Considering a Fully Portable Modular

Okay I ran the ES-8 test patch and got lost for hours with that shift register!

I went with the Audulus spectrum for my cables.


Glad to see you’ve finally got some sound!

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Thanks. I should say that this has been a long time in the making. I had been using Reaktor Blocks for a couple of years, then VCV Rack and Audulus. I really didn’t think I would pull this off – I used to just browse DC coupled audio interfaces all the time, not sure what to do. Since I held off buying a proper audio interface for years, that helped justify the cost of the ES-8.

Then after drawing and laying out those guitar pedal circuit boards, I started to understand analog computing more. This was aided by a course in elementary formal logic. In the background, of course, I was making music in Ableton and playing with VST plugins.

For me, the magic of it all, was the timing of being a late adopter. That used ES-8 popped up out of nowhere when I needed it. The used pico VCO was affordable and I picked it up just so I could make the first move and get started.

Not buying brand new hot modules (like that Instruo Tš-L) gave me room to get lots of little tiles, good cabling and the case that suits me the best. Having the smaller case is forcing me to constantly rethink what I am doing.

I have noticed there a lots of used cases around and lots of used modules. At the same time, everything still feels really fresh. But I think part of the reason why is that I have been interested for so long that it is more the function of the modules than the brand that matters. I mean, a transistor ladder filter is really just a transistor ladder filter! :slight_smile:

Finally, I have a hunch that this stuff will retain its value for resale pretty good. So, if oneday I do swap the PICO VCO for the Instruo Tš-L, I will probably be able to sell the PICO.


Are you using the X-key with your modular? If so, what is your setup?


I always intend to and pull it out to do just that, but still haven’t hooked it up yet. I have too much fun just plugging in wires and using the touchplates on the Folktek stuff and get distracted. I use it only with my iPad Pro currently for software synths.

I dig the Audulus color scheme for the cables!

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From what I can tell, having a usb midi keyboard is actually a big pain. I imagine that if I use the ES-8 to convert midi to CV, then I end up using up precious jacks on that. Wondering if the the 8 gate/trig/cv expander is the best way to deal with that. At the same time, then you still have to have the iPad hosting. Hermod is too big and too much. I am not sure if the E620 MIDI USB Host Device ever got properly running. Maybe a 2x 1u tile diy project. Cram some arduino type device into the tile format.


But then with this board you only get gate and pitch. I also need to host both the X-key and the BopPad drum surface (and possibly the Midi Fighter Twister, so Audulus has dedicated physical encoders).

Maybe I finally need to look into AUM. Maybe the CPU duty for hosting is quite low, and this would free up audulus for other things? Still, one of my goals is to be able to do everything I can without the iPad.

I am aware of the ES-FH but it would end up eating valuable HP.

Boy is it challenging to figure out which ES expansion module for the ES-8 is the right one.


cosmonauts Tsyklon makes Trace, the 1U scope.This is the manual.

I also have the TRLOGIC0 and TRLOGIC1. It says they are “Digital Input Breakouts for TRACE Oscilloscope.” What does this mean?

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@futureaztec Those are for analyzing gate signals I believe - in most cases you’d use them to look at the I/O of digital microchips. If you were looking for logic operators like XNOR I think you’ll be disappointed.

The TRACE module is basically a rehousing of a mass market project scope. What Tsyklon did was create the Eurorack panels and power supply section for basically a kit.

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go on…


There’s not much more to say - that’s all I know about it since I remembered looking up the manual.

I could expand that most of the technology in modular today comes to us via the R&D from the cell phone/mobile device industry. The obsession with miniaturization and customization has lead to amazingly small surface mount components that can be machine assembled onto PCB in extremely small numbers. The same goes for all our OLED displays.


I really like the idea that I can use this scope for testing/troubleshooting circuits. To be honest, Trace looks pretty badass in my case. Its nice to have a bouncing waveform, just for the street credit. It also generates 3 different waveforms which is cool. I have been just goofing around menu diving, since I haven’t found any good youtube videos exploring features.

Here is an update on the case: Expecting the multimode VCF, PICO VCA and PICO MULTI to arrive by Halloween! Again, I got the PICO’s used for a good price. The WMD MSCL and the 6-Mix are possibilities for the future. After reading up on the WMD MSCL, it sounds like you are getting into some real studio quality components in a small euro form factor.

I have both absolutely listened to suggestions on this forum and also contradicted them. The conversation here though has been my main guide, so I will continue to share what is happening.


*Here’s a simple question: What happens when you try to introduce and effect with a mono send/return to a stereo path? For example, if I used something like Make Noise Rosie, to introduce a mono effect like PICO DSP, would I loose my stereo path? It is mono in, stereo out.

What are some elegant ways to do effect sends with stereo paths in a tight rack?

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You stereo signal would be mixed to mono, processed by pico dsp, and stereo output of it would be mixed with dry audio. So if you would have a ping-pong delay before rosie - that ping-pongness would be lost for the pico dsp.

I have a Knobfarm Ferry module, which is your 4hp stereo send and return outside and back of the modular, to something like a pedal or pedalboard, or effects rack, or a soundcard - anything line-level. At the moment I use it as a stereo output to avoid clipping on the audio interface, and as a master knob.

The pedal world has much wider choice of effects than eurorack, and for me personally - effects like reverb isn’t something I want or need to modulate much - I just need space and some texture, not weirdness, so I don’t necessarily need to have simple effects in my system.

There are some unique things like 4ms tapo, of course.

Knobfarm also have a 3in stereo mixer, if that’s something you’re interested in.

What is the direction of this system btw?

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I have multiple uses in mind. Since I like to mix tracks into a set, it is performance oriented. I like the way that the elektron Analog Heat processes sound, so part of the idea is to take some direction from that. So I want to be able to take a DJ set and push it through some analog gear.

Now, Ableton link allows for some great syncing of Traktor Pro. So I can sync my electro set with my iPad running Beatmaker 3 or whatever. Beatmaker hosts Audulus, and Audulus can clock my modular. This means not only can I process the set through the rack, but I can also participate with my modular. You can see I have the Taiko, so I got some drums I can bring to the rave.

From there it just keeps expanding outward. I have a homemade acoustic bass and guitar, a drum pad and some keys. If I make a good track, I would be able to master it, bounce it and drop it in a set.

Of course, this all takes a backseat to simply learning how analog circuit designs and digital algorithms (logic) work. It is fun to twist knobs, but it is an altogether more interesting thing to know how it all hangs together.

With the guitar effect pedal idea…I get it. But in my circumstance, one of the aims is to avoid multiple power supplies because I want to be able to do everything off grid. Presently, everything does, I just need to order a battery for the modular. If I snuck into your rave at 4am, I might just discretely set up in the corner, sync to your clock and slip my stereo outs into the club’s mixing board. Then I may ease up the levels and start to bend and warp sound into the system…

Very interested in that Knob Farm gear. Thanks for the tip.

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So I have realized that I need triggers. First, I used the Audulus shift register module to generate these. Great results. Then, last night I tried the uTuring. Wow. With just the PICO VCO and Dinky’s Taiko my modular was outputting melodic, dense, grainy/gritty, biting groves. I grabbed a kick drum from Audulus and put it through the ES-8. So satisfied. Everything from here on in is just gravy.

Moving on, it looks like the Disting Mk4 has stereo in/stereo out reverb, and many other useful things like a shift register or Turing machine. So I would think that this would be a better choice than the PICO DSP with its mono in stereo out. One issue though is I think I might need an expander for the ES-8 because I have to process usb midi from 2 or possibly 3 “controllers.” Not sure if I have enough hp for both the es-8 expander and the Disting. The Disting would get me out of the issue of needing an iPad to get triggers (I don’t want my modular to be completely dependent on an iPad). But it seems like I need lots of outs for CV/trigs in order to convert the midi controller signals into modular friendly parameters.

I looked at the Arturia Keystep, but it doesn’t seem to have a direct velocity cv out (pretty important for FM/PM synthesis). So I would then need a midi host (too much hp and I like the X-Key better anyway).


Having used the Disting shift register, an actual Turing Machine I made, and the uTuring, I think the uTuring (when pared with the scaling and quantizing modules in Audulus) is the most flexible. The disting version is definitely useful, but in order to scale and offset the melody as well as adjust the length you need to be intimately familiar with the encoder menu system. Audulus definitely wins out with the gorgeous visual interface that @stschoen made for the module. The actual Turing machine is my baby, and useful as an analog noise source, but it too requires quantizing and DC offsets to work the same way as uTuring does. But unlike the Audulus version, those functions are going to take up HP.

Disting can do midi with it’s 4HP midi break out module, but no velocity CV either. You can connect a bluetooth keyboard like the A-01 or nanKey and use Audulus for velocity sensitive CV as well.

Also the disting reverb algorithms are pretty good! I don’t think they are going to make people throw away their Strymon Blue Sky pedals, but they get the job done if you just want to add a little dimension to a recording.


To anyone who is finding this thread a bit much, please just turn away! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I am benefiting greatly from the advice I have received here as things start to get more complex. Sometimes I need to think about things I won’t incorporate for a few years but I want to plan ahead.

Sequencing: I do not have room to do proper sequencing in the case. Fine, I saw that coming. I have been reading this Audiobus thread. It got me thinking about the Digitakt. The Beatstep Pro is a common choice for sequencing, but many people sing the praises of the Digitakt. The thing is, it does not have direct cv outs, like the Beatstep. So how do people interface this with their modulars? I supposed you have to get a darned midi euro interface like Yarns or something? I need to avoid that.

So, yeah. Sequencing. Any thoughts?


How about the Chase Bliss Thermae or the new version of Tonal Recall.06%20AM 32%20AM

People be talkin’ about how modulating delays and reverbs is not important, but man does Chase Bliss ever produce some gnarly, practical scapes. Thing is though, these are mono aren’t they!

*Also. These are analog circuits. Interesting comparison.

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maybe a used Analog 4 mk1? I picked one up for cheap and it’s a game changer when combined with euro. also has some nice onboard effects so you can clock the modular and process the audio as well.

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Some interesting differences.

Analog 4 Mk1

Analog 4 Mk2

Beatstep Pro

For drums it would be nice to have 8 gate/trig outs plus cv for each out. I guess I am realizing that it is mostly drum sequencing that concerns me. With the lead and bass, I am fine playing my own patterns…