Output in 5U

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folpon
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Output in 5U

Post by folpon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 5:24 pm

I've had my 5u Dotcom system for about five months or so now and I really love large format. But I have a question: What do you folks use for output? Right now I'm just plugging a Q108 VCA directly into my interface and most of the time it works great, but sometimes I notice clipping, especially on very low frequency sounds. The clipping seems to increase if I use effects pedals (eg, delays and stuff).

Is there something I'm missing? Should I get a dedicated output module?

Thanks in advance all.

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Dave Peck
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Post by Dave Peck » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:13 pm

The Q108 (or any VCA, really) is fine as a final output module if you don't need something fancy like a dedicated stereo output mixer module for combining lots of different signals in the modular.

If it is clipping your sound card, just turn down the VCA by turning down the CV CONTROL knob (if you are using an envelope or other CV source to open the VCA) or just turn down the VCA's initial GAIN knob (if this knob is turned up and the VCA is droning).

I generally keep the audio levels coming from my VCAs at max and then patch them all to a Q113 mixer to create a stereo submix and I attenuate the signals using the mixer knobs. But if you don't have any modules after the VCA to attenuate the signal, just do it using the VCA controls.

Use the controls on whatever module is the last in the signal chain that allows you to attenuate the signal before it goes to the sound card.

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folpon
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Post by folpon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:18 pm

Ok. Thank you... Knowing that this is an acceptable method of output means I should just think more about gain staging through my desk, then, I think.

Admittedly, I did just do some rerouting in my studio so maybe I changed some channels around... Hm.

Anyway thank you very much for your input.

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Flareless
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Post by Flareless » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:45 pm

I run a Yusynth VC Panning Mixer and Output Stage as the last module in pretty much all of my patches. It gives me 4 channels to mix with plus voltage controlled panning.

Plus you can tweak bass and treble before sending everything to a mixing desk or sound interface.
Rich

Lower West Side Studio

What can this strange device be? When I touch it, it gives forth a sound - Neil Peart

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folpon
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Post by folpon » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:55 pm

That thing is gorgeous.

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sduck
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Post by sduck » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:56 pm

I also use the yusynth module suggested above.

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Xero
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Post by Xero » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:51 am

I'm using the moon 543CP although the regular M543 is much the same, kind of like a variation of the yusynth one, give or take some things

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folpon
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Post by folpon » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:18 am

Wowza. That Moon stuff is pretty pricey, eh? Looks great, though. Still not sure how far I'll take my 5u system in the short term, but that seems like a nice option if I start to really expand.

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Xero
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Post by Xero » Thu Jul 18, 2019 3:42 am

yeah, nothing moon is cheap, haha, it's like the opposite of dotcom...it actually has an expander option as well, that gives you sends/returns. it's totally overkill but hey, why not, I have my old frostwave resonator bitcrusher through the send loop, tons of fun.

I went for the half-height one because I was also trying to save some space and I recently built a new custom cabinet. The full size ones (as well as the yusynth module) are a bit large for my liking. I'm all about density...speaking of which:

Another great option, only 1u:
https://www.groveaudio.com/gms714_mu.html

This is a quad VCA, but it also can act like a dual stereo panning mixer. And, it's only 1u. I'm kinda considering one of these just because it's a heck of a lot packed into a little.

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Rex Coil 7
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Thu Jul 18, 2019 8:40 am

Dave Peck wrote: ..I generally keep the audio levels coming from my VCAs at max and then patch them all to a Q113 mixer to create a stereo submix and I attenuate the signals using the mixer knobs.
I ended up gutting the last stage of my project synth to go with this type of output stage. It allows me to have that "VCO mix straight out" bypassing the filter(s) and mixing that straight out signal with the filtered signal. I'm still working on getting that final output stage built, it also includes a foot controlled A/B "mixer" (if you will) to allow me to mix or A/B the straight out signal with the filtered signal in realtime without tasking a hand to get that done.

In classic fashion, that has created the obvious domino effect and now I've been cornered into redesigning the pre-filter mixer stage to optimize it's ability to work with the reworked output stage.

It's a never ending cycle.

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megaohm
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Post by megaohm » Fri Jul 19, 2019 1:52 am

Rex Coil 7 wrote: also includes a foot controlled A/B "mixer" (if you will) to allow me to mix or A/B the straight out signal with the filtered signal in realtime without tasking a hand to get that done.
That is a great idea! Could be very useful for circuit experiments, too, especially the footswitch aspect.
www.MegaOhmAudio.com

Will work for pistachios

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Rex Coil 7
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 8:12 am

megaohm wrote:
Rex Coil 7 wrote: also includes a foot controlled A/B "mixer" (if you will) to allow me to mix or A/B the straight out signal with the filtered signal in realtime without tasking a hand to get that done.
That is a great idea! Could be very useful for circuit experiments, too, especially the footswitch aspect.
Thank you!

A footswitch could work fine. I'm using a modified Ernie Ball volume pedal that I've optimized to work with modular gear. It allows me to pan between A/B channels rather than a hard A/B switch. If I goose it good and hard it also switches (more or less). A combination of an actual foot switch and the Ernie Ball works really well. It's all really simple circuitry, to be honest.

I removed the stock A25K pot and installed a Bourns B10K pot in it's place. The ~log~ curve of the stock pot was all wrong, as was the resistance value (25k). It required a bit of machining to get the larger barrel of the B10K Bourns to fit in the mounting block. The block had to be removed to ream the pot mounting hole out to the needed size, which meant totally disassembling the pedal. Honestly the most fiddly part of the job was rewinding that string back on the pulley in a ~just so~ fashion. That took about three attempts to get it right. Now it works great with any modular gear that is looking for a B10K passive control signal to sweep through the range of the module.

Then using an "insert cable" (two male Tip/Sleeve plugs in a "Y" to a single Tip/Ring/Sleeve plug) ... plugging the two T/S plugs into the In/Out jacks of the Ernie Ball, and plugging the T/R/S plug into the input of the modular controller module creates a perfect foot swept controller that may be used with any module which needs 0 to +5 ... or -5 to +5 ... or 0 to -5 volt control signals. Such as the Dot Com Q142

LINK = https://www.synthesizers.com/q142.html

Or the Dot Com Q181FJ

LINK = https://www.synthesizers.com/q181fj.html

I have both of those modules. I can also pan/switch between outputs using any of the control outputs of the dual Dot Com ribbons, or even velocity or aftertouch from the keyboard.

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Faustgeist
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Post by Faustgeist » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:23 am

A great project Rex!

I have a mixer+ into dotcoms latest VCA+ as my final output stage for case 1. The second utilizes the previously mentioned Yusynth VC Panner (built by Flareless!).

These feed into an iOnyx mixer. Still tweaking the new set up. Tweaking forever, ha! :sadbanana: :bananaguitar: :sadbanana:

-R
Trying to build up my 5U COTK/MOTM, send me a message if you are selling gear and thanks!

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Rex Coil 7
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Post by Rex Coil 7 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:52 am

Faustgeist wrote:A great project Rex!
Thanks man! :tu:
Faustgeist wrote:I have a mixer+ into dotcoms latest VCA+ as my final output stage for case 1. The second utilizes the previously mentioned Yusynth VC Panner (built by Flareless!).

These feed into an iOnyx mixer. Still tweaking the new set up. Tweaking forever, ha! :sadbanana: :bananaguitar: :sadbanana:

-R
There are so many ways to do stuffs ... it's part of what makes it interesting and fun.



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Eric G
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Post by Eric G » Fri Jul 19, 2019 12:28 pm

Hi.
You really don't need anything fancy to attenuate the final output to a level suitable for your DAW or whatever.
A passive attenuator (i.e. a potentiometer) or a simple mixer module will do just right.
I use my own Mixer/Attenuator module as a final output mixer.
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hsosdrum
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Post by hsosdrum » Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:22 pm

I simply connect my 5U's mono output to one of my audio interface's inputs (PreSonus 1818VSL). Each of the 1818VSL's inputs has an attenuator and an overload indicator, so it's a quick job to dial the input down so the "uh-oh" light stays off even at the modular's highest output levels.

Easy-peasy.

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folpon
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Post by folpon » Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:13 pm

Thank you to everyone on this thread. Here's the ultimate answer (for me):

When I rearranged my desk/snake, I accidentally plugged my 5U system into a channel with the gain turned way down. I had at some point turned the gain on my final VCA way up to compensate, which made it too hot for the effects pedals that I had after it in the chain. Once this thread made me realize that there was nothing wrong with using my final VCA as output, I found the issue almost immediately, and now everything sounds beautiful again.

Cheers and happy patching to all. Thanks again for the helpful information, suggestions, and tips.

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