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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Build Your Own Eurorack Modular Synthesizer System

Eurorack is everywhere, with even the big corporations jumping on board this innovative format. Dave Gale plugs up a patch and considers the options for creating a new system…

Part one Cases, Cabinets & Power

MT Feature Modular Mayhem

Just look at that. Boomstar’s Eurorack Modstar is one of the best-looking systems out there. We want…

If I think back to my early years, music videos were not the commercially polished products that they are now, often making do with the star of the day singing, or more accurately lip-syncing, to their current single. However, certain videos stuck with me, as I was transfixed by what could only be described as a wall of sockets with an enticingly large amount of cabling plugged into the front.

As for many people, this was my first view of a modular synthesizer, and this is hardly surprising given that modulars of this time would cost as much as a small house! They were the preserve of pop stars, or more likely their producers. Jean Michel Jarre, Georgio Moroder, Yellow Magic Orchestra and even Stevie Wonder were huge advocates of this powerful technology. One of the earliest exponents of the Moog Modular was Wendy Carlos, and for many, the front cover of the legendary Switched-On Bach album, with the Moog Modular being operated by JS Bach himself (well, a lookey-likey!), was equally awe-inspiring (it’s worth noting that Bob Moog objected to the original cover, as the headphones were plugged into the filter input, obviously meaning no noise would be heard).

Move on about 30 years to 1995, and a certain Herr Doepfer from Germany started producing some new designs for a compact modular synthesizer, which became the format now known as Eurorack. It developed into the most popular format for the synthesist who wanted to build up a modular system, with dozens of small and boutique companies springing up – building both traditional and quirky modules, all of which may have a valid place in a creative set-up.

The nuts & bolts

There is no doubt that the largest part of any initial Eurorack budget will be spent on the start-up and, in the very first instance, this means a case or cabinet and some power. Despite this, it is possible to cater for all budgets.

One of the earliest successful users of all sorts of syntheisizers: Jean Michel Jarre
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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale Thursday February 18th and this month we’re bringing you the ultimate modular synth masterclass! We explain (in detail) how to build your own system. Also this month we’ve got a preview of Yamaha’s Montage synth, a look back at NAMM 2016 and brand new reviews and tutorials.