Modular Synths

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About Modular Synths

Modular synths and synthesizer modules are growing in popularity thanks to an exciting range of hardware from manufacturers including Elektron, Roland and Dave Smith Instruments. Synthesizer modules can come in both analog and digital formats, and while some are compatible with MIDI and computer setups, others are intended to be integrated into a Eurorack Modular setup and connected with other hardware using patch cables. Synth modules offer a powerful range of sounds and options in a compact form compared to their keyboard counterparts and are quickly becoming a starring feature of electronic music, prog rock, video game soundtracks and film scores.

Frequently Asked Questions about Modular Synths

Some modules such as the Behringer Model-D or Moog's Mother 32 are compatible for use in a Eurorack system, but can also be used as stand-alone synth modules. However, most Eurorack specific modules are designed to only be used in that type of system. For example, Roland's System-500 modules and the Waldorf DVCA1 module will not work without the power from a Eurorack case and additional modules to give inputs, outputs and control over your modular system.
Eurorack is a modular synthesizer format that has an extremely devoted following. Eurorack modules are made by both small cottage industry manufacturers and large brands such as Roland. Moog also ofter Eurorack compatible modules, which can be used both outside or inside of a Eurorack synthesizer. The modules are generally installed in a special case (such as an Arturia RackBrute) which provides power to the modules. These modules are then linked together as required using patch cables. In essence, the separate modules represent the individual components or stages of a synthesizer, including oscillators, LFOs, amplifier envelopes, filters etc. A full Eurorack system can be used to create multiple synthesizers, drum machines, effects processors and sequencers. The idea is that you have complete freedom to create the sounds that you want and you are free to select the components which you like the sound of or are most suited to your needs.
While some modules feature ways of being played without a keyboard, if you're looking to play a synth module with a regular keyboard and the module itself features a 5 pin MIDI port, then a 5 pin MIDI compatible keyboard like the Roland A-49 would be ideal.