What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

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mcpepe
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What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by mcpepe » Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:43 am

I mostly use Doepfer cables and all of them have a color/length relationship, so I know exactly what cables are longer and what are shorter. For me, this is the quickest way to manage the cables. Talking about unpatching, I tend to place them in order, by colors, in my cable holder (a gift from Ladik) so I have it all well organized. What's your strategy for cable management of your modular synth?



Patch notes:
-Mutable Instruments Plaits in particle noise model
-Doepfer Noise and Mutable Instruments Ears for the random triggers
-ALM Pamela New Workout and Xaoc Devices Zadar for modulation
-Happy Nerding FXAid for reverb FX
-Xaoc Devices Praga and Befaco STMix for mixing

My modular synth: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/1270259

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Agawell
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Agawell » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:38 am

patching - plug patch cables in
unpatching - unplug cables

audio - start with sequencer -> oscs -> mixer; add filters/effects/add modulation - sometimes I do this for each oscillator one at a time, sometimes all oscillators at once
video - create an image (or 2) - add to mix - mess it up (similar)

sometimes I patch video first, sometimes I patch audio first, sometimes together

if possible start with stackcables, then mutable cables, then others, then back to stackcables as needed

as that's usually getting close to all cables used (yes I need to go to the shop!) I generally have to go through to see if there are any cable substitutions I can make - ie I may be left with a few short cables that I can substitute with a longer one because I found the

unpatching - depends - if I am going to repatch immediately then in a pile in front of the racks; if not in a box - generally pull everything at once starting from, top to bottom, back to front - individually unpatching 200 + cables is time consuming

patches stay patched for anything between a few hours and a few days
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Triscus » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:54 am

Most of my cables are also color /length related and organized via cable hangers attached at a Sideboard, very long and very short cables hanging on two separate hangers.

For unpatching I tend to begin with the longest cables and work my way through it, color by color.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Muff McMuff » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:14 am

When i unpatch i usually start by removing various modulations first so there is still sound until near the end. Occasionally i pass through an unexpected sweet spot as i deconstruct. I have two piles of cables long/mediums and short/very short. No colour codes, all my cables are secondhand or DIY. I have a small pile of duff cables that i need to examine before junking or repairing.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by bemushroomed » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:42 am

cables thrown on floor or if i'm feeling a little bit tidy that day; in a big plastic box just under the modular synth (also great for catching little forest mouses that my cat carries with him sometimes).. i used a cable hanger for around a year, (5x Ladik ones in a row) it's too slow. It does look very nice though when you arrange them, but i rather spend time patching the actual modular.

patch on - usually start with patching PAM into to a mult, then into sequencers, LFO's, Marbles...
patch off - no particular order.

i use red and orange cables for stuff i think can stay like that, so that i don't pull it out by mistake when unpatching.. otherwise its all random colors.
Last edited by bemushroomed on Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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mcpepe
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by mcpepe » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:44 am

Things I want to try are:
-organizing cables with cable cords so I can see better parts of the modular.
-using only long cables so they lay down and I can see more parts of the modular
-The trick of unpatching with sound to find unexpected sweet spots is good too.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by bemushroomed » Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:50 am

Velcro straps are nice once in a while for serious patches that i tend to work with for perhaps a day or more. It can be annoying as hell when you realize you want to try something else and want to move a cable or just remove it completely.

Long cables does not obstruct the modular less than short ones, it all depends on the location of the modules you're patching.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Thedoge » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:47 am

at this moment I'm doing a preset route where voices are placed to mixers and master clock with sequencers, all of this using velcro and the same color

then I patch the rest of the parts using other colors so when I end a patch or want to remove things I don't (use) to remove the ones related with the "preset" route

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by starthief » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:07 am

I also have them color coded by length, and sorted on a cable hanger. That keeps them out of the way and makes it faster/easier to grab what I want when I'm patching.

My patches only last for one session. If it's something I recorded, I'll make some notes on what I did before unpatching.

If I'm just jamming, I will often try to break down a patch and simplify it as I go by pulling out lesser modulation sources first, turning up effects mix and feedback or freezing the input before pulling it, etc. just to end in a way that sounds mostly intentional. Sometimes I wind up stripping the patch down to something that inspires me to play some more, and I wind up repatching something else and it might become a recording session, or kind of a whole live set with just me as the audience. That's when I find myself wishing I had been recording the whole time, but somehow I've never gotten in the habit.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by pugix » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:31 am

I wrote up my work process for another thread. I typically start by thinking about control structures with complex feedback. Then I will sketch out an abstract of the control patch. Audio paths come afterwards, because there is a preexisting flow that pretty much has to be followed: audio generation, processing, gating, mixing. Then experimenting with control over the audio part by the complex structure previously devised.

I emphasize the control structure, because it's how the sounds change dynamically that makes it interesting.

In other words, I only start patching after I have a good idea about what the control structure will be, but not how it will be applied.

https://pugix.com/synth/my-work-process/

Example of a recent work, with a photo showing my preliminary sketch next to the modular.

https://pugix.com/synth/seven-control-four/
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by NARC NOISE » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:49 am

Patch up a racket, disregard needed cable length (if it's way too long, I don't care), half unplug random cables throughput patch, enjoy the chaos... I much prefer the method of using cables just hanging out of input/output jacks to produce weirdness, as opposed to modules that are supposed to "glitch/go crazy"

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by adaris » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:12 am

My strategy such as it is is to leave things patched until I decide I need a module for something else. I have multiple cable hangers and they're kinda sorta organized but the cables aren't color coded by length or anything like that. If I un-patched everything I wouldn't have room for all my cables, not even close haha.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by ATW » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:51 am

pugix wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:31 am
I emphasize the control structure, because it's how the sounds change dynamically that makes it interesting.

In other words, I only start patching after I have a good idea about what the control structure will be, but not how it will be applied.

https://pugix.com/synth/my-work-process/
Thanks for sharing, fascinating approach. I particularly like the idea of patching up the core structure with the power off.

I approach each patch session a bit differently, sometimes I want a structured patch with macro control as the focus, other times I’ll patch up clocks and get a rhythm pattern going as the core of the patch. Yesterday it a simple drone patch built around a shift register slowly distributing a few notes to 3 oscillators, then layering in modulation, filters, and effects.

Does anyone have a standard patch or patch template? Bemushroomed starts with Pam’s into mults for example. I’ll most often start with setup of the clocks, otherwise no predictable template.
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by deft_bonz » Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:40 am

I use color codes for signal types:

Black/red = Audio
Blue = Modulation
Yellow = Gate, Triggers
White = Clock

Hanging on a HEX01 cable holder, grouped by length.

Usually I start a patch with no specific strategy. Often I start with an oscillator running thru at least an envelope while some kind of sequencer is playing a melody. I play around and test new functions until I hit a sound I like to build a song upon.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by cptnal » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:24 pm

ATW wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:51 am
I particularly like the idea of patching up the core structure with the power off.
Pretty much the default for me (at least with the volume down, not necessarily powered off). It's very distracting when you're trying to concentrate with "oooooooooooooooooo" going on in the background. :dizzy:
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by funeralcake » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:08 pm

I have a pile of patch cables next to my case, They're not coded in any way. I use them enough (and have few enough of them), that I generally know which color cables will reach what distance when I reach for one.

I have thought about adopting a color-coded system where each color represents either a cable length or a type of signal, but I am lazy. I might be more willing to try this if I had better cable organization, but I don't even really have a good spot to mount a cable organizer right now. As things are, I just pull patches like dainty weeds and pile the cables up next to my case. I pick the best cable for the job out of the wadded rat's nest of 3.5mm and 1/4 cables, pedals and other sound-making devices, or else find a suitable cable that's fallen to the floor from this pile.
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by MarcelP » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:19 pm

funeralcake wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:08 pm
I just pull patches like dainty weeds
LOL

I have a fantasy that one day, as I pluck the patch cords, the sound of the still running patch will gently disintegrate like HAL having its processing units disconnected.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by sir stony » Mon Sep 07, 2020 4:48 pm

My preference of patch cord colors very much depends on the overall size and layout of the patch I'm working on.
-If I make something groovebox-like, I usually go for one color reserved for all clock signals, and then either one per sequencer channel (cv + gate) or sequencer output type (cvs vs gates). From there on, I would typically try to stick to one or two colors per voice.
-If I patch independent sounds within one rack, I'd try to stick to one color (or color family, like bright and dark green) per sound.
-If I patch a single complex and heavily modulated sound, I'll pick cable colors defined by signal type, trigger/gate/timing vs modulation vs audio.
-For smaller patches that I wish to tweak a lot manually, I'll often just use two or three colors sorted by length, so I see at a glance what goes where. I figure that this is basically hopeless with large and complex patches anyway, hence the very different approaches.
I never keep a patch longer than the time I actually need to get my desired sound out of it, so I never even thought about using velcro strips or similar bindings to fix the wire jungle. I'm not travelling with pre-made patches. Not yet, at least.
-Unpatching strategy? Just pluck em out, and stash them in a box, more or less in bundles sorted by colors.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by scragz » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:24 pm

I guess I'm in the minority that I organize by length (all 6", 12", 24", 36" in separate hangers) and color code by use:

red/yellow: mostly CV
orange: v/oct
black/white: mostly audio
blue/green: gate/trigger/clock

Stuff like audio rate modulation or a pulse wave being used as a gate could be either, I keep it pretty loose. I figure you only care about length when first plugging it in but tracing signal flow can be useful days later to help remember what you were doing.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Tenderosa » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:54 pm

No system, pile of cables on the table next to synth. Things tend to remain patched for recording & sequencing unless I need to use that module or have run out of cables or feel the need to go scorched earth completely unpatched. In which case all the cables just go at random into the pile again.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by batch » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:07 pm

Patch cables are color coded based on length. I have 6 lengths and have them organized in a Hex-01, 50 of each which fits perfectLy.

Patching goes as the whim takes me, using the shortest length possible.

Unpatching is based on length starting with the longest.
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Pelsea » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:34 pm

I organize my music by voices, and use colored cords to identify them. Voice 1 is patched with brown cords, voice 2 with red*, and so forth. I buy Hosa cords in 8-packs In mixed colors, and as I write this have 5 of each color and length. Each color and length has a slot in a handy row of Pomona racks. Putting away is not as fast as dumping them in a box, but there is zero untangling time. The main advantage comes when I’m playing the patch. The colors keep me oriented no matter how complex the patch gets.

*edit:9/8 -- This has nothing to do with Home Edit, it's just that after 60 years of electronics, these colors are burned into my brain.
Last edited by Pelsea on Tue Sep 08, 2020 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by deft_bonz » Tue Sep 08, 2020 1:08 am

BTW: The color code I use for the signal types derived from the Nord Modular. My first modular ever, so looooong ago.

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Re: What are your patching and unpatching strategies for your modular synth?

Post by Ema41 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:40 am

I always patch from scratch.
My patches are stored on a rotating towell holder (very handy!), colors correponding to size, on the left of the modular:
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