Modular Strategy

My eurorack modular synthesizer is in a beautiful cherry cabinet designed by Matthew Goike. It was custom made for me and I’m very proud of it. Matthew’s standard design uses uncut vector rails that are 104hp long. I’ve heard of people being able to squeeze 105 hp into them. There was an issue with the wood of my case so matthew had to cut the rails. I had always assumed that it was exactly 104hp and planned my my module acquisition very carefully. I recently discovered while trying to fill a row completely that my rails are more like 103.9hp. So my careful plan has gone out the window. I’ve been in a kind of tail spin since.

Naturally, my master plan has to be rethought. There are a few elements that seem like they take up more room than they are useful. Silly as it sounds I’m trying to balance size with usefulness now and potential usefulness. I’m probably going to end up selling some stuff off that isn’t as useful now.

Case in point: The MFB Seq-02. Mine is permanently in the 12 tracks of triggers mode and usually clocked through the ES-3 from Live. I’ve never had a problem syncing it and I quite like it’s x0x style of programing. Early on when I first started my modular the goal was a 9u groove box set up to compliment my x0xbox. I had a few of the MFB drum modules and I got a lot of use out of it. Then I bought a Machinedrum UW mkII and got rid of the MFB drum modules and I’m much happier with the MD drum synthesis. Anyway, I’ve  kept Seq-02 around because I’ve wanted to compliment the it with a Tiptop z-8000. The z-8000 has 10 sequencers. I’ve been told that it ‘eats clocks.’ If so, then it’s a perfect match for the Seq-02! The idea of 8 4 step voltage sequencers controlled by 8 32 step triggers outputs really makes me drool. But now I’m not sure if I’ll ever have the space for the z-8000. If I ditched the Seq-02 would I even bother with the z-8000? That’s when the tailspin sets in…

I would start a thread on Muffwiggler where I’m sure someone would just tell me to get another case but I don’t have the room.

So what else could I ditch instead of the currently very big not so useful Seq-02?

I have a Pittsburgh Analogue Delay which I love. However, now it seems like I should stick to effecting the synth with the computer and reclaiming the space. I am starting to think that external effects are probably the way to go anyway. I wish that the Harvestman Stilton Adaptor wasn’t so large.

I have 3 filters. 4 if you count the QMMG. I love the Sea Devils and the Frequensteiner. I also have a z2040 that sounds great but if I’m going for a lowpass I always choose the Seadevils and use the Frequensteiner for highpass and bandpass. If I lose the z2040 then I can use channels of the QMMG for LP and HP.

I love the STG Sound Labs .VCA and .MIX that I have so I think I can probably do without my Doepfer a132-3 Dual VCA and Doepfer a138-b mixer.

As whiney as all of this sounds I am actually having lots of fun with the modular these days. In fact I have a huge backlog of recordings that I could have been reviewing, editing, and mixing for your listening pleasure instead of hammering this thing out.

Author: Bendu

Bendu is Ben Vance, an electronic musician living in Los Angeles California.

Leave a Reply