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Modular System Durability (Eurorack)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next [all]
Author Modular System Durability (Eurorack)
???
Hi!

I've been using a custom eurorack modular system for more than a year now and I'm pretty satisfied. However, I haven't found any information on long term durability of the eurorack format. How does it stand against other format? What about modular systems in general?

Will my system be fully functionnal in... say 5, 10 years? Any long term user of eurorack? Any experience with declining modules?

Thanks!!!
sduck
Hey cool, yours is custom. Way cooler than most of the stock systems.

JK.

There's not much that can go wrong with them besides the usual electronic aging things - caps eventually dry out, but that usually doesn't become a problem until about 20-30 years. Pots can go bad, or get scratchy, but they're pretty easy to replace. Your biggest challenge is preventing physical damage - you know the drill on that.
???
Mwahahaha! JK. Thanks for the reply!!!

I was asking these questions mainly because of some comments that I've read on synthesizers.com: (oh yeah I know it's publicity but anyway)

Most importantly, Doepfer uses jack sockets, which are designed
for machine insertion in consumer goods that don't require constant
plugging/unplugging and are expected to be replaced in a couple of
years. To say this makes them a poor choice for a modular
synthesizer is to put it mildly. I had trouble with my Doepfer jacks
from the very start (playing "hunt the bad jack" when you have 30
patchcords plugged in is rather annoying). Mind you, there are
people who have few or no problems with their Doepfer jacks, but
trust me, they will.

I noticed that one of my osc (not a doepfer though) cv in for pitch tracking started to become selective... It does not always receive cv depending on the cables I use. I have to plug some of them 2/3 in for the cv to be received. I know this can depend on cables tip length, but I was wondering that maybe the jack inputs were already starting to wear out or something like this. Am I paranoid? I fear that I'll someday start to be worse and worse...
akrylik
Your forum handle is mysterious.
???
Errrhrh. What does that mean? (I speak french...)
???
Damn I just understood!!! I'll leave it there, it's kinda funny...
Tombola
It makes me sad when synth manufacturers spend their time putting up posts slagging off other synth manufacturers.

I don't see Dieter doing this: http://www.synthesizers.com/doepfervsdotcom.txt

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site%3Adoepfer.de+"dotcom"
???
I really don't want to start a debate nor do I want to oppose manufacturers. I shouldn't have mentionned some of them in the first place but that's what initially made me think about long term durability. Since I already experienced cv issues with sketchy modules, It made me wonder how long my synth will last even with good care....
daverj
The jacks that Doepfer used in the early versions of their modules apparently had a lot more problems than the ones they've used for the past 6 or 7 years. The manufacturer of the jacks actually changed production to solve the problem, and now only sells the improved version of the jack.

There have been some issues with some other manufacturers laying out boards where copper was exposed in the center of a jack and certain cables could touch that circuit board material, causing problems. That's not a longevity issue. That's a design issue.

Most mini jacks are rated at 5,000 insertions. But there are differences between mini cables that can make for bad connections, or loose connections much earlier when specific brands of cables are paired with specific styles of jack.
Beermaster
Bought my First Doepfer and my A-Sys 8500 systems back in 98 - All going strong after fourteen years !

Beer.
cormallen
But Beer, you hardly ever use the Euro stuff! The 5U and Serge are just *too* sexy...

Harry
paults
Quote:
Most importantly, Doepfer uses jack sockets, which are designed
for machine insertion in consumer goods that don't require constant
plugging/unplugging and are expected to be replaced in a couple of
years.


This was true 7 years ago. The current Cliff jack sockets were completely retooled and they have a 5,000 insert/removal minimum spec.

Most issues are with strange tips on the patch cords themselves. I use only the Ad Infinitum patch cables and have had zero issues in 3 years.

Protip: be careful where making such sweeping broad statements. There are EEs on this list with over 25 years experience designing things. SlayerBadger!

Lastly: the .com link you quoted is NOT from rodger: it's probably from John Mitchell (AKA 'Konkuro') who, sadly, was usually 100% incorrect in just about every technical observation he ever had. He had a very narrow "worldview" and although a very good/amusing author he caused more harm than good not with just me but Doepfer, Modcan and Wired. He tended to write "with a straight face" when bashing which made most readers think he was serious. And that made it difficult to seperate "being funny" from a serious observation/opinion.
???
Quote:
Most importantly, Doepfer uses jack sockets, which are designed
for machine insertion in consumer goods that don't require constant
plugging/unplugging and are expected to be replaced in a couple of
years.

This comment is not from me. I don't know a lot about modular yet so I wouldn't make such statement myself...
paults
Then WHY REPEAT IT??!? Did you see it was a 10 year old quote?

Sigh....the net in all its glory...... Dead Banana Guinness ftw!
???
Thanks for the informations!!!
rockmanrock
5000 cycles isn't a lot though is it? Considering how fiddly it would be to replace PCB mounted sockets, I think they're a poor choice for durablility.
shaft9000
Well, if you're still leery about doing the ole' in-out-in-out more times than Wilt Chamberlain.....thankfully doepfer panels are mostly easily convertible to banana jacks, which are far more durable. you would have to really try to break them to ever do so.

courtesy The Bad Producer:

neil.johnson
Hi,

rockmanrock wrote:
5000 cycles isn't a lot though is it? Considering how fiddly it would be to replace PCB mounted sockets, I think they're a poor choice for durablility.

How would you feel about 10,000 insertion/withdrawal cycles? When manufacturers state a number of cycles that is the minimum number that all of those sockets (remember to check the specific parts!) they make will survive, guaranteed or your money back. That does not mean that after the stated number of cycles the jacks will fall apart. Its simply a reliability/warranty thing.

Neil
paults
Switchcraft 112A 1/4" jacks are also rated 5,000 insertion/removals.

I have *never* replaced one on a MOTM system in the last 13 years. And I have shipped over 65,000 of them.

Statistics, how does it work??!?
NV
rockmanrock wrote:
5000 cycles isn't a lot though is it? Considering how fiddly it would be to replace PCB mounted sockets, I think they're a poor choice for durablility.


5,000 cycles is quite a bit. Look at the average jack in your modular - in an hour of active patching you probably go through only a few insertion/withdrawal cycles for a frequently used jack, and with more obscure or patch-n-forget functions you'll probably use that jack only a few times a week if that. Assuming you patch every single day and are using that jack multiple times when you do you're still looking at probably about 5 years before you hit the minimum cycle range for a $0.20 mechanical part. That's about three times the average life span of a $200 cel phone.

Even with just a little soldering practice you should be able to swap out a jack in about the time it takes to change out a guitar string, and any guitarist would call you a magician if you could play a string for 5 years without changing it. Also like Neil said, that's assuming every jack will crumble at 5,000 cycles. There are people with 40 year old jacks on Moogs that still work just fine and they certainly weren't "made better" back then.
neil.johnson
neil.johnson wrote:
10,000 insertion/withdrawal cycles

That was actually copied/pasted from the Switchcraft page for their 112-series 1/4" mono jacks. Paul seems to like them hihi

Neil
DonKartofflo
Quote:
If you are serious about analog synthesis, do not consider
ANY synthesizer that uses jack sockets (jacks mounted to circuit
boards). That's a biggie. From there on out, it depends on your
budget and the type of music you like to make.


Aw man, that dude really is a jackass.

Like the typical guitar guy: If you are serious about music, don't buy squier at all!!!

evil
bouzoukijoe1
at least with modular you dont have to worry about those pesky MPC/RM1x/Command Station pads haha. (not really funny)

I wonder actually if pots are the first thing to go? first oxidation, which I guess is not so bad if you drip some deoxit, but are there wear and tear issues from cheaper pots made today? or are the plastic ones coming out now actually any better than the old ones from 10, 20, 30 years ago? I'm curious. though I guess it would never be as bad as keyboard contacts.

we know LEDs pretty much last almost forever and switches are probably ok. what else? read/write cycles for digital modules? phonogene? tyme sefari?

not that any of this will matter in 10 years since there will probably be 10,000 more new modules by then... hihi

on a side note, I was actually bummed to see that in my monorocket case, the AS power sockets on the bus board only had ONE pin soldered to the board and I almost yanked an entire socket out by accident. is that common practice to only solder one pin out of 16? I thought that seemed kind of shitty. maybe they just forgot, in a rush to ship out the case. and they also forgot a screw in the lock mechanism of the case. poor quality control, though its not the end of the world since its relatively easy to fix. they're reasonably priced cases, though I would recommend you check the bus sockets and hardware screws if you have a chance before buying one (if you have the luxury of doing a visual inspection at a store, that is).
CJ Miller
DonKartofflo wrote:
Like the typical guitar guy: If you are serious about music, don't buy squier at all!!!


That's the difference between brand loyalty and just being critical. Every system has its compromises. I prefer to think of the discussion not as "slagging", but rather constructive criticism. It might help manufacturers to know what people experience using their gear, and what their needs are. I would not insult somebody because of poor hardware or build techniques, but that doesn't mean we can't discuss the issue! Maybe some better parts aren't available in sufficient quantity. Maybe they didn't know that I'd rather pay an extra $10 to have something improved.

It can easily become a pissing contest, but it certainly doesn't need to
rockmanrock
neil.johnson wrote:
Hi,

rockmanrock wrote:
5000 cycles isn't a lot though is it? Considering how fiddly it would be to replace PCB mounted sockets, I think they're a poor choice for durablility.

How would you feel about 10,000 insertion/withdrawal cycles? When manufacturers state a number of cycles that is the minimum number that all of those sockets (remember to check the specific parts!) they make will survive, guaranteed or your money back. That does not mean that after the stated number of cycles the jacks will fall apart. Its simply a reliability/warranty thing.

Neil


Well surely the warranty is on the jack, not the module to which they are soldered? I don't know how you'd prove how many cycles the jacks in a modular had done either, and chasing all this years down the line would be ludicrous. If you could get the jack supplier to cough up, the cost of the jacks would be nothing compared to the hassle or labour cost of swapping them out. The low cycles suggests to me they're not designed for constant repatching. Having said all that, I would have more confidence in the 1/4 inch ones. Put it this way, I've not seen any minijack patch panels in studios! Even A-gauge 1/4 inch ones are looked down on!
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