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Block Diagrams
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Block Diagrams
pugix
Since I have been buying more modules (Eurorack) lately, rather than building my own, I have noticed a deficit in a lot of documentation not including a block diagram of the internals.

Why can't the Maths manual include a block diagram? The way it's documented as four channels of processing is confusing. It is two slewing modules plus some mixing and normalization. I want to see the blocks.

I just got a SSF Ultra Random Analog. It has a collection of different modules, some inter-connected and some not. It is well-described. But I drew out a block diagram, which made it easier for me to understand.

Do you use block diagrams to help understand your modules? Have you drawn some yourself? I find it a useful diagram that is typically missing from documentation.

Thoughts?
frijitz
pugix wrote:
Since I have been buying more modules (Eurorack) lately, rather than building my own, I have noticed a deficit in a lot of documentation not including a block diagram of the internals.

Why can't the Maths manual include a block diagram? The way it's documented as four channels of processing is confusing. It is two slewing modules plus some mixing and normalization. I want to see the blocks.

I just got a SSF Ultra Random Analog. It has a collection of different modules, some inter-connected and some not. It is well-described. But I drew out a block diagram, which made it easier for me to understand.

Do you use block diagrams to help understand your modules? Have you drawn some yourself? I find it a useful diagram that is typically missing from documentation.

Thoughts?

Yes, absolutely. I also show my patches in block diagram form, rather than the usual "xxx to yyy" format. That way the patch can be implemented with other equipment.

Ian
Dcramer
Yes, I use block diagrams to describe patches and have started adding them to my videos. They use a very generic set of symbols so that they can be recreated on any format. thumbs up
WhiteOut
Dcramer wrote:
Yes, I use block diagrams to describe patches and have started adding them to my videos.

Yes, I've watched your PolyCube Krell video several times in amazement. To me that stuff is mindblowing and the block diagram provides a great birds eye view to sort of grasp the broad strokes of what's going on.
I'm thinking the cross-format aspect should come in handy when sharing patching ideas with friends that have different modular systems or even software. What do you guys normally use for creating these diagrams? Do you even create libraries of synth function symbols or do you just draw ad hoc?
pugix
I was thinking more about block diagrams that describe the internals of an individual complex module, as opposed to patch diagrams. For example the excellent block diagram of John Blacet's Time Machine, which he provided in the printed manual. It's that sort of documentation I find to be missing for a many complex Eurorack modules. Verbal descriptions just aren't as clear. Take for example, Mutable Instruments Frames. I hear great things about it, and I've read the documentation. (I don't have a Frames, yet.) A block diagram showing the signal and control paths would certainly help me to understand it better, and maybe buy it sooner.
Tombola
I always try...



pugix
Tombola wrote:
I always try...





Those are just what I'm talking about. Thanks!
catchpenny
hey richard if easily done would you mind posting your diagram of the SSF Ultra Random?
megaohm
pugix wrote:
But I drew out a block diagram, which made it easier for me to understand.

Do you use block diagrams to help understand your modules? Have you drawn some yourself? I find it a useful diagram that is typically missing from documentation.

Thoughts?


I'm really into block diagrams.
If they are done well you don't need any other info to understand the module.
I find them to be great for patch documentation (both synth and console/outboard), circuit ideas, patch ideas, and getting a grasp on a module like you describe.
With descriptive text or control/jack labels I need to remember info and piece it together.
With blocks I can see the whole thing at once and more easily recognize what is going on.
MarcelP
Absolutely! As a newbie to modular with a nice new rack full of multifunction modules a block diagram of each one would be invaluable as I peer at the knobs and inscrutable front panel writing wondering which output to plug to what input. As a service engineer I guess I am used to reading such things but I think for anyone they would provide clarity and I am surprised at the lack of them in the manuals... I know many modules are pretty basic in/function/out but the Maths example is a good case in point. Whats more useful - a map to your new friends house or a written description of the route?
Graham Hinton
MarcelP wrote:
Whats more useful - a map to your new friends house or a written description of the route?


Depends how your mind works.
People who cannot read maps and rely on satnavs have no idea where they are going, but still manage to get there in the end.

There are two types of people in the world: those who understand block diagrams and those who don't. I know some very good synthesizer players who belong to the latter group and as I belong to the former we found communication difficult. I eventually realised that they see everything as a pattern of control settings with no idea how it interconnects which seems like hard work to me, but not to them.

Being able to read block diagrams allows you to predict what would happen if you change the patch, not being able to restricts you to just changing parameters or being surprised when you change a connection. Some people are very good at changing parameters.
Sleipnir
pugix wrote:
Do you use block diagrams to help understand your modules? Have you drawn some yourself? I find it a useful diagram that is typically missing from documentation.

Yet another block lover. thumbs up
I could stand not having any other docs for modules other than a block diagram - but then maybe we would notice how similar to each other many modules are. lol
I dare say a lot of people have been making these for themselves, but it would be great if (more) manufacturers would bother to provide them.
mildheadwound
My favourite was the one for the Mysteron, found here on page 5/6;

Mysteron Manual

Even if you think you can follow it through, the addition of the '!!!' and 'Mutate' definitely disorient your path.
steffengrondahl
ehhh ... as some of you might know I have made a patch editor for MU systems. I'm probably never going to extend it to other formats, nor including all MU modules, as it is too time consuming.

But .. I might be able to create a tool for making block diagrams, either for internal routing in a module or for notating patches. Should I? I will be web based, initialy on my own site http://synthtools.steffengrondahl.dk/, but if someone (modulargrid, muffwiggler) wants to host it I would like to handle a copy for free.

Are you interested? Should I do it?

(If some of you ask why, I can give a simple reason: At the moment I'm unemployed and doing a lot of tutorials and selfstudy to qualify for job assignments. In particular I would like to make a single page application in AngularJS, and this could be the perfect project).
mHoneycomb
steffengrondahl wrote:
But .. I might be able to create a tool for making block diagrams, either for internal routing in a module or for notating patches. Should I? I will be web based, initialy on my own site http://synthtools.steffengrondahl.dk/, but if someone (modulargrid, muffwiggler) wants to host it I would like to handle a copy for free.

Are you interested? Should I do it?


Old post, I know, but just came across this.
I would love this! Willing to help build it too if you want.
Pelsea
I use EazyDraw for block diagrams. It’s almost as fast as pencil and paper, and exports to PNG (to post here) and SVG (for ultimate publication). It even has a library of waveforms.

For more demanding jobs, it does layers and dimensions.

Mac only, though.

Example—>
Sleipnir
Not a lot of control after the fact (format wise) but there’s this:
https://github.com/SpektroAudio/PatchBook
pugix
Pelsea wrote:
I use EazyDraw for block diagrams. It’s almost as fast as pencil and paper, and exports to PNG (to post here) and SVG (for ultimate publication). It even has a library of waveforms.

For more demanding jobs, it does layers and dimensions.

Mac only, though.

Example—>


What version of EazyDraw? App Store has six versions?

Thanks,
Pelsea
pugix wrote:


What version of EazyDraw? App Store has six versions?

Thanks,


Version 8. $95 for the download.
Blairio
I don't do block diagrams of patches, as I am not that organised. However in my day job I have to review telcoms and data network designs. The best of them clearly show the difference between bearer (the traffic itself) and signalling ( what is managing and controlling the kit that carries the traffic).

Getting back to modular.. I guess each block could have its audio inputs and outputs clearly defined, and also its cv/ gate inputs and outputs clearly defined. Audio and signalling connections could be two distinct colours, and blocks could be categorised according to their function.

That way patches could perhaps be reproduced with similar (but not identical) modules.

Taking it further, complex or single voice modules could be broken down into their main functions - so a Braids patch employing (internally) a vco, a scale quantiser and vca could be described as such, and then replicated using discrete modules.
pugix
catchpenny wrote:
hey richard if easily done would you mind posting your diagram of the SSF Ultra Random?


A little late, but here's a photo. I hesitated because of the hand-drawn quality.

This diagram helps to show the normalized connections, shown by an arrow, for example Noise A is normalled to the A input, ahead of the A Level pot. There's a jumper (shown as JP below the Toggle A/B block) that allows you to choose which clock (internal or external) is used for the Toggle. External clock in always controls S&H B and R-Flux, and by default external clock is normally taken from the internal clock. S&H A is clocked only by the internal clock. It's also easy to see that R-Pulse and Opto-Integrator are separate from the other features and the Opto-Integrator input comes normally from R-Pulse, but can be patched over.

Maybe if I get a good block diagram tool, I will make a more readable version of this.

pirx
Pencil is a multi-platform free open source program for making block diagrams, flowcharts, GUI prototyping, etc. It is quite customizable, exports to PNG, SVG, PDF.

https://pencil.evolus.vn/Features.html



Inkscape can make pretty nice looking block diagrams, too, although it can be a little more tedious to use than Pencil.
cptnal
To try to answer pugix's question I wonder whether it's:

a) Mystique
b) Trade secrets

In other words, if I know Maths is a couple of slews plus some mixing and normalisation, and I already have all those things, why do I need a Maths?

I own a Maths and am not looking to start another Maths love/hate thread. Just making the point that such thinking as I've described could potentially reduce sales, at least in the minds of some.
dubonaire
cptnal wrote:
To try to answer pugix's question I wonder whether it's:

a) Mystique
b) Trade secrets

In other words, if I know Maths is a couple of slews plus some mixing and normalisation, and I already have all those things, why do I need a Maths?

I own a Maths and am not looking to start another Maths love/hate thread. Just making the point that such thinking as I've described could potentially reduce sales, at least in the minds of some.


Yeah you could be right, or that it doesn't affect sales so why bother. The lack of documentation in Eurorack modules is not really justified and it's not justified by an often held argument that it stifles creativity. You might be just criticising MakeNoise, although I do think Tony Rolando doesn't think that way. Modules have a flow, and users would be helped if module makers mapped the flow. Obviously the makers have thought about flow because that's the very essence of the design.

I find flow diagrams invaluable in all the hardware I have when they are provided. We are often trying to conceptualise the flow of the signal path through multiple modules and stand-alone synths. Flow charts can only make that easier, freeing up creativity rather than stifling it.

And I read many questions on this forum which often stem from a lack of understanding of the signal path.
cptnal
dubonaire wrote:
You might be just criticising MakeNoise


(For the record - not singling out or criticizing. Just floating an idea. Some of my best friends are Make Noise modules. Mr. Green )
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