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Frac vs. Euro -- not asking 'why'
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules  
Author Frac vs. Euro -- not asking 'why'
ektoquip
This is not another contested question about comparisons. This is noob thing.

I'm trying to understand the *difference* between Frac and Euro.

Frac is 3U
Euro is 3U

What's the big diff? Voltage? Power consumption? what?

Can someone point to a drawing or spec or just explain it?


EQ
diophantine
Different power supply (+/-15V vs. +/-12V).
Different power connector on modules.
Different panel width (multiples of 1.5" vs. hp).
Different rails/screw placement on panels.
davidh
frac is 15v

so difference is voltage
can't say more
thee ghost ov n_phay
http://www.blacet.com/FPtyp.jpg

This is a diagram of a Blacet VCO front panel, it shows the overall dimensions, and the mounting screw hole placements.

the height of a frac module is the same as the distance from the top lip to the bottom lip of a eu rack frame, so a frac module is too tall to fit in a eu frame, even if you drilled new holes.

Frac modules come in width multiples of 1.5", the VCO above is 3", the Blacet Hex Zone is 6" wide for example.

Frac modules are powered by +/-15VDC as opposed to eu's 12V. The power connector is the same one as used in old pre-eurificaton MOTM modules, Oakley DIY modules, CGS modules. Some of Paia's modules power arrangement might differ in some way, I can't remember how exactly.
slow_riot
Apart from the technical details, frac was born thru PAIA, later updated by Blacet, and was deliberately a more DIY inclined format. It's technical strengths and weaknesses were not that far away from Doepfer's (e.g. higher voltage = better SNR) and better power distribution using .156" connectors instead of the silly ribbons. Although the mechanical construction was not as good as Euro as off the shelf eurocard parts are near impossible to improve upon.

With those beginnings, I think it was mainly the introduction to the market of Livewire,Cwejman, Make Noise that popularised Euro ahead of Blacet, rather than the superiority of the infrastructure, and it could easily have been Frac that blew up into the mainstream.

Sadly, I don't think it's a great time to invest in Frac modules unless you are happy you can get everything you want from Blacet, or want to DIY your own. Norman Phay is selling some great modules based on Jeurgen Haible builds as well as others. It would be great to see a resurgence! Pricewise you can't beat Blacet, if you DIY it's probably 50% of the price of an equivalent quality eurorack module.
ektoquip
DIY isn't my first choice, but only because of my aging hands and vision. I've got lots of smoke-time.

So, if i'm getting this, it's about the PS and attach points? And the fact that they're "fractional" widths instead of HP? Okay, I can live with that.

What attracts me most, oddly enough, are the potential of bananas nanners
In fact, I greatly revere this little saying:
parasitk wrote:


Banana is the future of Frac!


//Chris

we're not worthy we're not worthy


EQ
fracmonkey
I have to point out that a lot of clever jack normalization gors on in Blacet. This makes bananas challenging. There is a great thread up top.
ektoquip
Normalizing?

Bananas have normalizing?
okay, i'll look for the thread

EQ
thermionicjunky
ektoquip wrote:
Normalizing?

Bananas have normalizing?
okay, i'll look for the thread

EQ


No, bananas do not come with switch contacts. Phone jacks do.
ektoquip
thermionicjunky wrote:

No, bananas do not come with switch contacts. Phone jacks do.


Okay, that's what i thought.
So then the logical route would be to either place 2 bananas (if circuit allows) or externalize the switching.

Anyway, I have about 40 inches of rack space to fill up in a special project. I positively refuse to use 1/4". I get all suspicious of the long term viability of 1/8" -- especially switched; seen too many maddening failures -- but banana just feels good all over.

Probably end up doing conversions.

EQ
thee ghost ov n_phay
For what it's worth, I found the 1/8" jacks on both my Wiard and my Blacet modules to be very robust! Coincidentally, I replaced a jack on one of my Wiard modules and one of my Blacet ones just this week, the first jacks I've replaced on either system. I bought my first modules from these manufacturers in 1999 IIRC...
revtor
I believe Frack started (late 70's?-Paia, Blacet) as a multiple of standard musical rack units, while euro started (doepfer)as a standard that was in place in the European telecom industry.(eurorack standard)

Steve
BugBrand
I went Frac in part because I preferred the regular 1.5" width approach.
(though actually I built my first personal modules to run at +/-12V).

John Blacet's unified system is wonderful!
But it is clear that the masses haven't gone with Frac (c'est la vie).

Banana is kind of a sub-niche - or perhaps a slightly separate entity as I also tend to work towards unified systems and there's no-one really else doing banana frac.

Conversions - I did a few Blacet things, though some I deemed nigh on impossible. (is it perhaps also a slight slap in the face of the vision of the designer?). There were also some Wiard designs, a number of which I converted for people - many were simple, though I remember having to add a few extra switches to replace normalisation.


PS - deaf-ear point -- they're 3.5mm minijacks - 1/8" does not exist.
ektoquip
thee ghost ov n_phay wrote:
For what it's worth, I found the 1/8" jacks on both my Wiard and my Blacet modules to be very robust! Coincidentally, I replaced a jack on one of my Wiard modules and one of my Blacet ones just this week, the first jacks I've replaced on either system. I bought my first modules from these manufacturers in 1999 IIRC...


I remember replacing 1/8" switching jacks on the back of my Arp Odyssey. It was built in 1979, 18 years prior.

Didn't even last 20 years lol

EQ
ektoquip
BugBrand wrote:
I went Frac in part because I preferred the regular 1.5" width approach.
(though actually I built my first personal modules to run at +/-12V).

I don't quite understand that. Screwing into wood? No diff. Sliding nut rails? No diff. 1.6" (hp) vs. 1.5"? That's a big difference?
Okay, voltage I get the difference, but the width thing I don't quite get. hmmm.....
I mean, it's fine with me either way. Cool. Just not keeping up.
BugBrand wrote:

John Blacet's unified system is wonderful!
But it is clear that the masses haven't gone with Frac (c'est la vie).

I shall endeavor to learn more about it.
BugBrand wrote:
Banana is kind of a sub-niche - or perhaps a slightly separate entity as I also tend to work towards unified systems and there's no-one really else doing banana frac.

I just wish you'd go with a silver face instead of that blue. But that's just me. Let the banana plugs set you apart. Or maybe a tan or cream. But that's just me wishing out loud. As a consumer, I wish there were more banana vendors. But then, that's because i think it's a better ergonomic and abuse-tolerant hardware.
BugBrand wrote:

PS - deaf-ear point -- they're 3.5mm minijacks - 1/8" does not exist.


HA! lol Perhaps in your tiny little world filled with imported electronics, they might not exist, but I can assure you they exist in great numbers.
Granted, you'll pay a premium for them today, being specially sourced, and they're used in things like aircraft and non-consumer items, but they surely do exist.
Of course, you're right: Deaf-Ear Point. 3.5 x .03937 = 0.137795 or a whopping 0.0128 (13 one-thousandths) of an inch! Tomato-Tomahtoe.


EQ
BugBrand
ektoquip wrote:
BugBrand wrote:
I went Frac in part because I preferred the regular 1.5" width approach.
(though actually I built my first personal modules to run at +/-12V).

I don't quite understand that. Screwing into wood? No diff. Sliding nut rails? No diff. 1.6" (hp) vs. 1.5"? That's a big difference?
Okay, voltage I get the difference, but the width thing I don't quite get.


I found it easier to design with the what felt like a more standard width - kind of a constraint, but one I found helpful. [by the way, 1hp = 5.08mm]


And the 1/8" thing - I use 25.4 as the conversion ratio.
1/8 of 25.4 = 3.175mm --- that is quite different from the actual 3.5mm
ektoquip
BugBrand wrote:

I found it easier to design with the what felt like a more standard width - kind of a constraint, but one I found helpful.


Hey, that's cool. Just curious. I'm far from new to modulars, but this whole Frac thing is new to me. So i'm asking annoying questions like any noob, I know.

BugBrand wrote:

[by the way, 1hp = 5.08mm]


Sorry to disagree, yet again, but hp is defined as 0.2 inches. 5.08mm is a conversion. Probably good enough for this, but it's 0.2 inches all the same.

Which was the question in my head. If Frac is 1.5" and Euro could be 8hp (or 1.6"), what was the big diff? (Other than 0.1", that is.) But it's all good. No problem. Was just trying to wrap my head around it, izzall.


BugBrand wrote:

And the 1/8" thing - I use 25.4 as the conversion ratio.
1/8 of 25.4 = 3.175mm --- that is quite different from the actual 3.5mm


Hmm... if you don't mind, how about a quick FYI on conversions?
The Meter is a standard. The Yard is defined at the SI in Geneva as 3600/3937ths of a meter. Thus making the official conversion of 3937. There are many political reasons for this numeric combination of primes; don't get me started angry

The reciprocal (1/x) of 0.03937 is the irrational number (?) of 25.400050800101600203200406400813.... there's your primes at work. This is often rounded to 25.4 -- akin to rounding Pi to 3.14. While handy, not always adequately accurate.

One more thing, between 1/8" (which you're right, has a tiny and decreasing market share), 3,5mm, and tinyjack, there's several vendors tooled up for the most commonality they can get. This means splitting tolerances, which ends up being "too big for one and too small for the other". This is why sometimes, it seems to fit just perfect and other times, it mysteriously does not.

Bananas do not suffer from this.

EQ
BugBrand
"In 1959 the inch was set to be exactly 2.54 centimeters. Prior to that, it was set at 39.37 inches per meter. The difference is only 0.0002%, or 2 parts per million. The new definition is slightly smaller than the old definition."
http://www.elivermore.com/conversions.htm

Happy to hear more given how much I've used the 25.4 conversion - but I'm pretty sure I'm right here.

Can you give a link to an 1/8" socket? Every time this argument has come up, I've heard many times that 1/8" sockets simply do not exist - happy to be proved wrong of course! [of course I know about tinijax, but again that isn't 1/8"]
e-grad
revtor wrote:
I believe Frack started (late 70's?-Paia, Blacet) [...]


Pretty sure that PAiA started frac with their 9700 series in the 1990s.
http://paia.com/ProdArticles/9700_chronicles.htm
diophantine
ektoquip wrote:
So then the logical route would be to either place 2 bananas (if circuit allows) or externalize the switching.

Just switches. Maybe some pull-down resistors.

In some cases you won't need to do anything, assuming you're fine using an extra banana cable, and stacking an input to an additional input, or an output to another input on a module.

ektoquip wrote:
Anyway, I have about 40 inches of rack space to fill up in a special project. I positively refuse to use 1/4". I get all suspicious of the long term viability of 1/8" -- especially switched; seen too many maddening failures -- but banana just feels good all over.


This was a big concern of mine when I started with modulars, and part of why I originally went with 1/4" jacks... have an 90-space (soon to be 118-space) Dotcom system. I also have a couple of banana systems - a relatively large DIY Steiner-Parker Synthasystem, and a small (but growing) Random*Source Serge.

I just recently started in Frac, and don't have a full system up yet, but I decided to keep with the minijacks. Partially due to patch cable cost, partially due to keeping things simple, partially due to aesthetics, partially to just have something different. Fingers crossed the jacks stay nice - at least it does seem like newer minijacks are a bit better than some of the older ones I've worked with... the jacks in my TTSH are holding up fine (though I only built it 2 years ago).

FWIW, in the Synthasystem there were 3 modules that used normalled jacks. The Triple Envelope Generator had the 3 gate inputs cascaded - I'm able to replace that with a couple of stacked banana plugs, when needed. The VCA/Mixer had the 3 inputs normalled to 0V - I replaced those with pull-down resistors and haven't noticed any issues. The Dual S&H had the internal "noise" source normalled to the two inputs - and that's the only place I had to use switches. Frac (or, at least, Blacet and PAiA) use more normalling, but it is similar in that not everything needs a switch, as long as you're fine using extra cables.
ektoquip
BugBrand wrote:

Happy to hear more given how much I've used the 25.4 conversion - but I'm pretty sure I'm right here.

I'm certain that you are.
I'd never try to say otherwise.
BugBrand wrote:

Can you give a link to an 1/8" socket? Every time this argument has come up, I've heard many times that 1/8" sockets simply do not exist - happy to be proved wrong of course! [of course I know about tinijax, but again that isn't 1/8"]

You know, right when i hit the Submit button, i knew you were gonna ask something like this, and no, i'm not in Supply Chain Management, so no, I don't keep such a link handy.

So considering how far this has strayed from the OT, I'll just bow out right now and concede all points, real or imagined.


EQ
ektoquip
diophantine wrote:

In some cases you won't need to do anything, assuming you're fine using an extra banana cable, and stacking an input to an additional input, or an output to another input on a module.


To me, that's the beauty of bananas. You can stack them 10 high easy enough without worry about snapping one off. Try THAT with 1/8". So stacking is a given.


diophantine wrote:

This was a big concern of mine when I started with modulars, and part of why I originally went with 1/4" jacks... have an 90-space (soon to be 118-space) Dotcom system. I also have a couple of banana systems - a relatively large DIY Steiner-Parker Synthasystem, and a small (but growing) Random*Source Serge.


Sworn off 1/4". Probably some mental disorder from childhood use of anal thermometers or something. Spent a lotta time on my old Moog suitcases and the 1/4" was just so clunky. If anything, I might consider Bantams (TT) on a module. But as nice as those are, they still don't stack.

Besides, when it comes to contact area, which can sometimes translate into intermittent contact, the banana can't be beat.


diophantine wrote:

I just recently started in Frac, and don't have a full system up yet, but I decided to keep with the minijacks. Partially due to patch cable cost, partially due to keeping things simple, partially due to aesthetics, partially to just have something different. Fingers crossed the jacks stay nice - at least it does seem like newer minijacks are a bit better than some of the older ones I've worked with... the jacks in my TTSH are holding up fine (though I only built it 2 years ago).

FWIW, in the Synthasystem there were 3 modules that used normalled jacks. The Triple Envelope Generator had the 3 gate inputs cascaded - I'm able to replace that with a couple of stacked banana plugs, when needed. The VCA/Mixer had the 3 inputs normalled to 0V - I replaced those with pull-down resistors and haven't noticed any issues. The Dual S&H had the internal "noise" source normalled to the two inputs - and that's the only place I had to use switches. Frac (or, at least, Blacet and PAiA) use more normalling, but it is similar in that not everything needs a switch, as long as you're fine using extra cables.


See, I started this whole thread because I was originally flummoxed about what/why Frac was and what it brought to the table. Euro is 3U; Frac is 3U. I've since learned it's on different spacing (1.5 vs. hp) and different VDC and that's about it.

IMO, bananas are the way to go... for me. It SEEMS like there's a propensity within the Frac community to lean more toward banana acceptance. That'd be great. BUT, I'm recently finding that there's been a considerable amount of banana conversion among the Eur-nuts.

And this is kinda bad, because that was the one thing I saw Frac having WAY over Euro, I mean, from my PoV. If I went Frac, it'd be an OTS solution for my banana It's peanut butter jelly time! fixation.

But because finding the Euro It's peanut butter jelly time! conversion is already plowed ground and I'm not scared of the mechanical/electro aspects of a conversion, now I'm back to Square One wondering who brings what to the table. Even sonically?

Probably, like yourself, it'll start growing beyond my control and I'll soon be happily introducing all my several systems in their several formats lol



EQ
BugBrand
[I wasn't trying to win on the 1/8" - mainly I ask to learn!]

Another thing you missed on Euro-vs-Frac (but which was mentioned) - both 3U in theory, but Frac is full 5.25" whereas euro is a shade under (rails have a little lip)

You can, if you have the bloodymindedness, make anything banana - you choose your battles...

It has been touched on, but the unified (or single-minded) approaches of Blacet or Banana is appealing in some ways vs. the mind-boggling scope of Euro choice (though there are great single manufacturer systems to be had there too).

The other banana system to consider, of course, is Serge - or the several DIY etc options (R*S, for example, or CGS projects). Banana remains niche despite all the advantages - masses just don't know what they're missing (or banana stalwarts are overly fixed in their ways... business be damned)
ektoquip
BugBrand wrote:

Another thing you missed on Euro-vs-Frac (but which was mentioned) - both 3U in theory, but Frac is full 5.25" whereas euro is a shade under (rails have a little lip)


So the Euro spec doesn't just apply to the module, but also the rail? It has to have a retaining lip? Goodness...
Is this a 'little lip' the way 19" racks *actually* house a device that's 18.875" or less? Or is this a bit more than that?
Either way, in the current and pressing app, mounting can be anything I decide.
Actually, I'll probably be equally cavalier about mounting on all my projects from here out. razz


BugBrand wrote:

It has been touched on, but the unified (or single-minded) approaches of Blacet or Banana is appealing in some ways vs. the mind-boggling scope of Euro choice (though there are great single manufacturer systems to be had there too).

Are you meaning 'unified' as in Blacet dealing exclusively with bananas? Or is this some CV/audio thing?
I'm not following so well.
BugBrand wrote:

The other banana system to consider, of course, is Serge - or the several DIY etc options (R*S, for example, or CGS projects). Banana remains niche despite all the advantages - masses just don't know what they're missing (or banana stalwarts are overly fixed in their ways... business be damned)

In this near-term case, I have about 40" of 3U appurtenance.
As time goes on, I'll have about 91U to fill. Not sure if I can, though. Mr. Green


EQ
drumsofd00m
Wondering why module depth, mounting holes, PSU connector formats and additional rack frame considerations haven't been mentioned yet:

- Many Frac modules go about 20 cm deep (don't remember exactly, someone correct me) while many Euro mfgs seem hell bent on making modules as small as possible, not just on the panel but also behind it. A Frac system, especially if you leave some room behind it for ventilation, takes up as much space against the wall as a small closet, or as any outboard rack.

- Holes on Frac modules are set further away from the horizontal panel edges, that's why you can't put Frac and Euro modules in the same rack even if it has sliding nuts. (Grant Richter once suggested to Norman that he could always velcro-tape them...^^)

- The 4-pin PSU connectors in Frac are shared with Wiard 300 and 5U MOTM, and there have been adapters for DotCom stuff (lots of different brands) to run on Frac/ MOTM PSUs. Not sure about those DotCom modules that use the +5V tap, but if you buy a Hinton 15V PSU he can add that tap. So if you ever want to mix formats, the PSU situation can save you 100s of dollars. Euro power isn't compatible with any others as far as I know (again correct me if I'm wrong) so you'd need separate PSUs, or with Hinton, several different additional taps (if that's even feasible).

- Frac racks are flimsy and can bend into a slightly concave shape over time (depends, but I know some people push violently enough when patching). The retaining lip in Euro looks like it might serve as a bit of stabilization against that, but I don't have one to verify that. One solution in Frac is to add metal sheets on top and bottom of the frames, which also provides a bit of electrical shielding.


Edit: another thing that's probably so obvious it was forgotten - the rack ears in Frac are 2" wide EACH, which is QUITE a waste of space if they're not used for mults or other custom stuff (e.g. metalbox.com can make these). That plus the aforementioned depth are the main factors why I disagree that Frac could ever have taken off like Euro did - no offense to slow_riot, but can you imagine a hipster backpacking a Frac system to the party? ^^ Any Euro skiff will pack three times or so the functionality when it comes to *cubed* measurements.
ektoquip
drumsofd00m wrote:
the rack ears in Frac are 2" wide EACH, which is QUITE a waste of space if they're not used for mults or other custom stuff


That's an interesting bit of math all by itself. So a 'standard' frac rack is 10 wide (10 x 1.5=)15 inches. So yup, that'd be 2" of open space each side in a 19" rack.

In fairness, in a 19" rack, the ears are already 1" each, leaving 17" for the chassis area. So the frac could be 11 wide or (11 x 1.5 =) 16.5". But i don't think that's standard "lab grade" practice or hardware.

Of course, a guy with a saw, some wood, and some glue can always whip up a cabinet and basically ignore all those standards. Then everything fits fine.

EQ
BugBrand
^^^ another reason I designed my own frame. Seemed very wasteful horizontally (& depth-wise)
fracmonkey
Of course, both Paia, Blacet et al are commited to the DIY customer as well as the assembled market. This requires the limited use of surface mount and roomier pcb layouts to ensure customer assembly success. The typical euro compactness is not an option for this product. Also, some Blacet modules are quite complex compared to the more basic design of most euro.

Only two of current Blacet modules are six inches deep. The rest vary from one inch to 5.5" deep with new designs running in the four inch range.

The full chassis rak-3 (now discontinued) is 8" deep to accomodate a few older modules along with room for the power supply and distribution buss.

The current "bare rak" has no depth, being just the front end rails and side supports. These can rack ears or handles. The handles can be turned around and used to mount the rak into a box of the users choice; about 17" wide.

Choosing some of the more compact modules would allow the customer to size the box quite compactly, although possibly not to the euro experience. Still, smaller than a closet for sure.

"Flimsyness" is descriptive of the Paia rak, which uses an "L" shaped rail of very thin steel. The Blacet rail is "U" shaped aluminum and is quite strong.
ektoquip
fracmonkey wrote:

"Flimsyness" is descriptive of the Paia rak, which uses an "L" shaped rail of very thin steel. The Blacet rail is "U" shaped aluminum and is quite strong.


Doesn't Paia also use those 1/8" pins for patching? Maybe that's part of why they didn't need much rigidity.
Or... maybe they're just cheap...

EQ
Rob_C
ektoquip wrote:
fracmonkey wrote:

"Flimsyness" is descriptive of the Paia rak, which uses an "L" shaped rail of very thin steel. The Blacet rail is "U" shaped aluminum and is quite strong.


Doesn't Paia also use those 1/8" pins for patching? Maybe that's part of why they didn't need much rigidity.
Or... maybe they're just cheap...

EQ
PAIA frac racks have metal tops, bottoms, sides and backs which add to the rigidity of the "L" shaped mounting rails and provide shielding.

PAIA modules use 3.5mm jacks. Only the PAIA vintage equipment from the 70s and the 80s used a tip pin jack for control voltages (and 3.5mm jacks for audio). And those did not mount in a frac rack.
drumsofd00m
fracmonkey wrote:
Of course, both Paia, Blacet et al are commited to the DIY customer as well as the assembled market. This requires the limited use of surface mount and roomier pcb layouts to ensure customer assembly success. The typical euro compactness is not an option for this product (...)


Yep, and I salute you for that and hope it stays like that forever. To a Wiard 300 user the depth of other modules makes no difference anyway.

Quote:
"Flimsyness" is descriptive of the Paia rak, which uses an "L" shaped rail of very thin steel. The Blacet rail is "U" shaped aluminum and is quite strong.


Maybe we can come together at saying that flimsyness is relative. I've owned both two of yours and a Paia, and as I said I've known people to bend their (Blacet) rails by pushing too hard, just leave me that. Then as Rob_C and I mentioned there's the metal sheets that come with Paia racks. And neither will ever be as sturdy as e.g. the bars in a Wiard or Hinton rack frame. But then of course those are much heavier. It's really all just a matter of pros & cons, I like them all.
fracmonkey
The Paia raks are improved by the covers. But I think these are optional or used to be.

I remain very skeptical that anyone has bent a Blacet rail in "ordinary use". I have seen a very crushed unit that that encountered some unknown horror while in the postal system.

While people can vary in their treatment of equipment, a simple test placing a 10 lb weight in the center of a bare rail suspended in a chassis, with no modules, results in a barely noticeable deflection. When the weight is removed, the rail returns to normal.

Have you ever personally seen one of these bent rails?
e-grad
fracmonkey wrote:
I remain very skeptical that anyone has bent a Blacet rail in "ordinary use".


My thoughts exactly.
drumsofd00m
fracmonkey wrote:
The Paia raks are improved by the covers. But I think these are optional or used to be.

I remain very skeptical that anyone has bent a Blacet rail in "ordinary use". I have seen a very crushed unit that that encountered some unknown horror while in the postal system.

While people can vary in their treatment of equipment, a simple test placing a 10 lb weight in the center of a bare rail suspended in a chassis, with no modules, results in a barely noticeable deflection. When the weight is removed, the rail returns to normal.

Have you ever personally seen one of these bent rails?


I owned one. And you say "ordinary use" while I used the wording "violently enough" and "TOO hard". How can we come together if you use different measures than I did when I made my initial statement?

I also said "SLIGHTLY concave shape", thinking of about 1.5 mm or so in the middle (and yes, it was twice that in a Paia rack I also owned). And last but not least, while the Wiard 300 frames I used as a counter-example are x times more solid, the faceplates of those 6U modules themselves are slightly bendy/ "flimsy" themselves WHEN compared to a 3U Wiard 1200 or Blacet faceplate. Again, IF you patch TOO hard... which however sometimes happens with an unlucky combination of tight jacks, fat plugs (we all know that 3.5mm plugs can vary a lot in feel between mfg's, unlike TT for example) and inconsiderate use (as in pushing against the faceplete when removing the tightly fitting plug, out of fear of damaging the jack or whatever, but with the result of not providing a counter-force/ pulling force to the push during insertion).

Or maybe the seller just ran his car over it. Whatever. I didn't criticize your product.
e-grad
seriously, i just don't get it

So if you describe Frac racks as flimsy bcs. if used "violently enough" and "TOO hard" they could slightly bend, those who think these racks are sturdy enough shall not speak out?

Wether "violently enough" nor "TOO hard" are distinctive scales but relative terms. Sometimes if terms are used too hard and violently enough you might even slightly bent any effort to communicate.
drumsofd00m
e-grad wrote:
:despair:

So if you describe Frac racks as flimsy bcs. if used "violently enough" and "TOO hard" they could slightly bend, those who think these racks are sturdy enough shall not speak out?


No. And that's a loaded question. On the contrary, I tried my best to clarify my wording to prevent a misunderstanding (due to different personal measures) coming into being and sticking around on a forum forever. I'm glad Mr Blacet responded when he disagreed.

You and I are both non-native English speakers. I wish YOU would stop chiming in on every Frac related thread I post in, whether it's discussions or my FS threads, with corrections to my grammar, vocabulary, opinions, hearsay even where it's marked as hearsay, and facts even where you're wrong.
That's why coming from you, and you only, asking (whether I think that) if I describe Frac racks as whatever others should not speak out is a loaded question.

Quote:
Wether "violently enough" nor "TOO hard" are distinctive scales but relative terms. Sometimes if terms are used too hard and violently enough you might even slightly bent any effort to communicate.


Sorry teacher, but the first sentence is incomplete/ unclear and that it's "bend" with a d.
e-grad
drumsofd00m wrote:
I wish YOU would stop chiming in on every Frac related thread I post in, whether it's discussions or my FS threads, with corrections to my grammar, vocabulary, opinions, hearsay even where it's marked as hearsay, and facts even where you're wrong.


Drunk?
drumsofd00m
To end this (hopefully), I should have said that the Blacet Frac rack (as opposed to the Paia Frac rack which JB agrees is "flimsy") is less protected against "abuse" (than more solid frames), but probably sturdy enough for "normal" use in most situations.

The problem here is that normal use and abuse are on a spectrum, not black and white, not least because of variations in plugs. Half of my XXX brand modules have "slightly concave" faceplates. I don't criticize anyone for that, neither makers nor resellers. I just acknowledge that the analog modular world is imperfect and I tried to be detailed about the OP's question.
drumsofd00m
e-grad wrote:
drumsofd00m wrote:
I wish YOU would stop chiming in on every Frac related thread I post in, whether it's discussions or my FS threads, with corrections to my grammar, vocabulary, opinions, hearsay even where it's marked as hearsay, and facts even where you're wrong.


Drunk?


Facts. You're a troll. You know that the stress is on the second half of that sentence, so no need to highlight it differently.
BugBrand
Quit it you two or take it somewhere else.
Kyhotay
Time to chime in! I have used the PAiA FRAC Racks with and without covers (I prefer without) as well as the original and RAK-2 Blacet Racks. I don't give a rats ass about "flimsy" or "sturdy." I have not had a problem with either and have owned about a dozen or so between the three. Maybe I'm just not as aggressive in patching?? hihi

I do prefer the Blacet only because of the power distribution buss & connectors. I've even used the CONN-2 in my PAiA Racks (hell, I use them in my 4700 cases!). If I could change anything on the RAK-2, it would be to have the power switch on the front, not the rear where it does me no good since I can't reach it.

Rather than bitch and moan as to who makes the better racks, why don't we all just fucking support the few FRAC form-factor manufactures? Or maybe demand more modules from our friends over at SynthCube? They at least actually seem to listen to us.

Jus' sayin'...
drumsofd00m
Kyhotay wrote:
Rather than bitch and moan as to who makes the better racks, why don't we all just fucking support the few FRAC form-factor manufactures?


Harsh words and a bit of irony: It was Mr Blacet himself who insisted on the distinction and re-used the word "flimsy".

Again, I was really just being meticulous to answer the OP in detail (he did ask for the technical differences to Euro after all), not to derail (haha) any product, as I thought I made clear ("pros & cons ... I like them all").

Can we really put this to rest now? The horse has turned into sausage by now!
ersatzplanet
You can easily offset Vector, or any standard Eurorack rail that doesn't have a "lip" built in, rail to fit the Frac dimensions. You would have to use sliding nuts I believe.

I remember somebody designing a "universal rail" that could be used to make either a frac row or a Euro row. The rail was shaped something like this:



The two slots were offset such that when you flipped the rail you could use the rail with the slot against the cabinet wall for euro, or offset from the cabin wall for frac. Don't know if it ever got in production.
BugBrand
ersatzplanet wrote:
..I remember somebody designing a "universal rail" that could be used to make either a frac row or a Euro row. ...


Randal? That story did not end well...
fracmonkey
BugBrand wrote:
ersatzplanet wrote:
..I remember somebody designing a "universal rail" that could be used to make either a frac row or a Euro row. ...


Randal? That story did not end well...


I remember that but not the outcome. You would probably have to spend big bucks for the extrusion tool and buy a ton of product. Maybe today you could do it in a 3D printer.
ersatzplanet
fracmonkey wrote:
BugBrand wrote:
ersatzplanet wrote:
..I remember somebody designing a "universal rail" that could be used to make either a frac row or a Euro row. ...


Randal? That story did not end well...


I remember that but not the outcome. You would probably have to spend big bucks for the extrusion tool and buy a ton of product. Maybe today you could do it in a 3D printer.


Not strictly needed though. All you have to do is use "lipless" rails like Vector, and just mount them at the different positions needed to line up with the screw holes on the front panels.
e-grad
ersatzplanet wrote:
All you have to do is use "lipless" rails like Vector, and just mount them at the different positions needed to line up with the screw holes on the front panels.


Since the distance of the mounting holes differs you won't be able to swap a Euro module for a Frac module at the very same position. However to swap freely different 3U makes is wanted IMO.

You could use a wooden "mounting rail" without any mounting holes and screw the modules directly into the wood. Such a rack won't be a beauty but it will work - untill the wood is worn out.
fracmonkey
My first modular used this. You could even make the wood strips replaceable. Wood is pretty cheap.
emmaker
I've used both Blacet and PAIA racks without issues. Once you get the rack filled with modules they stiffen up pretty good.

Going to start to add Euro to the synth. I'm just going with single 3U Euro racks and mix them with the single Frac racks I have.
ersatzplanet
e-grad wrote:
ersatzplanet wrote:
All you have to do is use "lipless" rails like Vector, and just mount them at the different positions needed to line up with the screw holes on the front panels.


Since the distance of the mounting holes differs you won't be able to swap a Euro module for a Frac module at the very same position. However to swap freely different 3U makes is wanted IMO.

You could use a wooden "mounting rail" without any mounting holes and screw the modules directly into the wood. Such a rack won't be a beauty but it will work - untill the wood is worn out.


The problem with this is that many Euro module makers use the maximum height size of the enclosure for the PCB size. The holes being closer to the center on a Frac panel means the wooden mounting rail would probably leave too small a space for many Eurorack PCBs. When I design PCBs for our products, I use 0.4" from the panel edge as a measurement to clear all the rails I know of. With the Frac system mounting holes being 0.3" from the edge of the panel, there is not much room left. I am sure many makers get closer to the edge than I do too.

I imagine it would be easier to just drill holes in the Frac panels to let them work in a Eurorack system. I dod this to all my AS modules to get them to work.
drumsofd00m
fracmonkey wrote:
You could even make the wood strips replaceable.


That's a great idea. Furniture makers should do this for certain parts (children's tables' edges, etc). Modular furniture instead of throw-away furniture. But then they would make less money...

I may use this to hop off the fence about going wood entirely and retiring the modular's SKB cases. Great idea.
ektoquip
Not really trying to bump this thread, but somehow I got knocked off the update email and missed a lot of traffic.

Here's my thinking on a couple of issues.

"Flimsyness"? --- Take a measurement of the thickness of the front panel. A panel made from .032 is more flimsy than a panel made of .05 or .062. That's simple enough. Nothing to debate.

Mounting? --- I TOLD myself time and time again. "You're NOT gonna DIY! You're NOT gonna DIY!" But I've become enamored by some these recent things I've learned here and now I'd LOVE to do some more DIY!

I wanna put some bananas on Euro gear. nanners Wanna do it. (we talked about this.) Seems some are already way ahead of me.

I have zero compunction about drilling new holes in either form of gear. Moving frac holes out is easy. Not a factor. BUT if I build my own cabs, especially in wood, it's also a non-factor.

Personally, I think with all the pedestrian Euro gear out there, the numbers are just too big. Frac should come with two sets of holes allowing for mounting either way. A power supply adapter (buck or zener or something) should also exist shortly.

IMO, the entire community will soon see the inherent advantages of bananas and in a decade, it'll all be Euro format banana panels.

'Course, that'll probably piss-off EVERYONE. But Apple does that kind of thing all the time so why not?

EQ
drumsofd00m
ektoquip wrote:
Not really trying to bump this thread, but somehow I got knocked off the update email and missed a lot of traffic.


It's not clear if you expect an update email for each post, but if so, no, you only get one until you visit the thread again while logged in .

Quote:
Here's my thinking on a couple of issues.

"Flimsyness"? --- Take a measurement of the thickness of the front panel. A panel made from .032 is more flimsy than a panel made of .05 or .062. That's simple enough. Nothing to debate.


We were debating perceived flimsyness of rack rails, not front panels. And no, it's not that simple, as Mr Blacet pointed out regarding L-shaped vs U-shaped rails. (Similar to Moog Unit modules having flanges at the sides for stabilization whereas e.g. 6U Wiard modules don't. And just to make sure on this: Blacet front panels are quite robust)

Quote:
A power supply adapter (buck or zener or something) should also exist shortly.


Hinton Instruments can make you +/-15V PSUs with added 12V taps, as mentioned before in this thread. There may be others too, I don't know.

Quote:
IMO, the entire community will soon see the inherent advantages of bananas and in a decade, it'll all be Euro format banana panels.


That's a dream. Euro is popular partly because it's cheap (compared to Buchla, Serge, Wiard, and also to 5U if you count real estate as money). Bananas are expensive. And they don't allow for normalled connections.
And with hundreds over hundreds of modules already out there... just no.

Even Serge... I don't know STS vs R*S sales figures vs DIY figures, but anyway, even Serge is now being built in relevant quantities with 3.5mm after 45 years of mostly bananas.

Quote:
'Course, that'll probably piss-off EVERYONE. But Apple does that kind of thing all the time so why not?


Because the modular synths "cottage industry" isn't the personal computer industry.
ektoquip
drumsofd00m wrote:

Hinton Instruments can make you +/-15V PSUs with added 12V taps, as mentioned before in this thread. There may be others too, I don't know.

They could... or i could make my own, i guess.
drumsofd00m wrote:

Euro is popular partly because it's cheap (compared to Buchla, Serge, Wiard, and also to 5U if you count real estate as money).

Oh... okay.
See, the perspective I woulda used is "not crazy overpriced". But then, maybe we're saying the same thing. I'll let the marketplace decide.
drumsofd00m wrote:
Bananas are expensive. And they don't allow for normalled connections.
And with hundreds over hundreds of modules already out there... just no.

Hmm... this is sounding like an old and baseless debate - including bouts of denial. But I'm new here so maybe not.

I'm not seeing the 'expensive' part of bananas. The wire comes in spools. The ends are available in bulk. Fabricating a custom size is faster than attaching ONE END of a 3.5m. In fact, fabricating a stacking 3.5m is a bit of a pricey trick. With a banana, it's one setscrew. And those patch cables do flex and wear with the banana being far cheaper to keep in the long run -- though admittedly not a typical issue.

But then, the Chinese pound these out fast, so, I dunno maybe so...

I'm not sure anyone's done a survey, nor have real numbers, but my guess is that normalled connections amount to something well below 1% in total number of Euro patch points. So that shortcoming seems more imaginary than real.

drumsofd00m wrote:

Even Serge... I don't know STS vs R*S sales figures vs DIY figures, but anyway, even Serge is now being built in relevant quantities with 3.5mm after 45 years of mostly bananas.


I wouldn't be predisposed to tell Serge, or anyone else, how to run their company. I'm sure they'll explore everything they feel is best to increase sales.


ektoquip wrote:
'Course, that'll probably piss-off EVERYONE. But Apple does that kind of thing all the time so why not?
drumsofd00m wrote:

Because the modular synths "cottage industry" isn't the personal computer industry.

Huh.... really.....


EQ
drumsofd00m
To call a few specific points a baselass debate is uncalled for. I applaud your bravado but you need to polish up your knowledge on some things.
The point re: normalling is that you *can* apply your own normalizations between modules with phone type jacks. Granted, it's becoming a forgotten art as people who constantly trade modules will hardly do it, but others have modded their Frac/ Euro/ Wiard systems that way, or built their own semimodulars from these components plus normalizations. Your point is valid too, just don't dismiss something before you see the whole picture.
Serge hasn't run a modular company for something like 30 years, he granted certain (differing) rights or arrangements to Rex/ STS back then and to Random*Source more recently.
And increasing sales is precisely not a typical main goal in this cottage industry - sometimes on the contrary, due to capacity or simply non-desire (Grant? Don? Haha). Maybe it is for some newcomers in the last years in Euro, or BEMI, and maybe DotCom sells a lot, don't know. But generally and historically, you seem to have a distorted idea of the infrastructures of this market/ scene/ subculture. It is (or used to be) a designer's playground to some extent. Drop by the forum a little more often and maybe use a modular for a year or so instead of just 'turning this drone louder' ;-)
ektoquip
drumsofd00m wrote:
But generally and historically, you seem to have a distorted idea of the infrastructures of this market/ scene/ subculture. It is (or used to be) a designer's playground to some extent. Drop by the forum a little more often and maybe use a modular for a year or so instead of just 'turning this drone louder' ;-)

I remember climbing on my first modular in 1974 -- from the sounds of things, well before you were born.
However, it's always good to have an invitation to understand "historically" from an informed guide.
Further, as a business owner, I'll probably take the stubborn route of not listening to non-owners about business matters. It's a character flaw, i know.
Regardless, I have no need to swim upstream. Guinness ftw!

EQ
drumsofd00m
I can only reply to what you wrote, not what you think. And you asked for info on Frac vs Euro, which (plus other things) suggested you have at least some gap somewhere between 1974 and now. "Historical" means a course of things, not something static. So, nevermind if you felt unfairly criticized. Best of luck with your endeavours!
whomper
I started with Blacet, so my rack is 15v, which practically led me to only Frac.
When I started a new cabinet, I opted for 12v to enjoy Euro format as well
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