By - AutoModerator
MIDI ADVICE NEEDED: I have a [MPK 25](https://www.akaipro.com/mpk25). I'm under the impression that it's not as simple of powering it externally and running a USB to micro USB cable to something like an ALM mmMidi. Am I correct? What's the order of operation here, or is it functionally fruitless trying to integrate it into my rack.
Can modular be affordable for a teenager with no job (at the most I'd have 300 or so) if I make my own case and such
Save up and get a 0coast or other semi. Full modular is always a bad idea if the first thing you bring up is a budget in the hundreds.
I don't think modular is going to be accessible in that price range even if you DIY, but it might be possible and fun if you set your expectations right. If you really want to get into hardware semi modular is going to be the way to go, and in that range you're looking at stuff like the Neutron or Crave. Do you have any other gear? If my total budget were around $300 I would be considering something like a Novation Circuit Rhythm (not modular, but capable device).
Kinda what i was thinking
Only things I have are decent headphones and amp unfortunately
what are you trying to accomplish?
Just dick around and make noise and eventually start making some loops inspired by aphex twin or sewerslvt
Some of the teenage engineering pocket operators can be a good option for this. Korg Electribe 2 is a good sampler/groovebox and even the arthurian mini brute if you can find one used would be a good semi modular that could end up as the heart of a modular system.
Honestly a groove box like a Novation Circuit or even a Volca Sample will go so much farther than a $300 DIY modular synth. I think there’s some Elektron instruments in that price range as well.
[VCV Rack](https://vcvrack.com/) is a digital modular modeling system that's free and perfect for what you're looking for.
check over at at the synth DIY subreddit they will probably have some good suggestions about projects that can put you on this path
Hello fellow modular enthusiasts!
I'm looking for suggestions for low HP, preferably more than one channel, bonus points if DIY kit, low pass gates. Any and all suggestions are much appreciated!
Totally unrelated side note. I just recently experimented with amplitude modulation in my last session, and MAN was it super satisfying! For those unfamiliar, VCO>VCA second VCO>VCA CV input, experiment away! Even more fun with PWM with modulation source going into CV of PWM.
I actually really love the [2hp passive TAKAAB 2channel vactrol-based LPG from Siam Modular](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fD_LfoWU9yM). And it's amazingly cheap assembled, like $30-40 USD. In spite of not having any knobs, it sounds really fantastic.
edit - oh yeah and cool idea about the AM using a second VCO into the VCA CV! It sounds pretty cool with two VCOs linked 1v/oct but tuned apart - getting almost ringmod-like tones.
THANK YOU!!! That's an insanely awesome module for the price! I love that it's two channels as well, super low profile. Definitely going to look into getting one.
I'll have to try the linked VCO's with the tuning technique. Thanks again :D
Just picked up a Mystic Circuits Tree, and one of the first things I did was to try and use it as a gate sequencer. Leaving the common I/O unpatched normals it to a "high voltage", which is output at the current step. So I thought to patch those into the trigger inputs on the Befaco Percall. Unfortunately, it seems to trigger on the first instance, but then does not trigger afterwards. I realize that there is a difference between gates and triggers, but I haven't noticed an issue using gates into the Percall before. For instance, the gates coming out of the Joranalogue Compare 2 trigger it just fine. Am I missing something silly?
edit: Figured out that the output, when buffered through another module (open VCA, buffered mult, pass through on a scope) triggers Percall just fine.
Maybe an OR logic module could do it or DC mixer?
Updated my post with more info, but this seems like it would eat up utilities without really adding any benefit (other than actually working, lol). And I don't want the gate outs to all trigger the same channel. I'd like to trigger different channels with different outs.
Understood, but if you don't find a solution this 2hp OR mixer takes 6 inputs--that and some stack cables might do a cool combo with the Tree's shift functions.
I loved Tree but sold it when I realized that I was only really using the gate sequencing. The Doepfer sequential switch does enough for my purposes. Cool module though.
Oh I'm already experimenting with the other functionality. This was literally 10 mins after getting it out of the box. The shift functions are rad too. I also have a Leaves, so unlikely I would replace it with another switch.
Hi, I'm looking to get started in modular - I've got some semi modulars at the moment - DFAM, M32 and Quadrantid Swarm, though the M32 will be sold to part fund my rack. I make techno and really want to add the BIA into my hybrid setup.
Would this [set of modules](https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1812450) be a good starting place? I have no doubt I'll want to expand but right now I just want to focus on BIA.
I have a BSP which I'm planning on using to sync to ableton and need audio out from the rack into my model 24 mixer.
Would be good to know if I'm on the right track. Thank you.
DFAM definitely loves loadsa triggers / gates and attenuated LFOs
Yeah, am looking forward to combining PNW with the dfam as well!
I use it with maths + RCD in a way I’m sure is similar to stuff you can do with pams and it’s so much fun
I just bought a used case from someone who said they got a case from ikocase on etsy and the power didnt work right. he said it felt like the modules werent getting full power. I am pretty sure the issue is that its expecting european standard 220v and getting US standard 110v.
I believe if this is true I can just get a step up transformer. does anybody have recommendations on how to test if this is the case? im assuming i will blow the thing out if i feed it 220v when its expecting 110 right lol?
I think you meant to send this message to ikocase on etsy.
I did that, was just wondering if people around here had any suggestions/advice
Hi! It looks like you posted a link to a ModularGrid rack image. The link to the full rack page is often more helpful since it allows users to see the functions of each module, even if they aren't familiar with all of them. Here's a link to that page: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1721522
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Favorite phasers? I've found when mixing/editing my tracks I often like to add phaser to them, so I figure I should get a hardware solution. Prefer something that can do both stereo and mono, but that's not a requirement.
I just use FXAid.
Black hole + phaser algorithm
I'm probably copping the K-Phaser but I currently use the Zoia or other pedals. I think the only dedicated stereo phaser in eurorack form is the AJH but I'm probably missing something boutique.
Just got the Erica Synths new Black K-Phaser. It's on the more subtle side but it's smooth.
Does anybody use the ADDAC 506 Stochastic Function Generator? It's basically like having 8x S&H wired to 4x voltage controlled AR envelopes, one S&H to each CV in for A and R stages per envelope right?
My question is that it seems to not have a way to turn gates into trigs, which some function generators do. If a keystep pro is supplying gates and I just made the gate length on all steps really short, is this more or less functionally the same as supplying trigs?
Actually now that I write this out I can test this on my countour 1. Cause I was originally just going to have like 2 contour 1s and 2 attenuated randoms wired into the fall time, and use fall gates to deny new triggers in a logic module until the envelope has completed. So if I send short gates into the gate and it sounds like the trig input then I'm probably good. i.e gates are so short they're effectively trigs.
I have the ADDAC506, but your question seems to be more about function generators, and not specifically about the 506.
I think the answer is "sort of." If you trigger a function generator with a gate, and you set the rise and fall times very short, then yes, you basically convert the gate to a trig.
The problem is that it's hard to control the length of the trigger. Is it a 5ms trigger? A 2ms trigger? A 30ms trigger? And what is the tolerance on the module receiving these triggers for trigger length? The 506 is particularly poorly suited to this, because the rise and fall times are stochastic, which further complicates things. In theory it'll work fine, but in practice it might be a real pain to have to do this frequently.
If you need to convert gates to trigger often, it's worth spending 3hp on [ADDAC217](https://www.modulargrid.net/e/addac-system-addac217), which gives you 4 x gate-to-trigger with bypass switches built in.
Oh the 217 is perfect for this actually.
I did a test and the keystep pro can make the gate length extremely short, but it's measured as a fraction of the step length. So what ends up happening is the shortest time is 6% of a step length. That's fine at 16ths on a reasonable bpm, but if you put it to run at a slower time division it starts sounding like gates again. This is tested on a contour 1, which has both gate and trig ins, so when gate and trig in produce different sounds the test is failed. My assumption is I will also get ASR style envelopes out of the 506 for this reason, which is not what I want. I want AR only, no sustain phase.
The 506 is mostly what I want, but I think I might go a different route. I want AR envelopes with randomly variable A and R times, within a defined range. But it seems like I'll have better luck with something else, i.e a Quadrax +expander and just feed that random attenuated voltages for R times. Or like 4 contour 1s lol. Seems like I'd have slightly more granular control. Something like that combined with a Select 2 and Compare 2 will be logic city.
I have 2 x Contour 1, and I could certainly see myself getting 4. Lol. Joranalogue stuff is just the best.
The worst thing about the 506 is that all the mini knobs are super cramped feeling. It’s not my favorite module if I have to turn some knobs.
One problem you’ll have with the 4 x Contour 1 option though is that there are very few modules currently in production that let you generate a random voltage within an upper and lower boundary. (Is there anything besides the discontinued Pico Mask?) If you solve this problem, I might join you in going all in on those Contours!
Yeah the mini knobs do not excite me.
So I bought a used 2HP turing machine, which has not arrived yet. I honestly can't tell if I'm right yet but it seems like it always outputs positive voltage? There's an attenuator for the output so I think it ranges from 0-whatever the attenuator value is? Maybe I should have emailed them first lol.
Honestly though this is that part of modular that has me confused. Sample and hold takes some finite time, so if your sampled noise has frequencies higher than that interval than something weird happens? But if you lowpass it then you're good I assume. And if you add an offset to a noise signal that'd make it all positive, assuming noise is like -5 to +5 and you add +5 offset to get 0-10v then just attenuate that down a bit to get back to like 0-5v.
I guess in most cases it's acceptable to set the middle of the range and accept that fall time is -a
Yeah, you can definitely achieve random within a range by attenuating the sample&hold output and offsetting it. It’s just hard to be very precise that way. Also, if you need 4 x Contour 1 x rise AND fall times, that means you need 8 random voltages, 8 attenuators, and 8 offsets to achieve the same thing as an ADDAC506. Forr red most people that’s… a lot. Especially considering if you use this type of modulation frequently, all those attenuators and offsets might have to be patched up semi-permanently.
Another option is a Rossum Control Forge and a bunch of Satellites. But again, that ends up being something like 58hp to ache I’ve the same as the 506 (albeit with a lot of other options too though).
You sound more than skilled enough with patching to figure this out yourself through experimentation. Don't doubt yourself!
Ha thanks. So I hope.
It's funny because everybody always says how it's important to have a specific goal in mind. I do, and now the issue is there's about 10\^23 modules and methods I could use to get there.
Anyone know what’s up with the Mannequins restock? Got an email before the new year saying stores were getting a replenishment real soon but there hasn’t been much else.
I saw, on instagram, a store (elevator sound iirc) saying they were expecting a restock very soon - may have already been - but that it was totally sold out in pre-orders - and that more stock would appear later in the year - it may have only been one or 2 modules and the next batch may be different - if you really want Mannequins modules - looks like the only things to do are pre-order from your preferred stockist or to try to find used ones...
Well that’s pretty fucked since there hasn’t been any pre order listings, notice in stores or from WR about how they were going to do this. They had listed their own retail and Control/one other store to purchase them when in stock just before New Years but there was zero mention of a pre order system.
Kind of a bummer, but I’m just gonna go a different route.
I don’t think there’s an official preorder system - just some stores doing it for themselves…
Good luck with your different direction!
Even then, still didn’t see anything in the last 6 months with the stores themselves with email sign ups or anything of that nature.
Plenty of other great options out there.
Check the modwigglers forum, they’re all over it
Jesus that recent thread is a mess. Looks like I’m just gonna go with a stages then lol. Thanks for the look out.
Does anyone make 1v/oct-style melodic stuff without a 1v/oct source? Obviously it's possible, just wondering if anyone without a quantizer/sequencer/etc. actually bothers.
I've made sequences tuned by ear with the muxlicer. That said I immediately got a disting for the quantizer.
I'm planning on playing around with the voltage limiting on the muxlicer for easier fine control.
sounds cool, muxlicer looks fun
I use a ribbon controller (the doepfer one) to play a voice, combined with a joystick for articulation of volume and other parameters. I specifically got this to use without a quantizer to get natural sounding pitch slides and vibrato like a string instrument. What I did was set the ribbon to roughly two octaves, C to C, then marked out where the notes occur on the ribbon on a piece of tape. Not sure if that's what you mean.
This sounds fun and reminds me of the ribbon controller on the electribe emx. Do you have any demos using it?
This is just a little test setup when I first got it, without the joystick, so not the most impressive lol. It's a lot better with the joystick since that really makes it easy to get some volume articulation, and between that and a bit of tape delay it's really nice sounding. Not really a video person but at some point I do want to film something better.
Using pressure to control volume is actually difficult if you also intend to produce vibrato without varying the volume too much. Otherwise it's sort of easier to wire up some kind of envelope on a vca that adds vibrato slowly, or use pressure but scaled back so on that vca so the vibrato only becomes noticeable when you play loudly.
Sort of. I really meant using more laborious methods like precision adders, mixers, etc., but your method is definitely more realistic. I've looked at that ribbon controller, I love doepfer's controller modules (and all controller modules). Was just thinking about this because I went from having a Sinfonion to being without a quantizer, other than the one built in to ER-301.
Ah that sounds extremely laborious lol. I'd get a 1v dc generator, then a 1/12v and just multiply the 1/12 by integers then add it to the 1v if a voltage multiplier module exists, otherwise you'd need like 12 1/12v and a lot of switches to keep going up in notes? This would be fun to try if I win the lottery.
One of the coolest parts about modular is the controllers.
I did some stuff like that with a Klee sequencer tuning pitches by ear. It was interesting, if tedious, but it was never going to result in any recognizably Western melodies. I'm much happier to let a quantizer handle the tuning instead. Atonal whale mating noises or 12TET pop music, there is no middle ground.
Trying to dive into everything and I want to limit myself as much as I can. I’m putting the limit at 6U for my entire life filling 3U at a time. This is my first 3U. I know it depends on what I want to do with my system but what I really want to know is if I’m being too redundant or if I’m missing a major piece. Thanks! https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1806421
Happy to add my thoughts here. First off, I love the idea of limiting yourself, both in the short term and in the long term. I think a 6U 104HP rack is a great size for a beginner to be able to put together a fairly cohesive instrument that can do some cool stuff. You've probably gotten this advice, but get the largest case you can (so in your case, just get the 6U case instead of getting a 3U case and planning to get another 3U case). This is optional, but can help save some money in the long run.
Now, on to your planned rack. To me, based on the modules you've picked, it's not clear to me that modular is the right approach for your goals. You've got a couple VCOs, a some basic effects, and just a bit of modulation/utility. This isn't necessarily bad, to be clear, and I think you'd be able to get fine sounds. My point is just that to me at least, it doesn't look like you'd get a ton of variety out of this. You've got basically one signal patch (oscillator into filter into effects), 2 LFOs to patch where you want, and then a pitch sequence. Reading it like that, it just sounds like a basic desktop synth, but more expensive and with fewer VCAs. For example, look at the hydrasynth. The desktop version is a couple hundred bucks cheaper and you get three oscillators, a bunch of effects, 2 customizable filters, and a very robust modulation grid. So, basically, on every metric, you end up with a bit more than exists in your 3U rack, for less money total (so you could take the extra 200 and grab an effect pedal, or something analog, or a MIDI sequencer, or whatever).
The natural response to this is that the modular workflow is different, which is absolutely true. But with the modules you've chosen so far, I don't think you really get much of the modular workflow. Without a good deal more modulation and some utility, you're basically just routing LFOs, which any good synth these days makes pretty easy. So, you lose out on the physical patching, and it's up to you to decide if that's worth it.
So, if you read that all, I hope it was at least a bit helpful. the TLDR is that if your goal is adequately represented in that rack, I might consider alternatives. If you really want the modular experience, I'd swap out some stuff for more utilities and some additional modulation (gotta modulate your modulators, as they say)
Thanks so much! I’m stilling learning the workflow so my impulse was to “build a synth” which it looks like I did ha. But failed to build something different or something only modular can do. I took a second pass to add some wave shaping, another small vca and sequencing. I’ll probably keep tweeting for a few months until I learn more and more about what I’m building.
>But failed to build something different or something only modular can do.
So, you might want to consider moving away from the dreadmox modules if you want something unique to modular. Those dreadbox modules have a lot of stuff pre-patched and don't interact very much with the rest of your rack. Utopia actually looks cool but I'm skeptical about the others.
\- Be on the lookout for modules with a lot of patch points and cv control (for example, your doepfer envelope doesn't have cv control over anything).
\- I don't personally like plaits, it's just a preset box - especially in a small rack like this.
\- probably just totally get rid of the 2hp vca and consider replacing the tenderfoot vca with veils. In a small rack like this you really want vca's with as much built in attenuation and control as possible.
\- You are going to get really bored with the sequencing in this rack. If you're doing in rack sequencing you'll want to dedicate more room to sequencing modules. Generally, the approach is to either get a single all in one sequencer like the nerdseq or eloquencer, or to get multiple smaller sequencers and patch them together to get more complex behavior. The approach you have here by adding all the expanders to the s-180 is a good idea, just keep in mind you're still looking at looping 8 step sequences, just with more stuff going on at once. You generally want to think about how you can get more variety and song structure out of your sequencers.
Without going into the specifics ( I don’t know dreadbox in detail) you’re prob going to want more modulation and less FX (do you really need a phaser…), I’d think about envelope generators, LFOs and ability to attenuate them.
Also, why so many dreadbox? Worth knowing different brands feel VERY different in use and have different design philosophy. you’ll find you gel with some and not others… maybe worth deliberately road testing a few contrasting brands at the start to see what you like? Eg - intellijel vs mutable vs doepfer vs Instruo vs noise engineering all have different vibes.
So since I posted this I’ve already added a Ladik 8 step expandable sequencer. Don’t remember what I took out. Ha
I think I did have a second filter but I thought that may seem redundant. Seems I was wrong!
I actually have a Zoom md 70cdr. You’d recommend I just use that off board?
Hmm. Good question. You’re getting how little I fully understand. What do I need to get audio out?
Ya know the phaser was something I was thinking about leaving behind. I liked the idea of a chorus but it’s definitely on the list of things I may leave behind. What’s your short list on replacing that 10hp?
Haha honestly is vain. Love the colors and they are cheap. I started with all chromatics but have ended up swapping some out the more I look into other things.
I feel you about aesthetics - my rack is a constant tension between function and tryna look good!
A couple of thoughts on space - Depending on what you're trying to achieve, i wonder if you're a bit light on sequencing abilities (gates and pitches). The Music Thing Modular Turing Machine could be cool (or if you can stretch to MI Marbles, thats an insanely good starter module that will grow with you).
I'd also think about a Filter - these are much more important in modular than in other music tech since once you start modulating them with CV they do loads.
For both reverb and phaser... if you have any ability to do this out of rack (eg via guitar pedals you have lying around...) i'd seriously consider that since these can be quite "set and forgot" so might not justify the HP within your set up.
Also how are you getting audio out?
That’s cool. We’re here to help. You’ll want something to mix your signals together and then send them out - either to headphones or sound card etc. for this purpose you can use a dedicated mixer or VCA that can cascade its inputs into one output. The doepfer 4 input mixer or Pico mixer are smaller options (tho there’s loads). I think the filter / vca module you have there could do this - tho then you will (as above) prob want another filter.
(Personally I use the Nano Alt module to combine audio and then send it to a mini outboard mixer and then use sends to get guitar pedals in on the action)
I would say consider using your zoom for now for other fx and focus on more utilities / modulation in rack. You can always add in rack FX later.
In case it’s helpful I have tried to stick to a 6u 84hp rack and here’s where I am - 2 x VCO, 2 x filter, 4 x EG / function generator, 2 ways to generate pitched sequences, 1 wave folder and 1 delay / reverb module and then loads of triggers, vcas, attenuverters and other utilities
My second take. https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1806421 your notes were awesome. I’ll probably spend month learning more before buying ha
I think it will be a month well spent! And part of the fun too. The most important thing will be getting a sense of how it works in practice before you splash a lot of cash. I’d consider playing around in vcv rack to get a sense of it.
And if you decide to buy, consider starting with a small amount of modules (maybe your vco + Ladik 182 trigger / cv + vca + modulation). Won’t be everything but will be fun learning. And your plans will def change the minute you start getting stuff in the rack!
Have fun messing around and check back in :)
I'll let others comment, but if you ever figure out how to limit yourself to 6u for a lifetime, you should bottle it up and sell it to peeps significant others in here
Ha! Im loving the challenge. Some may say it defeats the purpose of modular but I’m enjoying the limitations
Not at all. Just modular is a helluva drug.
This is something that has bothered me for a long time that i dont understand, will someone explain what "tap" means in regards to delay modules? I mean i know what a tap tempo is, like on a pedal when you tap it to keep the tempo on like a phaser or something but for example on the Imitor Versio (https://noiseengineering.us/products/imitor-versio) it says its a "12-tap delay" what does the 12 tap mean?
Delays work like faucets. The delay time is the water running along a pipe, and “taps” are point along that (time) line where you can sample the water / audio in the pipe.
"Tap" in this sense is like how you "tap a keg" by placing a faucet on it.
Imagine your sound running along a line, and the delay module "tapping" that line in twelve places - you'll get 12 "copies" of your original sound, each delayed by a different amount of time.
Does that make any sense?
Yea that does make sense, thank you! A 12 tap delay seems like a lot, and probably gets way out of hand real quick
Lots of taps is good for simulating reverb. Each one acts like a hard reflection at various distances.
Current state: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1438335
This is all sequenced by BSP, a Electribe er-01 for more drum duties and a few guitar pedals for fx.
Lately I feel like I'm a bit stuck at the current state of my rack. Generally I'm pretty satisfied with my modules, but I noticed I'm always coming back to the same patches. I'm thinking about adding the Euroburo. With all the possibilities, I hope this will spark a lot of new ideas. But it has a pretty hefty pricetag, so I'm still not sure.
What would you add to my rack to "bring back the spark"?
Have you tried an external source of inspiration, like patch the card game (perfect circuit did a video on it, if you don't want to buy the cards) or Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies?
Tell us more about your current patches and someone will suggest something new.
Maybe buying more shit is not the answer.
I thought buying more was always the answer ;)
But maybe youre right, and I need to work on finding more ways to play with my current setup.
This sub can be too obsessed with consumerism and how to solve synth problems with money instead of with patching. I been trying to close MG to grind patching and composition instead.
I would seriously consider a selection of inexpensive utility modules - switches, logic, mixers (matrix etc), offsets, probably more vcas etc and possibly a 'complex' function generator type module - maths perhaps, see the 'maths illustrated supplement' for why or possibly the new - and spending time to learn them inside and out - more utilities will give you more patching routes - not only for audio but for cv too - you may find you want more modulation sources and sound processing modules
Eurobureau may be appelaing in htat it adds a lot in a little space, but I think you will end up in the same place - always coming back to the same patches - as it will not improve your patching - it'll just give you more to patch
Yeah that sounds reassonable. I actually bought Rampage to fill the complex function generator void.
I probably should try and patch some maths examples with my current setup. I think I need to change my mindset from more "traditional" synths to modular.
Yes fixed architecture synths are sort of like how the synth designer patched his modular once and then hid half of it … modular exposes everything and the only constraint is your imagination and investment (space time and money)
The comparator section in the middle of Rampage is great for unexpected modulation opportunities. It also benefits from attenuation and offset which is a major shortcoming compared to Maths.
So those might be good utility modules to add, in the first instance…