Comparing MOTM to Euro format

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

Moderators: Kent, luketeaford, Joe., lisa

Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 1077
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2006 10:43 pm
Location: Pasadena, CA

Comparing MOTM to Euro format

Post by synthetic » Fri Dec 07, 2007 1:37 pm

I had pretty much decided to put together a Euro modular, but digging up pics and demos of my old MOTM synth made me a bit misty. I decided to make an apples-to-apples comparison of a similar MOTM and Euro modular. The system I designed had three oscillators, one with less features, two voltage-controlled LFOs, one SSM-based VCF, at least two envelopes and two VCAs.

The MOTM system ended up with two 300 oscillators, one 310 mini-Oscillator, a 390 dual LFO, a 440 VCF, a 190 dual VCA and two 800 envelopes. This is very similar to the system I used to have. I priced out an assembled system, and estimated what a DIY system woud cost (using the same high-end components that SynthTech uses).

The Euro system had two Plan B model 15 VCOs, a Doepfer 110 standard VCO, two Doepfer 147 VC LFOs, a Doepfer 105 SSM filter, a 130 dual VCA and a 143-2 quad envelope.

I also put together a Frac system for comparison, using mostly MOTM components: two 1300 oscillators, one 1190 dual VCA and two 1800 envelopes. I added Blacet modules: two mini LFOs and a Final Filter. I couldn't find a "mini" VCO to compare, so I threw in a MiniWave for the heck of it.

Here's what I came up with.

MOTM Assembled: $2,532
MOTM DIY: $2,202
Frac: $1,883
Euro: $1,507

As expected, the Doepfer modules help in the cost category, coming in 40% below assembled MOTM and 32% below DIY modules. One of the advantages of the Euro format is that you can combine low-cost Doepfer modules for less-critical components like LFO and Envelopes with higher-quality filters and oscillators. Frac comes in 25% less than assembled modules and 14% below DIY.

A more-fair comparison would put together the DIY MOTM modules with lower-quality pots and unsealed jacks like other modulars use, then the cost would be nearly the same. But the result wouldn't be a MOTM synth, would it?

MOTM: 19" x 8.75"
Euro: 20" x 6"

This was a surprise to me, I expected the MOTM to be much larger than the Euro system. However, the size of the MOTM format allows multiple functions to be combined into one while still leaving room for your fat little fingers. I didn't calculate the Frac size but expect it to be in the same ballpark.

Working on a full-size modular and a smaller size is a different experience as well. But there are other benefits to the MOTM standard as well, like all of the jacks on the bottom and knobs on top, that make it easier to work with.

Must-Have Modules:
Frac: Blacet MiniWave
Euro: Plan B Model 12, 15

This is very personal, of course. I tried to come up with modules that I wouldn't be able to get in other formats. Of course, there are MOTM panels for almost any module, including the MiniWave but not the Plan B (yet). Euro and Frac modules can be easily adapted for MOTM, but not the other way around.

MOTM: lots
Frac: some
Euro: not

There's a big DIY community for MOTM format modules, including Bridechamber panels, several websites dedicated to converting and designing modules, and even minimal kits from Synthtech. There's a much smaller amount of this for Frac and almost nothing for Euro (though I haven't researched this as much). DIY is a great way to get more for less, as the components are not that difficult to put together, and you get a system that you literally built yourself.

It looks like I'm trying to talk myself into a MOTM system again. Ironically, my 1/8" cables arrived yesterday. It looks like I might be putting them on the for sale board....

User avatar
Voltage Controlled Crackpot
Posts: 3107
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2007 3:24 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Post by Kwote » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:34 pm

i just responded on to this but,

motm fracsized modules to consider.
Self expression is as essential as breathing
my other sites

User avatar
Loves the manuals!
Posts: 3865
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 12:05 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Comparing MOTM to Euro format

Post by felix » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:24 pm

synthetic wrote:But there are other benefits to the MOTM standard as well, like all of the jacks on the bottom and knobs on top, that make it easier to work with.
Livewire does this with their modules and it really is nice. It's one of several reasons why Livewire modules are the favorites of my collection.
dress yourself for the public. you now must exit your home and acquire a dental mirror and lubrication!
i recommend a hat, or a helmet. if a helmet, ensure that it is both convincing and unbiased. -citizen mori

User avatar
Muff Wiggler
wait, what?
Posts: 7815
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2006 12:19 pm

Post by Muff Wiggler » Fri Dec 07, 2007 3:53 pm

wiard does it as well 8)

Post Reply

Return to “Modular Synth General Discussion”