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What does "normalled" exactly mean?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author What does "normalled" exactly mean?
533k
I have stumbled upon the term "normalled" in descriptions of modular units. E.g. in the description of the Synthrotek Quadrangle this is mentioned:
"Normalled EOC to next channel Gate input (broken when jack is patched)".
Or in the manual of the doepfer 138B Mixer : "positive DC voltage normalled to input socket 1 "

What does "normalled" exactly mean?
ear ear
To save using a patch cord on the front of the panel a connection can be made behind the panel from an output to an input that you would 'normally' want to be connected to each other. Saves patching it yourself; less clutter on the front of the panel; easy to forget, however...
unrecordings
It means that a signal is 'normally' routed a certain way unless you patch a cable in

In the case of the Doepfer - there's a positive DC voltage patched to Input One unless you break that connection by inserting a jack into Input One
Navs
It's a pre-wired connection, for convenience or safety.

This is possible if the input connector has two tabs, one of which is lifted, or disconnected, when a patch cable is inserted.

Examples in the non-modular world might be a portable radio that breaks the connection to its built-in speaker when you plug your headphones in. Or a device that can be both battery or PSU operated.
cornutt
It's a term that comes from studio patch bays. The typical patch bay has two rows of jacks; normally, signal sources are on the upper row and signal destinations are on the lower row. If the connection for a given jack pair (upper and lower) is normalled, then the signal from the upper jack will flow to the lower jack if no patch cord is inserted.

(Actually, they distinguish between "full normalled" and "half normalled". If the connection is full normalled, it is broken if a cord is inserted in either the top jack or the bottom jack. If it is half normalled, inserting a cord into the top jack creates a Y-connection; the signal flows both to the lower jack and out the cord.
I've never seen anything "full normalled" in a synth.)
GuyaGuy
ear ear wrote:
less clutter on the front of the panel; easy to forget, however...

I do wish makers would label them somehow.
Sandrine
I think normalling is probably an after thought for many designers. It was for me with the Reflex LiveLoop. I hadn't considered later in development there would be software in it that would require signal on both channels and the panels were already made by then smile

Luckily the feedback send/return is only on the left channel so it serves as a reminder somewhat.

But I agree it should be indicated on more modules for sure.
Eric the Red
533k

Check out what Brian (Rex Coil) is up to with his super Doppler wonder Synth is doing with normaling. Starts about 1/2 way down the page (page 7) and goes through page 8.

https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=78836&start=150
Rex Coil 7
533k wrote:
.... What does "normalled" exactly mean?


THIS .... RIGHT DOWN HERE (below) ....



cornutt wrote:
It's a term that comes from studio patch bays. The typical patch bay has two rows of jacks; normally, signal sources are on the upper row and signal destinations are on the lower row. If the connection for a given jack pair (upper and lower) is normalled, then the signal from the upper jack will flow to the lower jack if no patch cord is inserted.

(Actually, they distinguish between "full normalled" and "half normalled". If the connection is full normalled, it is broken if a cord is inserted in either the top jack or the bottom jack. If it is half normalled, inserting a cord into the top jack creates a Y-connection; the signal flows both to the lower jack and out the cord.
I've never seen anything "full normalled" in a synth.)
This is correct. I would add that every commercially available rack mounted patch bay is also fully normalled, and many may be customer-modified to half normalized by tweeking the connections (sometimes it only requires a simple ~no soldering~ action, other times you must cut a trace on a small circuit board to half normal or kill-normal, such as the case in the Tascam PB-32 series patchbays, of which I own two).


BUT ......


cornutt wrote:
I've never seen anything "full normalled" in a synth.)
Awe, sure you have! There are many things in many modules that have fully normalled connections that are defeated when a patch cable is inserted.

My own modified modular has to have at least 25 connections where "switching jacks" are used to defeat fully normalled connections. For instance, the 1v/octave circuit. In most modulars, you must use a chain of patch cables to connect several VCOs to track the 1v/octave signal (so you can play the VCOs with a keyboard or sequencer). In my case, I have four VCOs, they would require three patchcords to "daisy chain" the 1v/oct feed to each of them. Instead, I made hard wired connections in the (what I call) "back panel" of all four VCOs to the 1v/oct signal. Since I replaced the regularly supplied 1v/oct input jacks with "NORMALLY CLOSED SWITCHING JACKS" on each VCO that are wired all together, the VCOs no longer require three patch cables daisy-chaining the four VCOs to have them track the keyboard, I only need to plug in one patch cable to bring the 1v/oct signal to the chain, that signal is then distributed to all four VCOs via the back paneled normalized connections.

However, I can defeat those nomalled hard wired connections at any point by simply inserting a patch cable. By doing so, only the one patch point has been defeated (that is to say the back panel connection has been disconnected), the other three VCOs are still normalled to the 1v/oct signal chain. This is only one example in my particular synth.

As for remembering what is normalled and what is not, that's pretty easy when you do all of the normalizing yourself. To help with that, I typically use a thicker stainless steel washer under jack nuts that have been normalized which "tag" them and help me recall that I've normalled that jack to something. It's not hard to remember it most times, however. I mean, do you forget that the headphone jack on your stereo kills the speaker output when you plug in headphones? No, you do not. That's only one example of a very common use of a normalled connection which may be defeated in consumer electronics. There are many others.

As for commercially available synths with normalized connections that may be defeated, the ARP 2600 is loaded with that feature, for example.

In the modular synth world there are LOADS of modules, both 5U and Euro that use full norm'd circuitry. Most times, there is a line or other graphic on the front panel to indicate that two (or more) jacks are norm'd together. Other times, you have to learn, know, and understand the module's functions to be aware of fully normalled connections.

There are any number of ways that normalizing is used in commercially available synthesizer stuffs these days.

Let's look at this Doepfer A-135-1 Voltage Controlled Mixer. I have one of these (and I like it so much I intend on obtaining 2 more of them!). It's been said that "a picture is worth a thousand words" ... in my case I give you both the picture AND the thousand words.

Sooooo .... Bonus Bruh! thumbs up

Anyhow, as I've annotated in the picture (below), the CV inputs are all normalled (normalized? ... ~spell correct~ doesn't like either one, sooo ... yea..). In this case, (Doepfer decided) that means if you plug in one CV source (let's say an LFO) that LFO will control all 4 levels of all 4 channels with only a single patch cable plugged in to channel 1 CV In. Now, add a 2nd LFO to (let's say) channel 3 CV input along with the LFO plugged in to channel 1. The normalled connection between all 4 channels is broken right at Ch3, so Ch1 and Ch2 are modulated by the 1st LFO, Ch3 and Ch4 are modulated by the 2nd LFO. Take a look ......




Here's another example, this is a Doepfer module that uses a normalized connection that may be defeated by inserting a patch cable at the normalized point.






Let's take a look at another type of normalizing, this time in a commonly used type of buffered multiple.




And here's yet another example of normalizing, this time it involves an unmarked normalized connection. It's one of those situations that requires to user get to know and understand the device's quirks and quips.






It all comes down to how each manufacturer decides to do things. In all cases, it requires that you actually understand the features of a given device. If you are the manufacturer, then "sky's the limit" on how, where, why you elect to include normalizing in your own device. Sometimes I use normally closed switching jacks to permit defeating the normalized connection when a patch cable is inserted. Still other times I do not use a switching jack, I use a non-switching jack so that if I plug a cable in to that jack then the jack acts like a ~mult~ and the signal that is normalized to that particular jack is sent to the normalized destination, AND to where ever the patch cable is going to be plugged in to at the other end. I believe this is known as "HALF NORMALIZED" since the signal may be sent to a normalized destination AND an external destination (determined by where the patch cable is plugged in at it's other end).

My little bitty 4 VCO modular (the Super Mini Modular .... "Super MiniMod") is packed with various types of normalizing. Essentially it's configured in the common architecture that most of us have come to know over the decades (VCOS --> Mixer --> VCFs --> VCA ... y'know, like a Minimoog or ARP or Korg or ?????). But I may reconfigure it at my whim by using patch cables. I've set it up with enough forethought that the normalizing I've done (and yet to do) has not sacrificed a single function. That means I may still use it as a standard modular synth (whatever "standard" means to you). Nothing has been lost or given up, but much has been gained. And "yes" ... it's been a shyteload of work to do this. No doubt about it.

Ok, so there's a decent 10K post .... shees .... me? .... long winded? Pffft! Not a chance!

lol lol lol lol
dinosaurs
533k wrote:
I have stumbled upon the term "normalled" in descriptions of modular units. E.g. in the description of the Synthrotek Quadrangle this is mentioned:
"Normalled EOC to next channel Gate input (broken when jack is patched)".
Or in the manual of the doepfer 138B Mixer : "positive DC voltage normalled to input socket 1 "

What does "normalled" exactly mean?


essentially means "connected internally when not manually patched"
oilpanic
The tip of the T/S jack is connected to a pre ordained destination.
Graham Hinton
cornutt wrote:

(Actually, they distinguish between "full normalled" and "half normalled". If the connection is full normalled, it is broken if a cord is inserted in either the top jack or the bottom jack. If it is half normalled, inserting a cord into the top jack creates a Y-connection; the signal flows both to the lower jack and out the cord.
I've never seen anything "full normalled" in a synth.)


That is because there is not usually a pair of jacks together and full normalling would be used on a signal flow that you are breaking in to, like an insert point.

A 2600 is half normalled, but the jacks are not physically together and the source may go to multiple destinations.

There is also "double normalled" where both jacks have to have plugs in before the connection is broken. This could also be used on an insert where interruption needs to be minimised.

The different types and their wiring are shown here. For unbalanced applications just omit the ring wiring.
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