Drums and Percussion (euro-rack novice)

Hi all,

I am looking to buy my first euro-rack system (purely a percussive set up to start with), I want to integrate this with my other synths. So my question is this>>>>>

If I buy a drum module, one kick, one snare and one high-hat module, what other modules do I need to integrate percussion into my sets? Will I need a VCA? filters? And what sequencer will enable me to programme rhythms that evolve and that do not repeat…??

Also, I use Korg Volca synths, will the sync out of my synth be able to send a clock to a euro rack module?

I hope someone can help


Drum modules (like those of TipTop, Hexinverter, or Peaks) already produce a “full-bodied” sound and do not need VCA and filters.

If you want to synthesize drum sounds, then you might need a VCA and filter. A good tool is Streams which has two channels of VCFA with built-in AD envelope generator (or vactrol emulation) - so you can directly throw an oscillator at it and envelope/filter it.

I can spot a contradiction in the sentence “program rhythms that evolve”. If you program something, well, it’ll stay the same :slight_smile: If you don’t mind going away from the x0x paradigm (letting the module surprise you rather than “program” it), and don’t mind losing the ability of exactly reproducing settings, I can recommend Grids, and a small LFO like Peaks to modulate it. If you need something more classic, you can try a x0x sequencer like the Bastl knit rider and Branches to add random variations.

+1 for Grids. Its a “switch on and jam” rather than a deterministic sequencing module. Add a Branches to spice things up.

Thanks for the information guys :slight_smile:

Yes you are quite right Olivier, there was a contradiction when I said about programming rhythms that evolve (I have become institutionalised since using logic and other computer DAWS for so long haha :-D)

Okay, to clarify, I will be set with>

(1) Streams
(1) Peaks,
(1) Grids
(1) Branches
(1) Kick drum module
(1) Snare + (1) High-hat module and I’m good to go, right?

Anything else I will need other than a case patch cables?


Id get a 2nd Peaks for the Drum Modes and a Braids instead of the Snare and Kick Module so you can cover a wider field of percussive sounds than just “Kick” and “Snare”

Thats the system for me then fcd72!

So I need

(1) Grids
(1) Branches
(1) Links
(2) Peaks
(1) Braids
(1) Ripples
(1) Streams
(1) Shades
(1) Case and some patch cable and I’m good to go, yes?

Yes. And if you want to get there in baby steps:

Start with a case + Grids + Peaks to get a kick and snare and sequencing.

Then you can:

  • Add Braids for an extra voice (you can use Braids’ internal VCA, and the bees-in-the-trees firmware for more internal modulations).
  • Add Links and Shades for mixing and more patching options.
  • Add a second Peaks and Ripples for more sophisticated drum sounds with Braids or modulating Grids.
  • Add Streams for compression, more modulations…
  • Add one of the HexInverter or TipTop modules for more variety.

Okay, thank you again, this has been very helpful!

I am glad to be sticking with the MI gear, you guys are great! :slight_smile:

One last question, syncing…would you be so kind as to find out if the clock from my Korg Volca synth will be fine to use with the above set up? If it isn’t I will need to find another way to sync things together…

afaik, the volca clock signal has a pulse for every two steps - so if you use that signal directly to clock your grids, you could only do 1/8th notes, not 1/16th.

if you want to generate a 1/16th clock signal from the volca clock, you would need a clock multiplier. if you want to stick with m.i. modules, tides can do that - but would be overkill. not sure if grids or branches have some kind of clock multiplier functionality.

i can highly recommend the 4ms scm + breackout for very flexible clock multiplication and adding shuffle to clock signals.

another option would be some kind of external clock that can output both midi clock for the volca and 1/16th analog clock pulses for your modular.

the korg sq1 can also sync to either 1/16th or 1/8th (i.e. volca style) clock signals. so you could use it as a kind of clock multiplier - and get a neat sequencer along to sequence things like pitch or decay of your modular drum voicces with it.

Thanks mic.w :slight_smile: I am watching Youtube videos and getting more confused now, people are using grids to trigger other gear and demonstrating peaks… :confused:

I am going to contact London Modular and ask for a demonstration, it is the only way I can learn, to see it hands on…

I hope London Modular are accommodating and knowledgable because I’m not going to spend £100 on a train ticket for nothing!

> getting more confused now

what exactly are you confused about?

> people are using grids to trigger other gear

yes, that’s what grids is for: it’s a (very special) trigger sequencer.

>what exactly are you confused about?

Whether or not I will be able to integrate my outboard synths, if Grids and Peaks will be what I need to create the exact style of rhythm/percussion I have in mind…I’ll resolve all of these issues by going to London Modular with my Korg synths and asking for a demonstration :slight_smile:

yeah, it’s definitely best to see for yourself and play around with the stuff you’re interested in. so, have fun at london modular! :slight_smile:

If you can program you can also rewrite Grids firmware to add an option to accept volcas clock. It shouldn’t be that hard to add.

@Adam Let me know how London Modular is. I keep meaning to go myself, as I live in London, but their opening hours make it difficult for me to get there, unfortunately.

I can recommend the Hexinverter drum modules, by the way. I have a few of them, and they’re pretty cool. You might want to have a look at Noise Engineering’s Basimilus Iteritas too, for more flexible percussion sounds.


or the last alm drum module, which looks nice too

Ah yes, that does look cool
Not sure it’s available yet, though.
Wonder if they’ll do a DIY version…


fwiw, I went to London Modular a few months back, and the staff were super helpful even though I didn’t buy anything! They had a little Mutable skiff with all the modules - this was back before Elements, Clouds etc. were released. Ended up basically building patches with the guy there and jamming about, it was good fun.

I wont be going to London modular now, will save myself £120 on the train ticket to put towards more synth stuff.

I have found a way to sync my Korg Volca synths to the MI Grids and Peaks, I just need an 4ms RCD and SCM, apparently they work fine with the Volca’s! :smiley:

So my first euro rack system will be

(1) MI Grids
(1) MI Peaks
(1) 4ms RCD and maybe the SCM?
(1) Case, preferably a cheap one!