I reread Hazel's and my posts to see if I might be crazy, and if we were indeed doing all these terrible things you accused us of, including metaphorical book burning. I'd like to think that I would recognize the Fahrenheit 451 impulse in myself if it emerged. But that's just not even close to what happened here. Hazel criticized a particular comment you made which I happened to agree was unnecessarily discouraging. Neither of us were trying to move things "into some narrower lane" of discussion. When you start by telling someone to "quit immediately," the discussion doesn't need more narrowing.

Instead of acknowledging the obvious, that alienating new or potential members of MG is not a good thing, there's mostly been lashing out and doubling down. Indeed, the only person on this thread who has apologized (twice) is Hazel. Now we've reached the reductio ad absurdum of refusing to give an inch, which is that criticism of you equals "policing." By that logic, any criticism you don't agree with, or which isn't presented deferentially enough, is attempted censorship and an existential threat. You conveniently cast yourself as a champion of free speech and those who disagree with you as villains. It's self-serving. It's false. Even if Hazel and I did match these caricatures you've drawn of us, do you actually believe we would have any chance of succeeding in our scheme to stifle free expression? If so, that's giving me way more power than I have or want, and others less credit than they deserve. This community may be small, but most of its members cannot possibly be that brittle.

Everything was moving along nicely and someone got triggered and felt the need to social justice warrior all over the forum. Is there anyone else feeling sensitive who needs a tissue?
-- Ronin1973

Ronin, can you phrase any of that without using the laziest of cliches? The tough guy bit might work better if you use your own words. Then again, it might not.

After that symphony of self-awareness, I don't need to add anything, except to point out that you're the only one in this thread who seems to be melting down over a little criticism. But good one about us snowflakes.

Wow. I appreciate hearing others' experiences here, but the sycophancy and lack of self-awareness in Ronin's last post just drives home what toxic tendencies this forum unfortunately has. (Talk of "triggering" is sort of a giveaway.) Style and substance are of course not two unrelated things, and the irony of not appreciating either here is a bit much. Anyway, thanks, Hazel, for the lovely video links. And thanks for sticking your head above the parapet with your well-written, and, yes, substantial contributions to this thread. Hope to hear more from you on another forum.

As someone recently on the receiving end of some blunt but probably fair criticism for my proposed rack, I thought I would give my thoughts on this thread. I do think criticism, blunt or otherwise, can be useful. But there's a difference between being told your rack is lacking and what you need to learn, and being told to "quit immediately" if you don't pass whatever artistic litmus test. Hazel's post struck me as a thoughtful response to a thread which had a mix of helpful and holier-than-thou posts. That the first reply was "I'm not understanding the point" of the post surprised me, because I thought it made a lot of good points, especially the last paragraph about the value of making mistakes.

I take Ronin's words at face value that "we want people to have great experiences and really enjoy their racks and cases. But they have to get past the first hurdle of what exactly IS a modular synth and how do you interface with it?" Many hobbies have hurdles for beginners. (Especially track and field.) To extend the running metaphor: yes, you have to get over the hurdles yourself, but a good coach can help you get ready to jump them.

For a forum where criticism almost seems to be the default response, there was a strange lack of self-criticism in the replies to Hazel's post. Instead, it was dismissed with "Besides criticism of other members and their decades of experience... what are you offering to this year old thread?" which both misses and underscores the point. Beyond this particular thread, I agree that there tends to be an "an unnecessary level of discouragement" in this community. And that's a shame, because this forum could be missing out on a lot of posters who either feel intimidated or just put off by the general tone.

Maybe I'd see things differently if I knew a lot more about modular and synthesis and attenuverters, if that's even a real word. But consider the opposite: how would the most experienced people here view the forum if they were coming here for the first time, without all their knowledge and experience? Would they want to stay and learn, or find somewhere else more welcoming? I ask that because I'm asking myself the same question.

Hi Lugia and Ronin,

Thanks for your help and for all the information. I looked at replacing the 8 HP mixer with the Happy Nerding 6 HP one, but there still wasn't quite enough room for the Nebulae on the bottom. I was racking my brain, so to speak, and had a very unoriginal idea: adding more space. With a third, separate rack in front (Pittsburgh Cell DC with +12V 900mA), I'd have plenty of power for the ER-301 and the Catalyst, and could also play it separately from the rest of the rack: on the couch or at a cafe, or possibly even on a couch at a cafe.

With the top two rows, I added the Magneto and two Xaoc modules. The total +12V consumption for those two rows, (with the Nebulae on 5V) is 727mA, which seems to be sufficiently safe.

But is it too safe? I mean, from a sampling/sound design perspective? I realize this is much more subjective territory, but the Magneto is taking up a lot of real estate, relatively. And while I love the look of the two Xaoc modules together, and the potential for slow and evolving modulation, maybe I could replace one of them with something more wild and/or crazy? As for digital vs. analog modules, this rack seems to be on the extreme digital end, which I don't mind if it's not distractingly noisy.

I had planned on just getting the ER-301 and the ES-8 to play around with Mutable stuff on VCV Rack, but now I'm in full modular avarice mode. Realistically, there are going to be gaps on the rack while I try to make up my mind and get good deals. The ER-301 is the one module I'm married to, and which will hopefully arrive next month. The Catalyst and Expert Sleepers stuff has been ordered. The rest, except for the headphone out, is still mostly up in the air.

Thanks again for your help.



Hi Lugia,

Thanks for your detailed reply. Unfortunately, it's not what I wanted to hear, so I demand a retraction. How dare you lecture me about some made up "rules" after I put my heart and soul into that theoretical rack?

No, seriously, thank you. Is there a downside to powering the Nebulae with 5V other than needing to keep a separate tally of the power usage? According the the ER-301's website, its peak current is 250 12V+ rather than the 300 listed on MG, which would bring the 12V+ total down to 772. I understand that the consumption listings in MG shouldn't be taken as gospel, but it seems I'm painfully close to being able to safely power this little rack with the supplied power. And I admit, just aesthetically, I'd rather not have two separate "on" switches, even if - especially if - one isn't being used.

But I'm prepared to hear what I don't want to hear.

Thank you,



I'm looking to build my first rack, mainly for sample manipulation and integration with VCV Rack. The ER-301 would be the main sound source along with the Nebulae. The Catalyst looks fun for Octatrack-style crossfading between parameters. I have a Pyramid and Bitwig for sequencing and additional modulation, and a MIDI controller via the FH-2 for more knobs.

Any glaring omissions or missteps? More subtle problems? I know more VCAs is kind of a mantra, but I'm hoping that the ER-301, VCV Rack, and even Disting could fill that role - along with filters and everything else - while I'm getting my feet wet.

My main concern is power: I have the Pittsburgh Lifeforms Research Console, which has 1 Amp +12V, -12V, and +5V. The MG planner shows a power consumption of 1140 mA +12V / 183 mA -12V, but the Nebulae can run on 5V, which brings it down to 822 mA +12V / 176 mA -12V. Am I calculating that correctly and being conservative enough?

I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing, but am reading up, trying the put together something modest with lots of learning potential, and hoping not to electrocute myself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,