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How do you arrange your rack?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author How do you arrange your rack?
insoul8
Do you guys frequently re-arrange everything in your rack? Maybe to counter the way you might automatically patch things or use certain modules together due to proximity? Does it help at all? What type of arrangements have you found work best for you? Do you keep say filters together, VCO's together? Or do you have everything scattered about? Maybe rows of voices? Mutable voice, Make Noise case, percussion case, etc? Is there a method to your madness?!

I'm thinking about doing a re-arrangement of my racks both to facilitate some new patching ideas and just to get things more in order. Out of laziness I've basically just been adding new modules wherever they fit with no regard to placement and I have the sudden urge to try and fix some of that in a more logical way. I'm just not quite sure what to try. I may be overthinking it but i figure now is as good a time as any since i have gotten rid of some modules and have a couple on their way in.
Shledge
I change my layout every few months, depending on what is more convenient or whether I want to mix it up a bit.
MarcelP
I had my system arranged in blocks by function running top left to bottom right (EG bank, VCO block, VCF group, FX collection, Controllers, etc) with clocks/logic/rhythm generation above sequencers leading to VCO bank, and the bottom rows being controllers and FX-ish stuff. This worked OK but I found any simple patch involved long runs of patch leads - and I had ideas about taking a smaller system out to play live. So I tried laying things out as 5 "voices" (still with the option to patch a VCF from voice block A to voice block C, etc), but find that arrangement less than satisfactory: I get lost as to which filter lives where and have to compromise as controllers still live together (and FX and sequencers) and I don't have sufficient functional duplicates to completely separate things out.

There are also issues with audio rate oscillators being used as LFOs, filters being used as oscillators, EGs not necessarily simply controlling output VCAs - and utilities have no logical fixed location.

Next opportunity I get I will re-arrange back to the functional block method and live with the long patching when necessary - it makes more sense in my head that logic sits here, filters sit there, controllers are near to hand and FX are grouped at the output next to the (external) mixing console.

I think the size of the system, individual workflow, portability if necessary, available space, etc, will all impact this decision.

Note: my MG layout is not up to date but is broadly my original layout split into 3 "columns".
insoul8
Yea, I've basically had all the same thoughts you have but haven't actually tried them. I guess my main goal aside from some more creative patching would be to limit the amount of super long cables i need to use but i also realize that is inevitable no matter what. None of my racks are portable so i don't really have the need to create one that can be a self contained unit. Perhaps the functional block method is worth a try.
technicoloraudio
I spend probably way more time than I should on the ergonomics of my case (12u of 104). I think there is a natural “flow” of signal, but it isn’t so simple as a single stream moving in one direction. Individual module orientation plays a huge part too, for example most Intellijel and Mutable modules have their I/O at the bottom of the module so keeping them on the top row leaves their controls exposed. The ER-301’s I/O is all on the right so putting the module on the left keeps its screen and controls clear, however for me it is an “end of chain” module so I want to keep it further to the right. The ER-101, on the other hand, has all of its I/O at the bottom of the module, but I like to keep my sequencers closest to me, so cables end up flowing over the screen and controls.

One thing I have learned is interspersing utilities throughout my rack. I keep Blinds in the middle of everything for CV manipulation but effects I keep grouped near VCA’s.

The beauty of eurorack is certainly the “modularity”, but as an obsessive compulsive person, I am keen on clean lines, be it for cables or modules themselves. I think it promotes creativity for me. I used my music room as a catch-all for various crap for a year and a half, and it deterred me tremendously from making any music with real purpose. YMMV, but I think identifying what works best for you, then tweaking the arrangement accordingly leads to better creative flow. Modulargrid is your friend.
ipassenger
I move mine around quite a bit, but keep stuff in functional blocks as above. With the odd bits that don't fit anywhere where ever makes sense from usage pov. I try and keep modules that need a lot of adjustment on the bottom rows (nearer to me) and the set and forget stuff further away.

I try to avoid having too many long cable runs but whatever you setup is always just a set of compromises, I don't think there is a best setup, just a best setup for you, for now. So try different things, plus I always i find i want to make more music after a good shuffle about of the modules.
BailyDread
I arrange my modules according to type. everything CV is in the bottom left quarter of my 2 HEK setup, and my mults and mixers sit smack in the middle of the bottom row to send the CV elsewhere in my system. all oscillators are together on the top row, and filters directly below them. VCA's are generally located close to the filters.

it helps keep my audio cable runs short, and gives the rack a tidy appearance that works well for me. i don't think i will ever re-arrange, because now i am so used to the layout i could probably patch somewhat successfully blindfolded.
insoul8
technicoloraudio wrote:
I spend probably way more time than I should on the ergonomics of my case (12u of 104). I think there is a natural “flow” of signal, but it isn’t so simple as a single stream moving in one direction. Individual module orientation plays a huge part too, for example most Intellijel and Mutable modules have their I/O at the bottom of the module so keeping them on the top row leaves their controls exposed. The ER-301’s I/O is all on the right so putting the module on the left keeps its screen and controls clear, however for me it is an “end of chain” module so I want to keep it further to the right. The ER-101, on the other hand, has all of its I/O at the bottom of the module, but I like to keep my sequencers closest to me, so cables end up flowing over the screen and controls.

One thing I have learned is interspersing utilities throughout my rack. I keep Blinds in the middle of everything for CV manipulation but effects I keep grouped near VCA’s.

The beauty of eurorack is certainly the “modularity”, but as an obsessive compulsive person, I am keen on clean lines, be it for cables or modules themselves. I think it promotes creativity for me. I used my music room as a catch-all for various crap for a year and a half, and it deterred me tremendously from making any music with real purpose. YMMV, but I think identifying what works best for you, then tweaking the arrangement accordingly leads to better creative flow. Modulargrid is your friend.


All good considerations for ergonomics. My system would probably drive you up the wall how it is currently arranged. haha. It would be less of a pain if i was dealing with one case but i have essentially two side by side.
srogers
I try to keep my case organized mostly by type/signal chain as well. Sound sources, sequencing, filters on the left, VCAs/modulation/utility stuff in the middle, sound processors/effects/output on the right.
reekster
as I work more and more with my system, I move things around as I understand what I want to do and what type of flow works best. Currently, I've got it set up as 5 separate synths. This doesn't mean I only patch within that space but I have a complete set of tools in 5 places, Oscillators, VCA(s), envelopes, filter and modulators. I did this to facilitate my FH-1 and FHX-1 expanders which is how I integrate into my DAY
Futuresound
I've settled into an arrangement that works for me. 12U x 104HP. It feels like it flows from top to bottom when I use it, though looking at it logically it's not so obvious that this is so . Left to right is driven more by organization or interface needs.

Sequencers in the bottom row, moving from trigger-focussed to CV-focussed as you move left to right.

Modulators above that.

'Mixing' above that - VCAs, overdrives, utilities that don't have a home elsewhere.

Sounds sources and modifiers above that - Oscs, filters, some audio effects.

It's a little odd because audio output happens in row 3, even though audio sources are above it in row 4. But if feels right.

I've been using modular grid to imagine how I could reorganize to fit into 12U x 84Hp and to spark some new ideas at the same time, but so far I haven't found anything that seems like it would work any better for me.

This is pretty much up to date: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/461450
chaosick
insoul8 wrote:
Do you guys frequently re-arrange everything in your rack? Maybe to counter the way you might automatically patch things or use certain modules together due to proximity? Does it help at all? What type of arrangements have you found work best for you? Do you keep say filters together, VCO's together? Or do you have everything scattered about? Maybe rows of voices? Mutable voice, Make Noise case, percussion case, etc? Is there a method to your madness?!

I'm thinking about doing a re-arrangement of my racks both to facilitate some new patching ideas and just to get things more in order. Out of laziness I've basically just been adding new modules wherever they fit with no regard to placement and I have the sudden urge to try and fix some of that in a more logical way. I'm just not quite sure what to try. I may be overthinking it but i figure now is as good a time as any since i have gotten rid of some modules and have a couple on their way in.


Yes to all of the above and what various people have ever said.

The most insightful thing I've ever heard on this subject is a video interview from a few years ago with Shigeru Miyamoto ,creator of Mario games. When asked how he stays creative or what he does outside of designing video games, he said that he likes to rearrange the furniture in his house. (I think sometimes in the middle of the night, but I might be adding that in as a piece of romanticism).
FatKingTubby
My layout (15u x 84hp) gets reshuffled about once per month, but always takes a similar shape because I mainly arrange it based on the jack location of each module. For example Voltage Block never leaves my bottom row because it has all the jacks at the top edge, so no need to ever have cables hanging across the sliders or buttons. Likewise, the top row modules all have jacks on the bottom halves, so every knob is easily accessible at the top. Some of my MFB modules that have jacks on the left and knobs on the right end up on the right side of the case, so the knobs are easy to get to. These modules tend to have more permanent spots than the ones that rotate in the center. I also group modules that are more often than not always connected in a certain way, e.g. mults next to clock dividers or other trigger sources.
jfprimeau
In my 12u case, I go bottom up for the signal flow. Bottom row is controllers (sequencers, clock div and such). Second row is modulation and envs. Third row is filtering, oscillators and vca. Top row is percussions and effects. I set it up that way not too long ago, and so far i like it as the case is usually laid down with a small incline. The controllers are the easiest to reach, the the outputs are at the top, close to by soundcard. Problem is that if I use long cables, they will cover the controllers, making them a bit harder to use than I would like. I still prefer it that way than placing them at the top but having to lean over the setup all the time to reach them. Having the René down in the middle make it feel like some kind of a center piece, and when I first set it up, I got a bit of a rush, it felt exciting like I was at the helm of a spaceship or something lol.
Accent
Before I started my modular journey, I was lucky enough to spend time time chatting with Richard Devine at NAMM. He told me he arranges his cases to work left to right by function, and I’ve more or less adopted this myself. So, sequencers, midi modules etc on the left, followed by oscs etc until I get to the FX and final output on the right. But I also group within this by manufacturer whenever possible, and lastly by color for aesthetics. So while I’m generally working from left to right this also allows me some ability to have like an osc or filter in the middle of my case, which I find handy with cutting down on the cable spaghetti.

I’ve got three cases I work between, and while I don’t have any hard and fast limitations, I find this good for workflow and for keeping OCD at bay.
moremagic
ive had my 6U in its current config for like a year
my fingers have learned their way around it which makes playing rather comfortable
i keep my most manipulated modules to the corners to keep them relatively free of cable interference
keep similar functions grouped together:
functions, oscs, filters, vc mixers, manual mixers, &c.
bemushroomed
I try to look at how i've usually patched things, if two modules then are too far apart i put them closer, or even next to each other (if it makes sense to do that - e.g vco, vca, env). trying to avoid as much cable as possible going over other modules is a must imo.

Effects (reverbs, delays etc) are in one section, mixers are closest to the right lower side since that makes them closest to my audio interface.

Playable modules (stepper acid, voltage block, varigate 8+ etc) are in my cases laying flat infront of me..
TemplarK
Tobias Neumann gave great tips for this from top to bottom it went something like

Oscillator
Filter
Lfo
Envelopes
Clocks and random
VCAs
Audio
Mixing

With utilities buffered multiples an attuverters etc up the sides
I found this setup also to make a lot of sense and simplify patching


Sequencers I can’t recall but I put them where is best to get to them in bottom of my case. This advice was a video from super booth 2018
Reter187
Maybe it's because I do not have that many modules, or maybe its because i'm lazy, but I have never rearranged my rack.
Pille64
Interesting topic indeed

I have to admit that I almost never changed anything during the first 10 years, mainly because the Internet did not exist and therefore I didn´t knew that there was a world behind DOEPFER. There has been a lot of diversity in the past 15 years and you are tempted to buy more than you really need, in a certain way this might be a transition to the interesting "consumerism" threat here at muffwiggler.

One Aspect in the question is the problem : "minimal-optimum" in using cables. In my opinion the more complex the setup the more unanswerable it is. After all these years the question in addition to the first question is for me : Why can not I make the patch smaller to keep the overview ?

As an european I tend to above mentioned "left - right scheme" in the "classic" way - not very witty but a logic and fast patching way.

Anyway :
I'm curious to see if a "wiggler", who grew up with for example Arabic script, - writing from right to left - would design/arrange the rig differently.

@MarcelP - very interesting Setup : strict alignment EC left - Veils directly right, interesting stimulus - unfortunately, I am not so consistent
helix
My rack

This is my rack, mostly top row is sequencing, middle row is oscillators filters and mixers, bottom row is mods/pitch

That random a145 in the middle is just there to fill a gap while i get another vco after selling one.
blipson
Left to right by function--and so the long cords annoyance--but with hands-on controllers reserved for the bottom row for playability. I can't possibly imagine Rene in the center and having to reach through spaghetti to get at it in real time. But I have 15U x 104hp with just 1hp to spare, so I also have to go with what fits. That leaves a few things in anomalous positions, and so I've learned you can get used to anything, and that configuration ultimately doesn't matter much to me, except for Pressure Points, Rene, and Tempi at the bottom, closest to me, as clear of cords as possible.
tauburn
I generally try to have my rack flow from left to right. It's obviously not the way modular synthesis works, but for the sake of the most general patch it works out. One thing to keep in mind are patch points that exist in every single patch. So if you have certain points that are connected always or most of the time its good to keep them close by so that you can use short cables to connect them. In my rack i have Yarns connected to my midi interface and the clock and rest out always connected to my sequencer with the shortest possible cables that i never unplug.

From left to right i try to have

Sequencing and clock
Modulation
Sound sources
VCA and filter
pieter
jfprimeau wrote:
In my 12u case, I go bottom up for the signal flow. Bottom row is controllers (sequencers, clock div and such). Second row is modulation and envs. Third row is filtering, oscillators and vca. Top row is percussions and effects. I set it up that way not too long ago, and so far i like it as the case is usually laid down with a small incline. The controllers are the easiest to reach, the the outputs are at the top, close to by soundcard. Problem is that if I use long cables, they will cover the controllers, making them a bit harder to use than I would like. I still prefer it that way than placing them at the top but having to lean over the setup all the time to reach them. Having the René down in the middle make it feel like some kind of a center piece, and when I first set it up, I got a bit of a rush, it felt exciting like I was at the helm of a spaceship or something lol.


I'd love to see a picture of that! I do something very similar: I have four rows and put the traditional synth functions (oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelopes and LFOs) in the middle two rows, with a rough separation between filters and oscillators at the top and CV at the bottom.

Sequencers, drums and effects go in the top row and the bottom row. The downside for me is also that there are quite a few cables going from the first row to the fourth row in every patch, but as was pointed out already, there is probably no way to avoid this in a four row system that gets completely re-patched often.
ianbortolotti
srogers wrote:
I try to keep my case organized mostly by type/signal chain as well. Sound sources, sequencing, filters on the left, VCAs/modulation/utility stuff in the middle, sound processors/effects/output on the right.


Mine is like that also, but inverted. My outputs and effects are on the left because that's where my mixer and interface are located on my desk.
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