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Frequency Central Monobloc (System X all-in-one build)
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Frequency Central Monobloc (System X all-in-one build)
hermbot
I think I may be an early adopter as I haven't seen these posted yet, but I just took deliver of a Frequency Central Monobloc 01 - a kit with a full synth voice and an all-in-one panel. The 01 kit includes the System X Oscillator, VCA, and ADSR, a Waverunner LFO, and a State 700 filter. (The Monobloc 02 comes with two VCOs, a VCA, the System X filter, and one ADSR.)

The kit came with a flying bus cable and the Waverunner IC needed for the LFO. It also had the tempco board for the oscillator.

I think this will be a fun build. I'm going to start with the envelopes first, they seem pretty straightforward. I'll probably put it in a 3U + 1U custom wood box with some pulp logic modules, like a mixer for the oscillator waveforms and a few attenuverters / offsets.

I started working on a build doc for each module and the final build. It's very much a work in progress, but maybe it will prove useful to other people later:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dLaISsnQx9nFeOpxI3BIQTqs7MQZ-V yHhW4DCL19STQ/edit?usp=sharing

Anyway, here's what you get in the box:

basicbasic
I like the look of the Monobloc 02, how much was the 01?
hermbot
basicbasic wrote:
I like the look of the Monobloc 02, how much was the 01?


Monobloc 01 was £145 GBP, the 02 is £125. (That's $192 and $165 in Freedom Dollars.) That's what I was quoted via email right now, I don't think he has prices up anywhere yet. So maybe subject to change?
basicbasic
That sounds pretty reasonable. Will have to start saving my beans.
ratsnake
sweet. Is there anyway you could scan the faceplate on a flatbed? I've asked for panel files or pictures for my pcbs I ordered but haven't been able to get a response. A bit lazy to freehand my own using the photos from the website
stringsthings
That looks pretty sweet. Have to save up my pennies. I'd like to add some FC modules to my system.
indigoid
Ugh just what I need, another tempting-as-hell synth voice project ;-)

Somewhat surprised that neither option includes the System X s&h/noise though?
Purveyor2
I should be done with monobloc 1 this week, I'll post something once done.
PontusGBG
Very interested in these Monoblocs DIY's.
Thank you for the BOM!
I am building a MFOS Noise Toaster as my first project.
Would Monoblocs work as project 1&2?
indigoid
PontusGBG wrote:
Very interested in these Monoblocs DIY's.
Thank you for the BOM!
I am building a MFOS Noise Toaster as my first project.
Would Monoblocs work as project 1&2?


The Noise Toaster is a bunch of fun :-) and a good intro. It was my second project — first was the Alien Screamer, also a bunch of fun.

I think either Monobloc would be a good intro to building Euro modules, as it appears to be a bunch of separate PCBs. You can build and test it in smaller, less-intimidating segments — but if you don't have any other Euro modules already, it may be a bit unrewarding at first? I guess you have to start somewhere...
Staticcharge
Purveyor2 wrote:
I should be done with monobloc 1 this week, I'll post something once done.

Any update on the build/demo? I emailed Rick to order one and a raging bull. It can't arrive quick enough.
hermbot
Well I just started my build today - I ordered everything I could from Tayda and I'm starting to stuff all the resistors. There's a lot to do. I still have to order the remaining components from a few different vendors. Smallbear has the 3080 and some of the pots I need.
Staticcharge
hermbot wrote:
Well I just started my build today - I ordered everything I could from Tayda and I'm starting to stuff all the resistors. There's a lot to do. I still have to order the remaining components from a few different vendors. Smallbear has the 3080 and some of the pots I need.

There is a lot of fake 3080s about so if you can buy a few then snap them up.
How are you getting on with the kit so far?
hermbot
Staticcharge wrote:
hermbot wrote:
Well I just started my build today - I ordered everything I could from Tayda and I'm starting to stuff all the resistors. There's a lot to do. I still have to order the remaining components from a few different vendors. Smallbear has the 3080 and some of the pots I need.

There is a lot of fake 3080s about so if you can buy a few then snap them up.
How are you getting on with the kit so far?


Hmm, good to know. Though I'm not sure how I would tell:

http://smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/ic-ca3080ae/

The kit's fine so far, everything's pretty well laid out.
hermbot
You got me curious so I did some cursory searching, and found this thread:

http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=116751.0

Quote:
SmallBear bought all the genuine old stock he could. As that ran low, he worked with Rochester, an old-time obsolete chip supplier for military and industrial users, to run and test a wafer of '3080. When he had apparently-bad chips he worked with the customer here and off-forum to make it right.

You can in fact buy the chips right from Rochester now, but the shipping won't be better and I noticed they charge more than Steve does. (It would be reasonable for the factory to not under-cut their best customer.)
Staticcharge
If you have another module with a 3080 then you can swap it out. I tested all the ones I have in a godsbox filter.
I just emailed Rick and my kit should be with me tomorrow, should have it built by the weekend...fingers crossed. I've got a little 6u x 84hp rack with a keystep I thought it might be perfect for.
Have you built anything else?
I'm Phil by the way.
Staticcharge
I remember reading that when I was looking for a substitute. No Good for me in the UK but I've managed to buy from a reliable supplier, I bought 10 just so I know I've got some. Although there is a work round using an LM13700 and a nifty little board that adapts it to plug straight into your 3080 socket.
Glad you've got a reliable source, could have ended in tears if you had ended up with a hand full of fakes.
Staticcharge
This is the pcb adaptor vero.
http://effectslayouts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/lm13700-to-ca3080-convers ion-board.html?m=1
hermbot
Staticcharge wrote:
If you have another module with a 3080 then you can swap it out. I tested all the ones I have in a godsbox filter.
I just emailed Rick and my kit should be with me tomorrow, should have it built by the weekend...fingers crossed. I've got a little 6u x 84hp rack with a keystep I thought it might be perfect for.
Have you built anything else?
I'm Phil by the way.


I've done some guitar effects pedals and a few power supplies - this is my first foray into Eurorack DIY. After this I'm going to build an Elements and the new Buchla 208 clone once the first set of boards are out in the wild!
Staticcharge
Hows the build coming on hermbot? My kit arrived Wednesday and blow and behold I'm down 1no 10k trimmer to complete the module. It is such a nice module to build I may even buy the Monobloc02 module.
Tested and calibrated as I've gone on and no glitches so far, did swap out the 351s for 071s though because I had some duff ones when I used them for another module.
I'm waiting for knobs so picture to follow of completed module. I was thinking of adding a simple hardwired patch, good idea or not?




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hermbot
Haha dang you're fast! Nice work.

I've only been working on it during my lunch breaks, so an hour here and an hour there. I just now finished stuffing all the resistors, time to move on to the next phase. I still need to orders jacks, pots, and knobs. I'm sure I'll have some questions as I get deeper.

But how does it SOUND?
Staticcharge
I built the the VCO and 1 envelope the other day and built the rest today.
The missing 10k trimmer is from the VCF so I can't listen to the finished module until it arrives, tomorrow fingers crossed.
Just tuning the VCO, the job I dread, I've not had much luck in the past. The envelopes are really good and the LFO is a work of genius.
Staticcharge
I will suggest one thing, if I may. When assembling the modules on the panel, start with the VCO and work your way from left to right. This will come in handy when calibrating the modules as you go because of the direction the PCB faces, you'll need to access the trimmers.
I've just calibrated the VCO, after speaking to you I had an epiphany regarding calibration. I'm sure there's lots of folk that find it very easy but for some reason I've always struggled with it. I'll leave it to sit for a while and then check it again.
ym2612
This is really cool! I built a System X Envelope and two VCOs recently, and they are some of the more pleasant builds I've done.
Staticcharge
I agree ym2612. The PCBs are clear and the calibration process is simple, I would recommend any of Ricks kits to any noob to DIY modules. Parts are easy to source and the 1%/5% resistors aren't overly important even less so with the VCFs, it just adds more character. The envelopes, as previously mentioned, are snappy and work really well with any of the FC VCFs and VCAs.
Damn, looks like I've talked myself into building a FC rack.....hmmm.
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