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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Modular Synthesis
My Blacet System
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, if you Aussies and Kiwis organized an electro-jam I'll do my best to attend, but in any case, we can stream the event. Smile
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Wow Tex !!!

Just stopped by to see how you were doing with all your Blacet construction! Very good progress I see. I like to see people having fun doing this stuff. It's, in my own opinion, half the fun of electronic music! It's a wonderful feeling to hear good sounds from something you have built with your own hands (or coded up in that fancy new processor in many cases these days). You do very nice work !!!! Wink

I am just finishing the Blacet Klang-Werk. The front panel is all I have to do. The good thing about the Blacet front panels is that the potentiometers are all PCB mounted so no messy and tedious wiring is necessary. It's a big time saver. Unlike the PAIA modules that have you solder all the POT terminals to the PCB. Just adds to many wires!

Upon your request, I can send over some sound samples of the K-WERK after installing it into my system rack. Very Happy

Your oscillograph of the VCO sine wave is as good as it gets TEX as it is derived from the triangle waveform that abruptly changes slope polarity. You will never hear any adverse effect though so not to worry. The circuit generates a very good sine wave approximation as it uses the non-linear operating region of the OTA gain cell. A clever use, I think, as most applications operate the OTA's in it's linear region for minimum distortion. The "nearly clean" sine wave is actually amplifier distortion!

Do you plan on using a MIDI to CV with your system?

Anyway, I love your work so far! Keep it up! Will check back soon TEX !

Bill
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bigtex



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

PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

State Machine wrote:
I am just finishing the Blacet Klang-Werk. The front panel is all I have to do. The good thing about the Blacet front panels is that the potentiometers are all PCB mounted so no messy and tedious wiring is necessary.

Agreed. That makes them much easier to build. No need to worry about extra wires or mesing with mounting hardware. For future DIY projects, I intend to build modules this way as well.

State Machine wrote:
Upon your request, I can send over some sound samples of the K-WERK after installing it into my system rack. Very Happy

Hey, post them right here for all to hear! I can't wait to get my Klang-Werk built. My VCOs are all done now, so I think I'm next going to build some effects modules.

State Machine wrote:
Your oscillograph of the VCO sine wave is as good as it gets TEX as it is derived from the triangle waveform that abruptly changes slope polarity. You will never hear any adverse effect though so not to worry. The circuit generates a very good sine wave approximation as it uses the non-linear operating region of the OTA gain cell. A clever use, I think, as most applications operate the OTA's in it's linear region for minimum distortion. The "nearly clean" sine wave is actually amplifier distortion!

Crazy. I'm still slightly dissapointed by the harmonic content I can hear, but it's pretty good. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much. I don't think I'll be able to use this sine for the really smooth low-frequency sounds like kick drums, though, because of the extra harmonics. Hard to say now, though, without having enough modules to try. The extra harmonics may actually make such sounds a little better, anyway. Also, I think I'm going to get a Metalbox 8008 Kick Drum.


State Machine wrote:
Do you plan on using a MIDI to CV with your system?

Probably. I'm still on the fence with MIDI. I want to build a bunch of analog sequencers with and without quantizing. I might not need MIDI with that. I haven't found a MIDI sequencer that I like yet, hardware OR software. So... I'm undecided. Maybe, maybe not.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 15, 2006 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tex Wrote:

Quote:
Crazy. I'm still slightly dissapointed by the harmonic content I can hear, but it's pretty good. I suppose it doesn't matter all that much. I don't think I'll be able to use this sine for the really smooth low-frequency sounds like kick drums, though, because of the extra harmonics. Hard to say now, though, without having enough modules to try. The extra harmonics may actually make such sounds a little better, anyway. Also, I think I'm going to get a Metalbox 8008 Kick Drum.


You might want to experiment a bit with your "Final Filter" module to get that sound you need.

I have also been thinking about getting a joystick controller for my modular so that I can provide vectors to my Mini-Wave's BANK and WAVEFORM SELECT CV inputs. This would allow some cool real time control.


Tex Wrote:

Quote:
Hey, post them right here for all to hear! I can't wait to get my Klang-Werk built. My VCOs are all done now, so I think I'm next going to build some effects modules.


Yes, that's right!! Will do Idea

Chat soon .......
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One rack is complete. 2 LFOs and 4 VCOs. It is truly a thing of beauty.

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

Here are some sound clips. The second one has a little more variety. I just made a bunch of patch cables, so this is my first time actually being able to connect everything together.

one
and
two

You're listening to the output of one oscillator. It's just modulated like crazy. I'm glad I went ahead with getting 4 VCOs. This is some ridiculous modulation power. The LFOs have a gate input, too. A lot of this pseudo-rhythmic stuff is one LFO being gated by the other. I don't have any kind of sequencer of MIDI->CV interface yet, so LFO modulation is as good as it gets (at least until I complete building the rest of the CV manipulation modules...)

Well, enough for today. (or is it?)

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Neat. And it is a thing of beauty!
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Looks and sounds beautiful... Congratulations...
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tex,

VERY VERY COOL !!! Nice work !!!! Very Happy

Nice to see project GROW !!!!

Check back soon ..... and with some Klang-Werk samples as promised. I will be on vacation in two weeks so I will have time. Right now I am doing BIG TIME study sessions for a computer achitecture course. Then its PLAY TIME !!!

Bill
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Just got a chance to check the sound files. I like sound file "2". There are some very interesting modulations in there. Some of which use the FM input of the VCO it seems.

Looks like a few interesting bits can be carved out of this sound file for use in my sampler Wink

Bill
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bigtex



Joined: Mar 30, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Oh, sample away! Feel free to use anything I post as you see fit.

I'll get more samples up soon, though I might be busy until next week. I've got a few more modules built, so more pictures and samples are on the way. I can't wait for this to be done!
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cebec



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey, don't know if you saw this post on the Blacet list but you might be interested in using black screws, instead, on the faceplates.

Quote:
I recently got a VCS from Seth at Bananalogue, and the module came with black
screws. They look really nice, and take away just a little bit of the "tightly
packed/busyness" of the frac panels. Look at the difference...

before:
http://www.ph.k12.in.us/~drew/noise/silver.JPG
after:
http://www.ph.k12.in.us/~drew/noise/black.JPG

It's not a huge change, but I do like it. Here's the part info:
http://www.microfasteners.com
micro fasteners part number: SMPPK0404
pan head #4 x 1/4

I bought slightly longer ones (3/8") so that they fit all the various panel
thicknesses.

Andrew (thanks Seth!)
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 3:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I saw that. I'm less into aesthetics, so I'd probably never bother. I might prefer the black screws if it came with them, but I doubt I'd actually take the time to buy them and switch them out.

I bought a couple of FracRaks off somebody on eBay, though, and they did come with black anodized screws. It is a nice look.

Thanks for the info, though!
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:41 pm    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.
With all of the modulation capabilities of those VCOs, I need some multiples. So I've started the next rack and built some. Since each Blacet PS500 can do 500mA, I won't need another power supply for this rack. You can see the little power distribution block in there on the left side.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Really, I only built the multiples next because they're the easiest modules to make and I was feeling kind of lazy. One resistor, some jacks, and a pot. Pretty easy.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Up next is the mixer module. Here's an example of how nicely organized the kits are. Everything's in a nice little baggie and packaged neatly. Of course, most of the through-hole (PCB mount) components come in one bag, so I do need to sort out all of the resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc. Not too hard, though. Often, the delicate parts like transistors will be in a smaller baggie inside, anyway.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
See? Easy to sort.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
What a timesaver this thing is. I get my resistors and capacitors bent to the right hole pitch every time.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Like this. All bent up.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Oops. Blurry again. Anyway, this mixer is ready to solder.


After this mixer, all I need to do is the two small dual VCAs and the one large VCA and I'll have another rack done. After that, it will be the effects rack (filters, ringmod, MiniWave). Oh boy!

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:00 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mohoyoho



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You are making me want to try and build some components. However, I think I better first practice soldering.
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mohoyoho wrote:
You are making me want to try and build some components. However, I think I better first practice soldering.


Go down to your local radio shack or other (preferrably other!) local electronics shop and buy some cheap protoboards. Either stripboards or the kind just with copper around each hole. Something simple to start practicing with. Find a simple project online and build it. Or buy a Ray Wilson PCB.

Perhaps you could even get a simple cheap kit. That way you'll have all of the parts you need and a satisfying product of your work when done. These are all around or under $10:

http://store.qkits.com/moreinfo.cfm/fk244
http://www.apogeekits.com/wonky_wire.htm
http://www.mtech.whsites.net/rainbow/
http://www.gibsonteched.com/ck205.html
http://www.ceitron.com/tech/edukits.html

Or just search online for "oscillator kit" or something. The reason I recommend a kit is that you'll get all of the parts you'll need to assemble. Just get a soldering iron and some solder and you're ready to go.

Get going!
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2006 7:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I see your mixer/processor is coming along. I like that module since it can also swap the incoming phase of the signal by 180 degrees and spit that out or output an in-phase version. The DC Bias feature is nice also. I think you will make good use of that module. This mixer is real quite also. Good quality. You will like it!

Quote:
I get my resistors and capacitors bent to the right hole pitch every time.


I agree also, those red "christmas tree" lead benders are awesome! A big time saver when making bends on the components.
Check back soon !!!

Bill
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Having houseguests really puts a damper on my synth-building. Just yesterday my last guest went home. Three visitors over two and a half weeks. Phew. It was good to see my friends, but it's good to see them go, too! At last.... free time again!

Now, on to the synth...


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
I'm using an extra Tektronix PS280 as a mere fan to blow away solder fumes. It's a great power supply, but I value my lungs more.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
VCA/Quad Mix, Mixer/Processor, and two dual Linear VCAs


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
I still need to wire up all of the jacks. If I ever design my own modules (no make that when I design my own modules) I'm definitely going to make everything PCB mount. If I have two rows of jacks/switches/etc in a module, I'll have a narrow PCB strip for mounting and use a header cable. I am so sick of cutting and stripping lots and lots of little lengths of wire. It's my least favorite part of making this stuff.

I actually really like the process of soldering all of the through-hole PCB components, though. I stuff the board completely and trim lead lenghts before I solder, so soldering goes quickly. Moving the iron and solder spool quickly from point to point is kind of like meditation. Yeah, I like soldering.


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Man. This camera kind of sucks. Note to all: don't get a RAZR.

So anyway, when I get around to finishing up that front panel wiring, I'll have two complete racks. One is all VCOs (bottom) and the other is all amplification/attenuation/mixing (top). I'm not sure if I'll take on the CV generation/processing rack or the filtering/effects rack next.


More to come....

I'm going on a week long road trip across the west and southwest US starting tomorrow night. There probably won't be much more here from me for a little bit, once again. I think I'll finish all of these kits in July, though.

Pretend the stack in that picture is twice as high, and it's like all of the kits are done. Four FracRaks of POWER.

I just got some nice wheely racks to mount all of this stuff in, too. A 12-space mixer rack that can fully tilt, and a 24-space rack with two 12-space sections at angles. Both on smooth little casters. Nice stuff for cheap (used). Plenty of room to grow, since the kits I bought will only occupy 12U of rack space.

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice progress. Nice improvisation to clear the air of solder fumes Very Happy

Quote:
I actually really like the process of soldering all of the through-hole PCB components, though. I stuff the board completely and trim lead lenghts before I solder, so soldering goes quickly. Moving the iron and solder spool quickly from point to point is kind of like meditation. Yeah, I like soldering.


Thats so true. I like the process of soldering the components on the circuit cards while listening to electronic music streaming from my computer. I enjoy my workspace very much since my music studio and electronics work space are in the same room. I have been lucky enough to devote a bedroom in the house for this use. I also use various lighting FX and strobes in my studio to create different moods when I just want to listen to music and meditate myself.

Enjoy your trip and be safe !!!! Very Happy

Check back soon !
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

State Machine wrote:
I like the process of soldering the components on the circuit cards while listening to electronic music streaming from my computer.


Funny, because I was streaming Kohina last night wile soldering! Smile
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J3RK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bigtex wrote:
I am so sick of cutting and stripping lots and lots of little lengths of wire. It's my least favorite part of making this stuff.

I actually really like the process of soldering all of the through-hole PCB components, though. I stuff the board completely and trim lead lenghts before I solder, so soldering goes quickly. Moving the iron and solder spool quickly from point to point is kind of like meditation. Yeah, I like soldering.


That's exactly how I feel about it. I actually had my friend wire up the 12 position switches for my Frequency Divider, and our custom MiniWave Expander board. Very Happy I love building the boards, and when I get to the panels, I just sit there staring at them grumbling.
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J3RK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I also notice you have a Miniwave. Do you have the existing expander board for it? If not, maybe I can talk my friend into having another set of ours made. Basically, ours mounts on standoffs from the MW board. It has one large ROM that holds all of the currently available ROMs (see the Blacet site for the links.) We copied the 8 ROMs we bought onto one big one. Then we have four additional sockets for future expansion. We use a 12 position switch for selecting banks, and add a second row of LEDs directly next to the bank select LEDs. I'll see if I can crop my MiniWave out of a picture I have up.

Edit: Ok, here's the front anyway. I'll have to take a picture of the board itself.

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

Last edited by J3RK on Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Are you talking about the Hylander MiniWave Expander board?
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

I intend to eventually get one, and extra ROMs, but I don't have any of that stuff yet. Just the stock MW with the single stock ROM.
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J3RK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

We actually built our own, but yes, I was wondering if you had the Hylander one. We only had 4 PCBs printed for our own use, but I was thinking we should have more made.
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Is yours in any way different/better/worse than the Hylander one? I notice that the Hylander boards are now back in stock, so I'm sure I'll eventually get one. Could you post some info about your board? I'd be interested to see it.

Thanks!
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J3RK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I'll grab a pic of it when I get home tonight. It's not hugely different actually. Instead of having 10 sockets though, we use one larger ROM to hold all of the available expansions, and then added four regular sockets for any that might come out later or that we make ourselves. So if you used ours, you'd have to buy the ROMs you want, then burn them onto the larger one. Then you'd have 4 additional sockets. We have all the ones on Hylander's site, the Matthew Davidson ROMs, the Grant Richter ROMs, the original, the Socket Rocket, and they all sit on one chip.
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