When you’re configuring your modular synthesizer, it’s easy to leave out the all-important utility modules that will help glue together a patch as well as open up creative options. In this note, we’re going to talk about what I call “utility mixers” – not the final mixer with optional effects sends and the such, but tools to combine signals in the middle of a patch.
One of the primary reasons to make the move from pre-configured synthesizers to patchable modular synthesis is the ability to create your own instrument – be it to pick and choose your favorite flavors of synth building blocks, to expand it in ways you prefer, or to explore new signal paths and configurations. A common question is: Where do you start? Keeping in mind there’s no single right answer (and very few wrong ones), here are a few different approaches and their potential trade-offs.