[sdiy] Standard markings for modular I/O & CV versus Audio?

john slee indigoid at oldcorollas.org
Fri Dec 20 12:06:49 CET 2019

Colour as an additional, optional signal, sure. I like the Bananuts a
bunch. But not as the only signal. Think of your users! What if they can't
distinguish colours as reliably as you can?

With that out of the way, some things this amateur likes on panels, with
names named because I think concrete examples help:

* input and output jacks clearly indicated as such. Intellijel does this by
inverting the background and text colours for output jacks.
Nonlinearcircuits puts subtle but clearly visible rings around the output
jacks. I don't really care what, as long as it's consistent (yes I'm
glaring at YOU, Make Noise, your stuff isn't even consistent within a
single module!)

* for knobs that attenuate/attenuvert an input signal, an indication of
which type it is — perhaps by using -/+ (attenuvert) or 0/+ (attenuate)
indicators a la Doepfer

* avoid overly precise indicators for knobs if tolerances are going to

* sometimes *extremely simple* pictures are the best way. Doepfer's
A-149-1, A-171-2, A-143-1 and A-143-2 are all examples I like

* no irritating knobs that change behaviour from "provide CV" when no
corresponding input cable is connected to "attenuate input CV" when you
plug a cable in. I realise lots of people want modules with tiny cramped
unusable panels, but ... extremely no.

* Layout variety. A system full of modules with extremely similar layouts
can be super annoying to navigate. I'm not sure how much awareness there
was of this when the major systems (Roland, Moog, Buchla, etc) were
designed, but you can often identify at a surprising distance which module
is which, purely based on the control layout. ie. don't be like this


On Fri, 20 Dec 2019 at 15:52, Quincas Moreira <quincas at gmail.com> wrote:

> Brian, use color coded nuts! Befaco sells them, look for Bananuts. I use
> something like the Serge code. Blue for cv, black for audio, red for logic.
> if i want to diferentiate between ins and outs, green for cv out, blue in.
> Gold for audio out and black in.
> I did this to my FCUK Product, check it:
> https://youtu.be/iRDa3DMeReQ
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Dec 19, 2019, at 22:34, rsdio at audiobanshee.com wrote:
> Hello all,
> I seem to recall that some brands of modular utilize a consistent set of
> markings for Inputs, Outputs, CV (DC) & Audio (AC or DC). There’s also
> sometimes the convention that inputs are on top, and outputs are on the
> bottom, but that seems difficult to stick to for all kinds of modules.
> It seems nice to be able to glance at a front panel and know right away
> which jacks are outputs, which are inputs, which can accept CV and/or audio.
> What conventions exist? Are there conflicting conventions? Is it hopeless?
> Thanks for any input (as long as you label the inputs),
> Brian Willoughby
> p.s. I just designed a one-off module that I thought was going to include
> a set of multiples. However, I’ve now learned that I need to make these
> active, so I have to designate which jacks are inputs versus outputs. I’ve
> already ordered the face plate for this one, but I’m still thinking of how
> I might have changed the labeling to reflect active versus passive.
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