Please note that MOTM modular products are no longer available directly from Synthesis Technology. Check with our retail partners for available inventory.
The MOTM Analog Modular Synthesizer is a system of studio-quality modules that offer outstanding value. MOTM differs from all of the other modular synthesizers in that both electrical and mechanical design represent our "No Compromise" attitude. Our front panels are made from 1/8" (3.2mm) thick aircraft aluminum, providing the strongest mechanical support available. Our pots are the quietest, longest-lasting, AND most temperature-stable possible: Spectrol or Bourns 100% sealed types. We use Switchcraft jacks with nickel-plated brass hardware for years of trouble-free service.
Yet, the MOTM modules are affordably priced. New modules are added often, and customer suggestions are most welcome!
MOTM was specifically designed to be compatible with existing synthesizer equipment. A quick look at some important specs:
- 1V/Oct (one volt per octave) response for VCOs and filters
- Positive-going trigger and gate voltages (+1.5V threshold)
- Audio levels of 10V peak-to-peak (except out of the final mixer)
- VCAs respond from 0 to +5 volts
- Uses +/-15V DC (some modules use internal regulators)
- Power supply connector is a standard AMP MTA-156 4-position
MOTM modules are designed to be easily mounted into standard 19" equipment racks. A 19" rack is slightly larger than 10U spaces wide (1U=1.75"). MOTM modules are in multiples of 1U in width, and 5U in height. Most modules are 2U wide, so 5 modules will fit across a rack. We offer the MOTM-19A Mounting Rails for this purposes. These rails are stackable vertically, so multiple rows of MOTM modules can fit in the rack. The use of wood cabinets or custom rails wider than 19" is also possible.
ONE OR ONE HUNDRED
Although you can build a modular the size of a wall, many MOTM modules can operate as "stand-alone" signal processors for guitars, vocals, and other synths. For example, the MOTM-120 is ideal to "fatten up" the timbres of monosynths like the SH-101. Any of the MOTM filters can process line-level audio signals, such as other synths, drum machines, and samplers.
ASSEMBLED MODULES vs DIY KITS
MOTM modules are available as assembled modules or as a DIY kit of parts. If you're interested in building your own MOTM modular, this is the right place—whether you've never built an electronics kit before or not. Download the DIY Guide for some notes on building MOTM DIY kits.
Let's start with the basics. MOTM is an analog modular synthesizer. Like the big Moog, Buchla, and Polyfusion modulars from decades ago, there are no presets, and therefore, no limits on your creativity! (Well, except for your budget.) You are free to choose which MOTM modules are suited to your style of music, and using standard 1/4" patch cords, you must create the patch to get the sound. Sometimes this is straight-forward, and sometimes a "mistake" will lead you off on a new direction!
MOTM modules are available as kits or assembled. Kits are the best way to save money, AND you will enjoy the process of building your own synth. Proper tools are required but the $$$ savings on the kits will pay for the tools and MORE! The kits are 100% complete: even the wire and solder is included. Plus, we offer the following promise: if you build a kit and for any reason you think it is not 100% functional, return it to us with $5 and we will fix it for free, usually within 24 hours.
At Synthesis Technology, there are no "secret circuits", potted modules, and such. Just the opposite! We provide FULL schematics, parts lists, and theory of operation. We offer toll-free tech support. Our goal is for you to be comfortable owning a MOTM modular, and not spend time worrying over support issues down the road.
We pride ourselves on the quality of parts used in the MOTM modules. Rather than spend hours finding cheaper alternative parts, we spend hours to find the best parts. For example, we use 0.125 aircraft aluminum front panels, with baked-on paint and epoxy-ink silkscreening. The most single important part any a modular is the panel pots: if these go out or get "scratchy" the entire module is no good. Do we use cheap sliders? NO! Do we use cheap Asian carbon pots? NO! We use only Bourns or Spectrol industrial, sealed pots with cermet or conductive plastic elements. We spend more on one pot than our competition spends on ten. But five years from now our pots will still be like new, sealed from harmful dust and dirt. Also, these pots are "off-the-shelf" from many industrial electronics suppliers and not some custom job. (Ever try to get a spare slider for an ARP 2600?)
Switches also take a beating! Do we use typical "open-frame" rocker switches? NO! We use epoxy-sealed, silver contact NKK industrial UL/CE rated toggle switches with 100,000 cycle lifetimes.
Power supply distribution is a critical part of getting a low-noise output. When the first modular systems were available, the term "low noise" was relative to vinyl records! Today, with 24-bit, 96Khz hard-disk recorders, "low noise" takes on an entirely new meaning! The MOTM modules are the ONLY analog synthesizer that has "CD-quality" SNR specs where it matters. Part of this is the unique power supply system used. Each module has a 4-pin AMP MTA-156 male connector (very common in commercial equipment). The MOTM-900 Power Supply has a pc board with 12 connectors as well. Each module ships with a 4-conductor, 18ga. UL-listed wire harness that simply "snaps in". In this manner, a "star ground" is established back to the power supply. NO easier (read: lower cost) "buss bar" system is used.
The size of MOTM panels was debated for weeks and weeks. We wanted to use BIG knobs and 1/4" jacks. What we decided on was to use the industry-standard 1U (one "rack space") as a multiple. So, our MOTM panels are 5U tall and 1, 2, or 3U wide (the upcoming sequencer will be 5U wide). As it turns out, you can fit 10U width across a 19" rack. Perfect! So, the MOTM modules are designed to fit into existing 19" racks (although plenty of people build their MOTM systems into much wider enclosures).
So how do you attach them TO the rack? Simple. Use MOTM-19A mounting rails. These custom-made, 11-gauge steel L-brackets are designed to bolt across a 19" rack, providing 10U of horizontal module space in a 5U height. There are #8-32 holes tapped into the steel at the standard rail spacing (19" rails use #10-32 size holes). MOTM modules are designed so ANY modules can go ANYWHERE along the rail.