Isms is here

I still have just a 104hp 3U skiff (but 12U worth of modules, naturally), and if I had to do it over again I’d definitely go 6U / 50-60hp. while I love the concept of a uni-directional flow, in practice I tend to have a more zigzaggy patch structure, and splitting up the hp would make that easier.


My (only) case is a 3U126HP, and yes, it requires a combination of long and short cables (which have distinct colors modeled on the wavelengths of light, red being longest, violet being shortest).

I would not recommend a long case for the next generation of Isms.

I’ll ask your forbearance as I noodle about the future.


Thinking about a next-generation Isms, I start with a few requirements:

  1. It needs to conform to rules for carry-on luggage.
  2. It needs to have a side- or back-mounted power plug to avoid taking up panel space.
  3. It needs to include basic utilities (such as those offered in the 1U Isms row)
  4. It needs two VCOs, a VCF, a mixing module and a function generator (essentially the Mannequins modules featured in the first Isms).
  5. It needs an interface with external effects (e.g., something along the lines of the discontinued AD ODIO )
  6. It needs two Ansibles, a Walk and a Teletype.
  7. It would benefit from a light
  8. It would benefit from some form of stand
  9. It would benefit from a MIDI interface
  10. It would benefit from the ability to close the case in a patched state.

Given that the Mannequins + Monome HP count as proposed above is (10+10+10+8+14 + 6+6+4+18)=86HP,
And given that the Isms v1 utility row is 120HP,

My proposal would be for a 8U60HP case configured 1U+3U+3U+1U,
Monome modules on the bottom row and Mannequins on the top,
which would leave 34HP for additional modules/capabilities.



I prefer panoramic patching, it helps to see everything laid out in front of me from left to right. I’ve got a bunch of long cables, so it really doesn’t bother me.

1 Like

I’ve always veered towards vertical stacking of shorter widths rather than having longer ones horizontally.

It depends on individual patching style perhaps to an extent. Module design certainly plays a part. Wiard 300 or MOTM modules with their grid of jacks at the bottom always seem to want to be horizontal. Others, such as Buchla 200e for example, with knobs and jacks placed dependent on each individual module’s functions I think lend themselves better to vertical.

i just prefer cases/setups that are wider horizontally, for some reason. so one row of 120hp for me is preferable to two rows of 60hp (although the double 60hp moog case set up looks pretty sweet). a couple of points to consider - isms includes a 3 channel bus that reduces the need for longer cables somewhat, and isms form factor works really well when you have a grid 128 and a keyboard for teletype sitting in front of it.

also thinking of getting a detroit underground skiff which is 120hp and 40mm deep as well - this might be a good way to add a row to isms:

speaking of ideal isms, it’d be awesome if it included a powered i2c bus with individual connectors. and a switch for grid/arc that could somehow be connected to trilogy/ansible modules from the back…


Things I miss on my original Isms:

  1. no individual Headphone input, i.e. I can’t pre-listen to stuff

  2. other positions than extreme hard left and hard right panning for channels 1 & 3 (this was especially annoying when listening via headphone)

  3. an attenuator that is equally well suited for adjusting vibrato and wild FM (the ones used in Isms – and in a lot of other attenuator/attenuverter modules – require wasting a second attenuator in series if you want more than say 10 degree of turn to dial in a vibrato amount)

  4. one more bus.

  5. multiples. stackables are fine, but I find they often get in the way. would have been great if the busses had multiples

  6. a stereo return, i.e. give the user a choice whether he wants to use a mono spring or an external stereo effect

  7. a send in the mixer


These are outstanding ideas - real-world experience with Ismsv1 should result in some powerful practical improvements for v2, especially for live performance applications I think/hope.


I’m using the Moog 104hp case, and 48mm is not very deep. There are a whole load of great modules out there that are just too deep for my skiff. Shame, really. I guess I’d like to see a standard set. Some of the bigger companies should get together and say “Right - maximum depth for a standard eurorack module should be X”

Is this something that happens? I get the impression that it isn’t.

Maximum depth for Eurorack modules is 80mm. Done :slight_smile:


I had a Move 104 and it worked perfect for me. That plus a mini isms would be ideal. I did have some crazy patching going on, but I had plenty of cables and it was never an issue. But last year I decided to give up my cushy office job to move to California and pursue a career as an audio engineer/producer so I had to sell my modular rig to fund the move/change in career :frowning: Once I’m making decent money again I plan on diving back in to the modular world and get v2. Still have my Voyager and Minilogue though, they are holding me over for now. Also Reaktor Blocks has been fun, though not as satisfying as hands on modular.

1 Like

Another suggestion, especially if you are going for some portability with 60hp. Please include a lid. Doesn’t even matter what it looks like or if it can patch closed, but please, I’m begging for a lid!



Since my cases end up having ADAT and power and USB cables permanently attached, I can’t really close the lid my case came with, so I end up draping dust covers over everything. Kinda hacky. Would be nice if there was a way to close the lid while patched, and route “permanent” connections out of some kind of port. Doesn’t have to be isms, maybe I’m just thinking out loud about a DIY case in my future…


I got the DU case soon after it came out. I love it aesthetically and it fits perfectly in a Moog Sub Phatty gig bag, so I carry it around pretty easily. I will say there’s one minor disappointment in that one of the metal ends got bent in a little in shipping and I lost half an HP, but it’s not a deal killer. Also worth keeping in mind is having a single-board module over the power on the left-hand side. I enjoy how shallow it lays though and it makes it easy to stand up.

1 Like

Any update on an isms 2.0? I find myself in need!


Seconded! 20 characters


I am also I need of a new case and kinda been holding out a while in the hope the new isms would be released.

1 Like

Forgive me if this is a dumb question or belongs somewhere else, but @tehn / @Galapagoose: is any of the -isms project open source?

The various ideas I have had to put together a utility row for a compact DIY case I’m working on (6Ux64hp + utility row) would be basically a stripped down version of the -isms row, and so I thought I’d see if any of that was shared before I start cobbling things together. In particular, I’m intrigued by the multimode gate and learning from how -isms deals with power distribution, since it seems like the most graceful solution I’ve seen in that regard.

At this point, my idea would be to adapt -isms or similar elements into a smaller format that would be compatible with a low-profile, low-cost DIY case that would be adapted from Nonlinear Circuits DIY laser case designs. It’d be useful to myself, and if mine were successful, I think also to others who are interested in a somewhat ambitious DIY project.

Thanks in advance! Even just tips on the power and gate sections would be helpful, as I’ve researched a bit and haven’t come across any designs for either of those elements that seem as refined :pray:

1 Like

The files are a bit of a mess & we haven’t spoken about open-source status. Too many other things on the plate right now.

Regarding the Gate sections they’re just Buchla 292 lowpass gates, in VCA and ‘both’ modes. The ‘LPD’ mode runs the signal through a sinewave shaper much like that in the Thomas Henry VCO-1. Switching is done by CD4053 & we used VTL5C3/2 vactrols. Nothing particularly fancy.

Power distro is done on a 2nd pcb vertically underneath the utility pcb. It uses a star ground pattern so all the headers are somewhat isolated from one another. We just used off-the-shelf converter ‘modules’ (switch mode) that only need a few passives as we realized at some point neither of us wanted to spend 30 more hours looking at voltage regulator datasheets. I think we got to a good place with the PSU design, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a gold-standard. It is sufficient & quiet.

Maybe this helps?


@Galapagoose this is super helpful! If you ever decide to share files that’d be awesome, but this already covers the main questions I had. Sounds simple and straightforward, which is what I was hoping for. Thanks!