• I'm really new to this.When I see all those modules,it looks like a jungle to me.
    So,what could be the first basic/funny modular synth?

  • What is your budget and do you plan to get a white whale?

  • I was more thinking in terms of module types.
    What is the base to get interesting sounds ?

  • It's question I wondered myself when I was first getting interested in modulars. The problem with that specific question is, Its sort of similar to asking "What kind of Legos let me build interesting things?"

    There are just so many options and without knowing a little bit more about what floats your boat it's a bit tough. I would suggest paying a visit to It's pretty much the "happening place" for everything modular synths these days.

    A few resources to get you started..

  • It's the more expensive way to start but I'd recommend getting with a complex oscillator first

  • basic, VCO, VCA, VCF and an ADSR
    funny, that guy that makes the banana synths out of wood.

  • the big question is what do you want to do with your modular?

    i for one have been most interested in using my modular to process audio from guitar, tapes and other external sources. i do have several oscillators and traditional synth stuff but for me that is a little less intuitive since i come from the world of guitar pedals and tape recorders.

    that being said, if you want to start out with building a synth voice you'll need to get quite a few things to get started... (really roughly)

    the thing you need first is some kind of case with power. a good low cost starter is a TipTop audio Happy Ending Kit. 3u/84hp rack-mountable (or table top-able) case with a solid power supply.

    a second vote for braids as a great complex oscillator (actually i love all the modules that mutable instruments makes) or the intellijel Dixie ll is a really nice solid analog osc with several waveforms, including a super clean sine wave (my personal favorite wave).

    you'll need some kind of thing to supply control voltages for your osc.. like the white whale or a eurorack sequencer. Synthrotek makes a super straightforward 8 step seq kit that is very affordable.

    you'll want some kind of envelope generator and VCA. i like the Circuit Abbey ADSRjr for envelopes. it's small and easy to use. intellijel makes a good solid dual VCA module... as does pittsburgh modular.

    filters are good for shaping your sounds and for me, some kind of delay or reverb is always nice.

    other great simple and cheap utilitarian modules are the synthrotek eko, manhattan audio CVP + Mix and Expert Sleepers Disting (super useful swiss army knife module... a ton of great functions in only 4hp).

    check out modular grid ( and get lost in the wishlist black hole.

  • yeah that's the one Raja.

    I've had a Frac rack for a long time now just to do effects and weird stuff with my guitar.
    Bought a mini sized euro rig and then sold it all off about four years ago...but got back into it after the Aleph. I felt some euro love was coming up with all the CV jacks on it.

  • @mapmap - I'd always thought of modulars as being noise generating not noise processing - what kind of modules do you use to process guitars etc?

    I've always tentatively wondered about getting into modular. And I'm a big fan of your music.

  • here's what my rack looks like at the moment.

    i'm less interested in processing things from outside. i guess it's a colourful but basic take on the standard setup. i'm missing some dedicated LFOs, a noise/random source and some kind of voltage controlled switch to round it off.

  • @declutter
    i use several sampling modules along with filters, (spring + digital) reverb, echo + envelopes/vca's to do most of my manipulation.

    for sampling, my three go-to modules are the mungo g0, modcan CV Recorder and the make noise phonogene. both offer very different features. the g0 is a granular type sampler. the modcan is a dual loop recorder with pitch, start point + end point control. the phonogene kind of mimics a varispeed tape recorder/looper.

    i use a few LFOs to automate a handful of the parameters and kind of just let the whole thing run while fine-tuning the filters and levels.

    circuit abbey from portland makes a great guitar input module called AXIS. it takes a 1/4" input from guitar and runs it through a really well designed tone stack with high/mid/low EQ + gain control and then outputs a modular level signal.

    there are a ton of really nice filters out there by nearly every manufacturer in a range of price points each with their own character. i went through buying and selling a few before i found the ones that worked for me. my current favorite is the pittsburgh modular filter.

    it took me a while and a lot of work to get to the point where i felt like the music that i made with the eurorack gear sounded like me and not just the blippy bloopy modular music that is all too easy to fall into the habit of making.

  • It's a bit clearer now,
    Thank you all!

  • @declutter no problem. Let me know if I can help further

  • "So,what could be the first basic/funny modular synth?"
    "What is the base to get interesting sounds ?"

    i find that youngins find most of the noises to be funny and exciting

    basic is a complex idea in the multiverse of modular synthesis

    a single module, case and power supply can produce interesting sounds.
    you could study existing analog semi-modular synthesizers and analyze what building blocks were used to configure that particular experience. in drawing that sort of comparison, it becomes apparent why the idea of ADSR, VCA, VCF and VCO is commonly recommended as a "voice"
    be cautious in the english interpretation of modular designs
    for example, there are envelope modules that can self-cycle and run at audio rate. with this type of functionality an "envelope" can operate as an "oscillator"
    ponder the difference between amplification and attenuation. and further, what's the difference between an attenuator and a voltage controlled amplifier?
    imagine patching two triangle shaped envelopes into the same "mixer" to form a super tall triangle
    basic concepts collide to challenge/reconfigure basic concepts

    max/msp is similar to a modular synthesizer
    computers are super modular synthesizers

  • Most of the modular market is still in subtractive synthesis mode...but computers are getting so small and cheap, now we are starting to see a lot of new insteresting (behind the panel) ideas.

    I love these guys take on modular. Bastl

  • wow. that Bastl video blew my mind

  • Toying with the idea of all this - this looks like a nice case to start with - or is there some reason why I wouldn't go with a case like this?

  • There's a lot of non-skiff friendly modules out there. A lot of DIY and used stuff. Looks like you'll still need power in there so you will lose some front panel.

  • Thanks! Is that because it's not deep enough?

  • That would be my take on getting your first modular rack, if you're ordering with skiff in mind a lot of the newer manufacterers only release skiff capable stuff. I'd recommend a rack with integrated power so you know everythings good and grounded right. Skiff is perfect for a portable setup, if that's what meets your needs.

  • Or DIY the whole thing! ;)
    I'm planning a suitcase setup next.

  • i started by DIYing most of my modular. over time, and some frustration, i've been buying more pre made modules. unless it's a kit, it will end up costing you close to the same to buy a pre made module vs a DIY version. and face plate designing fucking sucks. almost as much as front panel wiring.

    that being said, i still love the modules i have built and use many as my focus pieces.

    for rack stuff, if you want something that is affordable and will fit most any size module, check out tip top's happy ending kit. really good stuff. right now i'm using the pittsburgh modular move104 case, which is a great case, though the power isn't super amazing. in the studio i have the tip top studio bus board.

    my set up is a little different because of the DIY stuff where i have some modules on 12v and some on 15v, so i also have a CGS PSU for the other rails.

    there's a lot to learn and grow and move around from. a nice complete kit that you can expand on is the atlantis from intellijel. it's one full synth based on the SH-101 style triangle VCO. you can accent this in time with other modules and get crazy but you can also really dive in and learn a lot about modular stuff.

  • my rack is plenty deep enough!

  • @nitefish: i would really recommend to visit, and have a search there.. and a nice community it is.
    theres no right or wrong beginning. you have to search for your own way. start with one or two modules, and see what else could be good. than module after module, grow.
    there are so many possibilities, not just subtractive, (nice wave folders out there!), its a lot of fun!