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3u utility module
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Eurorack Modules  
Author 3u utility module
msegarra
A friend and I are planning on building a 3u utility module intended for large systems that would be somewhat large like 42hpish but contain most of the utilities you could ever need within your synth was hoping to get some input from you guys before planning it out as to what should be included on it?
I was thinking an obvious one is a buffered mult a switch maybe a cross fader a sample an hold probably any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated appreciated?
msegarra
*tuner
* clock divider
* sample and hold
Cross fader with nice slider
* buffered mult
* switch
Maybe manual gate?
Anything else that’s obvious that should be included?
JohnLRice
I'm not sure a massive utility module would be a good idea? Don't let me dissuade you on your plans but I've found it's better to "sprinkle" utility modules throughout a large system. Having one massive block of utilities in the middle of a huge system would mean stringing long patch cables back and forth to it.

Maybe consider doing a reasonably large but manageable all-in-one utility module, like 14 hp or something?
cackland
I have to agree with John here.

Do you have any preliminary designs that perhaps we could make suggestions on?
mdoudoroff
Parallel to JohnLRice’s comments, I think there’s more room for very clever patch programmable circuits than for rudimentary utilities. For example, we hardly need another simple buffmult, but buffmults can be built into extremely useful circuits that do other things, too, such as switches. Clever use of normaling is A+.
msegarra
Ok thanks for the replies I’m gonna look into what could be fit into something smaller like 20 hp I’ll post the panel mock up once I’m comfortable with it lol sorry just not happy with it yet
DSC
Sprinkled utilities makes sense. If you could find a way to 'bus' those utilities around, that would be boss. Maybe have a header on the front and back that would allow you to 'join' utility modules, between racks and cases? Sorry, thinking out loud thumbs up
nicholasyu
Echoing the sprinkled utilities sentiment, usually...

What about clocks? I think something like a clock + clock divider + buffered mults could be handy. Like 4ms QCD, but with 6 buffered outs for each channel. And a row of mults for resets. I also like the physical buttons on the oberkorn sequencer, when the clock is stopped you can manually send clock signals or reset signals along.

In general maybe things you need just once in a while? Like tuner as you mentioned seems good in a central utility module as it's something you use once then disconnect. Along those lines how about an oscilloscope? Voltage reference?

Mixer is also something that you usually just need one of too?
euromorcego
i have to agree with most of the things already said: often it is good to distribute them, when part of a single module clever normalization is key.

An advantage of a more modular approach, rather than a 42hp hog, that people can chose what they need.

That said, I think 1u bars are a pretty good way to add some basic utility to a system. There could also be 24hp units that combine a few functions. As far as I am concerned manufacturers should consider offering more cases with 1u rows and have a good selection of utility (pre-)installed (think Intellijel but also some others, like: https://pittsburghmodular.com/structure-344).

What i think is essential and should basically come pre-installed in any case (in partiuclar for people who think they do not need it):
- a few attenuverting mixer
- a few mults (with led indicator and buffered)
- a comparator
- a slew limiter
- a noise source (white, pink)
- attenuverters, attenuvertes, attenuversters, also offest.
- a sample and hold
- some simple logic (can be build from mixer+comparator)
- some utility VCA (linear)
- flip-flop

bonus points for:

- a simple oscilloscope (not a technology monster, just to visualize)
- a tuner, as written above, is a good idea.
- audio input amp (for line signals)
- utility modulation: 1-3 simple LFOs or other modulation.
- headphone out
- optional: tactile input/small joystick (in particular in 1u)

I actually build most of these myself and the 1u row is quickly filled ... before one can even think of anything more complicated. Not sure if one big 42hp is really needed, though: all of these functions are already available in one form or other, sometimes even already combined as a set of utilities (Kinks, Modbox, etc ...) .

And, of course, I do not think anything should be pre-installed.
nicholasyu
mdoudoroff wrote:
Parallel to JohnLRice’s comments, I think there’s more room for very clever patch programmable circuits than for rudimentary utilities. For example, we hardly need another simple buffmult, but buffmults can be built into extremely useful circuits that do other things, too, such as switches. Clever use of normaling is A+.


Thinking about it more, I think this is the key. You can get a bunch of utility modules and place them together, so what's the advantage of combining them into a single module? You can normal common patch patterns. Like if you're connecting module X to module Y 95% of the time, you can normal them and remove the front cable and clean up the synth. And you don't lose any flexibility if you leave the patch points on the front so you can still use them both individually if you like
acgenerator
msegarra wrote:
A friend and I are planning on building a 3u utility module intended for large systems that would be somewhat large like 42hpish but contain most of the utilities you could ever need within your synth was hoping to get some input from you guys before planning it out as to what should be included on it?
I was thinking an obvious one is a buffered mult a switch maybe a cross fader a sample an hold probably any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated appreciated?


I'm going to go a different direction than the crowd here....
The issue isn't needing to disperse the utilities across the system. It's that you use different utilities for different types of patches.

E.g. for Drum beats one may use a lot of logic and gate/trigger manipulation products the Ladik puts out. But for for CV tweaking you would use things like Attenuverter/Offet/Invert, Slew, Polarizer, S&H/T&H, Voltage Adder, Mixer. Even switches one would use are different depending on the context.


If you were thinking of trying to commercialize a multi-utility not only would I focus on utilities that would be used in conjunction with each other but you'd have to determine who your target market is. Newer users / small rigs aren't likely to have interest in a large utility module (unless you count Maths) and the owners of large systems as stated above have their utilities strategically placed around their case.
dekemcculo
mdoudoroff wrote:
I think there’s more room for very clever patch programmable circuits than for rudimentary utilities.


this is partially because mdoudoroff (who wrote the book on cold mac) is saying it, but I definitely agree with this! I think cold mac is a great example of an analog switchblade utility. It packs a lot in a small package, could be in a small system or spread around a larger one, and can be a valuable utility (or two or three) without having to justify using every single function all the same time because it's only 8hp. i have two of them in 140hp system and I'm hardly using either as mixers which is ostensibly the main function. This type of module might not be the most profitable (not sure how well cold mac sells but seems less popular than other mannequins modules) but I think is the most interesting twist on a multi-utility module and might be useful philosphical inspiration for a project like this.

I think even if people would use something like this they're unlikely to commit to buying that many utilities in even 20hp - the psychology doesn't seem to be on your side... all it takes is one function to seem not useful for them to scrap the idea of buying it all together... you might be better off designing a multi-utility 42hp 1U module, but that has it's own niche-ness to it... good luck though, I'm always excited to see more utilities and cv possibilities! there's enough oscillators and filters in the world lol
R.U.Nuts
I think such a huge utility module could make sense if you had some sort of clever macro control over everything. Something with which you could store presets and recall them by addressing them with a single CV and/or sequentially (and of course manually). So something like MI's Frames but with all kinds of utilities instead of only VCAs
Summa
I keep a lot of my utilities in 1U Tiles or spread out over my system, can't really get the form factor of keeping it all in one place.

What I find essential in a larger system is just the routing of signals, a matrix mixer or even better the a pin matrix is really good for keeping the patches clearer.
EATyourGUITAR
*click the new post button*

*start typing*

"I want to design a module but I want every random person to design it for me in parallel at the same time because I don't want or know how to design it. thanks in advance"

*click post*

I see a lot of these threads lately. there are over 1000 eurorack modules available. chances are good that it has already been done. if you don't know what you want then how do we know what you want? if you don't know what we want then how can you design a module for us? even if we think we know what we want, we are not module designers therefor we will fail %99 of the time at design. technically I am a builder but lets pretend that I am just a user. users and designers are not the same breed. I think the best designers have no doubt. they are full speed ahead. the modules that make it to the top are designed by builders that have failed a lot. trial and error. the same builders who eventually know what works in reality through trial and error. arm chair designers are many. builders are less. best selling module makers are even fewer than that. one thing they have in common is that they don't ask for permission to do what they love. they just do what they love and make what they want. if it doesn't work they change it or throw it out. if others like it they jump on the train to follow the leader.

the worst thing you can do as a new module maker is make a large module that only works in very large systems. you will sell less than 10 units total. eurorack startups come and go because even if they have good ideas they are not savvy at business.
dooj88
i think it would be a sweet idea. although the killer stand out feature would be using a single source that is normalized to all aspects of the utilities.. which obviously could be broken to make it more functional.

thinking of something like a signal into a s+h.. (and copying from euromorcegos list..)

and then normalize the s+h into:

- a slew limiter
- a comparator
- attenuverters, attenuvertes, attenuversters, also offest
- flip-flop [b]
- some or all into a mixer through an attenuator
Whelm
EATyourGUITAR wrote:


the worst thing you can do as a new module maker is make a large module that only works in very large systems. you will sell less than 10 units total. eurorack startups come and go because even if they have good ideas they are not savvy at business.

One savvy business thing to do is something called "market research", which involves things like asking the community you intend to sell to what kind of thing they want.
R.U.Nuts
dooj88 wrote:
i think it would be a sweet idea. although the killer stand out feature would be using a single source that is normalized to all aspects of the utilities.. which obviously could be broken to make it more functional.

thinking of something like a signal into a s+h.. (and copying from euromorcegos list..)

and then normalize the s+h into:

- a slew limiter
- a comparator
- attenuverters, attenuvertes, attenuversters, also offest
- flip-flop [b]
- some or all into a mixer through an attenuator


That would be quite similar to a Wogglebug...
dooj88
R.U.Nuts wrote:
dooj88 wrote:
i think it would be a sweet idea. although the killer stand out feature would be using a single source that is normalized to all aspects of the utilities.. which obviously could be broken to make it more functional.

thinking of something like a signal into a s+h.. (and copying from euromorcegos list..)

and then normalize the s+h into:

- a slew limiter
- a comparator
- attenuverters, attenuvertes, attenuversters, also offest
- flip-flop [b]
- some or all into a mixer through an attenuator


That would be quite similar to a Wogglebug...


ah ok, never used one. i'm a URA guy.
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