The NiftyBundle offers an extremely affordable gateway into the world of modular synthesis.
Perhaps the biggest barrier to falling down the Eurorack modular rabbit hole is the case and power supply. Before buying your first module you're faced with choices about the size of case you want and how you expect to power it. This makes you feel like you can't begin your Eurorack exploration without knowing exactly where you're going and how many amps it's going to use. And both cases and power supplies can be more expensive than buying a half-decent synthesizer — and you haven't even made any noises yet!
In step Cre8Audio with a near-as-dammit perfect solution. Their aptly named NiftyCase hopes to offer a decent starting point for the modular-curious by stuffing everything you need to start your Eurorack journey in one 'nifty' box. Couple that up with a pair of useful modules and you've got the NiftyBundle, which is the focus of this review.
The NiftyCase is almost completely genius. I'll come to the 'almost' in a minute, so let's focus on the genius. It's a decent-looking box, made of metal with light wooden cheeks and 84hp worth of space for modules on threaded rails rather than sliding nuts. The clever bit is that Cre8Audio have not only taken the stress out of deciding on a power supply by building it in but they've also added a rather wonderful set of utilities that transform it into a workable stand-alone instrument.
First of all, you have an audio output that you can plug straight into your mixer at line level. There are two Eurorack-level patch sockets on the top of the case that route your modules down to this single output. And secondly, it has a MIDI interface. This translates to a row of patch sockets on the top of the case offering two lots of CV/Gate, one Modulation output and one Clock. CV/Gate 1 responds to...