Help me build my tiny techno improv synthesizer

I think I’m going to pick up a Quadrantid Swarm as my first foray in to eurorack (I had the desktop version previously but I got tired of the sequencer limitations, I loved the sounds though). I’m going to go with a palette case. My goal is to have a little techno improvisation machine to accompany my other gear (LXR-02, DB-01 and FX). What accompanying modules would you suggest to get the most out of this little setup? Cheers

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Mixer module
Looper module
A reverb or delay module

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Definitely a sampler, or at least a sample player. Something as simple as a Volca Sample or more complex like an MPC or Octatrack. Or something inbetween like a Model Samples/Digitone. Or an iPad.

… Wait, you’re talking Eurorack. Maybe an Erica Synths Sample Drum or 1010 Music Bitbox?

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Thanks. Maybe I wasn’t clear - I want suggestions for modules to complement the Swarm in my palette case.

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You were clear, I just didn’t read it properly the first time. Have added suggestions which are Eurorack-friendly. :wink:

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Quantradid is on my very short list of euro, such a dope synth!

You’ll get a lot of mileage if you add a Pamela’s New Workout to the case. Gives you 8 channels of clocked modulation in a variety of waveforms, trigger/clock outputs of all kinds, and some cool ways to bring those channels to life a bit more (some built-in logic functions, CV inputs so you can bring in other signals or self-patch Pam’s, etc.).

Pam’s has a menu that you have to use to set timing/functions to each channel; it’s very easy to use but isn’t well suited to live performance, so maybe you’d want a simple hands-on function generator or LFO source to manipulate things on the fly. Make Noise’s Function module is a good one, XAOC Batumi is one I haven’t used but has sliders on the panel that seem very playable as well.

And don’t forget to include some VCAs. You could take care of this in your 1u row (Quadratt or Duatt would be great to snag up there) but also would recommend Veils if you can fit it in. Will be useful for a million things when you get into patching.

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Since you’ve had experience with the desktop, you’re better positioned than the rest of us to detail what you wished you could plug into it and what you wished you could do with the outputs it provided, besides route them to a mixer, when you used it last. You mentioned that the sequencer was frustrating. Do you have a plan to sequence it now, or do you need suggestions? What other equipment do you expect to use with it? [Edit: okay, you did list this, but what role do you want the modular to play?]

I would tend to second @your_lamp’s suggestions of Pam’s, Batumi, and Veils 2020, but those are generic suggestions, and it could be that something more specific would make more sense in your particular situation.

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Thanks. The 8 step sequencer of the Swarm just isn’t enough and so I would like to be able to reset the sequencer to add variation. Another option would be to sequence externally, but I know very little about that. Last time I recorded into the DAW and added fx there, this time I don’t want a DAW involved.
The other thing I would quite like is the ability to play a sample or 2, specifically pad/atmosphere loops. I was looking at the Erica Sample module for this, but then I would need a sequencer for this and so all of a sudden it starts to get complex and expensive…

I’d think of:

  • lfos
  • envelopes
  • clock dividers for your resets
  • potentially a full secondary sequencer
  • maybe a cheap sequential switch to combine different gate or clock patterns
  • maybe a simple mixer or double VCA with controls to mix a couple of modulation source. Although that’s not super essential since the QS has many modulation inputs so you can just modulate different parameters with single modulations

For example with:

  • Pam’s (clocks, lfos, basic gate patterns like euclidean) (*I don’t have a Pam’s, but I’m sure it can do weird clocks to reset 5 or 7 step sequences, anyone?)
  • Delta-V
  • Doepfer Sequential Switch (the A-151 is nice cause it can do two three or four inputs with a toggle switch)
  • a full secondary sequencer is a whole other question. Many options, but the ones I’d lust for are more expensive then a QS module…

Eowave is a bit lacking in the details of information they give. Do they specify the voltage range of the inputs of QS? Some modules have ranges of 0-5v, some 0-8 or 0-10v. And some are bipolar. So it’s good to check - Pam’s for example I believe only does 0-5V if I remember correctly?

The Delta-V is nice cause it has a broad range output (0-8 or 0-10v) ánd a built in attenuator on its output. (Although QS has attenuators on all its inputs no? So I realize that’s less of an issue)

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I have the desktop version and reset the onboard sequencer by patching the square lfo to reset. The lfo speed then sets how frequently it resets. It’s not total control, but then the swarm is a bit of a beast and doesn’t want to be controlled and told what to do :slight_smile:

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When you play with other gear, how easy can you tune the Swarm? I always had issues with that previously.

Same, it’s not easy to tune precisely for sure. I did use Digitakt to sequence and CC control it, it worked. Although the CC values sent to QS are in addition to the current values on device, so after tweaking and coming back to a pattern it sounded different, So I stopped using it this way. But , As an after thought if you set all values / knobs on QS to 0 or fully anti clockwise , then the seq and cc sent from Digitakt should in theory produce the same predictable results each time.

Sell the lxr, get the module version and build this…

The DB01 goes up to modular level, so can plug straight into the mix BX or modular effects, then you’ve got a nice compact little self-contained improv system.

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do you have a link to that on modular grid so I can have a good butchers?

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Cheers. You’re still eyeing up a euro system aren’t you?

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Nah, just banged that together after I read your post.

But if I was, I’d build something like that.

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I would at least add a DFAM.
Because you said techno and improv

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I’ve already been deep in the Eurorack rabbit hole, so IMHO, i suggest you’d set the number of voices you need. Tweaking them for improvisation is obviously the goal but I don’t think you will patch much while improvising

As others said before, especially for a 1st box, and planning to do “whole tracks” with, a sample player would be a useful addition (i’d suggest Squarp Rample over ES Sample Player)
You’ll need modulation too. This is Eurorack. Maths is the quick suggestion for this. Varigate or Moskva are really playable CV sequencers too