Some mixers are AC coupled. Some aren't. The best way to make sure you're not passing DC to your amp, though, is to make sure of this in the source itself. In this case, you're looking for output modules that have transformer isolation or offer balanced outputs (which generally implies transformer isolation). Happy Nerding offers two that are worth consideration: the Isolator is a basic, two-channel transformer-isolated output level attenuator, and their OUT not only offers this, but adds a headphone amp plus a second parallel stereo input which can be used as an effects return, plus you get stereo LED level metering. Also, Bastl's Ciao! does this w/o metering, but has input clip indicators for both stereo in pairs and a potential second stereo (3.5mm TRS) line out and a few headphone monitoring tricks that can allow you to have one stereo pair going to the outputs while the other can be monitored on headphones, allowing you to work on an entire second patch at the same time that the other is playing. Any of these would be very useful.

Not a bad set of choices for an expander cab. One thing I'd suggest for your open space would be another complex function/envelope generator such as the Intellijel Quadra + Quadra Expander mkii, Sputnik Quad Function and Trigger Generator, or the Doepfer A-143-1 (if you can fit a 50mm depth in your case). Since the Shared System will have a Maths, having a different strategy to create complex envelope/modulation curves might be an asset. Also, if we're talking about the original Shared System, you might consider updating to the Rene mkii, as it works together with the Tempi module to unlock a bunch of cross-communicated features. Keep the original, though, as having extra sequencers should never be a problem.

Basically, the Pittsburgh Structure line was designed (and for a time, built) by Monorocket, who had a reputation for making extremely solid cabs with very ample power supplies. The Structure 420 shows this, both in its built quality and the fact that you get an overload and short-protected 6000 mA on each 12V bus, and 5000 mA on the +5. Compare this with the v.3 power supply on the A-100 p9, which is 2000 mA on the +12, 1200 on the -12, and 4000 mA on the +5V rail.

I think you should seriously consider Pittsburgh's Structure 344, though. 5000 mA on each 12V rail + 3000 mA on the +5, same protections + extra RFI filtering, and you get a really well thought out 1U utility row with some very sensible utilities provided. More expensive, yes, but the extras + the form factor (more like a Doepfer p9 in size) make a good bit of difference. fact, I have used (and plan to after the studio upgrading here is finished later this summer) a pair of tube bandpass filters in the analog side of my mixchain which I set up to roll off everything from 10 Hz down and from about 15 kHz up. The filtering eliminates potential low-end losses due to detrimental subsonics and/or DC, as well as countering the 'brittle' sonic issues that result from excessive high-frequency aliasing, particularly in the octave immediately prior to the Nyquist frequency. Plus, this puts 11 active 12AX7A stages per channel into the mixchain to add some extra euphonic even harmonic emphasis, thereby warming things up a tad and deepening the presence of the higher-mids and highs.

Back when the first synths were concocted by Bob Moog and Don Buchla, you didn't encounter a lot of DC-coupled amps. Those came along a little later, as solid state electronics for power levels typically used in amplification became more common. As a as a result of the idea that you should be able to tap a CV at any point in a patch where it might be present, including the output...the idea that the output stage of a synthesizer should be DC-coupled was rather typical, and even persists to this day with some module designers. And that's yet another reason I strongly suggest to users that they make use of a proper output module, because these tend to be (but not always!) AC-coupled only. When you have a transformer or other isolation device before that final output point, the potential for DC-caused failures drops to zero...and you also get a bit of iron in the signal path that might sound good if pushed into a bit of saturation, plus that also helps with noise and ground-loop issues. Note that this isnt the result you get by simply using typical attenuators to step the levels down for output...that, in fact, is guaranteed to pass any DC that is present on the input side of the attenuator, just scaled down but still quite capable of causing harm.

Also, you may not want "hi-fi". For example, if you had an original ARP 2600 displaying all of its sonic capabilities, you'd wind up with damaged speakers and possibly the amp as well...because the ARP 2600 had DC coupled VCAs going right to the output. And passing DC to your speakers WILL wreck them...but you'll be getting everything the 2600 has to offer sonically!

For that matter, once you've dived headlong into electronic music, you'll wind up wondering what "fidelity" is anyway. A lot of inventive work in the various aspects of the field has come out of mistakes, errors, and general screwing around...and NOT trying to achieve some pristine-fidelity result from the instruments and/or processing. The only place you should be concerned with "hi-fi" is when dealing with your DAW's A-D and D-A conversion so that whatever results you got (be that "hi-fi", "lo-fi", "no-fi", or just plain screwed up) are being recorded and reproduced properly. Beyond that, "fidelity" means zilch in a form of music where there's not exactly anything that you're trying to be faithful in reproducing, and in many cases a result that was a pristine "fidelity" result would be utterly useless.

I'm in agreement with Ronin here...this build is all but useless. There's so much stuff missing that would be essential to a modular's operation that I can't even tell exactly where this build is going.

You need to back waaaaay up and study how synthesis works...not just modular, but in general. This build has audio sources...and then it's missing everything forward from that that should be in the audio signal path until you get to the Rainmaker and Audio I/O. The sole modulation source is the Black VC EG...but without filters, VCAs, and so on, that's pretty much useless unless you want to modulate the oscillators to make funny noises. In short, it'll be a rather expensive and unsatisfying not-really-an-instrument.

If you insist on going with modular, you need to understand how it works before doing the musical equivalent of tossing $3k into your fireplace. My suggestion would be to stop messing with MG for a while, and instead get a copy of VCV Rack ( It's free, it functions more or less identically to a Eurorack system, and it has a very extensive module set. Learn what does what, how, and why...and also why the UNsexy modules in a build are sometimes more important (when taken as a whole) than those really superduper ones with the blinkenlights and twistenknobs. And if you insist on spending money on a physical device, start with a patchable synth that has most of the building blocks you need built in so that you have a proper device to learn on.

This is a problem that actually crops up on here a lot, btw. Right now, you have a lot of people running around going bonkers over modular synths, thinking they're the new essential (sort of like the hysteria over the Roland TB-303 in the mid-90s)...but the fact is that unless you have some real sonic ideas and goals in mind that you know require something other than a bespoke instrument, and unless you also know the tech that makes those ideas and goals possible by having learned them either via a good text on the subject, various software tools like VCV Rack, or hardware that's already taken care of the module selection process, the end result will usually be a lot of money spent on an unworkable system.

A power supply fuse? I'd get inside that cab if I were you and see if there's not something shorted or misplugged on your power bus or module ribbons. That's more likely, given that you got the synth turned on and used it before the fuse popped.

Right...ratcheting is a rapid repetition of a single stage's voltage settings, generally at some fraction of the main clock pulse. Although, I will point out that while that Koma Komplex is a rather spendy device, it has a lot of possible control routings that can give you this result along with many others...particularly if you have a Boolean logic module (or two) in your build. Also, modules such as comparators can be used to output controlling gates in conjunction with using a sequencer row for timing CVs. Given enough logic, clock counters, dividers and multipliers, extra gate/trig sequencers and comparators, you can make even a fairly simple sequencer turn backflips.

No, that's fine. While you should always have extra current capacity in a power supply (mainly due to inrush current values on power-up), your total module draws are pretty much within the "safe" figures to avoid an overload.

The thing you're looking for here isn't a's a clock multiplier, and the function you're talking about is "ratcheting". Have a look at Doepfer's A-160-5. That module can output multiple clock pulses based on an incoming clock, and the amount of repetitions can be voltage-controlled. Now, as to how to get it to work...that's going to vary from sequencer to sequencer that you use it with. By and large, though, you're looking at clock modulation and logic functions when you're talking about something of this sort. In some cases, you might be able to trigger the ratcheting from a stage pulse. Others might require something a bit more elaborate with some logic gating. It all more or less depends on which sequencer seems like a good fit for you...and once you sort that out, then the next step will be figuring out how clocking should work for you and all of the related fun with that.

Thread: Change Log

Depth in search results

If you sort by depth the actual module depth is displayed in the module boxes beside the HP info.
Modules without an assigned depth will be excluded from the result.
-- modulargrid

Woo-hoo!!! A very welcome change, especially with all of the 40mm-and-less-type cabs hitting the market these days.

OK, let's answer some of this, sort of out of order...

Not only will a cheap mixer cause noise, there are definite sonic differences between something cheap and something that costs more. And the difference there comes from component quality. Cheap stuff (like Ammoon, Alto, Harbinger, et al) cuts corners on components, with the result being looser tolerances, which sort of cascades as your signal path goes through the board. One sub-par component is bad consider what a couple dozen of them in an audio chain will cumulatively do. Plus, certain mixers have a very specific sound quality to them, most notably the English-designed/made ones. This is what makes a pre-Behringer Midas desk so desirable...but not so much a post-Behringer one, as these don't have the same rounded "English tone" anymore.

Computer line-ins aren't the right thing to use, nope. The culprit here is noise at your A-D conversion stage. This is due to the A-D on a typical sound card (or sound card on the motherboard, depending) being typically unshielded from in-case electronic noise, plus the fact that that connection is going to be a consumer-level (-10 dB instead of +4) line-in and it's also unbalanced, which tends to allow more electronic crud into your signal chain. The line-out isn't as problematic, but to get really good results on recording, you need an outboard interface that's +4 dB, takes either XLR or 1/4" TRS balanced lines, and has a proper ground. And one other point: everything in a recording setup should be star-grounded. By this, I mean that everything you use needs to have a ground that is the same as all other devices, usually done by grounding everything to a single ground point (hence the name). By doing this, you can lower noise and help avoid ground loop issues.

QuickTime is not only the wrong tool, it's also VERY out of date. Use a proper DAW. You already have Audacity, so try recording in that instead. I actually multitrack in Ableton 10.0.6...but I chop loops and clips and also do my final editing and normalizing in Audacity. It works better for that, while Ableton works beautifully on multitracking, track comping, and so on. Ableton is also not the only choice; you might look at Bitwig, which is similar but has some of its aspects more streamlined than Ableton Live.

Now for the last pile of questions...first, EQ. Technically, there's three types: parametric, graphic, and program. Parametric is the type where you can specify the frequency per band, the level at that frequency, etc; you often see these on mixing desks in some form or another. Graphic EQs are the ones with fixed frequency bands with level controls, and tend to see more use in live applications for room correction, but can also be useful for similar purposes in the studio. And program EQs are things such as Pultecs, where you have specific boost/cut stages with their own tailored frequencies, often also working on the overtone spectrum of the selected frequency. This last bit is very typical of the Pultec EQP-1A's low end cut/boost control, where the 'boost' also works on the overtones of the selected frequency, but the 'cut' acts like a normal shelf, with the -3 dB point at the frequency.

For the most part, a program EQ is the only EQ you should boost levels on. All other equalizers should be used to subtract from what's present in the raw signal unless you're using the EQ as an effect in some way. The reason for this is that it's easier to compensate for lower levels of something in a mix than it is to correct levels of some type that're too hot. For example, let's say that one track has a band in the lower-mids that's sticking out, a sonic 'lump' as it were. It would be easier to isolate the 'lump's' frequency and reduce that on that one track than to bring everything else up in various levels and bands to even out the 'lump'. But with a program EQ, what's being done is more akin to "sculpting your mix's tone color"; accordingly, most of the time you'll see program EQs on the final mixbus to do those timbral adjustments.

However, tinkering with EQ without a good monitoring chain...flat, unforgiving response from as low as is feasible in the bass all the way up to the basically pointless. It's like trying to read a map, but you've forgotten to put on the reading glasses you need...ergo, you're probably going to get lost. Never skimp on monitors...unless, of course, you're trying to check your mix on a more "real-world" equivalent, in which case you need to incorporate those "everyday" monitors alongside the other, more precise ones. And this, btw, is how you check your mix; if you need to know how something sounds on, say, a typical set of computer speakers, by all means use some of those after you've done your mix on the mains. But if something needs fixing as a result, do that work back on the mains again. Motown studios always had a pair of 6"x9" car speakers in some cobbled-together wooden boxes in their studios specifically because Berry Gordy wanted to know how their stuff sounded in your typical car...and of course, Motown stuff sounds great in the car because of this "check". Headphones, however, are not something you mix in unless you're specifically mixing for headphones.

As for compression, there are again several types. Limiters basically "smash" everything above their threshold level and hold the dynamic limit right there. More typical compressors have various (and often adjustable) settings for how aggressively the compression happens as the desired level is approached, plus what sort of degree of compression (ie: ratio) is needed. And program compressors, like their EQ counterparts, are more for riding gain and "gluing together" a mix while used on the mixbus. As for the right way to use these, first keep in mind that anything over 4:1 ratio winds up behaving and sounding like limiting, especially with a hard "knee" (that "aggression" setting) at the threshold level. To get a compressor to behave transparently, use lower compression ratios and softer "knee" settings, which will then allow the compressor to compress over-level signals enough to fix level problems but not to make the track in question sound like its being "mashed". Unless, of course, that's what you want, since compressors are also useful for adding distortion and overload character to sounds that can use a beef-up.

Program compressors, though...those are a bit different. In their case, you use compression to get the overall stereo level on the mixbus to "float" around the desired track's loudness without exceeding 0 dB. So the meters on a program compressor might be floating at around -3 to -5 dB, and you'll use the makeup gain to bring that result's level up to where you need it to be post-compression. These are a good bit trickier to use well; like anything else in music worth doing, they require practice.

As for what to use...that's up to you, and what sort of sound you're going for. A good place to start, though, would be KVR Audio (, which has a trove of free plugins. You should, over time, be able to find the ones that work for your music and workflow...but again, this takes time, because in this process you're actually tailoring your DAW to be your bespoke recording "instrument".

Hopefully some of that is of use...

Simple: you have output 4 and output other 4.

That's an ongoing problem...when you're dealing with little boutique manufacturers, you're not dealing with a company that can farm out its PCB fab and stuffing to someplace in Shenzhen. Sure, big firms can do that easily enough, but when the "manufacturer" consists of one or two people, supply and demand kick in with a vengeance.

As for stats, well, Sweetwater has a whole website and print catalog section dedicated to Eurorack. If there wasn't a sizable market for that, they wouldn't have bothered., if the idea of that uFold is to treat the two VCOs, you might be better off trying to jam a Tiptop Fold Processor in there instead. That module gives you dual inputs, and you also get a square-wave frequency divider for Roland monosynth-ish suboctaves. And even though it's 12 hp, it comes in at a lower price than the uFold. The circuit is a tad different, but the results from the Tiptop folder should be more or less the same...provided you only use one input, that is; the ability to unity-mix and waveshape, though, that's a definite plus and puts Tiptop's module into a different level of functionality.

Actually, having a pair of the same or similar VCOs makes perfect sense. If you're using the Dixie II+ as a 'primary' VCO, then the II is an excellent choice as a doubling VCO, since the waveform purity and control behavior should be extremely similar. The Rene choice is also just fine, given that you've paired it with the Tempi; the two of those together are a very potent combo due to some shared functions between the pair. About the only change I'd consider here would be to remove the LxD and the Intellijel Unity Mixer (the TriATT next to it is sufficient), and swap in a pair of Erica Pico LPGs which then give you internal decay envelopes on 'ping' plus some resonance adjustments for better LPG control.

OK, I admit it...the amount of super-useful modules that dropped in the past month was so unexpectedly HUGE that I'm sort of stuck. I got half of the ones for the month looked over...and still made three-plus pages out of that alone.

It's really only a problem for me, though. The deluge of Eurorack has seemingly reached the point where the run-up to Superbooth this year was a flood of amazing ideas interspersed within really good basic modules. So while it became almost impossible to keep pace (and work on my own music, studio upgrading, etc), it does mean that what we're seeing now might be an outbreak of some of the best new modules in quite some time. Brilliant ideas are afoot...the use of embedded processors, the hybridization of analog + digital, modules that literally change the whole game up...these came out in a torrent starting last month. This month, and while Superbooth is going on as I type this, has been just plain jaw-dropping.

So while it's a hellish time to review Eurorack offerings, I think it's safe to say that this is the most amazing time to be a synthesist since Bob and Don cobbled together their first systems. There is such a confluence now of the old, new, strange, and relatively normal that, while it's become nearly impossible for me to keep up with developments for the KICK ASS!!! columns, we have a wealth of new devices out there that're worthy of serious attention. For example, did I ever think someone would kick out a clone of the Korg KMS30 MIDI-to/from-DINsync box? No. But did Pharmasonic do exactly that? Yes. Or something such as 4ms's six-voice Spherical Wavetable Navigator, virtually a synth in of itself? Who could've seen THAT coming? And whole new lines in which everything was a "nailed it!" module, like Starling? What are the odds, really?

So, bask in the glow of many, many shiny new toys, MG denizens. Eurorack has come a long, LONG way since the days when it was just Dieter and a handful of others working with a weird adaptation from test and industrial process equipment to concoct the format. The gamut of manufacturers has exploded, ModularGrid has certainly played a part in ramping up the viability of the format, and the now-huge user base's demands for complexity, quality, and new ideas is being loudly and clearly heard. And all of that together is a very, very good thing indeed!

First up, your build's got some problems. That A-135-1 is outside the span of the rails. Plus, if this is a 3U Rackbrute cab, you need to put the Arturia power supply in there because you'll lose 5 hp from that necessary module.

Once those are corrected, my first suggestion would be to move to a 6U Rackbrute, at least while you're sorting out things on MG. Not only is it a good idea to "build big" then pare things down, generative music tends to require quite a bit more than you have here. For example, there's NO modulation sources here (Disting notwithstanding)...and modulation sources are essential to creating the internal variation that generative composition requires to sound effective. I also don't see anything that would deal with variations in timing, such as trigger/gate delays, logic, randomization. There's no random signal source (also pretty necessary in generative music).

My suggestion, ultimately, is that you should probably try and explore generative patch architecture before you jump into the cash outlay on a physical modular. If you haven't already, download a copy of VCV Rack (at and load it up with all the free module packs. Then start in there...NOT with a physical device, at least, not until you've got a clearer picture of what a self-regulating generative patch requires in terms of hardware to make it work. Trying to create something of this sort without some adequate research will probably only result in an expensive device that generates more frustration than music. Then bring what you've learned back over to MG, whip up a 6U Rackbrute, and start.

Well, if the objective is to keep this very West Coast, I'd yank the DPO altogether and put in a Maths instead. Since Maths is a complex-wired version of what's basically a Serge Dual Universal Slope Gen, it fits. You can use the two slope gens as modulation, or you can cycle them at audio rates for extra VCOs. Lose the buffered mults; you don't have enough tuning-critical signals in here to justify their expense, and the rig itself is small enough that inline mults or stackcables make a lot more sense here. With those removed, you then might want to put in a 2hp delay to go along with the 2hp reverb (since reverb was key to the Buchla sound, and delay [via the Wilson Analog Delay] was a significant part of the original Serge sound). And since these simpler modules are "appropriate", then you can remove the DSP as being more or less redundant.

Another redundancy might be found with the A-149-1. The Wogglebug is actually an augmented version of the Buchla Source of Uncertainty, so having two of these is a bit much. The A-149-1 is also WAAAY too deep for a Rackbrute cab; you want to keep your module depths around 40mm or less so that you can have space for your ribbons and airflow inside the cab. With that gone, you might then want to add a stereo filter to tone-shape your mixer output; while VCFs that are typical to subtractive synthesis aren't 100% "West Coast", adding something that can act as an overall timbral shaper would be right. Have a look at WMD's Overseer, for example. It's not a "normal" VCF, but if you used it post-mix as a timbral control (either manually or modulated) that would be more in line with what the Buchla 291 is for, especially since you can CV the response behavior which makes it act more like the 291e's "morphing" capability.

Last, something additive as a VCO. The Verbos Harmonic is nice. It's also HUGE and as such, isn't really appropriate for a small build. The Mannequins Mangrove, however, is only 10 hp and while you can't directly address individual harmonics, you still have quite a bit of leeway in manipulating harmonic content with it.

This should be a lot more spot-on with the West Coast model. I am wondering about that MScale, though...if this is in an Arturia cab, wouldn't it be linked with a Minibrute 2 or 2s and not a Moog? Or does the MScale deal with a Moog that's somewhere else in your rig?

Totally different...the A-110-6 is an analog VCO/LFO with the appropriate circuitry for TZFM and quadrature outputs, while the Plaits is a microprocessor-based digital oscillator with several very useful synthesis methods. While it might seem that that might not be a "proper match", the fact is that the A-110-6 is one of the analog VCOs that has the timbral complexity potential to hold its own against the Plaits when in use as a VCO, and has ample quadrature-phased waveform outputs for LFO use that can make the Plaits go morphing-bonkers when using the A-110-6 in that mode.

Which brings up another point: when looking at modules, always also look at how certain modules can synergize with each other. In this case, you could opt for two different sets of possible uses, both with some major sonic plusses to them...but if there's two that are obvious enough on the surface, there's apt to be MUCH more lurking there, waiting to be discovered once they're in a cab.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the Tiptop Fold has a suboctave divider; you can get up to four octaves down from your initial pitch with that. That would kind of disqualify the DixieII+, since you'd be duplicating a function with it that's better-implemented in the Fold. Instead, try and aim for adding more modulation possibilities with the VCO choices while maintaining cost-effectiveness. That Doepfer A-110-6, for example, is $21 more than the DixieII+...but it gives you quadrature outputs both as a VCO and LFO, has thru-zero FM capability, plus both linear and exponential FM. This makes it useful as a modulation source in LFO mode, and as an audio VCO with some very strange FM capabilities. Sounds like something worth $21 to me!

The Tiptop Fold is definitely something to consider, but I'd be more inclined to use it on the modules since the MB2 already has its own waveshaping via the "Brute Factor" control. One thing you might seriously think about, though, would be something more potent as a second VCO to tandem with the STO. Not only would this give you the ability to create nice, thick, detuned sounds between the two VCOs, you can use the dual inputs of the Fold as a de facto mixer, bringing them directly into the waveshaper. My suggestion would be to look at the Doepfer A-110-6, as this would also add thru-zero FM possibilities and the modulated timbral capabilities that brings. Or for around the same price, you could even go with the VOID Gravitational Waves, which would put something more West Coast-ish in with a complex VCO to team with the STO.

That's sort of unfortunate, really...even though having balanced power can be a bit of a wiring hassle, balanced power = CLEAN power. I switched from having that same (more typical in N. America) single hot-leg setup to proper balanced 120 V some years ago, and the results were amazing. You could definitely tell that the noise floor in the studio had dropped, and because of the phasing done by the balancing toroids, various clicks and pops and other intrusive powerline garbage were totally eradicated. And all of my gear worked just fine on that balanced arrangement, as well. True, it's definitely a hassle to wire, because mistakes in wiring that sort of thing (floating grounds, especially!) can lead to a lot of problems that you normally don't see in unbalanced power circuits...but, again, the results were worth the trouble.

FYI, if you're seeing 110 volts across these devices, then one of your voltage legs has a wiring fault. Power systems in Europe tend to use balanced power, which puts half of the total line voltage on each voltage leg. This sounds very much like one of the legs is going directly to ground, which is a serious -- and potentially dangerous -- problem. Again, I cannot more highly stress the need for ground fault testers to be part of any electronic musician's "must-haves", both for studio use and to check live venue power situations.

Complex VCOs are just as capable of doing ambient music as they are for creating gnarly, raucous racket. The deciding factor is simply how you use it. The nice thing about them, though, is that you can easily whip up complex spectra within one module...which was something of a key thing for the Buchla, which is where the complex oscillator idea comes from. In Buchla's synths, the main working method was to build up complex sounds, then run the results through a low-pass gate, basically a tandemmed LPF and VCO under the same envelope's control.

Anyway, the upshot is that you should be able to use a complex VCO however you see fit. The Buchlas were just as capable at creating delicate, atmospheric sounds as anything else, but the architecture allowed you a little "more" in terms of working with the sounds in real time.

Heh...actually, my idea with all of those VCOs is to have them handy as either an audio or modulation source. All of them have that convenient VCO/LFO switch, which I wish we'd see more of as it's super-handy to be able to flip that and alter the oscillator function on the fly. Plus, given that the Gravitational Waves's oscillators can flip functions like that as well, you have the on the fly ability to completely alter the audio-range oscillator in one of those pairs by radically changing the FM rate. I like that; that functionality was one of the more convenient things about the ARP 2600's VCOs.

There's a new complex VCO on the market, just hit in the last month: VOID Modular's Gravitational Waves. It has everything you'd expect out of the DPO, etc, plus an onboard ring mod. The two big differences here are the size and price: 18 hp, $250. You could fit one of these into a DPO's space and only need to clear 8 more hp to put in a second...and two together cost less than a single DPO. Sounds like a win to me!

And yes, you do need three VCOs for maximal possibilities for sound design. Instead of the Rubicon, take would be two of the above, plus a Doepfer A-110-6. That way, you also get TZFM capability along with a pair of West Coast-ish VCOs with a minimal footprint and minimal $$ outlay.

I'll second the #3 above...but only inasmuch as the MU section still needs something to accomodate half-height modules. And yes, even though COTK has a different idea of what MU half-height is, I would figure a "generic" half-height row measurement would work in the same way the 1U tile rows work in Eurorack for both normal and Intellijel format. But at this point where Moon and COTK are both heavily into this size format and there's others inching into it as well, it would seem like something that needs accomodating. A similar situation exists in the Buchla universe with the H series modules plus the 1U "ModuleModules" that Eardrill's got, but that seems more difficult to fix given that each module slot can have either two H-series or four ModuleModules, and this isn't a per-row thing.

Thread: Current Rack

That's certainly what I'd do. Fact is, if something has its own case, leave it there...given the cost of a Eurorack case and how much each hp costs, it's best to leave things that're cased in their cases, and use the higher-cost Eurorack cab spaces for things that require them.

In fact, let's look at this for a bit. Assuming both are Intellijel cabs, and not taking the 1U tiles into account, there's 376 hp of 3U space between these two cases. Then the street cost of those cases together is $ a little simple math shows that each hp in those cabs has a pricetag of $3.32. That's not an insignificant number. So when you take a module that comes in a case (which, since the case is OEM, we'll put that at $0 per hp) like the DFAM, and drop it into a Eurorack case...well, with the DFAM, you're using $199.20 worth of Eurorack case, meaning you actually lose that much money by putting the DFAM in there. Not good!

Certainly...that's what the Expansion board was intended for. However, keep in mind that the Werkstatt's pitch CV is set to something very abnormal -- but it can be rescaled for standard 1V/8va. Go here: and you'll find the recal directions plus a few other things you'll need to know.

This is a rather smallish build, for starters. In addition to the above advice, I would add that you should try for maximum functional density. If there's a 20 hp module whose functions could be found in 16 hp, then go for the smaller size. If you find a VCO module that has two VCOs in the same panel space that currently houses one, then go for the two. As noted, Clouds, Braids, and Z-DSP are all either discontinued or superceded, so you can start by yanking those out if you don't have them already. But here's an example of what I'm talking about...

A Braids module occupies 16 hp of space. Mutable's upgraded version is the Plaits, which fits into 12 hp. But if you look at Codex Modulex's "shrunk" third-party versions of the Braids and Plaits (their uOsc-I and uOsc-II respectively), you'll notice that these are 8 hp, so this means you can effectively fit two of these (or one of each) into the space the Braids currently fits in and, in the process, double your oscillator compliment. Similarly, while Intellijel's uMIDI occupies 6 hp, it only gives you one channel of voice CV/gates. But if you went up 2 more hp, this allows you to use an Expert Sleepers FH-2, which gives you eight assignable CV/gate outputs and two inputs so that you could use clocking on the modular to control DAW tempi, allow a CV to change parameters in the DAW, and so on. Plus, you can expand it if needed, and it has a lot of functions the uMIDI doesn't but which you'll probably find useful.

A couple of other things to consider: first of all, if you're tempted to add mults, don't. Use inline mult devices or stackcables instead of losing functional HP to multiples. Second, if you can find a powered cab to use instead of one that requires the power supply to be placed on the patchpanel, go with that and free up four more hp. Lastly, consider what you're missing here, VCAs being the obvious one. Sure, they're not sexy...but they're essential as they allow level control for both audio AND modulation/CV. Perhaps look at a case with a 1U tile row? Intelljel has these, but they're formatted for their special tile format. Or you could simply try putting everything in a bigger 3U cab...many of us tend to recommend "going big" while doing initial builds on MG, then paring things down from that. Case in point (pun intended), have a look here: Now, this is not only powered, it also has a depth that will allow pretty much anything to be mounted in it, and if/when you're ready to enlarge your system, you can add a second one of these with Erica's dual-case sidepanels and still have everything in one handy unit.

There's LOTS of options here; don't try and get everything right in your first build, because no one ever does. Use MG as the modular building sandbox that it is, and work out possibilities to the point where you're sure there's no more possibilities to work out...THEN spend the money, as you'll be spending it a lot more sensibly that way!

Sounds right...the thing that a lot of people starting in modular forget are those, and they're pretty essential. Using them on audio is the obvious thing, but the fact is that when you start using VCAs to control things such as modulation levels, or use them as modulation tools to impose a second modulation onto a first, that's when the voodoo that modular has starts to get really apparent. Plus, they have audio uses that aren't so obvious, such as crossmodulating one audio signal with another via AM using a VCA, resulting in some rich ring-modulation-type timbres. They just look boring, that's all.

Yep, VCAs are the missing things here. Consider adding some for audio and CV/modulation, given that you want that sense of gradual shift/flow with that sort of music. I'd suggest something that can break up the two different functions while also providing mixing, such as Happy Nerding's 3xVCAs. At 6 hp, they're small enough to fit in nicely, and they allow you to separate two mixed VCAs from a separate one in case you need to split up the VCAs' functions even further like that.

No list suggestions, but one technical one: try and keep things dealing with audio away from the power supply. That area is fine for modulation sources, CVs, etc, but if there's a bit of noise on your DC that creeps into the P/S, it can also sneak into the audio paths. The MScale, buffered mult, and MIDI interface are fine, but you might want a little more distance for the In/Out and the A-119, especially since both have preamps that can boost low-level audio. Otherwise, this is looking pretty damn good!

Yeah, if you're a routine user of Scala, you'll really like the FH-2. Plus, since it understands USB hubs, you can have both a controller and computer connected via that so that you can have your performance setup intact without having to yank everything to "blow" new Scala tables into the FH-2. And since you're going bigger, you might also look at Expert Sleepers' Disting...sort of a Swiss army knife of DSP-type functions hiding behind a 4 hp faceplate.

Actually, you managed to nail the architecture as best as you could in this tiny a space, which is pretty impressive. However, if you plan to use this with a Beatstep, you might also look at Expert Sleepers' FH-2. This will need a 4 hp expander for 5-pin MIDI use...but if you went with a Beatstep Pro, then you could directly link to the FH-2 via USB, freeing up 4 hp for other uses. The FH-2 uses standard Scala format scale tables for microtunings, and offers a bit more freedom in configuration as the eight outputs are user-configurable. Plus, since it has four inputs for CV or gate, you can get the modular to "talk back" to the BSP depending on how the FH-2's been configured.

A better idea, though, would not only be to use the FH-2 instead of the Yarns, but to move up a bit more in size. An Intellijel 4U x 104 hp cab would not only let you use more than double the present 3U space for standard modules, you'd also have the 1U Intellijel-format tile row in which some other basic functions can be placed, such as I/O, a basic mixer, noise + S&H, mults and so on. The form factor would work nicely with the BSP if you went that route, also. Plus, you can put a 1U Zeroscope in that row, which has a tuner that displays in Hz...which, if you're doing tuning-critical stuff, would be majorly useful!

Thread: Chinese Spam

It did slow them way down, though. I saw this after they apparently gave up last night, and they'd been reduced from several posts per minute to about one per minute, and when I hit the site they'd seemingly given up about ten minutes previously. So, it might not be blocking them but it appears to be discouraging their efforts.

I'd yank the USB power ports, for starters. In a small rig like this, anything you can do outboard needs to be done outboard. This would give 15 hp, so...Xaoc Batumi + Poti = 13 hp, and a Circuit Abbey Twiggy dual ringmod/quadrant multiplier to use both for ring modulation or as a spare VCA or polarizer. That's where I'd go, fwiw...

No, cases aren't usually included with proper modulars. While the complement above isn't bad, what I'd suggest is to perhaps look at something along the lines of a patchable synth first to get your feet wet and get some understanding about how synthesis architecture works first. By doing that, you'd have a firmer grasp on what needs to be in a proper system and you'd have the system's fundamental building blocks in the form of the patchable, onto which you can expand as needs be. Something like a Moog Mother32/DFAM pair, Soundmachines Modulor114, Plankton Ants!, Kilpatrick Phenol, Pittsburgh Microvolt or Blackbox, or Arturia MiniBrute2 and 2s pair might make a lot more sense from a learning standpoint for right now than trying to build up a complete system.

It's getting there, yep...I still think the Maths would be preferable to just the single VC Slope of the Contour because of all of the internal routings you can do with it to reconfigure it in some very complex ways. Why not pull the Contour in favor of a Doepfer A-140-2 or an A-141-4 for some additional "proper" ADSR EGs? Also, you might consider a comparator or two, since adding those plus a Maths would give you a decent compliment of modulation sources on which you could use the comparator(s) to fire gates when the modulation curves pass given voltage points. Put this together with some logic to work with the Varigate, and you'll have lots of rhythmic mayhem possibilities.

Ladik C-041? Hey...why settle for two when four in the same space is even better! Or you can do one of those and still have room for one of their variations on ADSRs.

On that last bit: in theory, you can do that with the RCD, but your VCA envelope will simply be on/off, no contouring. To make that work optimally, find a couple of smallish EGs (two-stage would be just fine, IMHO) and trigger those with RCD clocks, then send the envelopes to the VCAs as control signals. You can lose the mult as well...I find them to be impractical in a small build like this, with inline mults and/or stackcables being preferable to losing 4 hp to a dedicated mult module where something active would make more sense.

Neither. If budget is a concern and you want maximum function, AUX send/returns, and an output, check out Ladik's M-175 mixer and M-053 AUX Mixer. With these, you get it all in 20 hp, for $147-ish + shipping. This gives you three mono AUX sends, four pannable mono mixer channels, plus two more stereo mixer channels suitable for AUX returns. And the mixer has dual 1/4" TRS outputs with a master level control. For this sort of thing on a budget, it doesn't get much better.

Ronin's got it...yeah, try and squish everything as much as you can if you intend to stay in this small a cab. You need to use both sizable modules that're jam-packed with functions like the Hermod or Toolbox, or try and shrink down your basics to as small as you can get while still keeping user interface functionality.

Thread: Chinese Spam

Yuppers...definitely bots. When you're refreshing the Forums window every 15 seconds and 2-3 more pop up, and the bandwidth of the site is so choked that it's halfway to being like a DDos, that's the only possible conclusion. Captcha time, I think...

KICK ASS!!! for March 2019 we're starting to percolate! March brings us a month closer to Superbooth, the festival of all things synth for Europe. April should see even more action, but for now, there's some nifty stuff that's peeked over the edge of the box in this past month's Eurorack offerings. So, let's dive in and have a look at some interesting picks...

Ladik L-122 Uncertain LFO – Ladik kicked a couple of LFOs out last month, too...but neither of those were as laden with Abuse Potential as this thing. Frankly, I'm surprised at what they crammed into 4 hp, but even moreso, amazed at the price of about $73! No mere LFO, offers 36 fixed waveshapes, but the real excitement here has to be the randomized amplitude and waveshape change actions this module's got. This is no mere 'waveform-goes-up-and-down''s a really complex and capable modulation source, and much too complicated to nail down here, so go check its listing!

G-Storm Electro Transistor-82 – And who doesn't like ticky, hissy, blonky analog drums? I know I do, and apparently G-Storm does as well. On first glance, you'd think this was simply a single voice-only module...but not so! With several modulation points to vary settings on the fly, you can sequence up a number of tasty analog beats and have 'em all coming out of this in a crazy, retro-beatbox style. Knobs on this beg to be twiddled on the fly, too. Those in search for way-cool electro-style drum sounds need to check this...especially G-Storm's short but very revealing video. 14 hp, $175.

Mutant Modular Fan Synth – It's Yep, it's a fan, and it's not designed to make noise. Rather, it provides ample “suck” to pull cool air into your Eurorack cab, which you can then vent through some other vent panel or a couple of spare 1 hp “holes”. So...why this? OK, let's say you gig out with your rack, and it's summer, and the venue is a blazing 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, add that to the normal heat buildup inside the cab, and pretty soon, things are probably going to start misbehaving. Tunings get weird, timings slip, and all of those other no-fun thermal problem results. But with this cheap fix, you can now have forced-air cooling of the insides of the cab at all times, bringing down the thermal load on your power supply, stabilizing temperature-sensitive modules, and doing other similar thermal stress-relief things that your Eurorack will thank you for later. The only downside is that Mutant Modular doesn't offer a matching vent panel to go with this (would look snazzy, mind you), but that's just an aesthetics issue, not a functional one. 4 hp, approx $56.

West Oakland Music Systems Sinulator – Two tasty waveshaping functions in one! First, the Sinulator can take incoming saw or triangle waves and smooth 'em out to nice sine tones. But for the real bring-tha-crazy, it also can do up to six folds, letting you turn waveshapes from tame to insane inside this one module. And not only that, it's got an onboard VCA which allows the circuit to also function as a TZFM modulator. Waveshaping is CVable as well. Yep, this thing screams ABUUUUSE!!!!, plus the size and price are right for all of this waveshaping mayhem: 8 hp, $150.

VOID Modular Gravitational Waves – I have two problems with Buchla-esque complex VCOs in Eurorack. One, they tend to be pretty chunky, taking up a lot of panel space. And two, they're usually not cheap. Then along comes this thing...and it blows those issues all to hell! This module offers two cross-modulated and fully-featured triangle-core VCO/LFOs together with an onboard ring mod, in just that sort of configuration that insists on creating oscillational madness! And as the cherry on the cake, VOID put the “fine” tune control on the BIG knobs, meaning that you have some manual pitch-tweaking leeway here without throwing the whole thing out of tune immediately. Smart! But the big smarts are these: 18 hp, $250. Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Rossum Electro-Music Panharmonium – Moving along from complex oscillators to crazy-as-hell oscillators, we find this. Technically, it is and isn't an oscillator. It has oscillators (33 of them, to be precise), but what they get used for is to sort of...ah...”reconstruct” an incoming sound. This is more than a little crazy in analog synthesis, because that functionality is much more something you'd find in the classic high-end digitals such as the Fairlight or the Synclavier, where this sort of thing is more commonly referred to as “resynthesis”. Dave Rossum uses that term here too, because...well, that basically is what it is. The Panharmonium analyzes and then resynthesizes incoming spectra, with ample opportunities to also screw around with the incoming and/or outgoing spectra. This is another one that simply does too much to go into in these short little blurbs, and I insist you check out the listing on MG to get the full-on skinny about this. Oh, and did I mention it was super skiff-friendly at a skimpy 25mm depth? That's a nice stat...but these are (given what this thing is capable of, which even I can't 100% speculate's that function-deep) even better: 26 hp, $499.

Plum Audio Dazzle tile version – Only available as a DIY kit, this might be a worthwhile excuse to figure out how to solder. Plum Audio's got something neat here: a 1U (standard, not Intellijel) format tile that gives you some nifty functions derived from Mutable Instruments' Blinds. Panning, CVable polarization, and VCA pair all in one tiny but potent package. Frankly, it's not only a good argument for beefing up your construction skills, but for the worthwhile inclusion of a 1U row or two in your build, as those can take basic functions like these and move 'em out of the way, leaving you more space for the meat-n-potatoes stuff in your 3Us. 20 hp, $150.

So, not a monster haul of Euro goodness...yet! But if the sorts of things starting to pop up in this month's column are any indicator, there's going to be some brain-meltingly-amazing stuff in the pipeline for May and Superbooth. Keep watching! in the end, it sounds like you're looking for something more complex than just a typical CV/gate sequencer, something that has some "theory savvy" to it, either in the sequencer itself or via a quantizer setup that can deal with the chordal functions. I would suggest looking at modules along the lines of the Squarp Hermod, Orthogonal's ER-101/102 pair, ACL's Sinfonion, Winter Modular's Eloquencer, Five12's Vector, 1010 Music's Toolbox, The Harvestman's Argos Bleak, or a third-party build of the Ornament and Crimes. Also, pairing this with something along the lines of an external controller that can also sequence or handle chordal duties would be a good idea; check out the very useful Arturia Keystep, Kilpatrick's Carbon, Squarp's Pyramid, Conductive Labs' NDLR, or the Future Retro Zillion.

Don't worry about aesthetics at this point. Keep in mind that you're going to want to go through numerous builds on MG before committing to the actual device. Also, using an overly-large cab in your MG build will help in that you can overbuild, then pare things down to something approximating your final result. But again...expect to do that a number of times before you start spending.

Anyway, by "inputting pitched sequences" do you mean that you want to play notes in and have them recorded as a sequence, or are you talking about more typical sequencer usage?

It's interesting, but it also seems a bit much like overkill and unnecessary expense. Wouldn't it be simpler to use an ALM Akemie's Castle as the core of this, instead of the discrete quadrature VCOs, etc?