Talk me out of moving most of my setup to eurorack

Having recently gotten a hold of the DFAM and SubH to go along with my Mother-32 I’m finally starting to better grok some of the pleasures of modular. This coupled with the recent acquisition of a Syntrx unit has changed my view of what a modular system might have to offer. What this setup allows me to do is to explore interesting melodic and rhythmic territory, and particularly interactions between sound sources, in a way I feel I was only scratching at before with the desktop and keyboard gear I have.

My rash initial reaction is “Wow, maybe this is the synthesis nirvana I was seeking all along”, but I’m rational enough to realize that’s probably mostly a response to the novel things I’m discovering.

I’m not thinking about clearing the decks and starting from scratch, but I am intrigued by the idea of restructuring and replacing gear so that the instruments I have talk better to each other in the same way I feel the Moog units do. I feel like a lot of the instruments I’ve used over the years have focused more on the sense of “this sounds good on it’s own” as opposed to “this creates interesting and new ways to interact with what I have”.

For those of you who have gone down the slippery slope of converting most of your setup to eurorack, what were the regrets, challenges, or things you wish you had thought through more clearly?

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Say ‘eurorack’ in the mirror three times at midnight on a wednesday night on a full moon and you’ll find out why this is a bad idea

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Put all your gear in a cupboard out of sight.
Get VCV rack or mirack.

Use only that for 6 months and see how you get on.

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Get one not large, not small, eurorack case, build it out with good stuff and try it. If you dont like it, sell it all…I’ve done that twice and it didnt cost me that much. I love Eurorack and have 1 case now with 14 modules that I pull out a few times a week and play with…just so interesting and enjoyable.

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If you continue down this road, your family will leave you, your friends will stop calling, your dogs will run away, and you’ll eventually grow to loathe having to rewire your synth/drum machine every fucking time you turn it on to just end up with gargling fart sounds that periodically squeak out a car alarm.
At least that has been my experience.

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Definitely don’t act while in the honeymoon phase because everything will seem like a great idea .

I don’t think there are as many regrets as there are challenges that’s based on needing to use something in person to know it works for you. There are so many tools like VCV, Softube Modular and even modulargrid.com to help plan but in the end using it in person can make you change your mind.

I should say I never set out to replace anything.

I went into this with the idea of wanting to use and create sounds that are either not possible or more difficult to do with traditional synths. That is the beauty of it for me at least… that you can create your own set of tools. The best part is that they just work together

Either way it definitely good to have an idea of what you want to accomplish and try to stick with that. If you’re making the jump, uO_C, Disting and Hector can all provide a wide range of tools to help keep the research phase costs down while you explore utilities.

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I’ve gotten a bitten by the modular bug as well. It’s fun :slight_smile:

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I’m in the probably-fooling-myself semi-modular holdout camp, and I hesitate because a) worry about dealing with noise, power, case issues, b) the semimodular systems cross-patch so well (I’ve got some Moog and make noise ones), and c) I haven’t quite seen the must-have-it thing for what id like to explore. I’m not worried it’d get out of hand for me (space constraints) but I’d probably myself want to go in lightly at first if I do.

But I’ve certainly been doing my research, so maybe one day.

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In my opinion, Disting has the single worst Interface and user experience of any Device I have ever used. It’s a flexible Swiss Army knife, but it was such a pain in the ass that I never actually used it as the “try a version of this other thing out” module I thought I would.

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don’t do it. go deeper with what you have.

did that help?

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I would be interested to know what your current setup was before I could possibly talk you out of (or into) going down the rabbit hole of Eurorack! (but here goes anyway)
I have used many “hardwired pathway” synths since I first purchased a Korg MS20 in the early 80’s last century. When I finally went down the Eurorack path I was bedazzled by the multitude of options that presented themselves. I feel experiences in Eurorack are very subjective however and each individual has to find a pathway that works for them. The variety of different manufacturers and modules these days is enough to befuddle anyone.
I would advise checking out VCV rack prior to spending lots of cash on real world hardware. You already have some powerful engines with your Moog trio, keep learning how to get the most out of those whilst having fun with them. If (and probably inevitably when, I’ve found modular is like the Borg) you do start with other modular gear, the advice to get a moderate sized case to populate with what works well for you.
My main advice if you do start investing in modules is to learn each one thoroughly before getting the next shiny thing, otherwise you will be continually chasing your tail trying to get the best out of your modules without understanding how to use them to the full extent of their capabilities. I wish I had taken that on board earlier!
The great thing I have found is the modular community, both locally here in Australia and globally, is very supportive. There’s a lot of passion and heart behind most manufacturers I have seen and been fortunate to deal with too and customer support is amazing in my experience.
Have fun, but go slowly.

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Disting is certainly not something I would recommend to a beginner in modular, it works well for a specific mind set that doesn’t mind menu diving, but for patch and play? Not for the someone starting out IMHO.

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Modular is a big ol pain in the butt.

I like twiddling with morphagene, mimeophon, maybe with some Beads…I loved it and disappeared into it.

Expanded my mod setup. Just a nonsensical pain. Can’t step away from a working idea to explore something else.

You don’t know what you have till its gone-

Presets! New projects. Load and reload.

Technology is amazing. Advancement is amazing. No need to make your grandfather’s electronic music

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got a bunch of modules and made a bunch of dumb purchases, in the beginning
got a big dumb case to put them all in
got frustrated, didn’t touch modular for a year.

I decided to give modular another go, sold the case and made 2 to 3 focused racks. One for control, one thats all additive/modal synthesis, one that percussion/mixer focused.

I treat each rack as its own instrument. I feel it’s easier not to get “lost” in all the options and be more productive with what you have.

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Thanks for everyone’s feedback. The sensible message I’m hearing is to take it slow.

I’m thinking that if I want to explore the modular route than it would make the most sense to focus on some utility modules that would enhance what I already have in terms of the Moog semi-modulars but also work with my other gear. I’m thinking something like this setup would do that:

  • Case - 2 level 52U case w/power supply
  • Modulation source - Pamela’s Pro Workout. Goal: provide additional modulation options for the Moogs.
  • Mixer w/send and receive – Mega-Tang. Goal: mixer w/send and receive to allow integration of an FX loop
  • Output to line level – Monitr Stereo Output Module. Goal: get audio back out to line level to send to my desktop mixer.

Eventually I’d like to add:

  • Oscilloscope like the Mordax Data. Goal: visualize my creations!
  • Line level input - Joranalogue Receive 2. Goal: allow sounds from my line level gear to be brought into play.

Seems like this would allow some expansion down the line:

Well, even that really basic system of case, modulation source, mixer, and output module is >$1K. Ouch. That alone is an effective “cool down” and reality check.

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Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in but I don’t think the Mordax DATA is a good first choice. Yes it’s full of utilities but it does take up considerable space at a significant cost too.

I just added the NTS-2 and I’m just checking some things occasionally but not all the time. Seeing how I’m using it, I’m happy I didn’t dedicate space to it especially since my setup isn’t that large.

Anyway, just sharing an opinion and again hopefully someone else can share their experience

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I’ve gone in the opposite direction.

Started with Moog semi modular, went to eurorack, then to Elektron, and have now sold the semi Modular’s and am selling all my eurorack gear.

Among other things, I got frustrated with the patch cable mess, with the expense, and the obsession/addiction of it.

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I still have my small skiff with Mutable modules + 3 Make Noise semi-modulars + recently an Erebus v3.
It’s fun, and I learned a lot about synthesis. And the sound can be real great at times.
It’s a journey on its own.

But it comes with a cost.
Be ready to spend some money. And we’re talking more like a few grands.
If you don’t have at least 2k to loose, don’t go this route!
There is no such thing as a final modular, you can and will always feel the need to switch pieces. And even once you get to the point where you have something coherent, the shiny new thing comes around.

There’s also the time.
Time spent thinking of it (I see you already got the bug), weighting a module against another.
Time to learn each module (gone once you sold it back).
The time you spend in endless meanders, doing bleeps and bloops you’ll have hard time to call music, unless you do but then it’s gone…

We could also talk about the GAS, the feeling you have now can quickly become some kind of mindset, with its load of stress when you consider the time and money you invested, in something that may take away some will to make music in the end. Careful with this.

I soon realized (again) that a synth like A4 was modular enough, but with some very powerful features, for a fraction of the cost of a Eurorack, still offering a large liberty in term of sound and synthesis.

If you don’t have large pockets, a lot of time AND a strong will, or get this road and be happy with what you have.
You already are.

Do you already own an A4?
Second hand mk1 are so cheap these days…
Pairs really well with some semi-modulars.

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This.

But lots of other good advice in this thread so far, also. I will add a few tangential points. I don’t think 6u x 52hp is big enough, unless you only want a support case for your Moogs (your initial choices are very much in that line, but it may not make sense to have the semis be the driver for such expensive purchases). If you’re going to do this (and you probably shouldn’t, given what you have and your stated motivations), get a 6u x 104hp case and a lot of blank panels.

I found DATA invaluable in the beginning, but I was starting with a complex oscillator and a DUSG, and I needed to understand waveforms and CV. Mine is now in an auxiliary pod, to be fired up when needed.

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It’s so, so, so easy for it to get out of hand. It is such a mindfuck from so many directions and a huge time and money pit. I agree with so many (all?) of the sentiments in this thread.

The worst part is, it is kind of great. I could tell you what I think is great about it, but I’m annoyed at myself for being in a position where I feel like I sort of “need” that now (at least occasionally), and I don’t want to infect anyone else with this mind virus.

If you do it, take it SUPER slow. Like one module a month MAX. Or just stick with semi modular. I still think the 0-Coast is great and I have no regrets about that purchase. The DFAM I hated at first (after being into modular for 1.5 years) and just now, another year or so later, it is starting to grow on me. If I could, I’d travel back in time and keep it to those two, and be none the wiser about eurorack.

I sort of took a break and I’m getting excited about it again, but I really needed that break to get some distance and perspective and look at some of my “heat of the moment” purchases with a more skeptical eye.

Also if you are thinking about DIYing, approach that with caution, because while it saves a little money, that introduces a whole other layer of logistical complexity (especially if you’re just buying PCBs/panels rather than full kits), and it also messes with the whole emotional/addictive side even more.

And no, I don’t think it can really replace anything… except certain effects/processing… I’ve already said too much.

What a mess!!!

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