Often it’s the little things that count, and for modular users, that means accessories—cables, hangers, and other gadgets that make the patching experience more efficient and enjoyable.
Following this month’s holiday gift-guide theme, we’ve assembled a list of affordable, modular-friendly items that are a mix of practical and fun.
Synthesizers.com QHL cable holderSYNTHESIZERS.COM QHL CABLE HOLDER
A well-organized, centrally located rack makes it easy to find the right-sized cables while keeping them off the floor where they can get damaged or lost. One problem with standard racks is that they’re designed to be attached to some surface—a wall or the side of your case—which can be inconvenient if you have lots of cables.
Enter the QHL, a 9"x12" heavy-duty cable hanger that attaches to a standard mic stand. Because it’s not nailed to the wall, you can place it anywhere—even take it to a gig! Designed to hold 156 1/4" cables, it’ll hold even more banana and 3.5mm cables, as well as any other cables you have around the studio (MIDI, USB, FireWire, AC power cables, and so on).
Synthesizers.com also offers the QHS ($19), a surface-mountable, 36-cable holder that is only 6" wide, making it a great choice when the side of your synth case is too narrow for a standard-width cable rack. (Mounting screws are included.)
Koma Elektronik kabelhängerKOMA ELEKTRONIK KABELHÄNGER
For those times when you want your cables right next to you in the studio or onstage, the kabelhänger attaches directly to the rails in your Eurorack case. The racks are available in two sizes—19 and 24 slots.
Ljunggren Audio RYO Airtenuator ILJUNGGREN AUDIO RYO AIRTENUATOR I
$15 ASSEMBLED; $9 PACK OF 3 PCBS; $25
DIY KIT (ENOUGH FOR THREE UNITS) LJUNGGRENAUDIO.COM
A passive attenuator for systems with 3.5mm jacks, the RYO Airtenuator I has a linear taper that makes it great for adjusting signal levels and modulation depth between source and destination modules.
At 2.25" long and 1" tall, the RYO Airtenuator I is designed to float in the air, suspended by the input and output cables attached to either end. The knob is easy enough to turn with a single hand, yet it is lightweight enough that it won’t create stress on your modules’ jacks at either end. Simply route your signal in the right direction through the device. Little white arrows printed on the circuit board show you the proper connection.
I found the RYO Airtenuator I to be extremely handy when I needed a way to subtly adjust the parameters of a patch, especially during a performance.
Intellijel The HubINTELLIJEL THE HUB
One of the handiest, but least sexy modules in your system is the mult, a device that splits an output signal into several copies. Although a mult module doesn’t take up much space in your rack, it does take some, and in a complex patch, it seems like you can never have enough of them.
With that in mind, Intellijel created the Hub, an inexpensive and portable 1- to 3-way passive mult. The Hub is built into a solid, lightweight plastic enclosure that is 1.5" wide and just more than 0.5" thick, and the 3.5mm gold-plated jacks are mounted onto the PCB. (The unit can be opened up by removing a pair of screws, if you need to repair it.)
Magnets on each side allow you to attach the device to metal edges or posts of your case. (The Hub is also available without magnets for the same price.)
Tiptop Audio StackcableTIPTOP AUDIO STACKCABLE
Buchla, Bug Brand, and Serge owners have known all along that the ability to distribute source signals to any number of destinations with the use of a cable-based mult increases your patch complexity exponentially, while simultaneously saving you module real estate. Other than converting all of our minijack modules to banana jacks, what’s a synthesist to do?
Tiptop Audio revolutionized patching for Eurorack and Frac Rack users with the introduction of the Stackcable, a heavy-duty 3.5mm plug with a 3.5mm jack attached directly behind it. The cables are available in five color-coded lengths, from 30cm to 150cm.
Once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. (Bananajack users can now wipe that smug look off their faces!)
Erthenvar IV CablesERTHENVAR IV CABLES
In contrast, Erthenvar’s 3.5mm IV Cable allows you to directly split a signal at the middle of the cable, using an attached 3.5mm jack—very useful in situations where you want to keep cable-lengths as short as possible and your multed patch-point destination is located somewhere in the middle of your module case.
IV Cables are available in lengths from 11.8" to 47.2" and in four colors—Black Magic, Snow White, Cordon Bleu, and One Shade of Grey.
UTOPB LED CableUTOPB LED CABLE
Inside the LED Cable are two colored cables that show polarity (one color for positive voltages, the other for negative) and level (the stronger the signal, the brighter the color). This not only looks great onstage, but it allows you to see at a glance the state of envelopes, gates, and other control or audio signals.
The cables are most efficient when attached directly to a module’s output or a buffered mult. In non-buffered situations, signal strength is weakened by the cable, which the manufacturer suggests can be used creatively to smooth control signals.
The interior cables are protected by a squishy silicon outer tube, so be sure to hold the plug itself when you connect or disconnect the LED cables. Available in lengths up to 19.7"; choose from eight colors for the inner cables, and select 3.5mm Neutrik/Re’an silver or black plugs.
Division 6 Jack LiteDIVISION 6 JACK LITE
Whether you need something to test the polarity and strength of an output signal, or some additional blinking lights, the Jack Lite will do the trick. The light at the end of the 3.5mm plug will shine red for positive signals, blue for negative, with brightness indicating signal strength.
Expert Sleepers Glow-in-the-Dark Cables EXPERT SLEEPERS GLOW-IN-THE-DARK PATCH CABLES
If you need 3.5mm patch cables that glow bright green in the dark, now you know where to find them. Available in lengths from 12" to 31.5".