Friday, February 18, 2011

Arranging Modules

Like most of you all know i recently installed my 4th metal G6 frame.
It was about time that i did that, because i already had a few modules that didn't fit the old rack and that were lying loose in a drawer.
After installing the new frame i came up with the idea of this blogpost.

Of course i had to re-arrange my modules again... The old layout just didn't make any sense anymore. Some modules were so weirdly placed that patching them always resulted in a whole spaghetti of cables.
I couldn't find many guidelines for arranging modules on the web, so I just started and made a few notes during the process.

A few of my personal guidelines that work the best for me are:
-    Before you start, disconnect all racks from the power supply! Safety first!
-    Work from top to bottom. I'd almost say work from top left to bottom right. That will keep the system and the flow of signals much more 'readable'
( I'm not sure if this works for Arabic countries, where they read from right to left though... )
-    Try to keep all your multiples on the left side and the Mixers on the right side. I love distributing signals from the sides up and/or down first before i patch a new sound. This avoids cable-cluttering and keeps the overall look 'clean'.
-    Group the modules, eg: Sound Sources / Filters / VCA's / Mixers / Modifiers / Modulation sources / Switches and Sequencers / Clock/Gate/Digital Modules / Voltage Sources / Auxiliary and Special Modules
-    Keep modules that you often use in combination close to each-other ( see my PatchPierre BFF section )
-    Read the manuals of the modules regarding power consumption of each module, and make sure your busboard can handle all the modules that are connected in that row. - note that some require an additional +5V power supply with 50mA e.g. the low-cost 5V adapter - don't forget where you placed it.

-    Check the manuals again for other module-specific requirements. ( some modules should not be placed next to certain others, to avoid interference )
For example don't place oscillators next to a power supply and keep the distance between the Theremin modules at least 30 centimeters etc.
-    Working with colored cables and/or switches does help improving the readability of your system. Too bad Doepfer only sells a few colors in fixed lengths. Longer black and yellow plus shorter red and blue cables would be appreciated. Purple and orange cables too ( personally )
-    Don't forget to fill up the open spaces with blind-panels for safety and EMC reasons. ( ... i knew there was something missing in that first picture )

Okay... everyone has his own preferences on how to arrange their system, this was just a personal (short-) list of the things that i could think of at the moment.
Please leave some feedback if you have any suggestions. I might include more tips later.