I’ve always felt that a modular system would be outside of my reach. Coming from a background of virtual instruments, I grew accustomed to the wealth of options available from a single price-point (ie: Reason) and came to believe that a modular system of comparable functionality would be jaw-droppingly expensive.

Unfortunately, it would be. Many of the functions taken for granted are typically offered as single-units. For instance – the envelope that you associate with the amplifier are often sold as individual units (an envelope generator and a voltage controlled amplifier).

The Doepfer 'Beauty Case'

However – after looking at modular systems as unique units, I started to re-evaluate my perception of them and what they could accomplish for me. My initial purchase was for a Doepfer ‘Beauty Rack’ armed with their A-119 and A-190-2 modules as well as a WMD Devices ‘Geiger Counter’. Sure – there are other hardware and software offerings that do distortion and bit-crushing effects but I was curious to see how a dedicated box would perform.

The sheer amount of sonic textures were impressive and the interface was tactile. I had forgotten how immediately fun it was to just ‘twiddle knobs.’ Even though I own a handful of MIDI controllers, the relationship between physically interacting with the system and the sounds put forth was very satisfying.

Houston: we had just opened a can of worms. The marketplace for the modular format I had chosen had experienced jaw-dropping growth and with such a wide catalog comes great responsibility. I’ve heard stories about ‘Euro-Crack’, an addiction similar to GAS (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) and I was hesitant to expand, if only to avoid the dreaded ‘going broke.’

But we had to expand, and expand we did.

The 6U Euro-Rack modular in an antique suitcase

In addition to my first suitcase-based 6U setup, I’ve just recently completed work on another suitcase-based 6U. However, the new suitcase features 100hp rows and an externally housed power supply. I haven’t ditched the original suitcase – I’ll likely use it as a backup rack. At any rate – here’s the new case in it’s current incarnation.

The new 6U - with IMP