Totally feel this. My rack is full of dense, multi-function modules. I feel guilty if I use say, peaks and rampage for slow LFO duties coz they can do so much more, and it’s just my “go to” for those.
What I try to do to combat this feeling and keep things positive and moving forward is come to the modular wanting to explore one new/fancy thing. Maybe it’s a mode of Just Friends I hadn’t tried before, or something I read on a forum, etc. The other modules can do their simple things in support of making my fancy idea a full thing that sounds cool.
(…or, sometimes I tell myself I’m gonna do something fancy like I just described but really just tune everything I have that can oscillate to the same note and record a drone haha)
Yeah that’s kind of what I’ve been doing too. Unpatch everything, create something, record it, unpatch. Which is what I originally planned out my euro to be. Now of course I’m trying to flesh it out into something that is more of a performative instrument so I’m looking to create a few channels of melody and rhythm through it that could evolve over a set, which seems to devour envelopes very quickly haha. I’ll probably suck it up and throw some pipslopes/2ph envs in or something. Just friends is definitely the hardest thing to pin down too haha.
Ah yeah, attempting to move in that direction too (multiple melodic things going on at once).
Went to a local synth meet up and a person did a demo how they use the morphagene and recordings from the rack to keep things moving to different places melodically. It was very cool. I’m considering ER-301 for a similar purpose (as well as a final stereo mixer).
To answer your original question though, I have 2 voices which have a built-in sort of decay to their notes (rings/elements) and a few others that can be more continuous (Just Friends, Warps, soon to be Plaits, though that will have the built-in envelope/lpg). I have a befaco vc adsr which I use in about half of my patches, and a 0hp lpg which I guess could be considered an envelop generator of sorts that i tend to use about half the tIme as well. Very occasionally I use the rampage or peaks for envelopes.
I’ve been googling around a bit, and haven’t totally figured this out… what’s the cheapest way to get started with a case+power? It seems like even if you can find an IKEA Rast, there’s still no way to manage a case for much less than €200 (around €150 if you only get railing for half of it, and plan to buy a larger power brick down the road) . People talk about finding the railing on digikey, but never post part numbers… anyone have some secrets to share? Or is everyone just dropping hella cash?
For just starting out, I think the Tiptop Happy Ending kit still wins out. For 6U+ though, you really have to spend a little money - the cheapest option probably being a TipTop Mantis or trying to make something custom, but even that will cost you at least $200+ for power+rails. It’s definitely a drag when you’re starting out and are having to drop a lot of money on something that doesn’t actually “do” anything, but further down the road when you’ve got $6-9k worth of modules in a system, it’s not a bad idea to buy a nice high-quality case to keep them protected, powered, etc. Plus it’s just a nice feeling to have a really nice case, makes it feel more like a real sturdy, quality instrument.
Synthracks.com is where I started. They supply rails and tiptop power supplies. I then hacked an old shelf to make checks to stand the thing up.
I have since ordered a wooden laser cut case and busboard power from a seller on eBay who was able to add a 1U row to an L shape design he does. This is his listing page. I haven’t received it yet so can’t comment on the case just now. But he was very pleasant to deal with this far.
if you have some tools and are fastidious about measurements, it’s not too hard to DIY a case. i built a carry-on sized 7U x 84hp case using Tip Top rails and stuff found at the hardware store/on amazon. it probably got to be over $200 if i’m being honest and it doesn’t look as good as a monorocket, but i’m proud to have some sweat equity in the case.
Well it’s really nice to be able to reach for some LFOs and I find it really hands on and clear to use after an hour or two. The select output has proven really useful for on the fly changes or quickly testing different modulation styles. The clock sync on the main module goes a long way - I haven’t ended up using the expander resets that much but nice to have (I barely use up all inputs tbh but outs tend to stay busy). It’s may not be the smoothest sounding thing but that hasn’t had me worried. There is a mod for adding anti aliasing to all the outs. It will only do +/-5V out (switchable to +/-10V in). It’s just a good modulation source with a recorder function which lends itself to a nice feeling of painting in CV.
having just built my first rack (https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/598895) I feel like that video was a holy shit! moment of two things: using VCAs to control CV signals and using audio signals as CV signals. It’s obvious when you think about it, but it’s a part of the learning curve. So, yeah, thanks
I know a few people have this sort of issue. I can’t find the quotation, but I remembered watching a film where Tony Rolando (who runs Make Noise) was talking about answering somebody’s question; they asked him what in their rack would function as an X, possibly something simple like a clock, and he said “well, you have a Maths” and they replied
oh, I don’t want to waste Maths on that
at which point he pulls a face/shrug because:
there is no wasting modules.
There are a few reasons the ‘wasting modules’ idea comes around, and they’re all things you need to gently disabuse yourselves of. Reasons include (using Maths as an example):
I feel like I should know more; surely I shouldn’t be using module X for Y? Answer: no, if the module does a thing, and the patch needs a thing, why not use it for that thing?
It seems a waste of HP/$$$ for a simple feature: again, think musically - does the patch need it? Sometimes we wonder if we could be using our expensive/large modules for more but if that’s the role you need fulfilled in the patch, what’s the problem? We also play simple riffs on expensive guitars, plain melodies on expensive violins. Sometimes, Maths is a clock.
It can do so much more!: yes, it can. But not every patch involving Maths needs to be some brilliantly baroque self-patching marvel. Sometimes it’s a pair of envelopes, sometimes it’s LFOs, sometimes it’s a clock. If you’re only ever using it for basic tasks, maybe there’s a reason - you don’t need its features, or you don’t fully grok them - but that’s not to say you shouldn’t ever use it for those things
you don’t need to use everything in every patch: when we start out, we often have very small racks so we need to use all our modules in a patch just to make a sound, or do something musically interesting. As our racks grow, we sometimes keep up that patching habit - just patch until you run out of cables or inputs and outputs. Again - it feels like ‘wasting’ a module if you don’t use it in a patch. But not every patch needs everything; you don’t put every spice in the cupboard in a dish all the time, there’s no variance! But I think because the necessity to patch everything is high in small systems, it’s a harder thing to train ourselves out of in larger ones.
One thing I do find myself doing is using module X for function Y - for instance, using Rampage as a simple LFO - just because it’s what I thought of first, what my hands wanted to do. If I later find I need Rampage for a specific task, and I have something else that could be an LFO, I’ll sometimes swap it out to free it up - sometimes, we reach for things we’re happiest with, just like when I use the same turnaround or riff in a piano solo. But there’s nothing to stop you rearchitecting as you patch - for instance, when I realise I need something to be clock-synced, and I move my cycling modulation from Rampage to Tides to achieve that.
But really, if it sounds like you want, then you have patched it right. If that means you’re using an expensive and wide module to do a simple thing, who cares? You shouldn’t!
Good point, hadn’t really thought about it like this, but I have had to go through this process.
Along the same lines, it sometimes feels like the longer I build patches, the more the experimentation and weirdness of the patching I’m doing has gone down. If I think back to when I did not know as much as I do currently and my system consisted of just an elements, peaks, 2-channel vca/mixer and an sq-1, I was doing some pretty crazy stuff (for example, turning the SQ-1 to Hz/V instead of 1 v/oct and turning Elements into a scary noise machine - https://soundcloud.com/midcentury/eoo).
Yeah, correct - once you knock off 11mm either end for the ears, you get down to something more like 22HP.
Note that your board really must be 4HP or less if you want to mount it sideways: the gap between 1U rails is tight - max PCB height ends up being about 28mm for Pulp 1U, and about 22mm for Intellijel if I remember correctly.