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Patch cord color - Do your patches follow a system?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]

Do your patches follow a color system?
No, all my patch cords should have the same color
4%
 4%  [ 5 ]
No, I just use whatever cable color/lengths that are available
69%
 69%  [ 82 ]
Yes, but my color system depends on the patch (give examples in a comment)
2%
 2%  [ 3 ]
Yes, and I try to follow a specific system (please elaborate in a comment)
23%
 23%  [ 28 ]
Total Votes : 118

Author Patch cord color - Do your patches follow a system?
C14ru5
When you're plugging patch cords into your modular, does your choice of patch cord color, matter? Does it signify anything? Do you use patch cord color to categorize the signal, and if so: what kind of rules do you follow?

My color system depends on what type of input I patch into, and not so much what type of output I patch from. My general rules:

Red: Trigger/Gate input
Yellow: Pitch CV (or exact CV) input
Green: Modulation (or rough CV) input
Blue: Audio input

If I had more colors to choose between, it would probably be more like this:

Red: Triggers
Orange: Gates
Yellow: Pitch CV
Green: Modulation
Blue: Audio
Purple: External audio input, FX send/return
Black: Not part of the audible patch
White: Multi-purpose, such as going into a multiple

I can think of some other possible parameters:

By range (0-5V, 0-10V, -5/+5V, -10V/+10V)
By frequency (Trigger / LFO / Audio)
Unipolar or bipolar
Discrete or analog (gates/quantized/S&H vs. LFO/audio)
Normalized/default/clean vs. attenuverted/offset/modulated

How about you?
ubiquiphilia
yes. making each "voice" or element of a patch a single colour, so the plumbing can be figured out at a glance. Also experimenting with for example grey for control signals, white for noise, blue for tonality, and maybe reaching for red for fuckiness, maybe that'd be modulation
C14ru5
Of course! I had completely ignored the one-color-per-voice paradigm. A smart choice, once your modular system becomes large enough.
ubiquiphilia
hehe

quite

using 'voice' in a pretty loose fashion here though.

meaning 'makes a sound' which can be shoehorned through the confines of my fairly modest modular.
Dcramer
Black! Guinness ftw!
audiohack
ubiquiphilia wrote:
yes. making each "voice" or element of a patch a single colour, so the plumbing can be figured out at a glance. Also experimenting with for example grey for control signals, white for noise, blue for tonality, and maybe reaching for red for fuckiness, maybe that'd be modulation


I think this would be useful, even in a smaller system. I have a mix of black regular cables and red, yellow, green stackables connected between a Micromac-D and 90HP of modules. Even with this small setup, I'm amazed how quickly I get lost in a maze of cables. Still fun, but I'd rather be tweaking knobs more and trying to remember what is connected where less.
TheBradster
When I first started building my system I was convinced that I would be very methodical with my cable use and color code-everything. I got a bunch of Ad Infinitum multicolored cables, and then I got some more. But really it's usually just too much hassle IMO… when I'm in the heat of the moment I'll just grab a cable. Plus many of my 60cm cables are grey, so that makes sticking to a system a bit more awkward. I WILL say that having multicolored cables can make it easier to trace/troubleshoot a patch.
Tronman
All my patch cables are black with colored end sleeves. The sleeves just indicate the length. I patch with the shortest cables I can get away with.
sduck
Blue. 3 feet long. Exclusively. Everything that can be patched can be patched with 3 foot long blue cables. To use anything else is folly. Inconceivable. If you're not using blue 3 foot cables, you're just wasting your time. Dead Banana


am I gonna have to put a smilie on this?
skyshaver
TipTop stackables seem to be color coded by length which prevents any further coding on my part. Mind you I'm only patching 6U so the spaghetti is never too intense.
Chrutil
Tronman wrote:
All my patch cables are black with colored end sleeves. The sleeves just indicate the length. I patch with the shortest cables I can get away with.

This.
MrNovember
I'm really just getting into modular so I don't have that many options. But generally I'm finding shortest possible = the best
Refund
I try to stick to the one colour for every 'voice' I patch up in my system
nikmis
all of my patch cords are just random bits of wire connected to jacks (or plugs, I always forget which is which), so I have no system. I saw a few old dvd players in the trash, so I cut the power cords off them, for example. but because they are all a bit unique and different, i have gotten to know them and know what size to expect just by seeing one.
a100user
I tried and then kept running out of the colour or length cable needed so ended up gravitating to using whatever is to hand.
johyde
I go for the colour - voice 'system'. I find it works well for me, but it's hard to have enough patch cords of the right colour sometimes. I find it a little annoying that most manufacturers for for the colour - length correlation. I can't see that ever being useful for the user?
ETP
no code at all. voices can interact. spaghetti for sure. gates can go into filter cv. sine lfo/vco can go to clock divider. it´s enough load for my brain to understand what i´m patching
C14ru5
johyde wrote:
I find it a little annoying that most manufacturers [go] for the colour - length correlation. I can't see that ever being useful for the user?

I can imagine it to be useful if you keep your patch cords in a single heap of spaghetti, instead of separated by length. But whoever follows that practice, will soon find themselves in a downward spiral...
lloydcole
I had a system until I added stackables...
Green or Blue - AC
Yellow - CV
Red - Clock
Black - Reset
gonkulator
a100user wrote:
I tried and then kept running out of the colour or length cable needed so ended up gravitating to using whatever is to hand.


This, but my intention is still to color code things according to function. I figure I just need about another 50-100 cables, each carefully selected by color and length. Dead Banana

I color code (with cable wraps) my mic cables according to length, which I find really useful, but I see no good reason to do this in a modular setup (color code by length), since everything is much more crammed together.

I think it was at the MW meet in May where I saw someone using gray cables with colored ends. That is a nice visually non-distracting method, which I considered. However, I still think following cable routing is easier if the whole cable is colored. Visually very busy though.

However, (and this is where I am probably overthinking this) it would be really useful if there was some agreed to scheme, so we could more easily decipher eachothers' patches in videos, etc.. Okay, that is just silly.
C14ru5
gonkulator wrote:
it would be really useful if there was some agreed to scheme, so we could more easily decipher eachothers' patches in videos, etc.. Okay, that is just silly.

Yes, humanity can never seem to agree on standards, so the notion of a standard color scheme "to decode others' patches in videos" is just a pipe dream.

To me the use of color-coded patching has two major advantages:
1) Quickly finding out where a signal comes from, or where it goes to
2) Getting a good baseline idea of what kind of signal that the cable is supposed to carry

But it does require a larger stock of patch cords, and a slightly more meticulous attitude while patching.
Jaspo
< 1ft Red (Stackable Red)
= 1ft Blue
> 1ft <= 2ft Black (Stackable Yellow) I have some 2ft blue
> 2ft Green (Stackable black)

My main cables are the little red cables and a lot of 2ft black.

Some older paia grey with red/blue/green.
Sleipnir
C14ru5 wrote:
When you're plugging patch cords into your modular, does your choice of patch cord color, matter? Does it signify anything? Do you use patch cord color to categorize the signal, and if so: what kind of rules do you follow?

I based mine on a loose conglomeration of the Buchla/Serge colors that I've seen:
Blue = Audio signal
Red = CV
Black = Clocks/gates/triggers

Note that my philosophy is more Moog-like (audio=cv=clock, plug anything into anywhere), but the colors do help with documenting/understanding a good patch, especially if there had been beer involved (note: there is always beer involved). I find I can snap a pic with my phone and rebuild the patch later (or at least get close).

This is about as simple as I can get, yet still be able to see what is happening at a glance. When my system was 6-12u, I only used blue & red (red doubled for clocks) so I would call the black optional, but nice to have for a larger setup (and an extra in cables meh ) .
You know you're doing it right when you use at least 2x red vs. blue. nanners

I have the cables on 2 hangers (6&12", 24&36"), bunched by color so they are easy to grab. When I'm repatching/experimenting, as I pull a cable I lay it out flat on my 88 controller with all the left sides lined up. That way I can easily grab a good length with my right hand.

I have over 150 cables, but I still come close to running out sometimes. I'm no Richard Devine, but they sure add up. (Is it just me, or does anyone else think he uses extra dummy cables to obfuscate his patches?)

My system can do 6+ voices at any time, not including percussion, so the color p/voice woldn't work for me (also, IMO voices should mingle and interact, so what happens then?)
gonkulator
Sleipnir wrote:


I'm no Richard Devine, but they sure add up. (Is it just me, or does anyone else think he uses extra dummy cables to obfuscate his patches?)



If true, I would find that both amusing and (ironically) revealing.
goom
I'm in the "it's too much hassle" camp. For my feeble mind and memory, patching with random color cables leaves one less thing to concentrate on while creating the patch. A side benefit is the random colors can help later, when tracing signals in a patch. I'd even like to add different colors the next time I buy cables. Maybe some neon colors that will burn my retinas! lol
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