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What's your criteria for keeping/selling modules?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author What's your criteria for keeping/selling modules?

I'm curious about people's thought processes around keeping or selling modules particularly when you find yourself not using them as much as you did.

I'm assuming most of us can't keep everything because of cost and/or rack space.

Do you box stuff up and put it away thinking you might come back to it?

Are you ruthless and throw it back into the pile sooner rather than later?

Do you worry that you're letting go of stuff just to chase the latest trends?

Do you accept the rate of churn in modular as part of the creative process because we're always changing or developing our interests and that will be reflected in the gear we're using? Even to the point where you might sell a module and then buy it again months later?

What's triggered this question in particular for me, is Intellijel's Metropolis. I couldn't leave the thing alone for 6 months! Then suddenly I've barely looked at it. Not necessarily because I'm bored with it and certainly not because I've exhausted its possibilities but because I've got interested in longer more performed sequences (recorded into an old MPC that's synced to modular via Mutable Yarns).

So yeah - modules you don't use anymore - swipe left or right? smile

I churn modules for a specific purpose (VCF, Modulator etc) until i find what i like, and then I usually get a second. I don't sell just because I haven't patched something in a while, because if it's been good enough to make the cut, it'll always be useful again later on.

If i find something critical missing on a module (reset input on the SQ-1) I'll try a few work-arounds, but they usually get sold ASAP so i can try again with something else.

I prefer basic building blocks rather than complex modules, so I don't really chase the 'latest and greatest'. But that's really because I don't have limited space.

I’ve only sold one module (and sent one back). I didn’t like them at all. The rest I’ll keep until I’m done with modulars I think.
Selling a lot.. probably sold (or traded away) around 40 modules in the last 3-4 years..

I don't have money to put them back in the box and hope to "get" them later on, or hope that my approach changes so that i will appreciate them later.

Not chasing latest trends, my latest ones were Ladik and Doepfer modules wink

My criteria for selling is "sell if you never use it, isn't much fun or has an interface i dont gel with". I'm currently favoring more VCA's and envelopes (i appreciate them more now than when i was a n00b), and less with "this looks super fun to wiggle and experiment with!" (Arpitecht/triad, Tuesday and quite a few others had to go).
I've never kept anything "extra" around. When something new comes in, something of equal size comes out of my 144HP case. I'm at the point where changes must be compelling. I suspect that Morphagene-for-Phonogene will be the next compelling change, but I'm not even 100% sure about that.
I don't mind admitting that I am super curious about new developments, so if something looks interesting then I will perhaps just buy it to try out or perhaps look around to see if there's something could trade out that I haven't used in a while.

I do keep modules in boxes some of the time, I try not to because it feels like it's a sin to have something and not use it (general philosophy), but at the same time I know some of them, are to some degree, irreplaceable. Some I have tried to sell and they won't budge for whatever reason.

On occasion I have listed a bunch of stuff because I have needed to raise a certain amount of cash, let go what sells and then taken the rest of the listing down - maybe this is bad form? But no one complained yet hihi

There are some modules I have felt that I would never let go, but something else finally came along I prefer and so it changes status.

All this is just for fun, it's not necessary, I could easily stick with what I have and just work on that but I do like the gear as much as I like using it. I like seeing how design problems are solved, construction methods, component choices just as much. Also, every new module, even if it is a variant on a theme, will work slightly (or a lot) differently, those subtleties in behaviour promote learning and that is important to me.

Experience is important, I want to experience as much as I can within the constraints of my investment and in my limited lifespan (we are all mortal and our days are numbered!) because the truth is, no matter how much you might think you can make an assessment of a module from discussion, photos, youtubes, manuals etc... there are more often than not little surprises (surprises and disappointments) to be found when you actually get your hands on one.

Am I chasing the latest trends? I guess sometimes, but it's not about that per se. Plaits was a trend - everyone suddenly selling Braids - I had no interest in, I knew why I had no interest in it and saw a few folk selling them on early - I enquired as to why and it was for the reason I thought it would be (it's kinda obvious and the same reason I eventually sold Braids), Marbles on the other hand was an instabuy because I know I really like that kind of module and I wanted hands on experience - so in that case I definitely felt like I was following the trend, but not because I felt like I had to or anything absurd like that.
if I buy one module that does what another module does but better then older one has to go if I dont have any space for it.
If I realize I haven't been using something, I give it a second chance to prove itself, and let it go if it fails.

If a module is too redundant with other gear, or doesn't fit the music I'm making, or doesn't give me enough variety (unless it's become a staple) I will sell that too -- that's where I feel I'm a bit ruthless with it.

When I get rid of a module, it's more from that direction, rather than oooh shiny, must dump something old! I don't worry about "trends", but suitability for the music that I'm making and the overall variety and vitality of my modular system.

The way I see it, my system is evolving. The fittest modules survive, but better competition might still come along and take over its niche. Some modules are unlikely to ever be replaced, while others are more tenuous.

I see the churn as one of the features of modular. I'm definitely glad to have been able to try some things and move on to try something else; frankly this is how I've found out what I really like and even what kind of music I want to be making. I have no regrets.
1) It has to fit in the style of music I make.
2) sounds good.
3) be fun to use.

I am flexible with "3", but if "1" and "2" are not the case, or if something new that does similar function, comes along and does 1-3 better, then it goes.
Basically if I like it or not. If I can, I will box something up if I don’t have room for it. I have a lot of older modules now that I would never give up. Of the modules i’ve sold, I regret one (plague bearer, sold because I had 3) and kind of regret selling the rev 1 zorlon cannon.

Luckily for me I’m not interested in many of the latest big stuff. I don’t do drum / percussion modules (don’t need them for my music) and I don’t do modules with menus. I don’t like modules with button combinations and modes. I like simple one knob / switch per function modules. Simple interface. That doesn’t mean I don’t like complex modules, just not complex interface.
I typically don't turn over gear often. I held my non-modular synths for years before parting with most of them to covert to almost exclusively modular about 2 years ago. I've parted ways with less than 10 modules along the way (around 5% purge rate).

Here's what I parted ways with and why:
A-190: Replaced with a new MIDI interface.

A-119: I had two by design but traded one due to a combination of buying CG's Peak and Hold (upgrade) and downsizing of external synths (reduced need)

A-115: I got this in return for the A-119. Gave it a whirl but eventually sold it because I could do the same thing by putting 4 clocks into a voltage mixer. (redundant/unused)

Razzmasynth Superwarp Generator: This was a add-on to a purchase. I tried it and it served as a functional blank while I grew my modular. Eventually sold it as it was unused.

Dwarfcraft Yep: I bought this to be a cost effective burst generator but it functions more as a random gate propagator. Replaced with Skipmin and a Ladik Burst. Brilliant upgrade on my part.

A-170: I bought in a bulk deal from someone getting out of modular. This was sold recently because I had multiple other Slew/VC function Generator modules and wanted a expansion space/cost offset for new purchases. I wouldn't say it was 100% redundant as the curves were a little different than others I kept and I still had space elsewhere in the case.

A-148: I had an extra due to the same bulk purchase. I had one set as dual S&H and one as dual T&H. Sold after acquiring a third ASR, left the remaining one as T&H. (Redundant/upgraded)

Anti-Osc: Received in a large trade. It lost its novelty on me. Traded-in to a retail store. (unused)

A-143-3: Bought early on. Traded-in to a retail store because it was not voltage controlled and the LFOs couldn't be synced to each other. (outgrew)

A-135 v1: Bought early on. Traded-in to a retail store because for 22HP to get a single out, linear only VCA wasn't effective. Upgraded with a much more versatile/re-arrangeable solution at 24HP a pair A-132-3s and a A-138b.
Being broke!
I churn modules for all the reasons above, but also largely because I have essentially two set ups. One larger computer driven, non modular set up and one smaller modular, semi modular, and FX based set up. One is for "working on songs" the other for "working on sounds".

The larger computer based set up was churned for years, going through synths and soundcards and monitors, but I eventually decided what I liked for me personally.

The modular/FX set up has been the same, but it's earlier in the process. I am one of those people who needs to try something in the context of my studio to know for sure. So, yea, I can go to Control Voltage and check it out, but that tells me nothing about how it will work in my studio. So, I buy and sell. It's most evident with filters and sequencers and lately also envelopes.

I can sit down with a euro sequencer for an hour and know if it will work for me or wont, even less time with a filter. That's part of the fun though. How I work is likely different that how you work, etc, etc. So building up a custom synth for my needs is usually pretty rewarding.
nolongerhuman wrote:
I am one of those people who needs to try something in the context of my studio to know for sure.

So basically you have to buy all the filters and try them out at home? woah

I’m not like that. I can buy stuff based on a few youtube videos and it works out fine most of the time.
lisa wrote:

So basically you have to buy all the filters and try them out at home? woah

I’m not like that. I can buy stuff based on a few youtube videos and it works out fine most of the time.

Essentially yea. All the filters that catch my eye at least.

A good example is the Polaris. On paper for my needs it looks ideal. In practice though, I found that the filter requires a rather high voltage envelope to fully open with CV. I got tired of having to patch my envelopes though something else to boost them, and happened to get a Bastl Cinnamon on a whim, it took me all of 5 minutes to know that I vastly preferred the sound and CV response of the Cinnamon.

Filters are... so particular to the person. What others seem to love (Moog ladder filters, etc) is often not what I want, and I don't think I'd have gotten there without hands on time. The Erica Polivoks filters are some of my favorite, but it's very difficult to find demos that aren't loudly displaying its screamy resonance, and there is a huge range in between that I would have missed had I not had a chance to put it in the case.
I think about what I need and what I don't want before I buy stuff.
I do my research and think hard about what I actually want and need.
That way, I don't ever have to sell anything.
I'm one of those people who is always buying and selling a ton of modules. Maybe too many. Definitely too many. But building up this monstrous instrument is part of the fun for me.
Over the years, my criteria has slightly shifted. It used to be "is this the best module / most featured module for the task?", and now it is closer to "do I have fun with this freaking thing?" It might be obvious but it is still quite a mental struggle for me to go through this transition, since those two things are often at odds with each other.
Once I make up my mind that one module is not bringing me the happiness I seek (however good, beautifully designed, praised, or full featured it is), I put it up for sale, make someone else happy, buy something new, and never look back. Like some sort of modular break up... The latest example of this was selling my ER-301. We were not meant for each other thumbs up
Also, my criteria for modules has overshadowed my criteria for a mixer...might just put the most expensive Make Noise stuff in a case and send them off...I need a new mixer... d'oh!
I try to keep my system to be a focused singular instrument and not just a bunch of pieces thrown at the wall. If a particular module isn't gelling with the ecosystem or doesn't fit with the music I'm making, I sell it. I pretty much always buy modules used so whenever I sale I am breaking even, sometimes even making a profit.
Lately, non Mutable Instrument modules.... hihi
I sold more of the stuff i bought in my first year of eurorack, as I was learning what some modules did, and found my own approach and style. I often find I can’t really know a module well enough unless I spend real time with it in my rack.

Now after a couple years, I’m selling much less, and buying less. I’ve got most voice/modulation/sequencing needs and scenarios addressed. And while there are always new modules coming out that do the same things a bit better (e.g. the new Mutable Instruments), I can largely accomplish those with my current gear. The only thing lacking in any large way today is my dedication to using it. Mr. Green

To sell a piece of gear today I’ve got to really dislike it or envision never using it. But otherwise my choices seem better today, and my keep ratio is pretty high.
^^^ similar to this

I have to really dislike something to sell or imagine I will never use it. This certainly has happened. Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I don’t really like modules with screens and presets, this has led me to sell things like Rainmaker which is a great module, just not for me. Other modules I’ve sold because they just don’t quite work the way I had hoped. For example, I sold the Evaton RF Nomad because I couldn’t get an interesting signal at my house despite trying a lot.

Good, simple UI matters so I like Doepfer, Intellijel, Mutable, Noise Engineering, etc. Things that are esoteric or are just annoying (eg Folktek, some Make Noise) are being weeded out.

Life is too short to keep annoying modules.
I have a strict policy now of keeping a module until I know it in and out, and if at that point I find there's some horrible flaw I can't deal with anymore, I'll sell it. The only module that ever fit that description truly for me was the Tiptop z8000. It's a great module, but it not having gate with the cv outs at the time annoyed me very much. Selling it allowed me to get something more useful (to me).

Majority of the modules I've ever sold, I regret selling. Regular synths are easier to let go of for some reason.

edit: on this note, I've had about 7 or 8 modules in storage for several years now. I didn't have the space for them, but didn't want to sell them, because I knew I'd miss them. I'm very glad I stubbornly kept them now that I can get an extra case.
At ~19 months in, I've got 45 modules racked, 6 listed for sale, and have sold or traded 40. Half those were in the last 6 months.

It wouldn't be so high, except that:

-- After a few months of building up a sort of experimental sound lab, I found a sonic palette that I preferred and started to focus my musical style as well instead of being all over the place. That led to a purge of modules that didn't fit and waves of optimization toward the kind of gear and workflow that fit perfectly.

-- Deciding to explore Euro sequencing and performance control, and needing a couple of rounds of changes to hit on the right combination.

But now it's just about there. I don't expect to list more than 2-3 other modules for sale this year. The process has built me a really good system for my needs.
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