What makes a module performance oriented?

I’ve been looking at two different modules that do essentially the same thing, Pam’s New Workout and MN Tempi. The Tempi is commonly referred to as “performance oriented” which makes sense to me, but got me thinking about other module choices I’ve made that would be called performance oriented. It’s an interesting label and wildly open to individual interpretation. To me, it means a module that’s spread out enough so my fingers can get at it, might have a learning curve but allows for a certain amount of mindless flow-state play when you know how to use it, and maybe has sensible defaults?

Was wondering how you’d interpret that idea of performance oriented? Any modules / instruments jump out at you that fit the label?

Inputs and outputs not spread across the entire module. It may be sometimes more intuitive to have jacks near corresponding knobs, but for me it’s less inviting to tweak knobs when a module laid out in that way is all patched up.


I’d say that reducing the chance of error through simple interface and usability would be my definition of performance oriented.
Push&turn encoders are a prime example of something that can go wrong in performance.
Also something like the Hermod screen is a great example of too small a display to use in a performance without a chance of error…

Not Saying you can’t use these in performance, but that you would increase the chance of error compared to simple WYSIWYG interfaces.

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i always look for the qualities in modules that enable me to easily interact with them quickly, mid patch, while audio is passing through. for example i think make noise morphagene is very performance oriented because it functions very smoothly and you have access to all the controls on the front of the module. pam’s new workout i think is really not performance oriented because you have to tediously menu dive to change parameters, which is not fun to do while in a performance. 2hp modules sadly i also struggle with for performance because the knobs are so small and sensitive… i recently got the pluck module to try and the pitch knob will go out if a cable bumps it the wrong way…


Pamela‘s New Workout is of course not as immediate as non menu driven modules. But I still find it very fast to edit and it‘s actually my go to modulation for my travel/live case. Usually I set the channels for different basic purposes in advance. Like 1-4 LFOs, 5-6 clock deviders, 7-8 random. And then edit within those settings on the fly. Just wanted to sharw another perspective on the module

Besides that, I +1 everything that has been said here. Another thing that might be important for a performace is how drastic a module reacts to knob movement. Some modules, even my beloved Rings, can change their sound a lot with just little input so a gentle transition from one sound to another can get a bit risky or ar least should be practised.

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I’ll agree with that, if not some of the actual specifics listed above. It’s kind of a sliding scale, and what is performance-friendly for one person might not be acceptable to someone else.

One thing that bugs me that I haven’t seen mentioned is bipolar attenuverters, in many cases – you just can’t use them to attenuate audio unless they have a “dead zone”. The very first module I sold was a Doepfer A-133, and I wound up giving up on a Happy Nerding 3x MIA for the same reason.

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I think CV control plays a part too. If pams had an expander with 8 or so CV ins it would become much more viable for live tweaking imo.


Cold Mac is probably my favorite (and most frequently used) module for performance. I know it’s been discussed a lot on these forums and I’m just stating the obvious - but patching cv to/from various parts of a system, thru Cold Mac, can yield incredibly interesting and varied results with just small tweaks to the Survey knob…

Do you find the soundcomputer to be ‘performance oriented’? I always think it looks like a really interesting module - but one that would be frustrating to use in the same way as Pamela.

Sound computer as in ER301? It’s basically ”bring your own interface” - you can patch the gate sources, offsets and faders you like. That’s great, and sets it completely apart from the Pam’s. Both have one encoder, but the 301 can have 16 more controls attached.

Hmm. I’ve been considering a Planar 2, but I can see how a Cold Mac would also suit very well (and be a little smaller and a good bit less expensive).

The 301 is a great performance tool. It has a ton of CV/Gate inputs for control. It the centerpiece of my performance rack. I often have several channels dedicated to looping and another that acts as a sine wave synth.

The Planar looks amazing - hadn’t really considered its possibilities beyond quad panning…

for me and the way that my brains works when i perform, the 301 isn’t really a good performance module unless i have tactile controls for the CV inputs. i rarely ever use it in performance. recently i used it as a looper which was fun but still not as interactive as i would like. a footswitch would be a great. with the 301 in my opinion you really need controllers to go with it, in which case it could be amazing - but on it’s own it doesn’t feel good to make fine adjustments in all of the layers if you want to change something in your patch. but that’s just me :slight_smile:

i use it a lot with the arc to literally just give knobs to controls. in that sense the sampler or even the FM synth that folks made for it can become a great performance voice.

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I don’t think Brian ever intended for the ER-301 to be used without external control. He has said as much. There’s a great thread on the O|D forum about good controllers to use. The number of inputs make it a great module in a larger performance oriented patch.

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