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Attenuverters on the blues
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> BugBrand Devices  
Author Attenuverters on the blues
Damn the options!
Discussion of Attenuverters came up recently on a general modular thread [ie. CV inputs with a single -ve to 0 to +ve control - as found on the SynthVoice]
Since doing the SynthVoice I've tended to go more for depth controls with separate inverting switches - gives better resolution and allows proper zeroing. But requires more panel space (& is slightly more expensive)

The difficulty I have now is that I've got some further dual module ideas which could squeeze into 2FW or space out a bit into 3FW.
With 2FW it'd be necessary to stay with Attenuverters on the mod inputs.
With 3FW there'd be space to allow the switched approach.

Both sides have their pluses & minuses!

As an example -- playing with a couple of processing ideas, I have happy feeling designs of 2FW (dual units) but these would have to have attenuverters. The nature of the modules suggests having two or more of them in a frame - so keeping them compact is kind of important.

So, do the attenuverters on the SynthVoice piss you off?
I think the spacing isn't too bad with it overall.
They don't piss me off - perhaps a little tricky to find zero but I've developed a feel for them now so not really a problem. Spacewise, I think you managed to achieve the right balance.

However, if you're working on modules where you feel that precision and resolution is more important, then maybe attenuators and switches are a better option.

Is there a compromise, such as using attenuverters with a 'click' at 0?
Hmm they have kinda pissed me off to start with yeah. But I've learned to live with them and do appreciate the fine tuning aspect of them - encourages me to get more knobby with my playing, plus I just cut the source voltage via a seperate switch to get 0. I would say at this point compact panel space is far more important to me - I'd very much welcome even some 1fw modules.
T. Jervell
I’ll just join the compact choir hihi
I have no issues with the attenuverters, that’s actually what I’m used too...
I have no issues with the attenuverters either.

A centre dent would be nice but I'm so used them I have no issue with them.
I found centre-detents not so good - still hard to zero and greater setup/production issues. So they're off the table for sure.

Thanks for the feedbacks so far!
Are push-pull pots a possible option ?

This saved me a couple times for my DIY modules (in modcan A) when space was an issue - but with bigger alpha pots, not sure if possible with your type of pots
phisynth wrote:
Are push-pull pots a possible option

All my love goes to push-pull pots: that happens since mesa boogies amps or when i used the neve vr console. That's also what i find utterly cool in the Grendel DC...

Rockin' Banana!
Well, sorry, push-pull pots are absolutely off the cards.
BugBrand wrote:
Well, sorry, push-pull pots are absolutely off the cards.

I'm definitely for 3fw and switches applause
i don't like attenuverters, especially on MIXERS like the matrix or the dual 2 chan. it is especially annoying on the matrix where i can't really "mute" a channel at one output-- it is always at a faint low level.

then if you create a center detent with a calibrated "zero" area, you lose even more resolution on the knob. in the end you are working with maybe 3 or 4 hours of the total clock face to adjust something. at that point you might as well just have a switch with 4 or 5 positions of attenuation (-5, -2.5, 0. 2.5. 5 or somesuch). this would actually be REALLY cool... not sure if it in any way appeals to your sensibilities though.

push-pull would be a novel approach though i've never seen a rean style knob like that.

it might be helpful if you told us what kind of module it is... context helps... like on the EGs i don't mind so much, but on the filter it can be quite annoying.
switched approach for the audio module please, but attenuverters are fine for env's and cv modules
Yeah, I hear you on the Matrix - I never really gelled with the old module version (nor any attempts at audio ones).
DC Mix, too - the possible new 2FW has level dial and invert switch per input.

I don't feel there are hard of fast rules - case in point being that on my latest revision of the PT Delay I'm changing it over to dial & switch - I liked to be able to zero that - though then again, sometimes the small modulations from not-quite-zero produce nice happy accidents.

In general I am thinking on more dual blue modular bits - like I have a slew/osc design I want to move forwards and it is stuck at me wondering between 2&3FW - more compact is good for the modular space, but would have to continue to use attenuverters like the other 2FW blues. 3FW would be more spacious and allow switched invert. So perhaps the size choice is the more important question in this case. Similar issues for a few other ideas...

So, yes, there are definite instances where attenuverters should be avoided.
indexofmetals wrote:
switched approach for the audio module please, but attenuverters are fine for env's and cv modules

This is also how I see it.

Pers. I use attenuverters principally when I mix clock with divisions (in the DC Mixer module for instance) to produce rhythmic variations.
Like in the last 2 videos I posted here. A simple main clock and a division mixed to it. It's always very interesting to see how the beat starts to groove when you invert the signal.

I use also attenuverters when I modulate the decay of an envelope for instance, also to make a beat more groovy. This are the things I do very often with attenuverters.
Chiming in but I don't have much to add

Attenuverters are great but only the ends of the pot are repeatable, not the middle. Smooth transition from negative to positive is sometimes welcome but lack of an easy zero is annoying, especially for mixing without a mute.

The switch-and-pot setup is usually better, especially with the small toggle switches. It certainly fixes the zero problem.

Center detents don't land firmly at zero.
Pull pots are expensive, bulky, not widely available.
Other exotic workarounds are not things you'd want to use routinely.

I can see that making a 1fu device into a 3fu dual in order to get a bit more room for things but 1fu modules can be a better choice, especially for small systems.
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