Modular Beats

Share your process for creating interesting, evolving, and coherent beats using eurorack modules only.

I use White Whale as my main 4-part trigger sequencer which gives as much control as I’d want over chance, patterns randomization, etc. I’m no reinventing the wheel, but it makes for straightforward programing of a kick/snare/hat/misc part.

With all of the quality kick modules, I usually just go straight for that rather than patch a kick from scratch. (usually the TipTop 808 or Plaits)

For snares/hats/claps I like to use a versatile noise source (personally, the SSF Quantum Rainbow), shaping it with the Hexinverter Galilean Moons and modulating the attack/release slightly to avoid a colder machine gun effect.

I often like the fourth part to be a snippet from Phonogene to add some variety. Generally, it doesn’t even matter what the source material is… if I trigger the playback of a small grain of it along with the beat it gives it some subtle personality.

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Trigger Riot, dial in the pattern and add random stuff with a low probability. Though thinking about the possibilities of doing something similar with Teletype and the repeating delay in the beta release. Percussion these days is Tiptop 808 bd, 909 hats, AD Neuron and WMD Fracture. I’ve been playing around with routing some or all of that through a wave folder or a delay clocked at audio rates.

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I have a “Feedback Rhythm Box” patch which I’ve used quite a lot. It’s super simple at its core and very playable:

R*S Serge Resonant EQ main out to Three Sisters Low + High
Three Sisters Low and High to A151 switch in 1 & 2
Res EQ comb outs to input 3 & 4
Mult the switch output to Res EQ In and a LPG
Strike the LPG and advance the switch with whatever you wish

I like to play this by hand mostly, its just raw and very responsive but of course there’s plenty of room to build up from there with modulation. I like how you can chop and cut up these different strands of feedback with a switch, obtaining different pitches very easily.

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Euclidean rhythms into the Dual Looping Delay, typically at zero feedback. Then modulate feed and the delay clock division with slow and simple sequences. Great for ghost hits and flams.

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Would love to hear / see that if possible.

The most satisfying modular drums I’ve ever gotten was by putting a bunch of Buchla-derived drum/percussion samples together in a single bank and feeding that to Radio Music with RM set to single shot mode. I then used Pressure Points/Brains to sequence the station (so which one played back) and pitch up and down to get variation. It was basically a lower-rent version of the MN “microsound drum machine” patch:

It sounded great in the way that all those early modular discovery patches sound great. I should revisit it.

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I really like using a combination of Joranalogue Compare 2, Batumi, a clock divider, and Frames to make rhythms. Makes for pretty controllable, but off-kilter and organic rhythms that sound very human. I’ll typically use Batumi and the divider to get some related looping CV’s going, send them into Compare 2, and then send Frames’ offsets to Compare 2’s size and position controls to set up variations of the rhythm.

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just mocked this up quick to show. here i’m triggering the switch with the same signal as what’s going to optomix so you get a different hit each time but that’s in no means prescriptive! definitely interesting to try different rhythms for repeats, resets, LPG etc.

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Started out using a Bastl Knit Rider sequencer outputting to various drum modules, as well as feeding a Ladik logic module, via two channels of a Ladik probability skipper. That gives a nice balance of rhythmic repetition and variation. Since that time, I’ve moved into more ambient with fewer percussive elements, and have found modules like the Intellijel Steppy and Marbles good for controlling percussion. I also take gates from a wider variety of sources within a patch, including Pam’s, but really anything where I can derive a trigger—like Magneto. Everything starts out synced, but I build in swing, and a lot of probability. Here’s an older video with the Knit Rider/probablility/logic setup.

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From a sound source point of view, I have been LOVING omsonics new drum range. Pixel dust and ouch (hat n snare) are great and love modulation and he tells me that a bass drum module is coming soon. I’d like to pair these with something like tetrapad/synthwerks fs4/korb pusher for modulation meets fingers drumming.

Forgot to add, currently sequence pixel dust, ouch and Erica Pico drum from nerdseq. It’s cool that each track can be as many steps long as you want. Plus the 2 sample channels are a bonus.

Really nice, definitely some food for thought. Thank you for taking a moment to do this.

Curious what that sounds like. Have any examples online?

I use a mix of a Flame Clockwork, Pamela’s Workout, and a µStep with a Short Bus (OR combiner), with occasional LFO or envelope to mess around with timings. I like generating complexity via the combination of simple elements!

I use Delptronics Trigger Man quite a bit for sequencing. The step edit mode (I think that’s what it’s called) is super straightforward. There’s a lot more to that module but that’s my core beat. So that combined with Pams (euclidean mode) and/or the t section on Marbles (orange or red mode). For drums sounds I mainly stick to SSF Quantum Rainbow and self oscillating filters (Ripples and Three Sisters) processed through LPGs and VCAs. I really like the ticky tocky sounds of old rhythm machines.

I prefer to record each sound into its own track in Live. Bastl Klik keeps everything together through multiple takes and haven’t run into any major problems.

I use Grids.

:star: ¯\_(" 3)_/¯ :star:

But seriously, I :black_heart: Grids, and it’s wildly playable inverted.

I’m currently combining it with other triggers/gates via Plog. I’m using it with the Blck_Noir and an Erica Pico Drum. Pretty happy with the setup so far. I’ve also been experimenting with having Switchblade send offsets to Grids to allow for sudden cuts and rolls. The BN’s buttons allow for fills too, so I enjoy playing on top of whatever Grids is doing as well.

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Also love grids over here!

Paired with a springless joystick for rhythm map navigation. Using the trigger button + coordinates for beat repeat/glitch fx. :cricket_bat_and_ball:

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My pleasure. In general i find that the most valuable patches are the ones that have a lot of room for expansion or modification. With this one, I like to explore the relationship between rhythm and pitch, bringing out tones that really suit the piece of music that I’m working on. Volume adjustment on each Res EQ band brings pitch change and with the LPG, switch and inputs on the TS/Res EQ, there’s so much room for rhythmic intervention. Then its a matter of working it into the rhythm of an existing beat or embellishing it, or whatever seems right in the moment.

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Pam’s / Steppy 1U / Plaits mainly. Not the most exciting setup for drums at the moment because I’m just using an 84hp skiff. Marbles en route though, because it’s dying for a bit of randomness. Looking forward to perking it up.

I have a 2hp Kick and an ER-301, and I’m basically using the Kick for what you might guess and triggering samples in the 301 from an old OP-1 drum kit for everything else. My Akemie’s Taiko isn’t really in use as a drum so far; it’s more like… rhythm guitar?

I’m sequencing it all with a Beatstep Pro, when I’m not using an incredibly basic clock-division beat from off the Teletype (which is most of the time).

And I’m always inching closer to my mlr-like Teletype grid scene for the 301, at which point I will load in a loop from that one Sugarcubes remix and probably just chop that up for the rest of my life.

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