Build Your Own Synth - Step 3: Module Selection

Writing out the objectives for your own eurorack synth will help you select from the vast sea of modules.  A good way to make sure you don't forget something is to make reference to this handy list from the Make Noise Black and Gold Shared System Manual.  It lists out the major components of a modular synth (albeit from a Make Noise perspective):

 CV and Gate Sources Write your own shortlist of modules below
  • Functions, LFOs, Gates, Clock, Offsets
  • Manual functions, Gates, and manually-selected Sequential Voltages
  • Manual and Clocked Sequential Votages, and Clocked-Gates
  • LFO
  • Random Voltage, Random Gates, Clock:
Audio Sources
  • Dual VCO with selected and variable waveforms
  • 3 Random VCOs, Noise
  • Loops and Feedback
  • Loops and Granular Synthesis
Signal Manipulation
  • Mixing, VCA, mild filtering
  • Mixing, VCA, Ring Modulation, voltage-controlled Inversion
  • Mixing, Addition, Subtraction, Slew
  • Sample & Hold variable-Randomisation of input
Signal Processors
  • Voltage-Controlled Echo, Looping, and Pitch-Shifting
  • Modeless, continuously-variable Reverb algorithm
  • Recording, Looping, Granulation, and Broken Echo

Stick with the four bold headings above if any of the individual points still sound foreign to you.  Took me a while to understand it as well.  CVs are control voltages that allow control over things and Gates are electrical signals that trigger things.  Your synth may still work by leaving out one category or another.  The first two are the most important and the last two are optional but highly recommended.  If you are working with a limited budget then keep to your own objectives and don't worry about checking off all the boxes.

Other points you may consider when choosing modules:

  • Save as much HP as you possibly can
  • Watch YouTube demos with a decent pair of headphones
  • Choose modules that are feature packed with lots of knobs and jacks
  • Check with your local store to see what's available first
  • Have a budgeted amount of $$$ to invest over time
  • Stay disciplined and don't go crazy :)

Other tutorial posts in this series:

Build Your Own Synth - Step 1: Selecting A Case

Build Your Own Synth - Step 2: Establish A Starting Point

Build Your Own Synth - Step 4: Layout

Build Your Own Synth - Step 5: Preparation

Build Your Own Synth - Step 6: Mutant Drums Boat

Build Your Own Synth - Step 7: Completion

Build Your Own Synth - Step 8: Mutant Taiko