Eurorack Modular

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  • @shortdan  Jan 18

    Was chatting to @quru in an electronica thread about eurorack modular synths and it occured to me that they could probably do with their own thread!

    I've built up a modular synth since last FAWM so am hoping to get some use out of it this February ( )

    I'll be tagging any relevant tracks with #eurorack and #modular.

    Who else is patching this FAWM and how are you planning to use your modular?

  • @oddbod  Jan 18

    That looks very cool....but also far beyond the scope of my brain to fathom

  • @adforperu  Jan 18


  • @shortdan  Jan 18

    I was just about to tag @phlex myself! Still blown away by his modular & acoustic drums with triggers set up. Was that two years ago?!

  • @shortdan  Jan 18

    Paging @solarrainuk too!

  • @phlex Jan 18

    There's a few others using eurorack from previous years
    @viktiglark @roy @apertome @standup

    l'll hopefully be all modular, or at least always recording into the er-301 (don't have a mixer/audio interface).

    My fawm case will mostly be

    Recently got the Monome Teletype, and it's pretty great (especially with the Monome Grid and O|D ER-301). Looking forward to using that combo!

  • @quru Jan 18

    Checking in here too. Here's my current rack:

    I also have Minibrute 2, Beatstep Pro and Digitakt that is hooked up to the modular via the Expert Sleepers FH-2. I started building this setup (apart from the BSP which I already had) last may when I graduated and got a proper job. I recently got the Mangrove, Cold Mac and Maths and I think I have overcome the GAS. Of course there is stuff that would be nice to have, but the constant nagging thought "I just need this because my rack lacks vital functionality" is gone. It's been super fun to patch and jam with, I've also recorded some and put them up on Youtube. That'll be on the menu in FAWM too, after I come back home from holiday and get done with crazy work week after that. Hopefully I can get things done.

    I'm still not purist with doing everything in hardware or on the modular, but I'm taking this as a good challenge on learning to construct and perform interesting, more or less improvised music on the modular. Colin Benders said on some talk I saw on Youtube that he got into modular because he wanted something he could improvise on by himself, with no need for structured songwriting or other people to play with, and it resonated with me deeply. I still want to make more "traditional" songwriting type of stuff, but being able to just immediately and hands-on create new sounds and music is such a powerful experience, and so much fun. Previously I pretty much constructed my songs in the DAW, writing stuff, recording stuff, arranging, adding new tracks etc., and while I do enjoy it I nowadays rarely have time or energy to dive deep into a project. So, the new workflow of just turning on all the stuff, pathing something in, making a few patterns on the Digitakt and hitting record has made me much more productive in terms of making music. Gear isn't everything but in this change it has been vital for me.

  • @shortdan  Jan 20

    @phlex That Monome Teletype looks interesting! Reminds me a little of the alograve live coding stuff that @adforperu is in to.

  • @tawalker  Jan 21

    When I have my "mid-life crisis" (and I'm some way into mid-life now, so I feel like it's overdue 😝 )... instead of the stereotypical Harley-Davidson or worse (!), I want to start building my own Eurorack modular system.

    That said: the way my life goes, I may have to wait until I retire!

  • @shortdan  Jan 21

    @tawalker that's me basically 😂

  • @krayzie003  Jan 21

    Do modular VSTs count too?

  • @shortdan  Jan 21

    @krayzie003 Which one are you using? I had a play with VCV rack a while back. They've got clones of some of the more fun Mutable Instruments modules you can add. Doesn't work as a VST though I don't think (or at least it didn't then).

  • @krayzie003  Jan 21

    @shortdan I have Kamiooka and Modulair. They are both free modular synth VSTs that I found in my online explorations for free stuff. I haven't really messed with them much. Honestly it might be a bit much to learn for FAWM.

  • @apertome  Jan 22

    Thanks for bringing this thread to my attention, @phlex!

    I've used my Eurorack on my last four FAWM albums at least -- one a soundtrack, one a violin-based album, another a set of tracks featuring various guitars, and one with vocals.

    Not sure yet exactly what I'll be doing this year -- I have a newborn son, and so will not have as much time as usual.

    I use my modular in a few ways ... as a typical synth voice; as a more "west-coast" style synth -- Buchla-style bongos, other weird percussion, drones, FM, AM, etc.; and as an elaborate effects rack for acoustic instruments and non-modular synths.

    I have two eurorack cases, which I rearrange to suit different purposes. I actually think the modular is great for FAWM, I'll spend a lot of time patching something, then record some improvisation with it, and leave it patched. The next time I work on a track I'll either use the same patch in different ways, or alter it a little to suit the next song ... it lends some coherence to the albu

  • @shortdan  Jan 22

    @apertome Interesting stuff and gives me some inspiration! I want buchla-style bongos now too, ha!! Somehow I think I've managed to miss your output in previous years so I've stuck you on my watchlist now to make sure that doesn't happen in future 👍 Oh, I had a baby in June too so am also very unsure what I'm going to be able to fit in this time around 😬

  • @tawalker  Jan 22

    Teenage Engineering (they of the wonderful Pocket Operators) have just launched two new modular systems 😁

    A bit pricey, mind you - in the UK, the cheaper of the two systems (the 170) comes in at £329, and the top-range 400 system plus the 16 keyboard/sequencer, tips over £600. Yummy as the 400 looks... couldn't you build a working "real" Eurorack modular for not much more than that?

  • @shortdan  Jan 22

    @tawalker I've been pondering that same question with regards to the 400 system. Eurorack is SO expensive though that I guess it is an option. By the time you've invested in a budget case (~£270), sequencer (Rene ~£470) and a couple of simple oscillators (~£130 x 2) you're already at ~£1000.00!

    I think it helps to be delusional about the potential costs when you embark on the modular journey - I've literally no idea what I've spent up to now and I've a feeling it'll be better for my health if I don't work it out! 😆

  • @tawalker  Jan 22

    @shortdan I haven't really looked seriously into the costs of a Eurorack system, so yes, I'd agree with you about not adding them up!

    It makes the PO modulars look rather more affordable - I hope the systems are expandable and not self-contained (must look into that).

  • @apertome  Jan 22

    @shortdan , congrats on your baby! I'm loving being a father -- still adjusting to things but it's very rewarding.

    Patching up bongos is not difficult -- looks like you have everything you need.

    All you need are 1 osc + LFO or other modulation source, and an LPG. Looking at your rack I'd take one shape out of STO (probably/sine/tri, but play around with it).

    Modulate the pitch with either maths channel 1 or 4 (cycling), or a slow sine/triangle from one of your other oscillators. to where you hear it sliding up or down while the LPG is open.

    Patch into LPG and take the audio out to your mixer or whatever -- looks like you have an LxD? Then pluck the LPG with some gate source (gate length may make some difference) and play around with the main osc pitch, frequency/amplitude of the modulation source. It's even more fun if you modulate the modulation source.

    I usually have my mod source cycling from 0.5-4Hz or so, play around with it ... you want to get it to where you can hear the pi

  • @shortdan  Jan 22

    @apertome Cheers for that! That's this evening's entertainment sorted 😆

  • @standup  Jan 22

    I’ve been putting a modular system together for a couple of years. I’ve spent money piecemeal—“Hey, I have $200, can I find a used thingy that I’ve been wanting”. In a way my system is now too big — ideas don’t come as easily now because I have too many options.

    But I’ll definitely have some music in FAWM coming from modular synth.

  • @soundornoise  Jan 22

    @shortdan nice! How do you find the Mother? Recently invested in Behringer Neutron. Maybe next year I'll have a rack to patch it to.

    Tweaking some knobs, sampling a loop and moving on has got me out of the analysis paralysis I'd been feeling lately.

  • @apertome  Jan 23

    @standup I can relate, I have a system that is in some ways "too big" and in other ways "too small." But yeah sometimes too many options can be paralyzing.

    @soundornoise I have a mother32 also, it's very nice, sounds great, a little limited, but once you start patching, you can do some interesting stuff. Plays well with other modules, would be a good starter or addition to an established system. However, being semimodular it doesn't feel as open-ended as separate modules; the connections being normalled can be convient, but it can also kind of lead you to repeat the same patterns rather than experiment. It has a built-in sequencer that's a bit awkward, but also can do some very cool things.

    I keep mine outside the rack, mostly because rack space is so expensive, and it's also nice and portable by itself.

    I think if you already have the Neutron and think you might want to go fully modular, I might skip adding another semimodular and start building a modular rig.

  • @roy  8 weeks

    I'll be using a modular, but likely in my FAWM account called @teslator. Here's the rig I go out gigging with these days:

  • @shortdan  8 weeks

    @soundornoise That Neutron looks pretty cool! Having the second oscillator should make it bit more useful in isolation than a single Mother 32. I'd echo what's been said above re: the Mother - it works well in my rack but I find I don't experiment as much as I do with the individual modules. Also I find the sequencer so confusing I rarely bother with it (if ever!).

    @roy that's some rack you've built up there 😮

  • @gubna 8 weeks

    Yes, I’ll be doing something with modular. Attempting some generative music! Also, if it hasn’t been mentioned is free online for those who want to try modular out. The emulations are pretty close (sans tangibility).

  • @soundornoise  8 weeks

    @shortdan Yeah, having two oscillators is useful. Shame about the sequencer. Software for midi is working for me at the moment. I'm trying out a workflow of using Maschine for straight up sequencing and sampling. There's a little friction in routing, but I can mostly stay away from a screen.

    @apertome I have so much software I'm not using, so the constructive constraint of a semi-modular is useful right now. But I'll keep in mind that being fully modular has a different feel to it!

  • @quru 7 weeks

    I started out with Minibrute 2 and it's been really useful even now that I have a pretty much standalone fully modular rack. Now I rarely patch the individual modules in or out, just sync and sometimes I use it as a controller/sequencer. For me it's nice to have a standalone semi-modular besides the rack, so easy to bring in that little extra sound and to play it rather than sequence it. For me the power of modular is within the possibilities outside of the traditional synth voice architecture, but sometimes you just need that creamy lead or punchy bass with traditional VCO-VCF-VCA with ADSR envelopes and Minibrute 2 is there to provide it, with easy integration to the full rack.

  • @kenficara  7 weeks

    I got into Eurorack modules a few years ago and have been selling most of my rig off. Too much futzing and not enough playing. My go-to synth nowadays is the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering, plus a few MoogerFoogers.

  • @jodv  7 weeks

    Here's what I've got for my modular set up

    I will probably break it out at some point, but whether or not it will feature in much of my FAWM output is questionable. It's great for playing around to make cool sounds and understanding the internals of subtractive synthesis, but I don't know that integrating it into songwriting is going to be feasible for me.

    I also got a Synthstrom Deluge this year which is awesome and I do expect that to feature prominently in my output this FAWM.

  • @scottlake  7 weeks

    Last year @solarrainuk did mostly modular stuff complete with videos of all the pretty blinking lights

  • @shortdan  7 weeks

    That's some rig @jodv 😮

  • @solarrainuk  7 weeks

    Nice to see so much interest in modular this year! I'l definitely be doing the odd modular piece, maybe one or two a week if I can manage that.

  • @shortdan  7 weeks

    Any other modular folk got a Mutable Instruments Marbles? I've just ordered one for delivery tomorrow. Quite excited but also aware I'm an idiot for adding new gear just as FAWM begins!

  • @apertome  7 weeks

    @shortdan I haven't used Marbles. I have a wogglebug, looks like Marbles covers some of the same territory, but not exactly? At any rate, random sources are lots of fun.

  • @shortdan  7 weeks

    @apertome I believe the thing with Marbles is that it can generate quite musical patterns on the voltage side (locked to scales etc.). The gates side generates usable three part percussion patterns too. You can control the randomness and lock things in to place if you like what's happening. This is how I understand it anyway.... plenty to learn!

  • @apertome  7 weeks

    Yeah, I think it can go well beyond the wogglebug, although I imagine there are probably things the wogglebug can do that Marbles can't.

    I like the wogglebug, it's very immediate and weird, I am intrigued by some of the more complex things Marbles can do. Will be curious to hear about your experiences with it.

  • @shortdan  7 weeks

    @apertome A Wogglebug's on my list of wants. It's too long a list - I should have assessed my personal wealth before embarking on this eurorack journey! 😢

  • @solarrainuk  7 weeks

    @shortdan Marbles is awesome. I had one for a while and really enjoyed it. If I did more generative stuff, I sure would have kept hold of it.

  • @shortdan  7 weeks

    @solarrainuk That's good to hear! I'm looking forward to getting hold of it I have to say 😊 There's no room left in my current rack and I couldn't find anything to make way so I've bought one of those new 4ms Pods to put Marbles in for now. Long term I may have to invest in a bigger rack 😬

  • @solarrainuk  7 weeks

    @shortdan those 4ms pods are really awesome imo. I have a little Pico 42hp case by Erica Synths that I kinda use like a pod. I can just fit my two granular modules inside and stick it on my lap, really fun 😀 But yeah, there always that bigger rack...haha

  • @gubna 7 weeks

    I have a couple random modules. Turing machine with pulses. Doepfer a149 which is kinda a poormans version of the buchla source of uncertainty. Also, both the Moog mother32 and Kilpatrick K4815 Pattern Generator can do random.

  • @apertome  7 weeks

    My eurorack etc in its rare, unpatched state, pre-FAWM!

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