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Dotcom

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A modular synthesizer format developed by Roger Arrick's Synthesizers.com company. The format is physically compatible with the vintage Moog modules, but not electrically compatible (the Moog modules use S-trigger signals and different power supply voltages). Synthesizers.com set out to duplicate much of the look and feel of the vintage Moogs while employing up-to-date technology; hence, the modules use black panel backgrounds like the Moogs, similar panel graphics, similar knob styles, and the same principles in panel layout. Because of the physical compatibility and the stylistic similarity, the format is also referred to as "Moog Unit", or MU.

Mechnically, the Dotcom format calls for a module height of 8.75', and a horizontal unit of 2.125". The height is the same as the MOTM format, but the unit width is wider and the mounting hole pattern is different. A unique aspect of the Dotcom format is that the sides of the module have tabs which are bent backwards at a 90-degree angle into the inside of the case; the mounting rails must be far enough apart to allow these tabs to fit in between when the module is installed. The Synthesizers.com website gives this dimension as 8", but this author has measured it on a number of Dotcom production modules as 7-5/8". A margin of about 1/8" at the vertical edges of each panel is unpainted aluminum; these unpainted areas serve as visual separation between modules when modules are mounted side by side in a case.

The format calls for ±15V, +5V power. The +5V is used to power LEDs and digital circuitry, with the ±15V being reserved for the analog circuitry, to reduce noise. However the analog and digital voltages share the same ground. The power connector used is a 6-pin MTA-100 connector, with one pin removed and one hole filled to "key" the connector so that it cannot be plugged in backwards. Synthesizers.com's power supplies use an octopus harness to distribute power to the modules, but there are also adaptor cables available so that modules can be powered from an MOTM power distribution board. 1/4" phone jacks are used for signal interconnection.

Besides Synthesizers.com itself, manufacturers who offer modules in this format include STG, Moon Modular, Grove Audio, Synthetic Sound Labs and Club of the Knobs. Cynthia and Bridechamber offer a few modules in the Dotcom format.

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