FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Crumbfort » Tue Oct 06, 2020 8:29 pm

Hello all!

This is a topic I've been contemplating for quite a while (also given the state of the world and being less than a month out from the election here in the US I'm finding more and more comfort in the escapism of eurorack fantasizing). Comfort is a crumb and all that, but, anyyyywwwayyyyss.....

For those of you like me who have many thousands of dollars invested in awesome software FX plugins and a eurorack setup that is ALWAYS connected to your computer rig (and have no desire to change this), here's my question:

What Eurorack FX modules would you consider to be worthwhile additions (features/sound/playability/CVability/etc...) to a hybrid eurorack setup?

(In roughly 9u x 168hp the only "FX module" I have is the Doepfer A-199 Spring Reverb in my setup)

Thanks for your time! :guinness:

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Phitar » Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:14 pm

I'm guessing that ITB means "In The Box" meaning computer based. Lots of good computer based effects out there.... CVability usually isn't built into that but using things like Expert Sleepers Silent Way or Befaco VCMC can probably make it so. Depends on how you configure it. Pedals are nice too. Same situation.... Depends on your implementation.
I have an Eventide H9 that I love. Not directly CVable but I do mostly control it via the PC box.
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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by kay_k » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:15 am

Just got the NE Desmodus Versio and I am like 99% sure what I dial in with that thing I wouldn't do with a VST (while not impossible, I just wouldn't get there.. it is in the knobs)

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by autopoiesis » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:02 am

I have my euro setup (322HP of 3U + 210HP of PulpLogic 1U) always connected to Bitwig, multitracking in and monitoring from Bitwig, so I'll share some rambling thoughts with you. I have my clock sync solved between the DAW and my modular and everything else, and I can use clock-synced effects in Bitwig in time. I love how FX routing works in Bitwig and, besides the Valhalla plugins I have and also love, I find the stock effects in Bitwig really powerful since every parameter is exposed to modulation (and handles it very well), and many of them offer insert points on their feedback loops.

there are analog audio processors that are undoubtedly worth having in a system, like filter banks and resonant EQs, compressors, four-quadrant multipliers, folding and distorting waveshapers, the mindblowing FM Aid, etc., but I'll take your reference to "FX" to imply DSP-based processors.

with how I work, I don't feel that it's very worth it to have outboard DSP FX that work best at "end of chain" or that don't respond well to modulation. I don't feel that most reverbs on offer in Eurorack are worth owning in my setup, except for Erbe Verb and probably Desmodus Versio because they're chameleons that can move in the grey areas between reverb, chorus, and delay. I feel that at least one flexible and characterful delay is always worth having (but not one based on the Spin platform, because the response to CV is too slewed), and something that can shift frequency is also useful for inserting into feedback loops. besides that, there are some compelling sampling- and granular-based processing modules like Morphagene and Arbhar (and maybe the Clouds successor that we'll find out about soon) that are in another category of control and happy accident facilitation, and that would be really difficult (if impossible) to replicate in a DAW environment.

I bought two FX Aids several months back and while I think they sound incredible, I am not crazy about how they respond to modulation (a Spin limitation) nor do I really want to lean on them for their great reverbs because then I'd have to reference a cheat sheet all the time. I'm probably going to just keep one for doing frequency shifting, or its emulation of the lofi junky, in concert with my Mimeophon.

for me, the sweet spot in DSP-based processors in my system looks like Morphagene/Arbhar + Mimeophon + Desmodus Versio + 1 FX Aid (in an auxiliary role).

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by starthief » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:17 am

It me. I freaking love some FX plugins -- the Valhalla stuff, Twangstrom, Wavesfactory Cassette, Mishby, Lossy, u-he Uhbik, DDMF Magic Death Eye, Gullfoss, CraveEQ, Izotope RX...

As mentioned, there's some CV control possibilities over plugins. I use Bitwig and ES-3/ES-6. Although with most effects I honestly find there's not a lot of benefit of actual CV control rather than just using built-in modulators or Bitwig's modulators.

Feedback is an issue in a DAW. The tightest feedback you can get around a plugin or in Bitwig Grid -- generally requiring some kind of goofy workaround -- is the size of an audio buffer.

I think it's good to have a full-featured delay in Euro though -- something that can sync in fun ways to clocks that might be rhythmic patterns instead of just a straight clock, gracefully handle modulation at audio rate and without slewing the input, do all the crazy tricks with ultra-short delay times while tracking 1V/OCT, and yet is still simple to use and you can just grab a knob and make things happen. For me Mimeophon is that delay.

I also have an FX Aid, because it's quite a useful chameleon, and it's very good at those tight delays and feedback.

E520, because it does some crazy stuff that software doesn't all that well. It's big and expensive and admittedly kind of an indulgence, but it pleases me.

Clouds, because while there are some decent granular synth plugins out there, on the effects side I haven't found anything particularly satisfying in comparison. I like triggering grains from an input...

Phonogene I guess is an effect...? It's hands-on, simple, charmingly lofi without being irritatingly lofi, and can integrate better with modular gear than most loopers which tend to be standalone black boxes.

Also if Rings counts as an effect, which it should: there are a couple of modal resonators in Reaktor that I didn't care for very much, and of course there are some physical modeling synth plugins but there is still nothing that's really like Rings (except Elements, and all the clones and ports of Rings I suppose). It's the module that got me started in Eurorack and I'm going to hang onto it. I don't understand why other companies even bothered to release resonators that don't have an audio input.

I'm also considering getting a BBD again, because even the best software emulations of BBDs are more along the lines of pedals than the noisy, experimental possibilities of an unfilitered BBD that can be pushed beyond its limits.
autopoiesis wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:02 am
I bought two FX Aids several months back and while I think they sound incredible, I am not crazy about how they respond to modulation (a Spin limitation) nor do I really want to lean on them for their great reverbs because then I'd have to reference a cheat sheet all the time.
That's fair. I don't much like the cheat sheet thing either, and FX Aid is my last module that needs one... but it seems a bit more tolerable than some, maybe because of relative simplicity and some level of consistency among the knob assignments.

But I'll point out, FX Aid does respond well to sample rate reduction CV.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Funky40 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:26 am

some FX worth to have in euro, that can and will do things ITB FX won´t:

Rings as an FX, Clouds ....preferably in the microcell/supercell variant ( i know, there is "clouds" available ITB, but the handling is not the same ), Mimeophone.
some good filters maybe also. the creamy ones on one side and the charakter ones on the other, and the special ones like "Arperture" for example.

But in the whole is modular shining by its patchability and not just by single modules.
So, the more options to patch your modular delivers, the more can you get out of some euro FX.
One aspect is really to bring things to live. Modular can shine on this and can give a easier access to this.
means there is alots of little helpers surrounding those FX needed to make the experience a complete one, imho.
9u-168hp is a nice size finally.

otherwise is VST FX in my opinion incredibly good now.
And the real determing factor how far we can reach is the Time Spent in my opinion, and not the platform you use.


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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by adg672 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:39 pm

ITB gives a huge amount of possibilities, especially with something like Reaktor or Max, or devs like Valhalla (best bang for your buck anywhere I reckon) - really excels at things than can only be accomplished in the digital domain... granular, reverbs etc. Some great euro digital FX (got a few) but I still reckon most versatility in a DAW, and with Ableton/Bigwig they can be modulated internally or via CV from your rack so pretty much work like another module (something like the ER-301)

If you’re happy with the hybrid workflow, for me euro/hardware shines in the analogue modules - filters, delay-based effects, ring-mod, spring verbs and especially overdrive/saturation/distortion, plus audio-rate modulation and similar. Some I love:

Synthrotek 308/Dly/Eko
AJH Ring SM
Schlappi Angle Grinder/100 Grit
Ritual Miasma
Random Source VQVCF
Joranalogue Filter 8

If your setup allow you to easily go from ITB to Euro or vice versa, running DAW-based processing though analogue modules can give the best of both worlds.

For something that is mostly digital but I’ve never come close to ITB, get a Cocoquantus :)

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by 22tape » Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:31 pm

Like above, I'd go with Euro FX that have a sound that you can't replicate with a plugin, like a tape delay or BBD's or distortion or filter or anything dealing with analog feedback and resonance. I was going to mention Rings as well but physical modeling options are abundant for the computer, so you probably already have that covered.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by ATW » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:16 pm

The effects I enjoy the most follow me into Eurorack. Delay, reverb, overdrive & saturation. It’s the playability and tactility that is particularly rewarding. And the immediacy. FX feel more instrument-like and integrated in a modular environment.

Mimeophon, Monsoon, and FX Aid are the primary fx. Disting gets involved sometimes.

Things that can feel like FX for me include wavefolders, filters, and envelopes.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Funky40 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:58 am

22tape wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:31 pm
I was going to mention Rings as well but physical modeling options are abundant for the computer, so you probably already have that covered.
now, that is triggering me.
my experience was so far a different one, but i´m not into Reaktor etc.

could you please point me to some VSTs that do the "physical modelling" type of FX thing,
since thats what i´m hunting for since ever


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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by adg672 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 1:58 am

If you’re into Rings, Softube Modular VST has a direct port (plus Clouds and Braids)

VCV rack too, under Audible Instruments, plus loads more and coming VST-compatibility

Both can be setup once and saved to avoid constant ITB modular patching if you’re not a fan of that.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Drooh » Thu Oct 08, 2020 7:57 pm

If you want some physical modeling, I highly recommend Applied Acoustics Systems Chromaphone 2. It’s my favorite physical modeling vst. I don’t know about using it as an effect, but using it as a sound source, it’s hard to beat in the software world.

Indispensable in the box fx for me are: d16 Sigmund, isotope stutter edit 2, output portal and movement. From universal audio uad lineup: space echo, ep-34, std-1 delay, korg sdd-3000 delay, culture vulture distortion, akg reverb, ams rmx, dytronics cyclosonic panner, dytronics/brigade/studio d chorus. I run almost all my eurorack stuff through uad 1073, 33609, and studer tape. Can’t beat those in my opinion. The moog filter and oto plugins are great too, although I don’t use them as much as I used to.

For eurorack effects, it’s hard to replicate mimeophon, echophon, morphogene, clouds, and Milky Way.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by starthief » Thu Oct 08, 2020 8:56 pm

Chromaphone is an instrument, not an effect. There's no audio input It's what Plonk was based on.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by boom blip » Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:35 pm

Funky40 wrote:
Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:58 am
22tape wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:31 pm
I was going to mention Rings as well but physical modeling options are abundant for the computer, so you probably already have that covered.
now, that is triggering me.
my experience was so far a different one, but i´m not into Reaktor etc.

could you please point me to some VSTs that do the "physical modelling" type of FX thing,
since thats what i´m hunting for since ever
Kaivo is a stunning physical modelling vst.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Funky40 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:35 am

ahh, Kaivo, i never had this one.
i have the other one but could not gel with it.

Re chromaphone: but there is a FX one, "objeq delay", it is similar to chromaphone in some way

can´t judge on Kaivo, but the others mentioned or what i have are nowhere "for me", vs. where i can go with my modular

There is also "Moodal" from Tritik, also worth a look,

and the "Aries Delay" which is more a Reverb, but based on many delaylines, can be used to do the Reverb-ish resonator thing.
but no CC mapping possible. feels beta, seem to be an old beta, but its super interesting

ahh, and INA-GRM has ofcourse the "Reson" (or "comb", not shure on the name).
personally i´m in general a fan of the INA-GRM FX, but one has to know them


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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by CoalBucket » Fri Oct 09, 2020 12:48 am

The one thing that is not really possible to replicate in the box for me is the T-Rex Replicator tape delay (no pun intended). Emulation of tape speeding up and down and really nice but never as unpredictable as the real thing. The older the tapes the more unique it gets...

Same is perhaps true for spring reverbs if that got a (large) tank especially if you like messing around like touching the spring. You cannot simulate that properly imho.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by adg672 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 1:39 am

Moodal’s a good shout. I like chromaphone but never got on with their objekt delay. Kaivo’s amazing and can load your own samples.

If you can get into reaktor there’s some great stuff in the factory and user libraries so you don’t have to build. The commercial reaktor ens Prism has a FX version based on the modal bank.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by GauthierM » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:46 pm



just a comparison of a simple beat with and without the excellent 100 Grit distortion

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Funky40 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 5:33 pm

GauthierM wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:46 pm
just a comparison of a simple beat with and without the excellent 100 Grit distortion
looks like the module is a: "patch in a module".
thats a cool thing as such, but does not mean per se that one would not be able to get there: "by patching your own"


patch AM, send it to your distortion/shredder of choice, crossfade the wet and dry signal ?......is this here not just that ?


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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by NoLegs » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:15 pm

I think the 100 GRIT is doing more than just AM.

“ Each input and cv input is normalled to a different feedback path (6 total)”

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by daphnid » Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:09 pm

I use the 4ms DLD and Erbe Verb in the eurorack (both astounding), and then a grip of rack gear and pedals on CVable fx sends. I only really use software fx when editing and arranging. Outboard fx are so critical to making inspiring parts when tinkering on my hardware, they can turn the simplest dry signal into the most critically interesting part of a track so they are indispensable for coming up with cool parts when just jamming around with my gear.

The principle drawback obviously is that they are printed to the recording so you cant tweak and automate them later when arranging and editing a track.

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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Funky40 » Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:53 pm

NoLegs wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:15 pm
I think the 100 GRIT is doing more than just AM.

“ Each input and cv input is normalled to a different feedback path (6 total)”
interesting !


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Re: FX : Eurorack vs. ITB

Post by Tenderosa » Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:15 pm

Have struggled with this question, like you OP am aside from the occasional dawless live gig always working with the computer as part of the setup. Partly its a cost & space thing but decided nothing came close to vst/daw fx and there are just too many of them in every channel strip. My integration workaround is to use the two cv to midi input channels on the FH-2 to send modulation from the rack to the ITB fx.

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