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Getting started - Is the plan a good plan?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Getting started - Is the plan a good plan?
rob_dylan
Hello Wigglers,

New member here, and just about to take my first steps into modular. I've already gone through lots of the 'first module'-threads in here and also been checking up on specific modules, trying to figure what I like and to find out where might be a good place to start. But before I make any purchases I'd first like to get a fairly good overview picture of how the future full rack might look. I'm starting off with an Arturia Rackbrute 6U and this is how my idea for it looks right now:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/710457


BUT! It will be impossible for me to purchase all those modules in one sweep. Which probably also is a good thing. I'd rather get started with fewer modules and try to befriend them one by one before adding more. So this is how my start-up plan looks like:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/715677


Since I'm still only at the planning stage and without any previous eurorack hands on experience (I do know the principles of synthesis tho) I'd be grateful for any input on what you might consider to be good/bad with the start-up plan. Would getting those modules in the last example be enough to keep me busy for a few months, until I'm able to add some more modules? Does it seem like a well-balanced system to you, or is there something I might have overlooked here?

Any input or advice would be very much appreciated!
All good!


/Rob



(Edit: The rack at MG has been changed after I made this post!)
lisa
In your startup selection Maths will be used as a dual envelope module every time. I suggest that you choose a dedicated envelope module instead.
rob_dylan
Thanks! Would a dedicated EG open up for new possibilities with Maths (which still is a bit of a mystery to me), or would you consider it better to wait with the Maths until a second VCO enters the equation?
danishchairs
rob_dylan wrote:
... Would getting those modules in the last example be enough to keep me busy for a few months, until I'm able to add some more modules?

Yes, absolutely. If you’ve read a bunch about modular and Eurorack, and these modules look interesting/fun/challenging to you, then these are probably a good fit for you to start with.

rob_dylan wrote:
Does it seem like a well-balanced system to you, or is there something I might have overlooked here?

Well-balanced? Maybe, maybe not. Have you overlooked anything? Perhaps/probably. Either way, in both cases, I’d say it doesn’t matter. You’ll figure it out the balance as you go, and you won’t get hurt if it’s unbalanced or something got overlooked.

The important thing for beginners is to begin.

You said you’ve read and watched a bunch, and you’ve even planned a couple of racks on ModularGrid. When you’re ready and able to commit some money and time, go ahead. If you’re too uncomfortable starting, hold back. Wait for more confidence or encouragement.

Some positive advice: stay within your budget, and keep your obligations to family and friends.

Best wishes!
Seaweed Sound
It's hard to give good feedback without knowing what kind of music you're doing, what your goal for the system is, and what other gear if any you have.

I would say the uJack's 1/4" jacks are unbalanced.. If I was going to spend the space/money on a dedicated output module I'd want balanced outs maybe even with transformers, otherwise you can probably just get away with an adapter cable for now.
Trebbers
The modules you have to start are fine. I'd keep Maths. It's good to have the attenuation/offset in addition to its envelopes. Eventually, I'd add a 2hp ADSR (if you plan to play from a keyboard much), as well as a µFold so you have the classic Intellijel Rubicon+µFold 'complex' oscillator.
rob_dylan
danishchairs wrote:
You’ll figure it out the balance as you go



You're probably very right about this. It's always tricky to try to think too many steps into the future. Things always change along the way. Still, coming in as a rookie and with a limited budget, I just wanna check and also double-check before entering the spiral. But there certainly is no lack of motivation. Thanks for the input! The spiral calls!
rob_dylan
Seaweed Sound wrote:
I would say the uJack's 1/4" jacks are unbalanced..



Haha, thanks for the heads up on this!


I've mostly been into doing minimal techno but I think the main reason for me to go modular is to get away from that and any other pre-defined labels. But I guess that I'm anyway minimal in that sense that I prefer one very precise and well-balanced sound in the mix rather than a wall of noise (unless that noise is well-balanced too, of course!). Maybe rhythmic, but not necessarily with percussive sounds? My description is extremely vague. I'll guess I just have to dive in and find out smile
I've already got an Analog Rytm and a Mutable Instruments Ambika + Arturia Keystep. At least the Keystep should be easy to connect.
rob_dylan
Trebbers wrote:
The modules you have to start are fine. I'd keep Maths. It's good to have the attenuation/offset in addition to its envelopes. Eventually, I'd add a 2hp ADSR (if you plan to play from a keyboard much), as well as a µFold so you have the classic Intellijel Rubicon+µFold 'complex' oscillator.



Thanks for this. Actually I think that for the most part, and I failed to mention this in the previous post too, I would like to experiment mostly with generative sounds, inside the box. Maybe then a bigger EG would be preferable, like the Quadra for example?

(I have also been eyeing the Turing Machine).
Seaweed Sound
Rytm is easy to connect to Pamela's Workout. You have a couple options:

1) Get a Dinsync adapter cable and clock Pam's to a Sync output of the Rytm.
2) Get a 1/8" TRS minijack to dual 1/8" TS jack (like an insert cable) to send Dinsync from the Keystep to Pam's
3) Get one of the Pam's Expander modules and make it the master clock to sync up the Rytm and Keystep via either Dinsync or MIDI.

Options 1 & 2 have the advantage of not requiring additional case space.
Option 2 has the disadvantage of requiring a small bit of latency for the Keystep to convert MIDI clock to Dinsync.

It really depends on which device you want to be the master and your workflow. I'd probably run the Rytm as master since it has transport controls and tap tempo. Also Dinsync typically provides tighter timing than MIDI clock.

Finally you didn't mention any outboard effects so you may want to look at an FX module such as Erica DSP etc. Good luck and have fun
Trebbers
rob_dylan wrote:
Trebbers wrote:
The modules you have to start are fine. I'd keep Maths. It's good to have the attenuation/offset in addition to its envelopes. Eventually, I'd add a 2hp ADSR (if you plan to play from a keyboard much), as well as a µFold so you have the classic Intellijel Rubicon+µFold 'complex' oscillator.



Thanks for this. Actually I think that for the most part, and I failed to mention this in the previous post too, I would like to experiment mostly with generative sounds, inside the box. Maybe then a bigger EG would be preferable, like the Quadra for example?


The Quadra w/expander or Syntrotek Quadrangle would be good for generative patches because you get 4 envelopes and have VC over rise and fall.
adda
Idk if you are dead set on euro, but a semi-modular can be a good way to test the waters before jumping into a custom setup

lots of good options out there these days, some more self contained (something like the mother 32, with its sequencer) while others would make a fantastic first voice(0-coast, life forms etc) that could be expanded one module at a time, as you feel the need

I kinda did both. I started with a mother 32 and dfam, planning on using them as a monosynth and simple drum machine. While experimenting, I figured out that I prefer using a synth for drones/effects/textures

When I started running into limitations, at first I planned on picking up a few modules to compliment the moogs, but after doing some research found this place and decided to sell the moogs and put a rack together

Still, I didn't end up losing much on them, and they were really easy to learn on since they were all in one. no worrying about power supplies and patch cables on day one, you can have a ton of fun just twiddling knobs. Once you start playing with patching, you're likely to discover some VERY cool sounds you didnt expect, which could send you in a totally different direction

A desktop semi also plays really nicely with a daw and soft synths. Like if you have a cool bass sound going, you might want to add a simple pad for reference while you tweak it, but that can be tricky in a small modular setup. You can also reuse any midi sequences you might already have. Try recreating/replacing your programmed soft synths with your (semi)modular!

Just a thought, but if you have the bug, go full euro. I doubt you'll regret it either way!
cptnal
You pretty much have what I had when I started - the classic subtractive synth chain plus Maths. Maths is great for starting to think about how modular is different from "normal", fixed-architecture synths. And don't be put off by its "complexity" either - it can be used simply (as an envelope or LFO for example), but reveals its more esoteric secrets as you begin to get an idea of how they might be useful. I'm still discovering things with mine. Just read all the docs and watch all the videos. thumbs up

Befriending each module is great strategy. If you're on a budget you might pass on the Batumi in the first instance. There's plenty modulation possibilities in Maths. Would ease the financial burden and allow you to get friendlier with the fewer modules you do start with.
rob_dylan
Thanks for all the inputs! Will take some time and digest these things, but feel confident enough now to soon go get the first module(s). All good!
pre55ure
Looks like a fun setup but a bit too sparse on utilities for my taste. I'd probably want at least 2 mixers that are DC coupled (so you can mix cv) and something that can do offsets and attenuverting.
Oh and I like maths. Nothing wrong with using it as an envelope generator anyway. It's really good at that.
st_corbin
pre55ure wrote:
Looks like a fun setup but a bit too sparse on utilities for my taste. I'd probably want at least 2 mixers that are DC coupled (so you can mix cv) and something that can do offsets and attenuverting.
Oh and I like maths. Nothing wrong with using it as an envelope generator anyway. It's really good at that.


Definitely more utilities. I recommend the Frap Tools 321. Great bang for your buck.
youwontsimi
st_corbin wrote:
pre55ure wrote:
Looks like a fun setup but a bit too sparse on utilities for my taste. I'd probably want at least 2 mixers that are DC coupled (so you can mix cv) and something that can do offsets and attenuverting.
Oh and I like maths. Nothing wrong with using it as an envelope generator anyway. It's really good at that.


Definitely more utilities. I recommend the Frap Tools 321. Great bang for your buck.


For utilities I recommend frap tools too:
321 is very good. Also 333 offers a lot on only 6hp of space (tripple unity gain mixer and multiplier).
Foghorn
I think I would get 2 Dixies instead of a Rubicon to start with.
When you do get a Rubicon, one of the Dixies would pair with it well.
But the main reason is with just a Rubicon there is only one voice.

The Rubicon is a good voice to have, I only have a Rubicon v1 so I am not 100% on what the Rubicon II can do but it can only make one frequency if I am not mistaken.

Or, add a Dixie at the start if you can.

Foghorn
cptnal
Utilities are great things to have, but IMHO you should buy them when you understand what they're for and how you'd use them. If you can't think why you'd need a quad bipolar attenuverter, wait until you can before you buy one. If that happens to be a week from when you start, or six months, or a year - fine. Or maybe you'll develop a style that means you don't need one of those utilities. Just don't expect to have a fully featured rig from day one. You need to grow into it to make it your own. This is fun!

This is why Maths is a good starter module. Its use cases grow with you - from the satisfyingly simple to the head-scratchingly complex (still waiting to get to those myself. Mr. Green )
rob_dylan
st_corbin wrote:
pre55ure wrote:
Looks like a fun setup but a bit too sparse on utilities for my taste. I'd probably want at least 2 mixers that are DC coupled (so you can mix cv) and something that can do offsets and attenuverting.
Oh and I like maths. Nothing wrong with using it as an envelope generator anyway. It's really good at that.


Definitely more utilities. I recommend the Frap Tools 321. Great bang for your buck.



cptnal wrote:
Utilities are great things to have, but IMHO you should buy them when you understand what they're for and how you'd use them.



Thanks for the advice on the 321. Just checked some Youtube videos about it and I kind of understand what it does, and see how it can become a useful tool. Will definitely make sure there is some room left in the rack for one!

Do you think the Levit8 from Erogenous Tones might be a good option for a mixer?



Foghorn wrote:
I think I would get 2 Dixies instead of a Rubicon to start with



I'm aware that one VCO is very much on the thin side, but I think getting acquainted with all the ins- and outs of the Rubicon will be enough headscratching for me at this initial stage. And then, in a month or two, I can add a Dixie together with some other modules maybe, and start the headscratching all over again smile
in_sherman
from what you have now, i would nix the batum or quadra and replace with minimal vco and utility modules, as parroted from above. other than that, nice rig
rob_dylan
Ok, so I reconfigured the rack a bit after taking all your advice into consideration:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/710457


I dropped the Metropolis because it just seems to eat too many HPs and instead I replaced it with an Addac 402 (which I must admit also appeals to me more than the Metropolis). This change would then create space for a Levit8 and a Dixie on the bottom row.
On the top row I dropped the ES Disting and the Quantum Rainbow and replaced them with a uScale and a MI Plaits.


Now I just have a few questions that I would super grateful to get some advice on:

Does the Addac 402 and Pamelas New Workout overlap in a way that makes having both of them a bit excessive?

If so, could the PNW be dropped to give space for a 321 + a 2 HP Noise?

I already have the Quadra and the Quad VCA coming my way so there is not much left to work with. But by dropping the Batumi Extender I would gain another 3 HP and it would be really nice with four VCO's, one for each output of the Addac.


Any thought on any of this would be much appreciated!
j259
rob_dylan wrote:


Any thought on any of this would be much appreciated!


It looks good, but unless I'm missing something, how are you sequencing your voices melodically - externally with keystep, or is this a rhythm machine?

If it were me I'd drop the filter (Rubicon + Dixie and Plaits don't really need one and seems like with the wavefolder and Rubicon's warp you're leaning West Coast anyway) and the 402, and get a Rene or a Pressure Points plus Brains and a random module. Use Pam's as your rhythmic brain and the other sequencer as your melodic interface, and you may have random + quantizer option as well.

It's not that the filter and 402 aren't good, just that with your real estate you should decide what kind of system you want, commit with the least redundancy and make it as playable as possible.

As Seaweed Sound mentioned, Dinsync adapter with Pam's is a nice way to integrate system with other hardware.
rob_dylan
j259 wrote:
It looks good, but unless I'm missing something, how are you sequencing your voices melodically - externally with keystep, or is this a rhythm machine?




Thanks for pointing this out! I think that I'd be mostly interested in doing experimental rhythmic stuff with short or semi-short (non-typical percussive) sounds. If that makes any sense? I see that dropping the Metropolis means less control over melody but was thinking/hoping that maybe the uScale would be enough for taming some of the chaos, although it might be too limited. I'm also becoming more and more aware that this thing won't stop at 6U, but that is what I have to work with for for now. I felt like I would have a bit too little control (over the randomness) in Rene when I checked it out earlier but will go have a look at it + the combo you mention again. Thanks for your input!
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