Making A Modular Synthesizer For Tool

Composer, synthesist and module designer Peter Grenader shared this behind the scenes look at the making of a modular synthesizer for the rock band Tool.

Grenader has a wide ranging background: studying music composition at Calarts with the likes of composers Barry Schrader and Morton Subotnick; being active as an electroacoustic composer; collaborating with musicians Miles Richmond and Steve Roach on the electronic music project POV; and founding one of the early Eurorack manufacturers, Electro-Acoustic Research.

In this video, Grenader shares his process for creating a live modular synth rig for Tool’s Danny Carey, the Toolbox.

“I recently did a huge overhaul and expansion of that system,” he notes,  “This video details that journey.”

Here’s a list of modules in the Toolbox, by manufacturer:

1010 Music: Micro Bit Box

2 HP: Grain, Pluck, Rnd, EG, ADSR, Seq, Delay, Verb, LFO, Play (x3)

Doepfer: A-148 Sample & Hold, A-180 Passive Mult

Intelligel: Mini Fold

Jones: O’Tool 2

Make Noise: Echophon

Malekko Heavy Machinery: Varigate 8, Unity Mixer (x2)

Plan B/EAR: Model 15 VCO (x3), Model 10 EG (x3), Model 13 Timbral Gate, Model 25 Multi-Tasking Audio Processor, Model 26 Multi-tasking Control Processor, Model 24 Heisenberg Generator, Model 21C Mini Milton, Model 7 Panner, Model 38 Panner, Model 41 Steiner EVI FIlter, Model 13 Mini Low Pass Gate, EAR Output (custom), EAR Model 9 MK II Mixer (custom), EAR Leveler (custom)

Qu-Bit: Nebulae II