Archive for eurorack

NAMM 2016

Posted in modular synthesizers, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2016 by pyraphonic

For the past five years I have gone to NAMM to take photos and post about (mostly) eurorack modular synthesizers for the relatively small community of users and manufacturers. Though I think this community has grown so much during this short time, and is now getting so much coverage, that perhaps my services are no longer needed and maybe I should retire after this year. We have hit the turning point where there are so many new modules (and manufacturers) that it is difficult to keep up with all of them, so I’m sure I’ve missed some stuff this year. Below are a ton of pics – click on them for hi-res. Enjoy!

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Eurorack’s all grown up and no longer downstairs at NAMM!

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As some of you know, I am a helper elf for Noise Engineering. This year I helped prepare for NAMM at the NE HQ. The Noise Engineering modules are in new shallow aluminum cases from Sub Modular.

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Absurdly, I didn’t take any close-ups of the NE stuff at NAMM, but I’ll update this post with some later. Here’s the Noise Engineering booth. Thank you, Stephen, for the NAMMM badge!

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The Tiptop booth. Always great to catch up with Gur and Tomio. The new cases are looking great, and watch for several new Z-DSP cards coming soon – they sound amazing!

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Make Noise. Got a tour of the new Tempi module…

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and tinkered with the 0-Coast

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Had a great time with the Malekko crew this year. Congrats on the Roland collaborations!

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New cases and modules.

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Rad dudes

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Cool new pedals

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How cool? this cool. Shredworthy even.

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4MS rig featuring a new stereo delay with a huge amount of memory (3 mins, I think?)

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Audio Damage had some cool custom cases and were showing their new drum module.

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I’m pretty sure Chris just told that guy I’m a dork.

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Bastl’s crazy rig. I shot a video that I’ll try to get up here later.

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WMD booth. Great chatting with William and the WMD crew.

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Verbos booth.

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Vermona monosynth and modules.

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Abstract Data’s rig.

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Intellijel had new cases and modules, including the new Rainmaker module.

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The case has an intentionally deep lid for keeping it patched in transit.

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Pittsburg’s new stuff.

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Koma’s rig.

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Industrial Music Electronics (formerly The Harvestman) set up.

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Sputnik had a bunch of new stuff.

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Snazzy’s case and new pedal.

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Endorphin’s rigs.

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Synthrotek

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ZVex entries into euro. I love my Fuzz Factory guitar pedal, so this should be interesting.

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STG

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At the Big City booth I played this insane Schmidt synth and a real Mellotron.

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Moog had a crazy cool set up with a ton of Mother 32s. I can’t help but think the Modular on the Spot gatherings inspired this desertscape arrangement!

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Moog also had some museum pieces set up.

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Obligatory Stevie Wonder pic (on the escalator)

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Oberheim/Dave Smith stuff

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OB-6!

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Two Voice

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The Linnstrument is really fun and playable.

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Three New Pocket Operators from Teenage Engineering.

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There were several new euro manufacturers I was unaware of below, such as Rossom.

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Mordax

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Soulsby

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AOA

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DT

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Birdkids

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I think I may have to own one of these someday – Rickenbacker 12 string.

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And to wrap up, some random weird stuff:

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I saw a lot of friends, met some new ones and had a great time. Hope you dug the pics.

Cheers! (that’s Steven from Noise Engineering and Chris from Sub Modular)

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NAMM 2015

Posted in modular synthesizers, sound design, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2015 by pyraphonic

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I started going to NAMM in 2012 a few months after starting my own eurorack modular synthesizer system and I have gone every year since. I mainly go to check out the modular synth gear and hang out with the people making and using them. This year was great with many more modules and many familiar faces.

Here we go…click on the pics for hi-res!

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The eurorack presence at NAMM this year was incredible. There were several different booths in various halls of the convention representing many manufacturers. I used to know immediately what modules were new, or which were prototypes, etc. but not anymore.

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I first went over to check out Noise Engineering because A) Stephen is my friend and colleague and B) I beta test and make suggestions on Noise Engineering modules and C) he had some beer with him.

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Among the new NE modules available soon is the Sinc Iter (purple one on the right in the photo above) which is a 4HP Oscillator with an insane range of 23 octaves (so it makes a great LFO) with variable waveform and built-in quantization. On the left are prototype clock modules.

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Also available soon (above in purple) are the Tonnetz Sequent (a triad based polyphonic pitch sequencer), Mimetic Sequent (a pattern recorder and randomizer with up to 16 steps – I love this thing!), and its expander which outputs random gates related to the sequences.

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Above from the left are the Variatic Sequent (a simple gate sequencer), the Variatic Erumption (a dual burst generator), and the Numeric Repetitor which is a rhythm generator in the vein of the Zularic Repetitor but based on binary arithmetic. I’ll swap in a better photo soon – I didn’t get a clear shot of these.

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Prototype mixers above on the right.

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Dieter Doepfer! I caught him mid-blink here – I swear his eyes didn’t look like that. He showed me some new Doepfer modules below.

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the A-157 Trigger sequencer above.

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Above in the center are the A-110-4 Quadrature Thru Zero VCO, A-147-2 LFO with delay, and A-110-3 Triangle Thru Zero VCO.

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Above is the A-101-6 Opto FET VCF/Phaser.

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Above is the A-153 Ratcheting clock multipler.

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Above is the A-160 Clock/Trigger Divider II

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I also got to catch up with Gur and Tomio showing Tiptop Audio’s wares – above is a prototype of a new case. The angle is adjustable. It looks great!

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Above is the new Circadian Rhythyms module.

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The quantizer is still being tweaked but looks great.

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They also had a couple euro-fied Serge modules in the case.

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Above is the prototype case at a different angle.

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The WMD touch interface is fun! the Poly-key Array.

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Above is one of the WMD/SSF cases.

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Make Noise had the new shared system with all black faceplates (above). I tinkered with this set up for quite a while.

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Above are the new fixed filter and the RxMx. The fixed filter can be normalled to the RxMx so the six bands correspond to the six channels.

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Above is the next Make Noise collaboration with Tom Erbe called the Telharmonic. It is a triad oscillator with controls over the chord and inversion as well as timbre and of course, pitch(es).

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Black Maths!

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The Ctrl Sel above.

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The updated Wogglebug (above) looks great!

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Phonogene in black.

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Another WMD/SSF rig in a slick keyboard case.

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A fully loaded Enclave case.

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New Low-gain modules (above).

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Hexinverter’s case (above).

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A modular module from Black Market (above) that has swappable circuit boards.

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These are the boards (above) that work with their 500 series style units as well as the eurorack unit.

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The Xoac Karl Marx Stadt above.

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The Harvestman himself, looking very dapper this year.

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Qu-bit modules.

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More Qu-bit.

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The Verbos touch keyboard arrived this year. It feels nice and plays well!

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This one (above) was in its own skiff.

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The Koma Quad helmet for demoing their new quad mixer. (Apologies to those I clocked in the head while wearing this.)

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the ProModular MIIIIX and Insert (above).

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SSF ultra-random (above).

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Synthrotek’s rig. Lots of cool kits in here.

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A closer look at the upper Synthrtek case with some Mattson mults along the bottom rows.

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The new Double Andore from The Harvestman (above).

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Chris Randall hamming it up with the Audio Damage rig (above).

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Abstract Data’s rig (above).

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the Koma Komplex Sequencer (above).

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Dann from 4MS showing their goods.

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the LZX rig (above).

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the Vermona rig (above – sorry, blurry shot!)

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Sputnik modular stuff – the patch was all set up, so the shots don’t show the modules all that well!

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The Snazzy rig

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Dan showed me the new Snazzy Tidal Wave which sounded great. A compact voice synth with some performance oriented controls (above).

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Muffwiggler booth rigs!

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Another Muffwiggler booth box.

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Expert Sleepers new stuff (above).

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Circuit Shaman’s rig in a John Noble case (above).

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The Circuit Shaman Dack (above).

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The Circuit Shaman Spectra Mirror (above).

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the Kilpatrick Audio Phenol (above).

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Above is the Tipsy Circuits Emperor, which can run Windows in the modular environment. Pretty insane!

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Frap Tools UNO case folded (above) and unfolded (below). Really nice!

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Pittsburg had their new stained wood cases, which looked really great.

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Studio Electronics modules (above and below).

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More from the Muffwiggler booth.

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The Moon Modular case (above). I met John L. Rice at their booth, whom I’ve interacted with on the forums before but never met in person, which was cool.

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Analogue Haven cases (above and below).

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Mutable Intsruments new stuff (above) – Elements is awesome!

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The new Synthesis Technologies E6209 (above).

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The Big City Music booth (above).

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I believe this is a vibrato/reverb repurposed from an organ from Analog Outfitters (above – from the Big City Music booth).

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New Buchla including the 252e and the standalone 218 touch keyboard.

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Brian Kehew and Robert Robert Margouleff at the Moog booth (above). Brian is a polymath whose many hats include synth expert, audio restorer, half of the synth duo Moog Cookbook as well as being an author (check out Recording the Beatles). Robert, along with Malcolm Cecil, built and played T.O.N.T.O. and co-created those amazing Stevie Wonder records.

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The reissues of the original Moog modulars.

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Diego Stocco tinkering with the Moog modular (above).

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Klaus Shulze poster!

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Moog Voyager (above).

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Suzane Ciani live patching the Moog modular (above).

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Sir David Scott Stone checking out the Korg reissues of the ARP Odyssey!

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Twin Braids jamming in the Roland room upstairs (above).

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Black is the new Orange (above).

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The original Les Paul “Black Beauty” (above).

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Yeah, I still want one of these Rickenbacker 12-strings.

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The insane new Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator series (above)!

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And the day ended with Richard Devine falling in love with the new 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator! It does sound amazing.

Thanks to Stephen (Noise Engineering) and William (WMD) for the NAMM badge!

Pocket Computer

Posted in Clark S. Nova, modular synthesizers, music, synthesizers with tags , , , on August 29, 2014 by pyraphonic

Pocket Computer is improvisational electronic music performed live on eurorack modular synthesizers.

Pocket Computer is Cube S. Lithely and Clark S. Nova.

Slithis – Return to Planet Slithis

Posted in modular synthesizers, music, Slithis, synthesizers with tags , , , , , on May 1, 2014 by pyraphonic

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$5 Eurorack Skiff

Posted in DIY, modular synthesizers, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , on April 12, 2014 by pyraphonic

I recently picked up a few new eurorack modules and one of them (the Doepfer A-149-1) was too deep for my briefcase.

I needed a case to house it in, so I went to the thrift store today armed with measurements for a potential box. Incredibly, I found a perfect candidate for $5. I removed the lid, drilled a few holes and was done.

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I’ve got room for more modules, but may need to contend with the dividers, depending on what goes in next.

Update**********

I couldn’t stop working on it and added some feet, a handle, and some blank panels.

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Update 2*************

I busted out the dremel, cut down the spacers, and added the Make Noise Teleplexer and Mutable Instruments Braids for a fun little system. Also some Noise Engineering prototypes in there.

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Noise Engineering Ataraxic Translatron

Posted in modular synthesizers, Noise Engineering, other people's work with tags , , , on May 27, 2013 by pyraphonic

I helped beta test and provide design feedback for the first Eurorack module from Noise Engineering called the Ataraxic Translatron.

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More info here:

http://www.noiseengineering.us/ataraxic-translatron.html

It is a linear feedback shift register oscillator that sounds a lot like the early home video game consoles since it uses the same techniques to create waveforms. I also did a demo video which is embedded below. Note that I made a mistake in stating that the pitch knob scales incoming CV. It actually offsets it.

Purchasing info can be found here:

http://www.noiseengineering.us/purchasing-information.html

Modular Synth Briefcase With Custom Ribbon Controller

Posted in DIY, modular synthesizers, synthesizers with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2012 by pyraphonic

In an attempt to abate my lust for the impossible to find Buchla Music Easel* or the insanely expensive EMS Synthi, I’ve put together a modular synthesizer using a slim vintage Samsonite briefcase as the housing.

It sits nicely on a laptop stand, a keyboard stand or my lap.

The space above the modules holds the wall wart power supply, the cables, and a bag of adapters when packed up. I may eventually add small speakers up in each corner like the Synthi has. The handle makes a nice cable holder when in use.

I went with eurorack modules to compliment my other modular system. Tiptop Audio 84hp rails fit almost perfectly into the case; I just had to file the ends to fit the contours of the case better. So far it has a Flight of Harmony Choices joystick, a Make Noise DPO, a Make Noise Optomix, a Random Sequencer Turing Machine, a Noise Engineering Ataraxic Translatron (an amazing prototype module from a genius friend of mine I am beta testing – next to that is an empty board from a different prototype), a custom plate with a square wave LFO to run the Random Sequencer and a mono-to-stereo converter with attenuation for output, Tiptop Audio uZeus power and lastly a custom plate with a force sensing resistor and ribbon controller. It is a fun stand-alone unit but also compliments my main system nicely.

The ribbon plate was built with help from friends. I made a template of the layout and Stexe from Slithis made the support beams, cut the plate and made the holes for me in his fabrication laboratory.

The schematic was laid out by my electronics mentor and the same guy who created the Ataraxic Translatron in my case, Stephen McCaul. First I added wires to the sensors, jacks and pots on the plate.

Then I did all the rest of the circuit by gluing the chips to a plastic piece and adding the components like a little electronic sculpture.

Then I wired it all together and was amazed that it all worked on the first try.

The plate is laid out like this: the force sensor has a scalable CV output and a gate out with a threshold pot. The ribbon has a scalable CV output and the two red buttons add positive bias and the black add negative bias to the ribbon output, so they can be used to jump up in pitch or jump down in pitch. The bias buttons each have a trim pot on the board so they can be calibrated as desired. There is also a gate out from the ribbon with a pot for the threshold. The ribbon works best for me when scaled to two octaves. And with various buttons engaged I can go up an octave or down an octave, giving me a four octave range. I mainly use it with the ribbon output to the DPO 1v/oct input and the force sensor output to the Optomix cv input.

Here is a test flight of the ribbon controller as I get a feel for the ribbon and using the bias buttons:

Next time you see a guy with a briefcase it might not be what you think.

*Buchla expert Mark Verbos told me at a Trash Audio event that plenty of other Buchla modules can do what the each of the functions of the Music Easel does but even better, but that system in that case still has for me what Captain Beefheart called “cootie appeal”; it’s too cute to not want one.