Hi all,

I would love some advice/guidance on my first build please, here is what I had in mind:
- Has to be easily transportable (60hp max) and powered by either a power bank or a wall wart.
- I'd like to sequence it from Pam/uO_C for semi-generative stuff and external midi sources (Probably my iPad + Launchpad Pro mk3) for more intentionnal sequencing.

For the case, I was thinking about the Moog one, unpowered.
I'm not sure if I'm missing extra modulation or utilities, or if there are any glaring omissions?

Many thanks!

The Moog 60hp skiff is the best for your need, but get a mini internal power bus like: https://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/fc-microbus-kit/ so you don't waste 4hp for power module. Also later when you grow you can get another 60hp Moog case and double it up with their dual brackets. 4MS is your next possibility: https://www.rubadub.co.uk/4ms-pod-60-eurorack-case-powered

Hey Metrowave,

Thank you for your recommendation! I was thinking about adding an internal power supply later on, the one you linked looks great. I considered the 4MS pod as well, but I would need the X version (64HP I believe) as some modules are too deep for the standard case (Disting and FxAidXL are 42 and 45mm deep).

I'm also considering swapping the Befaco Out for a Pico Out (2HP) and add an extra 2HP buffered mult.

Please keep you comments going, that's super helpful!

This looks like a fun little rack that would fit an attitude of exploring creativity within constraints. Beehive/Plaits doesn't need a filter and sounds great on its own so that's a good choice. If you run Hemispheres suite on the uO_C, you've got quite a lot of modulation and utility possibilities here. One downside is that none of the modulation parameters are very 'hands on' in this system -- you will find yourself wanting to tweak an envelope shape or LFO speed in real time at some point, not just their amount. You might consider swapping the FX Aid XL for some small modules that provide or facilitate modulation, e.g. Pique or Kinks, or even a small analogue oscillator that doubles as LFO. Disting and Monsoon should, I believe, provide enough effects. The 2HP Trim could be replaced by a 2HP VCA.

Actually, on second thought, if you can reduce the footprint of the output module to 2HP, I would remove the FX Aid XL and in its place put the Cold Mac, which gives you lots of options both for audio modulation (you can use it as a distortion, a waveshaper / folder, a panner) and utility (logic, offset, slew, envelope follower etc.) or both (6 channel mixer, VCA), and also as a controller with a big knob that gives you the control to play your patches that you are lacking in modules such as Pamela and uO_C. It's a module that requires a somewhat experimental approach but there is a lot of documentation and it can be a real centrepiece for any patch.

You could also consider replacing the 2HP Trim with the LPZW WK2 module when it's available again, which adds to attenuation the added functionality of offset (really useful to dial in precise values) and slew (to turn stepped modulation into a smooth one).

That's some great insight antipythagoras, FX Aid XL does seem a bit redundant, and I would happily swap it for some degree of 'manual control'. Cold Mac looks really versatile indeed, I'm not sure how much I'd need the mixer part, but the utility and shaping aspects would be wonderful. I'll have to do some reading.

Thanks a lot for your input!

Sooooo...where are the VCAs? And I suppose you could press the Pam's or the O&c into service for modulation, but that seems like a waste of what they're capable of. Attenuverters? Space for expansion?

Frankly, I would like to find out who's influencing people to make these pointlessly small builds...and kick their teeth down their throat!!! These clowns are causing people to waste a lot of time, effort, and money on builds that will not and CAN not function on par with the expectations of the people duped into making them. Thinking that something like this would be usable as a proper synth is along the same lines as thinking you can learn to drive on a tricycle. Yeah, sure, I get the "convenience" point of having something small, but that'll get outweighed VERY rapidly by the extreme limitations that using a cab like this causes.

I'd suggest getting VCV Rack and then trying to build an equivalent of the above in it. The problems should be glaringly obvious very quickly. Then start over with something like a Mantis (2 x 104) instead.

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Lugia is 100% correct and I even found a Doepfer 6U case way too small eventually and 12u-14u is perfect for starting with room to expand for modular setups and still include VCAs, attenuators, logic and mixer modules. You could get a divkid 0chd lfo for modulation and a quad vca that would give you plenty of mileage. Add in a Kinks and Links for logic and mults and you are off to the races. If you look at prebuilt modular systems from popular modular companies like Make Noise, Doepfer and Erica Synths, they will have a single oscillator and filter and the rest are support modules like VCAs and so forth. Have you considered a smaller prebuilt system like the ALM Busy Circuits Super coupe? That has all the building blocks and sounds amazing way to learn modular and make cool beats.

Sorry I should have detailed my goals, expectations and requirements in my first post.
I'm not looking for an all-in-one solution, I make music in the box (iPad and Ableton), and was looking for a little 'plink-plonk' machine to jam and stay away from a computer screen. But I hear you regarding limitations.
The ALM System Coupe is fantastic but it's just too big for me, I want to be able to easily put the rack in a backpack.
This build is close to what I typically use in miRack, but I agree it could use some attenuverters and VCAs, I initially had a 2HP attenuverter instead of the Trim. Cold Mac, as suggested, seems like a Swiss army knife that could handle VCA duties?

Quick headsup: I'm also just on a smallscale rack with a bit of sequencing and modulation.

Looking at this build, even with the addition changes and everything I don't think this is a fun sound machine to have on the couch as you have a lot of menu diving, and program heavy, modules. While you still want to connect it to another device for also programming sequences for example.

Pams New Workout, Beehive, FX Aid XL, o_C, and the disting will all need time to setup for most new patches. And probably lots of "debugging" when stuff is not working out as expected.

I just checked and saw that (without midi in) my build currently weights in at 58 hp, so it might be interesting to see another approach of a tiny rack. And what I can do right now.
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For shameless plug to a playlist of my exploration with the skiff (click here)

Also my biggest takeaway from my small setup: Get VCAs, linear ones for CV, exponential ones for audio. The Cold Mac looks fantastic, but might be also a good source for headaces ;D

Now that's a micro build done RIGHT. The whole basic path is there, plus there's a careful selection process at work because certain things in here (the two halves of the Rampage, for example) can work as several different things as needed. The Rampage (which is sort of like Maths in that it's 'cored' around a pair of Serge Universal Slope Gen clone circuits) is a good example of this...you could use it as an oscillator, an LFO, an EG, and on and on. There is one teensy (it'd have to be to fit in 2 hp!) thing that might work really nice with that 2hp Sine...and that's this: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/york-modular-lockhart-wavefolder Timbre, baybee...yeah!

As for the other build...OK, this needs to be a backpackable solution with one "voice". Hmmmm...let me think about this...
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Hot damn...OK, this actually fits in a backpack, but you oughta get Intellijel's snazzy custom gig bag for it.

This uses an Intellijel Palette 62, which gives you the advantage of having onboard (and NOT under the modules, either) power as well as a tile row where I've put a clock, random source, noise gen, sample and hold, slew limiter, a 2-input mixer/attenuverter pair, a one-channel MIDI interface, and a ganged stereo output level. The case itself also gives you a pair of buffered mults, a MIDI over USB connection, and a stereo 1/4" output pair. Having all of that really blows doors open on the 3U row, and it allowed me to go a lot farther than even I'd expected.

How far? Well, lessee...2 LFOs, 4 VCAs, 3 VCOs (one pair of these can crossmodulate, the other single VCO is a Plaits clone), a pair of 3-in mixers (by splitting the Bastl ABC), and even a stereo FX processor that can take your audio chain from mono to stereo. Much of this relies on subfunctions within the various modules for the space-mushing voodoo...

3U row, left to right: Konstant Labs PWRchecker (good to have a visual feedback about your power condition), WMD Modbox (2 LFOs with CV, plus some other modulation sources), an After Later TILT (can either be an ADSR EG or it functions as half of a Maths...yep, a Serge USG clone of sorts), Doepfer A-140-2 dual ADSR (your main envelope workhorses), an Antumbra Dual VCA (which is really half of a Mutable Veils, where these sorts of variable VCAs are explained better) and the Bastl ABC in the middle. The idea there is that the ABC inputs are for mixing modulation sources, while the DEF ones are for mixing your audio sources. The VCOs start the audio chain next...and there's a Noise Reap Paradox and an Antumbra KNIT. Now, both of these are definitely NOT "normal" VCOs...the KNIT is a 6 hp clone of the Mutable Plaits, but the Paradox is actually a set of two VCOs which are set up to crossmodulate in various interesting ways.

But wait...the mixer is over on the left? Well...it CAN be...or you can use the 2-in mixer on the G-Storm Delta VCF. This is a clone of the Korg Delta filter, with both LP and BP capabilities in either 2 or 4-pole depths. Also, if you use the Delta VCF's mixer, this then frees up the ABC to act as a six-input mixer, or you can still use it as two 3-ins, but entirely for modulation. Right after this, another Dual VCA, and then a Frequency Central Stasis Leak...which gives you either reverb, delay (with tap tempo) or stereo chorusing, and this is the thingamajig that takes what WAS a mono audio path and "stereoizes" it.

Like I and others have said, it's not easy to build one of these little-bitty builds, but it CAN be done if you choose and proceed carefully! This rework fixes a lot of the latent hassles present in the original build. Some of this is directly attributable to the case, though...a thing which many modular builds ignore at their peril. By going with this Intellijel skiffy thing, I've eliminated the need to take up more 3U spaces with important functions, putting them into either the tile row or as part of the cab altogether. Result: a pretty decent thing that does what you want (and a helluva lot more...this has some real power to it) and fits your form factor needs aptly. The sole problematic thing here is that the Antumbra Dual VCAs are kit builds, according to the database...but with a little research and some extra $$ to a skilled module builder (if, in fact, you're not comfortable with soldering and such), they're very doable.

Also, this is a good illustration of what I talk about when I mention "functional density". This build is VERY dense, function-wise...but by trying to avoid anything below 4 hp and above 8 hp, that 62 hp row is chock-full of raw power while being easily worked manually. It's a dicey balance...but again, it IS doable. Plus, as noted by others, menu-driven modules are really a pain in a dense environment, so the effort there was to AVOID those, but to still maintain a hefty level of functionality. It works, I think.

Nice one @lugia, I copied that for future reference.

Lugia, thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed answer! It does look like a really versatile build, I will make sure to check out every module you listed here. Cheers!