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Glossary of modular synth terms

Modular synth glossary. Updating as needed
This is an explanation of the product or the words that appear when reading the manual.

1V / Oct (1 Volt Parker)

CV input and its unit that controls the pitch (pitch) of the oscillator. A unit in which the pitch increases by one octave when the voltage increases by 1V. In other units, there is also Hz / V or odd 1V / Oct where the pitch increases by a certain frequency when the 1V voltage rises. In the case of the Eurorack oscillator, it is about 0.32V / Oct, so the pitch control input says 1V / Oct.

Also, when the filter is producing sound by self-oscillation, the pitch can be changed according to the cutoff frequency, so it is also possible to have an FM input in units of 1V / Oct so that this cutoff frequency can be moved according to the scale. There is.

Audio Rate (Audio)

Depending on the module, the frequency of the LFO may be raised to the audible range as the cycle of the LFO etc. is shortened. At such times, this LFO is said to be modulating at the audio rate. In FM, AM, and other modular systems, the voltage that moves at the audio rate can often be used as CV. 

Since the oscillator originally outputs a voltage signal at the audio rate, as the pitch is lowered, the frequency falls below the audible range, and there are many that can be used as a normal speed LFO.


A function or module that functions to adjust the strength of the CV input (modulation amount) or the strength of the audio signal. Even non-modular, there is a knob that adjusts the strength with which the LFO or envelope modulation is applied, but that is equivalent to that. Often there are modules that do not have an attenuator on the CV input, in which case you can use a separate attenuator module or adjust the strength of the signal source. →Attenator category products


Like an attenuator, it works like adjusting the strength of the voltage coming into the CV input. However, in the case of the Atte inverter, CV can be turned upside down (minus). Even a non-modular synth has an amount knob that allows the envelope to be applied in the opposite direction, which is equivalent to that. There are often modules without an Atte Inverter, so in that case, use an Atte Inverter module separately or adjust the strength by the signal source.

AC Coupling

A circuit that removes DC signals. It is mainly used in modules that expect only audio input. DC CouplingBecomes an antonym of


Meaning in both directions, plus and minus. Attenuator is a bipolar attenuator. The antonym isUnipolar.

Bus Board

It is a switchboard for supplying electricity to each module. There are many greens and blacks.


A bus board fixed inside the case. There is also a Fying Busboard that does not need to be fixed and is in the shape of a cable.


A pulse wave signal with even intervals and short time is called a clock. Also, a module that creates such a signalClock generatorThe same LFO pulse wave can be used as a substitute for the voltage movement. You can sync them by sharing the clock signal between sequencers or with other analog gear. In addition, equipment that converts MIDI clock to CV outputs the clock according to the BPM of MIDI clock.

And with modularity, the clock can be used for more than just general synchronization. Original clock Clock divider ,Clock multiplierYou can move the sequencer etc. with various rhythms and time scales by sending it to various modules through the etc.

Since it is a short pulse voltage, it can also be used as it is to trigger the envelope or drum. Also, some clock modules can be swinged at non-equidistant intervals, can be controlled by CV, and can output signals in the form of long-lasting gate signals. →Clock category products


A voltage signal for control (modulation) such as LFO, envelope, and output from the sequencer. Electricity running inside the modular is used as either this CV signal or the audio signal, and it is the most attractive that the modular can freely move these two signals between various modules. is. You can also use the audio signal as a CV. About CVDedicated pageSee also

DC Coupled

A circuit used in a CV processing circuit that processes DC voltage without removing it.

In addition, even in modules that tend to process audio such as mixers and VCA,CVs can be mixed and controlledMany are DC-coupled like this. An audio interface that has a DC-coupled output, such as MOTU, can output CV signals in addition to audio signals.


A function / module that can output a clock at half or 2/1 speed by "thinning out" pulse waves such as clock signals once every two times, once every three times, etc.


An envelope is a CV that starts with a trigger or gate signal and then rises and then falls. The envelope that descends as soon as it rises is called the AD envelope, and the envelope that keeps the voltage at the sustain level while the gate signal lasts and descends when the gate signal reaches 0 is called the ADSR envelope. , There are also many AD envelope modules in modular rather than ADSR. It may be easier to create multiple AD envelopes to create a more complex envelope than ADSR.

There are also many envelope generator modules that have a function that makes them operate as an LFO by automatically looping the envelope. →Envelope category products

Euclidean Sequencer

A type of gate / trigger sequencer that allows you to change patterns with knobs and CVs.

The Euclidean sequencer creates and outputs patterns according to the world's oldest algorithm, "Euclidean algorithm (the algorithm that finds the greatest common divisor by division)".Loop lengthWhen,Number of beats ("ON") in one loopWhen is decided, two numbers for the greatest common divisor are decided, and a specific pattern is produced. It seems that this algorithm can make a considerable proportion of the rhythmic patterns used in folk music (paperIt has also become). In addition to this, you can create more patterns by changing the start point of the loop.

The module that enables these controls with the knob and CV is the Euclidean sequencer module. 


One of the most popular and powerful functions for changing tones on a synthesizer. In the modular world, in addition to the low-pass filter module, there are multi-mode filters that can switch between low-pass / high-pass / band-pass / notch and morphing, and filters that can be combined and patched by incorporating two filters. . There are many choices and the actual sounds are different. Even if you are referring to a famous filter, the sound will be different depending on the circuit parts you are using.

If it ’s modular, thenFM,Wave shaping,Low pass gateThere are various synthesis methods such as, and it is one of the attractions that you can combine them as you like. →Filter category products

FM (Efuemu)

Frequency Modulation. Modulating / controlling the frequency, such as the pitch of an oscillator or the cutoff of a filter. Almost every oscillator or filter has an FM input. "1V / Oct" The input is also FM in meaning, but it's normal for oscillators and filters to have one more FM input.

In addition, a specific FM method that uses the output of one oscillator as the CV to modulate the pitch of another oscillator is called "FM synthesis."


"Gate signal" is one of CV, and is a signal that jumps to a certain high voltage momentarily and returns to 1 in an instant when returning. For example on the keyboard"On and off"It is a signal that can be used when something like switching between two options, such as a voltage signal that expresses.

In detail, it is written separately as "GATE / CV", but in patching it is only one of the voltage (CV) for controlling GATE. CV uses the voltage value as it is as a number, and the gate signal is used as a two-state digital signal of ON and OFF.

Gate signal


Function to invert the signal upside down. If it is a negative voltage, it will be converted to a positive voltage.Atte inverterIs an inverterAttenuatorIt is a function that combines.


A function / module that produces a CV that changes periodically. Oscillators with a wide frequency range are often used as LFOs as the frequency is lowered. The envelope is a signal that rises from 0 and returns to 0, but the LFO produces a signal that changes from a positive voltage to a negative voltage. There are also modules that can be synchronized to the clock and modules that multiply each other's modulation.


Typically, it is a function / module that inputs one or more signals that can be turned ON / OFF, such as GATE, and outputs signals that follow a predetermined logic. In a simple example, logic such as OR (or) and AND (and) is used. It can also be used to input a sequence of clock and gate signals to create a new rhythm pattern or the like.

Low Pass Gate (Low Pass Gate)

This is a modular sound synthesis function / module that can be used mainly for tone shaping and unique VCA.
While the filter existed in the center of synths such as MOOG on the east coast, the Low Pass Gate has a history of being favored by Buchla on the west coast.

LPG is
  • A special filter whose characteristics change depending on the gain of the input audio signal.
  • A special circuit called "Bactrol" that uses a resistor whose resistance changes with light.
It is composed by combining. If you input a gate signal or envelope to this, the LPG gain / filter will rise / open, and will return immediately. During this period, the frequency response between the loudness of the sound and the zero of the sound changes with the gain at that moment due to the peculiarity of the filter. Ringing etc.). This natural sense of decay is very suitable for making percussion sounds such as bongo and sounds like playing strings, and the bongo sound made with LPG is called "Buchla Bongo" after Buchla who developed LPG. To do.

Bactrol has a large difference in characteristics because it is made by putting the light source in a black box and sticking it to the circuit board. Also, depending on the model, very small high frequency components may last for several minutes.

MIDI-CV / Gate conversion

When sending performance data via MIDI, there are modules and equipment that convert it into CV / Gate signals. With such equipment, one MIDI note
  • CV that represents pitch information. This CV is an oscillator1V / Oct inputIt is possible to input it to and play it according to the MIDI scale.
  • A GATE that indicates whether MIDI notes are on or off. The voltage suddenly increases from 0V at note-on, and instantaneously returns to 0V at note-off.
It is generally expressed by two voltages. In addition, many MIDI converter products convert MIDI clock to analog clock and output it. MIDI-CV category products


Function / module used when you want to send out a voltage signal in multiple directions. It has one input and outputs the same signal to multiple outputs. It is also possible to multiple with a cable etc. instead of a module such as Tiptop stackable.

There is also a buffered multiple that uses power as opposed to multiple that does not consume power. This is a modest one, as the signal is not attenuated and the input signal can be checked easily with LEDs. Although there are few situations in which attenuation is a concern even with ordinary multiples, Buffered Mult may be better for pitch CVs, etc., where you want to accurately input scale voltage. →Multiple category products


DividerConversely, the function / module that creates a more "busy" clock by setting the intervals of the input clock signals to 1/2, 1/3, etc. Even though the names are similarmultipleIs another feature.


A function / module that generates a signal that vibrates in a fine and random manner, rather than outputting a periodic signal from a circuit like an oscillator. There is also a module that can produce a noise sound by filtering it based on "white noise" that includes all frequencies evenly. There are also modules that produce sounds with chaotic movement rather than pure noise. →Noise / Chaos Category Products

Normalization (internally connected to Nomalize)

Even if it is not patched to a jack, it should be connected to somewhere internally. Patching breaks the internal connections. We use this internal connection a lot in semi-modular synths that produce sound without patching.


A voltage that is constant over time. There are also modules that use such a voltage as an input. Of course, it is also possible to output a negative voltage.


The synthesizer's first sound source function / module that creates a voltage signal that changes periodically. Things that change slowlyLOW FREQUENCY OSCILLATOR (LFO)Is called, and is used for modulation, not sound. When you say only an oscillator without attaching anything, it usually means the function as a sound source.Wave Shaper With the built-in or capable of producing sound digitally, oscillators in the modular world are much more diverse and modulated than in the non-modular world.


A function / module for shifting a continuously changing CV to a certain discrete value. Mainly used to create pitch CVs that match the scale. Oscillator1V / OctIf you want to adjust the voltage to the input at intervals of 12 scales, you can pass it through a Quantizer once to bring it to a pitch CV that matches the interval of 1 scales (for overall tuning, adjust the pitch knob of the oscillator). ). An example of using the Quantizer isCV description pageSee also →Quantizer category products

Sample and Hold (Sampuru Andhold)

When the CV that continues to change is used as the sample input and the trigger signal is received as the other input, the voltage value of the CV is caught at the moment when the trigger signal is received (Sample), and the output continues until the trigger signal comes next. It is a function / module that holds the CV of that value.

Putting a random CV into the sample input and an early clock signal as the trigger input, and putting the output signal into the oscillator pitch to create a robotic phrase is a long-standing use of sample and hold.Also,I want to change the pitch of the oscillator only when the envelope is triggered(I don't want to change the pitch in the middle of the envelope), input the pitch CV as the sample CV, input the same trigger signal to the sample & hold, and input the output to the oscillator1V / Oct inputYou can do this by typing in. It is a modular feature that can be used in other unexpected situations. →Sample and Hold Category Products


ク ロ ッ クA function / module that changes the output signal each time it receives a signal. It is divided into a CV sequencer that sets the CV that is output each time the clock progresses with a knob, and a gate (trigger) sequencer that switches the gate ON / OFF each time the clock progresses, and there are multiple sequencer and CV channels with both functions. There is also a sequencer.

Modular makes it easy to add phrases or changes that are longer than the number of steps the sequencer has, such as moving some sequencers at different clock timings.

Slew Limiter

Also known as thru. Of the incoming signal,Loosen the degree of changeIt works. Therefore, you can generate a trapezoidal envelope by inputting a gate signal. Most of them can adjust the degree of change and can be controlled by CV. Also, if you input a quantized pitch CV, the change in pitch will be gradual, so it is also used when making the oscillator glide (portamento). →SLEW category products

Self Oscillation (self-oscillation)

With a filter with no input, as the resonance is raised, feedback often produces a sound similar to a sine wave. This is called self-oscillating sound, and the pitch becomes the cutoff frequency, which can be used as a fine sound source. Depending on the filter, the cutoff frequency may be lowered to the limit and used as an LFO.


A module that switches the input source jack and output destination jack by CV or gate signal. The sequencer contains a lot of circuitry that does the same thing as a switch module. Having one is very convenient.

Saw Core

With some exceptions, there are two oscillator pronunciation methods: Saw Core and Triangle Core. As its name implies, Saw Core first generates a sawtooth wave and then converts it to another waveform to create all other waveforms such as a sine wave, while Triangle Core starts with a triangular wave. As a waveform, a triangle wave is closer to a sine wave, so in general, the Triangle Core is better at producing a highly accurate sine wave, and is oriented toward a clear, high-fidelity analog sound. Especially FM makes a beautiful sound.

Saw Core may be addicted to vintage analog sounds and dirty FM sounds.

Triangle Core (Triangle Core)


A pulse signal with a very short gate time. ADenvelopeIt is used as a signal to open the drum, or to level the drum module.

Unipolar (Yunipora)

One-way.BipolarThe opposite of.


An amplifier that can control the amplification factor (amplifier volume) by CV. By using the final stage of the synth and controlling the amplification rate with the envelope, the volume changes from the beginning to the end of the sound.

Also, in the modular world, enter the CV into the VCA,Control CV with CVI also use it frequently. For example, if you input a fast LFO into the VCA's signal input and a slow LFO into the VCA's CV input, you can create an LFO in which the strength itself is gently applied. →VCA category products

Waveshaper / Wavefolder (Wave Shaper / Waveformer)

A function / module that adds harmonics to the input signal using various circuits. Since the parameters for shaping are often controlled by CV, this is one of the methods that can produce quite a variety of sounds as analog tone synthesis. Depending on the usage and settings, it can also be heard like distortion / saturation. →Waveshaper category products


One of the oscillator's digital synthesis methods. Instead of a triangular wave or a sawtooth wave, a lot of periodic waveforms are prepared in advance as data, arranged in memory, and the waveforms output by changing between them are also morphed. The waveform data may be arranged not only in one dimension but also in two or three dimensions. It may also function as a special wave shaper by outputting a scan of the wavetable with the input signal. 

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