not a problem, no, i thought hard about the size and went for a compromise, ever so slightly on the restrictive side, since i wouldn’t want it to become a money-sink.
however i am sensitive to some lost freedom, and also it is a time-sink - at least for me, endlessly reconfiguring on modulargrid. that said, endless fun so not regretting the slightest bit. but… “need more hp” : ]
This bring up a question I’ve been wondering about: other than the simple convenience of having only one case to move around, is there a significant advantage to having all your gear in one large-ish case versus a few smaller cases? I’m personally interested in have a few small-ish cases as I get started, start with one and turn it into an interesting effects/processing-heavy kit, another might be sound generators and VCAs/LPGs, another might be some other category, or a particular mix of stuff that seems to go well together, but nothing prevents me from seeing all of these cases as a collective instrument, either.
And for those of us who don’t have large table surfaces for the modular stuff, where more-but-narrower racks might fit better, and where portability becomes more a useful consideration, is there something lost by beginning a modular setup with this idea in mind?
I don’t own a single modular thing yet, but it’s definitely on the radar, and that’s how I was thinking of getting started, so it’s not just a theoretical question for me!
I have heard some people express that interconnecting cases can introduce ground loop and other sources of noise (potentially). That being said, people do it all the time.
IKEA rast and some rails. Then spend a decent Chunk on a psu.
I’ve got two Doepfer Low cost cases - the LC9 and the LCB, and I’ve never had a problem with them. They are both running the PSU2 (the earlier power supply) as well. I chuck modules into them without a care in the world.
I’ve also got a uZeus and a Mantis; they work fine as well. If you’ve already got a 19’ rack (I’ve one built into my desk) then that’s a decent option.
Agree with the other poster: you will find it hard to avoid buying other modules (I did, clearly) so you might be better off going 84hp first.
I think it is worth considering your own inclinations/preferences, and how they weigh in to how you want to play your synth. Ergonomics can make a big difference for some people, where some seem to not care. I personally wouldn’t want to use a modular synth that was oriented as a set of vertical 19" racks, but that is a pretty common arrangement (especially for large setups). I had an IKEA Rast for some 19" rack gear, but I personally wouldn’t want to use it for a modular.
I don’t own one, but I think the Intellijel 7U and 4U cases (and -isms, for that matter) are very appealing because I feel they encourage the idea of creating “instruments”, sets of modules that are cohesive at least in the sense that they are in a case that is a reasonable size and can be used on a lap or small table, either by themselves or combined with other things. My current DIY case isn’t even that large in hp terms, but it is physically quite thick and clunky feeling, which changes how I interact with it physically. For me, 3U/4U x 42hp would be too small unless as second case, but more than ~9U x 104hp would feel cumbersome.
The biggest down sides to multiple cases are having more power supplies, and having a lot of connection over longer distances. It also means if you have to transport your system you have to disconnect the cases from each other, potentially making it harder to re-patch.
IMO the biggest disadvantage is cost, especially for power supplies.
If you go with a power supply that uses flying bus cables, you could just pop out one supply and insert it into the case you want to use. Pretty easy. Limitation is you couldn’t use them (cases) all together at any point… unless you rigged a slot or hole in your cases (leave some open hp) to daisy chain the bus cables to power multiple cases
not that I’m trying to advert what I have on the FS page or anything
Cool, very good food for thought here. The Frap Plus series was very interesting to me for their expansion idea, although it doesn’t solve the power supply question gracefully - that said a 48hp power supply will always make a nice lunchbox PSU later on.
Definitely supporting the 42hp Pulp Logic case as well. Just got one for a focused approach around a Morphagene. Note that they are offering a beefed up power supply for this case now, so no problem with a couple of digital modules.
Yeah, it looks super functional to me and it’s priced right. Makes me want to downsize!
I’m kind of in a similar situation. I would like to move away from one monolithic case to 2 smaller ones that work more like a cohesive instrument, instead of being a collection of all sorts of things (will have to post some ideas and thoughts in the Making stand alone modular instruments thread soon). But one of the big questions I’m facing is indeed: what happens if I connect them together?
I think the grounding issues with more than one case are mostly there if the PSU does not connect the internal power distribution to protective earth (like many hybrid ones that use meanwell bricks, but that’s an easy fix if you happen to experience problems, since these can be replaced by a brick that does connect) and if the impedance of the ground plane is too high (as in flying busboards or standard busboards with very light ground planes).
But in my experience you can still get away with it in many situations. The most critical case (pun not intended) is probably when you have a high amplification involved somewhere, like if you need to take a low level signal (guitar, mic) into the modular, because the noise will be amplified together with the rest, at least that’s where we had most issues.
This said, there might be another way. Maybe you don’t have to interconnect the modulars to start with. Maybe treating them as individual, independent instruments is also a way? I’m trying to figure out what the pros and cons of this are, for now the main advantage I see is that it’s easier to pack everything up and take the instrument to rehearsal/jam/live performance. If you have two cases and your patches rely heavily on interconnections you have to dismantle/recreate half of the patch each time.
This is just anecdotal and maynbe irrelevant, but I’ve connected my modular with a non-grounding PSU brick to a Korg Volca Beats and Arturia MicroBrute (both also on non-grounding PSUs) and haven’t had any issues.
Yeah I’ve done that as well without issues (I have a smaller case that uses the same old Meanwell brick that is known to cause problems with grounding, but it’s all packed up atm).
No idea why sometimes you get all sorts of problems and sometimes not. I guess it’s the nature of such a complex system. Is it a specific module? Is it the busboards? Is it the lack of grounding? Once you have a problem it’s really hard to figure out where it comes from, at least for me.
FWIW we connect multi-case systems at Intellijel HQ all the time, and often play them really loudly through studio monitors, never had any kind of problems. Having good grounding at your power source is very important though. When we went to Superbooth last year initially we tried to use an adapter from north american to european power plugs but had all sorts of funny little things coming up. Going out to the store and buying some proper IEC cables to connect to the power bricks cleared it right up.
I’ve also played venues where I had funny noises in my system, usually when it’s been connected to the same power as someone else’s or some other equipment that was probably putting out a ton of noise. I’ll probably invest in my own power conditioner next time I go to play a Eurorack show.
if you decide to go bigger, there’s a guy in the chicago burbs selling a portable powered 6u 120HP Monorocket case for what appears to be a huge deal - he’s asking $475, those cases are $800 new and I’ve seen them for >$600 used. i thought of this thread when i saw the listing the other day. it’s not currently listed (i think it timed out), but he’s been listing it on and off for months. he’s also selling a few other things that i’ve been wanting but decided weren’t worth the drive - if you’re down to pay for the case and shipping I could send it to you?
Regarding power, I’ve used uZeus, Make Noise Mini-PWR, or my current Intellijel TPS30 MAX supplies.
Input DC power has come from transformer-based wall warts, a Mean Well switcher, and a Li-ion battery via DC-DC switcher.
AC power has been everything imaginable: half-broken outlets in bars, generator power in the mountains at festivals, measured 94VAC from farm-like environment wiring, you name it.
I’ve had zero issues with power, but then I don’t expect a random pile of circuits based on garden variety opamps to act like a Lavry D/A converter, either. YMMV.
Is the make noise skiff a solid purchase? It seems the Intellijel cases sound like the ones to go for? I’m definitely into the idea of building a focussed instrument not a wormhole of possibilities…I have a laptop for that.