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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
My Blacet System
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 4:34 pm    Post subject: My Blacet System Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

(I'm starting a new thread so that I can document my building as it happens)

I just placed my order!!

Well, half of my order. My credit card has a variable (and unknowable) limit, so just to be safe I'm ordering half of it today and half of it tomorrow (after paying off the first half). Here's the final module count:

1x BZ2300K - Binary Zone (kit)
2x VCA2410K - Dual Linear VCA (kit)
2x EG2070K - Envelope Generator (kit)
1x FilF2310K - Filthy Filtre (kit)
1x FF2030K - Final Filtre (kit)
1x FD2020K - Frequency Divider (kit)
1x ID2510K - Improbability DriveTM (kit)
1x IO2225K - Input Module (kit)
1x KW2010K - Klang Werk (kit)
1x MW2090K - Mini Wave (kit)
1x MX2040K - Mixer/Processor (kit)
4x Multi2210K - Multiple/Attenuator (kit)
2x LFO2430K - VCLFO (kit)
1x VCA2200K - Voltage Controlled Amplifier (kit)
4x VCO2100K - Voltage Controlled Oscillator (kit)

I'm getting four rack frames, two poewr supplies, and enought patch cable kits to make 40 cables.

I've been toying around with various ways to arrange them, but I figure I won't try to decide on that until I actually have it all put together. Soldering and assembling and calibrating all of these module kits is going to take a long time!

I'll update this when everything arrives, and at (hopefully) regular intervals as the building progresses. I'll try to include pictures along the way. I figure I should keep a build journal, of sorts, because that will probably be good information for future module buyers, kit builders, and DIYers out there.
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toppobrillo



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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

da-yamn
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm jealous.
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well... I've been wanting a modular for over eight years, and this is the first time in all those years that I've been able to set aside some money to spend on myself... so I went a little crazy Smile

I may regret blowing all of this money at once... but I doubt I'll be able to regret anything when I behold my completed 4-rack Blacet modular Wink
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very Happy


party!

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jkn



Joined: Mar 14, 2004
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2006 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Take and post lots and lots of photos... Good luck!
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cebec



Joined: Apr 19, 2004
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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

awesome, i know the feeling of wanting for a long time and finally being able to go for it. i love blacet stuff, too. Cool
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi TEX,

I love the Blacet stuff myself and it sounds like you made some real good choices! Good luck! Please post your progress as you work along on your project. I, and am sure others, will find the interaction interesting.

BTW: I have the modules listed below and just finished the Klang Werk. I just have to get the front panel wiring installed. The mixer went together in an evening and the other modules took two evenings each. That was working fairly quickly though as I had to cram in building modules and study Shocked . I plan to build up my rack with Blacet gear also.

1x KW2010K - Klang Werk (kit)
1x MW2090K - Mini Wave (kit)
1x MX2040K - Mixer/Processor (kit)
1x VCO2100K - Voltage Controlled Oscillator (kit)

I can't wait to hear that Klang Werk module. Also, in my opinion the VCO has a nice feature to aid in tuning the unit by which a pushbutton is placed on the PCB to offset the oscillator by 1 octave. This aids in scaling the unit during calibration! Very good idea on John's part to add that. The VCO sounds real nice and sounds real bizarre when applying an audio rate CV to the octave control input!

The mixer is very useful also as I can add offsets to incoming CV's!

The Mini Wave is cool and I am thinking about designing a unit that indexes 16-bit waveforms and utilizes a much larger flash memory array so that I can literally have thousands of waveforms on a single circuit card and be able to dump new waveforms to it via MIDI or USB.

Well, good luck !!!
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cool
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

State Machine wrote:
The mixer went together in an evening and the other modules took two evenings each. That was working fairly quickly though as I had to cram in building modules and study


Not bad!

I just finished my first: the VCO. Unfortunately, I must have a short somewhere, because PS2 is getting very hot. I've emailed John about it and I'll probably get it fixed tomorrow.

When I first turn it on, I'll get a waveform output very briefly, it will start low and eventually glide upward, and then nothing. The switch will then get burning hot. Hmmm. Well, at least I got something out of it, so I'm close.


Quote:
Also, in my opinion the VCO has a nice feature to aid in tuning the unit by which a pushbutton is placed on the PCB to offset the oscillator by 1 octave. This aids in scaling the unit during calibration! Very good idea on John's part to add that. The VCO sounds real nice and sounds real bizarre when applying an audio rate CV to the octave control input!


The VCO has a LOT of nice features. I'm really glad now that I decided to go with Blacet stuff. I love the +/- octave input, and I can't wait to get the VCO working so I can play with it. I imagine that with just the VCO and patching some of it's outputs back into various inputs you could get some pretty crazy sounds. That's one of the reasons I decided to build the VCO first, for the instant gratification of having something to make sound with.
Quote:
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
80+ preinstalled, crimped, trimmed and tested resistors. Just solder!
Also, the pre-stuffed and trimmed resistors was a nice touch.

Quote:
The Mini Wave is cool and I am thinking about designing a unit that indexes 16-bit waveforms and utilizes a much larger flash memory array so that I can literally have thousands of waveforms on a single circuit card and be able to dump new waveforms to it via MIDI or USB.


Wow! That sounds really cool! What kind of experience do you have with such things? I'm pretty good at designing simple circuits and programming microcontrollers, but that project sounds like a huge undertaking! I hope you do it, too -- good luck!
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

As promised: photos!

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
The modules arrived actually in two boxes, with a wonderful ammount of packing material and padding. Mr. Blacet does a great job of not just designing modules, but making sure they arrive safe and sound. I've removed all of the packing material and put all of them into one box. 24 modules in total: the 23 I ordered, and the bar graph that was thrown in for free! Yay!

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
My first subject: the VCO.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
And like magic *POOF* it is complete. Boy, if only it actually went that quickly. Notice the bottom-most capacitor near the power connector. It is reversed from the one right above it. That fixed my problem. All of the other pairs of caps went in the same way, so I must have been hurrying or my brain likes symmetry too much or something. Anyway, solder wick is my friend, and the problems I was having were fixed tout de suite.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Let the calibration party begin!

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
That's as pretty as I could get the sine. Hmmmm.... still not quite perfect... some harmonic content, but pretty clean and it sounds nice. I like that there are trim pots to adjust sine distortion and tri/saw crossover. I got things dialed in pretty darn nice. What a great board.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Hmm. A little blurry, but this is the tune button, which makes tuning the oscillator *very* easy. It trips the +oct comparator which feeds 1V into the CV of the VCO. So you can jump between octaves and fiddle with scaling until it sings!

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Gotta love the triangle wave. I'm using AudioPrecision to check the frequency, which is total overkill, but convenient. I've been staying late, after work, and just using the facilities there. I don't really have the equipment or space at home.

So, I'm super happy, here. I've got one module down, 23 to go.

IT HAS BEGUN!

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Drool,
Slobber,
Pant,
Yelp!! Shocked

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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
Posts: 321
Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
I've found that for assembly, it is easier to stuff the boards with all of the components, then snip all of the leads, then solder all of the joints, rather than insert, bend, solder for each part or group of parts. More assembly-line style. Works for me, anyway...


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Speaking of assembly line, here I'm assembling two LFOs at once. I only have to look up a part placement once, and then do it on both boards. Quicker.

Notice two very simple but very important tools. The black rectangle on the left is an IC pin straightener, as recommended on Blacet's Tech Corner, to square up IC pins for insertion into sockets or PCBs. Way easier than bending by hand, and super quick to use. Just get one. The red thing on the right is a lead former or lead bender (i.e. to bend resistor leads to fit into the holes). Both very, very handy for board assembly.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
And like magic, I have two LFOs.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Very nice panel layouts. I'm definitely liking these Blacet kits. I haven't been dissapointed by anything yet. It's a great feeling, actually being satisified with what I've bought.

Also, I need to get a heat gun. Notice my gimpy cables with un-shrunk heat-shrink. Whoops.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Three more VCOs on the way. These three, plus the one I've finished, plus the two LFOs, will make a complete rack.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Whooosh. All of the parts just fly right onto the boards. If only...

So I finished soldering those and washed them off. Tomorrow I do the front panels. I'll have a complete rack. What next.... EGs and other CV sources? VCAs and other CV processors? Ringmod and filters? Well, all of them, eventually! Oh boy!

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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cebec



Joined: Apr 19, 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

looks great. can't wait to hear your thoughts on the sound.
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J3RK



Joined: Jun 05, 2006
Posts: 98
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very nice! I love the Blacet kits. Mine seem to actually get magically built though. I'm actually addicted to the process of building them, so if I have a few to build, I just get sucked in. I can usually finish about two of them in an evening. (at least the PCBs) I hate wiring the front panels. Here's a pic of my setup (I assembled all modules except the Wiard ones)

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

The hole toward the upper left is for another QuadVCA, which I have yet to build. Just ordered my fourth frac rack, a mixer processor module, a Power-1 3 AMP power supply, and a Wiard NoiseRing.

Anyway, nice work. I can't wait to see it finished. I need to do a bit of rearranging myself. Over the past few months things have settled into the racks in a somewhat nonsensical fashion.
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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Location: Cupertino, California

PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow, nice setup! Mine should look like that sometime this month (if I can find the time...) or maybe next month (more realistically). Do you have any sounds to post, or a site with some up? I'd love to hear what your system can do!



Also, welcome to electro-music.

Yeah, that's cheezy, but it seems to be the common greeting around here.
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J3RK



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 05, 2006 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks! I don't currently have anything up. I have a few noodlings I could post. I haven't really recorded anything musical lately though. (just got a new job, and have been quite busy) I can also whip something up when I get a chance. Nice choice with the Frac format though. There are so many people making good modules for it now. I'm currently waiting for the MOTM 1650 MIDI/CV module to be released. I'm eventually going to turn this thing poly. Smile
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
And now it's front panel time. It is much, much easier to connect the wires to the jacks and panel stuff first and solder to the board second. It says this in the instructions, but did I read them for the first VCO? Nooooo....

Anyway, doing all of this panel wiring is extremely tedious. The worst part is cutting out all of the little lengths of wire and stripping the ends. That takes forever!


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Look at them pretty VCOs, all lined up in a row.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
They just love to pose.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Once again, it is calibration party time. Here I'm adjusting the +1V and -1V outputs of the comparator driven from the +/- input. I'm actually just feeding that input with the + and - power rails, which the comparator can handle. That sure makes it easy.

Later on I used my first VCO (seen here in the upper left) to modulate that input to adjust the tuning and scaling pots. Then I just went wild playing around patching and twiddling knobs. Even with only two VCOs running you can make some far out noises with creative patching. Strange, hideous, cross-modulated waveforms. Very very strange looking on the scope. I only had a few mintes and then had to run home for dinner. I'll post some sounds after my next building/calibrating/playing session.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
This is what a triangle wave is NOT supposed to look like.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
A quick turn of a pot and it's all fixed up pretty.


.....more to come!

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Man, this is great. Hope you were listening to the electro-music 2006 streaming when building these.

Keep them pics coming. This is fun to watch.

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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh, wow. I totally spaced that out. In fact, I wasn't even aware you were streaming.

Maybe I'll make it out to next year's event. Philly every time?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

We are exploring Europe, but I bet we end up in Philly just the same.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Maybe it was just a rumour, which I may or may not of started, but I heard that next year it's going to be held in Nambucca Heads Australia!!! Very Happy Surprised Shocked

Or maybe that was just a rumour. Crying or Very sad

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hark! Is that, per chance, a friendly volunteer event organizer? Very Happy
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hark hark, harkened he!

I do believe he was offering to buy the entire list plane tickets. First class, if the rumor mill is to be trusted.
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Uncle Krunkus
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well I could organise a Bar-B-Que.
And there's room in the back yard to pitch a few tents!
Maybe we could even hire the Country Women's Association hall. They got a second power point put in the other week! Laughing

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