Manufacturers of modular synthesizers must adhere to certain specifications in their designs. Some of these include:
- Compatibility of voltage levels with different modular units
- Ability to produce the conventional analogue sound
- Independent power supply for LEDS and digital
- Panez sizes should be compatible with different types of modulars
Ancient modular synthesizer’s height was measured in integer inches which was 11’’ for instance the Roland 700. The wavemaker was 10” while the aries was 9”. Others were Serge, Polyfusion, and the Bulcha all measuring 7”, ARP 2500 which was 8”, and Emu which was 6”. The width in all of them was a standard 1/4 “ multiple. Currently, manufacturers are sticking to the basic 19” RU (rack unit) system of 3U (Eurorack), 6U (Wiard), 4U (Serge), and 5U (8.75” Modcan/Moog). See the available modular synthesizers for various music genre.
One is likely to specifically identify 2 3U basics which are Eurorack for example Doepfer which comes with an horizontal lip where the front side panels rest upon.
It is 2mm wide, and Rack for instance, Paia which utilizes all of the 3U for the front side of the panel. Additional variations may be significant depending on how different manufacturers execute the U measurement downwards or upwards to achieve an appropriate metric equivalent. For instance, the average 5U modules come with 8.75” or 222.25mm. However, some manufacturers use between 230mm and 220mm.
There are notable differences when it comes to jacks which are 6.3mm or plugs which are ¼”. Both banana and 3.5mm jacks which come with a direct current power supply should be a standard ±15 V. However, the available ones range between ±18 V – ±12 V depending on the system and the manufacturer. They consist of gate or trigger voltages (positive gate or Moog S trigger) and have conventional levels of audio signal. They can be ±5 V headroom with often ±5 V complete with control voltages of octave which in this case is typically 1 octave/V. In some instances, it can be 1.2 octave/V.
A wide range of analog modular units utilize a method where the pitch and frequency are related for example 1.2 octave/V and 1 octave/V. They are often referred to as linear due to the fact that a human being’s ear understands the logarithmic format of frequencies. Every octave comes with similar affective sizes. Specific synthesizers utilize the hertz/volts method in which the frequency voltage is linear.
Thee Moog Modular brought about the Moog Unit (MU) format which many manufacturers have stuck by. Ancient modular synthesizers came with a front panel complete with a circuit board which was erected at the back directly aligned to the front. Once the power connector and screws used to erect the panel are removed, individuals may decide to remove the modules from the synthesizer closet.
Various modules are connected to another module at the back of the panel just like it is in the Aid modules.
Panels come with 0.62’’ and can be painted, silkscreened, sande, aluminium, have formed sides for the purpose of reinforcement, textured, or masked. They come at a standard height of 8.75’’ and vary when it comes to widths.
One panel width measures 2.125”. The others can be quad, single, octal, and single. However the width sizes of multiples are defined by the standard width of a single panel. The multiple widths come as follows; octal at 17”, double at 4.25”, and quad at 8.5”
Finally, the mounting hardware can be 6X1/2” screws which are used in erecting modules on a wooden studio closets. In addition, machine screws can be used to erect modules on either box closets or rack frames.