5U modules

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

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r05c03
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5U modules

Post by r05c03 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:40 pm

Kind of frustrating...it seems that all the different makers of 5U modules use different power supplies, power supply interfaces, slightly different rack mount specs....lame. I am interested in starting a modular system to replace my relatively extensive Moogerfooger system which is nice, but large, and nearly untransportable. I do not want a synthesizing ability so much as signal processing ability. I would really like to stay on a 1/4'' jack system because I have a Moog MP-201 which puts out 4 channels of LFOs, Env CV etc, and 351x unit which allows me to output CV from various CV sources produced inside the Voyager. I know there is not breadth of module types in the 5U format as in the Eurorack, but it seems that if I want more signal processing and weirder modules MOTM is the format to go with. Thoughts?
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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Post by JohnLRice » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:54 pm

How big of a system are you thinking about? And do you want it to be portable (road case) or not?

I havew a mix of 5U types and just keep the MOTM style and Moog/MU style in seperate racks.

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ach_gott
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Post by ach_gott » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:58 pm

Well, to be fair, you can do weird in any format and a good synthesist can work with a minimum of highly specialized modules. If you use a combination of functions frequently enough, of course, it's good to have it in a designated module.

In 5U, the difference in power supplies isn't really that big. Everybody uses 15 V bipolar and some modules use an additional +5 V power supply. The delivery is fairly straightforward, though there are three (or four, counting Modcan's 3-pin, but just ask for a 3 -> 4 pin power cable) power supply connections: .100 MTA 6 pin, .156 MTA 4 pin, and .156 6 pin. To work between them, there are various distribution boards from Synth Tech and STG. So there's some additional cost/investment in mixing and matching, but with the help of the locals, you'll be fine.

Mixing the MOTM spacing with MU (moog unit) spacing in a cabinet is something of a pain in the ass, IMO, but planning for a little of each in advance will save you some frustration down the road.

MOTM is great, I highly encourage you to take that route, but check out all of the manufacturers. There's a ton of maginificent stuff out there.

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Post by sunsinger » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:00 pm

As far as signal processing goes, like Reverbs, Delays, Frequency Shifters, Ring Modulators, Flangers. Modcan is the clear choice for high quality processing. But when your talking modular, your talking about much more than the Moogerfooger pedal line.

How do you get something to work like the 12 stage phaser. Additional modules are required to make these signal processors really shine. Your going to have to do a bit more research. For instance you might need a Sequencer, Envelope Generator, VCA, and a filter, to get your FX modules to really shine.

It really goes much deeper than just replacing your Moogerfoogers. And you can do alot more than those are capable of, even if you put together
a simple rack of modules. There are alot of choices, sure. But each manufacturer specializes in different things. Just figure out what you want to do, then imagine that you can do alot more than that.

Look at what the modules do very closely and you might get more of a picture. :party:

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Re: 5U modules

Post by russma » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:48 pm

r05c03 wrote:.... I am interested in starting a modular system to replace my relatively extensive Moogerfooger system which is nice, but large, and nearly untransportable....
If portability is the main concern, I've seen extensive and highly portable 'fooger setups. You can rack three foogers side by side, and if you wire it all up to a 1U patchbay, you can get six foogers in 6U. An equivalent modular rig likely wouldn't be much more portable. A guy named "henfield" had a really nice fooger rig in a suitcase rack. Your setup would probably need two suitcases, but, still.

Modulars are fantastic, but if you're mainly interested in effects processing, there's a bunch of expensive overhead associated with a modular-based rig.
Last edited by russma on Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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dude
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Post by dude » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:51 pm

ah the memories

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davebr
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5U format modules

Post by davebr » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:04 pm

I like the MOTM because of the quality and availability of many other modules in that format. The panel format is easy to make, but not necessarily inexpensive, in FrontPanelExpress. That opens up other modules such as Blacet, YuSynth, Haible, and OakleySound. Bridechamber makes a number of DIY panels as well in the MOTM format.

I use a MOTM power distribution board and make my own cables for other formats. It's just a matter of wiring up the right connector for the module. I solder them so there is no special tool to buy. Here is one of my MOTM to Dotcom cables.

Image

I just started to mix MOTM and Dotcom and ended up making my own cabinet. Once STG makes their Dotcom mounting rails, it would be pretty simple to intermix a bank of Dotcom in a MOTM cabinet, or using the Bridechamber mounting rails, to do the opposite. You'd just have to make a spacer panel to take up the gap. I ended up making a combination cabinet that holds both formats. Muff combination cabinet thread

Dave

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Post by bwhittington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:22 pm

DISCLAIMER: I am a Dotcom fanboy.

If you just want to replace the Moogerfoogers, you could do it most economically in Dotcom and using a (cringe) COTK delay. If you want a world of signal processing pizzazz, Modcan and MOTM-format (if not quite MOTM itself, in my opinion) will keep you interested for a long time.

If you were mixing formats, you could easily do a 10U rack with a Dotcom rack frame and set of MOTM rails, or you could build/buy a case with wood rails and have no problem mounting the two formats as you like. You can power it all from a Dotcom PSU with a minor mod to the wiring harness connectors. Or you could use a power distro board like STG's to power all formats. I personally find the Dotcom power solution to be the easiest and most versatile solution. Other people hate all the squiggly wires on the harness.

I tend to disagree with the suggestion that keeping a rack of Moogerfoogers is an efficient or desirable option. A modular system of any variety will be an improvement over those pedals and the cost doesn't have to be that much greater.

How was that? I'm working on my neutrality in these discussions. :hihi:

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by bwhittington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:25 pm

dude wrote:ah the memories
No kidding, right? :hihi:

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Post by dude » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:29 pm

wonderful work b!

i will add that i am a modcan b slut, though increasing wait times get ugly and prices are large. as stated in many a past thread, moogerfoogers are a gateway drug. they leave one wanting more and the next step is obvious: racking/power and a means for distribution to a collection of personally picked modules.
many here (such as myself) have gone through this. the natural order of things.

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r05c03
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Post by r05c03 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:39 pm

This is my current 'fooger rig. It is just a lot of space and a lot of weight and not a lot of function, compared to a what modular could do. The things that would be hardest to replace I think would be the mMuRF and Phaser. There are two ring mods, a lowpass, the Freqbox a 351x unit, and a Control Processor unit. I am depressed by the price of a lot of the 5U stuff. ModCan (which I should have put in my first thread instead of MOTM) would be my module of choice, but sheesh 800 bones for just case and power supply...ouch.

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/381767/moog%20rig.jpg
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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r05c03
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Post by r05c03 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 3:55 pm

Foogers are absolutely a gate way drug...I used to play bass, straight up. Until I got a Low Pass Filter...then a Ring Mod...then Freq Box....then Little Phatty, then a Machine Drum, then a Future Retro XS, then Voyager, then a Monomachine......I am in hell.
dude wrote:wonderful work b!

i will add that i am a modcan b slut, though increasing wait times get ugly and prices are large. as stated in many a past thread, moogerfoogers are a gateway drug. they leave one wanting more and the next step is obvious: racking/power and a means for distribution to a collection of personally picked modules.
many here (such as myself) have gone through this. the natural order of things.
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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Post by dude » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:06 pm

all of those fooger functions are easy to replace in modular world. hands down. you don't have to buy a million dollar modcan case/setup. things come up used ALL THE TIME. you just have to narrow down what you are looking for and keep an eye out.
a few of us up here use ewi tourcases which fit a good amount of modules (two rows of 10u). john rice has like 4 of them. i use two myself. the case is like 120 bucks or something ridiculously cheap and wonderful. grab some rails from motm synthtech and then all you need is power. many here can diy a power supply, i had to buy them new and used from motm and wherever else i could find. pm me or some other person more knowledgeable and you will find the simplicity and excitement of it all (if you want). good luck to you!

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Post by bwhittington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:07 pm

r05c03 wrote:This is my current 'fooger rig.
Cool case! Bulky as sin, of course!

Having to shell out for the case and psu stuff in the beginning is a drag, but you could always make a case and get a cheaper psu if you don't mind a little DIY. Not for everyone, but a good way to get started, even if you were to go with a manufacturer's finished rack/power otion down the road.

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by dude » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:09 pm

oh and that is a nice looking rig but i am guessing you would be a whole lot happier with three rows of 5u modules as opposed to the foogers. the case is beautiful but as soon as the foogers get beyond three, there is just no way back. the bug has bit and 'pedals' are only going to do so much. you are a lot of the way there with that case though. did you make that? if so, you'll save money right there on trying to find a case...

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Post by bwhittington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:22 pm

Keep in mind that if you use that case, module depth will be a major issue for you. I don't know its measurements, but its possible that you would be constrained to Dotcom on the bottom row and possibly the top, with room for the perpendicular mounted PCB's of most MOTM/Modcan only in the middle row.

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by emdot_ambient » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:29 pm

...And don't forget that both dotcom and MOTM make 19" rack mounting hardware, which makes finding cabinets to fit both formats easy. That's what JLR is doing when he talks about keeping the formats separate.

The MOTM rack mount solution (rack rails) mounts 10U in width, while dotcom's solution (rack mount frame) mounts 8U in width.

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Post by decaying.sine » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:18 pm

dude wrote:wonderful work b!

i will add that i am a modcan b slut, though increasing wait times get ugly and prices are large. as stated in many a past thread, moogerfoogers are a gateway drug. they leave one wanting more and the next step is obvious: racking/power and a means for distribution to a collection of personally picked modules.
many here (such as myself) have gone through this. the natural order of things.
+1
Brian
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Post by dude » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:23 pm

sorry for this next unrelated bit but i kind of need a thread that just alternates between susinger's and bwhittington's avatars. everytime i see those it makes me laugh. 1 then th'other then th'other then th'other etc. it needs to happen and you guys can do it too. being that this is a modular forum, it only seems right.

:boat:

im on a boat

there i said it

:whistle:

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Re: 5U modules

Post by Henfield » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:29 pm

idiotboy wrote: A guy named "henfield" had a really nice fooger rig in a suitcase rack. Your setup would probably need two suitcases, but, still.
That person be me! Here is a picture of my Mooger Rig before the modular bug bit me (MF-101, 102, and 107, with CP-251 and a patchbay to bring all connections to the front):
Image

This was very unwieldy, and I could mount 16 spaces of Dotcom in the same space used (10U rackspace). The Moogers were my gateway drug into modular synthesis, but I sold off all of my Moogers (including a Bass Murf as well), and I am building up a fairly portable Dotcom / DIY system, which I hope to have functioning within the next 2 months (hopefully by AHMW 2010!)

You could build a Dotcom, MOTM, or Modcan system by building the DIY case shown on the Dotcom site or use a rackmount case with the Dotcom or MOTM rack rails and add one of their power supplies. This can all be done for under $200 (if you have an empty rack case to use or build the Dotcom DIY case with their QPS2 power supply).

Just my $0.02, but beware, modular lust can take over your entire being!

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Post by bwhittington » Wed Jan 20, 2010 8:40 pm

dude wrote:i kind of need a thread that just alternates between susinger's and bwhittington's avatars.
It's kind of happened. See the later half of this thread. It's my FS thread, but there isn't really anything left for sale, so you don't need to feel snookered into looking.

:eyes:

Cheers,
Brian

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Post by rafe127 » Wed Jan 20, 2010 10:03 pm

I started with Moogerfoogers too!

If portability is a major concern I say go straight to eurorack and just get a bunch of 1/8" - 1/4" adapter cables. Or spend $60 at redco.com and make your own.

-R

PS - I still have and love and use regularly the following 'foogers:

MF-101
MF-103
MF-104z

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r05c03
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Post by r05c03 » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:05 pm

Well, I guess my plan is, since it not likely I sell the Moogerfoogers as a unit, is to keep that case that posted yesterday, get one 19'' rack mount for Dotcom modules and the 19'' rack rails for MOTM and have 19'' of both MOTM and Dotcom modules. I will keep my CP-251 (which has a noise source, sample and hold, smoothed sample and hold, a square and triangle lfo, two channels of attenuation, a four way mixer, and wave 4 channels of wave mixing). I will also keep the 351x unit which outputs all kinds of CV sources from the voyager, and will keep my Midi Murf, which really does not have a comparable single unit in anything that I have seen (I think I would need at least an 8 step sequencer, 8 band pass filters, and maybe a gate thingy or something). That would fill the rack and be a good start...

I will also get a portable eurorack going...
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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Post by russma » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:23 pm

good plan.

Although I'd swap the MuRF with a 104z.

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r05c03
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Post by r05c03 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 6:40 am

idiotboy wrote:good plan.

Although I'd swap the MuRF with a 104z.
Thing is, I don't have a delay....yet, if and when, the MuRF would sound even dreamier...

The MIDI control on the MuRF is really nice..
Gear List: Elektron Octatrack, Elektron A4,Microbrute, Bass Station, Rings Braids, Pitts Ring Mod, Pitts Osc, Echophon, Intillegel uFold / uMIDI, PNW2, Doepfer 138-c, 119, Tiptop Z4000, Maleko Fade / 8NU8R

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