Starter 104 HP rack

Hello everybody,
I’m french, I make music with Elektron Octatrack and AnalogKeys, and I would like to start in the modular world to complete my setup.
Here is what I’ve planed on modulargrid on a 104HP basis.
I’ve initially planned to pilot Rings in midi with Yarns and the Octatrack, and to modulate the system with two Peaks and one Veils, Ears is here to level-up the AK in order to enter in the modular chain. The idea would then be to effect Rings or/and AK with Pico DSP and Dub Jr Mk2 before getting into Clouds, the mixer would permit several different configurations in this way, then the Pittsburgh Outs will weakened the levels to get into the OctaTrack.
Could you please tell me what you think about this first set-up?
Thanks a lot in advance!

You probably want two LFOs and two ENV generators simultaneously. With two Peaks you can only have 1x LFO, 1xENV or 2xLFO or 2xENV.

Not sure about 6581punk’s comment… You can configure one or both Peaks in SPLIT mode, so that can give you in total:

  • 2 LFO
  • 2 ENV
  • 1 LFO / 1 ENV
  • 1 LFO / 2 ENV
  • 2 LFO / 1 ENV
  • 2 LFO / 2 ENV

If LFOs are important to you, you can replace one Peaks by a Batumi, but with 2 Peaks you already have many modulation sources (including randomness for Clouds).


Thanks a lot for both your feedbacks.
The initial idea was to have an ADSR to get into the Strum of Rings, and be able to approach the initial pad sound of this R Beny performance:
R Beny says “Mutable Instruments Rings (fed by Bastl Noise Square)”, have you got an idea of how Noise Square fed Rings? other reflexions to be able to approach this sound?

Then, I’ve looked for a good “several VCA module”, and has found that Veils appears to have a good ratio VCA numbers/price, even its size is not so tiny. Then, having 4 VCAs, I had the idea to have a 2nd Peaks to benefit of two additionnal LFO plus random capabilities…
Batumi is good but then I will lack of 2 VCAs, the 4 VCA of Veils won’t be sufficient for one Peaks and one Batumi… am I wrong?

Thank you again for your feedback

> The initial idea was to have an ADSR to get into the Strum of Rings

Rings’ Strum input is a trigger input, it just detects whether the level of the incoming signal is above or below 0.6V, so there’s no point patching a CV source into it.

> have you got an idea of how Noise Square fed Rings?

This was probably something like this: Noise square > VCA audio input. ADSR> VCA control input. VCA output -> Rings IN input.

> Batumi is good but then I will lack of 2 VCAs

Why do you need as many VCAs as modulation sources? You can directly patch a modulation source into a CV input.

Thanks Pichenettes for this feedback.
So I understand that, to reach an “envelopped sound” with Rings, you can feed some noise or tonal continuous sound into Rings In input, plus an ADSR/VCA modulation on it activated by Yarns’s gate, and modulate the pitch of Rings’s notes thanks to the 1V/oct input and Yarns’s CV, is it correct? In this way to use Rings, will Brightness still filter the sound?
Regarding the multiple VCAs: in my comprehension, I’ll use VCA to modulate the depth of modulations, LFOs or randomness, to twick/modify the modulations’s amplitudes.
To implement your comment regarding the Rings IN input, I’ve slightly modified the rack.
Thanks a lot again

> is it correct?


> will Brightness still filter the sound?


> in my comprehension, I’ll use VCA to modulate the depth of modulations

Good technique :slight_smile: But you might not need/want to always modulate the depth of all your modulations, so it’s OK to have more modulation sources than VCAs.

Having multiple Peaks is definitely a plus. They’re very useful modules!

Might I suggest the Dubjr module might not be the most interesting delay module out there? You might be better with a Chronoblob, by our very own forum member @float32. It’s a bit wider though, so won’t fit in a single row, unless you get rid of something else.


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Thanks again Pichenettes for your feedback, and sorry for the franglish :wink: I think two Peaks is a good start to modulate this “small” system, I’ll see for Batumi later, but thank you for the advice regarding modulations and VCA…
Thank you Toneburst for your encouraging comments and ideas, indeed Chronoblob appears to be very interesting, especially with its sync ability, its feedback loop and the freeze option. To make it enter in one row of my rack, I’ve replaced Veils (4 VCA 12HP) by a Bubblesound VCA4P (4 VCA 8HP) even it’s 60 euros more. Then I’ll be able to enter Pico DSP in the feedback loop of Chronoblob, could be interesting… I’d like to add some overdrive to the sound, and its dry/wet knob could be practical to dose out the effect. Have you got an opinion about Pico DSP, and especially about its overdrive effect? I also was interested in Ryo Optodist, but it hasn’t got a dry/wet knob, only a gain knob, so it’s not possible to dose out the overdrived sound/dry sound with it…
Here after the last version of this rack

Hi vssp. To answer your question about the Rings pad sound in the Oella video, I’m directly sending the digital noise out of the Noise Square into Rings’ In input without a VCA or ASDR. By doing that, you get a constant drone, which is the basis of that pad part.

Hi Wildfrontiers, in writing my questions, I was far away to think you could read and reply to it: R Beny himself, so funny… I’ve recently discovered your electribe videos, and then your modular work, you’re so talented… It’s the way I entered in the modular world, in watching your beautiful work, so thanks a lot for this. Sometimes it reminds me the sound of progressive rock groups like GYBE.
Thanks for the clarification about the use of noise to feed Rings, I’ve chosen a Doepfer module to do so, I thank their was an ADSR/VCA because Oella’s pad transitions are really smooth between each notes, like there were some big attack and release, perhaps I’ll have to test it to figure out, it’s one of the many options offered by this set-up.
Could I profit of your venue to ask you a second question: I’ve seen in the Spring in Blue description that you use Chronoblob + Optodist, could you please tell me if it’s possible to smoothly dose out Optodist overdrive, and if so, in which way? I’ve not seen any dry/wet knob on it… my alternative to this would be to use Pico DSP who has one, but perhaps the overdrive effect is not as good as Optodist? I don’t know… anyway!
Thanks again Wildfrontiers

GYBE is definitely a huge influence of mine :slight_smile:

With Rings, it helps to sort of think of the strings on a guitar. Feeding it constant noise is like constantly vibrating the string with something like an eBow.

I got around not having the wet/dry on the Optodist by multing the signal. So I have one signal that’s dry and one going into the Optodist. They both go into my mixer. I actually wasn’t so hot on the Optodist and my main source for distorted sounds lately has been the Doepfer A-189-1. And my secret weapon of overdrive is Clouds :slight_smile:

I’ve also a lot liked GYBE and other progressive stuff like Explosion in the sky, Silver mount zion, Eluvium, Stars of the lid… it was years ago. Good to think of this…
I better understand for Rings and your use of it, sounds really interesting, and I have to say it’s so incredible to be able to sound as progressive and even rock with modular gear.
I haven’t thunk about this simple way to dose out effects without dry/wet, and the set-up I’ve planed could permit to do so, however the overdrive module is still in question, I’ll see later about it…as far as I’ll have to convince my banker for the complete set-up I’ve planed, lol.
Your secret weapon is Clouds, and I want it to remain secret! :wink:
Thanks a lot for the kind words and advices,

Dear all,

a few months ago I started to work on my first rack, now I’m about to conclude about it.
Here after the complete planification (6U 104hp):

I’m about to order a first part of it, but I would like to have some last advices about my plan.
My complementary machines to be used with it are an Octatrack (rack output to the OT input), and an Analog Keys (main and individual tracks outputs to the pico inputs). With Rings and Elements I’d have some really complementary and organic synthesis capabilities refering to the substractive synthesis of AK; Modulations with Pamela’s new workout, Voltage Block, and Erica RND plus 4 x 2hp VCA, noise by Erica RND, slew limiter/filter/delay/etc with Disting Mk4, distorsion/owerdrive by Shapes, multiple Fx, and 3 mixers to be autonomous on this part within the rack and to be able to route sounds to Clouds and/or Rainmaker in live, etc
Am I missing or misevaluate something? what do you think of this set-up?.any additional advice about the chosen fx like Shapes, Pico DSP, Rainmaker?
Thanks a lot for your feedbacks!

I would personally only start with a few of these modules. You have some really deep, complex stuff in there and I think you will get a better idea of your preferences after starting smaller. Maybe that is already your plan and I misunderstand, but I personally would maybe just get Elements, a few modulation sources, and a couple VCAs to start with. You have a lot of FX and processing stuff which might be interesting, but you can also do quite a lot of that with your AK and OT. Depending on how you are controlling things, I don’t think you need the MIDI module right away since you have the AK unless you have specific plans.

There is a lot to learn with many of the modules here, and I think you might miss out on some of the more creative and deeper stuff you can do with each one if you get a bunch of stuff all at one time :slight_smile:

Hi Joshua, thanks for your feedback! You’re right, my plan is not to buy whole the rack in one time… What I plan to buy is more reasonable but deep enough to be quickly funny! As follow:

At first, probably no Rainmaker, nor pico dsp , neither 2hp delay, one 2hp vca, neither Éléments, nor pico rnd, disting, malekko mixer… so a lot less modules! And the midi stuff for driving in midi with OT and to synchronise Pamela’s… Your last point is really interesting and I have it in mind. Have you got an advice about Rainmaker? This module seems not so popular, but it appears so powerful …

I am not familiar with Rainmaker, but I’ve never personally been attracted to the very large interface, though perhaps that isn’t really fair :smile:

I think I might add a VCO/LFO to start as both a modulator and sound source, like Tides or a Dixie, especially for simple melody type sounds. Some of my favorite patches have been just a sequenced sine or triangle wave as the only audio source.

Hi Johua, I’m interested in your advice to add a simple voice source, I could plane this: one Sinc Iter, two Erica EGs, one Erica Vcf1, one 2hp vca, effects… That would take about 14 to 20hp, and I would like it to not take to much hps… what do you think about the planification of a simple voice in general ? Thanks for your feedback!

@vssp I am not personally familiar with the Sinc Iter, but I think your general idea sounds reasonable as long as you are happy with having very compact controls.

Don’t forget that a select few LFO/VCOs have built in VCAs and LPF/waveshaping abilities (Tides being among that exclusive club :smiley:) meaning less need for separate modules, but sometimes you might prefer having all of the various components separate.

Hi, I’ve finished the reflexions and just entered in the modular world with this:

Here after two vids made with this new set-up:

A big thanks to all for the advices, and especially to WIldFrontiers for making me discover modular ambient music, and offcourse to Olivier for those amazing modules!