this time i want to do a two-part challenge. this is part 1.
make a "fixed rack" as if you were limited by hardware choices, as in physical eurorack. common dimensions (which we did in vcp challenge 32) are 9u (= 3 rows) by 104hp. but you are free to choose other dimensions. aim for it fitting on a screen without too much zooming or scrolling. use only free modules. cables not needed for the fixed rack submission patch.
the idea is that this “fixed rack” can be used as-is (or with a maximum of two modules exchanged) for multiple patches.
in part 1 you make at least two different patches with the fixed rack of your design, to showcase some of its possibilities. this will last until the end of march. (we can take a week longer if people need more time.)
next month, in part 2, you choose someone else’s fixed rack and makes patches with that. we can take the whole month of april for that, if inspiration lasts.
make a fixed rack patch with free modules only (cables not needed)
There used to be a cosmetic module (can’t remember what plugin, maybe ap Modules) that let you measure your HP. Something like that would be really useful for this kind of situation.
edit: Just noticed the template above, which is also useful in this case.
Nice challenge, definitely up for it! Never really considered screen estate to be a limiting factor before so should be interesting Feels like I’ll be discovering some 1-2 HP wide modules that I might have overlooked.
Fixed racks are neat! I keep a main jamming fixed rack, it’s a 128hp*18U monster however, so I can’t submit it as-is and will make a tiny one for this challenge. While 128hp isn’t a standard eurorack size, it happens to fit perfectly on my 1080p tablet display at 100% zoom - it’s built around a real hardware constraint I have rather than one inherited from real hardware.
Be sure to see also this recent thread if you’re interested in discussing fixed racks in general:
if i go for 3 rows, and try to be screen-filling, then it’s going to be wider indeed. anything is fine really, but i would recommend keeping the template patch smaller rather than larger, for two reasons:
What I’m doing here so far is just trying to add modules that give me maximum “bang for the buck” (i.e. Catronomix 8xlfo) and then seeing what they can do. I’m curious about other people’s methods, however. Are you starting out by making a cool sounding patch and then thinking about what else you can do with it or what?
Another issue I’m facing is a generalisable approach to polyphony, ie a way to relate control stuff to actual pitches and cv values in a flexible way.
It’s a tiny 104hp×6U system with an unorthodox curation of modules, but it has a lot of potential - so long as you’re ready to patch it creatively. I had to make a lot of difficult choices to make it this small. Modules were chosen very deliberately for having many potential functions.
It’s meant as a kinda synth/beat workstation, and best enjoyed with a MIDI keyboard, or at least QWERTY MIDI.
The big button sequencer is your main sequencer. It’s best programmed live! You can’t program a long song on it, but it’s a very fun module to jam with.
Three Starling Via modules are used in this system. While they look intimidating and don’t seem very popular, they’re wonderfully deep modules with an excellent documentation. Hardware Via modules can be reprogrammed to act as any other module of the collection, so if you’re gonna change a module when using this rack, consider changing a Via module for another.
There’s three sample players (bring your own WAV files) and no dedicated drum module, but there’s many tricks to have more percussion. The META can be used as a drum voice, and so can the filters.
There aren’t many filters, but the mixer features a very aggressive EQ for sound sculpting.
On patchstorage, you’ll find an archive with the empty rack, the example beats from the video, and the samples used in the demos (kick, hi-hat, ride cymbal, yoshi sound).
when i did this last time, my approach was: if i’m making a fixed, self-contained instrument, what parts do i need? then i went thru the list of available modules for each needed part and tried to find ones that offer good features for the screen real estate they are taking up. add enough so we could have multiple voices.
as for polyphony, i’m actually quite ambivalent about that. in my own patching i very rarely go beyond stereo. i usually want to process and modulate different voices differently, so polyphony almost never applies to my work flow.
of course, different people have different approaches, and that’s the interesting part about this exercise. for example, in the template @Aria_Salvatrice just posted, there is a midi-cv module, which i would simply never think to add, because i never use midi with vcv rack. my stuff is generative, with a lot of semi-random modulation. my own patches are set up, not played. i’m interested to see what diversity this challenge will produce!
Being still at a beginner’s level I try to work on what I am currently doing:
Seeing what Oscillators can do for me with a minimum of complex modules.
I am mainly putting stuff from the core modules together and spice them with a few useful tools I like by a different developer.
For people being used to more complex modules such as Impromptu’s sequencers, some of Aria Salvatrice’s modules, Nysthi and Frozen wasteland it might be a either shockingly boring because they know how to play the basics up and down or back to the rootish inspiring.