at one point i wanted to build a “universal” system. so basically, trying to come up with a system that would have all the building blocks and have modules that would cover every or almost every function. i think it’s a totally valid approach and works for some people, but it didn’t work for me. i found that i would very rarely use some modules and they would end up getting swapped at some point.
also this made me underutilize a lot of modules as i would just use the most basic functions. it’s interesting, you’d think with a smaller system it’s the constraints that are inspiring, but i find sometimes by putting 2 modules together you get the synergy that would just get lost in a bigger system. so that’s one driving force for having smaller cases, putting a set of modules together to release that synergy. and it can help find an interesting goal for a small standalone system. say, what if i put together er-301, koma filed kit and teletype, for instance? how about recording household sounds and making an album with just that set of modules?
and a smaller case means you can rearrange it often. at one point you realize you’ll never have it complete, there is always something new that will work better, or a new module you want to try. so why not embrace it and make it easy? i did the same thing for my studio, after rearranging 3 patchbays one time too many (not fun) i changed it with the main goal being able to rearrange it easier.
a side note - i find cases to often be a source of inspiration for such smaller systems. i love seeing all the different DIY cases people make out of cigar boxes, old suitcases etc.