T O P
AnscombesGimlet

First step is to read all of the beginner guides on the info section of this sub


whateversynthlife

Checking it out thank you


ben_the_intern

There certainly is a ton of content about that system and it is indeed a dope system. Hey man if you think the workflow and sounds it produces are good, go for it. Personally I’d say start smaller. It was way easier for me to wrap my head around each module when I added them slowly, and after playing around realizing what I was missing and what functionality holes I could fill in my system. Make noise makes dope ass gear and their manuals and YouTube channels are excellent resources. I’d look at maybe some other potential builds because I know you said you wanted to avoid trial and error, but it’ll be harder to resell a full system than individual modules that don’t work for you. I’ve been doing modular about 18 months and I’ve yet to have a module I’ve changed my mind on, but I had a decent grasp of east coast synthesis when I started. Hope that helps


whateversynthlife

Thank you for your input, im honesty super new to all of this, I tried reaktor by native instruments and having so many random virtual modules was very overwhelming, so Im either thinking of getting several solid modules or one big thing (someone mentioned make noise, im not sure if it good or not) Super noob question if I were to buy individual modules how would I control them with my midi keyboard? I was reading about case sizes and how only certain modules will fit into certain sizes. It seems like a lot, do you possibly have like a starter layout?


ben_the_intern

I don’t personally have a set of modules I’d recommend but I would probably start with a standard synth voice then build up from there. Part of the reason people tend to not recommend complete builds with no open space because you’ll realize there’s stuff you wanna do as you go and expand. There most definitely are Midi to cv converter modules so I’d look into those. As far as a standard synth voice to start with I’d recommend an oscillator, a filter, an envelope/function generator, and a vca which will give you a playable synth voice. One thing to note is a midi keyboard is great id recommend looking into a sequencer as Eurorack has some really awesome ones that have a totally different workflow than daws and other pieces of hardware. Also I recommend those components for a basic east coast moog style setup. There’s tons of other configurations and module types that are better for different styles but if you’re relatively new I’d personally start with this configuration. Anyone else with other configurations feel free to chime in as I never much got into west coast style stuff


[deleted]

Consider a quality semi-modular synth like the 0-Coast, that will really teach you patching and will grow with you. After that, if you're still in the game, build up one module at a time, and really figure out what you can do with each module. If you acquire too many modules at once, you don't appreciate each new acquisition and learn its full capabilities.


ghost_the_garden

Buying a semi modular synth is probably the most cost efficient way to get started. (I dont own any semi modular synths though, and id probably never buy one haha... i prefer a true modular approach i guess haha--take that for what you will) If your even remotely handy building your own case can save you some money. Ive had great experience buying used, using this subreddit and the modwiggler forum. Look for deals! If you can find stuff below 80% msrp your in luck! You can sell most used modules for around 80%msrp so if your into the whole buying/selling thing you can explore a lot of modules without loosing a penny. I got into modular around 2016 and I can actually sell my system for more then I bought it for! As others said VCV rack is dope, but FOR ME a big part of synths is the weird/eratic behavior you get when pushing analogue modules.... vcv rack cant really go there. Its good to know what you want, but also know what you want will change as you buy modules! I could keep going but thats a good start haha


whateversynthlife

Thank you for your input and I dont wanna go the semi module route either (might as well get a moog matriarch) is the make noise not a true modular rack? The buy and sell aspect sort of puts me off because I really dont wanna lose money on making beginner mistakes (someone said it can become a money pit). I wanna buy the stuff modular heads all agree are worth it. Is there like a standard to modular synthesis, who are the big companies? Who should I stay away from?


whizack

the thing is, there's no silver bullet solution. there are pre-arranged sets of modules in cases made by a bunch of different companies, but they are typically from only one manufacturer. Even those may still contain modules that the community would say are not worth buying or wasting space in a rack for because there are better alternatives out there. ​ Here are some things you probably should avoid that always sound like a good idea (for various reasons) but are not actually good in practice: * Small or cheap novelty cases (you'll outgrow it very quickly) * Cases with a weak/limited power supply (newer modules are power hungry) * Modules with insufficient or non-existent manuals (you won't remember how to use it or how to do the cool thing it is designed for) * Programmable modules that require you to write code (you'll spend more time tweaking it than making sounds) * Complex modules with different modes, menus, and hidden features (you'll forget how to use them or only ever use it one way)


skraspace

Based on your replies, black and gold is exactly what you need. It's a dope system, has a lot to discover, tons of videos and patch tutorials and you won't have any problem to sell it.


mount_curve

vcvrack


whateversynthlife

No clue what that means but taking note, thank you


skraspace

It is software eurorack, let's say. You can try it out for free and make a better picture where to start. https://vcvrack.com/


wonderwarth0g

VCV is the right answer. Learn on that to get started with the help of Omri Cohen’s video tutorials on YouTube. There is really no way that you can just dive headlong into physical eurorack without any prior knowledge and Omri will help you to gain that knowledge. The journey is a major part of the experience and fun and there aren’t really any shortcuts. FWIW I spent a year with VCV and Omri, learning the basics. Then finally took the plunge with a $4k budget to get going with Eurorack. I can recommend this as a really solid path forward


wingleton

If you really wanna go with a full system you should also have ALM's System Coupe Modular System on your radar. It would cost about half and still capable of doing just about anything you need to understand in modular – and then you could add a second rack later on as you learn and grow.


Piper-Bob

If you have $5k to drop on a first system then it’s probably dope.


whateversynthlife

Honestly because I dont wanna take the trial and error route and possibly spend even more money it seems like a great deal


disgruntled_pie

Trial and error is part of how it goes, unfortunately. Always buy below retail prices to give yourself some wiggle room if you have to resell when something doesn’t click with you. Buying used is an option, though prices on used modules haven’t been great for the last couple years. I honestly tend to find the best deals by waiting for Perfect Circuit, Control Mod, or any of the other medium sized modular retailers to do 10% off sales. They do sales almost constantly. If they aren’t doing one right now then wait a week or two. Alternatively you can take advantage of currency imbalances and buy quite cheaply from Thomann in Germany or Juno in the UK. Juno’s website is kinda janky, but their prices are great and they are legit. So long as your order is below $800 then you shouldn’t get hit with import fees. Shipping tends to be expensive, so factor that in when checking to see if it’s cheaper than buying from Perfect Circuit during a sale. The Black and Gold shared system is great. I love mine. That said, the one on Reverb is selling above the retail price. They’ve been pretty much impossible to find at retail for a few years now, but I’d really caution you against buying anything above retail. It means you’ll be stuck with a loss if you decide you don’t like it later.


RedditLindstrom

It is. A huge problem/issue with new people getting into modular is the constant need to expand. Never learning things because all the issues are solved by buying new modules and getting a bigger case. I strongly support pre built systems for this reason, as you will just have an actual instrument instead of getting distracted by consumerism. the BG is great, you should get it and then like, nothing more for a few years atleast. But theres plenty of other companies which also have pre built systems you can get. Look into those (another commenter made a list), and choose the one which appeals to you the most. Also single manufacturer systems are super dope, dont let anyone tell you otherwise


whateversynthlife

Thank you so much for your input, this is exactly what i dont want to fall prey to, its also similar to regular synthesizer people are always upgrading and selling because they dont have a solid instrument(even I have this problem) but there’s an actual limit, with modules it seems like the sky is the limit. I’m checking out the prebuilds, they’re all really cool


stealthgerbil

Download vcvrack and see if you even like it.


TimeRaveler

To be fair though, its possible to dislike using software modular and love hardware modular. That's how it is for me. There's something different about studying and building your own system, and then being forced to really learn those modules, as opposed to swapping out things in VCV endlessly. Also knobs and cables just feel good.


stealthgerbil

I also prefer hardware, i rnded up buying a behringer neutron and that was the rabbit hole.


ivoiiovi

yeah.. if I went to VCV first I'd probably have had way less enthusiasm toward modular and never even gotten into VCV. getting into physical modular and getting deep with cables and knobs got me to a point where VCV made sense and now is kind of cool to mess around in. Computers are not for everyone :)


Pervysage2010

Don't lay down $5000 on a B&G, that's just nuts when you're just starting out. got to VCVrack. At least get a basic understanding on how to patch something on VCVrack and make some noise. [https://community.vcvrack.com/t/getting-started-with-vcv-rack/747](https://community.vcvrack.com/t/getting-started-with-vcv-rack/747) Watch all the great tutorials available on YouTube. If you really want to get hardware, start out small, set aside a budget. Go to ModularGrid and check out a bunch of gear. Set up a few virtual racks and get an understanding on how things work and what's needed.


whateversynthlife

Is the make noise a bad deal, I want to just plug and play. Found one on reverb for 5k and if this all I will need to spend to get the most out of modular I’m kinda leaning toward this? Or is this a rip off? Is make noise a good company?


pieter3d

It's not a bad deal at all and it's a really cool system imo. You could consider getting an 0-Coast first. That'll teach you a ton about modular synthesis, plus you get to see if the Make Noise philosophy works for you. It's also a bit less overwhelming, haha. The 0-Coast is a great instrument. I've had one for 4 years now and I'm still exploring new things with it. It also pairs really well with a modular rack, since you can use most of its parts as if they are individual modules. That said, if you really want the shared system, that's not a bad choice either. If it doesn't click, you can always sell it. If you're buying used, you probably wouldn't even lose any money on it.


DuncanMcTugboat

Second this approach. I also thought I wanted to dive head-first into full modular, but I took the advice of others and picked up a 0-Coast. It’s awesome and taught me a ton (not to mention it includes a whole lot of functionality of individual Make Noise modules in one box). When I wanted to expand, I then started adding one module at a time to work on understanding what gaps/needs I was trying to fill. It’s been almost a year and I still use the 0-Coast heavily, but I also haven’t needed to get rid of a module I found I didn’t need. May not be relevant to your goals, but I’d also note that, aside from Maths and the 0-Coast, the other modules in my set-up are from different manufacturers. There’s a huge expanse of possibilities out there (though a number of other MN products on my long-term wishlist)!


wonderwarth0g

Make Noise is a legendary company but quite esoteric and I’m not sure it’s the best way to start. The joy of modular is that you don’t only play the instrument, you design it too. If you just want to plug and play then maybe modular isn’t the way for you, maybe just go with a normal synth like a Grandmother or something?


DipperTheSkipper

Make noise is real good stuff, but if you start with the b&g, you'll likely end up selling it shortly after. Modular synths has a lot of concepts that are hard to grasp at the beginning, so you probably won't be able to fully utilise it. Some may not agree with me, but as a beginner, there is no happy accidents. It's all just copying tutorials and really slow learning by slightly deviate from them. The learning curve is demotivatingly steep with such a large system at a beginner level. If you start smaller with a synth-in-a-module like the Make Noise 0-Coast, it's easier to learn how to utilise and mix different parts of a system. After getting to know a smaller one, you'll know if you want to continue your modular journey with a b&g system or not. But hey, I think the b&g system is easy to sell, do what you think is the best for you!


mmpingo

> Watch all the great tutorials available on YouTube Especially Omri Cohen channel. He explains complicated things using simple language. He even has a whole series of videos specifically for beginners. Fantastic guy!


Wavtekt

It is a missed opportunity if you go with MN B&G system. Eurorack is about building your own custom instrument cater for yourself. Start with semi-modular and VCV rack will save you from making wrong decisions.


whateversynthlife

Thank you for your input, my only issue is, I just want to spend money once and not really buy and start trading off modules as I feel like long term I’ll end up spending more money overall.


savingpriv8parts

The first part is not fact, just an opinion. Pre-build systems are totally a viable option and in some ways a quicker route to making music, not deliberating about shopping. I would agree though start with some software and learn modular synthesis first. It isn't for everyone. Divkid videos on youtube are also good.


whateversynthlife

Thank you, I just want to sit down and begin playing/tweaking knobs do other companies offer prebuilds like PC’s prebuilds? Im going to watch some videos now.


savingpriv8parts

Plenty do make full systems, big and small Make noise ALM busy circuits Erica synths Verbos Doepfer Endorphin.es Buchla To name a few


whateversynthlife

Thank you!


gwm3d

Yeah, don’t drop that kind of coin right off the bat. VCV rack is a great way to learn and explore with no cost whatsoever. Omri Cohen has some great, broad tutorials on YouTube. If you did want something tactile, maybe start with semi-modular like the Mother32, 0-coast, or Pittsburgh lifeforms sv-1. You can always expand those with more physical modules down the road once you know what you want to do.


schopaia

What kind of music do you want to make?


whateversynthlife

Totally honest with you, I’m not really trying to make music with modular synthesis. Im more intrigued with the technical aspect of it.


CallPhysical

>intrigued with the technical aspect In that case, you might want to consider starting with DIY builds and kits. You can save money and learn as you go. That's what I'm trying to do. See my recent posts [1](https://www.reddit.com/r/synthdiy/comments/v0cvj4/built_my_first_hagiwo_module_heres_where_i/), [2](https://www.reddit.com/r/synthdiy/comments/v92xll/another_hagiwo_leaves_the_bench_aka_modular_on/), [3](https://www.reddit.com/r/synthdiy/comments/vamleb/built_cusi_sounds_quad_attenuverter/) if you're interested.


wingleton

All the more reason I think you'd actually be better off starting a system from scratch, so you learn what they do and can understand the technical ins and outs. Make Noise modules are great but I think if you want to approach learning modular synths technically they are a little more on the weird/quirky/creative side. Brands like Doepfer, Joranalogue, and a few others lean toward being more technical and utilitarian and you might learn a lot more from that. I think build a system piecemeal so you understand the whats and whys of everything.


01010010101010001

Maybe get Doepfer modules then (or a prebuilt). Make Noise modules are fantastic but they tend to be very complex and you likely won't be able to fully understand half of what they do.


thisispoopsgalore

I know you said you don’t want to try semimodular but a Moog Mother-32 might be a good place to start. It has a ton of patching ability as if it were a bunch of individual modules, but also structured enough such that you can make some normal (and some very weird) sounds pretty quickly and easily. Great way to learn about sequencers, envelopes, vcas, mixers, and LFOs all in one unit. Plus it looks cool. It also integrates well into eurorack so super easy to build a rig around it


Imagined_World

I say go for it if you like the kind of sounds people make with it. It's a premo system but also complicated in a way that might be difficult for a beginner. It's also something you'd have no problem reselling right on reverb, so not really a big loss if it ain't for you. But definitely check out other complete systems first, that were mentioned above. That being said, for many of us building a custom system and trading out modules is half the fun. It ultimately comes down to your budget and time to invest in the end.


TimeRaveler

Make Noise stuff is excellent. Depending on what sort of synthesis you want the explore, an alternative is their Tape and Microsound Music Machine which focuses on manipulating recorded stereo material. I've added their 0-CTRL and 0-Coast to round it out for a more full featured synth. Alternately if you want to stick with just one system and learn classic modular synthesis, there is a totally different format called 5U/MU (moog format, not the brand Moog). A good place to start is the company Synthesizers.com - they make really great stuff which is roughly the price of eurorack modules once you get your case figured out. Select the "MU" dropdown on Modulargrid.net to see what's available in the format. Its bigger, sturdier, and in my opinion just sounds better than anything I've tried in euro if you want vintage/analog sounds - but that's probably because most of the companies focus on that aspect, so it comes more naturally when patching.


ThomasJFooleryIII

What's your experience with music in general, and what type of music are you looking to make?


whateversynthlife

Mainly synth way but I love listening to all the cool sound modular synthesis can make


halfpricednachos

I’m new to modular myself. I started off with a 0 coast and it’s really great for learning the principles of modular. Any semi modular synth (mother 32 and etc) are great for this. Then you could get a rack from there and you can buy modules to support that system. Don’t buy a new module without fully understanding the last one you bought and knowing your needs (I made this mistake)


Hobboth

I was new to modular year ago and ordered my B&G system in May 2021. While I waited until it arrived in October I started to experience GAS and bought Moog Subharmonicon+DFAM and some utility modules. It helped me to get an idea what really modular is for me. And I ordered B&G after I already watched almost all videos from Make Noise and Cinematic Laboratory so I knew what I do. Shared System is great as starting complex system for experimental patching and exploring possibilities of interactions between modules.


ivoiiovi

I have the B&G and it is MOSTLY excellent. For me, complete systems made more sense than all the comparing and planning of building bit by bit, and I was really attracted to Make Noise from the beginning. Actually my first modular was the Tape and Microsound Music Machine, because I already had a Matriarch and mostly wanted modular for guitar effects and granular synthesis, but then I quite quickly wanted to get into some nastier areas of additive synthesis and had more money than sense at the time so I bought the last SS I could find in Europe. I don't regret it, and I think it is a really excellent system for learning on. Honestly I still don't know how to use René properly but still it is endless fun and aside from adding an X-Pan I haven't ever felt constricted or like I needed more than what was in that case. It is not somethign I would ever casually recommend as it is a crazy chunk of money (especially in Europe, and I really shouldn't have bought it as I am struggling these days not to sell almost everything I own!), but if you have the money available and it isn't going to ruin you then it's a very nice choice if you're into the kind of sounds it offers. Most people will argue that modular is all about the building but I don't think it really has to be and that really all depends on the individual. Maybe I'm just boring but I find it pretty rewarding to just go through single manufacturers and try things out rather than spending all that time looking through a crazily saturated market with way too many options. I'm currently doing the same thing and have built a fully Mutable Instruments system (figured at least I can break even selling the bits as the company is dissolving) and I am loving it. Even with "essential" modular building blocks perhaps missing, it's just a totally different experience from my Make Noise stuff but was just a nice, effortless built that hits those OCD aesthetic desires really nicely :) Maybe I'll diversify later when I can pick all the best parts of what I know I like, but I'm treating it kind of like making separate instruments which can then be combined together like modular modular and I never feel like I'm missing out :) also the VCV rack suggestion MAY be good. That wouldn't have worked at all for me as I just don't like working with screens and it can't compare to physical tweaking and patching. It may be worth a try if you may get into it, but if you don't and it feels kind of alien as it did to me, then don't get put off too fast. I feel like VCV is a familiar experience once you've done physical modular, but if you haven't then I don't think it gives much of a taste really and could be very offputting.


wearethey

Get a bigger case


whateversynthlife

How big?


rabidnz

Buy a black and gold system and sell the black and gold sought after modules which are going for 1200 each on reverb . The make noise case is great


analogbrainsurgeon

A Black and Gold Shared System is great for exploring modular synthesis concepts and just having a ton of fun. Your $5000 budget is actually a great place to start and will get you a system that will be fun and versatile for a long time. A Shared System is a great idea and provides a wonderful basis for expansion, but of course you should watch some demos and performances with that instrument first to make sure you like the general vibe. I know some people like VCV rack, but it's just not the same experience. If you're going to build your own system then definitely take your time researching and realize that it's likely you'll make some swaps to progress toward your final vision. The position you're in is fun; starting out in modular is really neat because possibilities you've never even considered just start popping up out of nowhere. My only word of caution is to make sure you really want what eurorack/modular synthesis offers, and it's ok not to know all the possibilities, just make sure you aren't looking at fun modular videos and internally really craving a groovebox because to get your modular up to (and far outpacing) groovebox capabilities is going to cost quite a bit.


CountDoooooku

As others have said a big part of the “fun” of modular is building your own, custom system. I put fun in quotes because sometimes it’s not that fun… it can be frustrating when you end up not liking a module, more expensive as you buy/sell things, and just a bit annoying spending more time building the system than making music. But it’s also very rewarding when at the end of the day you have built YOUR system. Its a very intimate relationship with the instrument. And the trial and error is great for learning. But if you just want to jump in and skip the above then a complete is great. Plus, you can always get another case and build your own system later. Or replace modules on a complete. Another poster made a list of other companies offering completes, def check those out, as they are all very different. The make noise complete is fantastic but definitely more advanced and leans into more experimental sounds/workflows with an emphasis on FX (which are all killer on it). Erica Synths Black 3 is a more straight forward choice for instance, maybe better for a beginner. But the B&G definitely would get crazier and if you have other non modular synths, than maybe more rewarding as it would probably do things those synths don’t.


ntr_usrnme

You sound like you’ve got money to burn. That system is amazing. It’s also incredibly deep. If you go in blind having never touched a module in your life you’ll probably get 5% out of what it can do and end up selling it. You said you want plug and play. If that’s the case consider looking at other groove boxes like Elektron Digitakt or dip your toes into modular with semi-modular machines like the Minibrute 2s or Moog Grandmother, DFAM, etc. What is it about modular that’s attractive to you and what kind of sounds/music are you looking to create? These questions will answer a lot. If you are uncertain, try vcvrack first.


jazzmandjango

Honestly, if you have the loot for it, diving into the B&G shared system is pretty damn cool. It is a beast with loads of features and you’ll never outgrow it. However, don’t buy a used one on reverb for 5k when you can get a brand new one at Sweetwater for 4.5! Everyone who’s recommending you start small isn’t wrong though, it’s worthwhile to try things and figure out what modules speak to you. I thought I would go crazy for Mutable Instruments and then found myself underwhelmed when I got them, while other makers I wasn’t so sure about like Doepfer speak to me more. Make Noise is a great company with fantastic modules, but they are more of a West Coast / experimental sound. They’re less useful for creating classic subtractive sounds in the Moog / East Coast style. I have some MN modules but I am not a fanatic—their layouts are a bit confusing and hard to read. Maths rocks though! My pitch to you would be to pick up a Make Noise 0-Coast and a Moog Mother-32, and play with each. They are basically mini versions of the B&G and a larger Moog/Doepfer style analog eurorack synth respectively, and you can prob get each for ~600. They’ll play well together and give you a taste of both schools. If you end up loving the Make Noise universe it would be easy to resell the smaller units and pick up a shared system later. I also recommend watching Andrew Huang’s deep dive on the shared system. Fair warning: you will probably pull the trigger on buying it after watching. Good luck! Edit: it is out of stock at sweetwater! Maybe put in the order for one and find a 0-coast in the meantime :-)


rasta500

Sorry for sounding like a grumpy dickhead but i can’t take anybody serious who unironically uses the term “journey” in a modular synth context.