Isms is here

really like the stand alone instrument concept this appears to be designed around.
the more i get into modular the more i am beginning to appreciate the “less is more” approach to performance.
excellent work as always guys, thanks!

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this looks great. the price does seem a bit steep but if you add up all the utilities it doesn’t seem that high at all - i tried calculating how much an equivalent set of modules would cost you and ended up with $1300-1400, using conservative estimates. still, would be great if there was space available for a couple of 1u tiles, or if there was maybe 2-3 different options for the utility row with some variations so that one could pick whatever works best for them. and if there was also a black version…

also, i think 120hp is such a perfect length. i’m hoping that eventually there will be a 6U version of this case, maybe without the utility row.

a couple of questions - i assume sliding nuts? the 1.5A for +5v - will be the switch (grid) power drawn from this? or is it how much is available on top of whatever grid consumes?

Personally I worry about HP creep.

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same here, which is why i like 120hp - anything more becomes overwhelming for me.

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so… there’ll be a complete monome/whimsical raps system?

don’t buy a shiny new case with extra hp then :wink:

a case is just a case - and this is a nice one to be fair. but if you have one already…


for me this “case” (it’s more a system proposition) can be a limited-scope standalone instrument, which is the most attractive way for me to deal with modular. i know other people have different goals of course! but i’m definitely selling my other cases.


I definitely dig the idea, though because some of the modules I eventually want to get are kind of deep (expert sleepers) that puts me in a funky position.

All I really want in the end is a bunch of IFM modules, and some expert sleepers stuff to control them. But having some bread and butter things like what’s in this case is fantastic. Especially since it leaves all the room for “real” modules.

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Depends of how we think of the “real modules” though… one could argue that the nature, essence even, of the modular is the assemblage of complex and unique systems built with the modules facilitating fundamental functions.
From that perspective, a lot of the new crop of digital modules really tamper with the ethos of modularity by cramming complete voices into single module (eg. Atlantis etc.)
I think more options is bette for all of us, and ultimately leading to everyone using a truly unique instrument.

That’s certainly a valid perspective, and gets into a debate programmers have all the time (“unix style” modularity vs. batteries-included frameworks).

I think some of us are attracted to the more dense modules because of financial and space constraints. Those constraints are real, and not necessarily a bad thing. I’m interested in avoiding dogma and celebrating diversity. For some that will mean massive walls of highly specialized 5U modules. For others it will mean a skiff with a couple of synth voices in it. I’m OK with that.

expanding my thought a bit, i think this case would work equally well as a standalone instrument as well as a part of a bigger system. same kinda modular approach, imagine having a 2 row system that can be used by itself, plus isms sitting in front of it but can be moved elsewhere as the mood strikes and used by itself. that’s why i said a similar 6u case would be perfect. there is always a temptation to grow, but after trying many different configurations 120hp would be pretty much the perfect size for me.

i really like this idea of having a bunch of different cases that can be bundled together if needed but also freely moved around, with each one having its own personality.

i just played a game with modulargrid and utility doepfer modules - isms is very good value all things considered.

my own green tolex doepfer diy case is here to stay though. :grinning:


i don’t think the isms design compromises the modular philosophy-- really what it achieves is facilitating a smaller footprint-- introducing some constraints regarding number of modules, but not making this a crippling factor by providing a very dense amount of basic functionality. taking cues from something more like the music easel, less like a synth wall. both are great, of course.


That makes a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately 41mm depth is going to rule out a lot of modules from folks like Bastl, 4ms, Synthesis Technology, etc…

Might be nice to have some depth choices.

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this is a good point that i’ll make sure and highlight. i’d be curious to hear of peoples’ chosen essential modules that don’t fit in 41mm.

Some of the deeper modules I’ve been pondering, and their depths:

  • Bastl Instruments - Little Nerd - 50mm
  • Expert Sleepers - Disting - 53mm
  • 4ms - Rotating Clock Divider - 48mm
  • 4ms - Shuffling Clock Multiplier - 48mm
  • Synthesis Technology - Morphing Terrarium - 47mm
  • Synthesis Technology - Cloud Generator - 47mm
  • Intellijel - Dixie - 61mm
  • Deopfer - A124 - 45mm
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I think the expert sleepers stuff might be the big one for people re depth.

Expert Sleepers module depths seem to hover in the 50-53mm range.

The Eurorack Database allows for sorting by depth.

It looks like about 25% of the modules in that database are deeper than 41mm.

The ES stuff definitely isn’t skiff friendly as I think they are 53mm without cables and such. Bummer really as that’s central to the setup I want to build.

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