To follow up on this topic, here is my current mess of a system:

ModularGrid Rack

And what I think I would really love to get to is a system that allows me to play and record full songs without having to do much with a computer. Just patch something, and if I stumble on something interesting, plug my modular in a recorder and play the song.

Two persons I really look up to are Caspar Hesselager and Comparative Irrelevance. They really represent the goal I'm aiming to with my Eurorack experience:

Quick test with your suggestions:
ModularGrid Rack

Great advices, thanks!

I'm recording either with eurorack to jack cables into my audio interface, or through HPO into a small tascam recorder.

For mults I have a 2hp buff that is not included and Tiptop stackables.

Regarding the case, I must admit that I looked on Etsy for some more unique options than the Mantis and I could not find anything except 6U 88hp. But I'll keep looking!

Indeed I was thinking about Maths, however combined with Kinks and Shades, I believe I can reproduce most of the functions I found in the illustrated supplement. And yeah, FX Aid XL is awesome and on my mind a lot! :)

Hello everybody,

I currently have a 84hp 3U rack and all the modules on here except René. I'm contemplating moving to a 6U 88hp case with this configuration because I'm getting a bit tired of swapping modules from my rack to my box :)

The idea behind this system is to explore combining sequences and modulation to generate evolving melodies. For me, eurorack and modular fun is mostly into finding interesting ways to generate melodies, that's why I focus more on sequencers that I intend to make interact with each other, and modulators such as Stages which can be used as a sequential switch, a shift register, sample & holds and other fun ways to blend sequences. And of course, uscale is integral in that idea. The recent acquisition of Beads and Hpo created the opportunity to use this setup on its own to enjoy the meditative aspect of patching and creating soundscapes while also being able to sync with Mutant Brain and record what I do.

This configuration is what I have currently in mind with the addition of René MkI and I'm wondering what advices or remarks you would have on the idea, and its realization, I'm open to any suggestion!

ModularGrid Rack

+1 for this, the number of time I wrecked my rack when searching for a module is very high while I hardly every use keyboard shortcuts. It would be a great improvement to deactivate them and lock this option.

Thanks for your answer Jim!

I have a few modules I can use as mixers (Moddemix, Shades, 3xVCA and Quad VCA) and in other ways if necessary

Regarding the case, I really only have a small desk with limited space available, so I don't think a bigger case is a good idea for me.

Hello everybody,

I like taking inspiration from existing systems to decide how I should expand my own. I have an 84hp case and modify my setup regularly, taking from my box of modules (which has been growing with time) to suite my needs of the moment. But I've recently come to the thought that I would prefer to have all my modules in a bigger case to avoid all that (un)screwing and plugging of modules. The current state of my case is the one below, only the first row is "real", modules currently plugged are in the first row, and those in the box are on the second row:
ModularGrid Rack

I've been looking to many systems and the the setup that seems the most interesting to me at the moment is from the VST synth called Aalto by Madrona Labs, and so I was thinking it could be a cool idea to try to recreate it in eurorack format. The great surprise is that it does not necessitate buying many more modules than the ones I already have, only a Mimeophon, a 2hp Verb, and a 68hp case. This is what I'm considering:
ModularGrid Rack

What do you think of this setup? What would you add or change? What do you think I am missing?

For utility modules, I'm really happy with my Shades which is a mixer, attenuverter, offsetter and my Kinks which combines an inverter/rectifier, a min/max and a noise/S&H.

If you take a look at most prebuilt systems by modular brands, they usually have those function included.

if you are using stages for sequencing you might want more envelopes.
-- richc90
Frankly, it's not something I do that often, I don't know why I wrote it like that, it's just that if I ever want to build more complex chord progressions, I would use it like that. But I use it mostly as an envelope generator.

Also, bear in mind you need 2HP for the Arbhar expander and that random modulation is really useful for getting the most out of granulators.
-- richc90
I'll keep that in mind, thanks!

And I already bought the buff, I'm super happy with it :)

Thanks for the feedback, will take a look at the fx aid xl!
To be honest, I've use headphone splitters for a while now and it's just that I don't like the ergonomy of it, I much rather have a module for mult in my system!

Hi everybody,

So I'm working on a modular that would allow me to record parts with creative uses of synthesis and effects, and also to generate its own melodies and chord progressions (using Marbles and Stages as a sequencer) to provide me with ideas to build on later with other tools in my DAW.
I almost have all the modules, the only ones missing are Ultrafold, Arbhar and Mimeophon.
I also have 4hp left free which I don't really need for anything.
I would be interested in what your opinion is of this rack. Do you have ideas on how to improve it? Am I missing something?

ModularGrid Rack

Hi everybody!

So I just started my system one month ago with a selection of modules which you can see here:
ModularGrid Rack

I plan to use it with my Octatrack as a sequencer and effects processor so i can focus on a full two voices synth on the modular. The A-190-4 will be replaced by a Mutant Brain for that. I try to make hypnotic like techno with inspiration from Prince of Denmark, Daniel Avery, Benjamin Damage and others. My goal is to have a powerful one voice synth I can use in the studio for sound design and recording stuff with the Octa, and being able to use it as two simpler voices when playing live, with all drum sounds handled by the Octatrack. The sequencer on this machine is super powerful with arps, polyrhythms, sequences combining, probability, Velocity and you can even use LFO on all this, so I don't think I will a modular sequencer.

At this point, I think I want to add a second oscillator to the setup, maybe one or two modifiers like a LPG and/or a wavefolder, utilities like a mult, some attenuverters, a mixer, maybe a logic module, a quantizer and maybe another modulator but I'm not sure I need one as I find Stages super powerful already.

I was thinking:
-Disting to cover the utility needs (Menu diving doesn't seem fun but bank 1 seems to be packed with so many useful functions I feel I'd be shooting myself in the foot not adding it)
-Shades or 3x MIA or O/A/x2 as a mixer/attenuverter

What do you think of these choices? Do I absolutely need a wavefolder or can I live without a dedicated module? Do I need this extra mixer/attenuverter? Is LxD a sufficient low pass gate? Should I keep the a-106-5? Would you buy another VCO? Would you add another modulator to the setup?

Also, if I do all this I am left with 4hp in my current system, what would be a useful 4hp addition to this? A clock divider? Sequencial Switch? Ring modulator?

ModularGrid Rack

Also, just to keep things Under control and sustainable, I've set myself a few rules:
*Fixed budget every month
*At least make a few tracks with your current module before buying more
*RTFM and read posts on forum to learn all about your modules
*Only buy second hand
*3U only, if the new module doesn't fit, don't buy or sell others
*Never a module more than once (just for diversity's sake)

Oh wow, I was not aware of all these replies, there has been quite a discussion here!

Anyway, I'm happy to say I have finally made the plunge, started my system and this is what I have so far!
ModularGrid Rack

Sequencing is done with Ableton and my Octatrack. Having LOTS of fun with Stages which unveils new tricks every day, this is awesome!

The future as I see it:
*I hope to use this at home as a one or two voice sound design synth, and live as two seperate voices with my Octatrack sequencing and managing effects. All drums, ambiance, sub bass will be played on the octatrack too
*I plan on changing the A-190-4 with a Mutant Brain to be able to sequence two voices and get extra CV and gates for modulation
*A Mutable Kinks is on the way to add some randomness and interesting logic/maths operation to my system
*As a second oscillator I am looking at the STO, Dixie 2+, Ts-L or Godspeed+. Trying to figure which one will fit best.
*After that I wonder if an Optomix would be a better choice than the A-106-5 for the second oscillator, it would allow me to mix several outputs and free the quad VCA for other uses
*I am pondering the possibility of buying modular sequencers, I love the many exotic concepts I could have access too, the Marbles seems like an awesome option, but I'm wondering if it will suit my music, and if a combination of smaller more specific modules (2hp's TM, arp, euclid and tune, Tirana II, Noise Eng's Repetitors, etc) would be a better idea

Lots of questions I am hoping to find answers to in the following months, in the meantime, I have lots of music to make.

Cheers everybody and thanks for your help!

Thanks for your answers! That's the road I was strongly considering yeah, 0-coast as a starting voice and a case on the side I slowly add things I miss to.
Already thinking about a cool sequencer and a filter but that's already going too fast, first the 0-coast :)

Sorry guys, especially Ronin1973, I took some stuff in the wrong way and I should not have, my answer was dumb so I apologize. And thanks for your reply.

I built the systems in the original post by trying to follow a general template I found in most semi modular synths and pre made systems by various manufacturers I could found online. Stuff like 0-coast, mother 32, templates by, perfect circuit 54hp and east/west coast series. That's why I had the feeling I had most of the modules I needed for them to work, or covered those that weren't there somehow, but obviously I missed some.

Also, I really want to focus on exploring a limited number of modules instead of allowing myself future expansions, if that makes sense. That's why I feel like only going for 3u of carefully picked modules would work better for me than buying a big case right away. I really like the idea of working within creative restrictions instead of allowing myself to buy more if I want to. It would also allow me to focus on the music while still having a very powerful tool to make cool sounds and experiment.

Moreover, 3u would fit on my desk, 6u would not, so in a way, I would use it much more if I keep it on the smaller side. I really believe that a few oscillators/modulators can already bring many exotic functionnalities compared to what I can do at the moment with what i have.

Anyway, sorry and thanks again. I think I'm gonna go for a 0-coast or a mother 32 (and maybe an SQ-1) for the moment and see if I need to build from there.

I'm sorry but it feels a bit cheap to get the default answer to this, my question was specific about which strategy you would chose to build your first system over time and all I got was "beginners - read this" answers that I know and are almost all taken into account in the setups in my post:

  1. I'm only interested in one row because I don't have the room nor the budget for more but any of those I suggested will already be a real a significant step up from what I currently have
  2. All of the modules you talk about are in all the systems I included, and there is still room...
  3. That's precisely why I built a system around the 0-coast...
  4. I did, and bought Reaktor too, but the interface is just not for me

I looked around a lot for answers to my question and found no answer, otherwise I wouldn't have posted it.
And I know there is not one right answer to this, but I wanted to have opinions from people who've been through that already.

So I'll rewrite the question more concisely:
What's the best strategy when you start out?
*Start small with a few small modules and build a more complex system from there?
*Start big to get more complex and interesting modules from the beginning?
*Start with a pre-build synth voice and add modules to it?

Hey guys,

I'm becoming more and more interested in modular synthesizers and spending a lot of my time trying setups on this site at the moment. I want to build a system focused on sound design so I mainly look at complex oscillators and function generators that you don't find in the traditionnal desktop synth world. The problem is that I will not be able to buy every module at once, and morover, I read everywhere that the best way to do things is to go step by step, so I'm wondering what would be the best way to proceed. Here are three options I'm condisering and I would love to have your input!

Quick precision, I'm interested in this since I've read that Blawan had designed most of the sounds on his last album/EPs with a few modules. My intention is to have a nice sound design station with randomnes, unusual modulations, happy accidents and techno in mind.

First, buying small modules over time:
ModularGrid Rack
With this setup, I would start with a very basic synth voice (something like STO, Pip Slope, Ripples, Shades and 2hp VCA) and add small modules with time. This would be super simple at the beginning and become more complex with each module I hope.

Second, starting with a 0-coast
ModularGrid Rack
With this setup, I start with a 0-coast, which would be the initial budget, and then add modules depending on what I need. This seems cool because the 0-coast looks like and already complex synth with a lot of exotic possibilities. And it would also be the cheapest option :)

Third, big modules:
ModularGrid Rack
This seems like the most interesting setup from a sound design point of view, but it seems like a "buy everything at once" system as everything seems important for it to work properly (except the sequencer)

What do you think? What would be the most intelligent choice? In what order would you buy modules? Are there missing ones? Or useless ones?

(I have not decided on the specific modules yet, like which oscillators/function generators/filters, the question is more focused on the best method to build a system and what kind of modules I want to place in it, but if you have recommendations on modules I should change or consider instead, please say! :) )

Thanks a lot!