My Eurorack adventure, then and now

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve only had a modular synth since Nov 2015. Here is what I brought home that day:


The Pittsburgh Modular System 10.1+ and the Make Noise Echophon


I was in a prettty anxious state the day I brought this home. I originally went to the synth shop, Robotspeak, to buy a Moog Mother 32 which would have been $600. Dashing my hopes, the Mother 32s were sold out. But in my head, I had already broken down the wall of resistance to spending money and walking out with a modular synth. Even though I left the synth shop empty handed, my heart was so set on getting into modular. The adult part of myself, the side that pays the rent on time, and keeps food in the fridge was at war with the side that wants to Explore New Things Now. I went back to the shop after about 10 minutes of pacing the neighborhood and anxiously contemplating my next move.

I knew about Pittsburgh Modular, and knew there were well regarded. This system was roughly equivalent to the M32, with some significant differences. One difference was the price. The PGH system was $800, (although that included a case that had room to expand into). I was blowing my budget anyway, right? So I decided right there to buy another module to add to the case, I got the Make Noise Echophon, a delay module.

The rest of that day was spent in the peculiar hyper-real state of anxiety that comes from feeling like I’ve spent way too much money. I didn’t really understand what I had bought. The modular synth concept was vague in my head, I just knew I wanted to be a part of it.

And for weeks I would often wake up in the middle of the night fearful that I was in over my head. That what I had gotten was too simple to really get much use out of. That, should I continue down this path, I would need to invest much much more money to get a system with enough versatility to get complex sounds out of. Yes, all of those fears would haunt me at night for many nights. I even talked to my synth friend about returning the PGH and going back to a life that promoted better sleep. Luckily he talked me out of it.

So, lets fast forward a bit. Through many more moments of buyers remorse but also into moments of the thrill of discovery. Many more tutorials watched and experiments tried. Patching up things that started to sound interesting, and of course, the obsession over the next module. All of these things churned in my mind. Lo and behold my fears were realized, I was in fact spending every free dollar on new modules and excitedly taking them home like precious jewels, hooking them into the case and seeing what starnge places they could take my sounds. Rinse and repeat and here is where I arrived at in April 2017:


A portrait of my Eurorack system as of April 2017.

Buried in there are the same modules that are in the first pic. I still use them all, even though they have been rearranged and split apart.

Needless to say I got over the severe anxiety. Now I just live with the idea that, to practice the art that brings me joy, a certain monetary outlay is part of the deal. And I also try to remind myself as often as I think of it, that I am lucky and privileged to be able to afford these wonderful tools.

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