Along with many others I picked up a new hobby during the Covid years, and while we are told this is good for our mental health, this particular hobby hasn’t been kind to my wallet. It all started because I had a crazy idea that I was going to learn how to play a Theramin. I know, you either love them or hate them and my wife had given me a Theramin mini kit as a gift, I decided on the real thing a moog Etherwave. Unfortunately, I also saw videos on using the Etherwave as a CV controller for modular synthesizers as well as running the Etherwave output through a synth for effects.
This led to purchase #2, a moog Grandmother semi-modular analog synthesizer with a built-in arpeggiator, sequencer and spring reverb tank. Add a Korg Guitar Tuner on the output of the Etherwave to help with learning the note distances, and I have a pretty nice setup. For a short time anyway.
After a series of rickety self-modified stands and such I saw an ad for the Output platform studio desk and sidecar cabinet. Now I have a nice (not very) little setup with a SONGMICS Office Stool Chair to go with the desk and a mounted LG monitor, Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock, KINESIS Freestyle2 Ergonomic Keyboard, and Contour Design Unimouse for a good computer setup.
Then, the real disaster happened. Modular Synthesizers.
For those wondering, I still can’t get a good tune from the Theramin, but playing it is a whole boat-load of fun.
This rack is a combination of two Silvas modular 9U×112hp and 6U×112hp cases – MODULARGrid and a Intellijel powered 4U×104HP palette case – MODULARGrid. It has been through a bunch of evolution as it has grown. At the moment this has the master clock, Shakmat’s Clock O’Pawn, as well as a whole set of randomness and rhythm generation. This is very much a generative system with 11 oscillators, 8 dedicated LFOs, 6 filters, and a bunch of modulation sources.
Note that most racks include at least one Doepfer A-180-9 multicore signal connector to send signals between racks using CAT8 cables. This saves some of the spaghetti of cables strung between racks that invariably becomes a hazard.
This rack is a pair of Ikocase cases (6U88HP inclined and 6U×88HP vertical). Is mostly Behringer classic Moog-style design modules, 960 Sequencer, 921 VCO, 921A/921B VCO, 904A/914 VCF, 911 EG, 902 VCA, and more. Additions include an Intellijel Rubicon VCO and Quad VCA. For effects this has a Recovery Devices Dirty Murals and a Synthrotek Echo.
Rack (MU) #3
This rack is the bigger 5U format based on the original moog modular. The cabinets are QCB11 Box11 Cabinets with angled and straight walnut sides and stacking plates. Apart from the M710 Sequencer and M712 Sequencer Sidecar from Lower West Side Studio the rest of the modules are all from Synthesizers.com.
The case for this rack was a fun project, I had a spare Nanuk 920 waterproof hard case and the addition of a Synthrotek case power noise filtering distribution board, 3U power panel as well as 3U eurorack bracket ears with rails gives a nice little box. After a few different configurations I settled on using it for my percussion set.
The core of this is the METRON sequencer, to which I’ve added a Voltera expander. The voice is and a mix of Erica Synths (Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Drum2, and Drums) and WMD (Crucible) percussion modules. I added a Blue Lantern Subharmonics Generator for the base drum, it’s a 4HP good-enough replacement for the Erica Synths Black Double Bass. I also have a Delptronics LDB-2e analog drums module for a more retro sound although it gets swapped in and out as needed.
Finally, I really like the Happy Nerding PanMix for bringing it all together into a stereo output.
This rack is built into the left-hand side of the Output platform. It currently includes a Doepfer A-180-9 Multicore for rack-to-rack connectivity, a pair of MST ‘07 buffered multipl, intended for input and output buffering. The big block is the Tesseract Modular 12X12 Buffered Matrix.
This rack is built into the right-hand side of the Output platform and acts as the audio interface for my MacBook Pro. The core of the interface is an Expert Sleepers ES-9 with ESX-8GT mk3, ESX-8CV mk2, ES-5 mk3, and MIDI breakout expansions. Alongside this there are a pair of Little Mikey mic/instrument pre-amps.
- Tascam DR-40 Field Recorder
- Bitwig Studio 4 DAW
- VCVRack 2 Pro virtual eurorack
- Native Instruments Reaktor 6
- Cherry Audio Voltage Modular, and CA2600
- Arturia ARP2600 V3 and Modular V3 software instruments.
Also tried Softube Modular but, while it didn’t seem as slick as VCVRack, it has a lot of licensed emulated hardware modules.
- ADDAC System
- After Later Audio
- Blood Cells Audio
- Blue Lantern
- Erica Synths
- Expert Sleepers
- Frequency Central
- Happy Nerding
- Mutable Instruments
- Neutron Sound
- Recovery Effects
- Ritual Electronics
- Shakmat Modular
- SSF (Solid State Fate)
- Teia Synthesizers
- Tenderfoot Electronics
- Tesseract Modular
- Tiptop Audio
- Xaoc Devices
check the retail price of everything, some folks ask some crazy prices for used. ↩