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Handling disparate voltage expectations across modules
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  
Author Handling disparate voltage expectations across modules
Mr Ditto
I have been putting together a Eurorack system and am now coming to terms with the fact that specs across various modules are actually pretty inconsistent.

I have some MakeNoise modules that expect gates / triggers at 8v, while my Metropolis is spitting out 5v gates and 0-5v CV, other bits have -10-10v attenuverters and such. My rig literally seems all over the place voltage-wise.

Have I made my modular life unnecessarily complex by buying from various manufacturers?

The main thing I wonder is to what extent do I need to worry about these variations? I am assuming I simply need to get familiar with what voltage comes out where and what each module expects and then just amplify, attenuate, or otherwise process CVs to get the results I want.

That said, my accuracy is likely to be low and I’m certain to get it wrong frequently. Is this a problem?

For example, is it possible to break / fry modules by feeding them say a 10v CV when they’re expecting 0-5v?

What are the best methods for dealing with this variability?
You won't fry anything with a 10v gate. Most modules are insensitive to actual gate voltages, and will fire at about 2v. The only exception in my rack is the Synthrotek DSM, which uses the gate voltage to set level. It has a sensitivity control, so you can adjust the effect.

5v gates might have trouble driving a bunch of triggers such as a quad ADSR. The solution is to run the gate through a buffered mult.

CVs are pretty much the same story-- some VCAs may clip with a high voltage and some VCOs don't track well, but damage is unlikely.
Mr Ditto
Legend - thanks for the helpful reply.
I've got a system which is a mix of a wide range of module manufacturers; and the biggest problem is the general Eurorack vs. EuroSerge, the latter of which operates over a 5vpp range, compared to the rest, which operate around 10vpp and up a bit.

To add to what Pelsea said, I'd also say that it's a good idea to have a handful of attenuators and VCAs with >0 gain to balance the voltages between modules. Flying attenuators like the RYO Airtenuators are good for taming a hot signal without eating up rack space. A good scaling/offset module is good for that a well. I have a row of PU Tile format 1U for little utilities like this. The Syinsi Scale Offset is good for doing this sort of voltage compensation.
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