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Moog, Synthesizers.com, MOTM, Modcan, Moon and others..... Go big!

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alternating.bit
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Post by alternating.bit » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:03 am

bwhittington wrote:When I see stuff like that and also some of the comments in this thread, I can't help but feel badly for the designer. There is work and vision and real cash on the line for every product brought to the market. There has to be a difference in stress for the builder when a production run is critiqued to death versus a mock up or prototype. I certainly don't like every module produced for assorted reasons, sometimes including appearance, but once a product is "on the shelves" it seems like the choice is just to buy it or don't buy it. Comments at that point aren't going to have any impact anyway. These guys are invested in either a dozen or dozens of panels they need to move. In most cases it wouldn't make practical sense to change course even if they wanted to.
I thought my comment on that module was relevant to the topic of keeping 5U more uniform in style vs Eurorack. Perhaps it was phrased a bit harsh, but I didn't say the designer lacked vision, didn't know what he/she was doing, or any specific critique of the person's craft, but more like saying "I think those pants look tacky" in a clothing store. Everyone has different tastes, and its quite normal to share opinions.

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Post by Stereotactixxx » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:41 am

suitandtieguy wrote:there _should_ be a variety of knobs and visuals in the format. Tangerine Dream didn't care, why should you? their systems had a variety of panel layouts and knobs.
Yes, unlike the MOTM format, in MU the panels have almost always been laid out with function, rather than grid, in mind, and knobs in varying sizes have always been used. Isn't there already enough slack in the "rules" of the format to accommodate almost any conceivable module function?
suitandtieguy wrote:yeah yeah i know some smartass is going to point out that my graphics and presentation are the most RA Moog / Trumansburg of the entire market, but quite frankly i was first with Synthesizers.com compatible modules and it made sense at the time. i've designed other stuff though, and i don't know if i'd still go the same way if i had started out now.
FWIW, especially since I don't yet own any of your modules, I have always regarded many of your panel designs to be absolutely top grade. I doubt that is purely a result of being inspired by Moog. It could hardly be done without having a certain sense for layout of functions, spacing between elements, what graphics and knobs to use where and when to resist using graphics for graphics sake. Functionalism at it's finest, as far as I can tell without actually having laid my hands on any STG modules.

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Post by Stereotactixxx » Sun Mar 22, 2015 12:25 pm

alternating.bit wrote:Everyone has different tastes, and its quite normal to share opinions.
So true, and this is THE place to share those opinions. I don't think it would be good for the format or the forum if the fact that the forum is frequented by designers and manufacturers (which is a good thing and a contributing factor to the awesomeness of this forum) would eliminate opinions on specific products or the development of the format as a whole, just because of fear of stepping on someones toes. In my opinion, none of the comments in this thread have been excessively harsh or bullying. On the contrary, just like IRL, some comments are likely being held back or polished not to hurt any feelings (at least some of my own opinions have gone through the diplomatic filter).

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Post by JohnLRice » Sun Mar 22, 2015 1:09 pm

suitandtieguy wrote:this format is going to remain a neglected backwater as long as people have a stick up their butt about knobs and graphics.
Or as long as manufactures have sticks up their butts about not listening to what their potential customers want?
suitandtieguy wrote:this kind of conservatism KILLED the Module Of The Month format. Paul got gunshy because some of his base complained about the fucking black paint that the graphics were printed on, if you remember that debacle ...
Actually MOTM was mainly hurt by Synth Tech's inability to fulfill orders and deliver on proposed new designs. In general 5U land has been and continues to be plagued by manufacturers regularly getting customers excited about new designs and then missing release dates by months or years and even after release taking forever to ship. Maybe that happens just as much in eurorack land but with so many manufacturers to choose from it's not as noticeable? :hmm:
suitandtieguy wrote:there _should_ be a variety of knobs and visuals in the format.
Why? Sure, there is no reason not to but expecting everyone to automatically embrace what ever any one does with loving arms is pretty unrealistic.
suitandtieguy wrote:Tangerine Dream didn't care, why should you? their systems had a variety of panel layouts and knobs.
The folks in Tangerine Dream are just people like any one else. They've made some amazing music and some pretty mediocre to crappy music, just like everyone else. If Tangerine Dream jumped off a bridge, would you too? (heh, I always hated it when my mom would use that saying! :lol: )

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Post by lvoemachine » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:32 pm

again, guys, I don't mind comments or opinions, but I did the video to let you know it's an intentional approach. One that synthcube obviously supports as he's constantly asking for more designs and those that ARE customers like. I'm not pretending that everyone who has panel OCD will love everything I do. I don't expect that. I just think that some people here are really loud sometimes and get a little close to the edge of sanity about design choices. And yes THE GRID turns people off about MOTM.

In my opinion I think it's the ugliest thing outside of frac. It's kind of homely. But see, I don't have to buy it. And part of me making MU panels that are different is because the people who are into MOTM and very strictly regulated panels can buy the same design and put it behind an MOTM panel from synthcube. There's literally zero reason for me to just copy something that bores me. The MU stuff is deliberately different but also deliberately still something that follows the general functional guidelines. I talk to STG a lot about the functional side of my layouts. Where ever possible the inputs are left, outputs right. I've made many of my choices because he's gracious enough to spar with me on some concepts to refine the ideas.

and yeah, maybe photographing them in my system isn't a great idea as I've done things like infill colors on re:synthesis panels to create visual elements that make for fast visual recognition. That's become VERY important to me, the larger my system gets. I want to scan my system and no matter if I've recently rearranged it or not, know where something is immediately. I'm the opposite of JLR. If everything looks exactly the same, I get lost. I'm a visual artist that thrives off of slightly varying patterns and occasional stark contrasts. And my system also looks really varied because I have about 15 different designer's work. The core of my system is STG because I live close enough to have come here and slept on the couch, learned to solder and suit was kind enough to let me pay for parts and actually build my own STG modules.

In fact there are only about 3 modules in my system that I didn't personally build. These synthcube designs are about DIY first and foremost. THey're not about always the same lines by single designers. All of these modules you see are by different designers. So I'm trying to find some way to make that look similar but not boring. And JLR, how much DIY do you buy? I'm really curious?

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Post by DJFonzi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:21 pm

lvoemachine wrote:If everything looks exactly the same, I get lost.
I've been seriously considering color-coding jacks (at least) for this very reason. And my system is considerably smaller than many around here.

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alternating.bit
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Post by alternating.bit » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:38 pm

I'm lost from the get-go, so it kind of just works out in the end.

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Post by Vacancy Of Disco » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:01 pm

alternating.bit wrote:I'm lost from the get-go, so it kind of just works out in the end.
please don't take this as an insult, because it's not. I love watching your videos and whatnot...I think you are one of the most entertaining people on this forum. Specially those moments when you just dive right into a new module with really knowing anything about it. You're so enthusiastic where I don't care if you haven't read the manual, or done 20 takes for your video. It's like "module in the rack, turn this camera on and let's see what happens". And it always sounds awesome!

Ok back to giving lvoe a hard time :hihi:

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alternating.bit
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Post by alternating.bit » Sun Mar 22, 2015 6:59 pm

How could that be taken as an insult at all?? That's pretty much how I do things, and I have no shame lol. I'm just touched to hear someone appreciates my videos. Thanks so much! :tu:

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Post by Vacancy Of Disco » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:08 pm

Meh you never know how people are going to take things. as I started writing that I had vision of this scene from GoodFellas

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Post by JohnLRice » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:16 pm

lvoemachine wrote:And JLR, how much DIY do you buy? I'm really curious?
Maybe 20% or so of my stuff is DIY. All my power supplies are custom DIY, a hand full of MOTM kit modules, a couple MU modules and some custom 19" rack panels of my own design. I also occasionally do simple modifications to existing/pre-made modules, mainly to add convenience features with switches etc. A couple DIY things I still haven't built even though I've had all the parts for years and due to lack of income, time and space I've slowed way down on new acquisitions.

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Post by emdot_ambient » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:54 pm

lvoemachine wrote:If everything looks exactly the same, I get lost.
And if everything is all randomly colored with KA-POW! graphics and crazy zig-zagged arrows and non-descriptive function labels and weird-ass widths and 5 different sized/colored knobs and 3 different styles of switches on it...I get lost. (Looking at the completely opposite spectrum--the jungle of Euro modules--not talking about MU really.)

Every modular system is a puzzle that you have to learn. MOTM is the most restrained of designs, but the grid is simply a different design logic. Once you learn your system, it's no more confusing than anything else. The MOTM systems I've seen in person are actually very easy to get my head around. MU is actually a bit harder at first for me. Euro gives me a headache.

I don't own any MOTM actually, but I favor it, especially for its logical panel sizes and for it putting all jacks on the bottom, the better to keep spaghetti away from the knobs. It might make finding the correct jack a bit more confusing, but only in that you won't find the proper jack next to its associated knob.

I don't own any MU stuff either (what little I have is all full-panel DIY stuff). However, I like it because in/out jacks are in logical placement next to their functional knobs. However, this can still be confusing because...where's the input? It's not always at the bottom (or top) of the panel.

So in their own ways, they're all confusing. Until you learn your modules/system.

The MOTM sized panels I've designed (and not yet built) deviate from the grid because I like to cram more functional density into the panels. But all the jacks are on the bottom. I also use a standard-ish jack arrangement:

Inputs on the left
Outputs on the right
The main Audio (and maybe CV) inputs are lower on the panel
Less used inputs/outputs are higher up on the panel
If possible, CV inputs are placed on the top jack row, just below corresponding CV knobs
Jacks go from left to right in the same order as their corresponding knobs (as far as is possible).

So even MOTM-like panels can use internal logic that helps understand them quicker.

I like the panel in the OP and really can't see why anyone would fuss about it...especially after a lot of the praise I see given to really poorly designed/built panels in the DIY section. I mean no disrespect to grungy, coarse-looking, obviously basement hacked panels (I always let not being able to do pro-looking panels stop me in the past)...but really, some of them are just ugly, and the builders get kudos and praise.

So the criticism here has been a bit...odd and disappointing. :despair:

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Post by JohnLRice » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:49 pm

emdot_ambient wrote:I like the panel in the OP and really can't see why anyone would fuss about it...especially after a lot of the praise I see given to really poorly designed/built panels in the DIY section. I mean no disrespect to grungy, coarse-looking, obviously basement hacked panels (I always let not being able to do pro-looking panels stop me in the past)...but really, some of them are just ugly, and the builders get kudos and praise.

So the criticism here has been a bit...odd and disappointing. :despair:
The difference is between someone designing something for themselves for personal use versus someone designing a commercial product to hopefully sell to a lot of people. Criticisms aren't intended to mock, shame, belittle or break the balls of anyone designing a commercial product, it is actually to try to be helpful.

Some people are open to criticism and adjust what they are doing to accommodate potential customers, others are confident in their vision and move ahead undaunted, some do a little of both. But you are never going to get everyone to agree, love or like everything you do.

I still maintain that Bruce at Modcan would have sold a hell of a lot more Modcan B modules if he had offered them with black panels besides the white. His response when asked was simply and always "No." :hihi: Regardless of strong opinions that he should, he went ahead, did his own vision and has sold a TON of white modules, even to picky anal retentive SOB's like JLR. :eek: Does having a whole rack of white modules among many racks of black modules bother me? Yes. Does mixing a few white modules in with black modules bother me? Yes, even more! Then why do I have them? Because there is great functionality in those modules I want to have in my system and I think they design of Modcan B modules is quite beautiful regardless of being 'not black' so I tolerate the inconsistent look.

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Post by analogjeff » Wed Mar 25, 2015 6:37 pm

wow these look great.. I have tried the single version and I am a fan

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Post by lvoemachine » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:26 pm

JohnLRice wrote:
emdot_ambient wrote:I like the panel in the OP and really can't see why anyone would fuss about it...especially after a lot of the praise I see given to really poorly designed/built panels in the DIY section. I mean no disrespect to grungy, coarse-looking, obviously basement hacked panels (I always let not being able to do pro-looking panels stop me in the past)...but really, some of them are just ugly, and the builders get kudos and praise.

So the criticism here has been a bit...odd and disappointing. :despair:
The difference is between someone designing something for themselves for personal use versus someone designing a commercial product to hopefully sell to a lot of people. Criticisms aren't intended to mock, shame, belittle or break the balls of anyone designing a commercial product, it is actually to try to be helpful.

Some people are open to criticism and adjust what they are doing to accommodate potential customers, others are confident in their vision and move ahead undaunted, some do a little of both. But you are never going to get everyone to agree, love or like everything you do.

I still maintain that Bruce at Modcan would have sold a hell of a lot more Modcan B modules if he had offered them with black panels besides the white. His response when asked was simply and always "No." :hihi: Regardless of strong opinions that he should, he went ahead, did his own vision and has sold a TON of white modules, even to picky anal retentive SOB's like JLR. :eek: Does having a whole rack of white modules among many racks of black modules bother me? Yes. Does mixing a few white modules in with black modules bother me? Yes, even more! Then why do I have them? Because there is great functionality in those modules I want to have in my system and I think they design of Modcan B modules is quite beautiful regardless of being 'not black' so I tolerate the inconsistent look.
So can we consider different panels a sort of OCD recovery program? STEP ON THE CRACK, I DARE YOU!

I agree about how these are commercial products, but they're geared towards the less picky DIY crowd that's happy that the jacks are in a straight line when intended. They're NOT moog designs. They're NOT pretending to be moog designs. I personally have zero interest in blatently ripping off someone's panel design aesthetic. I'm someone who's made a living their whole life designing unique things or shooting photographs so that maybe will give you an idea why I don't want to just steal someone's panel art. And now that Moog is releasing modular again, I have even less interest in doing such. It's a personal thing and it has to do with respecting copyright and originality. As with all new ideas, not everyone will like the new stuff, and that's ok for me. It's just that people who probably won't buy this stuff anyway who are complaining the loudest that kind of rub me the wrong way. TBH, JLR if you were saying, I'd have bought these but the panels are just ruining it for me, then I'd pay more attention. BUt you have a pretty solid system that seems to be not needing a lot of additions. Not discounting your opinion, but just weighing the decible level of your opinions (really loud) vs the probability of purchase, regardless of panel (pretty low). I think you're a great asset to the community, so don't take that as a pot shot. It's pure economics. Those most interested in the panels, from what I've heard and experienced personally has been nothing but pure excitement and positive. Then i drop by this place and the guns come out. LOL.

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Post by Vacancy Of Disco » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:03 am

Getting off panel gate for a moment, and back to functionality, one thing I forgot to ask about was how these hold up as standard VCAs? Is there any clipping or distortion if they are driven hard? And how much gain is introduced when you sum the three channels together?

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Post by Henfield » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:41 am

Vacancy Of Disco wrote:Getting off panel gate for a moment, and back to functionality, one thing I forgot to ask about was how these hold up as standard VCAs? Is there any clipping or distortion if they are driven hard? And how much gain is introduced when you sum the three channels together?
Yeah, lvoemachine promised us some demo videos during one of his posts on page 1 of this thread, but all we got was his "panel apology" video on page 2. If I liked the module enough, I would buy it assembled (I am not a DIY type of guy), but I would probably get it repaneled at some point.
For Sale/Trade: 14U 84 hp Euro case . Willing to trade towards MU Modules, Moogerfooger pedals, Minifooger pedals, and other interesting effects boxes that work well with modular, try me!

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Post by analogjeff » Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:14 am

Great looking module.. well done

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Post by synthcube » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:55 am

analogjeff wrote:Great looking module.. well done
thank you for the feedback
we like them so much we made more for inventory :love:

we'll have another thread for the dotcom/MU version of the CGS DUSG and Laurentide VG2 pretty soon...
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Post by Flareless » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:35 am

Having started the Triple LPG as a new project I was excited to see this thread in the 5U section. I was a bit disappointed to see that it was basically 3 pages of comments and gripes about the panel. Personally I'm not crazy about the panel either but any DIY project that comes with a panel is a bit of a time-saver. Plus, if you don't like the panel you can buy the PCBs on their own and make your own panel.

Now.... enough about the panel.

Has anyone built one of these? I've got the first PCB built and installed and it works great. One thing I'm not crazy about is the lack of documentation regarding the off-board wiring. I'm still a DIY rookie and only learning to read schematics but I do like some info regarding where all the wires go. Even Ken Stone's modules provide a bit of detail into this. The docs provided by Thomas White (in the ZIP package) are pretty good but this is one thing that's omitted. Fortunately the folks at synthCube have been very helpful in sorting this out and I am making some headway.

One thing I'm a little unclear about is the wiring of the 3 pots on the lower section of the panel. I'm not sure if they are daisy chained to each upper pot or if they come from elsewhere. synthCube is getting back to me on this but while I'm waiting I thought I'd see what anyone who has built the module has done.

I thought about wiring the Inverse Output to each module's upper output jack and the main output to the mixer at the bottom. The boards are very flexible and have many options which are not available through this particular panel design (e.g. Audio and CV Input Mixers). Has anyone done this or something similar?

For this first PCB I've built I'm using two fast vactrols. The module sounds very cool so far but since there are three boards I thought I'd vary the configurations. I was thinking about two slow vactrols on the next board and a fast and a slow on the third board. Any thoughts on this?

Oh I thought I'd mention that using the switches I purchased (Digi-Key EG2426-ND - 3PDT and EG2350-ND SPDT) fit nicely, albeit snugly, soyou can get the orientation correct with the panel's labeling.

Presently I'm waiting for an order of potentiometers I need to finish this (and several other) projects. I also have yet to order the vactrols and I'm curious to hear what others suggest I might use. So far, though, I'm very pleased with this module!

I also have to mention that synthCube has been great at supporting their products. I mean, how can you be unhappy with emails immediately responded to when they're sent before 7:30AM. Thanks guys!



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Post by Flareless » Sat Apr 02, 2016 6:26 am

All Done!

This build was pretty easy up to the flying wires where the docs are a bit thin. Once again synthCube came to my rescue with some terrific support. Thanks guys!

In the end I decided to use different Vactrol combinations on each board; Fast / Fast, Fast / Slow and Slow / Slow. The result is that I get some very different sounds from each section of the module. I'll be making a YouTube video shortly illustrating the differences.

I used a passive wiring method to mix the sections of the module out through the bottom. It's a decent solution but if I did it again I might go for the active mixing layout.

I have yet to calibrate each module's single trim pot. I can't find any docs on how these should be set. If anyone has any information on this I'd really appreciate it!

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Post by synthcube » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:00 am

fantastic build! thanks for the feedback-- we're looking forward to the demo!!
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Post by snevlida14 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 9:05 am

Well, I'm fairly new to modulars in general. I was really torn at which format to start with. I was drawn to Wiard 300 series initially years ago (still plan to order some this year) , I was drawn to euro , and also this month almost started a small Buchla boat. There is totally different reasons for me to want all different types of modular systems ranging from curiosity to availability and cost factors , to certain types of work flow that seems more experimental etc... , that's all personal. That leads me to my point being that at the time being 5u / mu is always going to have strong a "traditional" Moog style in the way of sound and panel design but there is some really exciting new things happening also. I absolutely love the new style panel designs. I say go crazy and make the 5u world as diverse as possible. Personally if i am putting modules that sound like , Buchla, EMS, korg , diy circuits, eurorack manufacturers , etc.. , then i dont really want them to look very traditional. I know I'm going to spend some money at synthcube soon !

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Post by Paradigm X » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:16 am

lvoemachine wrote: I've done things like infill colors on re:synthesis panels to create visual elements that make for fast visual recognition. That's become VERY important to me, the larger my system gets. I want to scan my system and no matter if I've recently rearranged it or not, know where something is immediately. I'm the opposite of JLR. If everything looks exactly the same, I get lost. I'm a visual artist that thrives off of slightly varying patterns and occasional stark contrasts. And my system also looks really varied because I have about 15 different designer's work.
im like that tbh, most people will hate my (motm format) modular, lots of different colours and knobs. but i hate looking at 8 black panels all with 'frequency' written above the top knob, trying to figure out whats what in the middle of a jam in the dark.

i do find the panel ocd interesting, not my cup of tea but they do have a certain style. seems to be a 5u only affliction? but my main concerns are ergonomics (no tiny knob spacing) and clarity/identifiability (is that a word?).


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Post by Dragonsf » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:00 pm

I got 2 modules (ready populated) from synthcube, but they are not working. Problem is: the output is too low. I measured the resistance at the vactrols and the go from 3MB to 1MB (lowest). The measured voltage at the LED inputs are around1.7V. Is the control voltage too low? Ic an hear the effect, but output signal is about 10mV. At the V1, the input is about 5V.
(I tried a different Vactrol from my stock: same behaviour- max 16MB and lowest 2MB resistance). I also tried to feed a LED instead of the Vactrol's LED input: as expected (but not requested) the LED doesn't light up.
I found, when I disconnect 'deep', then the voltage is correct.

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