Needed a Power Bus in a Pinch

My modular synth rack has a nice PSU but I had no way to distribute that power to my modules. I was looking for a nice power bus but most were out of stock or going for WAY to much. I decided to grab some strip board and so headers and make one myself.

Pinout:

I went ahead and did headers for the full 16 pins. I will only use 10 pins for my modules since they do not call for 5v or the CV & Gate.

Added a couple jumpers for the 6 ground pins and away we go.

Cassette Tape Player Fun

I have recently been introduced to the art of tape looping. It’s hard to Google for tape loops and not come across the name AMULETS.

If you never heard of him, please take a min and check him out:

AMULETS
Bandcamp
YouTube

He has a few tutorials floating around on the net on making a 5 second tape loop that was really easy to follow.

I had an older/cheap GE portable tape recorder that I wanted to do a pitch mod to. This would give me the ability to slow down the playback speed with a potentiometer. I played around with a few different pot values and found for this player a B25K pot was perfect to get a complete stand still just at 100% of the pot.

Look at the case of your player and see where the best place is to mount the knob at. With the case off the player you will be able to see if you have clearance for the pot/knob. I found a nice little cubby hole right behind the battery compartment that gave me access to the top of the player without obstruction from the PCB or internal speaker.

When you have your tape player open, look for a hole in the PCB that has access to a trimmer. This trimmer is used to set/calibrate the motor speed from the factory. We are going to add a pot to it to add control from the outside of the player.

Now make your hole for your pot in the plastic enclosure. If your careful about it you can do all this while the PCB is still mounted. Seeing all the motors and belts I decided to not take it completely apart. If I did I am confident that it would no longer work LOL.

End results: (Cassette tape courtesy of my wife)

I also wanted to add a MONO 3.5mm jack so I can output it to my modular system. More to come on this later.

DIY 6U Eurorack cade

This is the beginning of a huge adventure in to the wonderful world of modular synthesis. Taking the plunge into this means a careful, thought out plan of attack, which I am not good at at all. I want to utilize as much “DIY” spirit as I have and save some money for modules and accessories since there will certainly be quite a few.

I had the following criteria for this case:

  • Sturdy
  • portable
  • Protection
  • Not to big
  • Room to grow

I planned on making this out of 3/4″ birch plywood. this would get me to the sturdy factor. By choosing to make it have a front/cover will give me the portability I want and protection. I want to be able to pop the front cover on and protect the modules and also have room to leave my patch cables in place for transport. Going with a 6U case would be a perfect size to carry around and not feel like I’m hauling around my Fender Reverb Twin (extremely heavy). I wanted something deep enough to be stable standing on its own and be able to stack another case on top to expand when needed and take care of my “room to grow” point.

My father-in-law was a HUGE help in getting this project off the ground. I took a few years of woodshop in school but still needed some refresher guidance and someone on the sidelines yelling at me “you’re overthinking it Cody!”. So to him, thank you.

At the end of this post I will make a list of the hardware I used and where I bought it from.

Here I am gluing the sides in place using some clamps. I used a basic butt joint and Titebond wood glue.

Lets jump ahead a bit, due to the fact that I did not take any photos of the glue process, but you get the idea. This is the box completely glued up and a nice routed edge. Nothing fancy here, just something to clean up the edges. I then took a palm sander and hit it with some 100 grit. My thought process here was to make a full enclosed box and use my table saw to cut off the lid so it lines up perfectly.

Lid cut off and it came out perfect. I was a little worried this was going to bind on my table saw but with my Diablo blade it but like butter. It also helped that I had a few extra hands to help keep things steady on the fence and help guide it through the cut path.

Stained the box with a Miniwax black satin stain and it came out exactly how I envisioned it. I wanted a dark brown color and still see the grain. This picture really does not do the stain justice. I sat the handle on it to see what it would look like. I went back and forth on different handles and finally went with this one. They are used for RV doors HAHA.

I got the power supply mounted and the rails installed. Time to mount the handle, butterfly latches and rubber feet then test fit some modules.

Really happy with the end results. I learned a lot from this process and will definitely make another one soon.

Hardware Used: I bet you can find better/cheaper hardware, I just used what I had access to

 

Roland TR-08

I had been on the pre-order waiting list from the time it was announced. With the announcement of the 909 one I just knew a 808 was inevitable. The 808 is such a sough after sound of so many classic tracks. From hip-hop, R&B to pop and jazz, so many have used to 808 in their sound. WIth the original Roland units out of grasp costing close to 3k I wanted something more than just samples.

The Good:

  • The build quality is fantastic. It has a metal top with really good feeling pots and switches.
  • The sound is what you want from a 808. The sounds are very full and not compressed or ROM sounding
  • MIDI in and out is a great feature.
  • Pass through audio “Audio In” for inserting other modules or instruments.

The Bad:

  • No CV clock/control. This is just sad,   it really would benefit from it.
  • No individual outs for each drum.
  • Pitch controls are hidden behind a menu. No physical knobs for pitch controls.
  • Internal speaker is useless for the bass drum. Headphones needed.

This might be a contender for some hacking. At some point I will open this thing up and take a look at the main PCB. WHo knows,  there might be some points labeled for CV or individual outs.. I doubt it but I can dream.

 

Madbean Total Recall

I got this populated PCB from a Madbean forum member and buddy of mine Jason. Hes not a delay fan and he just did not meld with pedal. I really wanted to build one and the PCBs were out of stock at the time so I swooped up on it. Jason did a great job populating the PCB and used all high quality parts. He had 4 MN3008 BBDs mounted with the supplied daughter board. I decided to ditch them and go with the Xive MN3005 BBDs I got in the Cabintech group buy.

Mastotron-ish

I was introduced to the band The Whores and fell in love with the crunch & deep bass sound the guitarist gets. After a bit of searching I found that he used a ZVex Mastotron early on and layered it with other fuzz/dirt. I never built a Mastotron and thought I would give it a go. I used effectlayout’s layout of it.

Tested good, now I just need to get some artwork together and box it.

American metal brothers

Digging through some boxes I found these gems at the bottom. The original American Metal (on the right) FX-59 was given to me for free from an eBay seller that I bought a 90’s Rat from. The Super American Metal was mine from when I was younger. I picked it up used when I was 15 since I wanted to get that “Justice for all” sound. It nailed that mid scooped, overly bassy sound perfectly.

Smashing Sounds

Half Distortion 2 and half IC Big Muff. I took the idea from MadebyMike’s Dreambox and kept it simple. I used the 77′ OpAmp BMP layout from effectslayouts and the DST2 from Madbean forum member Zombie Sonore.

Whether or not you like Smashing Pumpkins, this combination is a great distortion pedal. Looking forward to smacking this on my pedal board.