We’re not going to apologise for probably saying this too much lately, but we can’t wait to see the back of 2020. Despite the never-ending amount of rubbish thrown at us all this year, it’s safe to say that the Eurorack business is booming for a lot of manufacturers out there.
With idle lockdown hands came the emptying of wallets for what is, for some, a hobby and for others a way of life. The thirst for creating, controlling and mangling sound within these small modules rose to new levels. Many small businesses struggled with the demand, but they came through in the end and here we have a feast of 2020’s latest Eurorack wares.
We asked you to vote for your favourite Eurorack modules of 2020 and we can now, finally, reveal the results...
1. Make Noise 0-CTRL
Ok, so it’s technically not a Eurorack module per se, but we can all agree that the 0-CTRL from Make Noise fits perfectly in this poll. The 0-CTRL is a patchable, clockable controller and step sequencer for voltage-controlled synthesizer systems. The tabletop device is fully Eurorack compatible, so it will be right home patching up to your modular systems and semi-modular synthesizers.
Find out more about the Make Noise 0-CTRL (opens in new tab)
2. Instruō/DivKid øchd
This is Ben Wilson aka DivKid’s second Eurorack module offering, after teaming up with Befaco to create Mutes last year. This time round sees the arrival of øchd (pronounced “oct”) with the help of the good folks at Instruō. Øchd is a module that comprises of eight triangle analogue LFOs all jammed into just 4HP. The LFOs are free-running and designed to be tuned by ear to give you real organic-feeling modulation.
Find out more about the Instruō/DivKid øchd (opens in new tab)
3. Endorphin.es Queen Of Pentacles
Endorphin.es Queen Of Pentacles is a solid blend of three channels of 909-esque analogue drum circuitry, taking in kick, snare and clap duties, alongside four sample-based drum tracks for the hi-hats and cymbals, or even your own samples should you so wish. Inspired by the TR-909, the QOP takes things al little further with some extra trickery. The module features hybrid analogue sound generation, giving you three band-limited LSRF binary noise generators with spectrum animation, injected into discrete analogue circuits. Technical!
Find out more about the Endorphin.es Queen Of Pentacles (opens in new tab)
4. Dreadbox Nostalgia
Warning that love of vibrant and dreamy echo, Nostalgia takes you back to a more innocent time with its three echo circuits. This three-stage hybrid delay is, in fact, based on the same circuit found Dreadbox’s Erebus synthesizer. Recognising that guitars may want to get a piece of Nostalgia, Dreadbox has seen fit to equip the module with both line-level and modular-level inputs.
Find out more about the Dreadbox Nostalgia (opens in new tab)
5. Behringer 2500
Hot on the heels of replicating Roland’s System-100 into Eurorack modules, Behringer also announced the release of its 2500 range, which harks back to the ARP synthesizer of the same name, in 2020. A very popular decision amongst the Music Tribe company’s following, five 2500 modules were released, comprising of; dual and analogue envelope generators, low pass VCF and VCA modules, ring modulators and variable filters.
Find out more about the Behringer 2500 series modules (opens in new tab)
6. Qu-Bit Bloom
Bloom is not your average fractal sequencer with many a musical feature thrown in to make this one of those indispensable modules in any system. At its heart, Bloom is a 32-step sequencer with two channels and an infinite number of evolving melodies. The core sequence can be programmed by hand, or with the help of the Mutate function, new sequences can be automatically generated.
Find out more about the Qu-Bit Bloom (opens in new tab)
7. Erica Synths Fusion System II
Any of the modules in this system could happily find a place in someone’s Eurorack system. They really make sense as a complete setup like this though and we highly recommend it to anybody with a hankering for a more warm output. The possibilities for drive abound, as do options for modulation and all in a package that delivers on aesthetics as well as tone.
Read the full Erica Synths Fusion II review
8. Erica Synths Sample Drum
The Sample Drum is part of Erica Synths’ new Drum range of modules, but unlike its one-shot competitors this offers sample-slicing: it’s all about the loops. The Sample Drum ships with a 16GB micro SD card including samples to get busy with straightaway. 64 slots per channel are available and I managed to load 60 samples before the RAM limit was reached. These samples can then be mapped across your keyboard so you could make a multisample instrument or play a whole drumkit on one channel.
Read the full Erica Synths Sample Drum review
9. Qu-Bit Data Bender
Described as a circuit-bent audio buffer, Data Bender is precisely the sort of oddball, eccentric module that makes us love Eurorack. From Warp style glitches to faux CD skips that bring on ’90s flashbacks, this is a great tool for creatively destroying audio. Data Bender is perfect for generating a bit of broken chaos. Hook up a complex LFO or trigger and let Data Bender impart a bit of rhythmic destruction.
Find out more about the Qu-Bit Data Bender (opens in new tab)
10. Instruõ Harmonàig
This harmonic voltage quantiser is a wonderfully fun tool for triggering, transposing and flipping simple mono sequences or even chords. It’s packed with useful tools and boasts an eye-catching look and solid build familiar to Instruõ gear. Of all the tricks up its sleeve, the module can also generate a bit of fake polyphony. Root the 3rd, 5th and 7th outputs from Harmonàig out to individual synth voices for some modular power chords!
Read the full Instruõ Harmonàig review