Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

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Jopy
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Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by Jopy » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:18 pm

New member but long-time follower. I have a question that I couldn't find being asked previously, but please direct me to previous threads if I missed something.

I've been dipping my toes into semi-modulars right now with a Moog Subharmonicon and realizing that there's a lot that I like about this approach. I'm also using a Boomstar 4072 desktop unit sequenced with a Korg Sq-1 through CV-in, but although the Boomstar is an amazing sounding package with lots of routing options, there's not much in the way of patch points. I've used Reaktor extensively both in the pre-blocks and blocks versions (I have a few things in the Reaktor user library from back in 2008 or so), so I have a reasonable idea of the type of functions I'd use.

So, with that background out of the way, I'm curious if anyone has experience starting their Eurorack system with a couple of semi-modulars mounted into a case. I'm really liking the idea of adding a Pittsburgh SV-1b, so I'd house that and the Subharmonicon together in a Mantis case (2 rows of 104hp). The 4072 would go for sale (much as I love it, seems like it would be overkill with the rest). The balance of the rack would be utility-type modules (e.g., attenuverters, Maths, other sample and hold modules, etc.). The alternative would be just getting a single row case and housing utility modules and maybe the Pittsburgh, leaving the subharmonicon as its own thing in it's original housing.

My question is--does anyone have experience with this type of setup, or are there any drawbacks to leaning so heavily on semi-modulars? Would it make more sense to just skip the SV-1b and go straight to modules for oscillators, filters, etc.? Are there ergonomic and convenience advantages to keeping everything in a case rather than a couple of desktop units? I have an outsider guess on the advantages of leaning on the semi-modular side for a core (e.g., minimizing price and being able to take advantage of normalled connections to save some spaghetti), but I'd like to know if more experienced wigglers have more contextual knowledge of blending semi-modular with modular.

Thanks!

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Antlerface
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Re: Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by Antlerface » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:27 pm

If you want to expand I don’t see anything wrong with sticking the SubH in a Mantis. You’ll probably want that space back eventually in your rack. Could just pop SubH out and stick some other modules in there later.

I’ve gone through a bunch of different configurations over the past few years. Currently have the Moog trio racked up along with a bunch of other fun accompaniment, plus other single manufacturer systems.

Point is, if you’ve got a SubH and want a Mantis to add some buddies into the mix go for it. You’ll have some sort of idea where you want to go deeper shortly.
doomlove.

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luketeaford
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Re: Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by luketeaford » Sat Oct 17, 2020 2:28 pm

Welcome, Jopy!

I am kind of unusual because I started with a shared system, added a handful of modules to fill the expansion space, and then picked up some semi modulars (moog mother 32s at a great price...)

For a while, I had the moogs mounted in my "expansion" case and I think there are some huge benefits to mounting them: it gives you a very good idea of the workflow considerations. I don't like the separate power cables and even though my M32s and DFAM are separate now, I almost always patch from their outputs to a mixer in my larger system and record down to stereo.

The only drawback, in my experience, is that eventually it takes up precious rack space and the ergonomics of these kinds of modules are not as nice in a case as they are as a standalone sort of instrument (with all the patch points in the ecosystem on the right!)

Another downside: I really like the sound of the moogs and now that they are separate from my main modular, I don't use them as often. And since they are the nicest sounding "synth voices" for typical subtractive synth stuff, I don't tend to write as much of that as a result either.

The worst downside: I've been researching mixers for 3.5 years because I am not a very practical person and just record directly into my soundcard :)

Jopy
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Re: Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by Jopy » Sun Oct 18, 2020 4:18 pm

Thanks much for the thoughts, this is exactly the sort of experience-based advice I was looking for!

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Dave Peck
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Re: Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by Dave Peck » Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:06 pm

I think mounting a semi modular in a Euro case and adding various euro modules to compliment it is a really good way to start building a system, assuming the semi modular has a decent amount of patch points. So something like the Harmonicon or maybe a Behringer Neutron would be a good choice for this. Something like a Behringer minimoog clone, not so much.

But I would recommend - if you really like the sounds you're getting from the Boomstar, make sure you'll still be able to get the sounds you want without it before you sell it.

Jopy
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Re: Worth getting a case for semi-modulars?

Post by Jopy » Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:07 pm

Dave--thanks for the advice. I will admit that sometimes I muck around the with Boomstar to try to convince myself that I don't really need a modular and realize a) more patch points would be very cool for a lot of functions like modulating resonance but b) that filter, that filter! I have a couple of modulargrid setups that include the Boomstar filter or complete synth voice, so maybe that's something I should include...

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