When does a eurorack synthesizer feel like an instrument?

I built this custom Korg MS-10 eurorack case four years ago. I knew I wanted to make a flexible and portable case that would hopefully give me enough room for a ‘super’ mono synth of sorts. During these last few years I was able to try out all sorts of modules and configurations. I would like to share some of my insights with you. The saying ‘Iv’e made a lot of special modifications’ goes without sayin’… but you just said it!?! Anyway…

I would say that at least two of those four years were spent in frustration. Some due to my unfamiliarity with the modules and some due to lack of time spent with the interface. What? you ask, it’s a keyboard! Yes and no. With eurorack you can have the keyboard be an odd shaped envelope or event generator or… The possibilities are literally endless. You are not encumbered with time honored traditions or traditional expectations. You build exactly what you want and more importantly, how you want to interface with it. So a keyboard doesn’t have to be just a keyboard 😀

Before he passed away I was lucky enough to correspond with Ray Wilson over at MFOS. He gave me great insight to the operation of his Keyboard controller and how to tune it and keep it tuned. I can’t recommend it enough. It has been the backbone of this converted Korg custom interface. That’s just the start…

Next to it I converted a 3U Ladik envelope over to 1U. It receives the gate signal from the keyboard controller. And from there it goes right into the VCA of the Quad Octoginta II!

Sounds from a mono synth can get dull and quickly repetitive without expressive effects, enter my custom Korg MKP2. Why Korg has not entered into the euro market, I will never know, because this would sell like hotcakes! I take poles 1&3 out from the Quad Octoginta II and input it into the left input and poles 2&4 out to the right input. This gives me a way to move through the current wavefolded waveform and then using the XY pad I can move it anywhere in the stereo field. Pretty cool for a basic monosynth.

I can’t overstate enough on how useful the 1U rows have been. Lots of tiles have come and gone through this system. Some I created myself. This is in search of the absolutely perfect work flow. Creativity can be hampered if you have more ideas than options to pull off those creative impulses. 1U is the perfect space to integrate more of those necessary options to keep the creative juices flowin’. I was even able to sneak in some percussion with the DR-55 tile. Mutes, LFO’s, Tuners, Oscilloscope, VCA’s and anything else you can think of can be tucked away until you need them in 1U!

The custom modified Koma Kommander gets used more than you would think. It’s very immediate and expressive and ‘in tune’ thanks to the uScale from Intellijel. Custom Turing machine keeps the random, not so random. Then all signals are fed into a custom Circuit Abbey mixer keeping signal management fun and expressive. So far the journey has been to get to know my interface and after four years I can say I am excited to where I am headed with this custom portable!