Using VCV Rack as you would a physical modular rack


Earlier this year I got into modular synthesis; it first start with miRack on the iPad and iPhone. I had the app on my iPad for months before I really started using it, because I was having a hard time wrapping my head around modular. Then one day it just clicked and I dove down the rabbit hole. I’ve always been interested in using VCV Rack and miRack like a physical modular rack system, however I find it to be somewhat challenging, which I like. Often times I see videos of people who use multiple mixers in their VCV Rack patches and that’s something I want to avoid, simply because I want to learn how to create patches in the same way that I would a physical modular system. I’ve been curious as to whether there are VCV Rack users who create their patches in that way. One of the challenges I’ve created for myself is to create a VCV Rack patch that is similar to what I’ve created on The system I’ve created on there is a small 62HP system which doesn’t really allow for the use of mixer, and that’s just because I’m trying to fit in as many sound, modulation, and effects modules as possible. Right now it’s looking something like this.


I do like the challenge of creating something with a small, fixed rack, but I rarely ever build those myself. Because, eventually and ideally, while playing around, I/you arrive at what could be a song, a mood, a thing and then I’ll throw - because why not? - anything in that progresses it further.


Something I’m probably going to do is buy a Korg nanoKontrol, create minimal patches, map the controllers, and use this set up to perform pieces like one would on a physical modular system.


I do this quite often. Here is my attempt at a “fixed rack” in the style of mylarmelodies tiny techno rack.

I use a novation launchpad pro mkIII and TouchOSC on my Ipad for controlling the patches. You will find the need of a mixer, when you are going for more than one sound source. There is simply no way around that for mixing sounds.


A lot of people use external mixers in Eurorack, especially with tiny racks like this , that lack space for a big mixer module

Yes, no way around mixers, and either you have them in the rack or outside, where they’re a lot cheaper. For in-rack there’s lots of smart modules, like the Intellijel quad VCA which is also a mixer, similar from Mutable Instruments. Also check out the very smart and compact ones from Happy Nerding, they don’t have to be very big.

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Also worth bearing in mind that mixers don’t just mix audio in Eurorack, they also mix CV. They allow you to turn simple modulation sources into more complex ones. For example, for modulating a filter cutoff you might want to mix an envelope (so the sound is brighter when its louder), with a V/Oct signal (so sound is brighter when it is higher pitch) and also an LFO to add a bit of wobble. Or you might want to mix some LFOs together, or a Sample & Hold with an LFO etc etc.

Mixers are therefore very important utilities in Eurorack and even if you decide to go with an external mixer for audio, it’s still very useful to have a small 3/4 channel CV mixer in the Rack.


When I use miRack on the iPad I use it with AUM so what I do is set up one channel for mono sounds and another for stereo and that’s sufficient enough. Once I bounce the audio I’ll import it into Logic add stereo width, EQ, light compression, and maybe a little reverb. I’ve been experimenting with doing the same thing with VCV and Ableton using Bridge. You are right though, I will definitely need a mixer as my system grows.

…just adding:

I find mixers quite substantial parts of modular cases, for CV-mixing especially, but also if you want to sum two or more signals pre filter (osc + noise is a classic example), you‘ll just need mixing. Desktop mixers aren‘t very helpful in middle-of-chain-scenarios.

What steve said: they don’t need to be big full-spec-mixers, just something to balance two or three inputs.

Your modulargrid-example contains Maths, which should be able to do summing for you, if it is not used for too many other jobs at the moment. The 1U-tile to the right of steppy should balance 2 inputs to 1 out as well.

I find mixing at different stages of a patch a very modular approach, not at all something that is not true to modular music making.

Just my 2 cents.

Either way, have fun! Modular systems are very personal and hopefully designed to perfectly serve your needs and your own ideas!




Thanks for your suggestion.