Making stand alone modular instruments


What case are you using? I’ve been struggling to find a 6u ~50hp case that doesn’t look terrible.


It’s the Grau Pocket Case. They just upgraded it so it now has built-in power:


Thanks! But I can’t find it anywhere on that link.


I think it was announced at superbooth, they posted this on their Instagram:


Just saw this post on Instagram -

And thought I’d eventually like to reach sonewhere similar with my setup, with a larger playable melodic instrument based around rings and a capacitive keyboard, and a smaller more abstract drone/texture instrument using pressure points and I-don’t-know-what-yet… really like the idea of using the two different controllers pared with specific modules to work to their strengths!


Not sure where this belongs exactly, since it overlaps with discussions on performing live and other topics about building modular instruments (including small ones and less small ones).

Befaco just posted on YT a couple videos of an “Advanced Patching Workshop” (Part 1/3 & Part 2/3) held with HRTL from Bastl. Haven’t made my way through them all, but they are pretty detailed in terms of module selection, patching techniques, the modular as an instrument, etc etc. Really fascinating!

(and for lines people HRTL’s case includes a Just Friends and a Teletype).

[edit: didn’t see a thread on patching techniques, but maybe something to think about]


I’m very into this idea


The core function of the system I use has always been the granular manipulation of samples. That’s the kind of sound I really like to hear and make - all those cool, complex textures. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, just that it’s definitely what I wanted to do. Exploring the how is the modular adventure/rabbit hole.

It started out as a Clouds and an LFO. Additions or changes have nearly always taken the form of considering what they would contribute to my granular goal. Since this is mostly all about external audio and samples, I have practically no interest in VCOs, programming or sequencing or such stuff. My interests are in continuous, gradual textural changes (Reflex LiveLoop, g0, Pitchshaper, Sloths), rhythms (Rampage, Two Princess) and FX (329 Phase/Flange, 2hp Verb). So after several years, the system still has the same overall orientation (even though Clouds is long gone). It’s a sample player and rhythmic texture synthesiser! It can output several independent voices at once, but I still rely on a DAW to round off the sound and mix with other stuff.

Although it’s sometimes been difficult, my problem mainly hasn’t been deciding what functionality and interactions to set up. It’s been moderating impulse purchases and budgets. :frowning:

Just noticed I’m replying to a post 22 days old. My bad. I just felt the need to relax and post something somewhere.


Working towards this:

with these…

…and these:

Edit: Meris pedals partly inspired by @jlmitch5 modular system and because they’re just so damn good. :slight_smile:


Why two Natural Gates? It seems like you don’t have enough sound sources to justify four channels of LPGs. I’d recommend losing one NG in favor of a VCA (also consider the impossibility of sourcing two NG currently…).


Sing along with me:

:musical_note: You Can Never Have Enough VCAs :musical_note:


Seconded. I think some newer people get confused by thinking that LPG’s and VCA’s are the exact same thing.


Four LPG channels seems reasonable to me.
There are two outputs on both Rings and Plaits I think, plus that’s not even accounting for the Morphagene.
Also, it’s nice to run one LPG into another sometimes which inevitably uses up channels a bit quickly!


I have one case that i use with a band so that one has become very focused and becomes more and more planed out with what it needs to do. My other case is kind of a miss mosh on purpose, even tho maybe to much of a miss mosh, but i patch it and pull the chords o it almost every time i use it. I am into having a smaller case that i can use existing and new modules to build an instrument but its very hard to decide on what direction.


4 LPGs is fine, but a system with that many modulation sources is really calling out for regular VCAs. It’s unfortunate that there are any 1U ones


In over 7 years of owning a modular synth, I’ve never had something called a “VCA”. Neither has just about any Buchla owner …


20 characters of “my mistake then”


Not long ago, I had accumulated 18u worth of modules (since 2014). Downsizing to this 6u “instrument” has (so far as it’s not finished yet) made the creative process more focused and enjoyable. As for 2 NG (rather than VCAs)…I’ve always loved the lpg sound (especially the NG). With the NG I have, I also find that I can still manage slow, sustained notes with the proper envelopes and the control input. Plus, the quadratts offer attenuation of all the modulation sources which works for me. Lately, my workflow has been creating short phrases, drones, etc., which I mangle with the Morphagene and record into a Digitakt (used almost like a mixer/arranger).


Sorry for being pedantic but, a 292e in gate mode is a vca, and the 256e can be used as one as well…


well if you want to be just ridiculously pedantic, both of those are digital and in neither case is there actually an amplifier component directly controlled by input voltage.

(as for comfiguring an opamp as a VCA in the component sense, these are all over the place in things that aren’t “VCA modules.”)

anyways don didn’t like to use component names for musical functions, so he called 291 a dynamics processor. and 256 a voltage processor. (tendency to which John refers, I imagine)

in the interest of actually being informative to newcomers - don’t expect to use 256e as a vca module, it won’t work.

w/e (sorry)