Welcome to the process. Your new rack is a lot. You are going to change what you want many, many times before you get close to filling it up.
This one comes out to just shy of $1500 new, and can be less than that second hand. If you want to get started with weird noises, something along these lines is a good place to start.
IMO, this is a complete synthesizer with plenty of room to grow. Obviously it’s focused on one manufacturer, but my preference is towards cohesiveness.
If it doesn’t trip your trigger, you can use that general theme as a way forward. Two function generators / slew, two oscillators, four VCA / lpg / mixing, and then weird / random.
This is almost the same thing, but Befaco and could mostly be done DIY. Again, a cohesive full synth with plenty of room to grow. (Also good at weird sounds.)
Ah, yes, it is a lot. I guess that wasn’t a goal but an idea of where to go.
The two racks you posted look great. I definitely love Befaco stuff and I appreciate that you pandered to my tastes by not going with the default MN panels. Though I am new to this, I still finds Maths incomprehensible. It certainly does a lot, but most of it I don’t understand. As someone who has 25 years experience with fixed architecture synths, a lot of the utility stuff in modular leaves me boggled. I’ll have to dig in and watch a bunch of videos on Maths and to see what’s up.
Rampage, on the other hand, I know and love from VCV. The depth there I have only barely touched.
I like your sketch of “two function generators / slew, two oscillators, four VCA / lpg / mixing, and then weird / random.” That makes a lot of sense to me. Opinions on how something like Maths (or Rampage) replaces envelope generators and/or LFOs? I’m a fan of envelopes + S&H = sequencer and envelopes + trigger = LFO.
Thanks very much!
I feel like if you are Just Getting Into Eurorack, Maths and Rampage are a good way to understand some of the more unique approaches to synthesis available - yeah they can basically do an LFO & EG but there are seams to be found in the interaction of each channel with each other and with external CV. You should be able to see how Rampage does LFO, EG, and more in VCV (keep is simple!)
I basically have Maths bc one showed up at a good price before Rampage did. I think if you have familiarity with Rampage from VCV might as well play to that strength.
Wogglebug in the MN build will get you there, the Befaco build has the Penta step sequencer.
I think if I were starting from scratch I’d consider the Endorphin.es Grand Terminal, or a pair of Joranalogue Contour 1s.
I currently have Maths; I’ve previously had Rampage, Mini Slew and Function.
I didn’t like Rampage because it couldn’t do fast snappy attacks combined with longer decays. The Make Noise modules have really good knob scaling that just feels right to me, though they are less comprensive in terms of features. Mini Slew had some quirks but the built-in bipolar VCA/attenuverter was handy.
Wow, watched the MN video on it and I love the sound Moddemix makes as a VCA. I’m fine with using it just for that purpose. If there’s an actual VCA that has that little warbly saturation at the low points, then I’d love to hear about it.
@baleen Agreed on the familiarity being a bonus. Thanks!
@Starthief Phew, uh, that Grand Terminal is $$$. Lovely, though. They and Falistri make some beautiful-looking stuff.
Agreed on the familiarity being a bonus. Thanks!
Yeah, it is pricier than I realized, but then it’s also a dual filter/LPG and stereo DSP effects. Hmm.
Falistri’s another good one. Needs a lot from the -12V rail, though.
Oh, it has stereo DSP? You’ll forgive me for not knowing what “cabin pressure processor with 8 selected cabin fever effects” meant. That is a selling point, though it doesn’t look like the fx parameters are cv-controllable. Kind of a mishmash module. Hm.
I typically use the Optomix for audio, but the Moddemix has a certain crunchiness that really works for some patches. Now I’m inspired to use the Moddemix as a VCA in my next patch since it has been awhile.
Another question (thanks for all the advice so far): in VCV, I certainly get a lot of mileage out of Rings and Clouds, but they’re kind of Eurorack clichés, aren’t they? Please send recommendations for similar-but-different modules for resonation and granularization. Thanks.
They’re both excellent modules though.
I have two Rings, and almost always patch into their audio inputs rather than the default pluck/mallet sound that is a big part of the cliche. I avoided Clouds for almost 3 years but recently picked up Supercell, and I feel like I really should have gotten one earlier
Alternatives for Rings would include 2hp Pluck or Intellijel Plonk for something approaching the basic, cliche sound (and other percussive uses). As a resonator there’s Rainmaker, and I suspect Mimeophon gets into that territory, and the Resonestor mode in Clouds Parasite. That said, I sold my Rainmaker and kept my two Rings.
Alternatives for Clouds might include Nebula, Morphagene, Mungo g0, or perhaps the upcoming Instruo Arbhar or Mordax GXN? But honestly I’d recommend Clouds without reservations.
I guess it’s just my contrarian streak that wants me to zig when others zag. But, yeah, if something is popular, it’s definitely doing something right. I’ll probably hold off on them for now but add them later if I miss them. I’ll look into the alternatives you mention, though. Thanks for that.
I honestly didn’t discover the plucking aspect of Rings until later, actually. Patch in audio, get shimmering wall. Lovely enough for me. Didn’t need to trigger it.
Grab a plaits, can’t beat the value, has a karplus strong algo, a bunch of cool noise types, and a ton of great oscillators… The “monsoon” is my favorite version of clouds, put parasites on it…gives you another karplus strong voice that’s pretty unique/tweakable…
•if you really want a Clouds, get a Clouds. it’s a really great module and for being an overrated module a few years ago it’s an underrated module now if you follow that thinking.
•likewise for Rings and I reiterate what I’ve said about it many times - it’s a resonator (or more basically, a filter) and absolutely excels when fed the “right” source audio. If you have good feelings about it from VCV, do yr thing but I would say that it’s not really a “beginner” module, fwiw.
@forrest’s rec of Plaits is worth looking into if you feel like “a beginner!” but don’t stress that feeling, it’s a deep and thorough module with many tricks up it’s sleeve. if you are not familiar with, or want to have, a variety of synthesis options available, Plaits is outstanding.
Ah yes, the post-hype sleeper.
I suspect I will wait until I have the cash for Supercell and just do that. Rings seems likely. Plaits will tempt me a bit, but I kinda feel like I’d rather have something like a wavetable synth. We’ll see if I stumble across a deal.
One of the worst things you can do is buy into the concept of the “eurorack meta”. Please, please, please don’t. Just get what looks appealing to you.
I find the criticism of “rings into clouds” interesting. I understand it on the one hand, but on the other I can’t help but think of that other big music “cliche”: guitar into reverb. You can get an amazing amount of tonal variation out of a guitar, but it still sounds like guitar, and it goes without saying the amount of music that is created with that combination is immense. Rings doesn’t feel different to me, and when you start experimenting with feeding in audio/noise through a vca (or any other combination) then you can get some different stuff going.
Do you like how they sound, so far? Get them, explore them. They’re great modules, and both of them also reward exploration beyond the “cliche” of Rings into Clouds.
There’s no way to do this right or wrong, but avoiding modules you like the sound of because they’re widely used seems like it might not be the best way to direct your explorations.
I started with a pair of Mother-32s and got a fair bit out of them, then added Maths, a Disting, and Ornament and Crime. I think modules like Disting and Ornament and Crime are especially good early on because they are versatile tools that let you explore a lot of options.
If I were starting again today from the beginning, I would probably get an O-Coast, Maths, and a Pressure Points, and put the latter two in a 4ms Pod or a Palette case. Fairly affordable, and you can get a lot out of that. Actually, that and a MIDI keyboard and some reverb sounds like a really good weekend…
crazy thought but hear me out:
Clouds Into Rings
How about Synthesis Tech’s e352 wavetable OSC? I’ve no idea why it doesn’t get more love around here. It is so good, in so many ways, for so many things. It’s wonderfully houseplanty.