Getting into Eurorack with A4 & OT; any advice?

I have a trade offer that would net me a few eurorack modules and I’m looking for some advice on the specific modules in question.

Primarily I’d be getting a version of Clouds and Tides (the two I am most familiar with), along with Bastl Skis, SSF Ultrafold, and possibly either a Wogglebug 2 or Grainy Clampit. I’d also buy a pretty simple rack and power supply for setup. They also have a filter and pitch quantizer available but I don’t know what kind of milage those would get in this small a setup.

I know my way around synthesis so I know I’m missing some utilities here, but I figure with that I have Clouds as an effect and oscillator, Tides as an envelope, modulation, and oscillator, Skis as VCA and envelope, Ultrafold as a shaper, and possibly the Wogglebug as a clock or modulations source, or the Clampit as another oscillator, along with the A4 with 4x sequencer or modulation, and the Nord as 2x clock. I also have the OT to sample/loop and as a source.

I figure eventually I’d add Links and Kinks or similar utilities, probably a MIDI-CV, and longterm a proper I/O, mixer, and Plaits (love what I’ve heard from that…).

Does this make sense? Am I missing anything, or does this sound too wonky to really work or be worth it?

My A4 is driving my Eurorack. It’s still my go to sequencer for bass och leads.

I started with something that the A4 did not have a digital oscillator, MI Braids. It’s nice to patch it to the A4s filters and VCA and gives a world of new timbres.

These days I have a Eurorack with 3-4 voices but I still try to find things that complement the A4. I have a complex oscillator and a couple of wavefolders, filters etc. I have no effects but use the A4 for delay and reverb.

A4 internal sounds is used mainly for drums and P-locked sounds as well as 4-voiced chords and pads.

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It seems like you have a pretty good setup if you buy that. I think its pretty handy to have a stereo mixer with pan. That way you can setup two different effect chains in the A4 and send the different voices in mono by paning them hard left and right.

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Braids is definitely on my list as well, their stuff just does really cool things that seem really different from typical synth architectures which is what I like.

Yeah I figure some of that stuff I’ll need to buy sooner rather than later for sure, but I figure this would be a decent base to start my inevitable addiction…

If anyone has any specific recommendations in terms of helping to choose between the Wogglebug 2, Grainy Clampit, and a Electro-Acoustic Research Model 41 Filter, that would also be helpful.

You can’t go wrong with clouds. I’d skip the wogglebug. I feel like I should write more but… I think that’s all I have to offer. I’ve somehow totally missed the Grainy Clampit but I dare say 1.) It’s huge (and you’ll find that space is always at a premium) and 2.) Clouds may get you some of what it gives. A filter may seem boring but they are useful.


You could do with some sort of attenuation for Clouds as the original Mutable version doesn’t have any attenuators on the modulation inputs. You’ll potentially lose out on some of the subtlety possible…something like a Mutable Shades would work well here and will also work as a simple mixer.


Seems like a very nice voice to begin with !

Here are my 2 cents : you might want to get a bigger case than you think cause you’ll probably want to expand quickly (and blind panels are cheap).

In my opinion Clouds is not a great oscillator, it’s just awesome as an effect. Tides is one of the most elegant module, great as an oscillator and modulator but it requires 4 vcas to really shine, so i’d get a vca (even a simple 2 channels one would be cool).
Like Tr909 said Grainy clampit has a pretty big footprint in this set up so id skip this one. MI Plaits could probably get you there too…

Regarding utilities, MI Links and Kinks are incredible value for the size/price. I’d get Links so you can mix tides outputs if you skip vcas.

I know you want to sequence the rig with the A4, it sounds fun but i can’t comment since i don’t have one. Anyway you could also go the OT route for sequencing with a midi to cv module, you’d get 3 lfo + a variable number of cc you can send to your system and tweak per steps, it’s incredibly powerful.

Hope it helps, have fun

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clouds really needs modulation + attenuation.
you could use a expert sleepers fh module or any other midi to cv module in order to use the OT as the sequencer. This would keep the A4 free for modulation tasks.


It may be not an answer … or maybe it leads to one … so let me ask, what kind of music or sounds do you want to create after all?

From a technical point of view I would say, there is much, which can be done with the modules in your list. It seems that the focus lies on beeing a versatile sound design setup.

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Very much yes on attenuation - grab a $40 2hp dual passive attenuator to start if needed. As I’m among friends I’ll secretly confess to the extreme happiness I had when first putting attenuation to work in the modular. I say “secretly confess” because to the un-initiated it will seem silly that I vividly remember working on my attempt at some deep/soulful microhouse-ish beats and suddenly finding that by varying the attenuators on various bits of the system I could add and remove lots of subtle bits of feel from the beat.

Of course the whole “point” of a modular is that you can route audio and cv between modules as you will. However without attenuation you many times are putting them into the receiving module at “full force”. With attenuations you add a small little “volume knob” controlling just how much of that incoming signal is affecting the destination. Many modules will have some sort of built-in attenuators but having your own to add in-between will give you that much more control.

On a side note, you’ve probably saw the oft-repeated advice “you can never have too many VCAs” - think of a VCA as an attenuator with a control input so that you can have another module turn the knob for you. There’s more to it than this - in particular VCAs are powered amplifiers (the A in VCA), while attenuators are normally passive components (usually just a resistor I suppose) - but it may help to get this thought into your mind regarding VCAs as well.


The wogglebug is pure chaos but make as a nice modulation source and it does have clock. Really depends on how random you want to go because it will get you there plus to some very weird sonic territory. That might be a good thing running through a clouds. Sample food!!!

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Haha I still remember how my brain exploded the day I found out that VCA can also mean Voltage Controlled Attenuation aka automation.
This is one of the most basic operation and yet one of the most difficult one to understand when you’re a beginner, for some reason… Controlling a complex patch with just one knob is so satisfying.

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So at least for now it may be a moot point since I was able to get a pretty good deal on a MDUWmk2+ but will probably opt for cash in this deal to recoup the cost.

I still want a small modular setup at some point and I think some version of Clouds, and probably Tides, will be a part of that.

As for your question, as a hobbyist I’ve always been interested in sound design and complex sequencing, so clearly a modular rig makes some sense.

I like a lot of what I’ve seen from Ricky Tinez small rig, which features a version of Clouds, a note sequencer, a trigger sequencer, some clock dividers, and an oscillator among other pieces, with a focus on creating loops, basses, and noises. I think that’d do a lot of what I’m interested in for now, and I think the Mimetic Digitalis and Steppy are two I might really like working with.

Anyway, the biggest issue I have I think is that the possibilities are so vast and varied, even just in terms of how to use a single module, that it’s sometimes hard to figure out how to construct a setup that makes sense. Modular Grid is helpful, but only insofar as to visualize a setup, not really in terms of creating an organized, thought out group of modules.

Anyway I do appreciate the advice everyone has provided and will take it into consideration.

I’ve been kind of on a tear recently, having sold 8 of the 12 major pieces I have (with two more on the chopping block), and bought 4 major (and complex) pieces to learn all within the last year. I think I need to sit back, sell off the rest I’m not planning on keeping, and play around with what I have before I go into debt putting together a modular rig… But I will put together a modular rig.

Well the MDUW will surely be fun. Don’t neglect the RAM machines. You’ll be able to get some great things from those. In particular they can do a lot of what clouds does for me - interesting looping and mangling. Clouds does the grains + reverb thing but for me it is much more valuable as a controllable loop buffer. RAM machines will give you the same with p-lock control.

If I would have stuck to a single MDUW and used it to its full potential I’d surely be posting this today under a pseudonym due to the massive world-wide fame I would have achieved by now (thus making it impossible to post under my real name due to the thousands of questions you - my fans - would launch at me). Instead I worked a day job, fantasized about gear in the daytime and then used my earnings to amass piles and piles of gear. hrm… don’t be like me - put that mduw to work! :slight_smile:

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Oh trust me, my “massive world-wide fame” days are way, way behind me, but yeah I didn’t think I could swing a UW but I found a pretty nondescript eBay listing and got one for the price of what many Mk1’s are going for without the UW or +Drive. I can’t wait for it to get cozy with the OT and Nord Modular., there’s going to be MIDI and audio going every which way…

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I recently bought a make noise 104hp skiff and used only their modules (a bit corny I know) - I had tried the 0 coast as a test and liked it - but I admit somewhat to cut down on the vast choice out there and get modules that complemented each other because they are coming from the same design philosophy.

They guy I bought a few modules from has like a four tier case and said he wished he had started like that because it took him a few years to get over the “got to get all the hottest/best modules” and finding they didn’t really work together as a system. He is a professor at a pretty big name music university fwiw - they have like buchla and moog systems from the 60s in their basement ha ha.

As many have noted attenuation is so important in modular and I’m already falling into the “well if I had this…” and “just one more modulation source here…” trap. You need all the basics (osc, envelopes, vcas) plus the “fancy stuff” (filter clones, random voltage sources), plus all the BORING utility modules, too.

I’m wondering if, in the end, it will be worth it… I think it will with certain expectations, but unless you are willing to go big I think you’re always missing out on the true eurorack experience.

BTW I’m going DT -> Kenton midi to cv (not racked) -> euro - been tempted to get an A4mk1 for direct control tho and also the additional benefit of having an A4

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Well … I wouldn’t describe it as hard, but it takes some time and to do the homework …

funny enough … in the video by Ricky Tinez about his small rig he says something like “…you need to go into it knowing exactly what you want to make …” and that’s a major wisdom in terms of modular synths.

You remember my question? What’s the kind of music or sound you wish to create? It all starts there. The answer to this question leads to modules, which will support the idea … and at the end you may have the perfect instrument for your musical ideas.

I got my hands on an Lifforms SV-1 in a 104 hp case and couldn’t be happier. Sonically it’s got beef and refinement; on the bovine analogy, I feel like I’m now dining in an upmarket Buenos Aires steakhouse.

I’ve got a pretty clear idea what I want to add: another oscillator, wave shaping, and CV / function generators. Very first next modules I’m thinking Function and Celp Diez.

As for waveshapers, the choice is pretty wide. I really like what I’ve heard of
Timbre & Timbre - Nonlinear Circuits
Crossfold - Antimatteraudio
FM Aid - Happy Nerding.

Anyone has / had any of these?