modular analog synthesizer for electronic music
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 FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions we receive regularly.
If you have one that's not on this list, contact us now.

Last Updated Jan 20, 2013

Ordering Questions
See our complete order policy here
What is the standard shipping time?
Do you ship to other countries?
Do you sell kits?
Return policy?
Do you have dealers?
Do you have a Catalog or Brochure?
Do you guys even have a phone?

Compatibility Questions
What about output voltage levels?
Will these modules fit in an existing Moog system?
Connecting Moog triggers to systems
How are modules different from Moog?
Will products interface with my existing equipment?
Will products work with Moogerfooger?
Can I process my guitar with modules?
Can I use modules with MOTM modules?
Can I use modules with Modcan/Cynthia modules?
Modular Form Factor Comparison Chart

Company Questions
What is the company name/product name?
Is this real or a hoax?

Product Questions
What about quality, parts, price?
What is the finish on panels?
Need ideas on building a custom system?
What is a minimal system?
Why don't you offer an LFO?
110/220V Operation?

Usage Questions
Need a synthesizer tutorial?
Monophonic/Polyphonic Issues
Microtonal Control?
More Q106 Hard Sync Information

Doepfer vs .COM?
ARP 2600 vs .COM?
Vintage Moog vs .COM?
Q119 and Q960 Sequencer Comparison

Technical Questions
Can I move modules around?
I've lost my module datasheet!
Can I calibrate a module myself?
How is power distributed inside the cabinets?
How are modules mounted to wooden cabinets?
Cabinet and rail dimensions for a custom cabinet?
19" Rack Technical Information
How 'quiet' are these systems/modules?
What does the inside of a module look like?
Can a Keyboard controller be powered from a DC din connector?
Modular Form Factor Comparison Chart

Website Questions
Pop-Up Images are not showing on the website


Q: Need a synthesizer tutorial?
A: See our list of tutorials on the links page
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Q: What is the standard shipping time?
A: Our shipping times vary from 1 day to 6 weeks depending on the current backlog, suppliers and other business factors. You will get a time estimate on your order confirmation
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Q: Do you ship to other countries?
A: Yes, regularly. Fill out the quote/order form so we can give you a shipping cost and total. You are responsible for any taxes and fees which your country imposes. This link may help you determine these costs: Harmonized codes for all synthesizer products are 920710-0020.

Regulations vary country-to-country and change regularly. This may prohibit us from shipping certain products into certain countries.
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Q: What is the company name/product name?
A: The company name is which is a division of Arrick Robotics. The name of the modular product line is also As you can see, this is an internet-centric venture. We rely heavily on the internet to provide communication to our customers and vendors which keeps our costs in line. This is our business model.
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Q: What about quality, parts, price?
A: Our designs are very typical analog circuitry. Much of it derived from data books and 30 year old texts. We use TL074/084 op amps in most modules. We put all ICs in sockets for ease of maintenance. We only use microprocessors for modules that can really benefit from them such as the sequencer and keyboard/midi controller. We've considered cost when designing this product line. We know exactly how much a product must sell for to stay in business. We have also reduced our cost by doing what most companies will not do:

  • No dealers - Instead: Factory direct saves you 20%-50%
  • No color brochures - Instead: Informative web pages
  • Communication via email - phones don't work well across time zones anyway
  • No aggressive marketing - Instead: Great web site, great products, and a great reputation
Our products are built with commercial grade components using normal commercial grade processes. This is not a garage shop operation, we have full-time assemblers and techs that build electronics for a living. All circuit boards are double-sided with solder masks. All panels are made from .062" aluminum and painted by a professional painting company. Studio cabinets are made from real, solid American walnut. No laminates. We use commercial grade jacks which work great. All modules are COMPLETELY calibrated, tested, and burned in before shipping. We use open frame pots because we do not believe that using industrial grade sealed pots can be justified by the cost. We have 30-year old equipment with open frame pots that are not scratchy, and we have 30 year old equipment with sealed pots that do. Open frame pots can be cleaned if needed, sealed can not. If you have a scratchy pot in 10 years, send it to me and I'll replace it for FREE. If you must have modules with industrial grade sealed pots, please consider Synthesis Technology If you are not happy with any of our products, please return them - see our policy. If you have any other questions about how these products are made, please email us.
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Q: Is this real or a hoax?
A: Many people were duped by a clever hoax played on the Analog Heaven mailing list, and are skeptical because of the Moog reissue scam. This has lead to many questions about where we came from and if this is all real. I've documented the AH saga here. Some have mentioned that the images of the Q119 Sequencer look fake - They are not fake, they are scanned with a flat-bed scanner in 3 pieces then pasted together. If you can find a better way, please tell us. Some have also suggested pictures on the About Us page are fake - They are all real, taken with a Sony FD91 camera and only cropped and brightness adjusted. Obviously the Mars Monolith Synth is a rendering - we gotta have fun too folks!
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Q: What is the finish on panels?
A: Panels are .062" aluminum that is sanded vertically to give it a nice finish, then the edges are masked and the panel is painted with a coat of 'Polane' industrial paint. A very light splatter coat is put on top of that, then the panels are silkscreen printed. See this up-close picture of a panel. Moog modular panels used a different process that is somewhat dangerous. See this email from Bob Moog concerning Moog Modular Panels.
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Q: What does the inside of a module look like?
A: See this picture of the back of the Q107 Filter.
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Q: Do you sell kits?
A: We have no plans to offer kits for 4 important reasons.

#1: You'll find that our assembled and tested modules are usually cheaper than a kit because we make them in volume. We also use several automated processes such as soldering and wire cutting/stripping which reduce the time (and cost).

#2: Some modules require fancy test equipment to calibrate correctly. This is especially true of Oscillators.

#3: The documentation required to describe building a module would be much larger than the documentation to show how to operate it. Documentation is difficult to write, prone to errors, and costly to produce.

#4: Technical support of module builders with varying degrees of skill and experience is costly, time consuming, and frustrating for the customer.

Feel free to compare what you get with an assembled module, with other company's offerings. With modules, you'll be making sounds right out of the box.
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Q: Return policy?
A: If you purchase our products and don't like what you get, you can return them and get a refund for the complete amount minus shipping charges. We ask that you do this within 10 days of receipt of the products. If you've damaged or modified a product we can't take it back. See our Policy statement here.
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Q: Warranty?
A: Of course, all our products carry a 1 year parts/labor warranty. Customer pays for shipping charges. If a product breaks within the first year after you purchased it, just contact us via email for a return authorization number and shipping instructions. Naturally, if the product was damaged from abuse or modification this warranty doesn't apply. In that case, contact us for a repair quote. See our Policy statement here.
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Q: Need ideas on building a custom system?
A: See our ideas on building your own custom synthesizer system.
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Q: Do you have dealers?
A: No, we sell direct to everyone anywhere. We believe that the internet will gradually do away with many middle-men in our economy. There will always be a need for retail stores in many local markets, but we will probably not use them due to the low volume of modular synthesizers sold.
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Q: Do you have a Catalog or Brochure?
A: No. Our goal is to do business completely over the internet. This includes providing information to customers and communication. You'll find everything you need on this website including product pricing, technical data, and color pictures. We've structured our product pricing around this idea so we can give you the most product for your money. Besides, catalogs and brochures can never be as up-to-date as a website, and all that post office stuff is the old way of doing business. See our on-line Brochure in PDF format. (300K)
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Q: Do you guys even have a phone?
A: Of course we have traditional phone lines, but to keep our costs in line we're set up to do our customer communication completely over the internet. This is our business model. We've spent our resources on a T1 line instead! Were very accessible, if you don't believe us, email us now and see how fast we respond. Many of our customers are overseas and wouldn't benefit from phone service anyway.
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Q: Can I move modules around?
A: Yes, it's very easy to move modules around and most people eventually do so to match their patching style. systems are very modular and most modules can be moved to any location in the cabinet.

Disconnect the AC Power cord, unscrew the module, pull it out, and disconnect the small DC power connector. Power cables are Keyed to help eliminate incorrect connection.

Some modules have Aid modules next to them with cables that connect the two behind the panel. These modules and their Aid modules will need to be moved together. Examples of Aid modules are the Q141 Oscillator aid and the Q140 Filter Aid. The Q115 Reverb module is connected to the reverb tank with 2 cables behind the panel so make sure these cables will reach the new module location. The Q107 Filter is sensitive to power supply noise so resist moving it directly in front of the supply. Power Modules such as the Q101, Q102, Q137 are connected to the power supply and/or the DC cable harness so the module must be mounted so that these cables will reach them.
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Q: Can I calibrate a module myself?
A: Sure, every module that requires calibration comes with calibration instructions. Usually this takes a good frequency counter, volt meter (4+ digits), oscilloscope, and a precise voltage source (+/-1mv). All modules are calibrated before shipping with very accurate test equipment so you don't have to worry about this, but many people like to know what all of those trim-pots are for on the PCB. Many modules require no calibration at all.
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Q: Why don't you offer an LFO?
A: LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) are separate from waveform oscillators in some modular systems. They are used to supply low frequency control signals to filters, amplifiers and other modules. Typical LFOs have a limited number of waveforms and are not voltage controlled in order to save costs. Since many people want a full-featured LFO with accurate tracking, PWM, FM, Sync, etc, then there ends up being no difference between a good LFO and a VCO. Instead of creating a separate LFO module, we decided to make the voltage levels in our system standardized so an oscillator would work as an LFO also. This is the same philosophy as the Moog modulars and gives you maximum flexibility in a system and it certainly gives you more features than using a traditional LFO. Check out the price/performance/feature ratio of our full-featured VCO/LFO compared to other companies LFO and you'll see this is the best solution. Like most issues concerning synthesizers, and music in general, there are different opinions.

John Wrote:
I absolutely love the fact that the oscillators double as VC LFO's.

Tom Wrote:
The idea of wasting your Oscillator on simple modulation doesn't make sense.
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Q: 110/220V Operation?
A: Yes, power systems operate on 110 VAC or 220 VAC. For 220 VAC operation, you will have to provide an IEC power cable to match your plug style.

Here is a picture of the Voltage Selection Switch.
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Q: How is power distributed inside the cabinets?
A: AC Power comes in from a module which is located on the front or rear panel then goes to the power supply which delivers the DC power (+15, +5, 0, -5) to a power harness connected in a 'star' configuration. This reduces power drops found in some systems which use a rail or daisy-chain configuration. See the Q101 page for power-related modules, power supplies, and harnesses. See the Technical information page for details about power connectors and pinouts.
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Q: How are modules mounted to wooden cabinets?
A: Initially I used brass inserts and machine screws to attach modules to the cabinets. Often the brass insert would break the wood and I didn't want to change the panel flange dimension because I like how it looked from the front. Another option was to use a metal bar with machined and tapped holes but the price of this piece (and you need 2 or 4 for each cabinet) was way too much. After much debate with myself, I did many experiments with pre-drilling the wood and using wood screws. The result was very good - no wood splitting and you could add and remove modules many times with no problems. I custom ordered a nice black screw for the job. You do have to be careful not to strip the wood by using an electric screwdriver but even that is rare with walnut. On the portable cabinets, the mounting rails are a hardwood - usually oak. This is obviously a design compromise. If I thought that people would need to replace modules once a week (or even once a month) I would opt for the expensive metal bars and try to endure the complaints about price, but this isn't the case and I think it's the best decision.

Terje Winther wrote:
"I have moog modular modules and dotcom modular modules in a dotcom wooden cabinet. Due to the nature of the old 1969 moog modules, which need constant attention, service and adustments, I have taken the moog modules out and back again multiple times, using the standard dotcom screws. I also have a custom-made rear on my wooden cabinet, with a detachable rear, attached with the same kind of black screws directly into the wood as on the front (neccerary when placing the moog wiring harness on the rear of the modules). I have to open the rear every time I do anything with the moog modules."

"I am utterly amazed at the fact that even after multiple use of the predrilled holes, the screws still have a very firm grip on the wood, without any signs of wearing out the wood nor losing the firm grip."
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Q: Cabinet and rail dimensions for a custom cabinet?
A: I use rails that are .500 tall and .750 deep. A dense hardwood is best and they must be drilled to accept mounting screws to limit cracking. The notch at the top and bottom of each module is .400. The rail should fit inside this notch with .025" to spare. So, .375 of the rail should go into the notch. This leaves .125 of the rail beyond the module's edge.

So, based on .500 tall rails, the inside cabinet dimension should be 8.750+.125+.125= 9.000.

There's very little room for error and the cabinet maker needs to be right on. It's pretty difficult to have a cabinet made that works without providing a panel for them to use.

Panel dimensions are on the technical page.
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Q: Can I use modules with MOTM modules?
A: Yes. MOTM Modules are made by Synthesis Technology. We both use standard voltages for audio, control and pitch signals (1V/Oct). So there is no problem using the two types of modules together. The difference is the power supply connectors and panel width.

MOTM modules are 8.75 high (5U) just like ours but come in width multiples of 1.75". This will leave a gap when placed in a cabinet which is expecting module widths in multiples of 2.125 like Moog modules. The gap can be filled with a small metal strip. Complete details about module sizes can be found on the Technical information page.

MOTM modules have the circuit board (PCB) perpendicular to the front panel which consumes about 4 to 5 inches behind the panel. modules have the PCB parallel to the front panel and consume only about 2.5 inches. Here is a picture of both modules.
Ultimately this means that MOTM modules have trouble fitting into some locations inside of cabinets because the PCB bumps into the cabinet or the power supply. Contact Synthtech for details about what modules will fit.

MOTM Modules use +15 and -15 power, modules use that also, but some modules also need +5 volts in an effort to keep the power supply clean from digital noise. Use our QMPSA Power Adapter to convert connectors and voltages. Pinouts of the power connectors can be found on the Technical information page.

Another option is to use our DC cable harness and attach it directly to a MOTM power distribution board. This way you can power 20 or 40 .com modules. Very easy to do.

Yet another option is to use our QPS2 8-module power supply which provides power for 8 .com modules and a great price.

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Q: Can I use modules with Modcan/Cynthia modules?
A: Modcan and Cynthia modules have different panel dimensions (9" tall vs 8.75" for the .com and 2.25" wide vs 2.125" for the .com). This prevents using our standard cases to house both types of modules. Modcan and Cynthia modules use +15, -15 volts just like systems but the connector is different and special power cables will be needed. Modcan and Cynthia modules use banana jacks instead of 1/4" jacks so you can use our Banana Jack Interface to interface the two types of modules. Other than physical mounting, power connectors and panel jacks, the external signals such as pitch voltage, signal voltage, and gate signals are compatible with systems. Modcan has added a 'B Series' with a different form factor - see their website for more info.
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Q: Microtonal Control?
A: Normally a keyboard controller will produce 1 volt per octave with each key being 1/12 of a volt change. The oscillator is designed to respond to this exponentially so that a 1 volt change will result in a doubling of the frequency (pitch). There are many people interested in other tuning systems besides the western standard 12 semitones per octave. By changing the control voltage from the keyboard controller you can achieve different tunings. The oscillator has a variable exponential input which allows you to attenuate the control signal - usually from a keyboard. The result of attenuation would be that it would take more keys to produce one octave of change. While this would allow greater than 12 keys per octave, it would not allow less than 12. This can also be done using the Q125 Signal Processor which simply allows you to amplify or attenuate a signal - in this case a control voltage from a keyboard controller. Take the control voltage from the keyboard and patch it to the input of the top section of the Q125 Signal Processor, then patch the output into the exponential response connector of an oscillator. By adjusting the gain control you can change the 1 volt per octave signal into something else such as 1 volt per 2 octaves (24 equal tones per octave) and of course anything in between. You can also go the other way where 12 keys will represent a span greater than 1 octave. The control is continuously variable and can be done using a good set of ears or a frequency counter. As you can probably tell, this method only allows equal temperament and you're limited to a standard 12-keys-per-octave keyboard. Once you get over 36 tones per octave you'll start getting less accurate results. This is due to the tracking nature of an analog synthesizer. If you need perfect accuracy for 48 equal temperament, then use a digital synth.

Who says that a keyboard has to have the low notes on the left and the high notes on the right? After all, many written languages read right to left. The Q125 Signal Processor also allows you to invert a signal which would result in the the keys on the left being higher pitch than the keys on the right. Remember, this is a modular analog synthesizer - almost anything can be done - normal or not.

Please see our link page for pointers to the Microtonal universe.
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Q: More Q106 Hard Sync Information
A: Q106a Hardsync actually operates on the rising edge (UP) of the syncing signal, or rising and falling edge (BOTH) depending on the jumper. The Q106a versions (written on PCB) have this jumper at the top of the board, the non-A version does not and only responds to falling edges. I've never heard of anyone experimenting with this. So, someone should put a jumper on there and see what syncing on both rising and falling edges sounds like.

To sync with a keyboard on the non-A version, you need to sync on the rising edge of gate but the Q106 wants the falling edge. This is there the Q125 signal processor shines. Simply invert the gate with no offset and patch it to hard sync. If you have the A version, just patch the gate right to the hard sync.

As for soft sync knob affecting the hard sync response, I suspect it might, especially if you're syncing with a non-sharp edge signal. Turning the soft sync full CW should reduce it's effect, CCW will increase it's effect.

Only waveforms with sharp edges will hard sync in the intended manor. This is not to say you can't sync with other waveforms, that's the beauty of these instruments. When you sync with a non-pulse waveform, you have to know which edge is at play. If you have an A version Q106 (and the jumper is off) then you should use a Saw since it has a sharp rising edge, if you have a non-A version, then you should use a ramp since it has a sharp falling edge.
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Q: How 'quiet' are these systems/modules?
A: In this 'digital' age of CD quality recording equipment, the question of noise comes up a little more than it use to back in the days ruled by vinyl. We've tried to be true to the 'analog' concept and are pleased with the results. We don't use Digital Signal Processors (DSP) in our products - that would make them more quiet but would also make them digital! There are plenty of products out there to give you that sterile digital sound. But you're here for a different reason - you want analog. Now to the answer: Using an HP 8903b audio analyzer through our Q108 amplifier shows a signal to noise ratio of 82db (CD quality is around 96db). How's that!?
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Q: Will these modules fit in an existing Moog system?
A: modules are similar in size and mounting to a traditional Moog modular system so they will physically fit in the cabinet. The signal voltage levels are also compatible as are most modular synthesizer modules. The difference is the way the modules connect to the power supply behind the panel. In a traditional Moog modular system, there is a card connector and elaborate wiring harness to route power and to connect modules together. modules are truly modular (modules can go in any location) and only need power applied from a simple power cable connector. See the technical information page for details on the power connections. You could mount modules in a Moog modular cabinet but you would need to also install a power supply and cable harness. You can mount a Moog module in a studio cabinet but you would need special wiring to provide power and possibly other signals. Portable cabinets are not deep enough to house a Moog module.

Also, see Erik N's large Moog modular system with a Q119 Sequencer and a few other modules.

And see Bill K's rack mount Moog System with a Q117 S&H module.
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Q: Connecting Moog triggers to systems
A: Moog systems use a unique type of Trigger (or Gate) signal. These are on/off signals that are usually generated from a keyboard controller and are used to start an envelope generator or sequencer. Instead of the signal carrying a voltage that changes, the Moog 'Switch Trigger' is just dry contacts or a mechanical switch to ground. The one advantage to this is that triggers can be patched in parallel to create a logical OR - the disadvantage is that the trigger must go through a conversion module to interface to other voltage level signals. systems use voltage gate signals instead which allows for easier, more intutive patching and much more flexibility without conversion.

Voltage to Moog Switch Trigger Cable
This special cable converts voltage gate signals from a system to switch trigger signals needed to activate Moog envelope generators. It has a male 1/4" plug on one end and a 2-pin Cinch/Jones plug on the other. Here's the circuit if you want to make your own.

To convert from a Moog Switch Trigger to a voltage gate needed by modules, you'll need to run the Moog Switch Trigger signal through the Moog 961 module to create a voltage. You can also use the Q142 Pedal Interface which will convert any mechanical switch to a voltage level. You'll have to construct a special cable. You can build a simple circuit to do this also. The reason that a simple cable is not available to make this conversion is because a voltage source is needed.
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Q: How are modules different from Moog?
A: There are several aspects of the design of systems that are improvements over Moog modules. Some of these things are possible due to better electronics, some are because of my design philosophy, and some are due to hindsight. Here are a few things:

Consistent panel graphics:

    This includes font types and sizes, placement of graphics and layout of panels. Original Moog modules have graphics that are covered by jack washers, sometimes above and sometimes below the described item, inconsistent use of font type and sizes, even the logos and headings frequently don't line up.
Consistent knob usage:
    Knobs for pots are round, knobs for rotary switches are pointers, 2 or 3 position selections are toggle switches. Original Moog modules sometimes use round knobs for rotary switches, sometimes use larger knobs for some functions, sometimes use rocker switches.
Truly Modular: systems are truly modular. Even the power modules can be placed in any position - even on the back. There is no normalization in a system. Moog systems were fairly un-modular despite their name. There was a wiring harness behind the modules that hard-wired various modules together. Moving modules to other places was often an issue. Also, on Moog systems, there is a series of half-size modules that are fixed on the bottom row that can't be placed anywhere else.
Universal Gate/Trigger Signals: uses a simpler system for Gate signals that gives the user more patching options. Gate signals indicate an on/off condition usually from a keyboard or sequencer. They are used to start envelopes, oscillator cycles or sequencers. All Gate signal inputs can be triggered by any audio or control signal - they even use the same connector. There is no distinction between audio, control, and gate signals. This greatly opens the patching possibilities. In Moog systems there were various types of trigger/gate signals that used a different style connector. To fire an envelope generator from an oscillator required a special conversion module and extra patch cords.
Larger Signal Levels: systems use 10V Peak-Peak signal levels. Voltage levels throughout the system can often reach as high as 25V. These giant voltage levels help improve the signal to noise ratio. Moog systems use only 1-2Vpp signal levels.
On-Module Attenuators/Inverters/Mixers:
    Possibly the biggest difference of all is the ease of patching made by placing attenuators, inverters, and mixers on modules instead of requiring a separate module. This makes patching more intuitive and uses less cables. To control a filter with an envelope generator, simply use one patch cord. Moog systems require that many signals go through an attenuator module before going to their destination. This can easily double the amount of cords or limit the user's patch.
Enclosure Consistency:
    Ok, some people would say I'm being picky, but it's always bothered me that the Moog keyboard enclosure had an angle that was opposite of the cabinets. On systems the angle of the keyboard enclosure matches the keyboard garage and the tilted cabinet.
Rear Enclosure Design: systems Studio cabinets have closed rear panels of walnut and also provide 4 module spaces on the back, typically for power modules. The rear of the system is worthy of show. The system doesn't have to be placed against a wall or away from an audience. Moog systems have completely open rears or use perforated pressboard. It's like looking at the back of a vintage TV.
Panel Circuit mounting:
    Moog Circuit boards are very large since they are designed to fit inside of a metal frame and are perpendicular to the front panel. The mechanics are unnecessarily large and deep and have a lot of metal that is frankly overkill. My guess is that the main design influence was military electronics and radios. modules do not consume very much space behind the panel. The circuit boards are parallel to the front panel. This gives us many more options when mounting modules in portable cabinets and racks.
Environmental Issues:
    Moog panels used anodized aluminium that was then etched to expose the lettering. This etching process is very dangerous since it created toxic fumes. Moog module artwork doesn't have consistent widths which causes the exposed edges to be inconsistent. panels use a more complex masking process, painting, then silkscreen printing. This is a bit more work but it's safer and the panels look great. follows the Moog look, feel, size, and sound because we think it's great. Moog has set the standard and we all appreciate Bob for that.
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Q: Will products interface with my existing equipment?
A: We use voltage levels that are very common to analog synthesizers which will make it easy to interface with other audio equipment. We use 1 volt per octave pitch control signals, and 10 volt peak to peak waveforms. Usually some attenuation is made of the final output before patching into mixers or amps. We also use 1/4" patch cords which also make life easier when connecting equipment from different manufacturers. The details can be seen on our Technical Information Page.
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Q: Will products work with MoogerFoogers?
A: Yes, the signal levels are compatible.
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Q: Can I process my guitar with modules?
A: Yes, if you boost the signal level with a Q118 Instrument Interface. Signal levels of a guitar are very low and need to be boosted (amplified) in order to match those of a modular synth. modules are not designed to work stand-alone, they need an enclosure such as a cabinet or rack frame, and a power supply system.

There is not a module that will extract pitch information from your guitar (Pitch to voltage converter). That is a very difficult task. But the Q118 instrument interface does create a gate signal indicating the start and end of a note. The threshold is adjustable. This gate can be used to trigger the envelope generator, start a sequencer, etc.

Our Rack-8 is a typical configuration of modules suited for processing external sounds such as those from a guitar. The system includes the Q118 instrument interface, oscillator, filter, envelope generator, voltage controlled amplifier, rack frame, and power supply. This system can be expanded easily by adding rack frames and modules.
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Q: Can a Keyboard controller be powered from a DC din connector?
A: QKB15S Keyboard Controllers are powered by +12 VDC usually from a wall transformer. The Q101, Q103, and Q137 Power modules provide DC power via a 6 pin female connector. The voltages available are +15VDC, -15VDC, and +5VDC - all well regulated. The keyboard controller has it's own internal regulator and only needs about 9VDC - 18VDC at less than 50ma. So you can provide power to the keyboard by a short cable from one of the modules. When you turn your system off, the keyboard will also go off. When making such a cable, double check the pin outs! The connector on the keyboard is a 2.5mm 'DC Power' connector with the center pin being +. For details on pinouts, see the Technical Information Page.
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Q: What about output voltage levels?
A: Yes, this is an issue. The signals in a modular are very 'hot' meaning they are often 20Vpp or more. These high levels help with noise reduction. Since amps and mixers are designed to deal with much smaller signals, you'll need to attenuate the signals from the synth to prevent clipping. This is very easy since most synth patches end with a VCA (Q108 Amplifier). Simply use the Control #1 attenuator to reduce the output level to whatever you need. Another way is to use a Q125 Signal Processor to attenuate the output signal.
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Q: What is a minimal system?
A: To build a minimal synthesizer system you'll need some basic modules to create and modify waveforms. See our ideas on building your own custom synthesizer system. A typical minimal system would consist of the following items:

    1) QPS1 Power Supply
    1) QDH20 DC Power Harness

    1) Q101 Power Control
    1) Q102 AC Power Interface
    1) Q104 MIDI Interface
    1) Q105 Slew Limiter
    3) Q106 Oscillator
    1) Q107 State Variable Filter
    2) Q108 Amplifier
    2) Q109 Envelope Generator
    1) Q110 Noise
    1) Q112 Mixer
    1) Q116 Ring Modulator
    1) Q117 Sample & Hold
    1) Q124 Multiples
    2) Q125 Signal Processor

If you will be using your system mostly for modifying sounds from a guitar, microphone or other instrument, add a Q118 Instrument Interface in place of one of the Q106 Oscillators.

If you want a VERY MINIMAL system that will simply make some sounds and allow filtering, then use these modules (doesn't include power products):

    2) Q106 Oscillator
    1) Q107 State Variable Filter
    1) Q108 Amplifier
    2) Q109 Envelope Generator

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Q: Polyphonic/Monophonic issues
A: Modular, analog synthesizers (and many normalized synths) are inherently monophonic meaning that only one note can be played at a time.

Pressing more than one key will result in only one of the key's notes being played. Making a monophonic synthesizer act polyphonic is not an easy task since you would need multiple identical patches running in parallel. This would require many more modules than a normal monophonic patch. All of the settings would have to be the same which would be difficult and would not lend itself to real-time control.

Our keyboard controller has a dual-key mode which means that 2 keys can be pressed at the same time and 2 sets of signals are generated. This could be used to create a duophonic patch but it would require 2 complete sets of modules with the same settings.

In summary, don't expect a big polyphonic experience from a modular analog synthesizer. The sound of a modular synthesizer is very large as monophonic and it's best used that way.
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