any modular synth owners?

  • I want to make a mini-modular to use with my drum kit as sort of a d'n'b thing.

    I'd like it to be about the size of one row as the one in this picture:

    Maybe a VCO, Filter, ASDR. And then a sequencer of some form. To accomplish something basic like this how much would it cost me approx?

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  • maybe the following products here

    Midi2 (that way computer can send midi - and loads of patterns)

  • it's a rabbit hole :) i have a basic 3u system without sequencing that has cost me about 1200 euro. it's great though, sound possibilities are endless, and patching stuff up is great fun.

    check out this place for all your modular needs...

  • hi dwagner,
    3u right?... it's difficult to keep it that small...
    i was thinking in a 6u system and i'm in 15u... biggest addiction i've ever had... and expensive, i've sold a lot of equipment in order to buy more modules, but it's great! effing great!

    for my next gig i'm going to bring one of the boxes, the 6u to make some noise over my songs, a 303ish bassline and some analog beats from the tiptops to add presence to my breaks.

    you are going to enjoy it a lot,
    minimum you need is vco, vcf, adsr, and vca, and if you are using a computer, check Silent way to save the space a seq. or midi interface takes

  • Hi, I am likely in the Pauk's same situation. Got modular one year ago, first with a 9U, 84HP wide. Now I've just got a 15U 168HP. The sound is deep analogue, awesome. The problem: be ready to spend a lot of money.
    SilentWay recommended.
    Pauk, will you post a video of that gig with the modular?

  • actually, i was inspired by pauk's studio picture and saw his modular and wanted to build one similar to his just a bit smaller. is it possible to make a bare minimal one for 500USDish?

  • "minimum you need is vco, vcf, adsr, and vca, and if you are using a computer"

    curious, wouldn't it be possible to use silentway for the adsr part?

    I wish I became addicted when I had a well paid job, I really just started to want one when it was too late to afford it. back to poor student's life for a while :P

  • Silent can be used for adsr, yup. Neatly incorporates velocity too. Also lfos, quantizing, etc.

  • yep sorry... no adsr for the minimums

  • the Pittsburg modular foundation is super dope!!!
    love it...
    next record = hella modular love....
    is scary the options you can choose from..

  • i think deadmau5 won me over with this picture here

    oh yeah!

  • I can only echo what other modular owners have said and agree that it's a huge, expensive (and awesome) rabbit hole. it.....

  • If you are into DIY Yusynth has a bunch of great designs here in:

    I've etched a few of these boards already just need to finish up my power supply and get em going.

  • Run away...far far away and hide your wallet. Modulars are a *hard* drug.

  • @alessioit2809
    here you are, my new live setup with the modular
    the sound was amazing!!!

  • awesome...

  • Yeah started my eurorack in september. It's getting out of control. Check out the Intellijel Metropolis, or any Intellijel product really. But the Metropolis is a very awesome sequencer that would be good in a small system, for bass lines, acid sounds, etc.. Hasnt been released yet, but rumor has it that it should be available within the next month or two.

    Also check out the small systems thread in the eurorack forums at

  • think i'm gonna end up building a 6u 104hp system mainly Intellijel and makenoise.

    @pauk nice.

    @edison look forward to that release.

  • is great for building a custom moog style 5u modular system.

  • Here is my current setup.

    Also is the best planner ever.

  • saw that on muff's, what's holding the op1, velcro?

  • It's kind of funny. I was turned off of getting into modular synthesizers because of the price tag. For instance, I was looking at the Pittsburgh Foundation but felt it was too expensive, yet I've managed to spend about 1900 USD in the past two months between the MiniBrute, the DE I and II, and the Dark Time. That being said, I have three separate synthesizer voices, four separate digital-CV interfaces, a sequencer, and a keyboard for approximately what the Modular Foundation would have cost me.

    From my limited use of the Doepfer Dark Energy, however, I can clearly see the appeal of the fully modular synthesizer. I can also clearly see that it is a huge money pit, so I will not be going that route until I can afford to do so.

  • @pauk
    great man! what euro gear you used in that gig?

  • looking good, sauce!

  • hi alessioit2809,
    I have kind of a glitch acid box on the orange box,
    I'm doubling my beats with patterns from a seq02 with the 808 tiptops, those sounds where blowing out the soundsystem!! specially the kick :O
    have a wgs for glitches and a piston honda for basslines toghether with the bionic lester, sequences from kenton modular solo, maths for envelope, zdsp for distort rhythms... and I think that's all :) lot of fun! LOT OF FUN!!

    800 x 559 - 79K
  • how much approx. would you estimate the modular in the above pic cost you?

    also, what 808 module are you talking about?

  • @dwagner: tiptop audio makes 808 and 909 clones. around $100-200 for each sound (e.g. kick, snare, hat). imo, you can just use an 808/909 sample library and make it sound crazier with a computer.... that's not to say the 808/909 modules are not worth the dollar value. i hear they are mighty good clones of the 80's chips. but remember... the 808/909 are really 2 instruments.... synthesizer (modeled drum sounds / onboard samples) and a sequencer. so... it's one thing to have the 'chip' or 'samples' , but it's an entirely different thing to recreate the groove of those machines without the same sequencer circuitry. you'd end up needing sequencing capabilities, which costs a bunch. as is the way around here, the computer is your friend.

  • I'm impressed how quickly you've interweaved the modular into your live setup!

    Do you think the Kenton Modular Solo is the best midi to CV conversion module? Do you use the monome to control the modular as well?

  • can't answer for pauk...i haven't used the kenton modular solo but I don't think it's worth it. if by best midi to cv converter you mean most adaptable for it's cost, imo you're better off investing into a dc coupled audio interface and working with expert sleepers silent way. simultaneously, i often find needing to run silent way very annoying.

    with the audio interface route, you also end up with an audio interface :D the audio interface and your software setup becomes the midicv to osc to whatever you want module. with a dc coupled interface you have that stable current, having a multimeter and measuring your specific manufacturers jack outputs helps get a sense for the readings and interfacing them with software. there's lots of advantages with adapting to different problems going this route. i digress...

    also worth exploring... expert sleepers manufacturers hardware module midi to cv type stuff.

  • this system is around 3000$ I sold my van in order to get into the modular world :/ but I'm pretty happy now. Almost everything is used stuff from totally recommended, everything is like new

    the sound I'm getting from the tip tops are awesome, of course they are not just samples... I'm still freaking out how the kick literary eats the sound of my laptop, after a lot of years looking for real analog bassdrums i found it and still loving my laptop. As I said I'm using it together with the laptop crazy stuff, I've been never an analog purist but I'm beginning to understand :)

    About the Kenton, don't really know if it's the best or not but after a while working with silent way from my ultralite it's awesome, lot of capabilities, easy to program. A friend recommended it to me. I have a pittsbourgh midi2 for my other box to control a duophonic system and I think the kenton responds much more faster than the midi2.

  • IT'S LIKE POKEMON... Where do you stop?! I am so tempted.

  • haha, see you all on rehab ;)
    eurocrack is a serious drug.

    said that, i would love to have an serge animoo/animate panel, but need to sell a kidney to purchase such stuff.

  • Yeah, I have tried a few midi->CV converters, mostly doepfer, and I haven't always been happy with certain results. When Volta came out it was the first time I experienced really clean sync with the computer. But there were some functional drawbacks. There's something convenient about having a module devoted to splitting up your signal at the modular side rather than using a bunch of outputs on your interface. But yeah, I will have to research the silent ways modules a bit more.

    That module came out AFTER my module buying days. I actually sold a bunch of modules off and am selling my case in order to build one half it's size. Yes, I have begun going in the opposite direction with my modular system. It's good thing. ;)

  • I'm stopping at 104hp. honest! I have a feeling impending fatherhood will curtail a lot of my frivolous musical expenses :p


    for a quick fix!

  • very cool, beaver!

  • I'm still waiting to hear about the monome + Buchla collaboration.

  • @ yorke

    right, I wish there was even a tid bit about what it was so I could decide between it and a new I have had to get rid of mine for one reason or another in the past

    i suppose if it comes down to it though I will wait past this new batch being sold out if i have to

    I have been thinking about jumping into the world of modular lately

    I would really want to make a modular effects processor mostly starting with a cocoquantus and integrating it or some blacet/makenoise modules

  • @wednesdayayay: the ciat lonbarde stuff is amazing. lusting after the new plumbutter.

  • it seems like either the cocoquantus or the plumbutter would be good sources of randomization if integrated with more modular gear

    if i liked two things musically they would be uncertain randomization carrying randomization based on a smeared gestural input (anything that can be made to play itself with some human interaction is too fun) and delay type live effects twiddling

    do you have any of the other ciat gear? I throughly enjoyed monolase and have wondered how different it is from the original...and I have just recently decided i need to spend some time on a planelase version wherein it is controlled by the soundplane...

    and now i will have to re-read everything about the plumbutter....maybe get a silent way translating from the soundplane to the plumbutter

  • sorry, i have no ciat lonbarde stuff.
    just stumbled across the subforum on muffs and was impressed by the sounds and interfaces.
    i read they use it with modulars, but you have to watch out that the input voltage is 0-9V.

  • i've been more of a lurker on here since falling down the hole of modular....

    the fun thing is that it is SUPER flexible while also being limited. i would recommend:

    vco (maybe dual like the make noise DPO)
    vcf (korgasmatron is awesome!)
    expert sleepers unit for control. that way you can send adsr, lfo, clock, v/oct etc from ableton and have the whole system be synced.

    i would recommend getting a few vcas, one that gives you more control options and one from intellijel that is a small 2vca module. the best patches, or most interesting patches have modulation that is occurs overtime, ie having an adsr opening an lfo over the filter or something.

    that all being said, most everyone is right. this is a crazy addiction. there are a lot of cool stuff happening in euroland. make noise is doing some great stuff that i'm excited about. the echophon? super awesome!!!! so are the things coming from 4ms, who have kits so you can save some cash.

  • i've been living in this world a little bit, but went down the path of building everything from scratch rather than buying modules or kits. has the downside of taking a long time to get up and running, but the positive of not being able to buy commercial modules (ie. you learn more and don't have a constantly growing system!)

    currently building a CV > USB > CV module with an arduino to get the monome involved...

  • @galapagoose i started in the realm, then some my VCA was fucked up forever so i caved and bought one. then some crazy shit came out commercially and i jumped in. my system is like 70% diy now, 10% kit, and the rest pre made.

  • Yes. 5U and MOTM. Been mostly lurking here since discovering MW forum.

  • i've held out on modular for audio
    despite my fascination i'm not sure i can handle the addiction
    just became aware of this yesterday and my wall of resistance is caving in:

    perhaps that belongs in its own thread

  • @gli and all

    ahhh!! good stuff. any of this stuff could be it's own thread.

    LZX is making some seriously interesting technology right now....

    be careful with the addiction. despite the thrill, there's definitely such a thing as too much....... like everything, balance. i feel more optimistic about the future of 'digital synthdom' than i do 'analogue' especially with the visual processing.

    anyways, check out some make noise DPO vs LZX action. you will be entertained:

  • you are all awesome btw. this is all so fricken rad.

  • i relate to the current state of eurorack (and some other) modular systems as something akin to a contemporary folk instrument, largely by, of, and for its people.

    in that sense it shares something with monome, but in lieu of refined, flexible and minimal devices, the common denominator is simply a (sometimes varying) voltage and mechanical standard.

    it is at very least interesting to observe the iteration of ideas crystallizing into modules (currently happening relatively rapidly!).

    i relate to my own system as an instrument that is much more than the sum of its parts, and am inspired by the playful experimentation it inherently encourages. oh yeah, and the sounds.

    op: there is a lot you can diy if cost is an issue. and even if drum sounds are your main focus don't ignore fm!

  • ^^re: "don't ignore fm"

    i think if there's one thing i'm grateful to my modular for is how it has made me rethink the nature of sound creation. i had never really understood how frequency modulation even worked before actually building an oscillator and seeing that it just means plugging a voltage signal varying at audio rate into the pitch parameter (or any for that matter) of something else.

    the very idea that FM was essentially equivalent to turning a knob really fast was quite a revelation.

    there's a huge number of other things like this (eg. the relationship between waveforms and harmonic overtones > eg with a TRI>SINE>SQUARE waveshaper) but at it's core i love what i'm learning about sound and music.

  • And then there's cross modulation which always hurts my brain a little to comprehend. Osc1 modulates Osc2. Simultaneously, Osc2 modulates Osc1. It's like a battle between oscillators. Depending the depth if the modulation the tiniest turn of the knob brings on a completely new sound. Then modulate the pulse width very good.

    In regards to the difference in sound quality between digital and analog nothing brings this difference out so much as audio rate modulations. If you modulate the cut-off on a filter on a modular rack at audio rate speeds you get all sorts uniques sounds but if you try the same thing in software you tend to just get noise.