Making stand alone modular instruments

how are you getting on w very little modulation? techniques or tips?

The case is so small you can do most things by hand. Other than that, the VC Transitions is excellent for macro control of many parameters, and it works excellently with the CV Out from the Morphagene. I enjoy amplitude as a parameter modulation, it is very natural, so plugging that to modulate a bunch of things works for me more than an LFO would.

4 Likes

That VC transitions looks very interesting

1 Like

Just watched the divkid demo that ADDAC 306 VC Transitions is really nice! It makes all the little wheels in my head start spinning. Great Find!

3 Likes

Here’s another system as a single instrument, focused on microrhythm. Think of it as laboratory drum machine!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CK02jX2hxjH/?igshid=15iyeanfne4yi

14 Likes

It took a few months, but the ciani patch has returned. Added a 64 grid to my teletype scene using @scanner_darkly 's module and haiku which he realized for me (thank u :sob:). Changed out 2nd Mangrove for a Telharmonic which I’m still wrapping my head around but is gorgeous. There’s also a Telexn in there I’m using as a fixed matrix mixer, right now I have it going to two separate w/2 delays. The W/2s i’m still figuring out exactly how they’ll fit in, that’s the main part of this patch that is still being tweaked. Otherwise the patch is quite similar to the previous iteration so I wont go into it too much more again.

So far, this is getting me closer to what I wanted, which is to create brain room for sequencing, structure, and song-making. Using the grid, I am doing some steevio inspired pitch sequencing for telharmonic and mangrove (combining values from two separate sequences running at different lengths or speeds to get longer, related but transforming sequences). Separately sequencing envelopes using JF in Geode, and triggering samples from Grandpa… I’m not 100% to the point where all my “patching” is inside teletype, which is sort of where I was going theoretically.

After patching this all up, I thought “they should make these with all the cables behind the panel” which amused me somewhat, but I think it belies the actual issue here which is that the limitations I am trying to give myself are not limiting enough, but also might be a little bit too limiting in some regards. In some ways this is a problem of imagination (especially when it comes to utilizing teletype) and externalizing it doesn’t solve any problem, and indeed the pursuit of some end or perfection is, in part, the same deluded thinking that contributes to GAS among other fallacies we tell ourselves.

The next iteration, I am going to take inspiration from the DFAM and try to make something similar using grid ops. Trying to simplify sequencing even more, to move away from trying to juggle arrangements (which I feel is part of the problem I face in the uninspired sameness that I’ve been wringing out of this system the past couple weeks) towards a more unified “single voice” instrument (not in technical terms, but in feeling).

The struggle with this infuriating and inspiring machine continues.

18 Likes

Hi,
First post here and it might be a long one, in a very interesting thread by the way. Please forgive me if it’s too long but I really think I would benefit advises from you guys (and who knows, someone else might too).

So long story short I’m rearranging my rack to make some kind of an Easel in Euro format, I have 6U/84hps and want to keep it that way so every hp counts. I already parted ways with some nice modules like BIA, Clouds, Wasp and Sto to make room for Furthrrr and Mimeophon, and this is what I have now :

I will sell 2hp Euclid, Tallin, Ears and maybe Phonogene (might go in a tape focused rack, I still love it) since they are not part of the patch I intend to base my new system for…

And this is what the goal is :

As you can see it’s a 1/2 voice(s) synth with Vco duties from Furthrrr and/or Tides / Mimeo sequenced by Pam and VB, pretty basic but versatile enough if well patched. An other option would be to swipe the Scan & Pan for X pan and an attenuverter from ALM, I also considered Cold Mac but it’s pretty scary to get your head around it when you haven’t tried. I’m sure I’ll get Pamela since I need gates + she does so much.
So my thoughts are;
I hesitate with routing options, the idea with the Verbos and the X Pan is to scan through waveforms, mimeo repeats… But I also think I would really benefit from a Quad VCA in this system, Veils or Tangle Quartet maybe since both of these mixers don’t have independent outputs…? Plus maybe I could get the same effect using Tides outputs to “scan” from 4 Vcas ?
Another question I have is Rosie, shall I really need a proper output module ? I used to have Clouds as an end of chain module with gain at +/-0 and it worked fine. At the moment I am using Tallin at 90% and I am reducing the gain in my sound card, it works ok but I may be missing something ? Rosie would give me the option to use Mimeo as a Send FX to get rid of the gated noise produced by Mimeo but it’s also many hps :wink:

So, I’d be really welcoming your thoughts about this, or if you think of any module I didn’t think of that could make this system really shine !

Thanks for reading, Nico

3 Likes

In the spirit of building “stand alone modular instruments” as opposed to generic eurorack advice, I would say let the instrument tell you what its missing. Some limitations are inspiration (this is why we use this format, after all), others are simply frustrations. Try removing the modules you plan to sell or take out (+1 I love the phonogene, but it does sometimes feel like it wants its own mini system! doesn’t always play well with others :laughing: ). Play your instrument without adding any new modules and see where it takes you. Push yourself to work around what you see as missing now, see if you can’t get Maths to do everything you’re missing :wink:

Now, having done the above, and taken some time what continues to feel like an uninspiring limitation. Certain modules you are adding have specific functions that may be perfect for you, but may also be unnecessary. Rosie’s value is in being a mono crossfader with one stereo channel with level control. Scan & Pan makes stereo signals out of mono signals (among other things, as I understand it). I don’t have either of these modules, but I think there’s a bit of redundancy there, a simple HPO might do just fine if you are running your final mix through mimeophone or scan & pan — I do think a final output module can be very handy especially if you ever want to perform live. As far as mixing/vcas veils and tangle quartet both seem like great options. I would also throw in moddemix, similar to Tallin in some ways but like optomix it has the make noise idea of decentralized mixing. Combined with optomix that may be sufficient mono mixing for your needs. Combining modules from one designer/manufacturers vision can sometimes make it feel more cohesive and instrument-like, if their ideology speaks to you.

There is no quick fix to make a system shine, it involves so many factors of your own taste, your music, and most of all your familiarity with the system. Hope this semi-answer is helpful, love to see the way other people are thinking and developing their systems, thanks for sharing!

5 Likes


This is my current focused modular instrument, getting to know JF synthesis sounds. Using w/tape or w/delay for the most part when its this case alone, or w/syn when the norns joins in. My larger case is hiding just behind it for when I want something more… more modulation, more voices, more effects.

My only complaint with this little system is that I wish the gate out on the foot control module was less twitchy/ had some built in debounce, wasn’t pulling in such hot voltage for the gates. Half the module just doesn’t get used. Kinda wish it was just a double expression pedal module.

8 Likes

I put together a small eurobenjolin, incorporating After Later Audio’s Benjolin v2, Triple Sloths, and Happy Nerding FX Aid.

This was entirely inspired by a galaxy-brain meme found on that other synth site–it paired the ALA Benjolin with a different NLC module, and I thought, yes: that sounds unironically fun.

Headphone jack to maximize spur-of-the-moment blooping.

Improvements needed: an attenuator in front of the FX Aid is in the cards; it gets clippy with the levels coming out of the Benjolin with some algos.

It is indeed a lot of fun, with no setup save having some patch cords on hand.

10 Likes

Thank you Rene, your comment is indeed really helpful and full of good advices. This idea of defining what is creative limitation / frustration to keep focus on what you really need summarizes the best approach to building a standalone instrument that would be more than the sum of it’s parts. I will definitely keep that in mind.

I started my former system upon a 0 coast and slowly added modules I felt would compliment it well, I ended up with 3 mini systems that were fun but all missing something to shine… hence my wish to focus on a synth more cohesive this time.

I didn’t think of ModDemix + Optomix and I feel stupid because it might be exactly what I’m looking for in terms of routing within a patch, thank you for that :). I also feel it’s a great advice to combine modules from one manufacturer, especially for routing options. I’d probably better go into the full Make Noise direction in this case.

But what I feel is great behind the Verbos Scan & Pan (besides it’s obvious uses) is to be able to crossfade between different sections of a patch via CV. For ex, you could send a voice into Mimeophon, plug the stereo result into it, rebuild the stereo and scan between this and 2 other voices at audio rate if you want, add the Voltage Block and you do that per steps !

The X Pan on the other end seems to be more focused on « stereoization » and offers less control over mixing, I think it would work really well with this ModDemix + Optomix + HPO combo but would also eat a lot of my Maths since X Pan needs attenuated Cvs to shine…

Hard to choose between both, limitations/inspirations :wink:

I do not intend to use Mimeophon as a final mix and I do not recommend anybody to do so, using it as an end of chain module is not doing it justice because it’s amazing at other things. And it’s really noisy when fully dry. This is why I thought of Rosie and it’s send/return but you’re right it would be redundant with both stereo mixers…

Anyway, I will add Pamela to this system soon and carefully pick the next modules based on how this instrument takes me too, I’ll share the results here with great pleasure.

2 Likes

I’ve been having lots of fun this weekend with this:

Started with the idea of building a Palette around Falistri and Loquelic; added the Lapsus for performability. Loads of possibilities here, and I can hang out with the wife while she sews rather than cloistering myself in the office/music corner for hobby time.

Here is is channeling its best Sunn O))) vibes.

6 Likes

I call it the Ondes SynthiSteiner :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m in the middle of getting all the patch work put together but I won’t be able to finish it up until this evening when I’m done with work. The idea is to have it be permanently patched through the Matrixarchate, with secondary functions handled with direct patching. It’s a subtractive voice made up of my favorite sounding oscillators, filter, and VCA, and maybe a bit vanilla compared to most modular systems, but dammit, I like vanilla.

Modulation signals are getting patched into the 8 ports on the right of the Matrixarchate, with the left ports routing those signals to most of the inputs available throughout the rest of the system.

38 Likes

beautiful! do you have sound/video examples of you playing this?

Not yet. I won’t be able to finish patching it all together until tonight, but I tested out using the matrix to switch from using the Press and the FSR+envelope for opening the VCA, and it’s very cool being able to switch between both behaviors with a couple button presses. Plus having them both within reach of my right hand at the same time means I can just reroute the other one for modulation duties. I can post some sounds later this week after I’ve had time to play with it more.

6 Likes

This looks like a fabulous hands on system! Can you give me any details on the ribbon controller, i am interested in adding one to a system I am building, inspiring, thank you!

The ribbon controller seems to be a one-off thing. I found it on Reverb a couple years ago when I was trying an earlier version of this idea, but I haven’t been able to find a company that actually makes it in the Intellijel 1u format, so I assume the seller made it themself.
If you have the means, it looks like it was relatively simple to put together. Looks to be a blank panel with a SpectraSymbol touch strip adhered to it. It’s passive, so the hardest part would be drilling a hole for the TRS jack and cutting a notch in the side for the touch strip to fold over to the back of the panel.

1 Like

this is GORGEOUS! excited to hear some sounds from it

Oooh, that’s nice. Any links to hear this beauty? I’ve been thinking about something similar…

I have that Timo filter too, lovely sounds

1 Like