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Feedback on my rack plan
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Feedback on my rack plan
BenB
Hi everyone

I’m new to modular and about to take the plunge.

I wondered if anyone could give me some feedback on my plan so far. I’ve done a bit of reading into theory and have played around a bit, but feel like there’s still a lot I’m not grasping. So I'd really appreciate any input.

I have quite a bit of modular-compatible hardware - Mother 32, Vermona Mono Lancet, MF-103, 3 x minifoogers, Vermona Retroverb, the Dreadbox Taff2. I also have the Korg SQ-1. I also have the Nord Drum but understand there may be problems with sequencing that by CV. I also have various non-CV-compatible synths and drum machines, which I’m looking to sync and sequence / play alongside. But I want to make the modular the heart of my setup.

The main things I’m hoping for are to sequence and explore repetitive / shifting polyrhythms (including melodic sequencing), the ability to rhythmically modulate my effects pedals (and any modular effects I buy in the future), and to some extent to explore droning and unusual texture.

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/998827

I figure I already have two oscillator sources in the Mono Lancet and Mother 32, so for now that isn’t a priority, although I might look to a nice digital voice quite quickly. And for patchable LFOs I have the Taff2, the MF-103, and the Mother. In my head the SQ-1 would be the clock source, but I’m not certain if that will work.

Does my rack make sense, and will it function for what I’m after? Is there anything obvious that I’m missing that would be great for my aims? Anything I should be thinking about and looking at again?

One thing I’m wondering in particular is whether I need a sequencer in there, and how much that would open things up for me. I was looking at the Pittsburgh Sequencer but that only sequences in even steps. Ideally I’d get the A-155 and 154, but I think that may need to wait in terms of cash and space.

Any feedback very much appreciated.

Thanks so much

Ben
Agawell
Hi Ben and welcome

I really don't think you need either a second div module or the bus mults or 2 quad vcas (although I can see why you'r want them with so many external instruments) in such a small system

if you ditch these you should have cash for a marbles which would probably suit you pretty well - but you may want a more traditional sequencer

and I'd also recommend you get a selection of small utility mixer (doepfer umixer), a matrix mixer, a passive mult (or a dozen stackcables or some headphone splitters) and maybe a sequential switch - personally I'd add a kinks too (mine is in every patch) and disting is also a really good idea - it'll fill gaps and light the path

if you are looking at integrating effects pedals (and modulating them) then check out the alm sbg - although this can be done with an attenuator and veils (due to up to 20db gain) - at least the volume matching for going out to pedals and back

get a bigger case - you will need it and it is cheaper to go bigger to start with 6u 104 hp is a good beginner size

and finally go slowly get a minimum viable rack (max 4-5 modules) and work out what you need and go from there
BenA718
Hi, BenB!

I started the same way you are - M32 + MiniBrute + a few modules.

I would definitely recommend a Disting; it covers an incredible amount of ground and you can try many, many, many modules to see what you actually need.

These days I avoid using a keyboard with my modular, it seems antithetical to the modular ethos.

The SQ-1 is a brilliant starter sequencer, you can’t go wrong with it, but you will want a quantizer behind it if you are writing music that needs voices tuned to a reference pitch, especially if you are using additional non modular synths. Otherwise tuning each step can be a real drag. Quantizer also opens up new melodic territory without altering your base sequence.

Enjoy your modular journey!

Edit: I have a PBH sequencer as well, and while it’s true that it can only do 4, 6, or 8 steps, it’s great for non-sequencing duties as well, such as modulating a filter cutoff.
msboude
From someone with an M32. you are going to want a buff mult (intellijel works for me) for the kb output from the mother. The Keybord output can't supply much power, so I was losing tune with a Doepfer a-110-1 without the buff mult.. also, if you want to send the kb out to modular, you need an oscillator with an offset, or you are going to need a voltage offset generator. Moog is -5/+5v and eurorack likes 0-10v..
BaloErets
Looking good! I would suggest adding the expander for the Rotating Clock Divider as it adds a ton of functionality to the module. If you're Handy with DIY, you could cook one up yourself in 2-3hp.
BenB
Thank you all so much for your thoughts and advice on this, I appreciate it so much. Really good of you to take the time to look and think about it, and to reply.

Agawell wrote:
Hi Ben and welcome

I really don't think you need either a second div module or the bus mults or 2 quad vcas (although I can see why you'r want them with so many external instruments) in such a small system

if you ditch these you should have cash for a marbles which would probably suit you pretty well - but you may want a more traditional sequencer


I’m definitely going to look at Marbles, thanks for that tip. And if I don't need both Quad VCAs that's good news!

My thinking on the Div was that I could take one of the outs of the RCD and then divide off of that, with the option of CV control over the division. I imagined this being interesting for creative sequencing of drums and melody. But I may have misunderstood how it might function? Although in any event, perhaps this is a less urgent or essential module for now.

The bus mults came about as I saw that a 3-pack is cheaper than 2 separate passive mults. As I understood it, they can be patched as regular mults, but with the default option of having one or two extra-large mults? I’ve figured that I’d want and need loads of mults if I’m wanting to use this to sequence and modulate lots of bits of gear. But I may have misunderstood.

Agawell wrote:
I'd also recommend you get a selection of small utility mixer (doepfer umixer), a matrix mixer, a passive mult (or a dozen stackcables or some headphone splitters) and maybe a sequential switch - personally I'd add a kinks too (mine is in every patch) and disting is also a really good idea - it'll fill gaps and light the path


Disting looks like a no brainer at this stage, thank you. A sequential switch also looks like it might be right up my street

Forgive me, as I can tell that this is a very basic question, but what would the functions of the mixer and matrix mixer be for my setup?

Agawell wrote:
if you are looking at integrating effects pedals (and modulating them) then check out the alm sbg - although this can be done with an attenuator and veils (due to up to 20db gain) - at least the volume matching for going out to pedals and back


I think at this stage I should probably go for a multi attenuator, as for now the interface between the rack and my pedals would be CV rather than audio. If I’ve understood things correctly? If so maybe the Triplatt or similar would be good.

Agawell wrote:
get a bigger case - you will need it and it is cheaper to go bigger to start with 6u 104 hp is a good beginner size


I had the opportunity to get a Make Noise 104hp skiff super cheap locally, second hand but more or less unused, so I went for it. Having looked at the prices for bigger cases I decided that it made sense, as I think I’ll be able to re-sell the skiff at the same price I bought it when the time comes, and it gets me up and running

Agawell wrote:
and finally go slowly get a minimum viable rack (max 4-5 modules) and work out what you need and go from there


I loved this advice. It makes the whole thing seem much more achievable and much less intimidating

BenA718 wrote:
The SQ-1 is a brilliant starter sequencer, you can’t go wrong with it, but you will want a quantizer behind it if you are writing music that needs voices tuned to a reference pitch, especially if you are using additional non modular synths. Otherwise tuning each step can be a real drag. Quantizer also opens up new melodic territory without altering your base sequence.


Thanks Ben for all your comments and suggestions, very much appreciated! On this, would a quantizer be needed separately from a quantised sequencer, or would e.g. the Lifeforms Micro Sequence do this job, as well as adding sequencing capabilities? I came across it since my first post, and it seems pretty great.

msboude wrote:
From someone with an M32. you are going to want a buff mult (intellijel works for me) for the kb output from the mother. The Keybord output can't supply much power, so I was losing tune with a Doepfer a-110-1 without the buff mult.. also, if you want to send the kb out to modular, you need an oscillator with an offset, or you are going to need a voltage offset generator. Moog is -5/+5v and eurorack likes 0-10v..


Thanks very much for these tips. I think I’d be able to use the Vermona for keyboard input though hopefully, if I need.

The thing about voltage offset is worrying me though, as it seems a lot of the Mother’s CV outs operate at -5/+5? Will I need the same tools in order to integrate them?

This has actually opened my eyes to a whole world of complexity / pain around differing voltages etc, seems quite complicated and that I have a lot of learning to do!

BaloErets wrote:
Looking good! I would suggest adding the expander for the Rotating Clock Divider as it adds a ton of functionality to the module. If you're Handy with DIY, you could cook one up yourself in 2-3hp.


Thanks for this! Yes on reflection I think the expander is a very good idea
sutekina bipu-on
I started my eurorack system out of a neutron plus some other modules, i never tried a mother 32 but it seems like the entrance path is about the same smile

One of the first things i realized is what i actually liked and wanted to use was nothing like what i thought i'd want, and i ended up selling tons of stuff out of my initial big purchase, so i would say get something to put your euro modules in and power then and then just get a couple things that aren't too fancy.

A VCO, an LFO, some utilities and a mixer is a pretty great starting setup.

The Neutron has two ADSR's and the mother 32 seems to have one AD, so a proper ADSR might be a great thing to add in. I thought a comparator and a voltage controlled switch and especially a mixer did some great things. A sequencer is a great addition too.

Those headphone splitters that look like little plastic stars make great passive mults. I have one buff mult but for my purposes i have usually found passive mults to work just fine smile
Agawell
BenB wrote:

Forgive me, as I can tell that this is a very basic question, but what would the functions of the mixer and matrix mixer be for my setup?

to mix both cv and audio signals

there are basically some things you can never have enough of - vcas, cables, mults and mixers are definitely some of them - mostly because you use them for both audio and cv -

so you've split your lfo signal and you've delayed a copy of it and waveshaped another now you think if you could combine these back to form another modulation shape from - you need a simple utility mixer (the small doepfer one is good and cheap)

ah but what if I wanted to combine these in different ways so that I could get 4 and not 1 extra modulation shape - ah ha a 4 channel matrix mixer

and the same for audio

it's a different approach - lots of people will get fancy expensive modules when they realise they need more modulation - utilities are cheaper and more versataile - it doesn't mean don't buy interesting modulation sources at all - it means that you can combine them to make them even more interesting

BenB wrote:

Agawell wrote:
if you are looking at integrating effects pedals (and modulating them) then check out the alm sbg - although this can be done with an attenuator and veils (due to up to 20db gain) - at least the volume matching for going out to pedals and back


I think at this stage I should probably go for a multi attenuator, as for now the interface between the rack and my pedals would be CV rather than audio. If I’ve understood things correctly? If so maybe the Triplatt or similar would be good.

erm this sounds wrong - do you wan to use your pedals to effect the sounds made by your modular or do you want to be able to control your pedals with the modular?
the attenuator/veils trick is for audio - if you do this you will probably want a second quad vca though - yeah triplatt/shades/2hpTrim lots of modules will do attenuation
if you want to send cv to pedals with cv inputs you'll probably want the alm sbg - as this has this feature
BenB wrote:

Agawell wrote:
get a bigger case - you will need it and it is cheaper to go bigger to start with 6u 104 hp is a good beginner size


I had the opportunity to get a Make Noise 104hp skiff super cheap locally, second hand but more or less unused, so I went for it. Having looked at the prices for bigger cases I decided that it made sense, as I think I’ll be able to re-sell the skiff at the same price I bought it when the time comes, and it gets me up and running

nice, there are always exceptions that prove the rule!!

i find it's always a good idea to keep the outgrown case - you'll grow back into it in no time at all!!!
BenB
Thank you again for taking the time to think about this and give me advice - it is really helping me develop my understanding, and to move this whole thing forward

Agawell wrote:
BenB wrote:

Agawell wrote:
if you are looking at integrating effects pedals (and modulating them) then check out the alm sbg - although this can be done with an attenuator and veils (due to up to 20db gain) - at least the volume matching for going out to pedals and back


I think at this stage I should probably go for a multi attenuator, as for now the interface between the rack and my pedals would be CV rather than audio. If I’ve understood things correctly? If so maybe the Triplatt or similar would be good.

erm this sounds wrong - do you wan to use your pedals to effect the sounds made by your modular or do you want to be able to control your pedals with the modular?
the attenuator/veils trick is for audio - if you do this you will probably want a second quad vca though - yeah triplatt/shades/2hpTrim lots of modules will do attenuation
if you want to send cv to pedals with cv inputs you'll probably want the alm sbg - as this has this feature


At this point I don't need to process any audio coming straight out of my rack to effects pedals - for now I just want to control the pedals with CV. Because the Mother 32 and Mono Lancet will be my voices, and they have standalone line outputs which I’ll be outing to my mixing desk either with the effects chained or on a send. The Mother and Lancet both also have audio ins which will allow me to feed in any audio produced in the rack. I guess ultimately I may want to send audio out to the pedals direct, but not for now.

The difficulty with the ALM SBG is that it’s only one channel and I need multiple, plus I have no need for half of its functionality. The only part I would need is the management of CV outs. But as I understand it, I’ll be able to achieve the same things (ensuring safe CV levels and positive polarity) using an attenuator, and as I’ve worked out, an offset generator

Because an offset generator will let me offset any negative or bipolar CV, and an attenuator will let me reduce the CV to safe levels for the pedals.

This is subject to confirmation from Moog that I can patch CV in directly, perhaps using a ‘Floating Ring Cable’

If all of this is right, having researched I think I’ll go for either Mutable Instruments Blinds or the 4MS Shifting Inverting Signal Mingler. Either of these will also give me a load of other useful functionality, including allowing me to fully integrate and modulate the Mother 32 (thanks again msboude for tipping me off on this!)
BenB
This is where I'm at at this stage:

https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1008321

My next purchase would then be the Disting
Agawell
If you are contacting moof re needing a floating ring cable, are the pedals moogerfoogers??

If so they can probably cope with pretty much anything both audio and cv

I go straight into mine from modular with no attenuation for either cv or audio - probably should a little use for cv... they are designed to work with both synthesizers and guitars and mono patch cables for cv so probably don’t need the floating ring cable and

Generally the worst thing that will happen if you exceed the max input voltage is that the upper (and possibly lower) parts of the will just stay at the threshold..

So you get your nice modulation curve between the max and min voltages and anything else you get either max or min
BenB
Yeh one of them is a Moogerfooger (the 103), but the others are minifoogers. I’m a bit less confident about the minifoogers, and the manuals are very brief, so I'm hoping Moog will get back to me to put my mind at ease.

When you patch CV to your Moogerfooger do you use TRS or TS cables? I understand that using TS will mean I can’t use an expression pedal alongside the CV (because it shorts the circuit that sends voltage to a passive pedal), but the 103 manual is really confusing about the effect of using TRS cables to patch - it’s because of what the manual says that I’m wondering about these floating ring cables…
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