OK...go here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/8429881@N06/sets/72157602899680757/

What you're looking at is a collaboration between Bob Moog and the composer Joel Chadabe that was installed at SUNY Albany back in 1969. This was known as the "Coordinated Electronic Music System" or CEMS, and was the first modular rig specifically intended to do what we now call "generative music". Chadabe's "Ideas of Movement at Bolton Landing" was one of the first such works that explored this process, and you can hear that here: https://joelchadabe.net/ideasofmovement/

Now, for those trying to build a proper generative rig...pay very close attention to those pictures of the CEMS. Yes, those ARE eight Moog 960 sequencers. Yes, that IS a custom triggering/timing system at the top of one rack. And so on...

"Ideas of Motion..." actually sounds rather simplistic when compared to present-day generative work. And that's because it is. Even with this large Moog rig, you don't get too much going on.

So...if the result from this monster system is actually as simplistic at it sounds, what's actually going on here?

Well...like many generative builds, there are a lot of modulation sources here, notably in the form of those eight Moog 960s that also control pitches and the usual sequenced stuff. But the sound generation aspect is pretty simple, which is typical for that time period; it would be another year or two before Dr. Tomita started showing everyone how to do really nuanced sound on the Moog. And as we know, nuance needs more of...everything, tbh.

So, sure...Eurorack makes things physically smaller. But not functionally. Not even close. To get Chadabe's results in "Ideas of Motion...", you still need much of what you see in those pics of the CEMS, or similar. Then, to get that ambient sonic complexity, you need the nuance of later synthesists...so, let's see what Tomita was up to in the mid-1970s: http://www.isaotomita.net/interviews/KEYBaug1977/images/1.jpg

Oh...snap.

Even if you shrunk all of what you see in that pic down to Eurorack dimensions, you would STILL have something pretty damned big. I mean...that's a IIIp, a 55, and there's even more that's not in the frame. Slap THAT together with the CEMS's control systems, though, and you'd have a top-shelf generative ambient rig. But the problem is that you'd really need to be working on that scale to get something that's musically effective. True, we have denser functionality on modules these days, and everything's smaller and so on, but you'd still probably be talking about a rig that would take up a whole Doepfer A-100 12U Monster Case at minimum.

Now, hopefully this explains why some of us keep saying that you can't do a proper, musically-interesting ambient generative setup in a two-row 84 hp cab. Even if you could jam a lot of the "voicing" in with 4 hp and smaller modules, you would still have issues with supplying enough integrated timing/sequencing/modulation sources to make it do something interesting. Hopefully this explanation is helpful to those of you contemplating this concept. Note that I'm not saying "don't do this"...instead, if you're going to do this, look at this as an example of how TO do it, understand the scale you'd be working on, and THEN start working out ideas. Anything too much smaller isn't going to work as well as you'd think.


Why all the buffered mults? Really, you only need one of those to make sure you're not getting voltage sag on a CV path that's critical to tuning. And if you yank a couple, you then have room for a comparator, and maybe a discriminator. These are very useful in time-heavy rigs, since they can "read" moduation signal behavior and output more gates/triggers based on those, which can then be run thru the Plog for more Boolean complexity. The 2hp Buff at the top-right probably could be changed out to an unbuffered mult, also.

The other glaring issue here is modulation sources. I see a Maths, a single ADSR, the Black Modulator, and the Pam's...and with all of the other sources and such in here that really would benefit from more elaborate modulation, that would seem to be the "somethings missing" you've noticed. There's 10 VCAs, for example (yay!!!), but only those mod sources to control them (boo.). So, something's got to go so that you can get more cyclical sources. My suggestion would be to lose the Shelves (which is sort of an odd fit here) and then drop in a Batumi (four LFOs) and perhaps a Doepfer A-141-4 (quad VC ADSR) which would then balance out your modulation needs. This also eliminates any pressing need to use the Pam's as an LFO or EG source, which then frees it up for more elaborate timing/triggering trickery.

Lastly, that Pittsburgh mixer...now that you've got more modulation sources, you could step up to a much better mixer that offers VCA control over levels, panning, AUX send/returns, etc...Toppobrillo's Stereomix 2 drops right into that 24 hp space and allows a lot of stereo placement and effects tricks than the Lifeforms System Interface. And if you lose the Pittsburgh Outs, you can then swap to a Happy Nerding OUT, which gives you not only the same functions as the Pitt unit, it adds metering and a second stereo bus which would allow you to easily parallel another effect in onto your final output mix. That would let you do something such as having both the Erbe-verb and the DLD on the same stereo pair...just put the Erbe-verb on the Toppobrillo's AUX send/return (they're really perfect for each other...mono in, stereo out on the 'Verb, the opposite on the Toppo's AUX) and fly the DLD in on the second stereo bus on the OUT. Anyway, just a few suggestions that came to mind...


What Maths is is a simplified analog computer that's been set up to work in a Eurorack synth environment. As such, it outputs complex voltage curves (like an actual one does) but it doesn't use Boolean logic per se. Boolean works well in a digital environment, but it wouldn't really be useful in an analog one unless you had some way of translating voltage levels/behaviors into on/off pulses, such as with a bunch of comparators.

Marbles is similar...but again, not a Boolean device.


Honestly, this build has some very serious problems. You only have one mixer, a linear one. There are no VCAs here for either audio or CV/mod level control. Having the M32 in the cab with everything else is expensive and a waste of space...unless you like paying to power and case a device twice, don't do this. There's nothing to correct the crosspatching issues between Eurorack and the Moog. And why in god's name is the P/S in the middleof the row where you'll have the power cable subject to easy disconnection while patching?

OK...you have the M32 already. Do you feel that you've exhausted the possibilities it offers, and this is why you "need" Eurorack, or is this just "something cool" that looks right...until you run smack-dab into the wall of technical issues and MONEY that Eurorack poses?

I strongly suggest some considerable time be spent with VCV Rack before going further. The extreme "Sexy Module" problem above indicates to me that, while you have an idea of what's needed, you don't understand what else has to be there to make those "classics" work in the way they can. There are a LOT of "boring" modules that modular synths require in addition to the snazzy ones; get a copy of VCV Rack and you'll see what I mean.


Drones are easy; probably one of the very best primers on how that's done well has to be Klaus Schulze's "Cyborg". But then, "Cyborg" also shows how you have to keep a degree of variation in the soundscape to maintain listener interest.

Eno's processes are really different, though. He tends to think more along the lines of interacting systems (probably a lot of his Stafford Beer influence coming thru there) and how to get them to continually output a changing result across time. This is why you have the odd interlocking sequencer parts working how they do in "Discreet Music" and then, of course, the inequal-length tape loops of "Music for Airports". As opposed to Klaus Schulze above, Eno's works of these sorts are just as capable of NOT being listened to actively as otherwise; try this with "Cyborg", though, and the results just sound like your HVAC system is malfunctioning or something similar.


TBH, you're making this more difficult than it should be by having that PICO System III in the Eurorack case instead of its own case. That eats up far too much panel space for something that's already got a cab and power on its own. By taking that out and putting it back where it belongs, you then have ample room for modules that will work to expand this AND which can be big enough to be easily controllable and well-featured. Another consideration would be to remove anything that doesn't have clear and apparent functionality; while o-scopes are nice if you're doing complex sound design where you need to know waveform content, they're pretty much pointless for a gigging instrument. Lose that, then you have space for the clocking, etc that's on the Intellijel Noise Tools tile...which, fwiw, is a far more functional and essential module than the Zeroscope.


Guys, is there just ANY video, where we can see how this module is operated by a professional theremin player playing a melody?
-- spooncrackling

Probably not. If you read the info on Doepfer's site, you'll notice that this isn't exactly a "traditional" gesture controller. It has some obvious drawbacks, especially regarding the capacitance, that would tend to make it less of a "proper" rod or ring. It seems to me that it would make infinitely more sense to use a Moog Etherwave Plus to send proper CVs and gate to a modular, given that the Etherwave has its aerials in optimized positions already and the circuitry is designed to deal with this sort of thing. Plus, it's a wooden box (NOT metal) which should be easier to control and calibrate, and it can be located away from metal or other things that might cause an unexpected signal.


In theory, yes. However, unless you already have a Eurorack rig, this seems sort of inefficient. You're talking about $519 for the modules alone, plus whatever case/power you'd have to get if you don't already have that on hand. And then, you'd only have two channels (and no velocity...the Bloom doesn't transmit that). Plus, both of those Elektron boxes already have sequencing onboard.

If the idea here is to employ a master sequencer to control the Elektrons, or to inject random variables into the behavior of those boxes, it would seem to me to make more sense to employ a standalone device such as a Squarp Pyramid (if you don't have a Eurorack rig already) or a Squarp Hermod (if you do). The Hermod has MIDI (no need for the Doepfer module), does transmit velocity and aftertouch (bonus), has ample randomization and parameter stacking for days. And the Pyramid is basically a beefier Hermod in its own self-contained case. Plus the Hermod actually comes in at $20 less than the Qu-bit/Doepfer pair and gives you eight tracks whereas the original idea only offered two.


Thread: PK1 104HP

My comments here: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/forum/posts/index/8186 seem applicable here as well.


Thread: Next step?

In a generative environment, you'll see loads of sequencers, switches, LFOs, VCAs, and clocking sources. You'll find sample & hold circuits, lots of effects, etc. I think there's a false believe that generative, ambient, or "drone" set-ups are simple.
-- Ronin1973

A very false belief, indeed! While drone can be simpler, it gets very irritating without some subtle internal variation, which means extra modulation sources and the right utility modules to keep them reined in.

But where it really goes off the rails is with ambient and generative.

One look at the history of ambient AND generative music brings us to a very important nexus: Brian Eno's "Music for Airports". If you are trying to do this sort of music, you need to be familiar with those four pieces! All of these pieces are both ambient and generative...but the generative process is being driven not by synth circuits, but inequally-long tape loops. I remember seeing Bang on a Can Allstars performing these back in the early 2000s (at the U of IL...which is a hilarious joke in of itself if you know anything about Illinois' composition department) and I asked Evan Ziporyn afterward about the process of trying to transcribe something like that. He showed me the transcribed score to "1/1", with lots of weird incremental time signature changes, strange notational values and the like...because it was accurate to Eno's original late 1970s tape loop realization.

Now, let's forward to the present. Technically, yes, you can do something very much like "1/1" in a modular environment. But consider...the thing that makes the original work is the slow drift-apart of the various looped fragments, ALL of which are on loops that mathematically should NEVER match up again. Now, try and figure how to translate that sort of temporal drift into a set of modules and patch connections. Ain't so easy, izzit?

First of all, you'll notice that using 2-3 modules for your generative process "core" just won't cut it. Instead, you'd be looking at a pretty complex concatenation of modulation sources, none of which should match up again once in motion. Some are faster, some are slower, and a few "governor" sources will be running at extremely slow speeds. Think hours here. Then from this, you'll need to extract various timing information...clocking, clock modulators, triggers and gates to fire other things, etc. These build up a web of conditional logic processes and resultant states. In some cases, actual Boolean logic processes can get used to alter timing positions, and in others, gradual reshaping of modulation curves can do some of this.

The funny thing is, a generative rig will likely wind up having more "process" architecture than "voice". Once you've gotten some experience with ambient and/or generative music, you tend to find that simpler sounds = more cohesive results. This doesn't mean you can just hook up your VCOs to individual VCAs, set up the triggers, and walk off, though...rather, like in drone music, some slight timbral variation is critical. BUT NOT MUCH. A good example would be this thought experiment: take the beginning of Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" and rip out the rhythmic cohesiveness...let all the sounds just drift in time. Simple, effective. And interestingly, that pretty well describes the feel on a lot of Miles' later "In a Silent Way" just ten years later.

One other thing to keep in mind: this sort of music can be actively listened to...but that's actually not the original intent. Instead, most ambient, most generative ambient, and some drone (as long as you're not talking about Sunn o))) or something similar) is meant to NOT be listened to, but as an "acoustical colorant" for spaces. You should be able to set up a generative patch of that sort, start it up, then lower the volume to near-liminal levels to experience how it should sound. Then leave it on for...oh...a day or so and see if it works (which includes being able to all but ignore it). If you eventually forget you have it running, congrats! It works!


First up, move the I/O jack pair modules to the ends of the 1U row and co-locate their functional modules there. This gets these cables out of the way of the patchpanel. Then dump the buffered mult, since you've really not got anything here that requires it; use some inline mults or stackcables instead to save space, and this would open up a bit more 1U space for something like Intellijel's reverb tile.

Reconsider your module ordering here, keeping your SV-1 in mind. Try and lay out the 3U modules in a similar manner to the SV-1, since this will make crosspatching the two systems a bit more intuitive. In other words: Steppy is left, then Plaits, Filter8. Above this (or close to it), relocate the clock/S&H/slew tile, since all of those are needed at left. After this, place modulation: Batumi, Function, Stages. The Mutamix should be at far right.

I'm presuming your MIDI interfacing is via the SV-1, so stacking that close by the Steppy, Plaits, clock, etc will be helpful.

Now for the bad news: you have no VCAs here save for the one (semi-dedicated) on the SV-1. Part of this is due to the mixer you've chosen; the Mutamix can automate mutes...but NOT levels since it has no CVs. You can add a Linix, since the Mutamix is designed to connect to that via a backplane connection. I wouldn't do that, though, since now we're talking about a 34 hp module pair that costs over $600. A much better choice would be a Toppobrillo Stereomix2...which then allows you voltage control over levels on each channel, panning on each, AUX send on each, a CUE send, AUX send/return for effects, etc...AND it costs $479 and fits in 24 hp. This then takes care of your audio VCAs, plus stereolocation, bringing FX in and out...but you also need a couple of VCAs for CVs and modulation signals so that you can control their amplitude as well. So, back to Intellijel and their uVCA2...a pair of summable DC-coupled VCAs with adjustable response. That should do the trick in only 6 hp.

Now...consider adding a waveshaper, perhaps. Tiptop's Fold Processor will add quite a bit of timbral variation, particularly if you route the Plaits through the SV-1's mixer to combine it with its VCOs, and then into the Fold before filtering. The Fold also gives you a suboctave generator...great for creating very destructive bass!

If you were to lose anything from the 3U modules here, it probably should be the Make Noise Function. For one thing, you have a dedicated EG in the SV-1. Secondly, there are smaller two-stage EGs out there, and you can probably jam that same sort of function into a smaller space with something like an ALM Pip Slope (4 hp), Erica PICO EG (3 hp), or a 2hp EG (2 hp...obviously!). Done right, you can cram all of the additional modules above into this 4U cab and it should just fit!


Step 1 - add up all of your modules' current draws, then increase that by 1/4th. That additional draw amount is there to deal with inrush current, which is what you get for the first fractions of a second when the rig is turned on. If the final amperage figure there exceeds the current ratings of the P/S, then you've probably found your problem, and you'll need to replace the Arturia supply with something beefier. If not, then...

Step 2 - After acquring a new supply, remove ALL modules from the rig, then take some canned air and blow out all of the headers on the distro. If there's a bit of wire or something else conductive in there, this should remove it. Shrouded headers are very convenient, they tend to prevent mispolarized connections or connecting a ribbon a step or two off from its proper alignment, but they can hide bits of crap...and if one of those is shorting something, that dead-short will do that. Once this is done, turn on the rig with only one module connected. If the supply blows again, the problem will be a defective busboard. If not, then...

Step 3 - Start adding modules one by one, checking power integrity each time you add a module. And before each time you do this, remove the ribbon from the module and visually check each ribbon beforehand to make sure there are no nicks in the insulation, no shorted-looking bits around the connectors, and especially nothing that looks burnt...as there's enough amperage there to melt insulation if there's a short. Having done this, then blow out the power connection on the module (AWAY FROM THE OPEN MODULAR! You don't want to blow something into the cab to start the whole mess all over again!), then replace the ribbon and connect the module to the busboard. Turn on. If nothing happens each time, then WIN!...you probably had something in a module header. But if the P/S blows up yet again after reinstalling a module, the fault is with that module and now you know who to contact about their defective product.

Yes, this sounds like a kludgy way of troubleshooting a power issue. But the fact is that a typical Eurorack contains so much that's going on on the inside that, without a test module (such as Synthrotek's TST or vpme.de's p0wr) that lets you check module functionality, this is about the only systematic way to do this. Annoying, yes...but it comes with the territory. One other suggestion would be to invest in a cheap multimeter. With that, you could check the busboard to see if there's any continuity between the "hot" rails and ground (WITH THE POWER SUPPLY REMOVED AND RIG OFF!!!). If you see continuity between those, then something's wrong as those rails should only connect through the components connected to them. And while the Arturia Rackbrute distro does have filtering, none of that should be a problem as long as you check for continuity in BOTH polarity directions; if you see what seems to be a short, then reverse the polarity of the multimeter probes...and if this persists, then it IS a short. If not...then no, you're just getting continuity through a polarized component, and reversing the direction of current causes the polarized component to block the multimeter's DC. That's what you want to see.

Which brings up another point that needs to be mentioned: modular synthesizers are NOT entry-grade technology. Not even close. While this all seems like plug-n-play stuff, really, it's not...and there's a certain level of technical capability that anyone considering getting into modular synths needs to have before spending that first dime on a new rig. Having a multimeter and knowing how to use it is important. Basic skills with electronics tools such as soldering irons and wire strippers...those come in handy more than you'd think, if just to repair patchcables. Understanding how to logically troubleshoot by elimination (what's going on above in this post) is an essential. And a good appreciation of what an amp or two of "low-voltage" DC is capable of is another essential...which, frankly, you don't want to obtain first-hand.


I'm just not getting it, period. It occurs to me that this just isn't the right application for modular; it would make far more sense to control externals with a proper hardware sequencer (Squarp Pyramid, Kilpatrick Carbon, etc) than to try and cobble one together from Eurorack modules. Don't get me wrong...modular is useful...but this is one of those instances where employing modular synth hardware to do something that can be done more smoothly with a dedicated device just isn't the right move.


Thread: First Rack

For generative? One thought: it's too small. Another thought: why are there two buffered mults in a rig that really has only three "oscillators" (one of which has input buffering)? A third: where are the filters?

This isn't going to work for the purpose you're aiming for. Proper generative systems involve A LOT of modulation sources, various ways of altering timing structures, plenty of ways of combining and interacting between modulators, and a rather extensive but generally uniform set of audio paths. For example: there's two VCAs here, but the 2180 VCA isn't one that can work with CVs or modulation signals. It's not a DC-coupled linear VCA, and instead, it's one primarily for audio work. Cool beanz for audio...but if you want variation with your modulation levels, that won't be happening here.

While the addition of a tile row (and, IMHO, the correct sort of tile row...sorry, Intellijel!) is a really great idea for moving basic utilities out of the 3U turf, this rig isn't where it needs to be overall. For one thing, you're trying to use a very small cab for a "big cab" purpose, and this never works well. Secondly, there's lots missing. My advice would be to start over...and if you're intent on doing proper generative work, you should start with a case that's several times this size. In fact, that advice goes for ALL builds; NEVER start in a small case, but instead, start very large and pare down from there to the point where the functionality you want is just supportable. THEN resize the case.

The other thing I would suggest would be to get a copy of VCV Rack. Work out your generative ideas in there, then start figuring out how to transfer the ideas from that virtual Eurorack environment to a real one. This should not only give you a much better idea of the scale you should be working on here, but a very clear idea of what sort of modules this needs, what sort of actual outlay is involved, etc.


I'm not getting this at all. So, this is a pair of Rackbrutes. But the bottom 6U may just as well be a Minibrute 2S. And since that's a cheaper alternative, then why not just use a Minibrute 2S? A smarter move would be to not put the Boog in the cab in the first place, since it already has its own cab and that cab already has power. Use your Eurorack space for things that NEED the housing and power instead.

Garfield's right about the envelopes, also...there's not really any proper ones there. Ripping out the Boog will give you back 70 hp (a RIDICULOUS amount of space for any module to take up, fyi) and that should allow for proper EGs, attenuverters (you want to be able to invert envelopes...a big "win" with VCFs, especially) and all of the other bits that need to be there. Oh, and about that Antiphon...you do realize that it's a DIY module and also has a 150 mm reverb tank that will require space inside that Rackbrute for mounting, right? If that hadn't occurred to you, it might also be a candidate for removal, as it's yet another ginormous module in a little cab, which is always a bad idea.


What's missing here isn't some magic module -- it's SPACE. You're trying to cram two different machines in a space that's really suited for only one. As a result, there are A LOT of things missing...VCAs, attenuators, FILTERS (good lord!), and so on. This is a poster child build for "Sexy Module Syndrome", to be sure.

First of all, get rid of this idea that you can cram a proper synth voice AND a full-on drum machine into a 6U Rackbrute. Ain't happening...at least, not with these huge spacehog modules. And this statement: "I considered the Arturia Minibrute 2S but I don't really need the synth engine there although I could be swayed if anyone has an opinion on it"...uh, no. Right now, if you intend on sticking with this build (which I do not advocate), all of the things you need to make this work are in the MiniBrute.

There's absolutely no way you can do proper "creative sound design" with the bottom row as it stands. There's far too much missing...there's not even a "voice" there, tbh. Delete this, start over...and the next time around, decide if you want drums or (NOT "and") a synth voice in the Rackbrute first and then build that out. And before building, study some other builds that have been done right to see what they require to do what they do. Otherwise, sticking with this sort of plan will result in building a black hole that sucks in money...but which puts out nothing useful in return.


I'm in agreement with Ronin here, actually. It might be a far better idea for you to get a copy of VCV Rack and start to explore these musical ideas in that environment, both to get some chops up as well as to get a clearer idea of what you'll actually need to accomplish this should you opt to work this out in hardware.

Fact is, there's a big "WARNING" sign in your initial post. Generative rigs that work really well tend to be larger setups, not the sort of thing you'd have in a Rackbrute 6U. While that initial module choice has nothing glaringly wrong with it, it's small enough that there's plenty of room for things to go that way as the design progresses. Since you have a clear musical direction in mind here, don't work it out in hardware, as you're apt to discover that you took a wrong turn a few purchases back and a $250 error in judgement will have turned into a $1250 one. Figure out how to get to where you want to go with ZERO expense first in order to avoid this.


Thread: Korg ms20

Stupid exists, yep. But one other thing that's perhaps not so stupid are duty limits. I know that from Germany to the USA, anything electronic music-wise entering US Customs with a value of less than $800 is duty-free. You might check and see if a similar duty-free limit exists from the USA to your own locale.

And if that works, then I'd suggest also looking at G-Storm's VCFs. Not only are they spot-on (I have a Jupe-6 at present, and the 2600 is something I know all too well across about 40 years), they also have the smart addition of a 2-in mixer for audio. And they do a kickin' ARP 4012 clone-job...


The question that's most relevant here would be "how much experience do you have with synthesizer programming?" If the answer is "not much" or something along those lines, I'd strongly suggest getting experience with either VCV Rack (a virtual Eurorack environment, free to DL at vcvrack.com ) or a more basic patchable (there's quite a few of these, ranging from the inexpensive Behringer Neutron up thru pricier options such as the Pittsburgh Modular Voltage Lab) and figuring out how to get the sounds you want in those before hurling a large sum of money into the void. Fact is, if you don't have fairly strong programming chops before moving to a full modular, you might as well be buying a pricey wall decoration, because it's extremely easy to get poor results under those circumstances.

Equipment doesn't fix things that you need to work on your chops on. Keep that in mind.


Thread: Korg ms20

Hi Buzz_R and Catwavez,

Catwavez: Thanks a lot for that module link. The module looks just what we need here! :-) Pity I don't know this brand and I can't find a closeby (European) dealer that sells this brand.

You might be better off ordering directly from G-Storm; they're located in Oklahoma (if I remember right) and are a relatively small operation. Their recreations of classic ARP and Roland filters, though...those are quite accurate and nicely-implemented. No reason to think their MS-20 converter wouldn't be of the same calibre.


Lots missing here...you're going to need VCAs (both for audio as well as CVs/modulation), for starters, otherwise this will turn into a pointless exercise pretty quickly. Maths is also a useful thing, and you might also look into a Batumi for straight LFOs. Also, if you're insisting on using the Chord as a VCO (I wouldn't do that, frankly), you need to consider a second on so that you can detune them against each other, do sync, etc for a "bigger" sound. That'll be spendy, though, at about $600 for a pair of poly VCOs...which is why I said I wouldn't do that.


Lugia: Interesting and indeed a pity that's so difficult to get to that kind of industrial Eurorack stuff, could be interesting to have such indeed.

"Interesting" doesn't even begin to describe it. See here: https://www.technical-furniture.com/images/joomlart/knuerr/pdf/en/knurr-technical-furniture-workstation-for-electronic-engineers-product-catalogue.pdf ...and when you get to Page 52, things will start to look really familiar.

Sort of infuriating, really...I was really hyped over the possibilities this sort of thing would open up, but dealing with whoever's dealing with Knurr in the USA (that's yet another issue with this) now was immediately frustrating. Definitely a "no habla individual users"-type of situation. Maybe some users in Europe might have better success, since the actual firm is based in (I think) Switzerland.


Dieter did one other smart thing: when he set up the Eurorack modular standard, he based it on an existing industrial standard for EE modules. That way, Eurorack could take advantage of a sizable installed base that already existed when speccing parts and specs for Eurorack. You actually can get Eurorack enclosures that are made by industrial equipment firms (Knurr's Elicon system comes to mind here) that have some different designs that make for very nice fixed-installation Eurorack cabs.

The sole downside of this supply avenue, however, is that these firms do not "speak music". They're used to dealing with large industrial/technical concerns and in institutional-sized orders, so trying to source some of these...or even get a price for components...is a royal PITA. I attempted some time back to contact the US distributor for Knurr, for example, and they couldn't wrap their heads around the application I intended. Similarly, workstation furniture manufacturers such as Winstead also have this same "issue" of user scale, where if you want just one or two things, you're not worth their time...or at least, you're made to feel that way. Thankfully, the subcomponents such as rails, etc are easily gotten from distributors such as Mouser or Allied in quantities that work for this user base...but it would be SO snazzy to be able to get a full-tilt Elicon rig if that were a suitable possibility.


Those voltages all seem quite safe in the Eurorack environment. Be very careful, however, not to patch these into outputs by mistake!


Thread: Korg ms20

Actually, Korg and Yamaha did use a gate/trigger system that was compatible with Moog, since they also used a negative-going trigger.

The following are non-standard synth manufacturers and models, plus why:

Moog (thru Micromoog), Yamaha (CS-series monosynths), Korg (everything up thru the MS-series), Crumar (some): negative triggering
Yamaha, Korg (both same as above): Hz/V scaling
EML: 1.2 V/8va scaling
Buchla: no actual scaling standard (100 series)

...and of course, faithful copies retain these traits. The Korg and Behringer reissues of the MS-20 behave the same as the original, and the EMW 200/300 both use EML's old 1/10th volt scaling.


I see impending problems here...for one thing, this build is way too small to support having something huge like the Verbos Complex Oscillator in it. You're occupying far too much space for a relatively simple function with that module and even though you already have it, you might consider other complex VCO options that make more sense, space-wise. I could probably say the same thing about the Toolbox, too; you'd probably be better off with an outboard sequencer for something this small, or with some Expert Sleepers hardware that can be addressed by a computer. Next...and I sound like a frickin' parrot about this, but hey...VCAs. You have some VCA control via the X-Pan, but this is primarily an audio device. As for VCAs for modulation and CVs, there's zero available. This is also probably why you're not seeing the point of having attenuverters in the system...aside of also not having much in the way of conventional envelopes, which are something that often gets fed thru attenuverters for manual level control and inversion (very important thing to have for interesting envelope tricks).

Then there's the Mobenthy module...basically, if you don't know what something does, you should find out before letting it eat up 8 hp. Seriously...this is a VERY SMALL cab, and wasting space on a whim is extremely ill-advised.

Ultimately, you've tasked a very small rig with doing some rather complex functions, but then loaded it with several modules that eat up so much space that the "boring" modules you need are being squeezed out. My advice would be to chuck this 3 x 56 cab, for starters...for one thing, you have the same panel space as a more typical 2 x 84 here, but because it's broken up so strangely, you have none of the advantages of the 84 hp rows and dropping just ONE large module in is enough to wreck the architecture of the synth in general. Go with something more conventional and larger if you're trying to get this to sequence, and do bass lines, and do percussion, and and and...otherwise, you're building a money pit here.

Then, having done this, look at the functions here and figure out how to make the modules that do them smaller. As you shrink those, space then opens for the other, necessary modules that make these snazzy ones capable of doing all the amazing things they can. Otherwise, the other gameplan here would be to stay in this case and replicate all of the functions with 4 hp and smaller modules in order to get the operational profile you want to happen...but then that leads to an unwieldy control surface that's a tangle of patchcables and thickets of knobs.


Thread: Korg ms20

To start with, this: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/the-harvestman-english-tear or something similar. Otherwise you're going to be driven insane by all of the mistracking, reverse triggering, etc. Neither the Korg MS series (original or the MS-20 Mini reissue...and, rather tellingly, Behringer's MS-clone) or Yamaha's vintage CS monosynths are set up for 1V/8va tracking or positive trigger/gates.


I follow a general rule of thumb: "up-left and down-right". Basically, control signals migrate upward on the left side, through the modulation/timing, then up to the VCOs at the top. VCO signals then go toward the right and downward; in smaller builds, the VCF is likely to be on that same "voice" row but if the space is larger, I tend to put VCFs between the VCOs and the mixing/output area at the lower right. This also should leave the VCFs and some of the VCAs in proximity to the modulation (envelopes, especially) for convenience and to keep the cable pattern somewhat sensible. The idea basically is an adaptation of the flowpath of the ARP 2600, save that modular architecture allows for considerably more flexibility in function placement than the 2600's fixed panel design.


OK...going off of the earlier PM, I went ahead and moved this over to the public forum instead. This is what you started with:

ModularGrid Rack

...and this is my final result:

ModularGrid Rack

This is a markedly different build, although it still has a lot of the existing modules. However, the original design was just unworkable and obtuse. It was missing a LOT of necessary functions (fixed), numerous utilities (also fixed), had a lot of "why?" modules (fixed), and a bad case of "sexy module syndrome". I'm not surprised that the original was that sonically unimpressive, actually. Lots of useful things...but only IF the other parts were there, which they weren't. Here's what we have:

Row 1: No. Totally reworked this so that your entire "voice" is on this row. Disting on left for various control functions. DPO replaced by the VOID complex VCO, Gravitational Waves. Telharmonium and STO replaced with Codex Modulex clones of the Braids and Plaits; in this case, you could also do two Braids or two Plaits if that seems better. Submix via Veils clone, then a Rings clone for filtering/resonance modeling. Your ring mod, btw, is now part of the VOID Gravitational Waves. The LxD follows as a stereo pair of LPGs. After this is the Morphagene, allowing it to function as a "voice source" instead of consigning it to the bottom rows where your effects processing needs to be. The QPAS is next, which lets the Morphagene feed this directly OR the Morphagene can feed into two channels of the A-138s alongside the two LPG outs, and this stereo mix can then feed into the QPAS. Similarly, you can reverse the patching of the LxD and the Rinks, which then allows you to feed the LPG "plooks" into the Rinks and have that function as a "resonant cavity" for their output.

Row 2: Also no. The original row was a hodgepodge of functions, very easy to get lost in. In this build, your "percussives" are on the left, in the form of a Delptronics LDB-2 and its expander. This drum module uses the time-tested TR-808/606-type drum sound set. Next to that, I added a Tiptop ONE for one-shot samples, then the X-PAN is used for a stereo submix for these. The rest of the row is 100% modulation: another Veils clone for VCA processing of modulation signals, the Wogglebug, then an Erica Black Modulator for an extra LFO, sample and hold, and noise. Maths follows, then a pair of expanded Xaoc Zadars, as the original really had nothing in the way of proper envelope generation. And since the Zadars can loop, this also lets them serve as user-definable LFOs in addition to envelope generation. At the end of this row is a DC-coupled triple attenuverter/mixer, allowing you to manipulate and/or mix your modulation outputs.

Row 3: I cut the original WAY back to a single Rene, plus its Tempi. This should lower the confusion factor considerably. The Euclidean Circles got added to this row, as well as a Starling GateSeq, which is an interesting logic-driven combo of normal and probabilistic sequencers. All of this is intended to feed the percussives above it, but there's ample output so that some of the timing can be routed elsewhere. Tempi/Rene next, then effects, which is where the Erbeverb and Mimeophon wound up. More about that in a bit.

Row 4: I put the Shared System utility row here. The reason will be obvious momentarily.

Row 5: The Brains/Pressure Points combo was retained. I added a much more flexible and intutive clocking system to its left, in the form of 4ms's Quad Clock Distributor and its expander. THIS is what a master clock should be for a large system such as the one you've acquired, and it's capable of outputting numerous clocks with various divisions and multiplications under CV control. Note also that since most things that can take external clocks will know what to do with a +5V pulse, this module pair can actually serve as your studio's clocking "nexus", besides handling all of the internal clocking duties imaginable. On the other side of the Pressure Points, I put in a Tiptop MISO; the intention here is to give you a CV/modulation control point located conveniently between your manual controller and your mixer so that you can route critical modulation paths through this and adjust them there, improving the control paradigm considerably. Next, I put in a stereo compressor/limiter, which should prove extremely useful on your stereo drum path. Then, a Toppobrillo Stereomix. This is a proper performance mixer, allowing CV over level, panning, and AUX send. You can manually mute on this, plus you also have a cue send which allows you to audition channels offline for changing patches or settings during a performance. This is also where the Erbeverb comes in; since it uses the same mono-in/stereo-out that the Stereomix wants to see for its AUX send/return, you can now use the Erbeverb as a global reverb...probably its best use. As for the Mimeophon, this can either be used as a thruput for another stereo bus (either from the "voice" row altogether, the Morphagene, or the percussion bus) or it can be used as a final processor for the entire stereo mix. With these co-located by the Stereomix, this also reduces the ergonomic issues required in controlling all aspects of the final mix. And the output on the Shared System tile is in between the Stereomix and the Mimeophon, making it convenient to either module.

OK, so...it's not all black now. Mmmm...well, eh. Trying to go with all of your modules as one color at the expense of functionality is a very bad idea. It would be like specifiying that you want all of the hammers in your piano redone in purple felt because...PURPLE. Ergo: expensive and pointless. Since you didn't exactly have a functional instrument with the "paint it black" approach, that was actually the very first thing I discarded from the original, primarily because it's a pointless limitation. You should be more concerned with what's behind the panel, to start with, then whether or not you can make sense of the panel as a whole so that programming and playing the instrument isn't a brain-shattering chore. Anything beyond that makes no sense.

I also worked to synergize functions here, which was another thing missing from the original build, and also something that was almost certainly contributing to the build's annoying non-usefulness. Everything is now grouped while still maintaining the up-left/down-right general flow, although it should be very easy to patch outside of that flow pattern when necessary. So...timing is down and left, audio generation is across the top, drums are immediately above the timing/sequencing, modulation sources are central and to the right, sequencing is lower and central, and output + processing is lower-right.

But a lot of the previous modules got chucked out. And rightfully so, I think; in some cases, they didn't provide "bang for the buck" and took up space that could be used in better ways. And in other cases, they were obvious culprits in the confusionality you were describing. But by doing all of that culling, THAT opened up a large amount of space that allowed me to rebuild this...with actually quite a few of the existing modules, really...with the proper additions that will actually allow the modules that remain from the original build to outperform what they were capable of in the original. So, in the long run, this makes a helluva lot more sense to me as an instrument than it did before, and it should be far more capable than its prior incarnation might've led you to believe!


No, the Erica LINK is just fine for this purpose. Go ahead and use that. But keep in mind that it's just a passive attenuator bank, so you still need to control your levels carefully on the modular side of it, as it can still output something relatively hot if you hit it really hard on the modular side.

One other thing to remember, also...this is likely to be a simple resistive circuit and this means that it can pass DC. That's Garfield's concern here, since your interface can also pass DC. The best solution, eventually, will be to exchange the LINK module with something that has transformer balancing/isolation, which prevents the DC from going beyond the transformer itself. There's another method of preventing DC from passing, though...but I can't look at the PCB side of the LINK module or find any data on Erica's site that says whether or not the attenuated outputs have capacitors that work as DC stops. Not quite as preferable as transformer isolation, but still quite workable.


Solution to this should be simple enough: if you're running your audio path in the patch example you give through a VCA in linear mode, this behavior is what you should expect. To eliminate the VCO leakage, try changing the VCA's response to exponential. You will need to adjust the envelope's "ballistics", but that should fix the VCO leak issue. If it persists after that, turn the VCA's CV level down and change the envelope so that it's outputting a hotter envelope signal into the CV input.


My personal take on "copying " is a bit different. Personally, I don't think anyone here is re-inventing the wheel in sonics/sound/noise spectrum. It's physics/electronics, under clear laws based on human ears.

Don't be so sure about that. There are modules that turn up on a somewhat-routine basis on MG that are gamechangers. Yes, music is a big physics experiment, but there's always going to be new methods with which to ply those physical laws.

This is actually a problem I ran into in my final academic stint at Illinois. The Experimental Music Studios, by the time I'd gotten there, had devolved into a highly-compartmentalized situation in which, if you were working with analog synthesis, you were expected to stay within analog synthesis. If you worked with any of the digital hardware, you were supposed to keep your business confined to those studios. There weren't any tie-lines between these studios, either; if you wanted to, say, run some of the Kyma (in Studio D) output through the Buchla (in Studio A)...well, not only was that made deliberately difficult, just suggesting it would elicit howls of protest from the powers that be at that time. I also ran into this at Tennessee, but it was far easier to circumvent the problem there, plus the professor who ran the studios there wasn't very savvy about what he was hearing in other peoples' work...so if you felt like dragging the Synthi AKS from Studio 1 to Studio 2 to process the Synclavier, you could get away with it.

But in my own studio, I've allowed all of the different methods to interplay. Back in Nashville, we never believed that you had to do things that way, because it stifles development. So as a result, my own studio starts with the early 1920s (albeit a bit updated: Moog Theremini) and goes to right-frickin'-NOW, and allows in every working paradigm in that span with zero operational barriers between them. And by putting all of these disparate methods side by side, a lot of new ideas do emerge. True, the same physics applies...but the endless combinations of possible results frequently suggests new ideas for that tired ol' wheel we're all so accustomed to.

Even just within the modular environment, you see this sort of thing going on. For example, there's no reason why you can't have some elaborate wavetable-scanning oscillator with the very latest tech feeding into replicas of Don's gates from the early 1960s. Hell, you can even buy them at the same store!

Now, every once in a while you DO see something that seriously warps the synth landscape. But the REAL re-inventions are coming from the insane combinatorial math going on when you have a 100% variable topology that consists of several thousand possible elements. And that's where Eurorack is at. Every time something gamechanging appears, the impact of that is so much greater than people suspect, because not only do you have that new thing, its presence has the ability to redefine literally dozens or even hundreds of other modules' functionalities.

So, sure...it's easy to replicate someone else's efforts, and even improve on them in the process. But why would you? Especially when you don't have to. When you open the door of possibilities that exists here, you're getting an opportunity to accomplish something different and potentially better...sort of the diametrical opposite of the academic studios I mentioned above, where everything's set up to trap composers in a given paradigm with little chance of escape. So, in such an open-ended working environment as Eurorack, why set your own traps?


My opinion? This build is pretty much pointless. First up, the tile row (as Ronin also points out) is not possible. Next, there's a trigger sequencer but nothing you'd normally use one with, such as percussives, or other clock-based modules which the step sequencer can modulate. There is a clock...and there's also a MIDI interface with a clock. But you can't send the clock from the Tock out via your MIDI interface, nor can you use both the MIDI clock and the Tock at the same time since there's no logic here to facilitate that.

Then there's the single VCO. OK, fine, you can have a single VCO...but then there's that ring modulator, for which you need a second source. And while that could be the Double Bass, it wouldn't really make much sense to divide the single VCO's output then send it into the ring mod against the VCO itself. Let's say you inputted the dry VCO signal to the carrier at 880 Hz and then the -1 octave, which would be at 440 Hz. Given that ring modulators output the sum and difference frequencies, you would get 440 Hz (again...so, no point to that) and 1320 Hz, which is simply the 2nd harmonic of the octave-down signal, and since the 440 Hz signal would be reinforced by the ring mod's difference output, this would just sound like an A-440 note with a bit more second harmonic. So, pretty much a waste of the ring mod.

There's a single modulation source (the A-140) but a DC-coupled mixer which will have a couple of very not-busy inputs. The VCA isn't exactly right for audio, either. Then there's two distorters. Why?

And then, the things that are NOT THERE: a VCF, an LFO, an exponential VCA for audio, no attenuation, no output module...to be very blunt, you could get a lot more entertainment for your money while achieving the same budgetary hit by simply putting the money necessary for this in your backyard grill and setting it on fire. That's straightforward...as opposed to the frustration that'll be experienced trying to use this build.

So, "cheaper or more efficient" = don't do this, period. You need to get a far better idea of what a synthesizer is made up of and how they work if this build is any indication. Save your money and get a prebuilt patchable instead, learn how it works and why it works, then try coming back to this idea much later. You can't just throw modules into a box with a vague idea of what a synthesizer consists of and expect to get anything useable. The sole result will simply be a waste of money that could be better-applied elsewhere.


An AE system. Honestly, when it comes to energy efficiency, the AE Modular system kicks the crap out of everything else. There already are producers using theirs on solar, battery power, etc. It's also smaller, lighter, and...quite significantly...CHEAPER.


Go with Buchla? Well...it does fit here on MG, although there's no word from Buchla USA as to how much the SFTMC system's going to cost. But it's Buchla, so I'd suggest that people start filling up dumpsters full of money now!

Also worth noting: this contains a bunch of things that currently aren't in the Red Panel lineup.


If you haven't seen this, you probably need to: http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2019/09/13/buchla-100-series-modular-synthesizer-sneak-preview/

No, that's not the Red Panel remake...this is a redo of the original 100 series, aka the "Buchla Box". Vide...


OK...first of all, what keyboard? I suspect that might be the culprit here instead of the modules.


No! That Octasource is insanely useful...its ability to output phaseshifted results alone opens up a bunch of things that...well, just keep it in, you'll see! ;-) It's actually a variant on Suit & Tie Guy's Mankato VCF; see that for some further ideas/inspiration.


Depends. If this is primarily for studio use, the groovebox. But for live work, you might find the arpeggiator configuration better to use on the fly.


I shouldn't think it would invalidate the idea if a larger case is called for, though. Larger case = more possibilities. Plus, case prices have been on a positive downward trend as of the past year-plus. The keys to look for are space, beefy power capacity, and price. For example, Erica has a 6U x 126hp cab with serious power (2.5A on each 12V rail, optional 5V!) for only EUR 300 right now, direct from their site.

A processing "nexus" would be a significantly different sort of build than one normally sees on here, though. You'll want to concentrate less on audio generation and more on modification and modulation sources. This isn't to say that you'll want NO oscillators, but you can stick to a few fairly simple ones for AF modulation purposes. So, that saves a little bit there.

The thing that'll need space here is sequencing, timing manipulation (logic, skippers, Euclideans, comparators, divider/multipliers, etc), and modulation that's more of a "free-run" variety, such as a Batumi + Poti or a Maths (better yet, both). The Lancet expander needs to fit, as well. The Stages is a very good choice for envelopes, but putting in something really over the top for linked envelope generation would be worth your time, too...have a look at Erogenous Tones' RADAR + BLIP. They also have a very useful VCA bank/mixer in their VC8; that should deal with ALL of the VCA needs you'll have here, really.

Then for sonic modifiers, consider some of the more "interesting" filters like Xaoc's Belgrad or Intellijel's Morgasmatron, things that give you a lot of leeway on internal architecture. A Clouds clone would be useful in this, or a Make Noise Mimeophon or Morphagene. Note that a lot of what I'm pointing out are larger modules; if you use these, this also saves money in the long run by jamming multiple functions into a large space. For example, all of the Erogenous Tones modules above are about $1000 put together...but that $1000 covers 54 hp of space. Now, if you tried to do this with smaller modules, it would get more expensive and still come out covering a sizable amount of panel space, and you'd probably wind up with less linked functionality.

Last, effects...one choice might be Intellijel's Rainmaker, which bills itself as a "delay" but which really is a far more complex affair, especially when you start plying it with modulation sources. Also, definitely get some CVable waveshaping; Tiptop's got a very good one for cheap. Jam in a stereo VCA mixer like Qu-bit's Mixology, and there you are.

So, yeah...you'll spend money. That's the nature of modular synthesis...it ain't cheap. But if you "go big" with multiple function modules, the money can get spent on some very complex architecture.


For starters, you might want to up the size of the build. There's a lot you want to do here, and that'll take more space than this single-row cab. This sounds like you need it to be both a synth and something of a processing nexus for external devices to modify their behavior. If you've not got the cab yet, seriously consider upping the size by another row.


Yes and no. First of all, DC coupling only really comes into play when you're trying to send/return CVs, etc to your DAW so that software such as Silent Way, Volta, or CV Tools can directly address the modules. I use a MOTU 828 for this, myself. Expert Sleepers also has an extensive line of modules and expanders that can do this; they're sort of the...well...experts at it.

Now, all that a VCA is going to do is to control a signal's level. Linear ones (with DC coupling) are what's used for CVs and modulation signals, and exponential VCAs (AC coupled, quite often) are used for audio so that the level changes seem correct to our ear, since we perceive apparent loudness in logarithmic changes. So a VCA won't get your signal to the Presonus interface as such.

Now, I'm going to assume you're talking about Intellijel's Quad VCA here...this is a 4-VCA module with variable responses (which makes it useable for ANY signal type) which can also function as a mixer, with some configurability when patching. But again, you can't take the output directly from this and send it to the Presonus, as synthesizer signal levels are considerably hotter than what the interface is wanting to see at its inputs. Instead, the module you need for this is an output module...something that can step the level down from the +/- 10V (at max, as a rule) signals to the +/- 1.4VRMS line level that the Presonus is expecting. So, if you wanted a solution that all four of the Quad VCA's outputs can connect through, something like a Ladik P-520 or a pair of their P-530s would work.

BUT...it's very important to not pass DC in your audio path! DC can do things like wreck speakers and amps when it's present in audio signals and screw up levels and stereo balancing in recording. This was always a big danger with the ARP 2600, for example, since it had a DC-coupled audio path through the entire synth and could output DC offsets along with the audio signal, potentially causing speaker burnout, amp damage, etc. So choosing an output module with a balanced output, such as a Happy Nerding Isolator or an Intellijel OUTS, is important. These contain isolation transformers that output balanced audio on TRS jacks, which the Presonus should also have, and not only do those isolation devices prevent DC passage on to your DAW, they also help kill noise and eliminate ground loops. I always recommend that people use isolated, balanced outs for their output modules.

So if you wanted to pass audio directly from the Quad VCAs individual VCA outs, you would need a pair of those 2-channel isolated types. But if you're using the Quad VCA to mix your audio while it's still in the modular, just one isolated output will suffice. Hope that's somewhat helpful!


Depends on the dual VCF in question. Some of them, like Doepfer's A-106-1 or the Intelljel Morgasmatron, have their basis in the Korg MS-20 Sallen-Key pair. While they have two VCFs, they're more intended to be used in tandem for thruput of a single audio signal but you can always screw around with that bit of architecture. Others like the Erica Dual VCF or Radikal's RT-451 are more like true dual filters with varying degrees of linking capability.

Frankly, I like the MS-20-based ones. That Doepfer, also, has an insert point in its resonance path that has MASSIVE abuse potential, allowing all sorts of things to be patched into the feedback path to majorly screw around with the behavior of the filter(s). Consider what would happen with, say, a monophonic delay line in there...fun!


Beefy VCOs with a twist, hm? OK...try some of these on for size in your build:

Instruo Cs-L, tona, troika
Dove WTF Oscillator
Make Noise STO (yep! good choice), DPO
Pharmasonic Digisound VCDO (I have the original...quite neat...you can step thru the fixed wavetables)
Pittsburgh Lifeforms Primary VCO, Lifeforms Double Helix Oscillator
Erica Black Wavetable VCO
Studio Electronics QUADNIC, GRAINY CLAMPIT
VOID Gravitational Waves (probably the cheapest complex VCO)
Mannequins MANGROVE
Synthesis Technologies E340 Cloud Generator, E350 Morphing Terrarium, E352 Cloud Terrarium
Moseley Cosmopolitan
Intellijel Rubicon II, Shapeshifter
WMD Phase Displacement Oscillator mkII
Harvestman Hertz Donut mkIII, Piston Honda mkIII
Sputnik Dual Oscillator
4ms Spherical Wavetable Navigator
Rossum Trident
Hexinverter Mindphaser
1010 Music Waverazor

Trying to stay under $600 here. But this is a good cross-section of some of the more capable and interesting VCOs out there. You'll notice that some of these are actually not single VCOs, also...there are several dual oscillators (some in Buchla-like "complex" arrangements), a couple of triples, and the six oscillator 4ms module. Another not expensive thing you might add alongside one of these and your existing VCOs would be a Doepfer A-196 PLL module, which is a strange little thing (VCO, filter, phase-lock loop) that can do glitchy, sync-like behavior while tracking the audio of another VCO. See what works!


That Befaco mixer bugs me...you do know that if you mix the -MIX and +MIX outputs as if they were L - R stereo, you'll get some hellacious stereo mis-phasing issues, right? It looks like this is intended as a final output mixer in the revision, which is why I'm pointing that out. If you're trying to put a stereo mixer in 6 hp, have a look at Happy Nerding's PanMix Jr. instead. Mind you, the Befaco is useful for getting simultaneously normal and inverted signals, but this is something that's better suited to modulation signal mixing, where the normal + inverse outs would actually be far more useful.


This isn't exactly making a lot of sense. On the one hand, you mention the DC-coupling on the Presonus interface as if this might be what you want to control the synth with (via Silent Way/Volta/CV Tools), but then you're also talking about VCA audio outputs. A bit of clarification might help...


I would keep the MScale. Using a Disting for that one purpose is a waste of the zillions of other useful things that it could be doing. Which, of course, means that you really ought to have a Disting in this for all of those other things. It's a Swiss Army Knife of functions in a very small space, which makes it ideal for smaller builds like this. Besides, the MScale is designed for this specific purpose, and you'd have to prod the Disting into doing what it does in all likelihood.

That Noise Tools tile is also super-useful...lots of function, little space. Plus, consider pulling the headphone module...this opens up space you can use to put a much better MIDI module in. And with the extra 8 hp left, you could drop in a stereo VCA for your overall output level control or for controlling the level on a stereo FX return...or get all pimped out with a pair of USB power ports and a couple of gooseneck lamps on each end of the 1U row! But my bet is on the stereo VCA, as that would fit in with Ronin's idea on processing, above.

One other point about the 1U row: with the inputs, consider adding an envelope follower. This then allows you to extract gate and volume contour CV from an inputted signal, which you'll want if you get the idea to use this as a processor (modular synths can be KILLER processing gear!). There's not an Intellijel-format tile with this, but there's plenty of small 3U ones.


Comparator? Easy-peasy...remove the Black VCA and the A-132-3, and replace them with an Intelljel Quad VCA, which then leaves you 6 hp you didn't have. Then, my suggestion for that 6 hp space would then be SSF's Tool-Box. So as a result of that swap, you now have one more VCA and all of the VCAs would then be variable-response for either audio or CV/mod work as necessary, plus the Tool-Box then gives you a 2-in summing mixer, a rectifier for positive offsetting and/or waveshaping, a comparator, an analog OR (gives the maximum of two inputs...feed it two LFOs and watch the mod curve craziness!), another inverter, and an electronic A-B switch. And all that for only $27 more than the current two modules!

There are ALWAYS solutions. They just require lots of poking at things. ;-)


First up, don't get used to the idea of the M32 being in the 7U case. It's a lousy idea. It wastes space that needs to be used for modules which don't have a case, for starters. Then if you factor in the cost of rehousing it in the 7U, given that it already has a case + power, your M32 would then wind up costing you about $765, figuring $599 street for it + about $165-ish for the 60 hp it would occupy in the 7U. Not a good deal.

The rest of the modules are actually quite sensible. The Quad VCA is the correct choice, fyi; the ALM Tangle's VCAs are all linear only. It's necessary to have those, but mainly for CVs and modulation signals where you want that response. Exponential VCAs are the ones needed for audio, because of how our ears respond to apparent loudness (logarithmically). By using the Quad VCA, you can select either linear for your CVs and mod signals, OR exponential to control audio levels...or anything in between due to the variable response controls. Besides, the Tangle costs $10 more.

The DixieII+ is actually a decent choice as well. If you plan to feed the M32 through the 7U's audio path, that VCO will serve very well to double the single Moog VCO to allow for detuning and sync and other things that will be pretty useful to getting a "bigger" sound. In fact, I would suggest controlling the DixieII+ from the M32's pitch CV and then feeding its audio back through the M32's VCF and just presuming that it should be a doubling VCO for the M32. While the Mother 32 does have that Moog LP VCF...it only has the one VCO, which means it only has ONE part of the "Moog sound". Using the DixieII+ along with it fixes that issue to a decent extent.

As far as other VCOs/sources...wavetable VCOs aren't a bad idea as long as you can "scan" the wavetables, PPG-style. That's a big aspect of that sound, and one that comes to mind that has that ability is The Harvestman's Piston Honda, now in rev 3. Another route would be a pair of complex VCOs, something akin to the Make Noise DPO or Sputnik's Dual Oscillator; these are more akin to Don Buchla's 200-series oscillators, in which you have ample internal crossmod possibilities that can create loads of possible timbres before ever getting out of the VCO itself! Very convenient! But don't neglect other exotic possibilities as well, such as multi-op FM VCOs, thru-zero FM-capable ones, phase distortion oscillators (ala the Casio CZ series), etc. LOTS of possible directions there, from simple to utterly insane.

But this is coming along...just take this process slowly! It's not a race; consider ideas carefully, ask for advice/ideas, and the like. And don't expect the first build to be THE ONE...because it won't be. There's always room for improvement, along many fronts.


Yep, divider goooood...but choose the more capable A-160-2 instead. This gives you not just the usual suboctave division, but an integer count + divide by primes. Then, by adding a simple Boolean logic module such as Doepfer's A-166, you can combine the outputs from the divider + your regular clock to create more complex crossrhythmic gate patterns. Even better would be to add a comparator to this lineup, which would allow you to track voltage curves coming off of the Maths or the Black Modulator or EG to generate a gate pulse when the voltage crosses a determined level. Put this all together with the logic gates, and the rhythmic timing aspect will be bonkers!

And do put the A-138p and o back in there. The Quadratt is great for summing down the VCOs or attenuverting CVs, but it's not much on audio when compared to a proper stereo performance mixer. It's more of a "utility" mixer, plus offset generator and inverter, while the 138 series is very much audio-specific and allows you to build up a stereo image for your stereo Line Out. By feeding the A-138o to the Black DSP, then going from there to the Line Out and using the DSP's wet/dry knob (or CV control over it) to balance your stereo effects against the dry mix, you'll have loads of control over global effects...and STILL get to use the AUX send/return setup in the A-138p/o combo for something like a mono delay (something simple but with CV, like a Dreadbox White Line Echo) that you can mix in on a per-channel basis. Pretty cool, pretty neat!

But yeah, this is rapidly approaching "button 'er up" time. Think about those last two ideas, then I concur with Garfield...this'll be a damn fine system!