Yes! get a 6u case with a decent powersupply (mostly built in).
Not those cheap wallwarts that you plug into the socket.
Doepfer is good. DIY possible but IMO don't start with a PSU. Dangerous voltages.
Ok, I think I have the idea of a basic system.
Some suggestions (make your own choices please?)
Oscillators I'd buy ready made, they're tricky to build (haven't even tried myself so far)
Modern, soft (not harsh), huge pads, a bit experimental.
I'd say Synth Tech e340 Cloud Generator video video
huge with shifted voices but not really experimental
Synth Tech e350 Morphing Terrarium video
still beautiful but single voice and can do experimental as well
or a Cyclonix Cyclebox which has more attitude, but has some aliasing in the higher frequencies so IMO is less "pretty", but makes up on flexibillity and fatness. video
Also capable of weird experiments. video
Control from the computer...
Not a shred of doubt: Expert Sleepers ES-4 (SPDIF) or ES-3 (Toslink ADAT) these you use to control synths (not just the modular) with CV Gate. It can also do a little bit of audio playback (the ES-3 is better) and very importantly, it has a very tight clock. It depends on which connector is available on your computer converter. It bypasses midi alltogether. This has the advantage of being sample accurate with DAW audio playback (so you can mix latency free in the analogue domain).
If you want midi (to intergrate with you Mopho) you can do that later by adding an appropriate midi-cv gate interface.
There are a number of 2 channel envelopes. Three double as LFO (looping oscillator) I'd look at 5 which have a different character.
- Makenoise Maths (very popular, very flexible) needs VCA
- 4MS Systems PEG (also popular, strong in rhythmic envelopes) needs VCA
- Cwejman ADSR-VC2 (if you want a tight, super controllable traditional ADSR, this is it. Not cheap but quality is there)
- The Harvestman Double Andore (this works with wavetables, can mess up the audio (in a good way - check the example in the previous post please?) but also sound great. Also doubles as a looper- LFO. Can be cryptic at times but that is part of the fun (WTF! moments
) Two VCA built in, you can never have enough VCAs.
MFB Dual ADSR (cheap and not bad at all. bread and butter. lacks some of the special things that the other VCAs do have) needs VCA.
Another option to consider is an LPG. This is a low pass gate, it has a photovoltaic element which shapes the sound, and is quite soft and organic sounding. There is a DIY option, or you can score a second hand Plan B M13.
The cool thing about these is that it also functions as VCA: it shapes the sound (low pass filter) but also ads a volume envelope (envelope plus VCA).
Why a double module? In a small system you need at least two envelopes and you got to think about preserving space. When you got a PEG, Maths or Double Andore you're set for a while. Add perhaps a cheap but good Doepfer a-147 and you got a bunch of modulation sources.
A single envelope to consider would be a Wiard Malekko Envelator. Also doubles as LFO. Sounds good as well. Needs additional VCA.
The "Bubblesound" VCS is also going to be produced again. Doubles as audio processor, LFO, slew limiter etc.
Filters.. there are SO MANY! So I'll pick 4 that I like and one that a friend uses and is quite nice as well, for illustrative purposes, not because they're the best out there. It's more about the character than anything else, so highly personal.
I like my Wiard Malekko Borg (mongrel from a Korg MS-20 mother and a Buchla LPG (low pass gate) father, and the Boogie which also uses vactrols but is more a traditional filter. Then, I like the bubbly sound of my Serge filter. There's Serge clones coming in eurorack, so.. watch out for that.
Doepfer a-105. Based on a SSM2044 filter chip in a cheap configuration, this is still my all time favorite filter. It has attitude, is not expensive. There are more Doepfer filters like that, like the a-124 wasp filter. It sounds unique and can sound soft and emotional but also completely mad.
don't skimp on VCAs. they're the building blocks of any system. it's like a tap that controls the flow of a stream, with a remote control.
Intellijel good, some Doepfer too (not all!) but below is a great DIY solution (S1 Quad VCA mixer).
Ok, I got to get back to work so quickly 5 awesome DIY projects, that are even more easy to build than the Shruti-1. Usually these are well documented with schematics, examples and a BOM (Bill of Materials). These are small runs, there is no guarantee how long this will be available, so get it while it's hot. It may be one or two are now sold out, so keep an eye out for more future runs... Again.. this is even MORE addictive and time consuming than eurorack!!!
- Fonik's Double Trouble Korg PS3100 resonator with LFO control. Get this, don't hesitate. Vactrol based filter. Good quality board. It sounds awesome video link
Frontplate design is available as file.
- S1's Quad VCA mixer. It's a high quality 4x VCA with a mixer (4 in 2, 4 in 1). I bought 5 boards.
This could answer the need for VCA/Mixer in a small system completely. Amplify DC (control voltages) and AC (audio) link
There's a front panel design but you can easily make your own.
- Buchalish Voltage Processor. this can be used to curtail, or change CV streams so they fit better. IMO every modular should have one. Alternative from Doepfer also available. link
Then Thomas White's LPG like the M13 or Borg mentioned above. Easy to make, not expensive, and can function as envelope&VCA. You coud add a cheap Doepfer filter and be done for a while. link link for panel
- Ken Stone's CGS DC mixer. A simple but great building block. need more inputs for a filter (to route audio from the computer or sampler alongside a VCO? easy!) link
Oakley's ARP 2600 ringmodulator here
Parts? Yes, that's the boring part. Put orders together, search for the best ones, the best price, don't buy too many, but not too little either. There are some good group buys on knobs, and other rare or expensive parts.
Get your vactrols here
and the euro format 3.5mm jacks here
So.. that's what I've been up to (amongst other things).
I hope it's inspirational for anyone. This summer I'd like to start some builds and rearrange my own modular setup. Looking forward!