First Skiff Plot

Hey everyone! I have been thinking about this for a while, especially due to the fact that there is not really another feasible way to interface my hardware directly with A3. I have to get some sort of a DC-coupled interface, and the only one that makes sense is the ES-8. So if I am going to buy that, I figured I would also invest in the MakeNoise Skiff or the Arturia Rackbrute, and start making plans to fill it with modules that will pair well with Audulus. As @robertsyrett, @stschoen, and @futureaztec were all mentioning to another user recently, it seems silly to invest in a bunch of effects, functions, and other things that can be easily programmed in A3. So I put together a basic setup that I think will fit my needs and not throw away money on unnecessary items. Before I start buying the first few items, I wanted to get some feedback about my proposed setup in case there is something I may not be considering. Thanks in advance to anyone that has thoughts to provide! :slight_smile:


3 Likes

Looks awesome! I’m facing the same sort of decision myself. I already have a Novation UltraNova digital synth and I am hoping to eventually use MIDI out from Audulus to control it since just about everything can be modulated via MIDI CC. I just took the analog plunge yesterday and ordered a Behringer Neutron and Model D. MIDI of course is limited to note on/off, pitch bend and mod wheel. Since CV is the only feasible way to control these units and the ES-8 seems to be the best solution, I hope to also acquire an ES-8 and case at some point but the budget will have to recover for quite a while first. The MakeNoise Skiff isn’t as fancy as the Rackbrute but it has a significantly larger power supply and more space and costs less as well.

1 Like

I don’t think that setup is a good idea given what you already have. You don’t need to fill a skiff. You need to get an ES-8 so you can get your CV on. That’s it. The rest is just more stuff you threw in there. :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Don’t do it! The power supply is really underwhelming compared to the alternatives that have come into production since then. I say this as someone who loves the rest of Makenoise Music’s product range.

I would strongly encourage a VCA/mixer. I think the inputs on the ES-8 are going to fill up if you use it as a mixer and that is a module that is a hub of live modulation. Even though it’s more like plumbing than anything else, these are vital to small systems. I have a Intellijel Quad VCA and a Makenoise ModDemix for that and I think they works quite well and serve different purposes.

Usual advice: Build Slow

This is an enjoyable part of the journey, don’t rush through it.

That said, looks great! There isn’t a module in there that I wouldn’t buy starting out. One of the things you have in Audulus is an infinite supply of “vanilla” waveforms, so choose wisely with your additional oscillators and make sure they bring something to the table. For me it was all about analog FM and Mutable Instruments Plaits but it could be different on your journey.

2 Likes

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me :slight_smile:
In my defense, this is not a splurge all at once decision, by any means. I am considering for the future. Too many times, metaphorically speaking, I have built the barn to house the single riding lawnmower I had, without taking into account that I had growing interest in other yard work to be done, and potential need for other things. Accessories that will complement the lawnmower, if you will.

Then suddenly, with said accessories in my possession, a year later, I have a burning desire to build a time machine to go back in the past and convince myself to think ahead for once in my life, and consider the tree trimmer, chainsaw, snowplow, etc. other things I will end up also using to take care of the property, alongside the lawnmower. All of which require space in the shed I built, which could have been a barn if I had given a little bit of thought to the future. Does that make sense?

I don’t want anyone to get the idea that I am some upper class dabbler with money to blow. I am just a hardcore fan with a growing interest. I am far from captain moneybags with a bottomless bank account lol, and my sensibilities fall in line with what @stschoen just mentioned about financial recovery before diving deeper, after I just bought the Microvolt. That being said, I am plotting this as a strategy to follow over the next 6-12 months. It could change, as newer and better things come out. This is my baseline - ES-8 and a case (my tractor and barn lol) As @robertsyrett mentioned:

And I fully intend to do that. :wink:

1 Like

Hey there! Thanks for getting back to me :slight_smile: I wanted to say congrats on your hardware! You are really going to be happy with that combo, imo. I have watched a bunch of really neat videos with some really dope tracks people have made with that pairing. I am definitely eager to check out what you end up composing with them! Be sure to post it when you have something you are ready to share. That Neutron really sounds great for being a paraphonic semi-modular that is SUB-$300, which I cannot understand at all, but as long as it is quality hardware, no questions from me for the how or why :grin:

I certainly am happy that there is something that does what we need, but I wish there was a bit of competition, that could maybe offer a slightly lower price and perhaps a desktop solution for those of us with desktop units and no rack yet (one that doesn’t have less I/O for somehow MORE MONEY!!). I can dream…

That is excellent advice about something I was sure a more experienced peer could point out to me and tell me why that would be a mistake. Thanks so much for pointing that out! I will certainly keep that in mind, and I intend to do exactly as you had advised in another thread just recently - maintain one 104 hp rack and swap modules as necessary (if you could go back and do it all over again) :wink:

2 Likes

I think it makes sense to plan for the future. There’s no harm in filling out the rest of the case with other modules you might want in the future. I see that Behringer has a bare 104 HP skiff style case for $70. Add a microZeus PS for around $90 and a brick and you’re all set for a case.
I’m looking forward to my new toys. I really like the UltraNova and it’s a very powerful and fexible synth. Great for keyboard oriented stuff but not so good for more experimental sounds. Besides, more knobs is better! :cowboy_hat_face:

3 Likes



Oh man! You just saved the day! I was going to buy the bare bones skiff from MN (since @robertsyrett very helpfully pointed out the issues with the power supply) at $100 and find another power supply for it, but if Behringer has one same size, and $20 cheaper, I will get that one, as I rather like the slightly tipped upward on an angle as opposed to being flat on its back! Awesome, thanks for bringing that up!!! :smile:

2 Likes

I found my ES-8 used on reverb.com. The main reason I said all you need is an ES-8 is because I was under the impression you just bought a microvolt 3000 and a teenage engineering complete modular system. So I though, get an ES-8 and some power and you will see exactly what you want within a few weeks. I mean I often run the Audulus VCA’s, rather than doing it externally. But I also have an Erica Synths Pico VCA (which is 3hp. There is also the ‘2hp VCA’)I thought with a case that size and those two systems + Audulus you would then only need an output module/mixer.

Think this way…Cases are comparably cheap. But If you get a case that also has a 1u row, then you can have access to the 1U modules, like VCA’s, mixers, guitar inputs, sample and holds, Ornament and Crime’s 1U version, etc., etc.

Then you have a full-size empty proper row left. Since you already have the two systems, Audulus, and, possibly a 1u utility row, then you can get into a real theme in your main row, instead of sweating trying to cram in “the plumbing.”

Good Luck. Please share your findings.

3 Likes

I forgot that I had mentioned that here, since it all happened so fast lol…

I bought and cancelled the TE modular system within 30 mins of purchase. I decided to wait it out for something with good advanced reviews and A/V demos to back it up. I really like TE and a lot of their gear, but I am not going to be an illogical fanboy that will blindly follow into the darkness and mystery, just simply because of their name is attached.

I feel sorry for a lot of the people who did/do, as I read a bunch of bad experiences on Reddit about first run purchases that seemed like component and build quality was up on the altar of sacrifice for the sake of pushing it out fast to meet demand. I don’t want any part of that.

I ended up buying the Microvolt instead of the TE modular set, and it is better by an exponential factor in every way, imo. I am much happier with the fact that I waited, and now I plan to build my own rack for this next one, cuz no complete set (that I am aware of) comes with a ES-8, which is kinda the deciding factor to build my own rack. I appreciate the pointer about the 1U modules, and will take this into consideration. Thanks again! :smile:

1 Like

You can do a lot in Audulus in terms of modulation, totally, but I wish it could host Au plugins for more tasty reverbs and other fx.

Regarding your modulargrid - so the plan is to use Audulus for the sequencing and some modulation and fx, all at once? What about recording?

1 Like

The PreSonus interface I use for recording is OS X and iOS compatible. I use one of three things - on Mac, I have Logic Pro or [the most limited, barebones version of] Ableton Live. On my iPad, I have Korg Gadget.

Apparently, you can also use VCV Rack on your Mac, PC, Linux machine as a fully functioning DAW now, but I have not personally tried it.

Do you see any flaws in my logical reasoning or missing pieces of my plan? This is exactly the reason I posted this idea to the forum so I could get valuable feedback and assistance viewing my idea from every angle. I truly respect and value the input from all my peers here. Please let me know when you get a chance :slight_smile:

Have you tried running the Microvolt with KORG Gadget Taipei? One thing I find fun is to build something in Audulus, then load it up in AUM as inter app audio, then also load up Gadget as inter app audio. Feed a midi note to sync audulus. Then you just work in the world of KORG gadget, which I would say has that real immediacy that people like in an elektron digitakt, for example. I imagine you need a USB/midi cable. That setup would seem fun and portable, assuming you also have an iPad or iPhone. Then you can put your laptop and daw at the the of the chain for recording everything. Just a thought.

I almost feel like sometimes it’s good to establish a solid base, then the eurorack thing is extra, rather than vital.

2 Likes

Obviously modular is very personal thing, but I’m just looking at that modulargrid picture and I don’t get what I would do with it, what kind of workflow and / or musical output I could archieve.

Is this more or less a drone machine?

One of the learnings of my own modular journey is that a decent melodic sequencer is a must. Surely I can sequence from ipad, using either Audulus or Zmors Modular on their own or various ios sequencers like Patterning, Fugue Machine and so on via midi to cv conversion. But software is often hard for building a progression or movement on the fly.

Previously I’ve struggled with Voltage Block as a writing tool, but its really better for modulation. Composition wise I’ve always got stuck with one good sounding pattern or loop, but there wasn’t much options to quickly, fluidly and intuitevely navigate to other places.

Unfortunately and luckily I burned it and its waiting for repair, which forced me to look for alternatives, and then I discovered Crazy 8 sequencer from Twisted Electrons.

Its somewhat on the cheaper side, but you get 4 tracks with CV / gate outputs, 4 midi tracks at the same time, or 8 midi tracks. Its simple and fast to get going and change notes in the sequence and / or patterns on the fly.

Another weak point of my system is FX. I have only tapographic delay. Morphagene and Nebulae can be used as live granular delay effects, too, but most of my stuff is ambient, so either a compact clouds or multi mode reverb would be useful, even if I always record to PC with Blackhole and a million of other plugins.

Sorry for a long post, but I guess my advice is to inspect what kind of output you’re aiming at, and if this new setup gives you something you can’t do otherwise or not.

My other, more specific points:

maybe Voltage Research Laboratory from Pittsburgh could replace this whole build, while being more playable? A bit cheaper, too.

Dual (or single) Countor 1 from Joranalogue seems to be more capable than Maths, judging from a recent Divkid review. (1 volt/oct and more)

Does STO bring to the table something that you can’t do on Lifeforms and Microvolt? Lifeforms vs Microvolt?

Is there a point in having a hardware random source instead of using Audulus, and potentially having more flavors of random sources there?

2 Likes

I love Joranalogue, but Contour 1 is not really a replacement for Maths. It is based on the same circuit, but the Joranalogue perfects it and makes all of the ins out accessible so you can use the one circuit in any way, it’s a brilliant module.

But it or even 2 of them are not as useful as Maths. You can do vast majority of what you can do on Contour 1 (except track volt per octave and rise/fall gates for same function generator) but Maths can do more. Maths is wholistic, and as such each component synergizes with each other. The attenuverting mixer, in combination with the logic outs and unity outs allow for some pretty incredible self patching that you wouldn’t be able to do in the same HP with Contour1 and the various other modules required.

Ok, enough of beating a dead horse. Everyone should have a maths, if for no other reason than it makes it easy to share patches with your modular friends.

Damn! That is reasonably priced. If I wasn’t set in my ways using the digitakt as myh modular sequencer I would be very tempted by the compact form factor and straightforward interface. Very cool!

1 Like

It only outputs notes and gates, tho, no velocity etc. They also have a drum sequencer of similar nature, that can be installed as a module.

Basically I wanted an Impromptu Modular (from VCV Rack) kind of sequencer in the flesh, which in turn was inspired by Stepper Acid. Immidiacy is the name of the game here, I don’t understand sequencers like Seq from Polyend, where you have to select the note with an encoder and pay 5 times more money to use it with modular.

2 Likes

Maybe a Circuit + Midi to cv?

Two sequencers + drums, gate, velocity, length…

3 Likes

If there is a theme here it is sequencing. One thing about the elektron stuff. You get sequencing, you can save your midi work, you also get effects (delay, reverb) which are very useful, and you get an audio interface, with a stereo in. This means you can multi track out to your computer through the usb cable, right into your daw. Then you have the stereo in’s which allow you bring two more channels into your daw. Sequencing and processing.

Because I managed to find a good used elektron synth, I didn’t run into the "and then I need, and then I need, but if I only had…). Elektron already thought of it all years ago. I even have 4 cv outs.

But again, seems like just a usb midi cable would really make the difference with what you already have. Of course with KORG Gadget, but also with Audulus 4 around the corner.

2 Likes

I just checked and the ES-8 requires 50 mm of mounting depth. The Behringer case is only 38 mm and the Moog lists as 1.9 “ which is 48.26 mm. It definitely won’t fit in the Behringer and may not fit in the Moog either.

2 Likes

:::sad trombone::: That is such a letdown :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

But then again, I am so so incredibly grateful to @stschoen, @robertsyrett, @futureaztec, @sinnerencia, @Fedor, for your help in this thread, and also everyone that has posted their suggestions, thoughts, workarounds, and done research to help me out in the couple other hardware threads I have posted. If it weren’t for you guys, I would have a bunch of ill advised or not well considered gear with no way to work together cuz I just don’t know enough about hardware (that doesn’t come pre-built) yet. Seriously, thanks so very much! I really appreciate it, everyone :blush:

4 Likes