Another year passes and your hopes of saving up for that house deposit, or other such adulting endeavours, are dashed once again.
Not because you're too weak to say no to yet another module and give up on the dream of creating that perfect system. It's because society has failed you and you have nothing left but to console yourself with the amazing smorgasbord of modular releases that has hit the shops in 2021.
As we all spent all our time at home buying all the gear last year, it seems modular-makers also made good use of the time to come up with some cracking new instruments for controlling and mangling the CVs. And while it may have crippled the chance of owning these new tools upon their release, it hasn't stopped us all from choosing which ones we want to buy next.
Read on to find out which are the top five Eurorack modules that have been released in 2021, as voted by your good selves...
1. Winner, Mutable Instruments Beads
Could it have been any other module?! Mutable's ubiquitous Clouds got a proper rebooting in the form of Beads and takes the crown as your favourite.
The fact that it isn’t called Clouds 2 feels odd, but then, Beads is all-new; it may have a similar function but it’s a ground-up reimagining and the better for it.
To start with, it manages to ﬁt in three more physical controls into a smaller space but feels somehow more manageable. The layout is logical, easy to read and playing with the various functions is far more straightforward.
Read the full Mutable Instruments review
2. Intellijel Metropolix
Another stone-cold favourite at Radar towers got a brand new set of wheels this year and if you’re familiar with the original Metropolis, a lot will be familiar with the Metropolix.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a minor update. Metropolix has an abundance of new features that lift it far above what came before, it takes an already excellent idea and expands upon it in many ways, increasing the abilities and fun factor dramatically.
Read the full Intellijel Metropolix review
3. Erica Synths Matrix Mixer
One of the best things about modular synthesis, in general, is the sheer flexibility. The dream is that you're only one accidental patch away from sound design utopia, but in an unending sea of cables, that isn't always achievable.
Those who skirt very close to the realms of OCD when it comes to cable management will rejoice at the prospect of repatching at the touch of a button. And to the performers who are too scared to strip down a patch for fear of losing that little slice of 'special' that has just been created, the Matrix Mixer from Erica Synths comes to your aid.
In essence, it is a very simple device. A sturdy metal chassis houses a number of inputs and outputs, all of which can be patched in any number of ways. Any input can be sent to any output, or multiple outputs, by simply activating the corresponding point on the matrix where they collide. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Read the full Erica Synths Matrix Mixer review
4. Expert Sleepers ES-9
The flexibility of Eurorack isn't much without a conduit to the outside world, an interface that can bring the digital realm into the distinctly analogue spectrum in which modular synthesis presides. This is something that Expert Sleepers has always tackled within its range of Swiss Army-like tools.
The ES-9 is way more than just a 16-in/16-out USB audio interface, on top of all the usual functionality, it is possible to use the ES-9 as a mixer and stereo output, so you can take your case out live or to a different studio and still get audio into a different setup, via the TRS outs. Very handy indeed.
Read the full Expert Sleepers ES-9 review
5. LPZW.modules & Tubbotec 6m0d6
The 6m0d6 is a collaboration between Tubbutec and Leipzig West modules. This 24HP module is more than just your average TR-606 remake, although it can certainly sound like one. It has plenty more sound-scaping trickery up its sleeve with ring-mod and noise added to the seven instruments from the original.
We managed to see it in the flesh at this year's, slightly belated, Superbooth event in Berlin and instantly fell in love. The 6m0d6 is just at home banging out crunchy, industrial filth as it is pristine, organic retro sounds. What's not to love?!
Find out more about the LPZW.modules & Tubbotec 6m0d6 (opens in new tab)