Thoughts on case organization

what strategies to you use when putting together a case?

what strategies do you use when plotting where the modules go?

when we first started my wife and I’s case flowed from Left to right and modules which normally are used together were placed next to each other

now we have something more like this where there is still left to right flow but also top to bottom

ie navigator into shapechanger, polar fringe into marble index, and passage/colorchords

this still allows for voltron style function block building (navigator, shapechanger, doorway for example) but also puts modules next to each other I wouldn’t normally put together and in that way I feel like I get prompted to patch differently than I might otherwise.

this is my main case that is the core of my video synthing. My secondary case doesn’t get turned on as much because I’m currently in the process of splitting it up between a desktop skiff for video control (mengqi VM, escher sketcher, video grip, planar, and then fill the rest with modules that don’t require sync that work well with the vidiot pendulum, bridge, arch, staircase) and a secondary video case.


In theory, I’m a big fan of symmetry. I liked laying out and installing this system:

With the Vessel case, it takes a bit of shuffling to fit things in. And for the longest time, I really wanted my Visual Cortex to be to the extreme right side of the case to allow for the shortest cable runs to my external gear. Eventually though, I came around to having it more in the middle of the case to allow for easier signal flow access by other modules within the case. I actually quite like this layout, but, it’s really only useful for processing, or with another case for shape generation.

So I moved in this direction for a single case, with the idea being able to do a little bit of everything in one, easy to transport, case:

I really like this layout and it has been very fruitful in my practice.


Here are some designer notes on the underlying math:

  • In Expedition series, everything is multiples of and combinations of 8HP or 10HP. This is kind of the harmonic ratio I like for having larger modules that still fit evenly into 104HP or 84HP rows.
  • Most Expedition modules are 16HP (2x8HP). You can fit two 8HP modules in the same space. Cortex is 26HP (2x8HP + 1x10HP), so you could fit two 8HP modules plus one 10HP module in the same space.
  • If you’re having trouble fitting things evenly in an 84HP/104HP row, try removing a module to give yourself some wiggle room, and then you should see an amount of space left that fits an 8HP/10HP ratio well and can find the modules that get you there.
  • A system with duals and quads of your favorite modules is more powerful than a “one of each” type approach to system building. For example, Staircase and Doorway are excellent building blocks that really expand upon each other well in dual or quad configurations.

I have found that flipping modules in the bottom row of a 6U case upside down has really been a rewarding adjustment for me. It has allowed for easier knob access on the bottom 3U and less cable tangle due to input and output jacks being closer together in the middle of the rack.


this sounds interesting I may have to give it a try

I like to group modules in certain classifications. I think of modules like doorway, mapper, and staircase, as primary modules. And I like to have some sort of sub-mixer (bso quad mixer, LZX bridge, passage) next to these at all times to input more complex signals, and allow easy feedback routes.

other than that I tend to put my oscilators in a bank format (with a mixer again for complex FM wiggles)



I’ve been utilizing passage in this manner more lately
understanding what the “thru” input is mainly for helped a lot

Cool thread.

I really like cortices to the far right, keeps bulky Rca I/O out of the patch flow. That’s like rule #1 for me. I like having mixers/filters/color chords either directly to the left of Cortex or below. TVFKG’s near the center as they’re I/O dense and always getting patched every which way.

Less patched modules OR less patch cable heavy modules go to the far left and top bottom of the rig. Stuff with only a few cables running to or fro.

Basically I set mine up so there aren’t alot of far corner to far corner patches… Keep the dense stuff to the center and have it flow from the outer edges to center to cortex at the right.

Staircase and navs next to eachother or above one another.

It’s nice to rerack it once in awhile, I find repositioning certain modules will open up the patch flow… Or get me using neglected modules.

My rig is somewhere near this currently:

Top row:

Mid row:

Bot row:


Generally I’ma big fan of left to right in a smaller case (modulators, signal gens, modifiers, key’s, Cortex almost far right.

Ina. larger case having an up/down patching greatly expands flexibility.

I do a lot of case rearranging. It’s rewarding to mix up workflows and you will discover what arrangement works best for you.

1 Like