Hey @mswbarker, welcome to the forum and to the world of modular!
I’m stoked to see you are taking the initial dip with Chord, Bloom, and Data Bender. You can get a lot of awesome sounds using those three. My comments on your question are below. It’s a lot of info, but I hope it is helpful!
TLDR: a VCA or VCA/Envelope combo module and a modulation source would be great additions to these modules! A filter would also be nice, but is lower on the priority list imo.
I’m sure your workshop will cover the essentials, but some good additions to these modules would be:
- a VCA (to shape Chord into stabs, wubs, and pads)
- a filter (to create filtered sounds, and perform subtractive synthesis)
- some modulation (to automate changes in your sound, aka what modular is all about!)
Of these three categories, I’d say the filter is the least important. Being a wavetable oscillator, Chord can produce a lot of timbres on its own without filtering. If you are looking to patch more traditional subtractive synthesis with your modular, then a filter would be a desired addition.
To Quad, or not to Quad?
You can use chord as a singular voice, and have a single VCA like Cascade, which is a VCA/Envelope combo utility, or you can pick up a quad VCA and quad envelope module to take advantage of Chord’s 4 voices.
You will also want a quad Mixer if you are going that route, so you can bring your 4 voices to 2 channels before running them into Data Bender.
This is the best part of modular! Definitely look into a modulation source that can provide a lot of variation to your patching.
Bloom is a modulation source itself, being a CV and gate sequencer. I sometimes like to set up one channel of Bloom as my traditional sequencer, and the second channel as a modulation source (messing with the ratcheting and slew per step can lead to some fun clock synced modulation!).
As mentioned earlier, Cascade and other envelope modules are modulation sources.
Random/stochastic modulation sources like Chance are popular as well, especially if you are looking to create generative music.
Perhaps this was a bit more info than you were looking for, but I hope it is helpful nonetheless! Definitely ask any other questions, and I’ll be happy to answer.