wouldnt any of the available wavetable vcos that load user tables be perfectly suited for this job?
that way you could use the whole studio to generate the spectra you want, then pick and choose within the rack

electricity comes from other planets


Plaits has an in built VCA. If you are planning on using and external VCA make sure the one built in plaits is fully open then do what @eexee and @Lugia are suggesting.

I suggested you use an lfo as this way you don't have to worry about triggering it, if you plan on using an envelope you are going to also have to also learn how to to trigger it, or send a gate signal to the envelope.


Okay played around with my VCAs a little bit more and found the Doepfer 130-2 VCAs are creating a pretty loud clicking sound when being on volume control duty. Out of plaits is connected to the VCA and CV is connected to an LFO (doesnt matter which waveform). Is that normal or am I doing something wrong ?
-- 9xpad

If the issue isn't limited to one waveform (and one that has a hard leading edge!), then my bet is that you could be overloading one of the inputs...and since it's a "click" on the output, my bet is that the culprit is the CV input. Try this: set up a VERY SLOW triangle LFO, then feed that to the CVs. At the same time, also connect an oscilloscope to watch the LFO cycling through the waveform. My bet is that once the LFO reaches the maximum voltage limits, the "click" appears. Also, set the scope so that you can read the voltage on the Y axis, and you'll have a good indication of what's really happening and at what voltage level it occurs.

This click could also be the result of some DC offset voltage getting into the LFO waveform and pushing it well beyond the operational limit of the CV inputs. Remember: if you have a +5/-5 volt cycle, inputting an offset will make that +whatever voltage the offset is. Jam in an offset of +10VDC, and suddenly your high value on the mod signal is peaking at a really unacceptable +15V. If the LFO has an offset control, that should be at ZERO when generating bipolar modulation signals.

-- Lugia

Okay investigated a bit. Unfortunately, I don't have a scope but I would really like to get one as that could help me out a lot. Any recommendations (preferably non-modules as my space already is pretty limited)? So the culprit creating static and clicks is the slop setting on my Pamelas new workout in combination with a euclidean (example 4steps 3 trigger). It gives me 3 clean Gates (beep-beep-beep-nothing) but every now and then instead of the 4th step being mute, it gives a super small Gate just a really short spike that is audible as a click. I thought slop just introduces timing errors but this is creating an extra unwanted trigger.


@nickgreenberg That touches on what I liked about the Nerdseq demo I watched -- you can punch in exact CV voltages and program specific numbers for a lot of different parameters. Here's the start of their tutorial series. I'm not sure if it does everything the USTA does, but it's a mite bit less expensive. I like patching so I don't want to get too many "mini-computers" for my system, but this one's def on my list to try at some point.


Hey @9xpad, I'm pretty new to modular too but, -- what @Greenfly said, I'd second. I have the Doepfer A-135-2 Quad VCA and was also confused at first. You need to feed an audio signal to the IN, feed the OUT into your mixer that sends the audio out to whatever speakers or external sound source you have. Set the mixer level to something audible, but set both VCA knobs to zero. Plug an ADSR envelope or LFO output into the "CV" jack on the VCA module, then slowly dial up the "CV" knob until you start to hear something. Whatever envelope you're feeding in should now be modulating the audio signal -- so if it is an oscillator drone, say, with a cycling sawtooth LFO applied, it will start chopping itself up into the sawtooth shape accordingly.

If you're getting clicking, whatever you're feeding into the CV probably has zero attack/decay slope (like a rectangle wave). Use a softer wave or slew or ADSR type envelope generator to eliminate those. You might also have something dialed in too high.

It took me a while to get used to, because I was so used to audio sources that had triggers/gates built into them fundamentally -- you trigger the sound, and it already has some kind of envelope controlling the audio applied. With a lot of modular it's just the opposite. The sound is always "on" and you have to engineer backwards to mute and control it. It's super fun but takes a little getting used to, and I still have plenty more to absorb/learn, bc like Lugia mentions there's other uses for VCAs as well.


One other issue about "tight" builds that rely on very slim modules: they're a bitch to work with live unless you have toothpicks for fingers. So, yeah...if the 914 is going to see lots of live tweaking (and it sounds like it might), you're better off with the bigger module. Now, let's see what sort of gibberish I can kick out HERE... (pause for /u to fire up the grid and go berserk)

.......OK. Now, this is a serious AF drone machine:
ModularGrid Rack
You've got TWO voices here, actually. Most of the top row is the first, and the second is hiding down there in the lower right.

Top row: I switched your main drone VCO up. Way up. The Mindphaser is actually more related to something like a Buchla 259 than a typical VCO, which means you've got two oscillators in a configuration where one's the "source" and the other's the "modulator", but of course that's like the "serving suggestion" on a frozen dinner. The reality will be that you'll be able to use this in a huge number of configurations, all of which will allow you to not only generate pitch, but also lots of different methods of timbral generation. This sort of oscillator is PERFECT for elaborate waveshapes to feed into the 914 via the Quad VC Mixer. Plus, there's a surprise about that mixer in a bit...

Anyway, the other "odd thing" there is that single fader. WTF is it there for? Ahhhh...it's there because Moog 914s ALWAYS have those two I/O jacks, even if it's Uli making 'em. And why those two jacks exist at either end of the 914 is so that you can insert an attenuator for manual feedback control, allowing you to use the 914 as a RESONANT filterbank, sort of akin to the Serge Resonant EQ. The fader is the attenuator in question, natch...and I put a fader there so that you can have better incremental control AND have a quick visual feedback on your foldback level in the feedback path. Patch it from the 914 OUT to its IN (which would be the fader's OUT being sent there), and you've got it. After that, there's an interesting VCF/VCA combo that can work that way...or as a lowpass gate for yet another "sneak West Coast feature". Plus, you could also make this a bandpass gate or highpass gate, since the VCF in there is a multimode. This also lets you have some global timbral control over the drone voice. And the last thing up top is a Bastl Ciao!, which also contains a dual stereo mixer in addition to your headphone preamp and isolated 1/4" outs. Why a mixer? You'll see...

Bottom row: The Frequency Central Infinitely Maybe gives you a mixer for incoming CVs as well as the usual noise generator for sample and hold and random gates. So you can actually S&H a composite CV signal there, not just merely one source. This is also your main clock, but if you need to override that with the Neutron's, that's cool too. Then the next thing is an omsonic melodic contour generator...a "complex sample-and-hold" that gives you controllable quasi-melodic patterns. But then, I wasn't content there, so I also added a Penrose quantizer after that, which you can ping with, say, the random gates from the I.M.. Feed it an LFO curve and have the gates lock the new value, and you can assign those scalar values to whatever pitches you want. The Penrose has the sole drawback of being a kit module, but if you don't have suitable solder-fu, you can probably find a builder.

Now, the mixer surprise. It's actually the next module, a CVable quadrature LFO, which outputs four identical sines on the same frequency...but the outputs rotate phase by 90 degrees. Sound-wise, this doesn't affect anything, but when this is in LFO mode, you get the outputs working in a "cascading" phase rotation, and when this is hooked up with each phase tap going to each VCA CV, you can then "riff" the Mindphaser's outputs to create yet MORE timbral variation. Then there's the quad LFO...but after that is a little something from DPW Design that gives you a CV mixer, an adder, a comparator, and attenuverters so that you can polarize incoming signals...both inputs are, yep, attenuverters. And as for the comparator...that device lets you send a gate out when you exceed a certain voltage threshold; in this case, the A input is the "threshold" and the B becomes the "signal", so that when A exceeds B, you get a gate output which you can use anywhere, and when B > A, there's no gate.

VCAs are there after this so that you can have level control over two modulation signals or, if needed, you can "rob" one for audio, although the drone "voice" really isn't set up like that. Its single VCA in the Optocore should suffice for CV over final audio levels. Most of the time, though, these will see modulation level control action. Next is your dual ADSR...which actually works pretty well here, since you only have two VCF/VCA outputs from the voicing. Then Voice #2, all Dreadbox. The Hysteria stayed, and I got it a friend in the Eudemonia VCF/mix/VCA module. That gives you a basic single oscillator voice in just 20 hp.

Then there's the last two modules. Both of these are Frequency Central Stasis Leaks, which give you your choice of reverb, tap delay, or chorus. There's also one for each "voice", plus these take your mono audio signals and "stereoizes" them to add some spatial aspects. So, how those work is that each stereo output gets fed to the stereo inputs on the Ciao! and then you have mixing control between Voice 1 (drone) and 2 (basslines, melodics, percussives, etc etc), and this feeds that to the headphone pre AND the 1/4" outs.

Not too shabby, I think. The most spendy thing in there is the Mindphaser, but given what it can do as opposed to a pair of basic VCOs, the price is very justified. And the rest of the module complement doesn't ever have a price tag above $240, and most of them are actually down in the $50-150 range. Hell, I myself would dig playing THIS build!


Okay played around with my VCAs a little bit more and found the Doepfer 130-2 VCAs are creating a pretty loud clicking sound when being on volume control duty. Out of plaits is connected to the VCA and CV is connected to an LFO (doesnt matter which waveform). Is that normal or am I doing something wrong ?
-- 9xpad

If the issue isn't limited to one waveform (and one that has a hard leading edge!), then my bet is that you could be overloading one of the inputs...and since it's a "click" on the output, my bet is that the culprit is the CV input. Try this: set up a VERY SLOW triangle LFO, then feed that to the CVs. At the same time, also connect an oscilloscope to watch the LFO cycling through the waveform. My bet is that once the LFO reaches the maximum voltage limits, the "click" appears. Also, set the scope so that you can read the voltage on the Y axis, and you'll have a good indication of what's really happening and at what voltage level it occurs.

This click could also be the result of some DC offset voltage getting into the LFO waveform and pushing it well beyond the operational limit of the CV inputs. Remember: if you have a +5/-5 volt cycle, inputting an offset will make that +whatever voltage the offset is. Jam in an offset of +10VDC, and suddenly your high value on the mod signal is peaking at a really unacceptable +15V. If the LFO has an offset control, that should be at ZERO when generating bipolar modulation signals.


I've done a few tests of routing from VCV -> Ableton CV Tools -> MOTU 828 mkii with pretty good results.
-- Lugia

Any chance you can expound upon this in a separate thread?
-- jb61264

Actually, once I start doing some YT stuff of my own, showcasing the CV/gate to/from DAW setup is very much on the table. My objective is to show people that you really DON'T need hi-tweak stuff, and that something that might cost several hundred might really come in a lot cheaper than you think, and that MOTU trick is definitely in that ballpark.


The biggest culprit is plugging your modular synth into one outlet and having your recording system (computer and audio interface) plugged into a different outlet. If you can get both parts plugged into the same outlet that might be helpful for reducing or eliminating that ground hum. That would be the first thing I'd try to fix.
-- Ronin1973

Spot-on, Ronin. I've found that the majority of audio issues revolve around that problem. The fix in a large studio is to star-ground EVERYTHING...including the AC outlet ground pins! And they'll use some voodoo wiring for that, some OFC or Mogami alloy nonsense...but really, all you'd need is some stranded 18ga hookup wire from Home Depot, etc and you don't necessarily have to go bonkers with wiring every...single...outlet. Just connect everything so the wires aim toward their destination at the groundpoint on the mixer, and that SHOULD fix at least 80-90% of the crud. It's also a good bit easier than diving into the modular's guts...but if you've gotta, you gotta!


Sho'nuff. I've had my similar TASCAM DR-680 mkii out for a tad of field testing...works like a charm. Now, if you have something along those lines, where there's proper XLR I/O on the machine, THEN go with some better mics. That's when the real fun starts, because there's so damn many ways to employ mics in the field as well as a seemingly-equal amount of mics to fit those uses.

F'rinstance, this: https://www.amazon.com/Microphone-CVM-VM20-Professional-Smartphone-Camcorder/dp/B08NFT8DYB/ref=sr16?dchild=1&keywords=comica+microphone&qid=1627696273&sr=8-6 That's no ordinary mic..."shotguns" are used for distant pickups, since they have a very tight hypercardioid pattern off the front. So, let's say you've got four tracks to play with, and you're out in nature. For that, you'd want four mics: two are for a normal stereo X-Y pickup pattern with omni mics, and then you can use two shotguns and aim them wherever you want as your "leads"...but the nice thing about those shotguns is that you can be several feet from your audio source and STILL grab it pretty well. Been hearing a lot of good things about those Comicas, too...


I really don't get your point here. Why you call it blathering? Just because you did this back to 1979?
-- Quantum_Eraser

No, because you've got all of these people thinking this is the new, hot way to work according to the info sources like YouTube, but no one ever seems to talk about the benefits and liabilities of doing so with much accuracy. It's definitely not the same as working with a laptop live, but it really isn't a simple matter in its own right, and the actual details to make it work smoothly seem to never come up...like setting up a "clock bus", for example.

To me, this is similar to and about as irresponsible as advocating for the idea that a 1 x 84 hp skiff is an "ideal starter modular".


Thread: 3U Lead Rack

The REAL layout fix is to refresh the build page (probably a couple of times for good measure) and then check the "screenshot" under the "View" menu after refreshing that as well. Once the build page and the screenshot match, THEN you can post the layout by cut/pasting the build page's URL into your Forum post.


Hmmmm....can't work with the build. Don't put in a link to the .jpg screenshot, but just the build page's URL, and that'll put the PROPER build layout up here. Also, before doing that, refresh the build page a couple of times then check the screenshot (you'll need to refresh!) to make sure they're identical, and THEN post the page link.


how are you playing it? keyboard/sequencer/computer?

how are you listening? external mixer/audio interface?

I think the idea of buying modules looking forwards is a great idea - but I would in that case fill the entire rack first - get that checked and then get the modules that make most sense to start with, within whatever your budget is - not that you will probably stick to the plan, or budget, but it will give you a realistic idea of what you actually want and how much it will cost in the long run

this will also help with case choice - you may find that in the long run a lc9 or mantis or DIY 12u/128hp case is the one for you based on the modules that you want to house and power

I really like doepfer modules - I have quite a few, but I'd probably swap at least the sample and hold for a kinks if you can find one - rectification and logic are useful additions - sometimes slightly more expensive modules work out better value - this also applies to the filter bank, often it is better to wait and get the module that you actually want rather than a module that is similar but cheaper - zlob have a new one out that may be more interesting for example

another example of this maybe veils - it adds a huge amount of gain on each channel so can be useful as an external input and also has offsets available on the new version

the lfo does free running - ie it does not have a reset - this is a good idea - also if you are into ambient check out the cycle length of the lfos - you may want something much much slower with reset capabilities

if you are not sure about the vco - find another one that you like more at a similar price point - modulargrid and youtube are excellent tools!

adsrs are not as common as you'd think in terms of envelope generators in modular - AD always seem much more popular - but maybe fot more ambient/drone stuff they will be ok - but I would be more interested in ones that have cv control over the stages

I also think that buying very compact modules may not be a good strategy - less functionality/ergonomics etc especially when case is fuller

if you are really concerned about space I would go for a smaller headphone module - alm do one that is 2hp - this is a good place to save space!

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


actual link to rack

ModularGrid Rack

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


Hi
This is my first rack, i try to optimize module, space and money.
I just have a Beringer neutron but i search something that can be play also alone.
The music that i'd like to play is drone/ambiet and i hope the module that i choose can be a good choice (for music and pocket =)

[MyRack]

This is the datasheet https://www.modulargrid.net/e/modulesracks/datasheet/1644476

All modules are about 863€ without case
The Fixed band filter is so big but i love this for drone and the 914 is the cheapest one.

Now the questions:
- I'm doing a bullshit?
- I try also to compact env, vca, s/h and lfo two each module thinking to expansion, what you think about this choice, is too much 2 env, 2 s/h 4Vcas and 4 lfo for begin?
- I'm uncertain about the DreadBox Hysteria that seems like interesting and cheap VCO, what do you think about this module?
- Dystopia seem like a good(and also cheap) flexible noise generator for s/H and dron, have you got some advice?

Thanks in advance for your advices
Glitched0xff


Okay played around with my VCAs a little bit more and found the Doepfer 130-2 VCAs are creating a pretty loud clicking sound when being on volume control duty. Out of plaits is connected to the VCA and CV is connected to an LFO (doesnt matter which waveform). Is that normal or am I doing something wrong ?


makes note to dig my Sony Mini Disk out of the attic, and the binaural mics :) One of my MD is broken and will only Play, the other will record full 44.1 / 16bit .wav too, I really must fine them!

Though I think the answer is YES, the Tascam DR-40X will do the job nicely.


The biggest culprit is plugging your modular synth into one outlet and having your recording system (computer and audio interface) plugged into a different outlet. If you can get both parts plugged into the same outlet that might be helpful for reducing or eliminating that ground hum. That would be the first thing I'd try to fix.

Next would be removing all the modules except for case power. Then add one module at a time or two or three. Power up the case and see if there's an issue with noise. You may have an inherently noisy module (digital modules with displays can do this). Or maybe a module that has failed in some way. It's good to rule out a bad module.


Here is the non-technical explanation.

The VCA is the actual unit that does the work when it comes to controlling the amounts of anything else. Like a volume control on your phone or car's stereo, it controls the amount of whatever it is you're putting through it.

But where a VCA differs from a simple volume knob is that it has an input for automation. Instead of turning the knob by hand, you can use a CV voltage to do it. VCAs can control the amount of audio. They can control the amount of other CV signals being routed through them. They are the basic building blocks of automation aka MODULATION.

There are some fine points regarding different types of VCAs and what they can do. VCAs can be set-up in many different ways... so you might find some that respond in linear or exponential fashion. You will find some with a manual knob. You'll find others that have no manual controls and are just three little jacks. Sometimes a set of VCAs will be built to do duty as a mixer as well.


...I just picked up an MPC One, which you could argue is not THAT much different than a traditional DAW, but it kinda is. It's a much more immediate workflow.
-- farkas

Talking of AKAI, I bought a simple MPD218, which as a non-musically skilled person was an impressive step up in comparison to using a midi keyboard with Reason, with a different interface I was offered a new means to input notes and my tracks improved. This is part of the way I see Eurorack too, its a totally new interface with a totally new way of inputting or creating notes.... In short, Brilliant Fun!

Though I doubt I'll be able to program Ba-Ba-Black Sheep on the Eurorack like I could play on the Piano ;-)

Its like, User-Interfaces for life, not all interfaces work for all people, so if one particular interface helps create enjoyment and benefits one person then thats a happy win :)


but a vca that mixes > mixer or vca

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!


I've done a few tests of routing from VCV -> Ableton CV Tools -> MOTU 828 mkii with pretty good results.
-- Lugia

Any chance you can expound upon this in a separate thread?

JB


I like this post. From the average videos available on YouTube related to modular synth, just show that many people actually don't know the concept itself and they end up doing pretty much the same they could do in ableton. Although ableton offers a lot of tools including max live, yet the connection are limited. I am still in the process of building my modest 2 row 84hp, but I am thinking about something specific and I always think I could I connect thing. Another day I just saw a stupid video related to procrastination in the sense of building the system and doing music with it. And sincerely is system is a sequencer and some bass sythm and drums that sound avarege and very easy to accomplish in any daw. And I thought what a wastte of money, and even worse this guy is influence other people to do like him. For me modular is about search sound world and for that you have to patch a lot and study, not just record the first rubbish and edit an album.


...which is one of the things that makes me chuckle when I see people blathering on about the virtues of "DAWless" work; c'mon gang, I was doing that sort of thing as far back as 1979, and you're just NOW telling me how cool it is? Ha!
-- Lugia

Eh... I don't know that anyone is trying to convince anyone else that a DAWless workflow is "cool," just that people are rediscovering that idea and technology is making it possible without investing in a couple of Studer 24 tracks. Most hobbyist and project studio musicians younger than you and I had the limited choice between a computer and a Tascam cassette multitrack not all that long ago. Maybe a Roland MV8000 digital recorder if you were lucky. OF COURSE younger musicians adopted the DAW with unlimited tracks, virtual instruments, and plug-ins. Who wouldn't? More is better, right?!?
For some musicians, more is better. For others, it's not. There are some great options out there now for guys like me who hated the virtual environment and wanted a happy medium between Pro Tools/Logic/Cubase/Ableton/Reason/etc. and a Portastudio. I just picked up an MPC One, which you could argue is not THAT much different than a traditional DAW, but it kinda is. It's a much more immediate workflow. With Akai's new class compliant audio interface I/O support, I'll probably never turn my computer on for recording again. The addition of one of the new Tascam Model 12 mixers would make a powerful "DAWless" combo. That works for me, but I wouldn't say it's "cool".
And all of this "DAWless" power is now comparably affordable and doesn't take up much more space than a decently spec'd desktop computer. Again, not "cool" just different.


^@farkas
really good comment above! I also don't want to sit at my pc to make music. Very good point that VCV rack means doing that very thing lol I just wanted to mention VCV rack because it basically was my teacher, and after that experience, I feel like I earned my way into Euro rack. I started off as a simple guitar player, so, its be a LONG adventure. It takes time for a "normal" musician to grow tired of using a computer. Most go the path of the DAW.

@thelowerrhythm At this point, I choose my simple rack over VCV any day.
-- Shadowsaun

Same here. I just don't want to use a DAW because it is not fun for me using a Computer when making Music.
There's nothing wrong about not using a DAW

@Lugia

"people blathering on about the virtues of "DAWless" work"

I really don't get your point here. Why you call it blathering? Just because you did this back to 1979?


Thread: 3U Lead Rack

Wow, thanks. I'll have to take all this in and look through all these modules. I have noticed this about modulargrid.net that using the browsers back button seems to pull from the browsers cache so then all or some of the modules you added seem like they've disappeared but if I just reload the page with the browsers reload button they come back. Anyway thanks again, I have some home work/research to do!


I often tend to chain my VCAs to "entwine" some Euclidean trigger sequences with different offsets to create a rhythmic pattern.

Wouldn't in that case a mixer be the way to go? Like a Doepfer A-138n for example which mixes 4 of those sequences at 4TE whereas the dual VCA only gives me 3 (In+CV+CV / out to second In is used for the chain). I was told VCA > Mixer but I am not so sure about that. As of my understanding right now a Mixer > VCA whenever the use case doesn't need the input gain to be 0.

Started experimenting with the "volume control" use and really like it thx for the vid, definitely brought some ideas on what could be done.


Hi guys,

First thanks for taking a look at this post.

The type of music I am hoping to create is neo classical along the lines of Nils Frahm and hints of Martin Roth etc. Heavily arpeggio orientated and sound scapey!

I'm looking for my next modules and would love some advice. I have fx pedals for reverb and particle 2 for granular.

Cheers!

https://cdn.modulargrid.net/img/racks/modulargrid_1622516.jpg


Plug an oscillator straight into the input of a vca,
Plug the output of a vca to your mixer or whatever you use to hear stuff
Now turn the gain to zero on your vca - you can’t hear your oscillator anymore
Now turn the cv to zero
Plug a sine wave lfo into the cv input and slowly raise the cv value from 0 -10

Can you hear what is happening to your oscillator volume ?

You can plug anything into the cv input, like envelopes, lfo, or even the outputs of other vca’s. I like plugging sequencers into them, which is why I have a lot of sequencers in my racks

There are lots of other uses but this is the most frequent use and it’s when you say that you are using the cv input of the vca to shape the amplitude of a sound or for us simpletons, we can just say volume.

Hope this helps


Thread: 3U Lead Rack

This was amusing. I really, really ripped into this one...partly because builds of this size are a total PITA to try and sort out early on. As a result, the kit modules got deleted...but in that process, I punched the capabilities of the original WAY up. Also, there were some lurking ergonomics issues AND a couple of those modules exceeded the "skiff depth rule of thumb" of 45mm...one was way up around 60mm, which for a basic module is sort of...well, not good. Anyway, here's what resulted:
ModularGrid Rack
Four VCOs (with quantizing!), quad 2-stage EG, eight VCAs, Nyle Steiner's rip-yer-head-off PERFECT for leads VCF, mono-to-stereo tap delay/reverb/chorus AND a Happy Nerding FX Aid XL. And the cherry on the cake: step down AND step up I/O on the end so that you have both stereo out AND IN so that you can bring external audio through the VCF/FX while having both channels under VCA control via that Zlob hex VCA. There are bunches of "sneaky functions" in there, too...this took the original idea and hooked it up to a bottle of nitrous while also improving the patching ergonomics.

So, left to right: Polyend MIDI interface and ADDAC dual sample and hold...and then the FUN starts! Quad Doepfer LFO, quad Noise Engineering EG with loopable envelopes so you actually have EIGHT LFOs if you didn't use any of 'em for envelopes. And then the killer...TWO Klavis Twin Waves, and a Joranalogue wavefolder positioned for either Klavis module to use. This all feeds to the Zlob Vnicvrsal VCA which has six "breakable" VCAs plus an internal mixbus. Tiptop's Forbidden Planet is a copy of the Steiner-Parker Synthacon VCF...and take it from a former Synthacon owner, that VCF just looooves to shriek and yowl and get used on leads that can cut right through anything. Fan-damn-tastic VCF. After that, there's a dual VCA from After Later that's based on the Mutable Veils topology, albeit as just a pair which can be used as two stereo VCAs or summed for mono. Frequency Central's Stasis Leak gives you your basic effects, namely a tap delay, stereo reverb, and chorus, then I put an FX Aid XL in so that you can have, say, delay + reverb, or any sort of combo of what these two can do. And at the end, there's a Riders In the Storm CON, which has the stereo level shift down to line from modular...AND an identical pair of up-shifters to go from line TO modular, which allows some interesting possibilities, such as processing an external source, or setting up something akin to the Minimoog's "headphone jack trick" that lets you set up a feedback loop.

And really, that's NOT everything I stuffed in here. There's a lot of hidden things, such as the ability to do some very strange things with the Klavis VCOs such as random signal generation, LFO capabilities, crossmod, etc etc. And while I did shift a lot of functions around, the only ones that are wholly missing now are the ring modulator (use a VCA instead, now that you've got eight!) and the mult (use inline widgets instead...small builds need to be 100% function, and multiple modules are robbing space from that in small builds). Otherwise, everything you had is in there (minus the kit modules), but pumped up on 'roids. Better, I think...plus these modules will play really nicely with each other and other additions when you expand the build to 9U.


VCAs. The thing that new builders neglect...until they discover just how much their build SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS without them!

VCAs have so many uses, it's nuts. But then, you have to remember that the initial idea for modular synthesis partly came from analog COMPUTERS, which are very dependent on voltage relationships with/between op-amps. Since all the analog computer voodoo lies in how you use those, it makes perfect sense that we have a similar circuit in modular synths.

Anything that needs level control for which you don't happen to have several extra arms and hands, that's where VCAs go. Audio and CV/mod levels are the basics, though. You can also use them as amplitude modulators, by feeding an audio signal to both the signal AND CV inputs. Lots of clangers and yowls! A couple of them make up the guts of stereo autopanners. And performance mixers are usually jam-packed with VCAs to control levels, panning, AUX send/returns, and so forth. And if you want to scan/xfade through a VCO's waveforms, a quad VCA + a quadrature LFO are a must. And that list goes on...

I think some of the problem with them lies not just with the "boring factor", but the term "amplifier". People look and think "well...I've GOT an amplifier and it's hooked up to my speakers already, so I don't need all of these amplifiers...right?" Wrong. Whatever the cause of this, it's a HUGE trap and part of the "boring module" issues that people run across...which I've termed "sexy module syndrome". These modules don't come with a plethora of knobs and lights and so forth, so people load up on the "better" modules that DO have all of that...then wonder why their $7k+ box sounds like total ass, give up on modular, and yet another cab gets consigned to the closet. It's not necessary...people just need to do their homework about these instruments BEFORE grabbing the Magic Plastic and burning yet another expensive hole in it.


Yeaaahhh...computers have never been something I'm 100% confident with in music. Yes, things are WAY better than a decade or two ago, and I'm not even going to go into the strides made since things like Dyaxis were the only way to go. At this point, I've gotten past being jinky about them in the studio, but using one live still gives me pause. And HELL yes, there's a huge difference between a "virtual" device and actual hardware...which is one of the things that makes me chuckle when I see people blathering on about the virtues of "DAWless" work; c'mon gang, I was doing that sort of thing as far back as 1979, and you're just NOW telling me how cool it is? Ha!

As for VCV...I look at it both as a useful tool AND a teaching device. However, when a VCV patch starts getting into the turf where you find big Monster Case builds, VCV tends to overtax its host machine. But it IS useful as a sequencing environment, since my experiences with it have taught me that it's the sonic aspects that really suck down the cycles, and I've done a few tests of routing from VCV -> Ableton CV Tools -> MOTU 828 mkii with pretty good results.


I've used MD as my field 2-track of choice for decades now. Very small, inobtrusive, but solid performance. At present, both the portable and the studio MD deck are both Sony units.

But that's not the whole deal there...the big performance kicker with my MD use are these fantastic, tiny omnis that I use as a binaural pair, clipping them to my glasses earpieces so that they have a proper "head" for spatialization. By doing that, you get a recording that PRECISELY gives you the directional cues as you heard them in the field on headphones, and with a little M/S tweaking, you can translate that nicely to normal stereo. https://www.microphonemadness.com/mm-bsm-6-micro-binaural-stereo-microphones-w-shure-premium-holding-clips.html are the very model...I got mine in 2005, and the design works so well it's still unchanged 15+ years later! Even if you get a different field recorder, I'd still look into those mics if I were you...


Very cool sounds here!


Thread: 3U Lead Rack

Looks like a great start to me I li


USTA is another I've considered. Looks very good! Also out of stock at my vendors : (

As I continue to try to wrap my head around the possibilities of multiple sequencers + downstream logic & utilities, it occurred to me "I could model a lot of that in Excel." A lot of 1s and 0s, small integers representing quantized pitch CV, AND, OR, XOR, etc., yes that would work fine in Excel. The main problem is !!!BORING!!!... but I'm imagining a few hours with a spreadsheet would go a long way in helping me understand this -- as I'm still trying to wrap my head around "if I take XYZ basic sequences and push them through ABC units downstream, what outputs do I get?" AND if I get a better grip on that, it tells me better what (if any) additional sequencing capabilities would be useful. I'll post more if I have any interesting findings on this.

In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers Patchworks (Seattle) might find me an in stock unit I like!


Thread: 3U Lead Rack

Mostly looking to build a DIY Rack to play mostly leads on from my keyboard controller via midi. Not looking to do ambient, sequencing or generative type stuff -- just more for playing leads. Mostly want to explore creating my own sounds [not so much interested in already made/sampled sounds...have enough of those] and play crunchy-ish leads. I'd like to eventually build up to a 9U rack but figured I'd take it 3U at a time. Some of the models [like the poly] are to support that eventual goal. The power and switch would be built into a DIY case so not including those as a front panel piece. Although I needed to fill 1u so threw in a power indicator led. I have quite a bit of experience in electronics so want to build most of the modules myself. Given all that -- any opinions on this rack? Anything fundamentally wrong here? Thanks!


Watch this and have your eyes opened to what your ears can hear :)

I can offer you two tips on VCA use. 1. Volume modulation 2. Pan modulation.
This video explains well, and I suggest you patch up something and try this approach. Its a good way to start learning about modulation via vca.
Also, CV is "control voltage" and is sent out in what ever way you command it to.

Also, a kind poster here has this in the tag, take it to heart: "Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!"


^@farkas
really good comment above! I also don't want to sit at my pc to make music. Very good point that VCV rack means doing that very thing lol I just wanted to mention VCV rack because it basically was my teacher, and after that experience, I feel like I earned my way into Euro rack. I started off as a simple guitar player, so, its be a LONG adventure. It takes time for a "normal" musician to grow tired of using a computer. Most go the path of the DAW.

@thelowerrhythm At this point, I choose my simple rack over VCV any day.


So VCAs are somewhat of a cornerstone of modular as far as I understood. Getting some helped me to understand some basic as to why that is the case but how do these work? As I find a lot of info on this topic still confusing I would really want to talk about my specific case:

I have 2 Doepfer 130-2 VCAs ( I thought the switch thingy could let me dodge the linear vs. exponential topic for now).

First topic: Gain
For the sake of simplicity, I have a Signal with a Value of 10 coming in so the gain gives me an output of 1 at 1, an output of 2 at 2, and so on. First of all, is that how it works, or am I making things up beginning from this point?

Second topic: CV
This is where my headache begins. What does CV exactly do? The CV knob is doing the same for the CV value as the Gain for the Input value I assume (so again at a CV Signal 10 gives me a CV of 1 at 1, a CV of 2 at 2. So how do these values get merged? Will the CV value be added to the Input (after gain) or is it a multiplication? Am I right to assume that a CV of 2 and an Input of 3 will get me to an output of 5 (or is it a multiplication and gets me an output of 6?). Is the output capped? As most stuff in modular works in a certain range it should be but where is that cap and will it "distort" or anything if pushed past?

Thanks for anyone willing to teach me.


^Disagree with this (no disrespect). *edit: Disagree with Shadowsaun's recommendation.
Some electronic musicians want to get as far away as possible from the computer, get a more interactive and hands-on experience with electronic music. Modular provides that, VCV Rack does not.
I can definitely understand the argument that there are other hardware options for achieving this, whether vintage, Behringer, MPC, etc., but who cares? This instrument is fun and a completely different workflow than any other instrument. Period. I encourage anyone with any interest to try it out. There's a steep learning curve, it's expensive, and it's currently in fashion so lots of folks will disappear as soon as they enter the world. Just like every kid who wanted to be Eddie Van Halen and ultimately sold the guitar they got for Christmas. Some people will stick with it and others won't regardless of VCV Rack or the real-world version.
For any new person who has the Euro itch, have fun with it while your interest is high. If it's not for you, sell and move on.


I would add, that if your not willing to spend at least 1 year with VCV rack, then you should not purchase anything in real life.

If you don't enjoy VCV rack, then you wont enjoy the real life version.

VCV rack is the way in.
-- Shadowsaun

For whatever it's worth, I hate working with VCV rack, but spend at least two to four hours a day on my modular. A lot of people gravitate to modular specifically because they're tiresd of computers.


I would add, that if your not willing to spend at least 1 year with VCV rack, then you should not purchase anything in real life.

If you don't enjoy VCV rack, then you wont enjoy the real life version.

VCV rack is the way in.


I am using a Olympus LS-P4. While it is not perfect it can go anywhere, has decent audio quality and supports FLAC. Got mine 2nd hand for like 75 EUR. While handling can be fiddly depending on what you do with it I would choose it again due to its miniature size.


Since I’m charmed by the works of Natlab, Radiophonic Workshop and Hainbach I’m considering to buy a fieldrecorder for use with my Eurorack (Make Noise Morphagene) and iOS apps. Recording “natural” sounds outside, homemade percussion etc. etc. My eye fell on the Tascam DR-40X which for the price seems to do what I want. Would this be a good choice or are there other/better options within this price category and if so then why?


Any updates on this rig and its usage? Love the concept.


5 seems to suffer from the appearance of creative tunnelvision. You can absolutely find your way through a tool, and should be encouraged to try as many as you can. The more useful lesson is to learn not to rely on it. You don't have to learn that lesson by pretending your relationship with your equipment isn't as big a factor as it is.

To note -- I really enjoyed the essay, and don't think the intention was to stifle anything, but instead to tell people exactly what I just wrote.. That's just the way I think it is being read into.


Nice! Well done, Gworn.
-- farkas

Hi Gworn,

Nice track accomplished with a good video, it's nice to see you at work :-) He, he, nice cat at the end of the video! :-D

Thanks a lot for sharing this with us and kind regards, Garfield.
-- GarfieldModular

Thanks for listening! That's my cat Darnel : )


Thanks Garfield - glad you enjoyed it.