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.