Portable 5U/MU Modular Synthesizer Overview & Live Patching Demo

This video, via alternatingbitmusic, offers an in-depth look at his mobile 5U modular synth rig and a live patching demo.

Along the way, he shares his thoughts the individual modules in his system and selecting modules to include in a mobile 5U modular system.

The system is a dotcom-style 5U modular, but includes modules from Dotcom, Oakley, Corsynth, SSL, Synthrotek, Re:Synthesis and MegaOhm.

The second half of the video is a live patching demo. It’s not intended to be a tutorial on how to create a specific sound or patch, but as he notes: “Often you see a finished patch running on Youtube, so here is an unrehearsed patch just to demonstrate some options and ideas for on-the-fly patching.”

8 thoughts on “Portable 5U/MU Modular Synthesizer Overview & Live Patching Demo

  1. i got out of eurorack for 5U
    there are less modules on the market , the cost is about the same
    and unlike eurorack the modules keep their value ,
    since there is not a big turn over in new modules

    1. Not really- both formats hold their value about the same. There’s far less 5U available used than Euro so it might seem that way. Less buzz and constant newness in 5U so the temptation to constantly buy is obviously less. There’s a lot of overlap in 2016 between Euro, MU, Serge, and Buchla – it’s just a matter of what you want to do and how big your hands are.

      1. Is there any distinct advantage to the 5U format vs Eurorack? I ask in all earnestness. I’ve never played a 5U but all the demos seem to have these really rich tones. Not sure if this is a product of the format or just my perception.

        1. not really, since both formats are working with the same voltages, and there are many modules which exist in both formats, like Modcan, MOTM, MacBeth etc.

          1. i would never plug the output of my MU modules
            into a Eurorack setup ….. just does not seem right 🙁

            — to power the units
            5u use 15v+ 15v- 5
            Eurorack 12v+ 12v- 5
            5u uses S-Trigger or negative gate
            euroracks tends like 0 to 5v modulation
            modules like the tiptop z8000 ( +10v) can mess up digital euroracks
            and if you plug +10v into a output by mistake
            , because you can’t see what your doing ….. ..(x_x)

            big knobs , big cables and lots of space
            5U all the way

        2. Eurorack is obviously the winner in shear number of options. And there are lots of high-quality modules in Euro format.

          That said – I’d argue that 5U vendors have are making consistently high-quality modules, while there’s a lot of junk in the Euro format.

          From a usability standpoint, 5U is more fun to patch and less likely to be a rats nest of wires, because of the larger scale. For a lot of people, though, there are a lot of usability benefits to having a small modular that you can stuff over the seat on a plane.

          Your mileage may vary.

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