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Why are module manuals so bad?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author Why are module manuals so bad?
Franktree
Ok, I'm fairly new to the Eurorack adventure and just bought a number of new modules to build out a case. When it came to connecting the various modules to power, I had a number of questions--being unsure in some instances exactly how to connect them up. Being a good do-be, I went online to check out the manuals for the modules to try to make sure I didn't fry anything. In every instance where I had questions and therefore checked out the manuals (Qu-Bit Nebulae, Tiptop Audio Mantis, Tiptop Audio One, Doepfer A-108) the manuals told me nothing, or nothing useful, about how to connect the power. So now I'm just waiting to hear back from the manufacturers, rather than actually putting the modules to use, since i had to email them to figure out how to get their modules to work. very frustrating

The manuals often had plenty of info about what the various buttons or inputs do, which is admittedly useful, but not nearly as useful as information that will keep you from frying the module itself! You'd think that would be the first thing that would go into every manual.

Just wanted to share my frustration and surprise at how mysterious these manufacturers seem to make something as routine and common as power connections.
Rigo
Read these pages:

http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a100t_e.htm

http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a100m_e.htm
TemplarK
http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a108_man.pdf

You must have been looking at some other manual because the Doepfer A108 manual is as comprehensive as you can get for a filter. As for frying modules, well, you plug them in making sure that you get the polarity the right way and other than that your not going to just "fry" modules left right and centre not sure what gives you this idea tbh?
bemushroomed
This is why we have forums.
teamhobson
bemushroomed wrote:
This is why we have forums.


Lol. 95% of the world's information on modern modular synthesis is held on this php forum. One which is regularly down for a day or two because the bills haven't been paid hihi

For what it's worth, the make noise morphagene manual is excellent, but I know what you mean...
Franktree
TemplarK wrote:
http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a108_man.pdf

You must have been looking at some other manual because the Doepfer A108 manual is as comprehensive as you can get for a filter. As for frying modules, well, you plug them in making sure that you get the polarity the right way and other than that your not going to just "fry" modules left right and centre not sure what gives you this idea tbh?


Maybe I'm just dense, but I looked through that manual and nowhere did it provide me the one crucial (and simple) piece of information I needed: which pins are the -12v pins. Maybe I missed it, but if I did, the manual is not especially easily to parse.

I later found a (very helpful) video on Youtube that told me all Doepfer modules have the -12v pins on the bottom. But you'd have thought I could have gotten that info from Doepfer, rather than from Youtube.
Rigo
Franktree wrote:
But you'd have thought I could have gotten that info from Doepfer, rather than from Youtube.

The info is on their website, in the first of the 2 links I gave above.
Franktree
Rigo wrote:
Read these pages:

http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a100t_e.htm

http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a100m_e.htm


Yes, at least that bottom link was helpful and shows exactly the info I needed. I found the same info another way, but I appreciate you passing this along, and hopefully it will be useful for someone else next time they have the same question as me.

Though, note that that's the manual for their cases/power supplies, not one of their modules. It would be useful to have that image, showing that the -12v pins are on the bottom, in the manuals for each module for which it applies (which, to my understanding, is all of Doepfer's)--at least online, where the added inch of text has literally zero cost.
emilng
You might want to check the first sticky topic for the Eurorack section "The Definitive Connecting Power Thread" https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=15109

There's also the "Modular Synth Basics! Cases, power, modules, CV?! Come in smile" sticky thread. https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=106396

Reading through them might save you some future pain smile
kay_k
because they are often written by the very same persons who developed them .. engineers are the worst manual writers, especially on their own creations
Jumbuktu
I agree that many module manuals are sub-standard - and some great modules don't even have a manual! I ended up writing one for the ADDAC Heuristic Rhythm Generator myself (it's now bee incorporated into an official manual).

MakeNoise always seems to put the power connection info in their manuals - something I find a bit annoying because I don't need it any more.

IMO, Doepfer have the most consistent and informative manuals (and by the way, the A108 is my favourite filter of all time). As you have found out, Doepfer puts all the power info in their case manuals. I think this is because Doepfer was one of the originators of the Eurorack format. Back when i got my first modules, they were all Doepfer and I just automatically bought a Doepfer case. I don't recall ever having any problems about the direction of the red stripe because it was all pointed out in the accompanying literature.

You are right to be concerned about this though - shortly after getting my first case, I fried a module (MIDI-CV) by inserting the power cable slightly offset. It's dark inside a vertical Dowpfer case, and it's easy to think you have the cable right when it is actually only connecting one row of pins. I am still paranoid about power cables - and I have since made the same mistake several times again - fortunately without damaging anything.
IEC
i always plug them in offset somehow MY ASS IS BLEEDING i always fondle both sides of the connector after pluggin in to try avoid blowing shit up
bemushroomed
kay_k wrote:
because they are often written by the very same persons who developed them .. engineers are the worst manual writers, especially on their own creations


...same with videos or any kind of promotion for their modules really, even some of the bigger manufacturers are truly awful.

- "so yeah i spent 3.5 years developing this module! here's a video i threw together in 1 minute recorded on my iphone!"

*awful sounding melody with horrible audio starts playing*
TemplarK
Franktree wrote:
TemplarK wrote:
http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a108_man.pdf

You must have been looking at some other manual because the Doepfer A108 manual is as comprehensive as you can get for a filter. As for frying modules, well, you plug them in making sure that you get the polarity the right way and other than that your not going to just "fry" modules left right and centre not sure what gives you this idea tbh?


Maybe I'm just dense, but I looked through that manual and nowhere did it provide me the one crucial (and simple) piece of information I needed: which pins are the -12v pins. Maybe I missed it, but if I did, the manual is not especially easily to parse.

I later found a (very helpful) video on Youtube that told me all Doepfer modules have the -12v pins on the bottom. But you'd have thought I could have gotten that info from Doepfer, rather than from Youtube.


In no way is that manual bad. Its just not convoluted by information that is pertinent for all modules manufactured by Doepfer and given to you in the case manual. If Doepfer added this information for every module they make it would add 200 pages to their already extremely informative website making it convoluted and difficult to find the information your really looking for, it assumes some prior knolwedge of plugging a module in but once you've plugged one in its pretty easy in most cases to work out how its done for all the others. If your still unsure a quick google of "how to plug a eurorack module in" will bring up several pages and videos with guides of how its done properly.
ZenitSar
Tip Top has the worst that I've seen, but only looked at a couple of them.
Jumbuktu
bemushroomed wrote:
kay_k wrote:
because they are often written by the very same persons who developed them .. engineers are the worst manual writers, especially on their own creations


...same with videos or any kind of promotion for their modules really, even some of the bigger manufacturers are truly awful.

- "so yeah i spent 3.5 years developing this module! here's a video i threw together in 1 minute recorded on my iphone!"

*awful sounding melody with horrible audio starts playing*


I'm kind of Ok with this. ADDAC is a case in point - the demo video for the Heuristic Rhythm Generator sounds pretty awful but there was enough info for me to decide it was something I wanted. I am happy for module designers to stick with what they do best - it's up to me to make music with the gear. In some ways, it's almost better if the promo material isn't too slick - I have been sucked in by a brilliant video only to find that I have overlooked design limitations and flaws. I also get that many of these module developers don't have the resources for big budget promos by name artists.

Actually, some of the best promotional material for modules I have seen have been the informal beta testing explorations of Synth Tech modules made by JR Rice. I guess something like this also applies to DivKid's reviews.
paults
Ink is free.
jimboburgess
paults wrote:
Ink is free.


only when you steal it from where you work.

Sometimes you need a very specific manual.

sometimes the module doesn't need too much explaining and should be left for explaination.

either way a manual should have three things. It's max power demands, the way to plug in power, and a dirty limerick.
TemplarK
paults wrote:
Ink is free.


Yes it is. E370 manual is very nice too. Doesn't include any information about how to plug the module into a eurorack busboard though. Bad manual?
motorhead412
i like how the Noise Engineering manuals offer context on the concept and methodology of the module. even has a References section for us nerds who like to read academic papers.

i will say though that the 2hp manuals are quite vague and sometimes i just wanna know if a module is DC-coupled or whatever.
gonkulator
Most of the time, the module itself will tell you which end needs the -v. On the Tiptop modules I have, it either says -12v or it says "polarity protected." Doepfer, as others have said, is consistent in its orientation. The Mantis has keyed headers, at least according to the image on their site. Otherwise, more and more manufacturers either have polarity protection, keyed headers, or fairly clear labeling. There are exceptions though.

There are way worse manuals than Tip Top. There are a lot of quite good manuals, and there are many that are bad, incomplete, hand written, or nonexistent. As far as major brands, I consider Make Noise, Mutable, and 4ms as probably the most readable and comprehensive. At the other end, there are a couple of premium manufacturers that usually will provide a slip of paper (and nothing more online,) which is anything but comprehensive. I find that a bit contemptuous (but it doesn't stop me from buying their modules.)
Shledge
Doepfer modules, bar a couple of exceptions, are always -12v on the bottom pins.

Said exceptions have strip indicators on them (except the dreaded quad LFO).
anselmi
what manuals? hmmm.....

hihi
kay_k
bemushroomed wrote:
kay_k wrote:
because they are often written by the very same persons who developed them .. engineers are the worst manual writers, especially on their own creations


...same with videos or any kind of promotion for their modules really, even some of the bigger manufacturers are truly awful.

- "so yeah i spent 3.5 years developing this module! here's a video i threw together in 1 minute recorded on my iphone!"

*awful sounding melody with horrible audio starts playing*


awwww
you know me so well
tau_seti
Doepfer manuals are beautiful and thorough. A while ago somebody sold me a rare tiny binder full of them. I love looking through it.

Makenoise’s manuals seem to be through, but it’s like reading a calculus textbook. It gives me a headache. Like Maths, really, it’s not very hard to figure out, but the manual makes it seem like it’s some kind of Wiccan astrological device. After a couple of months, it hit me, Maths is really simple, it’s the manual that isn’t!

I do wish there was a common physical format for Eurorack manuals. It’d make life a lot easier.
radin
(alt+y)
radin
You may be dense but you aren't the only one zombie Excellent video above

Franktree wrote:
TemplarK wrote:
http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/a108_man.pdf

You must have been looking at some other manual because the Doepfer A108 manual is as comprehensive as you can get for a filter. As for frying modules, well, you plug them in making sure that you get the polarity the right way and other than that your not going to just "fry" modules left right and centre not sure what gives you this idea tbh?


Maybe I'm just dense, but I looked through that manual and nowhere did it provide me the one crucial (and simple) piece of information I needed: which pins are the -12v pins. Maybe I missed it, but if I did, the manual is not especially easily to parse.

I later found a (very helpful) video on Youtube that told me all Doepfer modules have the -12v pins on the bottom. But you'd have thought I could have gotten that info from Doepfer, rather than from Youtube.
MarcelP
tau_seti wrote:
Doepfer manuals are beautiful and thorough. A while ago somebody sold me a rare tiny binder full of them. I love looking through it.

Makenoise’s manuals seem to be through, but it’s like reading a calculus textbook. It gives me a headache. Like Maths, really, it’s not very hard to figure out, but the manual makes it seem like it’s some kind of Wiccan astrological device. After a couple of months, it hit me, Maths is really simple, it’s the manual that isn’t!

I do wish there was a common physical format for Eurorack manuals. It’d make life a lot easier.


I have said it before on various threads so I might as well say it here: block diagrams. A lot of modules would more comprehensible with a block diagram with signal flow - audio and CV, indication of normalising, control ranges annotated, etc. Maybe not everyone’s preferred way of getting information and might not apply to some modules but I bet the majority of manufacturers have block diagrams of their products as a matter of course - just make them available in the manual...minute cost, little effort, rarely done.
Plugler
MarcelP wrote:
tau_seti wrote:
Doepfer manuals are beautiful and thorough. A while ago somebody sold me a rare tiny binder full of them. I love looking through it.

Makenoise’s manuals seem to be through, but it’s like reading a calculus textbook. It gives me a headache. Like Maths, really, it’s not very hard to figure out, but the manual makes it seem like it’s some kind of Wiccan astrological device. After a couple of months, it hit me, Maths is really simple, it’s the manual that isn’t!

I do wish there was a common physical format for Eurorack manuals. It’d make life a lot easier.


I have said it before on various threads so I might as well say it here: block diagrams. A lot of modules would more comprehensible with a block diagram with signal flow - audio and CV, indication of normalising, control ranges annotated, etc. Maybe not everyone’s preferred way of getting information and might not apply to some modules but I bet the majority of manufacturers have block diagrams of their products as a matter of course - just make them available in the manual...minute cost, little effort, rarely done.


Doepfer sells a printed (!) service manual (only in German), which includes all modules: A-100SM

http://www.alex4.de/item/doepfer-a-100sm-service-manual-german

If I have enough time (sometime in the future), to deep into DIY and modding, I will buy this service manual. That will be a good foundation and will save much time and money getting informations.
mskala
Professional technical writing is expensive, and not many customers seem willing to pay more on the base price of a module just to get a better manual. But I wonder if there'd be a market for quality third-party module manuals.
BaloErets
I think it's easy to take an arm-chair approach to the situation, rather than to think back to the days when we all got started with modular.

I personally agree that all printed manuals should clearly state how to properly plug your modular to your power. I specify printed, because this assumes that you didn't go to the respective company's website to download the manual. If you managed to go there to download the manual, then I'm assuming anyone can manage to get the information from the website (and equally assuming that the website provides the information, or a link to the information).

I remember going through the same issue with my 1st doepfer module, and having the same frustrations. With that said, I never felt the necessity to write a post about it, but I regard myself as both a patient person, and one who loves to solve puzzles. At the end of the day, a product that has been professionally manufactured should by all means provide the user with clear and proper instructions as to how to use their product safely and without risks of damage. That's my personal opinion, but I don't think any less of companies that do not do so. I just think they have ways to mitigate time wasted on customer support and easily avoidable repairs.

But I also have to give credit where credit is due, and 4ms make AMAZING manuals. I regularly reference the SISM manual to people who might not even own the module, but rather as a great reference to understanding the necessity and joy of something so mundane as attenuation, offsetting and rectifying in the modular world. The DLD manual should be a textbook and reference as to how to write an intuitive manual.
Illwiggle
Agreed re: the DLD manual. What a pleasant surprise when I opened the box! I hate reading screens for manuals. The worst is when you go to print out a manual and the document is scaled outside the margins of 8.5 x 11”, prints with words cut off. The 4ms SMR pdf is like that, and the Mangrove too
Phitar
To the OP....
The manufacturers you mention in your initial post are very good about providing details on how to properly connect power to their modules. Usually found right after the ubik 1st page safety declarations. Generally everyone follows the Doepfer guidelines for eurorack. Read the whole manual first.

If you still are unsure or in doubt asking on these forums will probably get you a fast response that will help.

I don't think the module user manuals are bad when it comes to basics like how to power it up. Where most seem to fall short in my opinion is in the areas of block or schematic diagrams ( kinda understandable since this may include trade secrets) and a list and diagram with video of every possible way to patch the module ( This I feel is totally unforgivable!)
Franktree
TemplarK wrote:
In no way is that manual bad. Its just not convoluted by information that is pertinent for all modules manufactured by Doepfer and given to you in the case manual. If Doepfer added this information for every module they make it would add 200 pages to their already extremely informative website making it convoluted and difficult to find the information your really looking for, it assumes some prior knolwedge of plugging a module in but once you've plugged one in its pretty easy in most cases to work out how its done for all the others. If your still unsure a quick google of "how to plug a eurorack module in" will bring up several pages and videos with guides of how its done properly.


I don't think that's accurate. All I'm saying is that in each Doepfer module, they include one paragraph that says "the -12v pins are on the bottom." That wouldn't add 200 pages. It would add, at most, 1 paragraph. And it's crucial information. There's no reason to leave it out of module manuals. I would also expect that in a case manual, there would be info about how to plug modules in to the case appropriately. I would not really expect that the case manual would tell me how to plug power into modules.
Franktree
Ok, I agree with the general sentiment that many of these companies are very small and can't afford the cost of writing a detailed manual. That's fair enough. I can certainly appreciate that. But in this day and age, posting information on a website you already control is fairly cheap. If it's not going to be how to use the module (which I recognize might require paying a technical writer, which would be too expensive) a simple diagram or information on one of your webpages saying "this unit should be plugged in this way, this unit should be plugged in that way," etc.

I also agree, and it has been my experience, that most modules are marked to show you how to plug in them. So it's often not an issue. But when it's not marked, it is--particularly if the manual doesn't make clear how to plug it in either.
nomass
Listen up you whippersnappers. Back in the day there was only Doepfer or DIY. You couldn’t be said to be a proper wiggler unless you’d blown up eight or ten modules. We all had singed eyebrows and nose hairs, and we liked it!
richardisabelle
mskala
Are we talking about general quality of manuals, or about the specific question of which manuals do or don't include the specific fact that -12V is at the bottom?

What about modules that have power orientation marked on the actual module - where do those fit in this discussion?
Jaypee
I haven't read the thread sorry...but I find the Doepfer manuals very useful to understand some basic concepts.

Manual from Schippmann (Omega-Phi) is very very technical about FM and PM. Good if you want to learn more about the subject.

Worst manual are Mungo's ones...but it's kinda part of the "you have to discover the modules by your own" philosophy I guess hehe. I'm not complaining here smile
Yes Powder
richardisabelle wrote:
(space pilot!)


hihi applause
TemplarK
Franktree wrote:
TemplarK wrote:
In no way is that manual bad. Its just not convoluted by information that is pertinent for all modules manufactured by Doepfer and given to you in the case manual. If Doepfer added this information for every module they make it would add 200 pages to their already extremely informative website making it convoluted and difficult to find the information your really looking for, it assumes some prior knolwedge of plugging a module in but once you've plugged one in its pretty easy in most cases to work out how its done for all the others. If your still unsure a quick google of "how to plug a eurorack module in" will bring up several pages and videos with guides of how its done properly.


I don't think that's accurate. All I'm saying is that in each Doepfer module, they include one paragraph that says "the -12v pins are on the bottom." That wouldn't add 200 pages. It would add, at most, 1 paragraph. And it's crucial information. There's no reason to leave it out of module manuals. I would also expect that in a case manual, there would be info about how to plug modules in to the case appropriately. I would not really expect that the case manual would tell me how to plug power into modules.


http://www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm

How is that not accurate? I count at least 100 manuals for modules in that list? There is also pages and pages more information in the Doepfer website. Also because every module plugs in the same way isn't it obvious to just provide that information once?
sempervirent
tau_seti wrote:
Like Maths, really, it’s not very hard to figure out, but the manual makes it seem like it’s some kind of Wiccan astrological device. After a couple of months, it hit me, Maths is really simple, it’s the manual that isn’t!

Ha! Laughed out loud. Also you have just discovered the marketing value of willful obfuscation, one area where MN consistently delivers.

Writing (good) manuals is incredibly time-consuming and it's also among the least fun things about making a module. So it's not surprising that documentation (when it even exists) is often so inadequate. For reference the manual I did for Permutation/Variant took about 30-40 hours of work. After months (or years) of working on a module you're ready to move on to the next big idea and writing technical documentation is the last thing you want to spend time doing. And yet... it must be done!



I've been most impressed by some of the manuals that people have made on their own. One of those guys should start up a Patreon or something and then start offering their services to manufacturers. I'd guess that a few people out there would be willing to create user manuals in exchange for modules, especially if they could standardize their design format and not have to reinvent the wheel for every new module/manufacturer.
radin
See the mylar video above as it has everything you need to know about plugging your modules in.

Regarding manuals, the Make Noise manuals are some of the best manuals out there. The shared system manual is an amazing treatise, well layed out and incredibly detailed.

http://www.makenoisemusic.com/content/manuals/sharedsystemmanual_1.10. pdf
Franktree
TemplarK wrote:
How is that not accurate? I count at least 100 manuals for modules in that list? There is also pages and pages more information in the Doepfer website. Also because every module plugs in the same way isn't it obvious to just provide that information once?


I suppose. I assume I'm not the only one in the history of modular who has done exactly what I did, because it seems to me reasonable. I had a module, the A-108. It had no marking to tell me where the -12v pins were. So I went online and I looked up the A-108 module manual. I figured if a manual were going to tell me how the power for a particular module works, it would be in the manual for that module. I did not think that I should instead look for the information about the A-108 module in a manual for a complete different Doepfer product.

I recognize (now) that since all Doepfer modules are the same, there is a certain logic to having the information about all of its modules in one place. But I didn't know that at the time, and I would imagine there are other people just getting started who aren't somehow imbued with that knowledge at birth. I think it remains true that the most straightforward (and safest) thing to do is put power information about a particular module in the manual for that module--particularly if there are no markings on the module itself to provide you that information directly. I don't see why that's such a crazy idea. It would be like 3 sentences.
Mikeyg3k
See I disagree here. I love most modular manuals for example check out tip tops manuals for their drum modules. Seemingly not a lot going on with those yet they contain a wealth of info on electronic drum programming and that really helped me because I’ve always wanted that xox drum sound but never owned a machine and this didn’t know about how to re-create a lot of the things I’ve heard on my favorite records thru the years. (Like choking oh/ch, accents, etc.) mostly basic info but whoever wrote the manuals took the time to explain this stuff.

On the other hand I am never more lost than when I am looking for something not super specific (and looking for a big picture explanation) thumbing thru an Elektron manual. Of course their manuals contain everything you need but personally I don’t find it an easy or enjoyable experience. But also as mentioned, forums help a lot.
Righty
A very simple idea that costs nothing is this.

1. Write a draft of a manual.
2. Find a person who is unfamiliar with your module.
3. Have them walk through the manual with the module.
4. Note where they struggle.
5. Revise content from #4.
6. Repeat 1-4.

As for writing skills, many of the poor manuals I have seen (in any field) suffer from not applying writing fundamentals most of us learned in junior high school. Clear formatting, structuring of ideas... I mean Jesus, there is no excuse to not use a well formed heading structure - even fricking Word does this for you, let alone Markdown, html....
iheartmodular
manual clarity inversely proportional to hipster factor?

just for light hearted fun (no flaming please) please rate your favourite manufacturer's manuals on a scale of 1 - 10

10 being the most difficult/incomplete/arcane/non-existant and 1 being the easiest/clearest/complete/helpful

i will start with:

Mannequins seriously hipster unfathomable artsy word salad manuals

10/10

hihi
Dragonaut
8/10 Synthesis Technology. Paul expects us to comb through various Muffwiggler threads and YouTube videos to get the e352 all worked out. Can anybody tell me what’s the proper way to do the FM calibration on this thing? Just hit the calibrate button?
ZenitSar
In my view if a person or company can develop and create a module then they likely have plenty of brain power to write up a basic manual on their product.

Particularly if there are functions that go deeper than the knobs or buttons on the faceplate then the manual should give you a clear description on how to access those functions. These descriptions should be layed out neatly and easy to read or reference in the future. Not buried in some terribly written paragraph sandwiched between other terribly written paragraphs.

In addition, common uses for their product should be written up as generically as possible. For example, don't use your own product with a long name when describing possible uses (our blah blah z5000 series utltro-digital oscillator in every sentence) when all that needs to be said is that A output goes to an oscillator. Just an example, but point is not to upsell your other stuff, rather make it very clear and simple to understand. Oh, and don't include pictures of your other products. I don't need to know where the inputs are on your (insert long product name here) and how it connects to the product I bought. Simple block diagrams will do, thank you.

I think maybe some of these guys don't have any graphic design skills. I do that for a living, so making things easy to understand at a glance is my business. Maybe I'm biased, but they might hand off the edit and layout job to a pro and the geek who designed the module should do most of the technical writing.
mskala
I don't often see 1-10 scales where 1 is good and 10 is bad. Anyway, I like the Mutable Instruments manuals for coverage and clarity.

Having videos instead of manuals is an automatic fail as far as I'm concerned - videos are nice for promotion, but far inferior to text for presenting the basic facts of how to use a module.
Righty
iheartmodular wrote:
manual clarity inversely proportional to hipster factor?

just for light hearted fun (no flaming please) please rate your favourite manufacturer's manuals on a scale of 1 - 10

10 being the most difficult/incomplete/arcane/non-existant and 1 being the easiest/clearest/complete/helpful

i will start with:

Mannequins seriously hipster unfathomable artsy word salad manuals

10/10

hihi


I name this iHearts Constant

Mannequins is off the charts obnoxious poseur nonsense. Off the scale
Disting Mk 4 - sorry, but you suck in manuals. 6
Make Noise and Tip Top violate some of the ZenitSar's insightful issues - using other of their their own modules in the manual is obnoxious. 5
My Doepfer A-156 manual is... wait, it doesn't have one! 9
Paranormal Patroler
I'm a tech writer by profession. I doubt it would be an easy task to write manuals for all manufacturers in their preferred style. Don't forget that Eurorack manuals are not just about simplicity, but also marketing (which frankly speaking they shouldn't be but if it's the only copy around... ).

I'm also very unsure whether most manufacturers would justify the expense. Modules get sold nonetheless. Not a lot of people complaining about manuals. The manufacturers I've worked with it's usually just out of courtesy or curiosity; or because it's a module I've beta tested or I wanna get involved in.
vailsy
The nerdseq manual is one of the best ones i’ve read for a while, unless the module itself is just very intuitive in my case. Probably the manual is good though
Rigo
Righty wrote:
My Doepfer A-156 manual is... wait, it doesn't have one! 9


http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/A156_man.pdf
iheartmodular
mskala wrote:
I don't often see 1-10 scales where 1 is good and 10 is bad. Anyway, I like the Mutable Instruments manuals for coverage and clarity.


thumbs up for mutable instruments manuals

good and bad in this context are interchangeable

some people like clear and instructive others like mysterious and challenging

love
Illwiggle
I wonder if Muff’s forum would be so active if thorough manuals were written. We wouldnt be asking each other quite as many questions haha
Righty
Rigo wrote:
Righty wrote:
My Doepfer A-156 manual is... wait, it doesn't have one! 9


http://www.doepfer.de/a100_man/A156_man.pdf


Damn, meant A-185-2, yet even without a manual I love it.
ZenitSar
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
I'm a tech writer by profession. I doubt it would be an easy task to write manuals for all manufacturers in their preferred style. Don't forget that Eurorack manuals are not just about simplicity, but also marketing (which frankly speaking they shouldn't be but if it's the only copy around... ).

I'm also very unsure whether most manufacturers would justify the expense. Modules get sold nonetheless. Not a lot of people complaining about manuals. The manufacturers I've worked with it's usually just out of courtesy or curiosity; or because it's a module I've beta tested or I wanna get involved in.


Yeah, true it might be difficult for a "normal" person to understand the ins & outs of a module enough to produce a good manual. Like anything, it helps to know a product, it's uses, and it's buyers really well.
Xtheunknown
I am most frustrated by the lack of output voltage specifications and input voltage requirements in most Eurorack documentation. The Moog Mother 32 manual, however, is excellent in the regard and superb overall. Make Noise is excellent in providing voltages for all inputs and outputs as well.

I’d be interested in hearing from some Eurorack module manufacturers on this topic. Providing this data shouldn’t be that hard and is quite useful, in my opinion.
MarcelP
richardisabelle wrote:


Nice!

Shouldn’t the water level have a sustain stage that is modulated by bladder integration time? At my age the sustain stage is getting shorter... Peter Grenader
motorhead412
iheartmodular wrote:
manual clarity inversely proportional to hipster factor?

just for light hearted fun (no flaming please) please rate your favourite manufacturer's manuals on a scale of 1 - 10

10 being the most difficult/incomplete/arcane/non-existant and 1 being the easiest/clearest/complete/helpful

i will start with:

Mannequins seriously hipster unfathomable artsy word salad manuals

10/10

hihi


Mannequins gets an 11
radin
Interesting and fair discussion of Mannequins by Tom Whitwell and Mylar starting at the 1 hour mark on the video below. The whole thing is worth a watch

(alt+y)
ckwjr
In my opinion 4ms has some of the best manuals I've seen, e.g. the Stereo Triggered Sampler and Dual Looping Delay. Firmware update documentation is great too.
Shledge
Good to see that even youtubers like mylar hate mannequins manuals lol
adaris
I think the Flame Chord Machine 2 is a fine module, but I found the manual to be really confusing at first. Clear explanation is just not the strong suit of whomever wrote it. It's never a good sign when they think you need to know the width and height of the module in mm but not the depth.
toxoplasma_gondii
motorhead412 wrote:
iheartmodular wrote:
manual clarity inversely proportional to hipster factor?

just for light hearted fun (no flaming please) please rate your favourite manufacturer's manuals on a scale of 1 - 10

10 being the most difficult/incomplete/arcane/non-existant and 1 being the easiest/clearest/complete/helpful

i will start with:

Mannequins seriously hipster unfathomable artsy word salad manuals

10/10

hihi


Mannequins gets an 11


And to make matters even worse, the manual comes rolled up like a scroll. If conserving space is that much of a concern, why even bother? I'd rather just download a .pdf than have to leave the manual weighted down just so it becomes usable.
Paranormal Patroler
ZenitSar wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
I'm a tech writer by profession. I doubt it would be an easy task to write manuals for all manufacturers in their preferred style. Don't forget that Eurorack manuals are not just about simplicity, but also marketing (which frankly speaking they shouldn't be but if it's the only copy around... ).

I'm also very unsure whether most manufacturers would justify the expense. Modules get sold nonetheless. Not a lot of people complaining about manuals. The manufacturers I've worked with it's usually just out of courtesy or curiosity; or because it's a module I've beta tested or I wanna get involved in.


Yeah, true it might be difficult for a "normal" person to understand the ins & outs of a module enough to produce a good manual. Like anything, it helps to know a product, it's uses, and it's buyers really well.


Well, yeah, I would be happy to be working on such a thing full time. But frankly speaking I doubt the request is so big that manufacturers would comply.

Maybe I'm wrong.

A proper manual can only be written if you fully understand the device and the purpose of use. One of the issues with some manufacturers (Euro, modular, or generally electronic music instruments) is that they consider "clarification" as "dogma", and they don't want to cage their users into a specific way of working with their product. It's a fair point, but that doesn't make for good documentation. It can make for a good reading though!

Also, it's funny, but we tend to think of documentation as a PDF kind of thing. Videos and tutorials are also documentation. Some people prefer those, others prefer PDFs. A manufacturer ought to cater for both in my humble opinion.

And since someone brought it up, I really like the Mutable Instruments stuff, but I always find that the documentation leaves me wanting. Not everything is explained in detail, a lot of information can be found missing if you're digging deeper. It's a relatively relaxed and engaging read, which covers 70-80% of a module or more. Some things could've been done better, but they do stand out in terms of graphic design ... that's a given.

I look to Mackie for inspiration myself. hihi
adaris
Videos are nice but IMO they really shouldn't take the place of a manual. If I want to know what voltages the CV inputs are expecting I don't want to have to try to remember where in the video that information was mentioned (if it's mentioned at all). I should be able to search through some text and find that answer very quickly. Also I've seen some videos that fail to answer even basic questions about their module's functionality, so the people that are bad at writing manuals are often just as bad at making explanatory videos.
Shledge
A good panel design should speak for itself. Manuals are there for the details or if it's complex by design (eg. shapeshifter).

If you need a manual just to actually use basic functions on a module, then it has failed.
deke
Shledge wrote:
A good panel design should speak for itself. Manuals are there for the details or if it's complex by design (eg. shapeshifter).

If you need a manual just to actually use basic functions on a module, then it has failed.


Hey, we got off on the wrong foot in another thread, but I'm willing to bet in person we would agree on many things. We might even be chummy. Apologies if I was a pedantic dick head.

You are right and certain modules (and other devices) make this look so easy. Of my stuff, there are a few standouts. Metropolis, Batumi, Oscillation, Black Wavetable VCO, and a few utilities. Filters are always easy it seems. A couple are sort of in between. Plaits and Clouds for example. You can kind of get by to a point, but need the manual for some important modal/hidden stuff. The one module that is really interesting (to me) is 0-Coast. You can do a lot with it, discover a lot, right out of the box, without really knowing what the heck you are doing. Then, the manual and countless videos can help you discover even more.
Paranormal Patroler
Shledge wrote:
A good panel design should speak for itself. Manuals are there for the details or if it's complex by design (eg. shapeshifter).

If you need a manual just to actually use basic functions on a module, then it has failed.


Saved by documentation is how it's called. A good UI is irreplaceable.
Plugler
Shledge wrote:
A good panel design should speak for itself. Manuals are there for the details or if it's complex by design (eg. shapeshifter).

If you need a manual just to actually use basic functions on a module, then it has failed.


+1

If I look on a module, and can not understand in a few seconds, for what each knob and switch is for, I will not buy it.

And that goes for many modules!

That's one of the reasons, why I have only Doepfer modules (and two DIY) until now.
Only grey ones with black text and a good readable font. Easy to read and use, even in low light conditions.
adaris
Plugler wrote:
Shledge wrote:
A good panel design should speak for itself. Manuals are there for the details or if it's complex by design (eg. shapeshifter).

If you need a manual just to actually use basic functions on a module, then it has failed.


+1

If I look on a module, and can not understand in a few seconds, for what each knob and switch is for, I will not buy it.

And that goes for many modules!

That's one of the reasons, why I have only Doepfer modules (and two DIY) until now.
Only grey ones with black text and a good readable font. Easy to read and use, even in low light conditions.


Call me crazy but if I was a module designer I would try to accompany my good panel designs with clear, concise, comprehensive documentation, regardless of how basic or complex the module was. It really isn't that hard to do both. Speaking for myself, I don't like to make a lot of assumptions about how a module works before I buy it. Take the Trogotronic Model 11 for example:

https://trogotronic.com/product/m11/

The description says it functions as a VCA, but it also functions as a CV generator and a momentary switch controlled by the button on the module, and the accompanying video explains these latter functions very clearly:

https://youtu.be/iIsTLWCNR2Q

So given the other, less common functions of this module, should a potential buyer still assume that the CV In controls the VCA in the usual manner? IMO this is a natural question for a potential customer to ask, and one that could easily have been anticipated and answered with one or two lines in either the video or in an accompanying manual, but wasn't. And as your post just demonstrated, there are potential customers who will pass on buying a module if it's not immediately obvious to them how it works. In this case though I don't see this as a failure of the panel design, I see it as a failure of the video/manual.
akrylik
I think these are all good points!

But why are we ignoring the fact that many people buy a module for their own entertainment or escapism (let's see what happens when I plug this into that and turn this knob!) and not as a tool to increase musical productivity? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the people who use their modular with a specific goal in mind turn out to be a minority.

I hope we can accept both types of modular usage and the manufacturers that target them.
Paranormal Patroler
akrylik wrote:
I think these are all good points!

But why are we ignoring the fact that many people buy a module for their own entertainment (let's see what happens when I plug this into that and turn this knob!) and not as a tool to increase musical productivity? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the people who use their modular with a specific goal in mind turn out to be a minority.

I hope we can accept both types of modular usage and the manufacturers that target them.


True, but you can always choose not to read the manual.
akrylik
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
akrylik wrote:
I think these are all good points!

But why are we ignoring the fact that many people buy a module for their own entertainment (let's see what happens when I plug this into that and turn this knob!) and not as a tool to increase musical productivity? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the people who use their modular with a specific goal in mind turn out to be a minority.

I hope we can accept both types of modular usage and the manufacturers that target them.


True, but you can always choose not to read the manual.


But what if a designer wants to put all of her energy into pleasing the escapists and entertainment seekers?

Somehow this attitude feels intolerant towards designers like andrewF of nonlinear circuits and Peter Blasser of ciat lonbarde.
Paranormal Patroler
akrylik wrote:
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
akrylik wrote:
I think these are all good points!

But why are we ignoring the fact that many people buy a module for their own entertainment (let's see what happens when I plug this into that and turn this knob!) and not as a tool to increase musical productivity? In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the people who use their modular with a specific goal in mind turn out to be a minority.

I hope we can accept both types of modular usage and the manufacturers that target them.


True, but you can always choose not to read the manual.


But what if a designer wants to put all of her energy into pleasing the escapists and entertainment seekers?


Then prose should be on the description of the module, where it belongs. It can be as poetic as you want. Not catering to the people who actually want to understand how a product works is not an excuse. If you want to be entertained you read a book - not a manual (some exceptions do apply!).

I sympathize with the sentiment, I really do, but in the end you're selling a product to someone. If you want to be poetic so be it but that doesn't make it a manual, it makes it a prose book which accompanies your product. That's as cute as MI offering the trinkets, which is great in and of itself.

Even more so if your product becomes an instrument by working alongside other products in an ecosystem. There are two assumptions made: i) if I indicate what the inner workings of this module are I'm imposing a way of working to my users, ii) the users can't think for themselves and outgrow the documentation.

Neither of these are true, especially when it comes to escapists and entertainment seekers. In my most humble opinion some manufacturers just do not offer manuals, they offer a prose book. It's their choice and some wigglers prefer that. Fine by me. But claiming that this offering is documentation is a joke.

It's also a little disheartening to discuss this with a manufacturer and get the response "I don't want to box my users". You don't know your users, they can be more inventive if they know how things work. You're making assumptions.

What I'm trying to say is, both. Always both. hihi

EDIT

akrylik wrote:
Somehow this attitude feels intolerant towards designers like andrewF of nonlinear circuits and Peter Blasser of ciat lonbarde.


On the contrary!

I completely sympathize with these designers and see their point. But I have to make two points here. First, one of the most prolific users of CL instruments is one of my personal friends and someone how actually spent the time to deconstruct the inner workings of the instrument in order to master it. Claiming that is part of the process is a leap of faith. More people would be closer to that goal if some explanation was given. The second point is that, again, I see why they don't offer documentation.

It's not an issue. But saying they do is simply not true. That's the point I'm raising. Hope it's clear enough.
akrylik
Sorry. I was editing my post while you answered. I'll put it after in a new post like I should have:

There is this assumption that manufacturers' primary goal is maximizing sales and hence profit. To do that you must try to satisfy the widest range of tastes and make Rational Decisions. While for some (especially the big players) that might be true but for the majority is it not closer to something like:

"I'm going to have fun making something that I like and hopefully people with similar tastes and approach will like it too and support me!"

I feel like I'm stating the obvious. oops
Shledge
Exploration still needs explanation. If you don't know what the hell A/B does on a module, you will likely run around in circles rather than explore.

If anything, only fully understanding a module opens more options for you, especially how you patch it with other modules. For example, most people just use a clock divider as a... clock divider, but anyone who fully knows them will know it can be used as a sequencer, conditional generator, flip-flop etc.

Think of it like driving - anyone could get into a car, but you'll only get from A to B if you understand how to drive it.
mskala
Not many cars come with a block diagram. Maybe a hybrid does, but if so it'll have about four blocks on it expressing the concept that power goes from the engine to the generator to the motors to the wheels and that's about it. More detail on how the thing works will be in the "service" manual instead, and not given to most drivers. However, that may not really be a fair comparison because all cars work in more or less the same way, one reason you get a driver's license for cars in general and not for a specific make and model of car. (Compare to airplanes, where your license may be for more than one make and model of plane but will still usually be limited to relatively narrow categories; and specialized land-vehicle license classes for stuff like air brakes also exist.) The point here is that there are many technical details about a car that are important for drivers but that are about cars in general and not about a specific car and that general knowledge is conveyed to drivers in other ways than in the per-car user manual. Like what the steering wheel is for.

There are similar details about Eurorack modules that users need to know but that aren't specific to one particular module. Like maybe "red stripe on the bottom." But there are also a lot of technical details about modules that do vary from module to module - they're much more diverse than cars - and so there may be more need for stuff like block diagrams for modules than for cars.

When it comes to style, of panel design, user manual writing, and even the electronic guts of the module itself: people buy things to help create their images of themselves, to demonstrate to themselves and others what sort of people they are. (Kevin Simler wrote well about this in this article.) And every part of the experience of buying a module contributes to that. If you read the manual for one of mine, I hope you have an impression of the kind of person who would buy such a module that is consistent with the impression you get by looking at the panel or by listening to the music it makes, and if you want to prove that you are that kind of person, okay, you click "buy." Even if I don't want to be the kind of person who buys a Wacko Fizzball, maybe I have an impression of what kind of person that is from the lightning bolt graphics or from the word salad manual, and if the designer and writer did their jobs, that impression will be consistent across all aspects of the module. Whether the image they chose to create is a good one that they should have chosen and that many people will want to buy into, is a separate question from whether they were competent in creating the image they intended.
Rigo
Paranormal Patroler wrote:
If you want to be entertained you read a book - not a manual (some exceptions do apply!).

The Klee manual ? hihi
akrylik
Shledge wrote:
Exploration still needs explanation. If you don't know what the hell A/B does on a module, you will likely run around in circles rather than explore.

If anything, only fully understanding a module opens more options for you, especially how you patch it with other modules. For example, most people just use a clock divider as a... clock divider, but anyone who fully knows them will know it can be used as a sequencer, conditional generator, flip-flop etc.

Think of it like driving - anyone could get into a car, but you'll only get from A to B if you understand how to drive it.


Haha. I don't need you to explain to me why people who like manuals like them. You completely missed my point. d'oh!

I think mskala put it better than me though in his last paragraph. It comes down to whether your goals (intended image) align with the designer's goals (intended image). If the designer's value system is not aligned with yours than just purchase your modules from a designer with a value system that is aligned with yours. What is the point of complaining or bagging on a designer's work that was obviously not targeted for you? It is just petty and/or intolerant. Designing a module is not an objective task like a math proof. It is subjective and taste dependent. You might as well be complaining about someone's fashion.

By the way, "Exploration still needs explanation" is patently wrong. You are just using strong posturing to make it seem like you have made a logical irrefutable point when really it is just an opinion of yours. You do it a lot in your posts.
Shledge
Quote:
You are just using strong posturing to make it seem like you have made a logical irrefutable point when really it is just an opinion of yours. You do it a lot in your posts.


That's a first - maybe I should put THIS IS MY FECKIN' OPINION on all of my posts in future to avoid confusion? lol

Some people may like the whole wanky "magic mystery box" appeal, but it's not a majority. It's a niche of a niche. In the world of fetishes, there are always a few masochists. wink

(btw that was an opinion - just wanted to make sure you understood that)
damase
akrylik wrote:


Somehow this attitude feels intolerant towards designers like andrewF of nonlinear circuits and Peter Blasser of ciat lonbarde.


call me crazy but the IFM manuals i find very clear, concise and describe exactly what is happening without a bunch of fluff, or being too boring. even a bit inspiring by the wording

Mannequins manuals drive me crazy though. Almost like you need a thesaurus at hand just to figure out basic functions. Seems to be trying too hard where the IFM linguistic touch is effortless

a real trip is reading Schippmann manual for Omega Phi II... wow. its clear how much thought went into the entire module from that. very technical though

I agree wih those saying that its nice when a panel is labelled clearly, designed thoughtfully, and you dont even really need a manual except for voltage levels and other technicalities... Verbos an example here.
Shledge
The best designed WACKY module/manual for me is Endorphine's Furthrrrr Generator. The layout is still quite easy to follow (even if how it looks seems to polarise people) and the manual is straight to be point and easy to follow, all while maintaining a specific tone of voice and aesthetic.

If Mannequins modules were better labelled, or at least had basic manuals (I refuse to consider what comes with them as "manuals"), then that would help tremendously. I do like how their modules are designed, but it's just... everything else.

But hey, some people want wacky spooky mystery boxes because they enjoy pain.
iheartmodular
eurorack module manual obscurities may represent the appreciation of a decent multi channel oscilloscope in orders of magnitude or more

thank you rigol

we're not worthy
gonkulator
iheartmodular wrote:
eurorack module manual obscurities may represent the appreciation of a decent multi channel oscilloscope in orders of magnitude or more

thank you rigol

we're not worthy


Rigol... speaking of bad manuals!
Mungo
Shledge wrote:
If anything, only fully understanding a module opens more options for you, especially how you patch it with other modules. For example, most people just use a clock divider as a... clock divider, but anyone who fully knows them will know it can be used as a sequencer, conditional generator, flip-flop etc.
But does naming something a clock divider already add too much motivation to its use? Just as calling it a sub oscillator would. If it can operate over all those frequency ranges why not call it a pulse divider, or pulse counter?
deke
Poetic language I can deal with to some extent, but what gets me are firmware update instructions and/or processes that include the rationale fear of a dead or bricked module. There are no shortage of posts on this topic for a wide range of modules and makers. Surely some can do better. Precise instructions and processes that are thoroughly tested.
jamos
Based on this thread I just took a look at some Mannequins manuals. My god. Thanks for the warning.
luchog
The big issue here is that modules are, at their simplest, tools. They exist for the purpose of making music (for certain values of music), like any other musical instrument. And like any other musical instrument, function is more important than form. If the form gets in the way of the function, that's a bad design.

Yes, some instruments can be works of art in and of themselves, but even there, simplicity is often better than complexity (the Zen/minimalist aesthetic). When I pick up a saxophone, I expect to be able to make noise with it. I like that it has an attractive finish, and a bit of filigree and a few unnecessary bits and pieces are not necessarily unwelcome. But when those bits get in the way of my fingers, and make it harder to make the right sounds come out, then they're an annoyance rather than a benefit.

With manuals, that principle is just as important, if not more so. There are a number of modules that I find interesting-looking, but not practically functional. Similarly, some manuals can be entertaining reads, but they're not useful. I've avoided buying several otherwise-potentially-useful modules because of the non-intuitive interface and insufficient documentation.

I like to compare this to another hobby of mine, tabletop gaming. In the game manuals, you find both "fluff" (a description of the setting and characters) and rules. The fluff is there to set the tone and provide immersion in the world of the game. The rules are there to provide the mechanics of the game, and enable you to play it. If the rules are not clear, then the game becomes too difficult to play, and fails to be fun. If the fluff is not interesting, or is missing, or is too confusing, then again the game fails to be fun. I've encountered games where the rules are written like the fluff, and both suffer as a result, making the game nearly unplayable. Unclear rules result in argument and frustration on the parts of the players.

Many modular manuals have a similar problem with fluff vs. mechanics. Too many manual writers are far too invested in writing what is essentially fluff, and don't spend enough time with the mechanics of the system. Fluff in manuals is great, but it should be separate from the mechanics, and there should be detailed and comprehensive explanations of the mechanics, otherwise there's nothing really for the fluff to attach itself to.

When I'm creating something, I want tools that will enable and enhance the creative process. If I'm constantly having to fight with my tools, if I have trouble determining what they even do, then I'm not creating, and I'm not having fun.

I'm fully aware that there are people for whom the modular is not a tool for creating music (however one defines "music"); that for them it's just collectible art, or cat furniture. But good design and documentation doesn't get in the way of that. An instrument can be artistic without being confusing or unnecessarily difficult to use.
MarcelP
luchog wrote:
Fluff in manuals is great, but it should be separate from the mechanics, and there should be detailed and comprehensive explanations of the mechanics, otherwise there's nothing really for the fluff to attach itself to.



Nice post - really liked the idea of fluff needing something of substance to attach to.
Shledge
I've an idea for the next trendy module - Flisters

- Text now replaced with symbols which have no meaning
- Manuals etched onto solid wood and now uses some obscure BC era language
- Knobs everywhere, most of which don't do anything
- Complete enigma wrapped in another enigma, then shot point blank with a riddle (even we don't know what the fuck it does)
- Long, convoluted button combos just to do anything useful with it - don't worry, you'll discover them by mashing stuff!
- Can make it fart if you "experiment" with it enough. Some hipster on youtube will explain it all to you, some day.
- MkII version coming out next month
honeyb
IEC wrote:
i always plug them in offset somehow MY ASS IS BLEEDING i always fondle both sides of the connector after pluggin in to try avoid blowing shit up


I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. I will not take this out of context. :explodes:
deke
Shledge wrote:
I've an idea for the next trendy module - Flisters

- Text now replaced with symbols which have no meaning
- Manuals etched onto solid wood and now uses some obscure BC era language
- Knobs everywhere, most of which don't do anything
- Complete enigma wrapped in another enigma, then shot point blank with a riddle (even we don't know what the fuck it does)
- Long, convoluted button combos just to do anything useful with it - don't worry, you'll discover them by mashing stuff!
- Can make it fart if you "experiment" with it enough. Some hipster on youtube will explain it all to you, some day.
- MkII version coming out next month


Not sure if you saw my reply to you somewhere here with an apology. I would like to add to your excellent idea. The manual etched in wood is good, but let's take it to the ultimate hipster level. First, it must be reclaimed wood because nothing says locally harvested sustainable synthesis more than reusing a precious resource. The wood should come from some building with a unique history of something artisanal and be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Second, the etching must be done entirely with hand tools commonly used in the early 1800s, but to take it even further, it must have been etched using only natural sunlight or candle light. I think this is the perfect guy to do this.

http://www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com/
timeforest
the only good ones are mannequins smile
Pelsea
Reasons manuals suck: (English language version)
10. Technical writing was an elective in ee school.
9. There was this really cute girl in English class who let me copy her work.
8. It was outsourced to a creative writing major.
7. Judging by the emails to support, nobody is going to read it.
6. It was translated by someone whose first language is neither English or the original (and has never seen a modular synthesizer.)
5. The mk IV will be out in six months, we'll fix the manual then.
4. The design changed five times in the last three weeks of development.
3. The tech writer didn't actually have the module, was working from the specs.
2. It was written over the weekend before the module shipped.
1. This module is not for amateurs!
Shledge
I can get by if the module is fairly simple. A doepfer module for example is generally so well laid out that I rarely have to guess anything. It really helped back when all I had was just a doepfer basic system. It's consistent.

I even got by with more complex modules like my Furthrrr Generator purely because the layout is pretty clear for what it is. Same with even MI modules like Braids (which Emilie considers pretty bad, UI wise).

While with some modules like Maths, they were so bad that they had to be redesigned to have a clearer layout. It's not a particularly hard module to grasp, but pre-redesign, it certainly was not an intuitive one. MN manuals are quite good though.
mskala
Pelsea wrote:
6. It was translated by someone whose first language is neither English or the original (and has never seen a modular synthesizer.)


"Modular As She Is Patch"
Keltie
deke wrote:
Shledge wrote:
I've an idea for the next trendy module - Flisters

- Text now replaced with symbols which have no meaning
- Manuals etched onto solid wood and now uses some obscure BC era language
- Knobs everywhere, most of which don't do anything
- Complete enigma wrapped in another enigma, then shot point blank with a riddle (even we don't know what the fuck it does)
- Long, convoluted button combos just to do anything useful with it - don't worry, you'll discover them by mashing stuff!
- Can make it fart if you "experiment" with it enough. Some hipster on youtube will explain it all to you, some day.
- MkII version coming out next month


Not sure if you saw my reply to you somewhere here with an apology. I would like to add to your excellent idea. The manual etched in wood is good, but let's take it to the ultimate hipster level. First, it must be reclaimed wood because nothing says locally harvested sustainable synthesis more than reusing a precious resource. The wood should come from some building with a unique history of something artisanal and be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Second, the etching must be done entirely with hand tools commonly used in the early 1800s, but to take it even further, it must have been etched using only natural sunlight or candle light. I think this is the perfect guy to do this.

http://www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com/


You, sir, are a damned amatar.

Not only must the manual be carved in cuneiform “a” from locally sourced, sustainably recycled wood, it must be tropical hardwood. The packaging must be tied using strands of Beyoncé’s pubes woven by the virgin women of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe. It must be delivered with a skinny, free range maccachicocinno in a sustainably recycled fabric cup, and, and this is most, most important, it’s components must be made from toxic rare earth metals mined under slave labour conditions in a country under the control of a left wing military kleptocracy.

Viva la revolucion, hombres.

In other news, it’s not a biggie. Obscure modules with crap documentation just get the pass from me. Mannequins is laughable, but whatever. MI manuals are great. I forgive Paults cos his modules are quite easy and the quality is just so good, but manifold spatial generators sharing stories in a sonic continuum of self indulgent impenetrable stream of consciousness? No thanks.
deke
Keltie wrote:
deke wrote:
Shledge wrote:
I've an idea for the next trendy module - Flisters

- Text now replaced with symbols which have no meaning
- Manuals etched onto solid wood and now uses some obscure BC era language
- Knobs everywhere, most of which don't do anything
- Complete enigma wrapped in another enigma, then shot point blank with a riddle (even we don't know what the fuck it does)
- Long, convoluted button combos just to do anything useful with it - don't worry, you'll discover them by mashing stuff!
- Can make it fart if you "experiment" with it enough. Some hipster on youtube will explain it all to you, some day.
- MkII version coming out next month


Not sure if you saw my reply to you somewhere here with an apology. I would like to add to your excellent idea. The manual etched in wood is good, but let's take it to the ultimate hipster level. First, it must be reclaimed wood because nothing says locally harvested sustainable synthesis more than reusing a precious resource. The wood should come from some building with a unique history of something artisanal and be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity. Second, the etching must be done entirely with hand tools commonly used in the early 1800s, but to take it even further, it must have been etched using only natural sunlight or candle light. I think this is the perfect guy to do this.

http://www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com/


You, sir, are a damned amatar.

Not only must the manual be carved in cuneiform “a” from locally sourced, sustainably recycled wood, it must be tropical hardwood. The packaging must be tied using strands of Beyoncé’s pubes woven by the virgin women of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe. It must be delivered with a skinny, free range maccachicocinno in a sustainably recycled fabric cup, and, and this is most, most important, it’s components must be made from toxic rare earth metals mined under slave labour conditions in a country under the control of a left wing military kleptocracy.

Viva la revolucion, hombres.

In other news, it’s not a biggie. Obscure modules with crap documentation just get the pass from me. Mannequins is laughable, but whatever. MI manuals are great. I forgive Paults cos his modules are quite easy and the quality is just so good, but manifold spatial generators sharing stories in a sonic continuum of self indulgent impenetrable stream of consciousness? No thanks.


Oh really? Find me a hipster who wouldn't roll up on the floor and scream trigger alert at the mere mention of tropical hardwoods, recycled or not. Pshaw! Cuneiform is acceptable, but only if made using a sustainable bamboo stylus into pure clay tablets mixed with a minimum of 50% certified organic kale mulch. I honestly don't know why I waste my time trying to educate people here...
gonkulator
I just bought two of the Scales from Intellijel. I had previously used two of the uScales, but sold them due to getting tired of the glitchiness of the notes at times, though I liked other functions. Okay, that is kinda beside the point. I decided to look at the new Scales manual, since it is more than a quantizer, and anyway I wanted to reacquaint myself with the functions I used in the previous version, like shift, etc. So I looked it up. It is 48 pages long. Amazing work. Thanks, Intellijel.
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