT + modular, I'm still undecided about that. I guess the plan is to start without it and see what makes sense while playing.

About the number of rows, my plan is to get a TipTop Audio Mantis case, those are 2 rows of 104 HP, hence my choice. Would it be a terrible idea to get a separate single row 104 HP skiff when it’s time ? I expect that since my drum needs are way too complex to create from modular, I’ll rock the OT for that, so extra modular needs would come much later ? Maybe I’m just naïve, I honestly don’t know what to think here, one one hand the case is pretty filled already, on the other hand this setup seems like it’s going to keep me both busy (and poor) for a while. Foolish ?

I hereby promise to report on Maths, Black Hole DSP and Dual VCF modules once they’re home and I’ve had time to play with them a bit, seems like I owe you that at least :)

Again, thanks a lot for the time you took to help a stranger, it is super helpful !

All the best,
Diego


Hi everybody,

First post here :)
After months of weighing the pluses and the minuses, it's decided, I'll buy my first modular system. I even have some money saved up for it.

I have a good background in music making, bought my first hardware desktop synth more than 15 years ago and I know what sounds I want to go for, how to make most of those using regular synthesis techniques and effects, etc. I've tried my hand at vcv rack and played a lot with the Axoloti, but while I really enjoyed the patching part, staring a a computer screen all the time to make music just doesn’t click with me. Modular + Elektron Octatrack sounds like the ultimate music making combo.

Below is the rack I came up with, started as a copy of the Erica Synth Black System, and I tried to move towards something that made more sense for my use.

ModularGrid Rack

The goal for this setup is
- making dark sounding drones
- creating sampler food, mostly interesting textures
- making simple sequences for bass/synth lines
- have fun experimenting with sound (although this would amount to creating sampler food, I admit)

I think this setup provides me with nice sounds sources and plenty of modulation to spice things up, some effects and utility stuff etc. Nevertheless, playing a bit with software doesn’t exactly qualify me as expert so I’m worried I overlooked important aspects of a functional setup.
So, what do you think, is this something you’d like to play with or an insult to your eyes ? :)
Am I missing something or would you add something that would take this to another level with limited space (there are some HP left).

Thanks in advance for your time and comments !

Diego