Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

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miqraw
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Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by miqraw » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:22 am

I recorded my modular directly from VCF (no analog VCA, virtual VCA inside Reaktor) to Motu Ultralite mk1.
Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?
Will the sound be more transparent with analog VCA or dedicated output module (Circuit Abbey Gozinta) ?
For example, you can listen to my recordings made with only two filters (Jove is left channel, A 106-5 - right) directly to the 3rd and 4th linear inputs of Motu:

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Trebbers
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Post by Trebbers » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:37 am

You don't need one if what you have sounds fine.

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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular

Post by Arneb » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:13 am

miqraw wrote:I recorded my modular directly from VCF (no analog VCA, virtual VCA inside Reaktor) to Motu Ultralite mk1.
Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?
Not unless you can't keep your interface from clipping (i.e. its level meter from going into the red) in the current VCF->Interface setup.
Will the sound be more transparent with analog VCA
No, if anything it will be less transparent. The reason why people use things like tube amp VCAs is that they feel that those make the sound less transparent but in a good way.
or dedicated output module (Circuit Abbey Gozinta) ?
Uh, the Gozinta is an input module. When you break out of your modular you want attenuation, not further gain.

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sutekina bipu-on
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Post by sutekina bipu-on » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:20 am

Not necesairally, i had a situation where my interface could handle modular levels but the ext. in of my drum machine couldnt. One solution is to use an output module but i just hit a tube preamp with the modular signal and that takes care of things nicely.

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Post by EATyourGUITAR » Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:55 am

All you need is attenuators and also to change the physical connector on one end of the cable. I have RYO air-tennuators that require 0HP and 0mA power. I also have guitar pedal boxes with volume knobs and jacks. This is the one part of your setup that is super simple and super cheap. All those other options are a luxury. Some touring musicians require metering, isolation, balanced output. You also give up HP and $ for that.
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Post by bkbirge » Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:06 am

I run an output (panmix) module while I'm building a patch but usually when I go to record I just reroute all the direct sound outputs to my patchbay directly. Sometimes I need to attenuate before but not always. Depends on your workflow I guess but I don't think it's necessary, perhaps convenient though.

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Post by Foghorn » Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:00 pm

I like to have 2 or 3 Panmix modules (Ladik) going into a stereo mixer.
But stereo Eurorack mixers are so expensive that i found my little mixing board to be a cheaper alternative that works well.

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Post by johny_gtr » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:47 pm

For live performance I use Intellijel stereo i/o for modular safety and easy connection.
For recording I put cables from audio interface direct to the last module in the chain. I also try to remove stereo mixer if its track-by-track recording.

Some FX units prefer lower signals (like OTO Bim/Bam) and after attenuation fx boxes provide better overall sound.

Vermona io its interesting because of transformers on the circuit but I think that they are pretty clean (= dont add any colors to sound)
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Post by Mark II » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:52 pm

Running my modules straight into a focusrite octopre LE connected to a saffire pro 40 with no problems. Sometimes I have to attenuate some very hot outputs, but otherwise fine.
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Post by miqraw » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:56 am

Are there people who first record directly to the interface, but then bought "out module" and heard the difference in sound?

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Post by Shledge » Wed Oct 09, 2019 7:51 am

In most cases, you don't need one. In fact, I would consider output modules to be completely pointless, unless you want one as a dedicated headphone out or something like that.

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Post by sutekina bipu-on » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:09 am

miqraw wrote:Are there people who first record directly to the interface, but then bought "out module" and heard the difference in sound?
I had a pico out i bought to use as a hp amp. The only time the output jack helped me when recording was directly into my aforementioned drum machine input which was fairly sensitive. But the tube pre sounded better and i wanted a useful module in the pico out's space so i sold it and got a alm hpo foor when i want to use earbuds.

If your interface demands attenuation, you might as well spend $30 on a art tube mp or presonus tubepre and not use valuable rack space? because surely that interface could benefit from a dedicated preamp.

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Post by acidbob » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:06 am

miqraw wrote:Are there people who first record directly to the interface, but then bought "out module" and heard the difference in sound?
Yes, but didnt notice any difference between that, my attenutors or souncraft mixer. Its not pointless if it can act as a booster, level meter, or both in and output module, the pittsburgh one even adds a nice overdrive. I like the output modules i have as it means i can patch anything into everything

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Post by BananaPlug » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:30 am

Shledge wrote:unless you want one as a dedicated headphone out or something like that.
Yup. For small gigs (iffy PA?) with a small modular (no phones on dinky mixer?) it's a combination of convenience and insurance.

They provide balanced output which reduces noise induced from things like AC cables that may cross your cable on the way to its destination. On stage, that concern is usually addressed by running a fairly short cable to a direct box ("DI") which does the same balancing thing.
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Post by Alliex » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:37 pm

I have an 8-channel DI from wayyyy back before I got into modular, and I can't even remember why I bought it. Bass maybe? Anyhow, it's been great to have for modular etc, esp with the +/- dB buttons and the ground lift.

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Post by DCDanno » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:25 pm

I usually come straight out of whatever module is last in chain, sometimes a mixer, sometimes a filter, etc. and go into my Behringer UMC 404HD then into my DAW. If the level is too hot I go through a Mackie mixer, then into the Behringer. I'm sure there are more elegant solutions but this works for me.

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Post by nios » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:21 pm

One can see so many apparent starters/planning racks in public on modulargrid, all taking the time to add a dedicated out of some kind even if it's going to be significant space in something like a HEK or 60hp pod. I don't know who or what "learn eurorack!" intro thing so many people seem to be watching, that has them convinced that they must account for dedicated outs, but it absolutely won't be needed for the vast majority of systems. A pair of 1/8" -> 1/4" cables (for left/right) from outs on your final stage into whatever external mixer/recorder you're using, will very likely straight-up work no problem for most people.

Anyway, using the VCF as a kind of VCA+final stage does work technically, but it really depends on the model of filter; some of them are pleasantly dead quiet closed all the way, while others have some noise/bleed, especially vintage clones/inspirations because those were always meant to be muted behind the VCA when the synth isn't playing. So while that's an odd way of doing it, if you meant to ask if you'd get any improvement by going filter -> external -> mixer, vs filter -> mixer, if you had no noise/headroom issues as-is then no, that external would be redundant. If you're hearing a bit of fuzz/system hum from that filter then run it through a VCA and use that as the final.

That's not to say, that dedicated outs are always redundant/useless, just for many systems they effectively are. It really depends on signal/noise and headroom between your final stage and mixing/recording setup. Basically, build up your plan first and see how it records, and only get externals if you have an issue and you're sure that's the fix. If you're going to bother and are sure they'll help then at least get something that would make a huge difference .. balanced cables, transformer isolation etc - XLR outs like the Vermona TAI-4/twinOut, Joranalogue Transmit 2 etc, as opposed to some 1/4" thing which is quite easily skipped with 1/8->1/4 cables.

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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by prtcl » Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:39 pm

I used output modules for a while but ended up taking them out of the case. For one you get that extra space back, and you can also do cool things like split outputs from a filter and pan them in the mixer or software.

For live use I always bring a little Mackie along and that takes care of level matching and balanced sends to the PA.

The only issues I've come across are impedance matching from some modules. You'll get a weird gain dip or a drop in high end. But coming out of a decent VCA or filter seems to be fine.

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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by cg_funk » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:24 am

I use an output module for convenience. It's really no problem to skip though, for me it's nice to have my stereo outputs connected to the same attenuator, so I keep the left/right levels equal. If you use two channels of an attenuvertor module as an output, you'll need to carefully set the balance. If you are just doing Mono, then it's really not an issue at all. Just make sure you dial down your levels so that you don't clip in your recording environment.

Also, sending your outputs through an AC-coupled mixer (or filter) is a good idea (output modules are generally already AC-coupled and deal with this), as the AC-coupling will remove any DC offset from your final output signal. If you are sending large DC offsets to your mixer all the time you can eventually burn it out.

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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by Arneb » Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:38 am

prtcl wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:39 pm
I used output modules for a while but ended up taking them out of the case. For one you get that extra space back, and you can also do cool things like split outputs from a filter and pan them in the mixer or software.
IDK, I'd think that panning is about the only aspect of mixing which is better done in-rack. Desktop mixers are good for panning dependent on room acoustics but otherwise static, but if you want to use panning as an effect you'll want it to be voltage-controlled.

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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by mrhooks » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:51 am

cg_funk wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:24 am
it's nice to have my stereo outputs connected to the same attenuator, so I keep the left/right levels equal.
Yup, that's mainly why I use one. Also, another minor convenience: standardizing on cables. Since none of my other gear has 3.5mm TS outputs, I didn't want to have to get special cables just for the modular.
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Re: Do I need dedicated output module for recording modular ?

Post by Foghorn » Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:36 pm

mrhooks wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 4:51 am
cg_funk wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 3:24 am
it's nice to have my stereo outputs connected to the same attenuator, so I keep the left/right levels equal.
Yup, that's mainly why I use one. Also, another minor convenience: standardizing on cables. Since none of my other gear has 3.5mm TS outputs, I didn't want to have to get special cables just for the modular.


I had my buddy make some special cables so I could just go into a desktop mixer. (3.5 TS to 1/4 phone plug)
But actually I like to use a desktop mixer so I can have 8 outs from the modular then I use the mixer to set levels and also end up with a pseudo stereo signal by panning on the mixer.
I have 2 Ladik panning modules going to my mixer and 4 mono inputs, so a total of 6 signals out of the modular.
The 3.5 TS to 1/4 phone cables had a cap in them to block any DC.
Also I just bought a new mixer and had to switch to 3.5 mm TS to XLR cables.
I bought the 6 foot long cables from Parts Express and my buddy added caps to them.


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