Is 5U A Dying Format?

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sunsinger
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Is 5U A Dying Format?

Post by sunsinger » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:47 pm

Just saying…
Looking on the 5U Format pages, it took me only 4 pages to go back through 1 year of topic history. On Euro topics, I've gone through 40 pages of topics, and still haven't hit January 2017.

Also, I went into the BST pages and notice, well, hardly any 5U MOTM stuff For Sale.

What's up with this?

Should we be buying 5U up for posterity and parts?

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dhergott1
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Post by dhergott1 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:53 pm

I don't think so. It's just growing at a different speed than euro.

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Post by josaka » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:01 pm

the search is fixed is it not..?

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Post by lootacow » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:01 pm

most people don't have space. 5 rows of euro = 3 rows of 5u. not to mention width...

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sunsinger
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Post by sunsinger » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:17 pm

@josaka… yes search is working just fine.

Just for some perspective.
I haven't been on the forum in about a year, and I definitely see a general lack of 5U/MOTM activity. It's startling really. 5U has been a vibrant topic for a long time. Topic generation was much more prolific than it is now.

Less 5U/MOTM builders making and announcing new products too I've noticed. And definitely less used 5U kit to buy than 3 or 4 years ago.

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synthetic
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Post by synthetic » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:26 pm

5U has been around since the early 1960s. I would ask the question about Euro, actually. There was a lot of excitement a few years ago but it's been flat or declining from people I speak to. I'm regretting building such a giant Euro cabinet that's 1/2 empty, I'm thinking about an MU cab now...

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Post by johny_gtr » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:38 pm

I think that MU/MOTM can be much popular in next years:
- MOTM is easy for DYI than Euro (bigger PCBs and components). Just need to make DYI and soldering as a big trend again.
- MU for its true look. Real aesthetic hipsters will like to put small MY system near their turntable a collection of vinyl.

We just need some trends or currently top artists who will share their love for MU/MOTM.
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RadioTelefonik
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Post by RadioTelefonik » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:44 pm

The size is definitely a factor. And I'm sure the sheer variety, onslaught of new products, and flashy panels of Eurorack are too. Not to mention that, apart from a few manufacturers and products, most MU stuff I see is very subtractive, so Euro adds more variety in terms of combining synthesis types with ease. Obviously there are ways to do additive synthesis even with typical east-coasty modules, but it requires some thinkin' and experimentation. I'm in 5U mostly because I wanted a Hordijk panel.

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sunsinger
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Post by sunsinger » Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:45 pm

Good point there @synthetic.

and I do notice a number of unbelievably large Euro rigs totally for sale.

But… I would build that 5U kit soon. I am actually concerned as a buyer and a heavy user of 5U / MU format

To be fair… 5U isn't dead here
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Post by PatchMonger » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:07 pm

5u is definitely not dead, if you go to the serge/buchla forums you see a significantly slow rate of posts there too, and that does not mean that buchla and serve are dead. There is not as much going on as there is in Euro but the great thing to me is that you do not need to limit to one format.
My motm rig is fully diy from modules to cabinet. I am intending to develop it further but will definitely be a slow development.
The 5u gives me a lot of joy and as long as there is people like that it will not be dead!!!!

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Post by Huba-Swift » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:11 pm

Disclaimer: I haven't been in the 5U game long enough to see the general trend, so I may have very little credibility :hihi:

I'd say that 5U is a growing format, and there are semi-frequent module releases. It's just hard to see when you compare it to Eurorack and the ridiculous amount of modules available. We've had some pretty recent module releases such as the Synth.com Sample/Hold++, and the Oakley Flanger.

In the 5U subforum I've also noticed that we tend to reuse the same threads for most posts, such as the "What are your 5U plans for the weekend?" thread, whereas in the Euro Sub-Forum, there's a new "Taking the plunge into modular" thread seemingly every day.

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Post by Firechild » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:26 pm

On the contrary.
Here in Sweden many of us sell our Euro stuff to go 5U instead.

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Post by unrecordings » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:42 pm

You could also say that the 5U crowd are less talk and more action

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Post by kcd06 » Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:55 pm

Activity is not industry.

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Re: Is 5U A Dying Format?

Post by Mark11Audio » Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:04 pm

sunsinger wrote:Just saying…
Looking on the 5U Format pages, it took me only 4 pages to go back through 1 year of topic history. On Euro topics, I've gone through 40 pages of topics, and still haven't hit January 2017.

Also, I went into the BST pages and notice, well, hardly any 5U MOTM stuff For Sale.

What's up with this?

Should we be buying 5U up for posterity and parts?
We're just "Elite" LOL... :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay: :yay:

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Post by ppkstat » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:28 pm

I hope that I didn't choose a dying format when I made my choice a year and a few months ago. I made the choice without having seen a modular synth in person but I had the hunch that I wouldn't like a eurorack system. A month ago I had the chance to play with one..It was horrible. I would never invest in something like that.

That being said RadioTelefonik's point about additive synthesis is very true (but then again we have 4U for that :hihi:). What seems to me the most important advantage of euro right now is the innovation that takes place in the design and features of these modules. Of course that has to a lot to do with the fact that usually there's a lot of digital stuff and controller-driven modules there. Still, I would love some of these in 5U and I will port whatever I can. So if people think that these features are important for synthesis I can see how 5U synths may become less popular in the future. Paul (Oakley) has been complaining a lot about 5U sales going a bit slow and imho his designs are among the best.

Lately I've been reading a lot about euro diy (for porting reasons of course) and I can say I am kinda shocked with the component quality and design of a part of this industry. It really hard to find trash in 5U but it can be a common thing in euro if you don't know where to look.

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Post by Flareless » Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:58 pm

No. 5U is not a dying format.

Next question?
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Re: Is 5U A Dying Format?

Post by kindredlost » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:00 pm

sunsinger wrote:Should we be buying 5U up for posterity and parts?
For the most part large format stuff is repairable and use pretty common components except for some designs. Thru-hole and panel mounted hardware make this much easier. My only concern is the trend toward SMT and board mounted hardware. Still, these are replaceable with a bit more care.

The sheer volume of modules in 3U is where the activity difference lies. Considering the variety and amount of manufacturers in 3U compared to 5U, it is no wonder there are more discussions and pleas for help.

I'd suggest the stability of large format users is a good sign in general. I'm sure you notice there are very few insecure postings about what to add to a system in this format. My feeling is it is due to a better understanding of what the users want from their setup compared to the chaotic free-for-all of the Euro rack community.

I totally agree with synthetic's synopsis of the history of the format wars. I use my Euro much less than I do the 5U and I don't think it is due to a style or workflow reason.

The whole activity differences between formats here and in other forums reminds me of a common misunderstanding by some of statistics. Someone told me the other day that buying a lottery ticket in a large city gives the purchaser an advantage because most of the time a person from those large metropolitan areas win. Of course anyone with a reasonable understanding of statistics knows it is due to the sheer volume of purchase activity in the more populated region and not due to the location itself. The same can be inferred from the amount of dialog between formats in the modular realm.

I hardly think 5U is on the decline. Muscle car racing and hot air ballooning are still active past times too.

BTW, good to see you here again Ron! I miss your valuable input.

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Post by sduck » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:46 pm

No. 5U is one of the original formats, and has basically been around longer than anything else, Buchla being the possible exception. Sure, it's not the hip new space-saving, microcontrolled, whiz-bang format, but it's no slouch either.

Personally, I haven't been as "active" in the 5U department recently as I've really hit the limits of how big I want my MOTM system to grow - it's barely useable as it is, the distances between the edges make patching involve some creative choices. And I've been expanding into the euro realm - I've got some ideas for a case rearrangement that involves integrating the euro that will hopefully all play nice together and give lots of room for future expansion if wanted.
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Post by Dcramer » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:20 pm

I’ve got a pretty hefty Euro system but have always had a soft spot for 5U, one day I just may have to take the plunge. :hyper:

In terms of the differences between the respective forums on here, 5U chatter seems to be about music, patching, art and history, DIY, (And I’m seeing some interesting designs popping up like Roger’s plus-plus stuff)

Euro forum talk is largely about “what should be in my system”, questions from new users who may not really understand the power of voltage control yet.

I think the forums that host the most talk about patching, sound, music, will be the ones about the lasting formats. :party:

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Post by J3RK » Wed Dec 13, 2017 11:52 pm

Not dead.

It seems to move at a relatively glacial pace though.

Gross oversimplification, but that's the general feel I get.

4U and 5U are my favorites.

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Post by synthetic » Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:45 am

I’d revise my answer: MU format isn’t dead, there are more manufaturers now than ever. But MOTM is dead. I like that format but I would invest in MU instead.

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Post by rec.Koner » Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:15 am

Those who left euro for 5U, don't you miss all that crazy stuff that appears in euro? (though half of them is west coast imitation? but there is more to that, especially with digital modules) :hmm:

Or perhaps it's about what better suits your needs. Would be interesting to hear opinions.
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Post by jjsynth » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:35 am

Recent convert to 5U here. I bought some used and new Mos-Lab and Synth-Werk clones and am really happy with the sound (and I have to admit the look) of these. One thing that I really like is that the lower audio signal level allows for easy integration of external effects in a patch.

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Post by lisa » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:48 am

What does dying mean? That the number of users are diminishing? Hard to know, considering that there's no register or license you need to use the stuff. :)

It seems as if 5U is a really small community, though. If the best selling eurorack modules are up to around 5000 units by now one could be forgiven for guessing that the whole 5U community is less than 1000 people worldwide?
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