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The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

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The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Arpangel » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:16 am

I noticed a post here aout starting out in 500 series modules, I didn't want to hijack the chaps thread, so I'm posting here.
I'm just wondering how all this came about, a few months back I was also thinking of getting into 500 series, but forgot about it as it could easily have become a bit like Eurorack, addictive, and expensive. I tried to seriously evaluate the reasons why I needed a 500 rack, and I couldn't convince myself. I don't need to save space, there aern't any modules available for 500 series that appeal to me that I can't get in 19inch rack form, also, the cost of a 500 rack will add to the cost of the "cheaper" 500 series modules, making any module savings less significant.
I'm also interested in how all this started, and why people make the decision to use 500 series in the first place.
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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:28 am

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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:18 pm

Arpangel wrote:I'm also interested in how all this started, and why people make the decision to use 500 series in the first place.

Watchmaker's link has the background and history.

I think the 500-series is a 'Marmite' thing -- it has a lot of appeal to some, and none at all to others.

As you say, the most obvious downside is the initial cost of the rack/power supply, combined with the fact that it will look silly when half-empty, and be very frustrating when you've filled it up and need another rack to continue your module lust! :-)

The real strength of it, I think, is that it allows easy mix-n-match of different modules from different suppliers at relatively low cost. So for the wannabies that simply must have Neve and API and SSL and other vintage (style) preamps... they can, without upsetting the bank manager too much!

And then there are the DIY-ers who can build all manner of modules themselves without the expense of cases and power supplies for each new build.

But there are some inherent compromises in the format too, not least the physical panel space constraints.

The original power supply limitations have largely been overcome, though, and some of the third-party rack systems are very flexible too which can make the system much easier to integrate with modern DAW workflows.
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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby CS70 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:50 pm

Arpangel wrote: I tried to seriously evaluate the reasons why I needed a 500 rack, and I couldn't convince myself.

I went thru the same - and I reached the same conclusion, because there aren't any reasons. It's just a different way to do the same thing, which would conveniently fill the void of not being doing the thing itself - that is, producing music.

I already have and use good outboard stuff, but the truth is, it's just for fun. Good plugins do all the effects you need.

Now if there was an interesting subject and lyrics generator... I have at least a dozen songs and ideas that just need the right words! No 500 module for that..
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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:25 pm

The draw (read: excuse) for me is portability. In Theory, I can stack two primo channel strips into one relatively mobile package, or create an array of various mic pres just to open the possibilities. Also, a single PS for 6 -10 modules has its advantages. The challenge being convertors if I lug it to location. I have free convertors in my studio but they're rack mounted...

I guess I'm drawn because I'm an inveterate gearhead and the opportunity to tweak is attractive. There's just something about tinkering with hardware to avoid actually writing and performing.
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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:36 pm

Watchmaker wrote:I can stack two primo channel strips into one relatively mobile package...

But you could do the same with a 2U rack unit in a portable padded case, too. ;)
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Re: The origin and use of 500 Series modules?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:06 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Watchmaker wrote:I can stack two primo channel strips into one relatively mobile package...

But you could do the same with a 2U rack unit in a portable padded case, too. ;)

This is what goes through my mind too, hence still not convinced.
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