Tiny skiff for passive utilities

Hi all,

I have a plan for my still-underdeveloped modular to have a small case of passive utilities. I’m thinking of going with a skiff since I can then get some blank panels and build in whatever I want. At the moment that would be:

Thonk AT-AT-AT (x2)
Passive Mults (x1 1:8, x1 3:3, or something similar)
Ring mod
Logic of some kind, maybe Synthrotek Either/OR

What would you folk do for a skiff? I’ve seen that Doepfer make (or used to make?) a 28hp case or thereabouts, but it’s powered, which I obviously don’t need. I think this setup would be a max. 30hp. I did also look at some lunchbox cases but they’re very expensive, and one goal for this passive utilities box is keeping it low cost.

Open to ideas!

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This kind of depends on how your arrange the rest of your setup, but…

I was thinking of making a small ‘sidecar’ myself - though not passive - and I waffled between a 42hp dual row (more or less take 84 rails and cut them in half) - pretty similar to what you are suggesting perhaps - and a more radical option.

The radical option was to build a custom sideways rack, made up of 4 sideways banks 12 or so hp wide, which amounts to something like a 1u unit but without buying 1u’s. And i was planning on building ears for it such that it sat in between my two racks.

More or less I want the utility of 1u without the hassles and the extra $ because I already have too much functionality… I just am fiddling with layout.

I have a shop and I routinely make functional end cheeks using thin oak.

A while ago I bought something similar to this
and cut and glued wood rails to the interior top and bottom edge then used wood screws (and plastic washers) to fasten modules to the skiff.
It was cheap and all worked really well.


If you’re going completely passive (more on that in a second) then I’d go diy along the lines of @marcus_fischer’s suggestion. It would be relatively cheap/easy to add metal rails if you so desired.

You may well know this already. On passive modules - specifically the ring mod. Presuming you are going the transformer/diode route, these sound lovely but you do lose quite a lot of volume at output. I always pair them with an amplifier module of some sort to boost the audio level back up afterwards. Depending on your current modules I guess, you might want to consider adding one if you haven’t planned so already. Of course, it doesn’t have to be in your passive skiff although I prefer having it right beside the ring mod for convenience sake.

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Intrigued by this idea.

But am curious what other passive modules you guys are working with.

I do have a couple of ATATATS, three DPLPGs, some custom built manual switch units but I think that’s it.

What else?

Passive ring mods sound great (although do read my post above regarding their volume loss).
I had one of the Makenoise ones years ago (it was his first module!) and now have one of the Addac 602s.

An obvious one but I’ll say it anyway - format convertor - I have 5U, Euro and Banana so useful sometimes.

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If I were to build a simple case (passive or otherwise), I’d probably use or modify one of these laser cut designs.

I think most of the passive things I’d find useful I would want right next to powered modules, personally, but these cases would work either way!

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Great idea, 20 characters of thanks!

I was going to use this ring mod design, and mount it in a blank panel: https://www.cgs.synth.net/modules/cgsrr.html


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I was doing this exact thing until I decided I wanted to turn it into an effects box and put a USB power into it. But I have is a 42hp Frap Plus case with some wood ends I made. For the passive modules, I had two Laurentide VG2 (dual vactrol gates) and a PRM2 (passive ring mod), two Zlob Attenumixers, a Ladik P-520 (4 channel line out converter), and a multiple. Worked really well, and I always had the option to be able to get another Frap Plus and build out a bigger case with power.

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ace! that looks lovely and a nice middle ground between the other suggestions.

Glad I could help! @c1t1zen has a nifty little USB power kit, though it looks out of stock on the site at the moment. Maybe they can clarify?

@marcus_fischer & @geh2oman, how/where are you making your wood rails/cheeks? I have no experience of woodworking so don’t know where to begin with that.

One option would be to go to a hobby store and buy balsa to glue into the boxes. It is so soft that pins would work to hold things. Or you could start a hole with a thin nail and then use a traditional M screw.

Balsa takes glue well, is cheap, is soft…

If you go this route I highly recommend using either proper clamps or improvising some clamps with large alligator-jaw style clips. Wood that is glued and not clamped will not be nearly as strong and can shift during drying.

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I did a passive case in a bamboo flatware tray, using 1x2 for rails. It was really quick to build.

The boxes are on Amazon in a few sizes: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000QWE7JC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_hLdtAb83NSWDW


Great, thanks for this. I’ll look into that!

How’s the Either/OR btw?

I’ve found this box (I’m based in UK). Just wanted to double check that it’s the right dimensions for approx. 28hp?


Also, the bamboo boxes can be a little brittle when tightening screws. I recommend drilling a hole for every screw first.

The either/or is ok, I got it used/cheap early on but replaced it in my main case with a similar 4hp module from uoki toki called 43x when I started getting low on space.