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Synthesizers.com - Noisy?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> 5U Format Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Synthesizers.com - Noisy?
snoop
Is it just my system of has any of you problems with noisy modules (regular bacground hiss, like when you crank up a stereo amp)?
The ladder filter is very noisy, i knew that before buying it, but after my modular grew bigger with modules from other manufacturers i noticed escpecially the .com amplifier had a lot more noise than the other brands.

Compared to Modcan that has almost no noise...

Is it the same with you or is something wrong with my modular?
nerdware
If you're used to digital synths, then of course it'll sound noisy. hihi

I've only noticed noise when I'm using the Q118 to boost the output of my Q150. I can't try that trick with, say, the Oakley EFG and Superladder modules coz I don't have them (yet).

My recommendation is to think of the noise as a feature and use it as part of the sound. Some people have to add a noise signal, but you're getting it for free! twisted
snoop
Yeah, but the question is .com compared to other modular manufacturers, and the q108 in particular, not if i like noise or not in a signal
megaohm
snoop wrote:

Is it the same with you or is something wrong with my modular?


Nothing wrong with your modular.
It's the circuit.
DotCom uses a standard 3080 OTA design. This typically requires a huge cut in signal level at it's input and then it is boosted by that amount at the output which also boosts the noise and any CV feed through.
Most modern modular VCA designs use parts and/or circuits that don't require such extreme level cut and boost so the noise and feed through are much lower.

A ton of vintage synths used (basically) the DotCom design so if you're after that sound it's probably the perfect VCA for that.

p.
Ranxerox
snoop wrote:
Yeah, but the question is .com compared to other modular manufacturers, and the q108 in particular, not if i like noise or not in a signal


You could always help yourself by measuring the noise floor and comparing it to the quoted noise figure on the .com website:

http://www.synthesizers.com/faq.html#quiet

FWIW, I've never heard tell of .com stuff being especially noisy. The original Moog stuff is however known to be a bit noisy, but you'll find most analogue afficionados regard system noise to be a bit of a non-issue.
analogsteve
Maybe something to keep in mind...

From http://synthesizers.com/q150.html :

synthesizers.com wrote:
Filters are especially noisy and susceptible to interference and hum from the power supply. Place the module as far away from the power supply as possible for lower hum.


I always try to keep filters as far away from the power supply as possible. This is a good rule of thumb for Reverb modules as well. You'd be surprised how often careful module placement can solve noise issues.

Steve
nerdware
Yeah, I guess noise is a non-issue for me. Years of using a "noisy" modular based on Curtis chips, maybe. It might also be the way I patch things - cascading filters won't help you keep the noise floor down. The basic VCO/VCF/VCA signal path should be pretty noise-free, but a modular let's you do more interesting things - and interesting can also mean noisy.

One of my fav Hendrix albums features some very noisy amps. He even comments on it. You can hear them protesting at the abuse, but I love that sound and the way it becomes part of the music. By the end of the gig, you can hear something dying, and that too is musical. Entire modules exist to get effects like this. Some of them are VCAs...

When I want a totally clean sound, I go digital.
snoop
Thanks for the answers. I quess design filosophy (cost) is the answer?

Regular patches is no problem, but when you LP or BP a lot it becomes an issue. But not on Modcan VCA`s. It has a lot less noise. I`m using a .com as an end amp, but i quess a modcan will take that place now.

For some reason i always done a lot of noise removal when making things like deep bass drums and other mid freq. perc. Never thought of testing different end amps.

.com works great as "in patch" amps. Has a lot of great features, and handy if you need noise.
nerdware
Yeah, I recommend a variety of amps. For years I only had amp modules based on Curtis chips. Now I'm spoiled for choice! hyper

If I was looking for an MU amp module, I'd seriously consider the STG Signal Amplifiers. Lots of people here have that one and love it. Right now tho I'm adding MOTM format modules, so the Oakley Triple VCA module is high on my list of Modules To Get. You'll also find plenty of recommendations for the Modcan VCA.

Yes, the Q108 has a lot of features packed into that one panel. 2 mixers and inverted/non-inverted outputs! However, my main reason for getting one was the very features that it gets criticised for. So I was suprised at how good it sounds...
sunsinger
I've not noticed the noise so much if you gainstage the amplifies and mixers in balance. The Q108 starts to get noisy for me after or near the 3 o'clock position on the pot. Same for almost any other Amplifier. Even my very nice Allen & Heath mixer exhibits this noise-afact when gainstaged at the signal to noise ratio's outer edge.

I find the Suit & Tie Guy Signal amplifiers to be really pretty clean... but up to that point as well.... Suit is very clear about that in his talks with me when I purchased mine. The STG Amp modules are very nice for the money, and you get 3 to a module. And when those Amps hit the signal to noise ratio wall, they tend to distort in a not too unpleasant fashion.
suitandtieguy
I'll make no claims as to the noise floor of my modules because, quite franky, I don't want to be held to them. I make small changes all the time for parts availability and my growing understanding of what the hell I'm doing.

I can say that there are no CA3080 chips used in my modules, if anyone is curious.
klstay
Disclaimer - I do not yet know about the noise on any of the modulse to be mentioned, but hope to remedy that situation soon ;-)

The Mattson VC Mixer looks to be, among other things, a good final gain if you tend to have multipe filter outs in that patch. (You can get the populated PCB and wiring kit from him and the panel and hardware from Bridechamber for a super easy 5U build.)

The Yu VC panner then makes IMHO an ideal final mixer for up to 4 voices.
nerdware
I used to use a massive number of VCAs in my Digisound patches. 4 VCOs into a VC Mixer, maybe 2 VCFs, then a VCA and into another VCM for panning. Yes, each VCM has 6 VCAs, one each for the 4 inputs and 2 for the stereo output with VC panning. So that's a minimim of 2 in the signal path. Of course, you can also use a VCM for control signals.

So it's good to see VCMs are still popular. I'd like to someday get one of them for my new synth...

As you may have noticed by now, I love VCAs. hyper
Peake
The Modcan VCA(s) are quite good, should be a no-brainer. The Moog VCA has a bit of noise in it, and the Moog 904b highpass filter has even more, IIRC. The Moog 904a LPF is =extremely= quiet.

Sometimes you don't want a signal with 100+dB of dynamic range; you might want something that doesn't need so much compression or limiting as that, and the Moog and .com VCAs are a good bet in that department.
Spiked Lunch
I've just had a listen to my dotcom VCAs and they're both silent - I can't here any noise at all huh?

My Q107 filter on the other hand is very noisy though! Any other Q107 owners noticed this?
SynthBaron
Make sure the total of the VCA CV inputs and panel control doesn't go over 5v. Otherwise, it will start to Amplify instead of Attenuate...and start to sound really fucking noisy.
kindredlost
Spiked Lunch wrote:


My Q107 filter on the other hand is very noisy though! Any other Q107 owners noticed this?


I have noticed hum from other modules coming through in the Q107 State Variable filter.

It doesn't matter where in the cabinet it is located. I sent mine back to Roger for testing and it passed fine. At extreme settings I can hear vco's in the modular. I can even turn their "pitch" knobs and hear the changes. That is with only the filter hooked up to an output.

My guess is there is something going on with grounding or Al Gore's flourescent light bulbs in my overhead lights. hmmm.....
Just me
My DotCom is dead silent untill I connect anything from my Voyager to it. Then it gets really noisy. The CP-251's don't make noise but the VX-351 does. I'm sure it is a ground potential issue but I'm too lazy to track it down. I can get noisy if I turn a bunch of gains all the way up and cascade them.
Thalassa
I had problems with noise on some modules ( Q107 included ). The problem was solved taking apart the DC Power Harnesses from the power supply.
klstay
As far as VCAs go for me there are a number of things to consider in addition to any noise from a design.

The .com with 2 signal inputs, 2 CV inputs, normal and inverted outs, and choice of response is one very versatile VCA. When you also consider the price a higher noise floor becomes worth it for many for at least a few of your VCAs; especially those running you LFOs etc.
more be us
Most instances I've heard about, or experienced... the 'noise' ended-up being traced back to the DC harness(es). Rearranging or moving either a harness (or once in a while, the actual VCA) often cures it. Sometimes, the patches from the synth, to the mixer (or next stage in the signal-flow) might be found to have some line laying across it.

If unable to fix it, talking with Roger will 99.9% of the time, yield a result that'll keep you smiling.

But- It could be voo-doo, too. Oooooo.
Spiked Lunch
I did a little bit of experimenting and my Q107 is silent when not connected to anything but as soon as I connect another module (even a passive module, like the multiples) I get mains hum very frustrating
nerdware
Spiked Lunch wrote:
I did a little bit of experimenting and my Q107 is silent when not connected to anything but as soon as I connect another module (even a passive module, like the multiples) I get mains hum very frustrating

How secure is your harness connected to the Q107? I've no idea if that might be the cause, but mains hum makes me think "earth loop", and that makes me think about power connections.
more be us
Spiked Lunch wrote:
I did a little bit of experimenting and my Q107 is silent when not connected to anything but as soon as I connect another module (even a passive module, like the multiples) I get mains hum very frustrating


.... 'almost as if', you hooked an antennae to it? Have you asked Roger about this issue? (BTW- Did you check the Dotcom WIKI? There are lots of "how tos" there.

I'm not saying this is the case, but very frequently, I hear about an issue... and the resolution ends-up being something that's either, easy for Roger to diagnose, or easy for Roger to replace. In fact, if it 'DID' turn out to actually be the module itself, you could just ask Roger if you could send back the PCB, and he could send you another. After that... if you still have noise... it's something, either positioned in your cabinet (like a DC harness maybe too near a PS... or- maybe a DC harness (perhaps to that module) which just one of the wires in the harness has come loose from the 'wire-nut bundle', and is causing the noise... esp. when you connect a positive-lead, to another module).

But wait... at the top, you said a 'hum'... even on a 'multiples' module... that sounds like a grounding-issue... and since the 'mult.s' have no power or harness connection... I'm gonna stick my neck out, and guess (without knowing, or hearing/seeing any more) that you need to check that DC harness. Try swapping it, with another, first. If the problem disappears from that module... then, I'm fairly sure all that's wrong is one of the wires in the harness, where it 'bundles' to the PS, has come loose from that bundle... and I would guess it would be the ground wire, although, it 'could be' another. These are extremely easy to work on!

Also- it could be that one of the wires in the connector on the DC bundle may have wiggled loose (on the module end). These are also easy to fix. The 'top' of the white connector 'slides-off', to the left or right, exposing all of the wires. If you have a meter, you can check for continuity- or, just test how secure each wire is being held by the connector. Each wire has to be pushed-in to its' "slot" enough so that the metal cuts through the wire's insulation, and makes good contact. Sometimes, in transit, things can work loose. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the issue will be found in the DC harness, at one end, or the other... and you can easily fix it! Hell... it's only "tricity". nanners

99.9% of the time, it' something easy... or overlooked... or the kind of thing where you sit yourself down, and have a good long talk with yourself! hihi And I know that each module it checked by the assembler... burned in for at least 24 hours, then inspected by Roger... so- each module is working within specs when it leaves S.com.

But if you're not into trouble-shooting yourself.... you need to email Roger... be short, concise, and supply only the info that relevant. He'll ask, if he needs more, or wants you to try something.

It's a pretty quick process (just depending)(on how much other email-biz, general work, sleep, and some family-time, he has)... but- He'll either correct it, help 'you' correct it, repair or replace it... or do whatever makes you happy. He's been doing it for over 10 years, now... and if there's a second constant in the universe, it's Roger has the very best 'customer satisfaction', of any of the synth-makers.

I still lean towards the first two problems to check, up at the top. Don't worry, my friend... all will be well. I think you can have this corrected either today... or at the latest, by the end of the week, (worst-case).
Spiked Lunch
Thanks so much for your detailed reply thumbs up

My guess was that it was some kind of ground loop - although I had my multimeter out and all modules were grounded to each other, which kinda threw me! seriously, i just don't get it

I've not been in-touch with Roger as I thought that a little hum from analogue equipment that's only really apparent when inputting a low level signal was not the end of the world, although I'd rather it not to be there.

I'm currently in the process of moving house so all my tools and multimeter is packed away......

If I remember correctly, using my multimeter, all module grounds were connected but they weren't directly connected to the mains earth pin (I might have got this wrong as it was a little while ago when I tested and I have the memory of a goldfish!) - which I guess creates a 'floating' ground? Could that be responsible?
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