Sound Modules, you may or may not be familiar with this instrument. It’s an electrical musical instrument that produces sound by connecting to devices such as a MIDI controller. Some devices with a human-playable interface such as a MIDI controller may not produce sound on its own and require a tool like a sound module. So, all this information might be confusing for you, and choosing the best one among all the available sound modules might be much more complicated. That’s why we have put together the best 10 sound modules in this list. Check them out!
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Top 10 Best Sound Modules in 2021
10. Roland Sc-88 Sound Modules
It’s a classic sound module of the Roland brand that has many modern features.
With a weight of 5 lbs. 7oz it makes sure to deliver clear sound.
- Headphones input allowing you to connect the external headphone
- 64 different effects to help you create a sound
9. Ketron Sound Modules
Simple designed Ketron has many excellent features to fulfill your need.
Lightweight and portable design make it easy to carry.
- Headphones for sound focus
- Volume controller for sound level control
8. S-Engine USB MIDI Sound Modules
The affordably priced S-Engine sound module delivers decent quality sounds of a wide range. This simple module is suited for people who simply want to play the music connecting to a MIDI keyboard.
Simple design and portable size make it easy to use and carry it around. It comes with a USB connection, stop/play button, and many more.
- Installation guide for the convenience
- HI-Z guitar-input for preset
7. Midiplus MiniEngine Sound Modules
Being lower-priced, doesn’t affect the quality and features of this sound module at all! In fact, for the price like this one, it’s the best one you can get for yourself.
This small-sized blue sound module comes in a unique design with a weight of 3.31 pound to work as a USB host, don’t require connection to a computer.
- 3-digit LED display for better understanding
- 3.5mm stereo headphone for ease of use
- Built-in mini speaker for your convenience
6. Yamaha Tone Generator
The Yamaha tone generator offers way more features than the average sound modules. Because of the excellent features it offers, it can be considered of “pro” category.
It’s a fully-featured module with 5 control knobs that offers authentic and dynamic voices.
- Control buttons for adjusting sound level while you record or perform
- Arpeggio function to simultaneously play multiple tracks
- MOTIF-RACK editor for intuitive and convenient editing
5. Behringer Synthesizer
Recently, Behringer Sound modules became quite popular. Of course, it’s because of its excellent quality and features. If you are looking for a budget-friendly sound module, you should purchase this one.
It comes with a classic design and offers a moderate quality.
- Filter mode with switchable function for enhanced sound
- Super-rich oscillator for clear sounds
- Versatile arpeggiator that enables you to be creative
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4. Midiplus MiniEngine Pro Sound Module
It works as a USB host that allows you to connect the mini engine to the USB MIDI keyboard. It’s an excellent device to operate with zero latency. The preset buttons can be shifted easily.
Its compact size allows you to carry it anywhere and anytime. It can support 24 bit/ 48 kHz audio output and 64 complex tones.
- Preset Buttons- 3(A, B, C) for smooth shifting
- Supports MIDI IN and USB host to work simultaneously
3. Roland JP-08 Synthesizer Module
This limited-edition sound module comes with about 36 knobs and sliders. It has all the modern features to handle most stage demands and studios. You can use it as a 24-bit/44.1kHz audio interface.
Its compact design retains the same character, feel, user interface, and sound as the Jupiter-8 synthesizer.
- Ribbon controllers enabling you to pitch band
- LFO waveforms and VCO range
- Ability to chain 2 modules together for polyphony
2. Roland D-05 Synthesizer
The Roland company has been manufacturing good sound modules for a long time. While they used to produce those classic analog synthesizers before, the Roland D-05 is the newer version of those older versions.
It’s a vintage synthesizer with sleek designs and digital engines.
- Built-in mini speaker for a better experience
- Compatibility with optional boutique accessories
- Joystick control with a user interface allowing you to enjoy it much more than any other sound modules
1. Moog Mother Analog Synthesizer
With its outstanding quality and some excellent features, Moog Mother Synthesizer has grabbed the top quality on our list. It comes with lots of patch points, allowing you to have abundant options for sound control. So, if you always been a fan of classic Moog tones but didn’t have the budget for it, here’s a good option for you with low prices!
This large black semi-modular synthesizer has an external input to process outside sound sources.
- Aluminum enclosure to keep it secure
- Assignable CV jack allowing to have 16 assignable sources
- 32 patch-points for synthesis complexity
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Hopefully, this article was helpful enough to give you many ideas about the useful features of sound modules. As we analyzed many of them and came up with the list of the top 10 best sound modules, you can pick any of these without any tension. So, whether you are already familiar with this device or heard about it just now! If you think you might need it, grab the best one you find on our list and enjoy it for a long time. Best of luck!
How to Choose the Right Sound Module for Your Setup
Picking the right sound module can be a daunting task. There is a bunch of different input and out configurations, formats, connection types, and many more factors to consider. So, how would you decide which is the best one for you?
If you were struggling to choose a sound module that takes your setup to the next level, we are here for you! Check out this essential guide that will break down everything you should know before making the purchase.
What is a sound module?
A sound module, also called an audio interface, is hardware that links your headphones and other audio gadgets to the computer. Usually, a sound module transforms analog signals into digital audio information – something a computer can process. The digital audio is sent to the computer through some connection (e.g., USB, Thunderbolt, or FireWire).
Interestingly enough, the sound module can also perform the process in reverse, taking digital audio information from the computer and turning it into analog signals that can be heard through the headphones or studio monitors. The majority of sound modules include line-level analog outputs and inputs, one or multiple microphone preamplifiers, as well as digital inputs and outputs like S/PDIF, ADAT (Lightpipe), or AES on some occasions.
Why You Need a Sound Module?
There are quite a few reasons you should switch to a dedicated sound module instead of the computer’s in-built soundcard. Technically speaking, the sound card is a kind of audio interface, but the minimal I/O and limited sound quality make it less suitable for recording. Many sound cards feature a headphone output, consumer-grade stereo line-level input, and sometimes an output.
Radio and electromagnetic interference, excessive latency, and jitter all degrade the audio’s quality as it goes in or out. It’s next to impossible to track a whole drum kit (we won’t even discuss an entire band) with just two channels of input.
Sound cards perform satisfactorily when you have to attach a pair of HiFi speakers and blast back compressed audio, but a sound module is important for the recording and monitoring process.
Choosing the Correct Sound Module for Your Setup
Apart from the computer connectivity factor, which will be discussed later on, no other factor is as crucial in choosing the right sound module as is its I/O configuration. I/O stands for input/output. The type and number of inputs and outputs you require will depend completely on what you wish to record, currently and for the future. The range of said module includes everything and anything between two-channel desktop units to interfaces capable of recording hundreds of channels.
As a singer-songwriter, one might only need one pair of inputs, given they are the right inputs. Most sound modules include more than two or two microphone preamps. If you plan on using condenser microphones, make sure the interface’s preamps are powered up with phantom power. For plugging in a keyboard or guitar straight into the module, make sure the module had instrument-level, also known as “hi-Z” inputs.
Line-level inputs and outputs are ideal for connecting headphone amps, outboard processors, and studio monitors.
Computer Connectivity Options
In a world that’s constantly changing and developing, it’s impossible for a “standard” technology not to go “obsolete” over time. With that being said, there are still some standard audio interface connection types, and those are USB, Thunderbolt, FireWire, and finally, PCIe. Most Mac and PC computers are equipped with USB ports – USB 2 or USB 3. FireWire – 400 or 800 is usually found on Macs.
Both protocols have the same speed on average, which is 480 Mbps. This is fast enough to record a maximum of 64 tracks at once (if the conditions are perfect). Similarly, there are quite a few simple interfaces that still function with USB 1.1. From what you can guess, they are much slower but still manage to record a channel or two.
Due to its low latency and amazingly high speed, Thunderbolt can be considered the new reference standard in the department of connecting sound modules. Thunderbolt 3 is twice as fast as its older cousin, Thunderbolt 2, and eight times as fast as USB 3, supporting cable lengths of a maximum of 100 meters (have to use optical cable) and speeds of 40 Gbps max. The Thunderbolt 3 can be found in the latest Mac devices. A lot of high-end interfaces support Thunderbolt these days.
FireWire holds an advantage over USB in the part where the first has a more consistent data transfer rate. This makes the FireWire a bit more reliable when more than one channel is being recorded at once. One shortcoming still exists – the number of interfaces that use USB is much higher than the number of interfaces that use FireWire, and fewer computers feature any FireWire ports. You may need to install a FireWire card if you work on a PC.
The biggest plus side of a USB is that many interfaces come with USB ports. Since these interfaces are created to function on USB bus power, this is a great way to record on mobile with a laptop.
PCIe can be used with laptop computers are they are inner card-based interface. The benefit to this interface is that you avoid some data conversion processes where bandwidth gets limited or latency is caused. Most PCIe audio interfaces can maintain the high track counts and super-fast speed needed by the studio. So, by nature, they’re pricier than USB or FireWire.
With just the right sound module, you can track a full band! Audio interfaces have come a long way since the first days, and that means you will be able to get much creative. Since these things aren’t exactly cheap, consider investing in the right place, and study up before settling on something.