Euro Audio Levels and Computer Audio I/O

Probably a stupid question, but is it safe to pipe modular-level audio directly into something like a MOTU 828Mk.3, or will some attenuation be required to avoid possible damage to the interface? I’ve done it in the past with a cheaper (Behringer FIreWire box), but I thought it wise to seek advice before plugging my modules into my more expensive interface.


Incidentally, does anyone think that a slimline module with, say, 8 minijack inputs on the front, and 8 (possibly passively-attenuated) 1/4" jack sockets on the back would be useful?

Maybe some level pots on the front, too, would be handy.

I imagine this as a way of connecting a modular synth to the line inputs of a multi-channel audio interface, at the back of the modular synth, avoiding the need for a 1/4" patch bay and two different kinds of patch lead.


No issues with a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 and Marian Adcon AD/DA.
Should not be an issue. Worst case would be repatching to an input, which is capable to apply a pad. If you are unsure shut down the level, apply the pad and take a look at the level in the mixer…

I use balanced conversion cables…

@nightworxx thanks for getting back to me. Interesting. There do seem to be quite large differences between the audio output levels of some of my modules.


It is safe. But it might clip.

Gotcha. So my attenuator/minijack->1/4" adapter module would probably be a good idea, then.
Cool. Will design one :slight_smile:


This is something that has been on my mind as well (as a modular n00b). I run the output of my modular through a Behringer 1602 mixer which then passes it’s output to the inputs of my Audiobox USB interface. I always read about how hot modular output is hot hot hot, so I used to be nervous to do this for extended periods. Is the Behringer just a really robust piece that handles hot levels really well? Or do I just have a lot to learn about gain staging, etc.? I tend to approach my levels with caution (start from 0% and work up), so maybe I’m just outputting a level that’s not so hot? So far, all is working well, so I’m rolling with it. This attenuator adapter sounds interesting. I think I still have enough free jacks on the Behringer, I’ll just have to build more cables - don’t tell my wife!

I think you’re taking the word “hot” way too literally. We’re taking a few mA and a few V. Whether the signal is 1V pp (line level) or 10V pp (modular level), we’re still talking about a few mW of power. That’s nothing. It cannot damage anything.

There are indeed circuits which can get damaged with voltages outside of a given range (for example, the I/O pins of a microcontroller, or the inputs of an op-amp) - but these are not the circuits you find on the inputs of your audio gear, or of your euro modules. The input of a module (or audio interface, mixer, etc…) is pretty much always equivalent to a big resistor to ground. The input doesn’t “see” the voltage, it sees the current flowing through this resistor. And this current will never exceed a few mA.

@pichenettes that’s good to know. On the other hand, the input may well clip, which isn’t usually a good thing, so some attenuation would still be good, no?

I’ve been looking at commercial Euro-line-level converters. The Ladik one, for example offers fixed /10 or /3 (jumper selectable) voltage reduction.

I could just add something similar with my converter module, so have no pots at all. It would just need a couple of resistors and a pair of headers for the jumper per channel.


Even if the voltage won’t damage any electronic components, the clipping may damage your monitors (with incautious settings “cough”), or worse hurt your ears…

I learned something today - thanks Olivier! One of these days volts and amps will make as much sense as lb-ft and psi…