Linear power supply

I have a question if i can have linear power supply to all Mutable instrument modules, and why all som modules like macbeth can be damage with switching power? MacBeth is hard to get on to.


What do you mean by “som modules”?

You can absolutely use a linear power supply for the Mutable Instruments modules - that’s what they are powered by during development actually!


I wrote wrong, I mean why is there only switching power supply when linear is better?. what i am looking for is the best case for my system that will look like this when i got my macbeth modules in this case.

MacBeth clearly states that he wants linear to his modules. And, with your high end modules, I feel that the modules should have the best power I can give them. What do you think about it? and what would you have chosen to give them the best, if there is a difference now.

i ask because i don’t understand :slight_smile:

and you can i mix linear and switching power between modules in the same system if you now have them in different cases.

Best regards


My modules are not high-end, they are reasonable and free of audiophile insanity. Actually, the very concept of a modular system (unusually long signal chains, all those useless buffers, voltage-control everywhere, layers and layers of analog to digital to analog conversion if you use digital modules…) completely goes against signal quality; so if you want the best quality, my recommendation will always be to use software. After all, VCVRack has infinite signal to noise ratio… and superconducting power distribution boards!

That said, my modules have decent power supply filtering and work well with both linear and switched mode power supplies (which aren’t as bad as they used to be, these days).

The shape of the power distribution board (connectors laid out in a “star” vs connectors laid out in a row) might have more influence here!

I see you’re using an Intellijel case. They are switched mode and work well.


so what i understand It dosen mather if i use linear or switching power.

otherwise I have cubase and vcv rack but sitting at the computer and meetings all day at work which makes me want to use hardware Cuz I stress down with it after work. thanks for the reply :slight_smile:

1 Like

disclaimer: I’m not an electronic egineer, nor do I really understand much from the technical stuff involved with designing electronics.
Also I’m not an audiophile and usually don’t give the topic of “best quality” much thought as long as things work for me. I.e. if I don’t hear anything that bothers me, I’m totally fine with anything that seems to be well built, won’t break after a year of use, has good customer support and is as far away as possible from production situations where people are exploited. Though I’ve made my errors in the past and I’m certainly not perfect in these regards either. But I try to do my best.

This said, my personal experience is that a) many switching PSUs work fine, cost less, are less bulky and draw less current than linear ones, but it’s a mine filed. I’ve had some serious noise issues with some PSUs which I’ve never been able to really troubleshoot but I now have a mostly switching-based PSU which works really well to my ears.
Which takes me to b) modulars are a complex system. There’s many pieces that add to the whole: the PSU, the power distribution (aka busboards), the grounding, the modules themselves etc.
Apparently there’s a lot of modules that are not that well designed. Mutable Instruments modules fortunately are not one of those.
c) the general consensus seems to be that if you have the money, linear is better, but you’ll not be safe from problems and often won’t be hearing a real difference. Except if you want to really hear the difference, that is.
d) most PSUs on the market are some form of hybrid solution where some of the regulation might be switching, some linear.

Bottom line. You can read through pages and pages of discussions, where people, who know more than me and you about this, discuss what’s better and what is worse. At the end of the day there does not seem to be a better, just something that works better under certain conditions. But these conditions are a vague and evaporating thing.


FWIW ($50 or less, probably), my DIY power solution to my moderately small cases (also DIY) is a MeanWell +15V/-15V/+5V switch mode power brick, which sits on the floor in an electrically insulated but vented box, cabled to a linear regulator board, inside each case.

There are two MeanWell bricks I’m aware of that fit that description - a 50W one and a 65W one. You’re supposed to load them enough to keep them stable, especially the 5V rail, which the other two are derived from - so the 50W one seemed a better choice, as it requires lighter loading (current).

In the end I bought one of each power rating, and both seem fine, even without loading them to spec, because the linear regulators take up a lot of the slack.

I use a pair of 7812 (+12V) and 7912 (-12V) regulators in each case. I could use more than one pair, if I was reasonably careful to keep the power rails separate - e.g. one regulator pair per bus board, with more than one bus board.

The reason to use a +15V/-15V/+5V brick is because the linear regulator chips need at least 2V of headroom more than the +/-12V output voltages.

Since my only digital Euro rack modules, so far, are my MI Elements (original), and a couple of cut down MI Braids variants (not originals), the 5V rail from the brick is fine as it is, but the output votlage is adjustable, so I could probably turn it up a bit, then follow it with an LDO 5V regulator, if I felt the need…so far, I don’t feel that need.

I just followed the suggested datasheet design for each regulator chip, but used slightly bigger capacitors than in the example. I added the safety diodes too - you have to think about how to add the one for the negative voltage regulator, because there’s no diagram to help with that, in the datasheets I’ve seen.

Someone recently pointed out that there should be high current inductors, between the switch mode brick, and the linear regulators, but I haven’t had any problems with just using reasonably thick four core cables, a little over a metre long, to connect the MeanWell brick to the linear regulators.

The bricks I’ve used are MeanWell aka “Mean Well” RT-65C & RT-50C

The two digits give the power rating (65W or 50W), and the C means they’re the +/-15V/+5V version.

1 Like

I understand that I’m going down a rabbit hole where there are two different camps. based on what I’ve read and heard, I won’t do anything linear until I hear something I don’t like in my modules.

an open question :slight_smile: can switching power shorten the life of analog circuits, or it is just about noise.

thanks for all the answers i get for all my wonders :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s about noise!


thanks for answering my weird questions that become rabbit hole for me :slight_smile:

1 Like

It’s always best to try to keep things in perspective; the great film sound designer Alan Splet recorded many of his iconic sounds on a Marantz portable mono cassette recorder - not because he thought it was the best, but because it was what he had on hand to allow him to actually capture a sound in the moment. He had the vision to know that you should not let the pursuit of some kind of empirical purity or perfection keep you from using something perfectly fine, even if it’s not “the Best”.

I too get caught in these kinds or vortices, and the best solution is to stop all ‘research’ and go make some sounds and music - I’m going to go do that now, in fact, having been pulled into the power supply rabbit hole myself!

All the best to you all!


thanks for those words, i am a construction engineer myself so the brain spins up right away when i see something that can be solved and improved hehe.

let the music take up the place in your head instead, well spoken :slight_smile:


MI modules certainly feel “high-end” to me, in terms of the user interface design, musicality, tone, faceplate aesthetics, packaging, etc. it’s what got me back into Eurorack after a five year break…


In fact, I also believe that MI modules are High end, although perhaps technically not. What I love about Mi modules is that I quickly get into a creative flow that I can develop, I am far from understanding them completely and working with them fluently which makes these modules very cheap considering everything you can do with them.

What I noticed is that they actually fit all styles of music, and experimental stuff.

These are exclusive base modules everyone should have in their systems, before they think about expanding their system.

They can do very different things for a little money.

That’s just what I think. and thank you Emelie for building such smart and valuable modules that are endlessly fun to use and be creative with.

Every module you create you create joy and happiness in every soul that buys it.

/ T


There are no weird questions, Tony1 - only weird musicians. :eye:

STAR WARS Cantina Band 5

1 Like


1 Like