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Beginner rack advice requested
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Beginner rack advice requested
Hello all,

I am looking into assembling my first modular setup and would like some general advice or suggestions from the community.

I have a Tiptop Mantis case and am assembling it with the current ideas:

- based around the Sputnik Oscillator & Intellijel Rubicon as VCOs. I have acquired these and are currently the only units that I am set on. Everything will be purchased so I am very open to alternatives.

- hoping to use my Moog Grandmother as a midi controller plus more

- 2nd row of will based on having a small drum machine

- I am deciding between filters which is why I have two in my grid. (Tiptop Forbidden Planet & Doepfer Wasp)

With that said, I just wanted to make sure I am not missing anything obvious or have an incomplete signal chain.

Also, if something could be replaced something for better value.

Thanks to anyone who replies, I just wanted to get some feedback before taking the final plunge. Def looking forward the next evolution of our music.
I can't comment much myself on the modules since I don't own any of those. However, I do own a Grandmother and drive a bunch of Roland System-500 modules via CV and I'm happy with the setup. A few months back I thought I needed a MIDI/CV module, but after some time I've found that the CV outs (key/gate/velocity) on the Grandmother are sufficient for my purposes at least - Grandmother arp/seq all work etc.
Noisy Mark
Tiptop Forbidden Planet & Doepfer Wasp

If you can spare the HP I would go for both filters. I use the two together all the time and they compliment each other so well for ambient music and drum patterns
The setup you have now looks pretty good! A mult might be something to look into. Also, I noticed the percussion sequencer, what are you thinking of letting that puppy drive? Maybe look into the LDB2e if you're not sure where to take your drums. I personally use 2 mutable Peaks, and when I'm not using the drum functionality, I have LFOs and ENVs to play with.

With your grandmother you essentially have a handful of modules already, tis' the beauty of semi-modular. All of your CV ins and outs on the grandmother are Eurorack level/compatible.

I'd say jump in and get your hands dirty. You'll know what you need as time goes by. For now, looking good!
I would get a quad VCA, mutable and intellijel make one for cheap and a quad envelope / LFO (I just got a quadra which is good for percussive envelopes or LFOs and have the A-143-2 which is better for keyboards and can also be patched into itself and used as an lfo). Maths functions well as an envelope but then you cant use it as a slew limiter lfo modulator etc. Overall you seem short on modulators and VCAs. The Beat Step Pro might be worth considering as an alternative to the Pittsburgh percussion sequencer... It is around the same price and has a lot of features etc.

Not sure what you are using this rack for but the Disting is a pretty useful multipurpose module that can do something in a pinch and is worth looking into. I really enjoy my doepfer voltage controlled switch, clock divider and dual sample and hold along with my boolean logic circuits.

I guess it all depends on what you want to do with it but I'd trade the doepfer vca and envelope for a quad vca and envelope modulator thing. Youll save $ and rack space in the long run.
I definitely agree that if you can spare the hp both filters would provide more versatility for you.

Instead of the 2hp delay I would go for an Erica synths pico dsp. The delays are better on that in my opinion and you get other functions like reverb, granular delay, bitcrusher etc. Plus it is stereo if you ever want to route your output in two separate channels to a DAW.
Fellow newbie here. I have the Tip Top Forbidden Planet and I like it a lot, but you need more. Or I do. I have a Three Sisters and they are quite different and a good compliment. If I could just have one, it would be the Three Sisters, but Forbidden Planet is cool.

I also have the Intellijel Quad VCA and it is the most used module I have. I can also attest tot he A-140, it is a "classic" but I often use the Maths for its "snappy" little envelopes too, so it is nice to have both.

+1 on the Erica Synths DSP. I returned it since I have Valhala on my Mac, but it was nice.

How about a multiple?

Are you sure you don't want to sequence melodic stuff with a dedicated sequencer? So much more fun than midi (for me).

Good luck!
The Wasp filter and the White Line Echo are two of my "cold, dead hands" modules. They're both just awesome. I agree that something like an Intellijel Quad VCA would be really helpful here. And I would also recommend more modulation; the WMD/SSF Modbox and the Wogglebug both offer lots of outputs in a relatively small package, and both would provide some random modulation to your rack.
You do absolutely want a mult or two there, esp interfacing with the Moog. Something that does LFOs in addition to what Maths can do would be nice. I had one of those 2hp mixers & found it easy to overload, I use the 3 channel Mutable Instruments one now & it is better. I'd also recommend a Disting. You could put it in your bottom row & use it for a million things in your system when it is not sitting with your drums. Talking about whatever you are thinking of using for percussion voices, it's a bit about what sort of thing you are after, samples, noise, TR style sounds? For the latter I really love Peaks just for the drum modes, you can still pick those up.
Your top row looks good!

I agree with the suggestion to replace the ADSR. Voltage control over length (let's say decay or release) is crucial in my opinion. It's probably less important when you play it with a keyboard though. Lot's of control over the shape of the envelope is also important (lin / log), and I tend to think it's better than having this control on the VCA side. A dual / quad module might also be better for you in a small-ish system. Therefore, I think that zadar or stages will give you lots of versatility here next to your maths.

Regarding the VCA. I tend to think about VCAs for modulation separately from end of chain voices VCAs (more about this here). The VCA in your plan is for the currently 1 voice in the top row. Is that correct? If so, you can go with a VCA that is as simple as it gets (e.g. doepfer A-132-1). You'll probably want a dual/quad one down the line for modulation duties. I really like blinds for that.

Aren't the echo and the 2hp delay too similar? I will start with only one and see how it goes. Or, based on other suggestions here, start with the pico dsp.

I'm not sure the combination of the percussion sequencer and the transient make a lot of sense. If I understand correctly the nice thing about the percussion sequencer is that it has VCAs and envelopes to create drum sounds out of "regular" oscillators. You can use it to create drum sounds out of your sputnik and the rubicon, but I don't think you'll want to use them for that. As vrfats suggested, you might prefer the beatstep pro. Note that creating drums from vanilla oscillators will probably take much more than the 104hp row you want to dedicate to drums.

More generally, what I personally miss the most in this system are clock dividers, a way to generate stepped voltages (e.g. S&H), and noise sources.

BTW, I'm also relatively new to this, and you're more than welcome to disagree :-)

1. Just use cv from grandmother directly.
2. The 2013 maths is an improvement in many ways.
3. That vca is big and kind of underwhelming. I prefer dual vcas for most uses.
4. If you insist on drum modules, many of them have vcas built in and the Pittsburgh drum trigger thing has 4 vcas in it anyway? And pinging a filter is a common way to make drum sounds which also doesn't require a vca. It seems like a weird workflow and it's probably much easier to just patch drums using more general modules like oscillators, the vcas in the trigger sequencer, etc.
5. Cv is the most important thing in modular and I would add much more of that: a random voltage source, a sample and hold, more function generators etc. the doepfer adsr there can't be cv controlled: I'd replace it with something that offers cv control. I don't think adsr envelopes are especially interesting. I don't have a dedicated one in my 628hp system, but can patch it using simpler modules like maths or a voltage multistage.
6. I don't think the wasp filter can self oscillate or be pinged-- those features would be important to me in a modular especially if percussion is a goal. I don't know if the forbidden plant can be either, so I'd investigate that before buying.
7. Bipolar vcas give you ringmod and the ability to modulate backwards. Ringmod is a great way to derive metallic sounds from harmonic sounds and use it as the basis of a hihat or weird snare etc. I would definitely get one.
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