Starting small with modular

Realise that elektron machines are modular
And the answer is simple.
Buttons not wires.


Elektron grooveboxes
become modular modules
with one connection.



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I’d second/third that! While it’s not digital, it’s compact and it has a bit more of a west-coast approach (wavefolding) that you can’t get from the A4. It pairs really well with the A4 (esp if you send it through the A4 for fx/filtering/etc), and then if you want to go further down the rabbit hole, it has it a mini Maths module, plus a cycling slope and contour modules built in, which are going to be pretty handy


I was in a similar situation when I started, with everything driven by an Analog4. My first modules were a 2hp Pluck and a Plaits. For a fair while they were my only two modular voices, with both sequenced by the A4. I still use them both. Plaits is a great first module, particularly while you figure out how best to integrate the modular into your setup. You’ll probably figure out what direction you want to take it from that.

I agree with everyone saying a 0-Coast is a cool step towards modular. My only reservation would be that mine didn’t track too well over more than an octave or so using the CV/Gate inputs.


thinking about it more and starting to feel like maybe an 0-coast or some such piece would be a better start than diving in to collecting modules. I’ve strongly considered the 0-coast in the past. Any thoughts on the moog DFAM as something to run through the A4? Maybe for the stranger Fx kind of stuff and drum/bass synthesis.


Maybe sounds like 0-Coast might suit you better, but as a huge fan of the DFAM wanted to point you at this lengthy thread with a lot of good tracks based (sometimes solely) on the DFAM.

A couple of my favourites that also show you how you can go to various directions with it. You can certainly get the blips/blops/fx/even drones out of it but you can also do more melodic stuff.

Something like an Expert Sleepers FH-2 or ES-9 would let you sequence and modulate with the gear you already have.

FH-2 let’s you convert MIDI notes, velocity, CC#’s, etc… to CV signals. It acts as a host and USB MIDI device at the same time. It also has a lot of other capabilities in a pinch like lfo’s, envelopes, Euclidean sequencers etc.

FH-2 would let you plugin your Elektron boxes (supports a usb hub) or DAW and sequence or modulate via MIDI

ES-9 would give you a DC coupled audio interface so you can use things like Max for Live CV tools in Ableton live to modulate your Eurorack.

Both are expandable if you want to grow.

Both take some setup but have presets so you can set it and forget it once you have it how you want.

This would free up your limited space to use mostly fun modules (Oscillators, Filters, Modulation sources, etc) and a few versatile utilities or performance tools that you’ll need.


i also wanted to take advantage of a few select eurorack modules (namely plaits and basimilus iteritas alter) without having to setup an entire synth voice and control system with eurorack, and the A4 has been an invaluable piece of that puzzle. it’s got the sequencer for super flexible and fun control of 4 separate cv signals, effects, and even allows the modular signal to be processed through its filters, distortion and envelopes. very happy with my A4 and 40hp minirack!

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mutable braids is also a great choice as it can be a full voice on its own.


How about some sample playback?
The Erica Sample Drum is two voices, which you could trigger with 2 of A4’s CVs, and use the other two for CV control of tuning, length, and granular playback.

Just make sure to use attenuators when sending them back into your A4’s external input for some p-locked FX.

I used a Roland TM-2 .wav drum module in a similar way, but just triggers only. It really helped me get full tunes out of the A4 sequencer by itself, as just a couple extra drum voices really helped.
But I’m jealous of what some of these more recent euro sample modules are capable of.

All I’ll say is try and pick everything up second hand, you’ll save so much coin and never lose on your investment once you start trading, selling and swapping out modules.


For Wavetables type of sounds, I recommend Loquelic Iteritas Percido, it’s a full voice with lots of timbers and balls, I think it would suits nice with your Analog 4 since you won’t need any extra modules to make it works. There are VCA and modulations implementation.

For FM, I have lots of fun with Hertz Donuts mk3 but it would need extra module to make it shines and as you seem on budget I would recommend to start with fully features modules first. Still worth mentioning certain great ones.

Maybe let us know how much you would spend and how many HP do you have in your case for better advice :slight_smile:

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That’s exactly where I am right now. Bought a NiftyCase and some Modules (Morphagene, Mum M8, Pip Slope, 4ms IO, Doepfer ADSR).
But now I need a lot more utility and modulation modules. I briefly had The PNW, but going modular for me was about having a hands-on instrument, not more menu-diving.

I recently replaced my old OT with a MPC Live 2 as the main sequencer as well, but now after half a year having the OT in the closet, I wonder if the OT fits more my needs than a Morphagene. Maybe I swap it for a Squid Salmple, but if this potential change wouldn’t satisfy my modular needs, I probably will sell the whole rack.

Edit: The music I make is melodical Deep House, BoomBap, LoFi, or 90’s Liquid Drum’n’Bass. The problem is that I almost never find modular videos on YT that cover those genres, so I’m almost sure I should ditch modular for my music.

People seem to favor the Assimil8or much more than the squid sample… not sure as I have neither


Great vid on the ALM Squid salmple and sonic wise in the ballpark.

I would fancy one myself, but just like the morphagene it’s not my modular priority especially with an OT it the rig and also the sampler in Bitwig I can manipulate with the ES-9 inputs.

It’s about making the choices that fit both the bill and the focus of what each part play in the personal workflow. For me the ES-9 is important, if what I jam out is not going to be into a DAW, I will never finish a track in my life. And I want to do that in 2021.


Also great for a small modular rig is the classic BSP.

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I had several semimodulars and a little modular rack, and if you’re after synth sounds i would highly recommend the 0 coast from my experience. I think it’s one of the most modular feeling semimodulars. It has the best balance of soundsculpting, modulation, utilities etc that makes a great patching experience and countless tricks and options to explore. Only downside is the midi menu system… Otherwise it sounds great and feels very eurorack imo. It’s hard to design a small beginner rack yourself that is that well balanced. I know one of the main attraction to eurorack is the open choice to combine all the fancy modules available but modular patching is only great fun if the rack is well balanced and that’s hard to achieve.
If I would go modular again I’d probably get a system from one company cause modules are designed to complement each other.

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Plaits with Quadrax would keep you busy for a long time. Then expand as you feel. Right now I know i would get filter faster than I did. I would avoid small MI clones, small packed modules in general. Mimeophone could be great in the beginning its super hands on and you can go so many places with it.

I started out wiht 0-Coast, while it’s great now I know I would be better with Mother32, check what kind of sounds you like.

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I went this route, many small packed multifunction modules, and it takes the fun out of it, since it takes away the advantages of hardware


Totally agree, it’s just a big bite in the budget for a lot of people with a min. of +2000EUR cash drop.

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