Most Essential 1U Modules

Just got an Intellijel 7U 104HP Performance case. I’d love to know what folks think are the most essential 1U modules.

Some background- I’ve been using an Elektron Analog Four mk2 and Octatrack Mk2 with a 3U 104 skiff. I wouldn’t mind doing some performance stuff with just the Octatrack and 7U as my focus is more on sampling and sound design than synthesis. Just got a Morphagene and Nebulae v2 for options there. I can do a little sequencing with Pam’s and a Varigate 4+ as well. Here’s my setup at the moment…very much subject to change!

I’m thinking uMidi, Quadratt and Noise Tools up top. Could also be cool to get io for some of my nicer pedal effects.
So what are your most essential 1U modules?

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This is how I have mine arranged:

Quadratt is a pretty essential module. µMIDI works great with the Octatrack and opens up parameter locking via the MOD and CC outputs. Steppy is super fun and powerful to use. I can see it working great with your BIA, Nebulae and MG, but I guess Pam’s might make it less necessary.

If you don’t care about input, you could just get the new Stereo Outs 1U module instead of the Audio IO 1U. In my case I need the inputs because mine is an effects processing rig. Lately I’ve been using the Cue outputs from the OT to the modular as a send/return loop and it’s worked quite well.

Oh wow, I’d love to hear more about you go about this! I’m brand spanking new to modular and though I’ve had my Octatrack nearly a year, I haven’t messed with the cue at all :confused:

For my latest liveset I definitely delved into the OT more. I started using Track 8 as a master, which opens up the possibility of sampling the main output and looping it to transition from bank to bank (Look up the Terekith Crossfader Trick for a walkthrough of this).

The Master and Cue config can both be found in the Control-Audio menu. When Cue CFG is set to studio, you can hold the CUE button and adjust track level to set the amount of a track sent through the Cue outputs. So I send those outputs to the Audio inputs on my modular, then take my modular’s outputs and bring them in on one of the input pairs on the Octatrack and leave the volume up on the mixer. That way I can always hear when the modular’s doing something. Plus I can sample those inputs onto any of the OT tracks if I want.

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I think it totally depends on your needs, but just for another data point, I have:

Audio IO
Buffered Mult
Headphone Out
2x Quadratt

I tend to agree about the Quadratt being essential - it’s a really nice thing to have (which is why I have 2, I guess!) I’m often tempted to replace one of them with Steppy 1U though.


This is my rig as of today…

Some changes will be made. I’m not a huge fan of the Varigate 4+, but haven’t decided what to replace it with, just as one example.

Most important:

  1. IO for 7U case.
  2. Quadratt
  3. Buffered Mult

If we ever see the 1U VCA, I’d put that above the buffered mult. Shakmat is also coming out with some 1U modules including a CV octave shifter. Though it’s possible that it’ll be under the Intellijel brand… their 1U VCA looks very similar to Intellijel.

My rack… 2 7U 104s and 1 4U 104.

Cool setup! So far I have
Noise Tools

But I really don’t know what I’m doing yet :slight_smile:

I will say Steppy is awesome for punching out quick drum patterns. I just put it in the case today, so I’m sure I’ll find more cool features, but without glancing at a manual or tutorial, I was making cool patterns instantly. Pretty cool!

uMIDI, noise tools, duatt, buffered mult, VCA & audio IO for a 7u case, not all of which I own yet!

Definitely Quadratt and Buff Mult. People on Muffwiggler would tell you that a line out module is not necessary, but I like using the case’s jacks and not needing special cables. MIDI is tough; it’s nice to be able to use the case’s ports, but µMIDI 1U is limited to a single voice. I’d probably go with an FH-2 or Poly 2 instead. Steppy is great. What Ricky Tinez does with it plus Mimetic Digitalis makes me want to change my rack, but $$$. Noise Tools is great, but I wish the random pulses could be set to occur on exact divisions of the clock.

There are some third party 1U modules that are nice. Plum Audio has 1U versions of Ornament & Crime and Peaks (with CV expanders!), Transient Modules u4R is quite useful, and Shakmat is supposed to be releasing a clock divider and an octave shifter any day now.


If only the jacks had configuration options - 2 channels of gate/pitch plus 3xassignable CC per channel would be ideal!

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On the topic of µMIDI:
If it had the ability for each port to be reconfigured as pitch, gate,trigger, velocity or CC and MIDI channel, or global clock - then I’d probably get rid of my Expert Sleepers FH-2.
The thing I like about the FH-2 is each port is just that - a hardware port that outputs DC voltage. What you do with that port is totally up to you.
The FH-2 has a lot of extras - it can generate envelopes, LFOs, has an ARP and a euclidian pattern generator - but I’d rather do all of that stuff either with Ableton or with a real module - like Quadrax. The part of the FH-2 I love - is I can create a preset for 4 voices (4 x pitch CV and a gate), another with clock, start/stop; pitch, gate, trigger, and velocity on channel 1 for a complex and expressive voice, and a pitch/gate on channel 2 for a baseline. It allows you to create various arrangements within your modular depending on what you are writing.
Adding µMIDI for me was a decision based on - I have extra 1U space; it integrates with my gorgeous Intellijel cases; and it’s only a few dollars more expensive than an 8-port gate expander for my FH-2 - and I get 10 ports! It’s a good deal - but I am sure it wouldn’t take much to make µMIDI more than a single voice tool.

My vote for most essential 1U:

  • Stereo Out - perfect final gain control, and balanced audio!
  • µMIDI 1U
  • Quadratt - Indispensabile utility! If you don’t have enough space - get a Duatt!
  • DualVCA - If you don’t have a Quad VCA - this is a must!
  • Buff Mult - why waste 3U HP! Great when you want to stack two or more VCOs.
  • Noise Tools. Analog clock generator, S+H, white and pink noise, and a slew limiter. I use these functions very sparingly, and not often. It’s great to have them in a neat 1U package and not waste precious 3U space. It’s like having that one particular condiment in the fridge that you need for a few recipes - but don’t want a giant one litre bottle.

If I didn’t have the Mordax DATA - I’d say the Zeroscope is a real necessity. Tuner is indispensable, and you really get a great visualization of what modulators are doing with a scope. I loved the visual feedback so much, I upgraded to the Mordax - it was worth the cost and 16HP.

I have two 1U mults up there - but I rarely use them. I’ve found that the 12 TipTop stackables I have work better in my workflow (they better… those 12 cost a lot more than the mults!!).


Interesting that’s pretty much what I have in my 1u space right now, except I have the audio IO instead of straight stereo out, and my uMIDI arrives tomorrow. I thought about selling noise tools, but now I might switch the audio IO for stereo out only as I don’t use the inputs. I have a bunch of pedals for some experimentation but I figure just put those inline after the case outputs, means I can bring out 2 mono channels from the case and send them different places then (different Octatrack channels probably)