Eurorack users' thoughts on 5u

Cwejman, Livewire, TipTop Audio, Doepfer etc... Get your euro on!

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MrNezumi
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Eurorack users' thoughts on 5u

Post by MrNezumi » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:02 pm

I have a small 5u system as my main focus and a small(er) Eurorack skiff for clocking and rhythm stuff. I prefer 5u, but I like Eurorack as well. There are several 5u users who have Eurorack to supplement their set-ups. And there is much talk in the 5u forum about the state of 5u and the juggernaut of Eurorack.

Are there any (primarily) Eurorack people who have a small supplemental 5u rig? Are you interested in getting into 5u? If not, what puts you off about 5u? As Eurorack users what are your general thoughts on 5u?

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Post by cg_funk » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:08 pm

Well it takes up more space, and it's also more expensive than eurorack, with less variety in modules. I'd say that 5U makes the most sense if you want to stand and perform with it on stage or something like where you want people to be impressed by how giant your synth is.

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Post by chachi » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:20 pm

ouch.

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Post by starthief » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:52 pm

I don't see any advantage in adding 5U personally. It's unnecessarily large, would require another kind of patch cable, and doesn't offer me anything that Euro doesn't.

If I were to add another format it'd be Ciat-Lombarde and Lorre-Mill stuff.

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Re: Eurorack users' thoughts on 5u

Post by Yes Powder » Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:40 pm

MrNezumi wrote:Are you interested in getting into 5u? If not, what puts you off about 5u? As Eurorack users what are your general thoughts on 5u?
The size of it looks like it'd be a joy to work with. The price-point isn't as good most of the time but that's not what keeps me away, especially now that I have a better job. The lack of selection though is the big turn-off. (Upon saying that I can already feel 5U fanatics circling overhead, ready to descend and rip the flesh from my bones.)
I'm aware that I can get probably 80% of the functionality I have right now in 5U— though I would possibly waiting a long time and paying absurd prices on Reverb for the now-discontinued and extremely rare Metasonix adaptations by Zerosum Inertia.

The problem with 5U is that nothing really new or flashy is coming out on it— you know, the stuff that draws someone to buy modular in the first place. Sure there are companies like FreeState FX who are porting Mutable's stuff to 5U (because Émilie was cool enough to release her designs as open-source) but they're all available at least a year before in Euro. Dave Rossum— one of the gods of the first golden age of synths— has been putting out some amazing new modules under his own company, Rossum Electro-Music, and it's only in Euro. And does 5U even have any touch controllers along the lines of the Serge TKB? (Not being rhetorical; actually asking. I tried searching on MG but couldn't find any.)
Ultimately it's just a more happening scene, and I have no reason to get a 5U rack since there's really nothing it has that I can't get in a Euro. 5U supremacists can poopoo the Eurorack format all they want— and on some occasions I might actually agree with them— but I choose the venue I go to based on the bands playing, not because I think it's a better venue.

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Re: Eurorack users' thoughts on 5u

Post by Funky40 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:24 pm

MrNezumi wrote:As Eurorack users what are your general thoughts on 5u?
years back, people tended to patch a Synth, you know "that" vintage type of synth sound, and play it from a keyboard.
Or doing old scool sequenzes.
For this, 5U is ok, and was 10 years back still superior to euro.
when i started 14 years ago was euro nowhere in regard to that type of sounds.

today thats all different !
i see no sense to have 5U.


i have had 5U btw. and have built alots of the 5U DIY stuff into eurorack format. (with 15V psu)
Even most of my supercool DIY modules are now out of my rig.
Motm, Oakley, CGS, MFOS, Yusynth, and many other DIY or as DIY available brands were in my Rig.
I have had also modcan B and dotcom modules.........
Just a few of those modules survived in my rig to that day. quasi all are: RM !, FS !, Filters !.....all are DIY !
well, and my two dotcom sequenzers are still in and ticking in any patch ;) ( but go for sale now)


today ?
euro is superior in any regard in my opinion.
You even find well spaced Euro modules for "that" Vintage type of synth sound,
if its about sound AND the spacing.


But i totally see the fun to patch a 2, 3, or 4 square meter big wall of 5U.
Nothing to say against that.
.....some People like to cruise on a bycicle, some like to race, and some need a BMX and want to spin on the spot ;)


......just "my" thoughts


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Post by BlinkyLights » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:52 pm

I like the spacing of 5U, and the 1/4" Patch Cables, but Eurorack straight dominates when it comes to variety of modules and I'm in it for specific sounds and features. If there was a true 1:1 between 5U and 3U modules, I'd have a bunch of 5U, of everything I didn't care was portable or not.

Currently I have zero 5U.

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Post by abelovesfun » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:06 pm

I had a 5U setup before I got into Euro. When I started my business, MOTM had just bit the dust as a format, but I had planned on providing kits for both formats. MU is too expensive and time consuming to provide panels for, so now it's just a Euro business.

5U is definitely (for me) more fun to play. It has better (for me) ergonomics and I know what everything does. I also appreciate some of the "purity" of 5U. In 5U, if you want an auto panner, you wire up some VCAs, an LFO, and an inverter and a mult, and off you go. In Euro you research an autopanner for 3 months, go on forums, and buy an autopanner, but don't get to use all of those features individually. 5U forces a bit of creativity.

I used to play with a "small" 5U system live, which was three rows (15U for those counting). That was about 15 modules, and I could actually do a ton with it. Now I bring a crazy m420 trog case live, and while I can do much more with it, in terms of multiple voices, it is also more pre-sequenced and less interactive. Not "better" ore "worse, just different. My 5U systems impost a bit of minimalism, which fits my style. In Euro, I have to focus on what modules I want to play vs set and forget - I never make those decisions with 5U, because everything is playable.

End thoughts: I still have both formats and use both formats, often together, and there is no reason for anyone to not have both if they are interested.
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Post by nios » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:08 pm

On criteria of options/selection, Euro has ported over a ton of the good stuff from many other formats now... If anything I perceive a growing need/want in 5U to port over successful Euro stuff, if not outright use converters to directly adapt Euro into 5u - looks like playing catch-up.

If someone already invested in a system long back, before Euro suddenly became 10x more capable/varied/compelling in the span of a couple years, that makes a lot of sense. However if someone was just starting out, the idea of purposefully choosing it over Euro today? I'd want to hear from 5U people for the rationale. I mean statistically this must still happen a fair bit, but if it was well-researched before taking the plunge I'd suppose these days might be for more personal/focused goals, such as wanting a much more vintage-looking or serious-feeling bit of kit - something too big and beastly to feature with plants near a rainy window, etc, over chasing the maximum possible options/avenues in sound design.

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Post by Spiff » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:31 pm

I'm cool with the diversity in options out there, it's kinda always been that way but I just don't have the funds to even try 5u... I also like that eurorack is very much "choose your own adventure":)

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Post by Dcramer » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:37 pm

:love: 5U :love:

I’m a big fan and always dreamed of a big system but I knew that my only chance to get into hardware modular would be Euro, mostly because it’s more readily available where I am.

Who knows though...one day maybe. :party:

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Post by boonie » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:28 pm

I love the look of 5u cause i could pretend to be tangerine dream but with a young family the size is just so impractical.

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Post by johny_gtr » Thu Sep 26, 2019 11:50 pm

I have both euro and mu systems. I like to mix them in one patch,
like using Zadar, Stages and Marbles for modulation Vca’s and filters, or even put furthrrrr through mos-lab ffb. For sequencing Vector beats all euro and mu modules.

I’m not Tangerine Dream/KE fan at all but I like how big system sound. Just listen not dotcom but Mos-Lab demos on youtube. If you are looking for this analog sound, it’s worth to try. MU is the zone when you try to find proper sound and not looking for amount of features for minimum hp or just comparing modules by tech specifications (trolling).

MU is also good for final overdrive (mixers), filters, warmer/eq after eurorack
modular percussion and scapes - http://ovod.bandcamp.com
mu modular space electronica https://7k-ok.bandcamp.com

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Post by EPTC » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:25 am

Dcramer wrote::love: 5U :love:
Couldn't have said it better!

It's pure experience, really, but 5U feels really sturdy.

I do think experience or feeling adds up to mindset when working. I have a bunch of eurorack that I love but whenever there's a good module in eurorack ported to 5U it just feels ... nicer. A whole lot nicer.

Some marginal benefits, too. Quantum Rainbow in 5U has a set dial for Quanta which makes it much more interesting (you can play the static without having to flip the board over and adjust the trimpot. That could definitely be incorporated into eurorack but presently is not (though you could make your own customization, as FSFX did) - Other modules, like the RF Nomad, are totally improved in their 5U implementation (better headroom and far better antenna)

I could work in eurorack by itself but it's way nicer (there's that word again) to work with both.

Entry into 5U is cheap. One Box 4 ($75) from dotcom and a QPS4 ($80) will get you four spaces and power for a lot of modules.

Synthetic Sound Labs 5U products are very creative, particularly for the way NOS voice chips are used to make something completely new and mindbending. Scat Talker is one of the weirdest things out there in any format. Fun build thread on that: viewtopic.php?t=142146&start=all&postda ... torder=asc

You could get lost for a while here: https://www.noisebug.net/collections/mo ... at-modular

There's also a few modules that CAN'T port to eurorack: Fixed Filter Banks with full-size wired inductors. The inductors themselves need to be that size.

Inductor FFB's compared to any FFB in eurorack? I'd say ... they're nicer.

It's totally cheap to try 5U in a small way. As long as the back of the module fits a dotcom box, again, about $150 to give it a go. Get a Gate Math!

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Post by MrNezumi » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:02 am

Thanks for the replies. There is a lot of speculation about this stuff and I just wanted to hear some direct responses instead of guessing.

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Post by Shledge » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:53 am

I do like the aesthetic of it, but it's too big and cumbersome for me to seriously consider. There are a lot more options in eurorack too.

People talk of sound differences, but honestly I can't see how a format can "sound" different - it's entirely down to how the modules are designed. 5U is practically a format dedicated to being a moog modular clone, so naturally you'll see a lot more "fat" VCOs etc made for it.

Maybe one day I'll find the room for a small 5U system (even if that's bigger than my current modular lol), but I'll have to let the ponytail grow first.

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Post by jkjelec » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:02 am

Schledge wrote:
People talk of sound differences, but honestly I can't see how a format can "sound" different - it's entirely down to how the modules are designed
5U uses +/- 15 volt rails while Eurorack uses +/- 12V. That could result in a difference in sound in analog circuits.

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Post by lootacow » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:11 am

I have more Euro than 5u, but I like 5u so much better than euro. Larger knobs and more space on the panel makes it easier to work with for sure. Also, to me, the modules I have seem to be better build quality than most of my euro.

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Post by oudplayer » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:19 am

I really like the sound/feel of the Hordijk and Blacet modules/systems, and think they're just great analog circuit implementations. But they're not radically different soundwise from, say, the better oscillators and filters for Euro.

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Post by Severed head » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:20 am

does anyone have a case with a mixed system.?

like one of thee plywood jobs with a row of euro
and row of 5u, or anything


I used to have about 10 PAiA modules
and a bit of euro and converted and old suitcase to hold it all

but never intermingled the patches because at the time I didn't know if it'd fry anything. from one system to the other since they were running on different power. it was fun. but just got to be to big of a box for me and I just tossed the Paia in the closet and put the euro in a briefcase..

and still the Paia is droning in the closest... (sorry I know Paia isn't 5u)

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Post by Yes Powder » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:21 am

jkjelec wrote:Schledge wrote:
People talk of sound differences, but honestly I can't see how a format can "sound" different - it's entirely down to how the modules are designed
5U uses +/- 15 volt rails while Eurorack uses +/- 12V. That could result in a difference in sound in analog circuits.
Sounds a bit like fairy dust to me. If it were that big of a difference I feel like you’d be seeing a lot more Eurorack devs putting switching converters in their modules to kick them up a few volts.

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Post by Shledge » Fri Sep 27, 2019 10:53 am

jkjelec wrote:Schledge wrote:
People talk of sound differences, but honestly I can't see how a format can "sound" different - it's entirely down to how the modules are designed
5U uses +/- 15 volt rails while Eurorack uses +/- 12V. That could result in a difference in sound in analog circuits.
It's not really an indicator of sound difference. A lot of eurorack modules can run in 15v too, with little to no modification. Many "fat" synths are 9v too!

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Post by Randy » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:34 am

The one guy I've spoken to with both sticks mostly to 5U for the ergonomics. He finds Euro to be too cramped for him. I agree, Eurorack density is starting to get silly. But the variety of modules is hard to pass up.

I'm hoping to end up with some 5U at some point. As I get older, it starts to make more sense, since I can actually see most 5U modules.

Reminds me of conversations with model railroaders. I now have G Gauge eyes.

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Post by Foghorn » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:51 am

.
The way I see it, the only difference between Eurorack and any 5U equipment is the front panel, ie.. the size and layout of the panel and the size of the jacks.
I really like the way 5U has more space, Euro sometimes seems too cramped.
I find myself using 1HP blanks between euro panels just to give them more room. see this rack (I wish 2HP modules were 4HP) :confused:

Having a system that never leaves my den, um.. ah, I mean studio, I am not looking for portability. (I am Steven banks rockin' out in my livingroom) :hmm:
A 5U (or 4U) system might be ideal for me, if it had some of the same functions available in Eurorack.

I think that a lot of 5U stuff, is an older generation of modular equipment and has a slightly different design philosophy.
I mean by that, analog, instead of this euro design philosophy of making a somewhat generic module with a microprocessor on board
and just changing the firmware to make the modules have unique function.
I realize that this is rather oversimplified and the panels, controls and I/O are usually a little different, but you get my point.

I started out with a giant Fracrack* (PAIA) and euro is definitely an improvement over that, as far as how easy it is to use.

Foghorn

*Just like with Eurocrack, fracrack has the crack in it.
Stay Calm - We are in this forever :hmm:
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Post by EPTC » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:30 pm

Foghorn wrote:I find myself using 1HP blanks between euro panels just to give them more room. see this rack.
That's a great look!

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