The Modular Thread

edited October 2014 in Other Gear
Since there are several people with eurorack modulars (and possibly other formats) around here, and those interested such things, I figured we should have a thread to talk about this sort of stuff outside the general GAS thread.

Tonight I plan to get an OP-1 sequencer running into the Oplab, and then pipe that into my Tides and try and sync up the MicroBrute's sequencer with either the Gate out, or just use USB for simplicity's sake.

Really considering taking a band saw to my RAST, it's so damned deep it takes up a lot of valuable real estate on my table. Slice that bitch off just behind the middle bolts that hold it together, then I could maybe convert the back part to a 6U skiff or something vs wasting it. Turning the RAST into a eurorack case has bitten me with the DIY bug it seems...


  • Modular heads, did you see that Audio Damage's Sequencer 1 is doing a soft launch today? Looks like it takes up a fair bit of real estate, but I bet it's a powerful, Elektron-inspired sequencer!
  • I like the idea of this. I would probably consider getting one if I was able to start a modular system right now. It seems like an accessible option I suppose. I really love the look of the Intellijel Metropolis too.

    Man, I can't stop thinking about getting a modular, I just don't have the funds at the moment as my car just died. I wish I lived in a city with decent public transport options haha.

    My dream is to have a Rob Hordijk system...
  • Maybe I can aim for doing it in the new year. For the while my Nord Modular will need to satisfy
  • I'm really glad you set this thread up @KrisM . When the discussion was on the GAS thread I felt like the modular talk kept getting interrupted with some GAS talk, lol.
  • no worries @Tribrix.

    Having the Oplab, Op-1, Zillion, and MicroBrute, it really frees up my rack for things other than sequencers for the time being. Patchblocks give me the option to get some FM stuff going with my Tides, or I can feed a sequence from the OP-1 (Hold ftw, thank you TE!) into the FM input for some quirky shit. I need to start recording stuff into the OP-1 or my Tascam (or both). Since my modular voice is mono, it doesn't really matter that the OP-1 sums to mono on the input :D

    I did see it @yoof, and wanted to buy one. 30hp iirc, it's definitely hefty, and @ $700 a pricey module (but if you think about it, you're basically getting half an A4, so not too bad price-wise). Still having trouble fitting it into my plans, though, since I have so much sequencing going already. Maybe if I go beyond 6U or something. Sucked about the faceplate damage, I hope they at least had insurance to cover the losses since Audio Damage basically sold their asses to get this thing to the light of day.

    Chris Randall did mention there are plans for an Axon module, that would be amazing and I'd definitely find room for one or two of those.

    I sent a PM to someone about a Make Noise DPO they are/were selling, for a really nice price but haven't heard back and the member hasn't been to the site since October 1st. Hopefully they can find a moment to let me know if they still have it, if not, well, life happens. I'm being surprisingly patient (for me) about this modular thing, I don't feel like I want to rush much at all.

    Erthenvar doesn't know if they'll be doing another run of 3U+3U brackets, so I'll have to buy single 3U brackets and then measure carefully so I line them up right in my RAST so I can cram 94hp into it vs the 84hp it'll do with 19" rack rails and tiptop Z-Ears/Rails.

    Adding a row of 1U Tiles is going to basically cost as much as adding a full 3U row. A little sad-faced at that, but the utility modules themselves are pretty cheap and I don't take up space in the 3U rows :)

    The RAST/Erthenvar/Synthrotek DIY combo is still cheaper than any 7U case on the market. But the real savings appear if I build a second RAST, because that beastly Synthrotek will power it, too, saving me the cost of another power supply :D Just install a distribution board in the case and wire power to it from the first one.
  • i have a synthrotek 7u case and really recommend it for a portable and decent size modular setup plus the case is really sturdy.

    heres my modular drum setup with op 1

  • Sweet, was going to start this thread, but felt silly as I have no modular and only questions. Been doing lots of research, and hope to one day build a modular. I'll be lurking and maybe ask some noob questions here and there. Good thread!
  • My partner in Duotron has two EML 101 vintage synths. Pretty fun. I also have a pal who builds MFOS modular boxes--those are pretty cheap intros to modulars: noise toaster, weird sound generator. Both sound wicked thru the OP1.
  • edited October 2014
    Got a Frames and Disting heading my way. Keep getting fucked out of complex oscillator sales, though -_-

    I think I'm going to wait until I move to order case hardware and Tiles from Erthenvar. Under two weeks, now, and I need to pack instead of modding my RAST anyway lol...
  • Can´t believe I didn´t see this thread until now! Good thinking @KrisM!

    So I went a head and bought the Sequencer 1 the other day, I think it will arrive by the end of this week (as I´m in Norway). I kinda felt crazy when I finally pressed the "complete order" button as $700 is a lot of money in one go.. buuuuuuuut when I have this in my setup I am good sequencer wise for a long while! I also have to more envelope generator incoming (Anvilope from Animodule, loooove Animodule!) so now I really just need another filter and then I actually have 4 complete voices (well I´d need 2 more filters for 4 complete voices ermmm..) and 4 ways of sequencing those 4 voices :D (2 sequencers from Tanzbär, René and Sequencer 1)

    @pathein I see you´ve got Grids. How do you use it? I am thinking about selling mine as I prefer using my Tanzbär for drums and I´ve only got the Mutant HiHats to sequence for now. Should I hang on to it? The plan is to get MI Peaks and use it for snare and kick together with the mutant Hi hats.
  • So i'm feeling pretty modular small right now as i google these beasts that you guys are into!
  • @slomen, the grid was my first sequencer in the case. It was pretty fun as a random cv-able trigger sequencer, but iam finding lesser use having the trigger riot. I might swap out the grid for some other modules down the road.
  • that first 84hp/3U went pretty quick... >.>

    Now I need to either score some more Z-Rails/Ears, or hit up Erthenvar for a complete makeover of my RAST and sell off my existing Z-Ears/Rails (and gain 10hp per row, too).
  • I just downloaded "I Dream of Wires" I'm really hoping I don't end up spending more money and posting in here. Please don't lurke me.
  • edited October 2014
    Buying used is often frustrating. People at MW are often lazy, don't update their thread titles so you open it and see what you want is already sold, or you PM them and they just never respond and eventually post that they sold it (I guess they just hope you get the memo?).

    And there are people that think way too highly of their module(s), want you to pay shipping on top, and paypal, and then the price is like $20-30 less than a brand new one at that point -_- And people buy it, which just makes it worse lol.

    Ah just having a whinge.

    There are some good people, too, of course, it's not all doom and gloom. Sometimes you can get really killer deals on modules. When I bought my Rubicon, the seller tossed in a few patch cables :)
  • Cool thread! -- I really DON'T want to get a crazy modular setup (I just don't gel really well with classic analog synth patch tweaking) ..

    However, I've always ALWAYS wanted a monome and there are now some wicked modules for eurorack that have unleashed monome from a PC and set it free into the hardware synth/drum machine playground.

    These things are SO COOL and will probably push a lot of peeps over the edge into modular land (lookin at you VF):



    The prob for me is that they have CV outs and most of my gear is straight midi. I've done a bunch of research on CV->Midi converters and this is what I came up with -> Doepfer A192, Moon Modular 552, Analogue Systems RS-300.

    I'm trying to find some user feedback on these CV->MIDI converters, here is what I've found:

    About the Doepfer A192, a user writes ($175):

    - "1. It only takes positive voltages, I use a A-129-3 (I think it's the 3) to offset and attenuate the voltage.

    - 2. MIDI, so works best with LFOs, but then you gotta worry about zippering. I've been meaning to try it out through Ableton (to map the 192 inputs to my Eclipse), and theoretically it should work fine since Ableton is pretty sweet at routing signals. We'll see if any aliasing is apparent with LFOs..

    - 3. It's very basic, especially in comparison to the ASys CV2MIDI module, but also much cheaper. If you don't need note/gate information, the A-192 might be good enough."

    My knowledge of CV is quite limited. Adjusting the pitch and note on/off seems to be the minimum requirement to be able to work with the monome WW/MP modules. So the Doepfer A192 does not seem like the best fit. (is that really true, how can it not do pitch & note on/off??)


    I also was looking into the Moon Modular 552.  ($360)

    In this video we see it able to convert CV note on/off , pitch, as well as noise easily to a midi synth. The interface looks extremely straight forward with specific controls for midi channel and message output right on the front of the module:

    That is really awesome, and is exactly what I would need. Except that it is not eurorack like the WW/MP and combining the different systems is another ball of yarn to unravel.


    Then the Analogue Systems RS-300 cv to midi ($660)

    With calibration, voltage range options etc. This looks like it can definitely handle the task. However its also the most exspensive of the 3 devices.


    Price wise for a monome ,WW, MP, with a CV/MIDI converter, it comes in at $1515 to $2000. Its no joke, that's for sure.

    - Any thoughts on the A192 and the user comments stated at the top of this post? Can a A192 module properly pass the sequence information (pitched notes and triggers to envelopes) from WW/MP to a midi synth?

    - Is there any reason to try and get a MoonModular 552 working? or is combing the systems creating extra problems/cost that defeats the purpose?

    - Despite the cost, Is the AS RS-300 really the only sure fire way to enjoy a monome/WW/MP setup without using a computer?

    I asked this stuff over on the monome forums, but its not getting much interest there.
    Maybe you guys can shed some light on things?

  • edited November 2014
    I want to like the Monome, but after using my Launchpad Mini like one, and watching a bunch of videos, I just can't get into the flow. Maybe Meadowphysics would be different, I dunno.

    Have you looked into the Aleph? Yes it's $1400 (they're supposed to be doing a second run of them), but it's stand alone and runs some of the Monome programs.

    I haven't tested my Oplab's CV Ins to see how good it is at CV to MIDI. Maybe I should do that, just out of curiosity.

    I don't know much about CV to MIDI, though. Have you looked around or asked on Muffwiggler's?
  • I absolutely love the WW and MP with my modular! Really powerful impact on how the entire system operates. I am using both modules with a single 128 grid, and am very happy with the results.

  • Oplab is really spotty in terms of CV implementation/integration. Sometimes it works really well, and sometimes it just refuses to do again something it did before.
    Just for the record: I was able to send CV from my modular into Oplab, and out as MIDI into laptop, or wherever, successfully. That seemed to work well
  • I also have the A-192-1 which is not necessary if you have Oplab. My experience with that Doepfer unit was that it works fine if/when it does not receive too much information too fast. Otherwise it chokes, slows down and sometimes hangs up entirely if I send a few streams of rapid CV changes at it.... I am not sur what the performance of thenewer A-192-2 is like, never had a chance to try it.
  • @KrisM thanks! The Aleph is definitely something I want to stay away from. As cool as it is, its too "blackbox" and computery for me. :)
    @piotr I have seen your monome in a few gear posts and was secretly hoping you would post here about your experience. Thank you!!

    Regarding the op lab -- I have been very underwhelmed by it. Although it has very few options, its somehow clunky and confusing to use. I don't quite understand how it works or rather how to debug it, so I'm never quite sure if its the problem or I am the problem.  

    You modular is amazing looking!! ...and totally insane at the same time. :) I love that about modular systems, but I know I would be completely lost with them. :) This is a nightmare to me. hahaha

    Thanks for the info about the Doepfer unit. I' think the 192-2 still has similar performance issues as the 192-1, although they seem to have drastically toned down the controllable channels. The A-192-2 manual says:

    The data generated by the module are transmitted simultaneously to Midi Out and USB. Two or more A-192-2 modules can be daisy-chained via Midi Out - Midi In. Incoming Midi data is merged to the Midi output - provided that the incoming data volume is not too high (because of the limited Midi Input buffer of the module). A Midi keyboard or a second A-192-2 are no problem but please do not try to merge a fully loaded 16 channel sequencer track.

    So there is definitely still a limitation on the module. But with less channels available, I would assume its harder to max it out with data.

    Another issue is Clock sync. Since the WW/MP modules have CV in/out for clock sync, I would have to send a timed pulse to them from one of my synths that would steal away a track/voice. Also, I don't see anyway to send transpose messages (start/stop), so I would probably have to always to a timed press of play on the MIDI and CV sides of the setup to sync them.

    The integration of the WW/MP modules with a MIDI setup is definitely over complicated. However it does seem possible with a little work and some sacrifice of the overall setup.

    @piotr, have you tried syncing your op1 to play its recorded tracks, and also sequencing it, all via the modular side with WW/MP?

  • @Polyoptics Your description of what the Oplab feels like matches mine exactly! I am mainly holding on to the hope that there will be a major overhaul of it and soon!

    As to sync I waited for weeks for TE to respond to my inquiry about it, and finally I did receive a note that said that the only way to sync OP-1 to external source is throu the MIDI sync. So, I am thinking that I might get this guy:

    and hopefully this will provide the sync signal that Oplab and Op-1 can inderstand... I actually sent TE a note asking their confirmation that this module would provide the modular to Oplab sync, but have not heard back yet. It does bug me though that I need yet another conversion gizmo to do something as basic as sync, while Oplab was supposed to provide this "make everything talk to everything" functionality.

  • These things are SO COOL and will probably push a lot of peeps over the edge into modular land (lookin at you VF):

  • These things are SO COOL and will probably push a lot of peeps over the edge into modular land (lookin at you VF):
    Looks so dope, saw those vids a while back and was on modular grid GASing dream modulars for a few days. 
  • @piotr Sweet that looks like a good module for sync! -- I'd love to see some videos of you messing around with WW/MP and your crazy modular at some point. Def be sure to post here!

    @Virtual_Flannel ; -- if only it wasn't so crazy expensive right?! I suppose if you build it up over time its not so bad, but I am a sucker for instant gratification!

  • Just for the record, the DSG module I linked to above does not allow to sync Op-1 to external sources as Oplab does not recognize DIN SYNC standard. I got the confirmation from TE that OpLab only recognizes incoming MIDI sync.
  • I see, thanks @piotr

    Then I suppose something like this would do the trick for me, since I want to control the master clock from my MIDI gear:

    Are you setting the master clock from your modular?
  • Synthtopia A life in Waves (let's contribute) > Suzanne Ciani > Ciani : "I'm in love with my Buchla" > what the bell is this thing ? > This and that > Absolutely crazy sounds vs. 15k€

    = I must NEVER put a finger in this modular fashion !

  • = I must NEVER put a finger in this modular fashion !

    Even used Eurorack can hurt your bank account. Something the size of an IKEA RAST end table (6U, ie two rows of 3U Eurorack at 84hp wide) can easily cost a few grand depending on module selection.

    Alternatively, if you're handy with a soldering iron, a Paia 9700S (Frac Rack format) will run you about $560 for one row. Iirc mostly just jack soldering these days as the boards are SMD iirc.
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