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Open hardware modules for ambient music
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author Open hardware modules for ambient music
Mr_Muzak
Hi everyone!

I've been looking to get into modular (the absence of tactile feedback of computer based music has been really frustrating) but here in Brazil they aren't really available and are really expensive due to import taxes. Because of that I decided to go the open-source/hardware diy route and source my own components and etch the pcbs (my father is an electronic engineer and we've been diying and hacking things since I was a kid).

I want to use the synth to make ambient music with some rhythmic aspects to it and a bit of noise to spice things up(at least for now, don't know where this journey will take me), I'm thinking about something like Aphex Twin's ambient works and Bass Communion.

The other thing is that I want a fairly portable rig (max 10 modules give or take a little) that is as much as possible analog, definitely no screens and menu diving (that experience I get from my computer and plugins).

With all that I've been thinking on getting some of the GMSN modules (noise, quantiser and the sample and hold), a Turing Machine (maybe I'll add the Chord Organ later on). With that said I still need power supply, VCOs, LFOs, VCA, an output module, some sort of filter and probably a whole bunch of other stuff that I still don't know about modular synths.

I'm kindda overwhelmed with information and would like some rig recommendations and even a look at the DIY rig you guys and girls have been rocking.

Thanks in advance,
Matheus

P.s: Mutable instruments stuff seems way too hard for me to build
mutronic
Dintree has some pretty comprehensive DIY modular synth tutorials.

http://www.dintree.com/

Birth of a Synth is a great place to read up on Thomas Henry and Scott Stites notes on their projects. Both have contributed a lot to the DIY synth community.

http://www.birthofasynth.com/index.html

Music From Outer Space is also a great resource for classic analog synth madness provided by the legendary Ray Wilson.

http://musicfromouterspace.com/index.php?MAINTAB=SYNTHDIY&PROJARG=QUAD _AUDSUBMIX/QUAD_AUDSUBMIX.php&VPW=1670&VPH=823
Mr_Muzak
mutronic wrote:
Dintree has some pretty comprehensive DIY modular synth tutorials.

http://www.dintree.com/

Birth of a Synth is a great place to read up on Thomas Henry and Scott Stites notes on their projects. Both have contributed a lot to the DIY synth community.

http://www.birthofasynth.com/index.html

Music From Outer Space is also a great resource for classic analog synth madness provided by the legendary Ray Wilson.

http://musicfromouterspace.com/index.php?MAINTAB=SYNTHDIY&PROJARG=QUAD _AUDSUBMIX/QUAD_AUDSUBMIX.php&VPW=1670&VPH=823


Thank you for the sources I'll check them out. What about some module suggestions?
Revok
Mr_Muzak wrote:
etch the pcbs


Welcome, Matheus. Be sure to check out the YuSynth stuff. Most of the projects have image files that are ready to etch.

http://yusynth.net/Modular/EN/VCO/index.html
Mr_Muzak
Revok wrote:
Mr_Muzak wrote:
etch the pcbs


Welcome, Matheus. Be sure to check out the YuSynth stuff. Most of the projects have image files that are ready to etch.

http://yusynth.net/Modular/EN/VCO/index.html


Thank you! With the great sources you guys are sharing the hard part becomes choosing what to build.
mutronic
Mr_Muzak wrote:
mutronic wrote:
Dintree has some pretty comprehensive DIY modular synth tutorials.

http://www.dintree.com/

Birth of a Synth is a great place to read up on Thomas Henry and Scott Stites notes on their projects. Both have contributed a lot to the DIY synth community.

http://www.birthofasynth.com/index.html

Music From Outer Space is also a great resource for classic analog synth madness provided by the legendary Ray Wilson.

http://musicfromouterspace.com/index.php?MAINTAB=SYNTHDIY&PROJARG=QUAD _AUDSUBMIX/QUAD_AUDSUBMIX.php&VPW=1670&VPH=823


Thank you for the sources I'll check them out. What about some module suggestions?


Well, whenever I think of ambient, I think of some kind of clocked reverb, so definitely some reverb and delay. That, mixed with a few VCOs, an LFO, a sequencer, Noise, and a couple of Envelopes should get you some pretty far out stuff.
Misk
When I lived in Buenos Aires for a year, there was a synth diy group on facebook that would meet up regularly—but I'm convinced that portenos are born speaking a kind of spanish the world will never understand...

Granted spanish isn't portuguese anyway, but i guess my point is, if I learned anything in BA, it's that fucked up import tariffs make for incredibly resourceful diy communities! Are there any other people or groups in your area that get together and build synths?

I use an electronic cigarette and they're actually illegal in argentina, but some of the best people I met were part of the "e-cig underground". They even knew the best laptop batteries to rip open so they could salvage 18650 batteries hihi
Mr_Muzak
Quote:
I think of some kind of clocked reverb, so definitely some reverb and delay. That, mixed with a few VCOs, an LFO, a sequencer, Noise, and a couple of Envelopes should get you some pretty far out stuff.


Thanks man! Do you have favorite diy (open hardware)designs of those kinds of modules?

Quote:
i guess my point is, if I learned anything in BA, it's that fucked up import tariffs make for incredibly resourceful diy communities! Are there any other people or groups in your area that get together and build synths?


As far as I know there are a few people here in Brazil who make their own modules, most notably VBrazil Modular and Arthur Joly (the guy makes his own vinyl records), but I don't know any one in my area (Belo Horizonte- Minas Gerais). That said there is a synth club that sets some meet ups. At least the one I attended there weren't many diy people there.

What open diy designs have you built and like?
Mr_Muzak
So, I think I finally settled on a some modules that I want to build. It would be nice to have some feedback on my choices so here it goes.



Those are the modules I'm planning on building, am I missing something? Is there something I don't need in there?
Revok
Here is the YuSynth ADSR. Keep in mind that this will open to 8v with a +/-12 power supply. Not a big deal. I wouldn't get hung up on analog vs. digital for something like this. That dual ADSR packs a lot of features in.

You'll probably want to pick out a VCF too.
Mr_Muzak
Revok wrote:
Here is the YuSynth ADSR. Keep in mind that this will open to 8v with a +/-12 power supply. Not a big deal. I wouldn't get hung up on analog vs. digital for something like this. That dual ADSR packs a lot of features in.

You'll probably want to pick out a VCF too.


The thing with analog is that I don't want to deal with lots of code for now. My programming skills are very rusty right now to troubleshoot something if it goes wrong.

Why it would open to 8v instead of 12v?

I think I'll give the quantizer up for now and put a VCF I might need a mixer or an output module too.
Revok
My best guess is that it relates to how Q1 and Q2 are set up to supply the gate signal for the rest of the circuit. 5-10v is pretty standard for an envelope so 8v shouldn't be an issue.
Mr_Muzak
Revok wrote:
My best guess is that it relates to how Q1 and Q2 are set up to supply the gate signal for the rest of the circuit. 5-10v is pretty standard for an envelope so 8v shouldn't be an issue.


Got it! Thanks a lot for the help! The modular community seems to be quite a nice place for beginners and people seeking help. I didn't expect that.
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