Tuesday, November 23, 2010

upcoming gig + new case

I have my first gig using my modular. Super exciting. I just bought a portable case so i can take my modular out on the town. Check it out. It needs some modification so i can close it while still having my modules patched. It seems a bit flimsy when nothing is in it. I hope it feels a bit better when full.

I rearranged my studio to add it into the workflow

The cool thing about getting this case is 1. it fits my huge reverb tanks so i can finally finish my neural agoniser module. I hadnt worked too hard on finished that one as i couldnt think of a good way to mount the tanks in my other case. The second cool thing is i now have another 20U of space to fill :)

I haven't done any building in the last couple of months as all spare time was put into running a big rave. I have a few things i want to finish before this gig so i might try get motivated again. Weather is getting warn so it is harder and harder to think about doing electronics.

update --

Monday, October 11, 2010

sneak peak: formant processor

In the interest of recouping some money from some recent purchases im going to make a few effect boxes that hopefully will interest some people.
They will include a bunch of pcbs that i have lying around which don't fit into my modular.

The first is the formont processor based from the polymoog resonator pcb

Still sourcing the final parts but im mostly finished.
I just have a paper mock up on the box at the moment but i will get them printed up similar to the shulze phaser.

Monday, September 27, 2010

modular modular modular

current state of play, thoughts and steps forward

klee - im having a bit of trouble sequencing on this thing, im not sure if it is just me being musically retarded but i am yet to get many melodies out of this thing which i enjoy. i guess it is going to take some more work familiarising myself with gate buss and the voltage ranges

lpg - i thought these were going to be good as my VCAs but they are not. i like them as filters and as gates but i need something with less decay for VCAs. I just bought some Oakley classic vca pcbs so ill see if they tickle my fancy

cgs active ring mod - i think i have worked out that i dont like ringmod effects, there is a good chance i might get rid of this. i was going to redesign my wavemult panel anyway and the ringmods were going to be put into my FS1 panel but im not sure that will happen now. i put my hand up for some of fonik's ring mods just to check if if this design was the problem.

mankato - this thing is amazing. i cant wait to have a 2nd quad lfo in my system once i get my chaquo. quad lfos are the bomb.

AND finally...

I need more mixers and patch cables


time to do something other than synth stuff, well kinda

ive wanted to make something with nixies for a long time and i was lucky enough to be offdered a whole bunch of nixie tubes in trade for some pcbs

the first batch just arrived the infamous in-18 nixies

they are huge!

i have a heap more on the way also and i just bought some arduino Duemilanoves. so it is time to start trying to code my own programs. the plan is to make a reciprocal frequency counter for the modular. i hope to make some VUs and of course a clock. i am not sure which will come first, i dare say i wont use the in-18s until i am past the test phase to ensure i dont blow them.

in other news i have been building my cgs-vcs
it was all going great, all testing checked out, then i man-handled it during installation into my cabinet and i have seemed to have shorted something out and it no longer works :/ hopefully it doesn't take too long to fix

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

programmer - panel & pcbs

somehow i managed to drill the programmer panel reasonable precise and all of the pots fit behind the panel without shorting on each other. i had to bend up all the lugs on the pots which was a pain considering how many pots there are. overall im mega happy

as im not using the serge spacing i cannot mount the pcbs the way they were supposed to sit behind the panel. so i have to layer them behind the panel. this is going to making wiring this module a super nightmare, it was already a hard job when they were mounted by the pots in a row behind a cgs serge panel.

wiring these up will be interesting because you cannot use connectors and you need to use strip wire so these things will be stuck together once all wired up. i better have the pcbs built correctly. fingers crossed

Saturday, September 11, 2010


i am getting a little nervous about how cramped i have made my cgs programmer layout. after discussing with people on muffwiggler how their designs were too compact and how they should always give pots room to be tweaked i have gone and made a super cramped module.

it is somewhat amusing. after studying population studies at uni i am noticing my synth designs growing in density proportionally to the decline in available space. i think i have breached the carrying capacity of design space and am on a road to disaster.

nevertheless i want more!!! and in less space. yes that is how it goes and ill stick to it. may as well be consistent and not listen to any logical information telling me that perhaps im pushing it a little too far and should be take on sustainable design. blah blah blah. :)


luckily the panel components JUST fit onto the panel. i am going to have to cut off the lugs on the pots and solder to the pot itself in order for the pots not to short on their neighbour pots. this also means for once i am going to have to drill the panel with precision.

My Source of Uncertainty Module is pretty much fully working now, though i havent got the Chaquo pcb yet. I found some problems with my build of the SOU and a couple on the pcb designs. I just need to solve a little issue in the QRV module but it is functioning only both outputs are N+1. The FRV circuit is sensational. I am yet to test SRV and QRV in situ but hope to this weekend.

But now it is time to get out of my studio and go be social, spend time with family and do some partying with friends.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

this is the end (i think), well almost

it has come to the time when im planning the last modules to go into my case
there will be no more expansion. since i set myself a limit of modules i have found as i have gone along that the density of my modules is increasing. im trying to cram as much in as possible :)

here are some of the last things to go into my machine

cgs programmer sequencer 8 step 3U panel

i am really keen on having a programmer as id like to be able to generate chords on my modular. i also really like it how it has gate outs on each stage. this will be good for making complex sequencers with my other sequencers and seq switches.

modulo magic / wave multiplier / plague bearer

this is a redesign of my old wave mult panel which had a ring mod inside it. i really just didnt click with the ring mod. im giving up the lockhart and grinder to have a modulo magic and plague bearer. i hope the modulo sounds good. there is no information on this module anywhere.

dual vcs (DUSG) w/ analog logic

I like the buchla quad function generator and how it uses OR gates to construct complex envelopes. I was going to build a vc-adsr but that just seems somewhat limited in function in comparison to 2 x vc-AR circuits with OR logic. VCS does so many other things too. I look forward to this module.

Gated Comparator / Gate Delay

Continuing with the sequencer theme here is the gated comp. It is a wacky one that is for sure. I added some yusynth gate delays in there too. I realised once i started sequencing on my klee that it was all a bit stiff. This should allow some loose grooves to be created. This rounds up my control section also. I think i have a lot of bases covered between Analog Computer, Gated Comparator, Gate Delays, Quadrature Lfos, Klee, Seq Switches, Progammer & Lfos.

There is only a few more spaces after this. Im probably going to ditch my lfos once all my AR generators are done. This will free up 4U. I am going to redesign my FS1 panel to include the ring mods. I also am going to add in a mixer panel. Then i think i have 2U left over. So it will probably be some more filters or wave mults or perhaps some time based modules like phasers / delays. No point planning too much. Lots of building ahead.

Btw, my FRV board is finished :) Waiting on parts to finish my SRV and QRV.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Uncertainty - Buchla SOU Build

Lots of it unfortunately as I'm having some problems getting these working

I had these populated boards floating about in my studio for a few months before assembling the module. I hope that i havent zapped the CMOS IC while haphazardly moving them from pile to pile. I should be more careful with these things. Hopefully i can work out the problems reasonable quick

The 555 timers in the FRV dont seem to be responding to the manual control which uses a vactrol to vary the RC timing circuit. It seems to pulse about every 12 seconds with no variance.
Frustrating problem as i can't work out where the problem lies.

The QRV board is waiting on some 4006s. I had a 4066 installed accidentally. Luckily someone came to my rescue as they are really hard to find these days. Thanks Tom.

SRV is somewhat functioning but i question the output so it might need a few tweaks.

These are definitely the most involved boards that ive had to etch and populate so I guess that assuming that these would come together really easily was wishful thinking. The etch of the pcbs and population looks super clean so I can only assume that there is some component failures.

Monday, June 14, 2010

frac + cv processor

have been a bit busy of late but managed to get some things done in my spare time
i have almost finished the 2nd side of my PD-vclfo, so much wiring in that thing

I also made the panel for my 2 fonik attenuverters and a buffered mult which i will make on veroboard. i am going to mod the attenuverters so they have a 5v injection instead of 7.5. i think i might use a 5v regulator to do that. im going to use some of my lt1013s inside foniks pcbs as they are meant to be closer to rail-rail.

i also made a temporary rack for my growing number of frac modules
i almost bought more today. this module buisness is addictive :/ old news i guess

Friday, June 11, 2010

for sale

evolver desktop aus$550
allenheath zed420 $1250

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the sandwidge (cgs / buchla analog computer)

here is the latest build.. well actually i finished 2 of my 3 thru-zero vcos as well

this is probably the most dense i have had to stack pcbs so i'm taking a photo

this is my version of the bridechamber cgs analog computer, i just added a random gate source based on the buchla music easle (208 module). the cgs stuff includes a bunch of logic (and,or,xor,nxor), comparators, inverters, analog shift register and pulse divider.

my etch of the 208 was slightly too small so unfortunately i'll have to do it again. due to it being sandwidged under the analog shift register i needed to replace it before i started to wire up the asr. the logic and pulse dividers are all wired and working

happy days

Sunday, June 6, 2010

up for trade


SSM2220 (5)
LM358 (5)
5532 (5)

fonik attenuverter pcb (1)

white davis 1900 clone knobs (10)
10turn 10k pot

Monday, May 10, 2010

futurlec can go suck a something

2 months and waiting...

in the meantime my PD vc-lfo is working a treat, im building up the 2nd one now
it has taken a lot of attention and time to work out the quirks in this module (even without the mods) the builder of the pcb really did a slap-dash job of putting it together. if i were to build the module again i would probably not use his pcb and build it on perf board


both analog lfos working and property scaled to 10v/pp
(as the square wave natively runs from rail to rail ie, ~29v/pp)

and my mods work cool too
vc-waveform selection working great
vc-sample'n'hold working great (and is so fuckin cool)
vc-phase distortion also working great

phase distortion is a funny synthesis tool, it is like an envelope is shaping the lfo waveform
if you imagine you are holding a water balloon and you squish it in your hands. the distorted wonky shape is kinda like what you get when you apply phase distortion to the lfo wave shape

interesting to watch on the scope

hopefully building the 2nd will be easier

Saturday, April 17, 2010

neural agoniser

finally wiring this baby up
check it
this is about the only module i have without mods or extra circuitry
but i did include input attenuators for every cv input

so many modules so little power

still waiting on futurlec order for all my mains power distro so at the moment i have this big electronic shrine, sorta 2001 esq :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

dual phase distortion vclfo (tom wiltshire edruid / haxster)

For a long time i have wanted to build the electric druid vclfo (http://www.electricdruid.net/index.php?page=projects.lfo9) but i didnt really have the knowledge to implement it exactly how i wanted it. Luckily haxster came along with a pcb on electro-music.

This module is a digitial lfo with various features, first one being voltage control, second being phase distortion (ala casio CZ), third being lots of waveforms selectable by CV and more.

There are a couple of pcbs for this module now but no one has really made all the good parts accessable so i have had to really mod the hell out of the haxster board to get it to near where i want it.

The haxster version had the edruide vclfo core with external VC but nothing else. He included 2 extra lfos which is handy. I have added VC for phase distortion, waveform select and S/H rate. Haxster for some weird reason has 4 buffered outputs from the vclfo so i hacked the pcb so that instead of buffers the opamps actually run as led drivers for the analog lfos. So far i have drilled lots of holes in the pcb, have wires running everywhere and it is only going to get more crazy as i get closer to completion

I seem to be stuck on some stupid problems in the analog lfo, the vclfo works. I havent tested my mods yet as i want to fix these silly analog lfos first. Getting close.

Monday, April 5, 2010

upcoming gig

Friday, April 2, 2010


i am working on another module
this is a combination of the bunchla source of uncertainty and ian fritz's chaquo
i have used 3 of the 4 SOU pcbs, i skipped the sample & hold / integrator pcb

this module has the following functions:

quantised random voltages
stored random voltages
fluctuating random voltages / stepped output
noise source (original digital MM5837 ver and analog tranistor version selectable on panel)
quadrature sine osc
double well chaos generator

i have populated the SOU boards, just waiting for the rare MM5837 chip to arrive
and i should get my Chaquo pcb in the next few weeks

it is going to be a challenge to get all these pcbs mounted behind the 2U panel :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

distros done

made enough for 2 cases
that should do for now
next thing to do is get my mains distro going
however i need to order parts from futurlec for that so it is going to take a month or so :/

in the meantime i guess ill go back to working on my mb808
got a couple of bugs in the drum voices to nut out but almost done!
808 beats already rolling out of this machine, so much fun

Thursday, March 18, 2010

distro pcb

just a maybe

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

case oiling

so im loving this stage of building my modular
i thought doing electronics was kinda fun at the beginning but im so over it. doing all the woodwork was amazing and i feel to much more satisfaction completing things like this. perhaps it is just because building electronics in modular world your fruits are so staggered, until pow, you have a big modular synth. well im only getting to that phase now after 2 years or so. hehe, im totally having a cry about it.

anyway... the blackbutt wood sanded down amazing. damian did an awesome job. i have used this deks olje oil to finish the wood. all along i was trying to avoid dark stains, red stains and yellow stains (as we do). my synth will be silver, black, white and green so i didnt think red or yellow stain wood cases would work. the cool thing about the wood i chose and this oil is that it will allow the wood to naturally darken and this wood will darken in a dark chocolate - black colour. i really like the natural dark wood better than stained dark wood. the trick is i just need to give the wood some sunlight. not that this is going to happen in my current studio :/

i got told that the trick to applying oils is the first wash needs to be left for a long time to allow it to sink into the wood. basically the deeper you let it get the better the finish. if you try to apply 2 coats straight away it wont seep in as much.

here is my new outdoor workshop,
a shadow of the work shop in the warehouse but it does the job.

check the grain.
each panel is made up of 2 floor boards
somehow i made it work pretty well

this wood is amazing

yeah so once my modular is done i think ill do more wood work
or maybe ill actually spend time with my friends if they will still remember me

CV it with a vactrol

here is the layout i made to use in my wave multiplier
i posted a pdf on muff in this thread if you want to etch it


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

case back from being sanded

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

teezers / seq switches

mouser order came in with the parts needed to complete this panels
this is a triple ian fritz through zero vco
i still need to make some brackets to mount the pcb plate to the panel
2 of 3 pcbs are stuffed and ready for testing

here is my panel for a combination module called "data switch"
it includes a cgs sequential switch and a fonik sequential switch
they work opposite, cgs has a many to one relationshop and foniks is one to many
so they are named accordingly

ive been working on my mb808 of late and it is driving me nuts so i might try get these done soon. Hopefully i can get my case this week, my modules are looking uncomfortable without the case