An introduction to the Eurorack modular system with Robin Vincent

The world of modular synthesis might appear a bit intimidating at first glance, but – and as someone who just got into modular a couple of years ago you can trust me –  it doesn’t have to be as difficult as you’d think and Robin Vincent is going to show you why. He’s been a software guy for 20 years, so if he can work it out then anyone can….

An introduction to modular synthesis

Episode 1 – Introduction to Eurorack Modular series

Welcome to a new series of videos that aim to answer the question of “how to get into modular synthesis”. We’ve teamed up with Robin Vincent from Molten Music Technology to witness his first steps into the world of Eurorack modular.

Robin is our guide and our guinea pig as he strives to unravel this mysteriously musical form of DIY synthesis. There will be videos forthcoming on gateway synths to lay the ground work, software alternatives to whet your appetite, and on to choosing the right case and power supply. And then it will develop into an opportunity to try out, compare and review various modules as he starts to put his system together.

This is the start of a journey and we don’t know exactly where it’s going to go but it should be fun to find out. Here’s Robin explaining the plan.

Episode 2 – Semi-modular as a gateway to Eurorack Modular Proper

In this episode Robin explains why a semi-modular synthesiser might be a really good way testing the modular water. He tests out the Moog Mother-32 and demonstrates how it gives you a patchable and enlightening starting point.

You can learn an awful lot about synthesis and the way modular works from a semi-modular. He highlights the Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms SV-1, the Dreadbox Erebus and the Make Noise 0-Coast as similarly useful semi-modular boxes. The point really is that a semi-modular synth will always be a stand-alone synthesiser regardless of whether you go all the way into a Eurorack system. And if you choose not to go further into modular then you’ve still got a great synth to play with that will sit nicely with your existing setup.

Episode 3 – Wetting your feet with Softube Modular

Do you know how to make those basic modular connections? If you don’t then your new expensive case and modules could be a huge source of frustration. If you’ve just used regular synths and VSTi’s up until now then modular synthesis is not necessarily going to be as intuitive as you may think. It’s all very well reading about it or watching videos but it’s not until you actually sit down with a bunch of modules that the reality starts to become clear. In this episode Robin suggests that Softube Modular is the perfect way to get your feet wet. It emulates Eurorack in every potentially annoying and frustrating detail and gives you the opportunity to learn how to plug the basics together before you invest in all that hardware.

In our next episode Robin decides on a Eurorack case and it all starts becoming very real.

Episode 4 – We’re going to need a bigger case.

The first hurdle to get over on your way to modular is deciding on a case to put your modules in and a power supply to light them up. In this episode Robin takes you through the various Eurorack case options and expands on the reasons behind his choices. He then tackles the murky world of power supplies and finds it surprisingly straightforward – which is nice. Rounding it off with a tour of ModularGrid.net we are now ready to start looking at our first modules – very exciting. Stay tuned for more.

Episode 5 – Installing the Eurorack case and power supply

In this quick episode, Robin excitedly installs a 4MS Row Power 40 power supply into his 104hp Moog Eurorack case – ooooo. Right, now we can get on with choosing modules

Episode 6 – Choosing your first modules

Right, it’s time to get serious. Enough babbling about possibilities and gateways, at some point you have to choose a bunch of modules and splash your dosh. In this episode Robin takes us through the process of narrowing down the choices and picking out the modules that will become his first row of Eurorack.

Episode 7 – Installing the first row of modules

With all the choices made all that remains is to plug them in – this is where the fun begins. In this video Robin explains his final module choices and demonstrates how to install them into the case.

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