Starting a Eurorack with microbrute


#1

Hello to everyone in this forum.
This is my first time here,please forgive me for my english.

I’m a first timer in eurorack, i have a microbrute and i’m interested to make a ambient,drone,musique concrete.I’m also super-hyped about MI :slight_smile:
I want first to buy a few modules that work well with microbrute and slowly build a standalone synth (i’m a bit low on budget 600-700 hundred(for case and modules) to start and i hope to make some sounds from the start). I found a cheap used Peaks that i think i’m gonna buy because it seems very useful.What next? Plaits and Rings seems very good,i like the different timbre sounds. MI ear or music theory thing mikrophonie also interests me.
What’s your opinion ? Buy peaks or not?Then what? My problem is i dont know what is compatible with microbrute ,maybe i will face some problems with connections.Please help as i’m really excited to jump in the eurorack hobby.

thank you all for your time


#2

Everything should work with the MicroBrute, I’d have though.

Peaks is quite a versatile module. The interface can be a little confusing at times, due to the limited number of controls and multiple modes. You might find you want more than one of them, though!

It’s probablt a good one to start with, I’d say.

You might also want to pick up an Expert Sleepers Disting Mk4. They’re quite cheap, low HP, and do a Lot of different things. You’d probably want to break out some of the functions you find yourself using most to separate modules, later, but when you’re just getting started, it provides a huge range of functions for the price (including some that actually aren’t available anywhere else).


#3

thanks for the reply, i already sent an email to the peaks seller :smile:
couldn’t resist to get my first modular. Now about Plaits, to my understanding with gate out and pitch out from microbrute i can control it like a normal oscillator, am i wrong ? would i need something else in the middle?


#4

The MicroBrute was my “gateway drug” too. :slight_smile:

Its main limitation is that it has only one envelope (ADSR) generator that is shared between the VCA, the filter and other control destinations. That’s one reason why Peaks would make a good addition: in ADSR mode you could trigger it from the MB’s gate out, then use it to modulate the filter or something else independently from the VCA envelope.


#5

haha you know i never thought about modular,i thought that was too expensive and complicated for me,but as soon as you connect your first patch on mod matrix a clock starts ticking…and here we are.
A thing that many people mentrion is that the cv of microbrute is not very strong (probably wrong way to say it) and it doesn’t “talk” to some modules?Is that making any sense? I’m trying to find where i read that.


#6

I don’t know about that. Impedance-wise, the MicroBrute’s LFO and envelope should be able to control a couple of CV inputs at the same time. Perhaps they mean that the envelope doesn’t span 0-8V like many modules do? To be honest, I’ve never really noticed. I think, in general, not getting the entire CV sweep is often not a problem; in fact, most of the time you’ll want to rein it in a bit, to center the modulation around a sweet spot of whatever module you’re controlling.

Which brings me to another thing to note: that the MicroBrute doesn’t have any attenuators on its CV inputs; you can only attenuate the LFO and envelope outputs. As long as your connections stay inside the MB’s own mod matrix, it kind of comes down to the same thing, but if you have an outside signal coming in, you may want to be able to control how wide that filter (or pitch, or pwm…) sweep goes. So some kind of attenuator or attenuverter module could come in handy. There’s a tiny double one from 2HP, or if you want three that can be mixed as well: Mutable Instruments’ own Shades.


#7

I would recommend to enhance the MB first with a few utilities and only then take the deep plunge into new territories.

Agreeing with Robrecht on the need to add envelopes (e.g. ALM Pip Slope is nice, MN Function more versatile, there are plenty of options …) to open up the potential of the MB.
The MB puts out relatively low strength signals on envelope and LFO, thus an amp like MI Ears or MTM Mikrophonie is advised to make them useful for controlling other modules (also good if you want to feed the MB into Clouds, reverb or delay).
A sequencer can open up quite a few possibilities. The Korg SQ-1 is a great and versatile entry level solution.

For ambient/drone you might indeed want to add another oscillator. Check out the MI Tides, often overlooked but hands down my favourite MI module. Creates envelopes (as recommended above but also rich textural sounds in oscillator mode, when crosspatched).
Further, delay and reverb will be pretty important to fill your soundscapes. Clouds is a classic, but simpler delays or reverbs might be easier to control, when you are not super familiar with modular yet.

Have fun exploring! :slight_smile:


#8

+1 for Shades. It’s a really useful module.


#9

thank you all for your replies,that is exactly the advice i’m looking for,things that i cant imagine unless i first face them. You know,you get excited about the modules that make sounds or effects and you forget all the other. So an attenuator …check. A lot of people ,correction, ALL OF THEM are talking about Maths and what it can give you but to be honest i cannot quite understant it.Ok you can use it as envelope etc but whats the main thing it does? If you have other utilities you’re welcome.Not only as a model but as a function like mixer,amplifier (i believe i can use Microbrute’s for start) attenuators etc :blush:


#10

i know that i have to try things and probably i will make many mistakes but i’m trying to do a steady slow first step so yes i understand you cant teach me everythng,…but i find your advices super-useful


#11

Great, glad you’ve found it useful. To be honest, my module-buying has been guided by two main principles:

  1. Is it made by Mutable Instruments?
  2. Is it DIY?

I don’t necessarily think they’re the best principles, but you won’t go far wrong with @pichenettes’ creations.

You’re right though: it is easy to forget the importance of basic utility modules, particularly multiples, mixers and attenuators/atenuverters.

I can recommend MI Links as a pretty handy little utility module. It does 3 simple tasks very well, I think.

Again, like Peaks, you will probably want more than one of them, or more likely, dedicated modules for unity-gain mixing and multiplexing, but as a starter module, it’s a great buy.


#12

Oh yes links and kinks i never gave them attention.I must study because now i cant quite understand what either of them does (like Maths). Also Tides that prussian_zen mentioned,i never saw a video,everywhere you look it’s the same popular modules and you forget the rest.

i have this in mind but for start i will use microbrute’s.
Toneburst i understand your principles,i dont know much but ALL MI modulars seems very appealing to me,that’s why i’m planning to start with them.My only fear is that maybe i will end with only their modules and i dont know if its a good philosophy for modular synthesis.And soon i will try my first DIY modules like Mikrophonie or Turing Machine.


#13

Turing Machine is a really fun module, especially with the Pulses and Volts/Voltages expanders.

Radio Music (also by Music Thing) is also great.

I’d say get both, at some point. They’re relatively easy builds, are well-documented, and available as full kits from Thonk here in the UK.


#14

Links is quite simple, in fact.

It has three sections.

The top section is a multiple. Plug a signal into the top-left socket, and copies of that signal appear at the other three sockets.

The middle section mixes the two upper inputs to both the output sockets below.

The bottom section is a unity-gain mixer. The bottom-right socket outputs the sum of the three input sockets in that section.

All very useful.


#15

Ok well explained, i can see why it’s so usefull.

Radio Music,Mikrophonie and Magnetophon seem perfect for musique concrete
I will check what the other MI models do like shades,frames,streams,veils etc. I bet they are all very useful in ways i cannot understand (and probably wont until i face problems in my synthesis that i have to overcome).
I bought yesterday Peaks :slight_smile: even though i still dont have a case or power supply and probably wont for another month or so).I’m super excited for this new world


#16

I also started out with a Microbrute before getting into Eurorack. A suggestion I received from @erstlaub

“The one suggestion I’d have is if you can scrape to be able to afford it now (as it’ll save you money later), I’d definitely replace Shades with Blinds as it gets you a whole raft of CV utilities/VCAs/effects and mixing.”

I’m glad I took his advice, and although it took me a while to get my head around, it was well worth the extra money.

I also opted for Peaks, Tides and Ears when starting out. After a few months I started to get why Tides was so good; so much so that it’s the only module I have two of. Have fun whatever you decide to do :+1:


#17

I think Shades has its place, and works better than Blinds as an audio mixer, because of the uni/bi-polar mode switches, which Blinds lacks.

Shades is also a lot narrower, which can be seen as a plus.

I’d say get Shades first, then Blinds later, when you have more things to plug into it.


#18

Good point @toneburst. It wasn’t long until I picked up Shades for exactly that job.


#19

Microbrute is an excellent starting point. I wish I still had mine and will probably get another if/when finances allow.

I opted for a dirt cheap, DIY 104HP cardboard case, inspired by Mylar Melodies’ tutorial for Future Music.

For power, I bought the KOMA STROM Bundle.

My first module was a Music Thing Modular Radio Music. Things have escalated from there!

+1 for @toneburst’s Disting Mk4 suggestion. It’s a swiss army knife of a module in a tiny package. I’ve been using mine as a Turing Machine substitute.

+1 for @prussian_zen’s SQ-1 recommendation. It’s loads of fun and doubles as a MIDI to CV converter.


#20

If you can afford it plaits is a brilliant module. It has a build-in miniature version of rings. So it a two in one purchase. Also the tone colors it generates are very suitable for ambient. One of the things I dislike about the microbrute is that it sounds so bland analogue. I don’t like the sound. Plaits has more appealing sounds for ambient. in addition it has a polyphony option when you use the chords synthesis model, same with the inharmonic string modeling model of plaits with has 3 voices of polyphony…
Tides is another great recommendation, I own two, use one as a regular Tides and the the other in Sheep mode. Sheep has some really nice wevefolding options does work very well as an oscillator and also in slow motion as an LFO. It can create some very weird waveforms and triggers on the one bit and sub outputs.
One tip I haven’t read yet is to download VCVRack first, most of the Mutable instrument modules are on it for free and it is an excellent way to get to know them, understand them. It will help you in your buying decisions.