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Getting Started with Eurorack – Introduction to Modular Synthesis and the basics

Fast track tutorial to get the concepts and basics of modular and Eurorack

Watch these handy videos by The Tuesday Nightmare Machines to get a handle on the basic Eurorack and modular concepts. There’s no need to be uneasy about the patching…you’ll pick it up quite fast and you don’t need a heap of modules to get awesome sounds and a midi playable rig.

 

 

 

 

BUDGET

Once you have an idea of the what type of system you are after (I’m sure you have no idea whatsoever), it’s time to set a budget and start looking at interfacing, oscillators, samplers, and filters to get the chain you are after.

CASES

Case combinations can range from simple to out of this world with walls of modular sucking the city power dry. To begin with, a small case to fit around 5 modules is plenty and budget friendly. They’re portable, can sit on your desk and come in handy when you want to play with combinations later. A modular carry case is also a great idea for keeping them safe when taking them to gigs.

AUDIO INTERFACING

First, you will have to make a decision on how you want to connect the system to speakers or headphones. Eurorack is ‘Line Out’, so any interface or mixer with ‘Line-In’ shall do and using a cable with a 3.5mm TS patch cables end to a 6.5mm TS(guitar end) to your audio interfaces line in. For headphones, it’s advised to use the interfaces headphone socket or use a small mixer if you have one handy. Plugging in a pair of headphones to your modules isn’t a good idea for your headphones or your ears until you know what you are doing. Keeping it simple to start is a good idea.

MIDI

Although not may also want to connect your modules to a midi keyboard. Midi interface modules can also add velocity, aftertouch, tempo, arp/seq, polyphony and CV (control voltage) capabilities. A MIDI module will save you getting an arpeggiator or sequencer for a while saving money for other modules.

Remember the good thing about the format is you can add modules as you get them, re-arrange them and re-purpose them. There is no need to get everything at once.

DESIGNING YOUR SETUP

Understanding the sounds you want to create from your new setup are key to designing your first combination. Are you after a sampler, bass, percussion, leads, arpeggios, etc.

Starting with a sound source, a basic setup will need a generator such as a sampler or an oscillator so we’ll start with oscillators to keep it simple. Most oscillator modules come with different waveforms which can be accessed separately or modified between by a knob and control voltage. I suggest watching this video by Junkie XL where he explains the patch he is making. It’s over 40 minutes but so worth the watch.

 

 

Now that your head is swimming with ideas, it’s time to start looking at modules and setups. Most of the products on Audio Junki have accompanying videos with examples so you can get a great idea of the sounds the modules can create.

In-store, we are currently working on saving you the trouble of sorting out power requirements and curating a few combinations we think are little powerhouses. Subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get updates.

A.J.

¢ 2018 Copyright Audio Junki

 

Feature image attribution:
By Kazuhisa OTSUBO from Tokyo, Japan (つづいてモジュール入れ替えちう。) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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