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Monkey Cymbals+ Percussion Synthesizer
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Dan Lavin



Joined: Nov 09, 2006
Posts: 647
Location: Spring Lake, Mi, USA
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:32 pm    Post subject: Monkey Cymbals+ Percussion Synthesizer
Subject description: A new two-voice metal/noise based synth
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I'd like to share a new project with the E-M Forum: my Monkey Cymbals + percussion synthesizer. It is a two-voice percussion synthesizer with a hihat and a separate ride cymbal type sound. The plus comes in that it is not limited to just those sounds. Through three panel -mounted potentiometers, it's possible to get electronic crash cymbals, church bells, chimes, gong-like tones, anvils, snare drums and all sorts of metal and electronic weird sounds. Team one of these up with the Quad Bass++, and you can have a nice drum kit.

This is actually the third version of Monkey Cymbals that I have worked on and off over the past 2 years. The first two versions had the tone generator based on the Boss DR110. I wasn't happy with the output signals until about a month ago when I came up with a new tone generator. I had wanted to come up with a way of generating the cymbal tones without using filtering, that offered a wide variety of sounds, but didn't have a boatload of knobs to fool with. While on a business trip, eating lunch alone, I drew up what I call the Xor 4 (pronounced Zore - 4) tone generator.

There is nothing earth-shattering new about the Xor4. Ken Stone's Cynare's tone generator uses the same 2 chips. It's just the way I wire them up to maximize the tone variation with the minimum amount of knob twittling. If you look at the schematic for the Xor4, you'll see it uses the familiar 40106 squarewave oscillators 1 thru 6. Oscillators 1 and 4 have variable tuning while oscillators 2,3,5 and 6 are fixed. Oscillator 1 feeds one input of 4070 Xor 1 and 2 while Oscillator 2 feeds the other Xor 1 input and Oscillator 3 feeds the other input of 4070 gate 2. So the effect of tuning oscillator 1 is that the outputs from 4070 XOR 1 and 2 both change. This set up is duplicated for the other half of the 40106 oscillators and Xor gates. The sonic output of the whole combination is like two digital ring modulators and there's so much harmonic variation that I didn't feel a filter was needed.

The rest of the circuitry is very familiar to E-M members. I used Thomas Henry's Clangora, Bass++ and trigger inputs from his Electronic Drum book to create all the other circuitry. The only part that isn't Thomas' is the little bandpass filter I use on the input to the cymbal VCA to slightly vary the sound so that the open hat and cymbal don't sound exactly the same. That one was inspired by John Simonton's drum tone board at PAIA, but it is a very common filter.

State Machine has agreed to make pcbs of this project provided there is enough interest. The intent will be that the pcb will be the same size as the Quad Bass++ so the two boards can be "sammiched" together. If you're interested in boards, let Bill know how many you'd like. I'll be doing the artwork again as on the Quad Bass++ with the usual imbelishments from Bill, I'm sure.

I'd like to thank Thomas Henry for permission to use his circuitry on this project. I'd also like to thank RichardC64 for all the words of wisdom, critiques and suggestions of previous efforts that lead to this point.

Bill is running another run of Quad Bass++ boards in May and it might be a good time to put together a full kit using these 2 boards:
http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-39402.html


MonkeyCymbals+Rev1.0schPage1.pdf
 Description:
Page 1 of the schematic. Thanks to Thomas Henry for this stuff!

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 Filename:  MonkeyCymbals+Rev1.0schPage1.pdf
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MonkeyCymbals+Rev1.0schPage2.pdf
 Description:
Here's page 2 containing the audio portion of the circuit

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 Filename:  MonkeyCymbals+Rev1.0schPage2.pdf
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Xor4schematic.pdf
 Description:
And here's the XOR4 tone generator that's producing all the wonderful tones

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 Filename:  Xor4schematic.pdf
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Last edited by Dan Lavin on Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject:
Subject description: And now for some samples
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Here are the samples.............


4XORhatThencymbal.mp3
 Description:
Hat first followed by ride cymbal

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 Filename:  4XORhatThencymbal.mp3
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4XORHatwith knobs.mp3
 Description:
hihat playing while messing with the tuning knobs

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 Filename:  4XORHatwith knobs.mp3
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4XORwith473cap.mp3
 Description:
Cymbal with harshness set to max

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 Filename:  4XORwith473cap.mp3
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 2:39 pm    Post subject:
Subject description: and a couple more samples.............
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like it says, more samples!


4XORnoisyHat.mp3
 Description:
hat alone...first closed then open

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 Filename:  4XORnoisyHat.mp3
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4XORand7yearsAgo.mp3
 Description:
here's what the XOR4 is capable on its own with tuning both knobs

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 Filename:  4XORand7yearsAgo.mp3
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2XORand3yearsAgo.mp3
 Description:
.........and for those curious what just one half of the XOR4 sounds like

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ericcoleridge



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Are the hats gating one another? It sounds like it, but I didn't see any mention of it. That would make this circuit useful than other cymbal circuits I've been thinking of using.
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ericcoleridge



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It sounds good too, btw
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Are the hats gating one another?

The hat gating circuit is borrowed from Thomas Henry's Clangora. There are two trigger inputs: closed and open. Each env generator associated with it's trigger input, has a different decay time so closed is typically short and open is typically longer, but since they are adjustable that can actually be reversed! Like a real hat, the closed takes precedent over the open trigger.

For more straight forward percussion sounds, the cymbal voice is usually used.

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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's the panel artwork for those using 19" rack panels


MonkeyCymbal+Panel2012.pdf
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created with Open Office 3.3 Draw

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piedwagtail



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nice - samples and schematics suggest vactrol or ldr controls for the 40106 oscillators and a third vca escape for the 4070s with a Fritz adar gate such that occasionally one's finely programmed rhythm can be hiJacked by a Japanese noise band. Smile
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2012 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Nice - samples and schematics suggest vactrol or ldr controls for the 40106 oscillators and a third vca escape for the 4070s with a Fritz adar gate such that occasionally one's finely programmed rhythm can be hiJacked by a Japanese noise band. Smile


Thanks for the complement. I think that's a nice suggestion for added circuitry, but I'll leave the rest to the mods that typically follow any project. Besides after 2 years, I'd like to call it a wrap! As a side note, I've set the fixed oscillators tuning resistors in an 8 pin DIP outline on the pcb artwork so users can try different resistor combinations without having to resolder or wire up 4 more pots. Of course if you want to wire up 4 more pots, more power to you!

To help understand the overall module, I've attached a block diagram.


monkeyCymbals+block.pdf
 Description:
Monkey Cymbals+ Block Diagram

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wmonk



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is excellent Dan! Very Happy

But as big as the Quad Bass++ PCB? Would there fit two of these on that? Cool

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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
This is excellent Dan! Very Happy
Thanks!

Quote:
But as big as the Quad Bass++ PCB? Would there fit two of these on that? Cool
Sorry, no. My original board was about 105mm X 105mm but I removed some parts and replaced them with the Xor4 which should've taken it down a little bit. Bill's got some crazy-arse ideas about stacking with the QB++ board. Now that said, there will be extra room on the MC+ board. We've talked about a couple of ideas and for right now, we've only agreed on one added feature. I'd like to have some fun artwork on the blank spaces like the Shruthi's and Sammich's but Bill and I don't exactly have a good track record of leaving blank spaces! Wink
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frijitz



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

thumleft Nice work, Dan.

Ian
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wmonk



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan Lavin wrote:
I'd like to have some fun artwork on the blank spaces like the Shruthi's and Sammich's but Bill and I don't exactly have a good track record of leaving blank spaces! Wink

Laughing
They are crowded like a damn good party indeed party!

Listened to the samples, I really love the hihats, but am not sold on the cymbals yet. Perhaps I like those a bit more 'classical'.
If there is place for a little rimshot or handclap ... Cool

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richardc64



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've often felt that too many controls can just as easily impede the creative process as enhance it. If it takes adjusting 6 pots to get just that "right sound", what are the chances of re-finding those 6 sweet spots when you want that sound again?

It's gratifying to see -- and hear -- a wide range of sounds obtained with just two pots.

Kudos, Dan.

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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Nice work, Dan.

Thanks, Ian!

Quote:
I really love the hihats, but am not sold on the cymbals yet. Perhaps I like those a bit more 'classical'
Yeah, that was intentional...I have plenty of more realistic cymbals and wanted something different.

Quote:
I've often felt that too many controls can just as easily impede the creative process as enhance it. If it takes adjusting 6 pots to get just that "right sound", what are the chances of re-finding those 6 sweet spots when you want that sound again?

It's gratifying to see -- and hear -- a wide range of sounds obtained with just two pots.

Kudos, Dan.
Thanks, Richard! Yes, that was exactly the intent. Even with just two pots, sometimes it's hard to hit a sweet spot. I think it'll be easier when I get this latest version mounted in the panel and have some visual reference.
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creekree



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan, I like the samples, and thank you for sharing the schematics!

Would I have to change anything if I wanted to put this thing into a +-15v system? All my other drum modules use +-15v, and they are in a dedicated rack... if I build the monkey hihats, then they will go into that rack as well.

Thanks! Christian
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Creekree, actually a lot of this circuitry is based on Thomas Henry's Clangora and generic drum circuits which are indeed +/-15V. The hihat portion could actually be referred to as a "Clangora-light." So no problem with +/-15V. Sorry I didn't mention this earlier. That's a fairly common question on any new project posted here.
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ericcoleridge



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan Lavin wrote:
Now that said, there will be extra room on the MC+ board. We've talked about a couple of ideas and for right now, we've only agreed on one added feature.


Wouldn't it be nice to at least have the option of a noise generator on this module? Most DIY people probably do have a noise source somewhere else-- but it seems somehow incomplete as a cymbal simulator without noise.
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Wouldn't it be nice to at least have the option of a noise generator on this module? Most DIY people probably do have a noise source somewhere else-- but it seems somehow incomplete as a cymbal simulator without noise.
You've been talking to RichardC64, haven't you!? Wink

Noise would be really easy to add. In fact, it was on there, but my findings were that it was redundant. It's possible to get digital noise out of the XOR4. OTOH, it is only a couple transistors, caps and resistors and takes up a little more than a square cm...no big deal. RichardC64 would call that mixing pot "sizzle." TM Wink

I've been getting away from noise in hihats lately since I've been spending a lot of time listening to real hats (including one of my buddies that plays live locally) and my conclusion is that hats sound nothing like noise! Now that being said, MC+ is not exactly a realistic hat (or cymbal). It's supposed to sound electronic....and that means adding the noise would be in keeping with the spirit of the design.

So, yeah, if we do make pcbs, I can add it, no problem.

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richardc64



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan Lavin wrote:
RichardC64 would call that mixing pot "sizzle." TM Wink

That was because you noted that "Hiss" is generally something unwanted.

I might have been thinking about cymbals called Sizzlers, which are punctured by a bunch of loose-fitting rivets that increase the sizzle factor.

But then again, I also might've been thinking about bacon.

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ericcoleridge



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dan Lavin wrote:
[ You've been talking to RichardC64, haven't you!? Wink.

Nope. But it's pretty unusual to make a cymbal simulator w/o noise. I would think anyone looking at this schem would notice this pretty quickly. I can see your point for wanting to leave it out, but there's a pretty strong argument for including it here-- and I think most people would end up missing it a lot.

Dan Lavin wrote:

Noise would be really easy to add...
...It's possible to get digital noise out of the XOR4...


In that case, it would be super nice to have a simple passive filter (band or high pass would be my preference). If you want to keep it simple, you could have one simple knob for noise being the passive filter cutoff, and a mix knob for the two sources-- eh?

Dan Lavin wrote:

...my conclusion is that hats sound nothing like noise!


It depends on what hi-hat you're playing. They don't really sound like cross modulated oscillators either. However these things can approximate certain aspects of hats and cymbals. On a recording, even plain white noise would fool some people.

Dan Lavin wrote:

So, yeah, if we do make pcbs, I can add it, no problem.


This would sell me. I've built other similar circuits, but I'm still up for a dedicated cymbal simulator. The other X-OR circuit I'm thinking about tries to do too much and ends up being too complicated to get great cymbal sounds out of it quickly and easily.

I also love those Bass Plus drums and was already thinking of making a quad. Now all we need is a dedicated clap simulator. If someone could clone that Simmons Digital Clap box-- that would be the sh!t. I don't think that there's anything really 'digital' about it. It's just CMOS I think.
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Dan Lavin



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
it would be super nice to have a simple passive filter (band or high pass would be my preference).
That could be something to add as well. There's a fixed BP on the ride cymbal now, but it could be tweaked to be tuneable with Q control. I did one quick experiment a few weeks ago and didn't like the results, but I could revisit it. Based on my Clangora/Cynare hybrid, the filter's almost always set for HP or BP and almost never LP.


Quote:
On a recording, even plain white noise would fool some people
It would have to be fairly low in the mix. Wink

Quote:
If someone could clone that Simmons Digital Clap box-- that would be the sh!t.
You might want to take a look at my modded DR110 posted elsewhere in these pages, if that clap is of interest. It wouldn't be too hard to clone just that section of it. You can use my PICAXE program to simulate the clap pulses. It was quite easy to program. I was hoping a more competent programmer would have taken my code and added features such as delay between pulses and number of pulses.
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