A noob question on stackcables

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Skuggasveinn
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A noob question on stackcables

Post by Skuggasveinn » Thu May 21, 2020 3:03 am

I currently have few stackcables from TipTop audio. In some tutorials where they are being used I see warnings, that some way of connecting them, or stacking many together could be bad for a module. This has put me off a bit on using them.

Is this something I should really be thinking about, and is there a way I can see what modules in my system are more fragile than others, for example?

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lisa
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by lisa » Thu May 21, 2020 3:08 am

As long as you don’t use them as mixers it should be fine. If you use them as mixers the signals will be sent to the outputs and sending a signal to an output will break modules that lack protection for that.
My first modular track where I used drum modules! There's also a ton of FM cross modulation from the Instruō Cš-L in there and the Metasonix R56 is a big part of the sound. :star:



We also just did a live performance. Just eurorack, a mixer and two nitwits. :hyper: http://tiny.cc/8ndspz

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by KSS » Thu May 21, 2020 5:44 am

There's an oft-repeated statement that one should never patch outputs to outputs. It stems from two things. Poorly designed modules, and old electronic truth. The old electronic truth hasn't been so -except for poorlky designed modules- for longer than the majority of people in this forum have been alive. Yes, that's a guess, but I'd bet it's accurate.
But most modules are not broken by output to output patching.
Those which are do not really belong in the modular universe.

Don't worry about using your stackcables.

edit: The only way to see if a certain module has problems, is to read up on it online and in the forums. Even then, the problems may be as much the user as the module. There are fewer and fewer reports of problem modules as time goes by. considering how many more modules are being designed and used, that's a significant reduction.

Skuggasveinn
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Skuggasveinn » Thu May 21, 2020 9:52 am

Thanks for the replies, this was very helpful.

Parnelli
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Parnelli » Thu May 21, 2020 11:20 am

Tip Top says to stack only 2 and breaking your jacks shouldn't be a problem.

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ersatzplanet
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by ersatzplanet » Thu May 21, 2020 11:28 am

There isn't a patch you can come up with that requires you to stack them more than two high. Remember they are just a wire. When a patch requires more than two connections, use the other end. Think serially instead of like a star connection.

The stacking of more than 2 high puts a lot of stress on the mechanical part of the jack and the plug of the inserted stackable. Think of a lever with the fulcrum being the front edge of the jack surface. With 3 or more plugs stacked, that force can be pretty high. With a plastic bushing jack, it can warp or crack the bulging, with a a metal busing jack, it can break or bend the plug. it is not worth it.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
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Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Pelsea » Thu May 21, 2020 12:52 pm

I guess this is a meme in the original meaning of the word. Once a scary concept is introduced into the world, it is impossible to stamp out. This probably has been a myth since 1968 when opamps became the heart of modules. It is true that you might kill a 301 by shorting the output to the power rail, but a 301's own output was limited to ± 14 v. Nonetheless, most classic synthmakers (like Arp) included the warning in their manuals. What is a teacher to do but accept the manufacturer's recommendations? (Actually, I gave a full explanation of the issue, since there was a lot of antique gear in the lab, like a Moog IIp.)
Allen Strange got it right-- the second edition of "Electronic Music..." has a page on mixing with a multiple and the interesting sound of non-linear mixing.
Books and tutorials on modular synthesis at http://peterelsea.com
Patch responsibly-
pqe

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Domin » Thu May 21, 2020 1:31 pm

The question is: did any of your students managed to damage a synth by incorrect patching?

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Yes Powder
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Yes Powder » Thu May 21, 2020 6:59 pm

I seem to recall a recent thread here in which a user claimed this actually happened by patching and output to another output. They declined to give the name or make of the module until after speaking with the manufacturer about it.
Would’ve been nice to know though.

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by KSS » Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 pm

Doepfer Wasp filter is one I'd be careful with.

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by helix » Fri May 22, 2020 4:24 am

KSS wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:42 pm
Doepfer Wasp filter is one I'd be careful with.
yep, i have fried mine more than once by accidentally doing this back when i started. Thankfully the replacement IC chips were as cheap as.....chips

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lisa
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by lisa » Fri May 22, 2020 4:30 am

There is a trade show video from a few years ago where Dreadbox couldn’t show off one of the new products since someone patched it wrong and killed it. Saying that it is a myth is bad advice, imo.
My first modular track where I used drum modules! There's also a ton of FM cross modulation from the Instruō Cš-L in there and the Metasonix R56 is a big part of the sound. :star:



We also just did a live performance. Just eurorack, a mixer and two nitwits. :hyper: http://tiny.cc/8ndspz

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by KSS » Fri May 22, 2020 4:36 am

lisa wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:30 am
There is a trade show video from a few years ago where Dreadbox couldn’t show off one of the new products since someone patched it wrong and killed it. Saying that it is a myth is bad advice, imo.
It's not a myth. But it's FAR overblown. And the modules still affected by it need to be discovered, called out and either tagged as such, or re-designed to coexist peacefully in the reality of Modern Eurorack.

Any designer working today has no good reason to continue forcing this limitation on owners.

Continuing to promote the badness of out-to-out patching is a free pass to poor design.

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ersatzplanet
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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by ersatzplanet » Fri May 22, 2020 5:46 pm

KSS wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:36 am
lisa wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 4:30 am
There is a trade show video from a few years ago where Dreadbox couldn’t show off one of the new products since someone patched it wrong and killed it. Saying that it is a myth is bad advice, imo.
It's not a myth. But it's FAR overblown. And the modules still affected by it need to be discovered, called out and either tagged as such, or re-designed to coexist peacefully in the reality of Modern Eurorack.

Any designer working today has no good reason to continue forcing this limitation on owners.

Continuing to promote the badness of out-to-out patching is a free pass to poor design.

I agree with this 100%. All modules should survive BOTH mis-patching and CV levels all the way to the rails. Those patching situations WILL happen in all rigs.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by Bubbles » Sat May 23, 2020 7:47 pm

I love stackcables because they promote experimentation in the subtlest of ways—what if I sent the signal to two destinations or combined two paths into one? I’ve found no problems using stackcables—even incorrectly. I say just have fun with it.

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Re: A noob question on stackcables

Post by nios » Sat May 23, 2020 8:05 pm

To me the real gripe with the tiptop stackcables is that they seem slightly-wider at their tips than normal and this causes some real annoyance getting them into / out of the jack sockets, feels like it's borderline going to damage some jacks just by plugging them in in the first place. I suppose they're like that to be sturdy when stacked up but it makes me reluctant to use them unless I'm in a pinch.

If I can find a use for them I prefer those splitter hub things (there are various makes such as LMNTL easily available) as they're cheap and also give you a 4-5 way split all at once. There's really no point to stack up the stackables too high, don't risk it when splitters are so cheap and will easily, safely do what'd be a 5-high tower of stacking. Sometimes though you really just need one extra copy of something and a stackable works fine there while a hub is overkill, plus the hubs pull down on cables and make weird-looking little blocks hanging down as you patch up. So basically as long as you tolerate the scary feeling of having to really ram stackcables into modules and brace yourself just to remove them from some makes, and tolerate ugly-as-sin-but-functional-as-hell splitter hubs, then with a mix of both of those you'll be set (and likely not need much or any passive mults in the rack besides as a preference thing).

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