VCAs...? Attenuators? Submixing for mod/CV signals? Sample and Hold? Clock modulators? Uhmmmm...OSCILLATORS??

OK, no. What you have here isn't a modular synth, but a prime example of "Sexy Module Syndrome". You have the snazzy stuff, but the synth is missing critical parts that are what makes it work. And yes, they're boring and all...but so are tires; try driving your car without them. But the upshot is that this is nowhere near complete. Your best option here is to delete this and start over altogether to avoid repeating something like this. Try and work in "blocks"...the "voicing", the "filtering" etc, and make sure those blocks have all of their necessary modules before going on to the next.

Also, given what it sounds like you're trying to do here, I think you're going to have a lot of trouble trying to cram that amount of functions into 2 x 104 + 1U. You are probably looking at something bigger for the real solution.


Have I made an ass of myself? I feel like that's what I've done. Sorry.

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

Thread: Erica Rack

Alright, here goes nothing. This is mostly for posterity. I also like to hear myself talk.

This is my first-ever, self-designed Eurorack case. I bought an Erica Pico III in November of 2019 and challenged myself to build my own "Pico System"-like case to work with it, since, although I loved it, it was missing some of the functionality I wanted it to have after jamming with it for a few weeks. I knew I wanted to keep it to just Erica modules, and I was interested in having at least one Black series module in there just so it wasn't exactly like the Pico II with switched modules. I also didn't wanna deal with drum programming cuz it seemed like a hassle. More on that later (with maybe a little irony if you enjoy that kinda thing).

This case has evolved a lot since I first conceptualized it, but it has done so through hours and hours of jamming (solo and with a good buddy of mine) and patching. Eventually, I purchased a 6U 84HP skiff from Erica which most/all of these modules will move in to once I'm done, but I have that in mind when choosing how to build this thing.

The first few modules I chose and purchased were the Black Modulator and the A Logic. The PSIII has a lot of good sounds, but it's lacking modulation sources. At the time I had no idea how to utilize the EGs or the LPGs well (and I'm still getting used to those concepts, by the way). Between the BM and the AL, I was thinking it would add 11 (net 9 since two inputs into the AL are required, and those had to come from somewhere) new outputs into the combined system, which is a lot more ways to, well, modulate stuff. I got the BM on sale, but I didn't realize that the "clock in" only affects the S&H output, which was a weird design choice... makes sense that there's a V2 of this module now, which has a "clock in" that affects all of the outputs. Anyway, I still like it, and the price was definitely right ($50 off regular price for the win), but not sure it'll make the cut into my new 6U.

The A Logic is a fantastic module and I'm very happy I chose it. I have had a lot of fun feeding it tons of different stuff, and trying different outputs to modulate the same thing somewhere else has led to a lot of happy accidents in patching ("I wonder what the minimum voltage curve of a distorted pulse wave and a mellow triangle wave would sound like when used as a CV for envelope decay...?"). That said, I still wanted more (Eurorack understatement of the century, perhaps). And the voices on the PSIII are a little rudimentary (though very harsh and intense if you want them to be, plus the "Mod" module, which is essentially the Pico RND, has a Noise and S&H output so there are actually a lot of good choices especially if you have stack-cables available). So, I opted to get perhaps a bit more musical and dip into the Pico Voice and Pico Seq. I also grabbed the Pico Scale on sale and ended up grabbing a Pico Trigger as well (hint: it's not just good for drums).

The Voice and Seq took me a little while to wrap my head around... after all, they both have multicolor LEDs (the Seq has TWO, which reveal a ton of amazing options, all of which are superbly performance-friendly) and lots of hidden options. However, this is also where things started to come together really well. After getting the hang of the basic controls, I started patching unusually; using an oscillator from the PSIII to modulate the CV of the Voice module while the Seq controls the Gate of said oscillator (via an envelope and the PSIII's onboard VCO Ctrl module, of course), and the pitch/CV out from Seq controls the Voice's notes really opened my mind to how nuts this whole thing can get. Yikes. It's just intense. Not always great-sounding, but learning these interactions started cementing in my mind the point-of-view that I needed to keep developing what I had.

The Pico Scale is something I mostly picked up because it was a). cheap as hell due to Erica discontinuing it, and, b). it can send both normal and inverted signal from whatever's patched in. The attenuation/boosting part is just icing on the cake to me. The Trigger seemed cool but I didn't really know what I would use it for. It ended up being a lot more useful than I thought it would be. I immediately programmed it with some simple clock divisions (quarter-notes, eighth-notes, dotted eights, and sixteenth-notes) and fed it clock from the PSIII's Mod Pulse output, which was getting clock from my Volcas/Minilogue XD. This instantly allowed me to trigger multiple oscillators/LPGs/EGs with different timings, and I had an "a-ha" moment that led to lots of fun patching.

After those last two modules, I purchased the Pico Ring, a ring modulation circuit that's pretty self-explanatory. I have yet to use it to its full potential, but I figured it would be fun (and it is, even with nothing plugged into the second input as it has its own sine wave internally routed to modulate the carrier). It's an affordable, interesting effect. And, now I'm at the point where I'm not quite sure what I want to do. I decided I wanted to use my Korg Volca percussion synths (Kick and Drum) in conjunction with my rack. They sound super cool run through the LPGs on the PSIII, for instance (especially with some clever CVs on the LPG circuits), and I love the tactile, immediate feel of these two, especially in tandem. They're also superb for performances; responsive and rewarding to play. They just don't work well when mixed in with the other oscillators and sounds due to the differences in signal amplitude, so I opted to grab a Pico Input for the small rack. It was affordable and seemed like a logical choice to bring them up to the "Eurorack standard," plus I can just leave them plugged into that between other patches (like a permanent "mix" input or something).

Over the past few weeks I've also learned that, well, you can never have enough VCAs. This is apparently common knowledge among modular fans, but I've mostly been building my rack for apparent sounds (voices and effects; subtle modulations be damned!). Therefore, I took an opportunity to snag an Erica Pico VCA, which is discontinued. Found one used and in excellent condition for under $100, though, and it seems like a cool device. No pots, very simple and straight-forward, but from my quick perusal of the manual, it seems to normalize the second input to the first, and even has a jumper on the PCB you can utilize to make the second input's CV independent from the first even if its input is normalized. Split VCA modulation with only one input, for the win? For the price, definitely. Now I'm looking into grabbing another Pico Seq (likely going to use with one of the PSIII oscillators for now to make a polyphonic synth voice and potentially polyrhythmic sequences) and the Pico VCF1 (cuz who doesn't love a nice Russian lowpass filter?). I mean, if I'm depending on the PSIII for filters, it's gonna be rough going, because those LPGs are intensely resonant and tough to control.

Cheers if you read this. This is mostly for my own use, so I can see where I was at one point once I inevitably build into that 6U monster rack. At least, it seems monstrous compared to the 42HP case this one is. Humble beginnings...


The problem is that Omnisphere is Omnisphere...attempting to replicate what software can do is pretty pointless when you're talking about something on that level of complexity. I mean, I have Iris2 myself...but I would never try to make hardware behave like it, because it just won't.

Anyway, this build sure does look expensive. As in, some parts are pointlessly so. And there's loads missing; how do you expect to use the Doepfer A-155 without its companion controller module, for example? Where are the attenuverters? The submixers? Where are the modules that make these expensive ones actually usable? Oh, they're boring? Tough. They're also necessary.

First of all, take your ten most expensive modules in this build and find suitable replacements at a more sensible price. That alone will drop the cost of this down, potentially by over a grand. And make things SMALLER...84 hp is a lot tighter than you think!

Second, you seem to have some ideas of how modulars function...but the ideas still seem to have flaws (like thinking you'll be fine with only an external mixer...and if you think so, then how do you intend to mix any of your modulation signals?). Prior to blowing money on an expensive rig like this with limited functionality due to uninformed choices, I would strongly suggest getting a copy of VCV Rack and exploring how things work in that virtual Eurorack environment. Some things are different, true, but the BASICS remain the same and it's from that that one learns what parts must be in a synth build for proper functionality.

Definitely keep working...but not on this version.
-- Lugia

Thanks for your feedback! I'll definitely put some more sub mixers in there & probs take out the Furthrrrr Generator, maybe clouds, but the more expensive vco's and filters just sound thick & juicy enough to justify the price


Hi Ross9999,

Spooky techno sounds, that sounds quite interesting actually :-) Now I don't know much about techno music, so I can't advise you on that part, however some general points that you might want give some thoughts:

  • It's totally okay to use an external mixer however to mix all your (CV and/or audio) signals together it's still useful to have one or two small mixers, because at the end your Befaco output module can only handle a left and right signal and not let's say four input signals and making a left and right out of that, so that's why I believe you still need a (small) Eurorack mixer (it's not a must but I do think it makes things easier in life)
  • I miss some free space in your rack, plan at least some free space so in (near) future you can extend it with some more modules
  • Don't buy all modules in one go. Start with a bit basic stuff, leave the rest empty, get experience and then see if your plan is still the way you thought it would & should be and then buy a next lot of modules, gain again some more experience, etcetera
  • The shown modules in your rack, are that modules you have already tested at your local dealer? If not, it's advisable to have as many of those modules tested at your local dealer so you know if the modules are up to your expectations (not having tested modules might cause unpleasant experiences once you got them; there are rare exceptions that of non-tested modules you might get huge positive surprises however, as already mentioned, that are the very rare exceptions, it's usually the other way around)

Good luck with the planning, have fun in modular and kind regards, Garfield Modular.
-- GarfieldModular

Thank you so much! Those are some very insightful and useful tips. I'll make sure that I build this up slowly then & get more mixers. Yes I do go and try stuff out, most of this is youtube inspired. But trying stuff in the store is definitely where I fall in love.


Thank you Toodee!> > I will start by mentioning what other equipment I have around me at this point:

Soundcraft Sound Signature 10
Faderfox Pc & Mx 12
Iconnectivity Mi010
Circuit Happy Missing Link

These are units that, more or less, I think they could take part or not in the future discussions.
-- Tnsl

I'm not sure what you mean by that. The Soundcraft is a mixer so no issue. Faderfox, Iconnectivity and Circuit Happy are all MIDI devices though, so it really depends on whether or not your Eurorack setup can accommodate that much MIDI input and if you want to spend HP for modules making the MIDI to CV conversion.

My first question is: How much importance should I give to this specific case knowing that one row is 1u and It Has to be intellijel utility modules? Should I go on a case without 1u modules ? How efficient are those Intellijel 1u modules to cover the needs of a beginner ? Is it safe to invest in a case like that, knowing that I would have to use Only Intellijel modules for that particular row?
-- Tnsl

The way I see it, the 7U isn't such a big case (but that's highly dependent on the build I personally have in mind for myself, a very personal perception of what is needed in a rack). Therefore, any HP I can save in the 3U space is welcome, and the compatible (again, watch out for Pulp Logic vs Intellijel) 1U offering by Intellijel and a couple of other manufacturers helps me tremendously. I'm particularly fan of the O&C in 1U format, as well as the quad attenuverter, couldn't live without those (I have 2 now, thinking about getting a 3rd). Something to consider: cases with a 1U row seem considerably more expensive than their equivalent without, but 1. you save space and 2. sometimes the 1U module is a bit less expensive than its 3U equivalent.
As Lugia said, Intellijel is not the only player in the 1U Intellijel space. The offering is limited but there is already quite a lot of interesting utilities in my opinion. What is less "safe" is the "lock in" situation: once you get into 1U, you will need to get rid of all your 1U modules if you pick a case without that row, or you will need to limit yourself to options with a 1U row as well (I went with that when I evolved out of my 7U).

If you are worried about the usability, I find that the 1U row on the 7U is ideally placed and the modules design is usually taking the form factor into account so that's not much of an issue. But if indeed you can't see the usefulness of an attenuverter, a linear VCA or a slew limiter, please do follow Lugia's advice and get some experience with free software, it will help you make a better plan based on YOUR patching techniques and related needs.

Hopefully this helps. Welcome to MG :)

-- toodee


I am most interested in two areas: sequencing multiple overlapping lines and also spacious ambient sounds, with an emphasis on plucking, resonant tones. Being a noob, I am unsure that this proposed rack has everything a decent rack needs or if I have overlooked something crucial (or have unnecessary duplications).

Thank you in advance for your constructive comments and advice.


I will start by mentioning what other equipment I have around me at this point:

Soundcraft Sound Signature 10
Faderfox Pc & Mx 12
Iconnectivity Mi010
Circuit Happy Missing Link

These are units that, more or less, I think they could take part or not in the future discussions.
-- Tnsl

I'm not sure what you mean by that. The Soundcraft is a mixer so no issue. Faderfox, Iconnectivity and Circuit Happy are all MIDI devices though, so it really depends on whether or not your Eurorack setup can accommodate that much MIDI input and if you want to spend HP for modules making the MIDI to CV conversion.

My first question is: How much importance should I give to this specific case knowing that one row is 1u and It Has to be intellijel utility modules? Should I go on a case without 1u modules ? How efficient are those Intellijel 1u modules to cover the needs of a beginner ? Is it safe to invest in a case like that, knowing that I would have to use Only Intellijel modules for that particular row?
-- Tnsl

The way I see it, the 7U isn't such a big case (but that's highly dependent on the build I personally have in mind for myself, a very personal perception of what is needed in a rack). Therefore, any HP I can save in the 3U space is welcome, and the compatible (again, watch out for Pulp Logic vs Intellijel) 1U offering by Intellijel and a couple of other manufacturers helps me tremendously. I'm particularly fan of the O&C in 1U format, as well as the quad attenuverter, couldn't live without those (I have 2 now, thinking about getting a 3rd). Something to consider: cases with a 1U row seem considerably more expensive than their equivalent without, but 1. you save space and 2. sometimes the 1U module is a bit less expensive than its 3U equivalent.
As Lugia said, Intellijel is not the only player in the 1U Intellijel space. The offering is limited but there is already quite a lot of interesting utilities in my opinion. What is less "safe" is the "lock in" situation: once you get into 1U, you will need to get rid of all your 1U modules if you pick a case without that row, or you will need to limit yourself to options with a 1U row as well (I went with that when I evolved out of my 7U).

If you are worried about the usability, I find that the 1U row on the 7U is ideally placed and the modules design is usually taking the form factor into account so that's not much of an issue. But if indeed you can't see the usefulness of an attenuverter, a linear VCA or a slew limiter, please do follow Lugia's advice and get some experience with free software, it will help you make a better plan based on YOUR patching techniques and related needs.

Hopefully this helps. Welcome to MG :)


I've been using ModularGrid for years and what a great site it is, especially for modules but also for pedals, even though I am really not in the market for pedals. Instead, I have used the Pedals section to browse standalone semi-modular or otherwise patchable hardware. And I have to say, it's a chore to have to visually weed out such devices from the pedals themselves.

My feature request: Separate the non-pedals from the Pedals section and create a dedicated section for standalone semi-modular or otherwise patchable hardware. The category name could be something like "Devices" or "Tabletop" or if those names are too broad, then "Semi-modular" but if that name is too restrictive, "Patchable Gear" even though that might seem too long.

Distinguishing pedals from semi-modular / patchable gear comes down to some pretty straight-forward criteria:
1. Pedals are designed to be placed on the ground and consequently feature a prominent foot switch. Even if a pedal can be used as a tabletop device, the presence of a foot switch sets a device apart from those that are designed to be used on a table and operated with fingers.
2. Semi-modular / Patchable devices are designed to be patched with cables. Signal input and output are insufficient; patching requires additional, independent inputs and outputs that modify the signal within the device after the signal has come in from an external source and before the signal goes out to an external destination. Virtual patching does not count; the device must be at least capable of being modulated by an external source through a patch cable. MIDI can be part of the device's connectivity with other devices, but the device must be patchable in the sense of control voltage, gate or trigger.

These criteria can easily be used to test specific cases.
- The Soma Laboratory Lyra-8 is listed among the pedals but is not a pedal. It has no foot switch on its surface, is meant to be played on a tabletop with fingers, and admits CV for voices, CV for delay and gate for the hold function.
- The Koma Elektronik Field Kits are listed among the pedals but are not pedals. They have no foot switches, are meant for tabletop use, and feature in and out jacks in Eurorack format for being modulated as well as modulating outside devices.
- Koma's RH-301 Rhythm Workstation, on the other hand, really is a pedal, even though it is patchable both to and from its 1/4" jacks, and even though it sports knobs, because it has foot switches that enable it to be played on the ground once it has been patched and knobs set.
-Moog DFAM: not a pedal, but a semi-modular patchable device.
-Moog Moogerfooger: a pedal, not a patchable tabletop device.
- Empress Effects Zoia: this one has attracted a lot of attention for its tabletop usability and internal patch capabilities, but it is still a pedal, not a semi-modular or otherwise patchable device as it cannot be patched from external gear, and just takes a signal and passes it back out once it has modified it in a self-contained way.
- Alesis IO Dock II: (Here's one that's bugged me) neither a pedal nor a patchable tabletop device, from what I can see. It only features signal throughput, but no way to otherwise interact with external devices (that I can tell).

I think adding a section for standalone semi-modular or otherwise patchable devices and separating out those that are currently included among the pedals would add a great benefit to the site and its users. We could not only populate the new section with devices like the Lyra-8 and the Koma Elektronik Field Kits, but also add devices like the Soma Laboratory Pulsar-23, the Sherman Filterbank, the Iotine Core Sound Processor and the Sequentix Cirklon sequencer (with its CVIO expander).


Thank you Lugia! > 1) No, it's not only for Intellijel tiles. There are other companies (Plum Audio comes to mind) that do modules in Intellijel's 1U format. You just have to be careful when checking listings and, also, pretty much all of Pulplogic's tiles are out of the question.

2) It's not that modules are "efficient". Fact is, a modular synth is about the most INefficient musical instrument there is. Most of what's inside the case is air, every connection has to be handpatched as a rule, patches require constant adjustment, and nothing works as you'd expect if you happen to look at your rig wrong. If you want "efficient", you're looking at the wrong thing altogether! That being said, the Intellijel tiles are USEFUL (this is the word I think you're looking for) in that they can replace 3U module functions, which then opens up more room in the 3U rows.

3) Garfield is correct: if you're not comfortable with a 1U row, get a different case. That being said, tiles are very useful, especially for utility functions, and the panoply of original format tiles shows this. But given that 1U tiles are just shrinky synth modules, it gives me some pause that if you're having trouble sorting out the usefulness of those 1U modules, there's quite probably some "gaps" in overall synth knowledge here.

4) DO NOT jump into this feet-first at top speed, with full money in evidence. Judging from the questions you've posed above, it could well be that you'd be better off learning the basics of this with a patchable synth, not a full-on modular. That way, you can sort out how this all works and have a device that can form the core of a larger system later on, once you've gotten more chops and more comprehension about the subject. Mind you, you can get well into modular turf with a patchable; something like Pittsburgh's Voltage Lab might make a useful start here, and if you were to pair that with something like a Plankton Ants! or Make Noise's 0-Coast, then you'd have a fairly powerful system that would allow you to work out where you want to go with this without spending the massive pile of cash that a full modular would entail.

Remember: modular synthesizers are really neat and cool looking and all that...but they have the potential to be the most hideous money sink you've ever encountered if you go into this without the requisite knowledge. Not everyone needs one, either. Really, they're best in the hands of musicians and sound designers who've exhausted all conventional sonic possibilities and who now need to go "off the map"; they're not an essential, despite what loads of YouTube videos might lead one to think.
-- Lugia


1) No, it's not only for Intellijel tiles. There are other companies (Plum Audio comes to mind) that do modules in Intellijel's 1U format. You just have to be careful when checking listings and, also, pretty much all of Pulplogic's tiles are out of the question.

2) It's not that modules are "efficient". Fact is, a modular synth is about the most INefficient musical instrument there is. Most of what's inside the case is air, every connection has to be handpatched as a rule, patches require constant adjustment, and nothing works as you'd expect if you happen to look at your rig wrong. If you want "efficient", you're looking at the wrong thing altogether! That being said, the Intellijel tiles are USEFUL (this is the word I think you're looking for) in that they can replace 3U module functions, which then opens up more room in the 3U rows.

3) Garfield is correct: if you're not comfortable with a 1U row, get a different case. That being said, tiles are very useful, especially for utility functions, and the panoply of original format tiles shows this. But given that 1U tiles are just shrinky synth modules, it gives me some pause that if you're having trouble sorting out the usefulness of those 1U modules, there's quite probably some "gaps" in overall synth knowledge here.

4) DO NOT jump into this feet-first at top speed, with full money in evidence. Judging from the questions you've posed above, it could well be that you'd be better off learning the basics of this with a patchable synth, not a full-on modular. That way, you can sort out how this all works and have a device that can form the core of a larger system later on, once you've gotten more chops and more comprehension about the subject. Mind you, you can get well into modular turf with a patchable; something like Pittsburgh's Voltage Lab might make a useful start here, and if you were to pair that with something like a Plankton Ants! or Make Noise's 0-Coast, then you'd have a fairly powerful system that would allow you to work out where you want to go with this without spending the massive pile of cash that a full modular would entail.

Remember: modular synthesizers are really neat and cool looking and all that...but they have the potential to be the most hideous money sink you've ever encountered if you go into this without the requisite knowledge. Not everyone needs one, either. Really, they're best in the hands of musicians and sound designers who've exhausted all conventional sonic possibilities and who now need to go "off the map"; they're not an essential, despite what loads of YouTube videos might lead one to think.


Anyone else has input on this?


The problem is that Omnisphere is Omnisphere...attempting to replicate what software can do is pretty pointless when you're talking about something on that level of complexity. I mean, I have Iris2 myself...but I would never try to make hardware behave like it, because it just won't.

Anyway, this build sure does look expensive. As in, some parts are pointlessly so. And there's loads missing; how do you expect to use the Doepfer A-155 without its companion controller module, for example? Where are the attenuverters? The submixers? Where are the modules that make these expensive ones actually usable? Oh, they're boring? Tough. They're also necessary.

First of all, take your ten most expensive modules in this build and find suitable replacements at a more sensible price. That alone will drop the cost of this down, potentially by over a grand. And make things SMALLER...84 hp is a lot tighter than you think!

Second, you seem to have some ideas of how modulars function...but the ideas still seem to have flaws (like thinking you'll be fine with only an external mixer...and if you think so, then how do you intend to mix any of your modulation signals?). Prior to blowing money on an expensive rig like this with limited functionality due to uninformed choices, I would strongly suggest getting a copy of VCV Rack and exploring how things work in that virtual Eurorack environment. Some things are different, true, but the BASICS remain the same and it's from that that one learns what parts must be in a synth build for proper functionality.

Definitely keep working...but not on this version.


Thank you Garfield!


Hi Tnsl,

I don't have myself experience with those 1U modules, so I think it's better if another member who has experience with these 1U modules will advice you accordingly.

I have for myself, though, considered to buy a 7U (thus also 1U) Intellijel case and I actually do like those 1U utility modules; they come in handy and it saves you some 3U space. Though at the end I didn't bought such casing so that's why I can't really advice you here.

Kind regards, Garfield.


Ahhh...see, when I ran into the Academic Crapwall by the time I hit grad studies, my view on music had been so firmly formed that when I started dealing with the typical overinflated academic composition egos, I was ready to swing and not cringe. A lot of my formative work prepared me for that...constructive undergrad influences, the Nashville (my original hometown) proximity, numerous personal experiences, and a strong musical compass that took a lot of work to forge (still ongoing, tbh). I can recall switching studios after handing in a killer electronic work, informing them that I was changing because no one had the right to tell me how my music was to be composed. Besides, I'd done a number of "don'ts" in the work that this sooper-geenyuss electronic music prof could not detect... and that was very much an "emperor has no clothes" moment. If he couldn't hear what I'd done, then he had no business telling me how to do what I did in the first damn place!

Similarly, I ran into another "sooper-geenyuss" at Illinois that barged into my studio work (something which, in Nashville, could find one on the receiving end of an airborne ashtray if the engineer was in a particularly foul mood) and started asking me a bunch of "why the f**k are you asking me this right now?" questions, notably "What are your influences?". When I mentioned the Berlin School aspects to him, he huffed and looked down his nose (no shit! like in a cartoon!) and stated imperiously "we don't deal with such things here." Yeah? Well, eff that. He also tried to explain to me why I "didn't know" how a pair of Symetrix gates (the same model I have two of to my immediate right in my own studio) in the Moog lab were used...yeah, ok, sure, they're not the more complicated Valley People Dyna-mites I was so fond of at the time, but it's not like there's anything complicated there. Used 'em anyway in a repeat of the above trick...and the prof failed. Why the hell would I study with someone who didn't have the expertise to sort out when their own rules were being run over roughshod?

Some years later, I was on a festival bill with Terry Riley, and during some downtime, Terry asked me about my background. Note that...NOT "influences", but "what did you actually do?" So, I mentioned my early industrial and ambient stuff and the point that I'd been majorly deep in the punk scene at the very end of the 1970s when it finally hit Nashvegas. And at that, Terry interrupted me...and said "That. That's important stuff, that punk aspect. NEVER lose it!" Well...ok, then! But thinking about it, I'd not lost it, and it had successfully kept me from being cowed by diddly-crap morons who had the benefit of the right papers on the walls of their offices. Thanks, Terry!

But anyway...now, hold up here...you work with custom designs in wood. And you get what's needed for housing modular synths. It would seem to me that there's a rather interesting opportunity here. No, modular cases aren't the same as fishing tackle, but there's a line there to pursue, it seems like. And there IS a "hole" right now in intermediate-sized cabs, the 120hp+ and 3-4 row range. True, you have Doepfer's Monster cases and Behringer's teasing some 2 x 140 hp stuff that may or may not ever be released, but for the most part there's nothing happening in that 140-ish hp range. And there should be, because some builds really would benefit from having that much room to spread into. Something to think about, perhaps...


So, would you recommend intellijel 1u utility vs. 3u’s? I would like to see a reply like:
Yes.., because this and so.... OR
No... because this and so... OR
Simply...there is no difference


Hi Tnsl,

If you are feeling kind of uncomfortable about those 1U Intellijel modules then just don't buy an Intellijel case, right? :-) Another option might be those low costs casings of Doepfer; I use them myself and I am quite happy with it other than that they are filled up so fast but that's not the casing's mistake that's rather me putting too fast too many modules in it ;-)

Kind regards, Garfield Modular.


Hi Ross9999,

Spooky techno sounds, that sounds quite interesting actually :-) Now I don't know much about techno music, so I can't advise you on that part, however some general points that you might want give some thoughts:

  • It's totally okay to use an external mixer however to mix all your (CV and/or audio) signals together it's still useful to have one or two small mixers, because at the end your Befaco output module can only handle a left and right signal and not let's say four input signals and making a left and right out of that, so that's why I believe you still need a (small) Eurorack mixer (it's not a must but I do think it makes things easier in life)
  • I miss some free space in your rack, plan at least some free space so in (near) future you can extend it with some more modules
  • Don't buy all modules in one go. Start with a bit basic stuff, leave the rest empty, get experience and then see if your plan is still the way you thought it would & should be and then buy a next lot of modules, gain again some more experience, etcetera
  • The shown modules in your rack, are that modules you have already tested at your local dealer? If not, it's advisable to have as many of those modules tested at your local dealer so you know if the modules are up to your expectations (not having tested modules might cause unpleasant experiences once you got them; there are rare exceptions that of non-tested modules you might get huge positive surprises however, as already mentioned, that are the very rare exceptions, it's usually the other way around)

Good luck with the planning, have fun in modular and kind regards, Garfield Modular.


Hello everyone!

I am about to start the journey and like others on the timeline, I will need advices and valuable thoughts regarding modular/eurorack environment. I really do hope that I could keep one thread for my learning experience and growth.

I do believe that approaching modular in a "step by step" manner, will not necessarily bring disappointment or "run away"scenarios. I do feel attracted by it, to the extent where I don't look for immediate instant gratification or accomplishments.

I will start by mentioning what other equipment I have around me at this point:

Soundcraft Sound Signature 10
Faderfox Pc & Mx 12
Iconnectivity Mi010
Circuit Happy Missing Link

These are units that, more or less, I think they could take part or not in the future discussions.

I will start with the case I intend to purchase and that would be Intellijel 7u 104hp. Based on other comments, it looks it might be a good candidate for starter.

My first question is: How much importance should I give to this specific case knowing that one row is 1u and It Has to be intellijel utility modules? Should I go on a case without 1u modules ? How efficient are those Intellijel 1u modules to cover the needs of a beginner ? Is it safe to invest in a case like that, knowing that I would have to use Only Intellijel modules for that particular row?

I appreciate your time and look forward for more.


Hi Hi Everyone!

I'm planning my first modular - I want to create a sample player / synthesizer. So basically a hardware rompler with a ton of modulation and sound manipulation possibilities. So an analog omnisphere in modular

I'd be using it primarily to make spooky techno sounds, so processing metallic samples / cymbals, crashes, pot's and pans ;)

One thing I do allot in my own productions is allot of slow / subtle automation on parameters like decay, delay times, filter cutoff, tiny bit of pitch drifting. Just to get things sounding lo-fi and to add overall movement. So I'd like to build something that could do all that :)

Below is what I planned on modular grid. I also already have a DFAM, and I was planning on using my hardware mixer instead of having an internal module

Tell me what ya think!


When performing with a eurorack, combined with traditional synths, the distance towards all buttons on the rack is a bit of a disadvantage. So I decided to create a rack in addition to the regular eurorack sound rack, purely for remote control of parameters. The blind panels serve to add trigger or gate buttons in DIY MODE. By means of standard patch cables I can interchange up to 14 signal. Because no sound is passed on, no risk on crosstalk either.


Thx, Lugia. I had decided to go with a 3 x104 since I already have the rails for a 3U 104.

I quit playing because I hated music. Music school has a way of doing that to you. It has taken 15 years of healing to get back to a point where I would want to even think about playing again. He we didn't have electronics in our music school either. In the interim I picked up a camera and learned filmmaking.

The process of composing a shot, writing a story, learning about color. In other words I picked up a different art form. the process of making a film, video or storytelling through motion picture got me thinking about music again. First out of necessity. The audio libraries out there are full of commercial music which doesn't help tell the stories I want to tell.

So for the first time I'm hearing my own music and not other people's music. That's something I can't ignore. Because I design, make and sell custom fishing tackle, That's another art form I've picked up. That process of making something new plays into this as well. So I'm producing art in all form. The kids these days call it being a creator: writing a blog, filmmaking on YouTube, photos for Pinterest, designing custom fishing tackle. Well, why not use the training I have and stay on the trajectory I'm on?

Again working with wood for my custom fishing tackle business, I can build my own case.

From what I hear you saying comparators, discriminators, Boolean logic, clock divider/multipliers, Euclidean sequencers and other timing modules is the way to go in order to do it right. That's sage advice.


Eh. Fair enough. I don't know what I was thinking not adding any boutique makers. I was thinking the Pinwheel from Fender could be neat with CV over all the controls. Maybe a Tube Screamer? I bet Analog Outfitters could do something interesting! Shame they're on a bit of a hiatus. Maybe a vocoder or a ring mod with a tone wheel producing the carrier signal?

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

Certainly not any of them. The only one in the list there that does anything directly related to synths is Electro-Harmonix, with their Clockworks clock gen/divider box.

If I were to look at stompbox makers who could do interesting modules for synth use, I'd be holding out for Chase Bliss, Rainger FX, or Glou-Glou and certainly not any of the mainstream MI companies. They already have their markets sewn up with the guitar market.


Oh, I know quite well about what happens when you go off your chops. My instrument of study was voice during my undergrad, since this was the 1980s and the school I was at was not keen on having electronics as an instrument. Soooo...many years of vocal training, solo and ensemble work, studio stuff on occasion, etc etc, but when I got into graduate studies in composition, I finally got to deal with electronic instruments on the level I'd wanted. But I quit singing. Mind you, I can still sing, and that vocal training was the sh*t for the sort of exacting ear training that electronics require. But like any other set of muscles, they lose tone, and these days I can choke at the drop of a hat after some 30+ years off of that training.

But at the same time, I fight constantly with chronic physical pain, and I don't have stamina, and etc etc alla that. And yet I still mess with electronic instruments, some of which I can barely move these days. Do I contemplate quitting? Oh, hell no! If anything, it gives me the determination to push this effing envelope as far as I possibly can before some total physical epic fail happens. I've even considered picking up low clarinets again after many years to add THEM to the fray, although I'm still looking for just the right bass and alto to live with (and get fitted for piezos) for the next couple of decades. But me, I just work at this until the body says "ENOUGH!!!" then I fall over and wait for the pain to roll back...then I dive right back in again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

If I worried about the past, and how my abilities since then have been impacted, I probably would wind up living in a refrigerator box. But this studio I'm in doesn't look like any refrigerator box I know. The only thing I concern myself with is to continue with my music and everything that goes along with that. Since it's not possible to predict anything in the arts (for the most part), I prefer to defy limitations and be ready to go 100% full-on anytime...instead of imposing limitations on myself or (especially!) my music. Might get painful; don't care. Physical things are transitory. Music is not.

Anyway, getting back to tech here...no, 1 x 104 hp is way too small for what you're envisioning. In order to get some interesting results out of time/phase-based cellular forms (ie: "minimalism") you're going to need quite a few modules to screw with the timing behavior: comparators, discriminators, Boolean logic, clock divider/multipliers, Euclidean sequencers, etc. Done right, you can wring loads of power out of these. As for a suitable case, ample power, etc...look at Pittsburgh Modular's Structure EP-360 instead. 3 x 120 hp there, power supply is super-beefy, form factor is like a large briefcase, and its wood case is built like a brick s**thouse. And with 360 hp, you'll have ample room for the various timing toys and sequential thingys that minimal/process stuff needs. Seems like much more of a realistic start.


Added, thank you.
Unfortunately Zadar is not doable. The backside requires milling which I am unable to do.


Xaoc- Zadar
Intellijel- Outs


https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1133839.jpg

Finally filled the 3rd 60hp tier on top of two Mother 32s. Consists of all MN modules: Function, tELHARMONIC, Qpas, and Mimeophon. Powered by uZeus.

Honestly I am thinking of this as more of a stepping stone to a powered Skiff to complement my Make Noise Shared System, and then also likely adding Xoh, Xpan, Rosie, and Contour, followed by more nonMN modules.

But I thought these might pair well for now with my lonely Mother 32s. Looking forward to hearing the results with my two DFAMs as well.

My initial intention was to add more sequencing/clicking options to the Mothers...as I’m not crazy about those on the Moogs. But for now I’m looking forward to hearing where these take me.

Any suggestions for where to begin?


Who do you think could make an interesting module who hasn't? I reckon Fender, Ibanez, EHX, maybe Hotone. Dunlop?

Rookie. Learning Guitar. Will one day build a rack.

I've thought of that already. At the moment I don't own a saxophone, and I don't fancy practising 8 hours a day. Like I said, my body can't handle the horn. I have back problems, and I don't fancy having to work up chops. The reality is I will never sound like is did in my 20s. My face will never have the stamina. It's like being an athlete past your prime. Every day my body is deteriorating, and it would take longer and longer to heal from difficult long days of practise.

It's time to switch instruments. I'm interested in composing music for my YouTube videos, not practising saxophone all day. Again I've come to this decision after 15 years of thinking about out it.

Also for the cost of a new saxophone $5,000+, I could build a monster synth. Or build a modest synth, and buy more camera gear for my YouTube channel.


Hmmm...have you considered an approach halfway between the two? Sure, the sound of a sax is sort of basic, but I can think of a few reed players who've pushed that via electronics, one being the amazing David Jackson, formerly of Van der Graaf Generator. Jackson used saxes (and a flute) fitted with ligature pickups, and fed these through various devices including a Maestro W2, octave dividers, etc. But while Jackson developed these techniques in the pre-synth 1960s and 70s, there's no reason why you couldn't put a modular synth after the pickup(s). You'd need to have an input preamp that can handle the pickup impedance as well as an envelope follower, for starters. Then if you wanted to track the sax's pitch, something like Elby's ED-102 can handle that for both V/8va and Hz/V scalings.

Ultimately, something of this sort would give you the playability you're accustomed to on your axe while opening up a lot of different sonic possibilities that it normally could NEVER have!


Yes, I know who he is. In fact he's one of the founding members of the Glass ensemble as I remember. My point is much of that music and much of the music I played as a classical saxophonist would fit well on a Eurorack. It's just that I haven't played in 15 years and my body simply can't handle the rigors of heavy daily practice, and I'm looking to modular synths to "replace" it.

As adaptive and flexible an instrument as saxophone is, I'd bestill stuck with the base harmonic make up of that instrument. No matter what mouthpiece, reed, embouchure or voicing I'd use to "filter/shape" the sound, I'd always be stick with the basic waveform that a saxophone produces.

Synths open a whole new world of possibilities. We all grow as musicians, and sometimes we out grow the instruments themselves and need something else. Modular may be that for me. The saxophone can't grow with me. The a modular can grow and change as I grow and change.


Well, that "another guy on saxophone" is actually a veteran on Philip Glass' ensemble; I have Richard Landry playing on some of Glass's early works such as "Music in Fifths".

Process music...yeah, that's a strange topic. I think you can trace back to the point where it forks off of minimalism if you look at La Monte Young's "Compositions 1960", although the inspiration for this goes back to John Cage and his own procedural methods. Young managed to strip down the idea of "process" to simple, koan-like fragments that delineate the framed procedure for the work.

It's interesting that this set of pieces came about after Young's studies with Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1959, because they're not exactly "Stockhausen-esque"...at least, not yet. Instead, Young was inspired to investigate Cage's procedures by Stockhausen, who was quite taken with Cage's methods and results at that time. Stockhausen himself wouldn't hit this stride until 1968 and "Aus den Sieben Tagen" after his own process-based methods grew to a massive level of complexity with "Kurzwellen".


Hmm very nice !!
Thanks :)


Disting don’t like the menu driving but it’s really a super useful model. I always use when I wanna try a module a don’t have .

Does exist a pdf with all the sequencers modes etc like the Disting has ?

-- Saramago

I went to the webpage
https://ornament-and-cri.me/user-manual-v1_3/
Then I printed the page as a PDF and saved it to my computer.


Hi, thanks for your reply. Could you be more specific?
my questions:
Noise - Why not the noise of MS20 and Dfam?
Sample & Hold (optional) - Yeah thought about that, is the Doepfer 118-2, 148, 184 a good option?
Dedicated LFOs? - Whats wrong with the Pam´s LFO´s?
Dedicated ADSRs? - I prefer using ad. So maybe in a future rack but for now im ok with quadra. Or is there a specific reason like something that is not possible or complicated or... ?
VCAs? - How many would you add?

Thanks a lot for your input.
cheers


Hi there,

thank you for helping me out.
I am new to modular and am planning to buy my first rack for live performance.
I wish to have the ability to create sequences with midi keyboard (Hermod), or randomly generated phrases with "70's dark analogue tone" (that's how I describe it, but it's basically Juno-60 kind of sound)(Roland 512), also being able to make ambient pads (Noise by Bastl). Is there anything that is better for my purposes?
From the posts I've read, I know it's good to leave some room for later expansions so I didn't fill the space, and it might be a good idea to fill it with your suggestions.
The only problem is that because of where I live, it's kinda hard to get less popular modules so I am just gonna stick to the popular ones I guess, but feel free to recommend me the best options in your mind.

Is this something ready to go? Or am I missing somethin' important or fun for live performance?
Thanks again for your help.
ModularGrid Rack


Disting don’t like the menu driving but it’s really a super useful model. I always use when I wanna try a module a don’t have .

Does exist a pdf with all the sequencers modes etc like the Disting has ?


Yes , everytime we buy something we should spend time to learn the machines . Unfortunately I don’t spend as much time as I want but gonna check some more tutorials about the “O_C” Turing machine

-- Saramago

You really should. I have the OC as well as the Disting. The OC really isn't too too bad as far as menu diving. Most everything is one page away once you get used to using the two rotary encoders. The Disting drives me bonkers in trying to navigate it. If you're willing to put up with that... the O_C is really easy... and it's really powerful at what it does.

Check out the sequencer section as well and what's possible as far as modulating it to play back different sequences etc. I think you'll find that it's a beast if you know it well.


I tried to wrap my head around O_C sequencers and the Turing machine mode but I do hate menu diving . But should try again and again

For sequence I have a Beatstep pro and Make Noise Rene .
What I’m looking for is a more generative melodies type so I can record and choose the happy incidents
-- Saramago

The two strategies that I suggested are all about happy accidents. You are influencing the melody rather than creating it. Put in the work and learn the module you already have.

-- Ronin1973

Yes , everytime we buy something we should spend time to learn the machines . Unfortunately I don’t spend as much time as I want but gonna check some more tutorials about the “O_C” Turing machine


I swapped the Rene for the Nerdseq sequencer... and heaven on earth!
Very playable... and much, much more possibilities for musicality.

No menu diving, everything 1 layer deep.
-- jjterbeek

Wow that “Nerd sequencer” looks a lot more complicated but many thanks for the reply :)


Thx, man! In the long run probably something like 12U. Will start with 6U by building a 2x case, throw some power in, then get a couple modules, and start from there. I think the ER-101 will be the biggest outset in terms of cash. So I'll probably start with a VCO or two, envelop, maybe a filter or waveshaper, VCA: just basic meat and potatoes to learn how a synth voice works. Then just flesh it out from there.

What's so great is that you hear composers like Caterina Barbieri using some of the same process music method developed during. Process music is a form of minimalism that arises from a process, usually a very strict process. If you listen to interviews of Ms. Barbieri, she talks about an approach very similar to methods first pioneered back in the 1960s.


Hi Funbun,

Interesting examples indeed. Funny those 6 pianos and amazing regarding those saxophones. That modular system imitating the music of Steve Reich is quite nice and amazing too.

Did you already made up your mind how big you are going to build your rack? Good luck with the build and once ready show us a picture, I am pretty curious! :-)

Kind regards, Garfield.


Hi Dharmabum,

Ah yes, that explains quite a bit :-) Looks like you have thought this already over so, things should be fine then.

If you are not sure yet about the Antiphon and didn't buy it yet, perhaps you can leave that one out and save some rack space?

Good luck and I wish you a lot of modular fun, kind regards, Garfield.


Thanks again for good advice!
You are right about the Slew limiter. I newer use it so there I got 8 HP more space.
But I keep the A-183 Passive Dual Attenuator as I use it in most of my patches.
I have three LFO:s that gives random waves so I wait with a dedicated S&H module.
But I will buy the ”Ladik Bool2 – logic module” and ”2hp Multi-Scale Pitch Quantizer” as soon as possible .
When I have learned these two modules it is maybe time for Pamela's New Workout or Temps Utile.


bought from @theartstrip and it was perfect! fast shipping and accurate shipping cost! buy with confidence.


Yeah, minimalist music: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_music
Here's a good example from Steve Reich's Six Pianos:

To me this sounds it would be best done a programmable synth like the ER101/102. I nfact I found a fellow who recorded his Phase Piano on an ER-101:

Again here's another guy on saxophone, minimal:

Also basically everything I hear in what synthesists call "ambient" or atmospherics is what minimalists were doing back in the 1960s. They just didn't have access to modular synths. They had to use traditional instruments. That why guys like Hans Zimmer and all his film scores he uses a 5U synth. All that music from Batman Begins and Interstellar, a good portion of that is 5U blended with the studio orchestra, but the heart of it is modular.

EDIT: added another example.


Thanks for the suggestions!

I've already have a lot of the modules in a Arturia Rackbrute 6U case but already filled it so I'm thinking of upgrading to the Behringer Eurorack Go when it comes out eventually.

In terms of the modules I've fallen in love with the West Coast approach to modular so both the Quadrax and the Falistri are there to act as many things depending what I need, envelopes, LFOs, Voices etc.... So it basically is my modulation section whilst the VCAs will mostly work as CV and Audio mixers for making complex modulation shapes. The Scan & Pan is there to act as the output module.

I have two filters, Optomix which is a vactrol based LPG which sounds fantastic and the Stereo Dipole acts more as a traditional dual filter that you could combine to create a Stereo one. Intruo is actually quite small considering its functionality compared to other complex oscillators such as "DPO" or "Furtherrrr Generatorrrr" so I'm already very fond of that however the Antiphon is very big and hard to tune so I'm not completely sold on it.

René of course acts as my main sequencer for everything while Pressure Plates could act as another sequencer or a trigger for the system. Pam's is the main clock device that can do some modulation stuff as well, and uO_C is there to expand on whatever I'll need for the patch such as a quantizer or shift register etc...

Hope this explains my thought process for the rack! Cheers!


Hi Funbun,

Toodee's comments are spot on. You actually can't go too big if it comes to the rack (but you can go too small easily). However I know from one of your previous posts that you are looking into minimal music (or how you call that exactly?) so you might get "away with it" ;-) with a medium rack. Advisable is at least 3 rows (3 x 3U = 9U) and since you got already those 104 HP rails, 3 x 104 = 312 HP, it might just work out for you but on the bit longer future it might be still too small. So if you have the space and enough wood :-) Perhaps you could consider a 4 or 5 x 3 U case, as I mentioned in the other post, you don't have to fill them up straight away, take your time to get experience with modular and slowly try out more modules.

Good luck and kind regards, Garfield.