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System suggestions?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author System suggestions?
panda30y
I'm in the process still of planning out my system, and here's what I think it will consist of and everything is being made or modified to have banana jacks:

-Klee Sequencer panel
-Best of CGS VCO panel (link)
-2x blacet racks with:

1x blacet vco
1x blacet binary zone
1x blacet mini wave (w/ scale quantizer)
1x metalbox matrix mixer
1x metalbox patch panel (1 frac space)
1x metalbox digital noise
2x toppobrillo buchla 281 diy clones
3x thomas white buchla 292 diy clones

My diy face plates can be seen here, and I orginally planed to fit the 4 281 boards behind a 3 frac space panel, but it just got too overcrowded. So if I opt for this layout I would have 2 281's and the 2 serge vcs modules to create EG's, 5 VCA's, the 3 292's would serve as 3 optional mixers for audio or cv, VCA's as included in the 5, and/or a filter.

I'm unsure whether I would be better off getting the 2 space patch panel or the 1, because my frac system is a banana frac-er, I need the patch panel to convert to 1/8 or 1/4 inch to patch out to the mixer. But it also leaves me space for the digital noise panel, but if I build the best of cgs sequencer panel, I'll have two of them. If I could eventually fit in a wogglebug #3 in the system I would like to but I doubt I'll be able to fit it behind a 1 frac space panel.

If I eventually get a 3rd blacet rack, I won't have as many issues with the spacing, and I can use all 4 of my 292 and 281 pcb's, and fit that wogglebug as well, but I'm trying to restrict myself to 2 racks for now. But I do see the possibility to setup a 3 rack system in frac and build a separate system for the cgs panels with possibly a serge panel in the future to complete a 3 panel system.

Any suggestions you could offer would be fantastic.
DGTom
The only thing I would do differant is off shore the patch panel, or, mount that stuff in the Frac ears - if you got a pair of metalbox frac ears for Banana -> 1/8" -> 1/4" conversion you get a free frac panel wink (so long as everything is rackmounted)

Would love to see some pics of those nanners Fracs!
panda30y
DGTom wrote:
The only thing I would do differant is off shore the patch panel, or, mount that stuff in the Frac ears - if you got a pair of metalbox frac ears for Banana -> 1/8" -> 1/4" conversion you get a free frac panel wink (so long as everything is rackmounted)

Would love to see some pics of those nanners Fracs!


I was kindof thinking about that, and I guess I should take advantage of all my frac ears from metalbox or build them myself. I don't know what I would do with my extra blank frac ears.

It's a work in progress still... I still need to buy my 300+ banana jacks and I'm waiting to see if I'm going to land this job soon. But if all goes well, I'll update this thread with pictures in a month and a half or so of some converted blacet modules and hopefully some diy panels. It's going to be awhile before this is all together.
indexofmetals
I'd highly recommend the metalbox wave mult / tube vca combo and the bi-n-tic vco/filter - very original modules

-edit, I see you mention the bi-n-tic in another post so you already know how good it is, how about the new dual wasp filter?
parasitk
I'd recommend a Blacet Window Comparator, although I don't have one yet personally – from what I can tell it's a nice companion to the Binary Zone, plus those Serge Slopes on your CGS panel!
panda30y
The Window Comparator and Bi-N-Tic are high on my list. My issue is finding space and the Window Comparator would be a nuisance to convert to banana jacks, although it is purely a mechanical issue. Also, it's looking more and more like I'm going to build the sequencer panel from Zthee which has a gated comparator... although I don't know how comparable it is to the blacet module.

Based on my other threads, this is what I think will be my updated build. I will still have 3 292 boards, but I will remove the extra inputs on two of them and place them behind a single 2 space panel. The Patch panels I will try to get metalbox to build behind 2 frac ears and try to build small cv mixers behind 2 other frac ears and removing the digital noise unit because the best of cgs sequencer panel will have the digital noise module. This will free me of 4 frac spaces to work with.

With those 4 frac spaces I was thinking about adding a wogglebug #3 since I have no random voltage source, a window comparator, bi-n-tic, STG Wave Folder, or my additional 2 281 builds (2 spaces).
panda30y
Ok... after alot of thinking I've come to this point so far. I'll try to treat my best of cgs panels as a separate system that I can still use with my frac system of course in the studio. But I just really like the idea of keeping them separate for portability issues, and they have drastically different depths, so getting a cabinet that is somewhat portable wouldn't fit the two easily.

As far as the build goes, assuming that metalbox or myself can build the digital noise and logic gates into a rack ear, I would have this build:

4x 292 clones (4)
4x 281 clones (4)
2x cgs dc mixer (2)
1x blacet vco (2)
1x blacet binary zone (2)
1x blacet Mini Wave (2)
1x metalbox patch (1 ear)
1x metalbox/cgs digital noise (1 ear)
1x cgs/diy DC mixer (1 ear)
1x metalbox logic (1 ear)
1x blacet window comparator(2)
1x wogglebug #3 (2)

Because the window comparator would be a bitch to convert to banana due to the fact i would have to remount the panels, I was thinking a second Mini Wave might be a better option as from what I understand the socket rocket rom has a comparator setting.

Also, I was quite torn as to whether or not I would run the Bic-N-Tic. If I were too, I would probably ditch the Blacet VCO, but I would be more limited in terms of waveforms with the Bic-N-Tic. But then again I would also have a filter outside of the lo pass gates.
Cat-A-Tonic
You could DIY some banana->3.5mm adapter plugs as described on the CGS page as an alternative to the patch panel.
There are plenty of 3.5mm->1/4" adapter plugs available commercially.

You can get away with 6 jacks vertically in a Frac ear, maybe 7 if you really crammed them in tight...
I don't know what sort of Logic module you are thinking about trying to squeeze into a Frac ear,
but all of the commercially available one's from MetalBox take too much space.
You might try a trigger combiner 'OR' gate as described on Doepfer's DIY page.
You could fit 1 or 2 of those in an Frac ear easily.

The best advice when space is an issue is... MORE RACKS. Mr. Green
If you want to DIY your own panels (or do a real hack job)...
you might be able to shave the Mini-Wave and Window Comparator down to one FU each,
but the would be pretty packed.
You could even squeeze something DIY like a CGS real Ringmod into the middle of the standard Window Comp.

The standard issue Mini-Wave PROM does have some Window Comparator-esque functions...
in banks 6 (square-wave compression with variable width on the bank select)
and 7 (binary multiplier for harmonic sweeps and trigger patterns).

Bank 12 of the Socket Rocket PROM is a Window Comparator (MARF Discriminator) with variable width on the wave select.
Bank 6 is Bit Descimation.
Bank 13 & 14 are Morse Code patterns.

Having the dedicated Window Comparator allows for precise control over Width & LEVEL.
It also has an inverted out, a trigger out, and a GATEable VCable ramp oscillator.
For these additional functions it is IMO worth it to get the dedicated version in addition to the Mini-Wave.
DGTom
You know what would make this easier.... 11 Frac spaces in a 19" rack! There I said it! I feel your pain panda! I followed the sage advice of MOAR & went with 3 rows (9U) of just Blacet grin

If you mounted the PCB to the inside of the frame you'd be able to get a CGS Quad Logic Gate in there... maybe. Those OR trigger combiners are only good if you know that you'll never get 2 events being piped thru at the same time & without an opamp at either end they are kind of flakey IMO.

Having a couple of comparator functions in the miniwave is awesome, but, I wouldn't want to use one as a dedicated replacement for the WC, just think about the other things you could be doing with it! (the miniwave that is)

The WC is worth the effort of converting, I can really see myself getting a 2nd, as much for a 2nd gated ramp generator.

It does depend alot on what you want to do, for normal synth duties its not a must have, but for complex, self playing patches its a must. In some ways the WC is kinda like a little helper monkey that 'just knows' when to trigger an envelope or reset an LFO.
panda30y
I know that I could jump up to 9U if I wanted, but I really want to try to keep it down to 6U and run it with a klee sequencer in a portable rig. If I need to jump up to 9U I will of course, but I really want to be able to have a portable 6U setup with a Klee.

I'll probably stick with the window comparator if they are still available when I come around to purchasing it. Too much diy stuff to buy right now. If not, I'll try to pick one up second hand or build the gated comparator.

Does anyone have both the blacet VCO and the Bic-N-Tic? I really like the demos I hear from the Bic-N-Tic, but I love how rock solid and flexible the Blacet is. I would like to hear your opinion on either of the two for this system.
DGTom
Totally understand the need to keep to 6U, tbh comparators are pretty basic devices, if you don't need all the control or the Ramp osc. in the Blacet you could build one & maybe even fit it into a rack ear. I have a very simple VC comparator on the breadboard at the moment which behind a panel will be 3 sockets & two pots & an LED. The cct. footprint is not much more space than the 8 pin DIP.

the 6U you have planned + klee will be made of screaming goo yo

I have the Blacet VCO & a Bi-N-Tic, but have not used them together yet due to my PSU "issues" waah hopefully by this time next week I will have that sorted.

They are almost like mirror images of one another, or better yet... Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde!

If you could maybe squeeze the 3rd DC mixer into the module, stick a DIY VC Comparator in that ear & then have space for both! applause w00t

I'd rather have the VCO next to the MW than not, if you get me, the Blacet will do stock waveforms, but with those 281s in cycle it will get wierd just as quick grin

With the VCO, MW & Bi-N-Tic this 'one voice' system would sound HUGE! & thats before any of it hits the Buchla Dynamics section woah
panda30y
That was how I was feeling about the vco, just the demos sound fantastic. I might build a custom panel for my best of cgs stuff in the future with one in it.

I've tried to fit a 3rd DC Mixer behind a 2 space panel, and I just couldn't do it nicely. I'm debating whether or not I would need a 3rd mixer to be honest. I kind of left it in there as an old relic from my layout. I know I could definitely use 2 mixers, but the 3rd was more of a assurance that I would have enough. Here's my current design.
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I suppose I could fit 3 if I make them all 3 input mixers.
DGTom
If you were to do all your audio mixing in the 292c's & these were just CV mixers I'd have one 2->1 with output pot & two 3->1 with the 3rd input as a potless summing input. It'd be tight, but, you could chain them for a 6 chan. (with tapped 'buss' outs - usefull with bananas) depends how you work & how many of your DIY modules have CV atten. on the panel.

Very cool layout tho! I'd be really tempted to leave the top half as is.

or maybe one like this (sorry for insulting your eyes & gfx with my hax00ring)

panda30y
No worries, I steal the designs from Blacet so...

I like it, I would probably just swap the out and in 3 at the bottom left and perhaps get rid of the 2nd master output pot and have 2 3 input mixers with the 3rd input w/out pots. I'm just worried about room to move the knobs when the banana jacks get stacked.

All my mixing would be done with this though, both cv and audio. I'm probably going to build all of my 292c with only 1 audio input so i can fit 2 each on 2 space panels.
DGTom
I've used the Blacet grid on all my Lunetta modules, which are all 1FU & most of them have 2 columns of 6, I find the column of pots is fine, but I have one module with 2 pots inbetween jacks which can get tricky with stacked plugs. Depends a little on what knobs you use, Davies are better, but Reans still work out ok. Any modules I know I will want better access to I do Serge, with only 4 pots in a column.
panda30y
for DIY I really find that 4U is just perfect. 5U has more room, but I think you start to get a tad big at that point for portability.

Which davies knobs and what pots do you usually use? I am considering the 12mm alpha pots and I think they will barely fit with 6 stacked vertically.

Back to the mixer, I think two summing inputs on two 3 input mixers and one master on a two input mixer might be nice as I could always make it a bigger mixer or mix everything down to something along the lines of 2 tracks. Or a 3 and 2 input mixer, both with master outputs, and a 1 input attenuator.
Cat-A-Tonic
panda30y wrote:
I am considering the 12mm alpha pots and I think they will barely fit with 6 stacked vertically.

I think Blacet's panasonic pots are 9mm.

For fitting 6 pots vertically, or 5 pots with a jack beneath, you'll have difficulty fitting any pots larger than 9mm.

12mm should be fine for a vertical row of 5 pots, or 4 pots with room for a jack and a switch/LED beneath.

I like the way that BugBrand fits jacks to the left of the pots.
The layout & density of Tom's designs is perfect for me.

The only time that a knob really benefits from having alot of extra space
is when its function beckons alot of live tweaking; like the freq. knob on a VCF...
The MOTM 1490 is a good example of this.
The front panel could have been more compact if it's components were rearranged, but then it wouldn't be as comfy of a grabber for live tweaking.

If you use pots with large diameter backs then your designs will be have to be more spacious like STG's.
His designs are lovely, but they are really spaced with 5U fingers in mind.
It kind of goes against the 3U goal of functional density.
DGTom
I'm using 9mm alphas, I want to get some board mount ones to experiment with cutting up some vero board, but for now the solder lug type have worked well.

I've got the Davies 1900H clones from smallbear on all my Euro & Blacets now... I just like em better. All my Blacet knobs are getting reemed out & I'm using those on my CMOS modules which are insanely dense, I made a 1FU panel for a dual flip-flop the other day which has 16 holes! No pots just 6 'nanas & 2 5mm LEDs in each column, some very tense drilling moments!

I really like the bugbrand modular layouts but the pot / jack thing is a little wierd to me, but I've never met one in person. I love his earlier lunetta / DIY panels which have been a big inspiration.

The un-atten inputs on small mixers is def. the way I'm going. They are great for adding modulation to a V/Oct. CV before it hits the VCO input & for building bigger mixers as & when you need them.

Don't ask me why but I always put inputs on the bottom, outs on top... NO idea why, but I've always done it & find it hard working around my 'normal' modules - you don't want to know how many times I've found myself thing 'hhhhmmm why isn't this patch working?' looked around & bam there is a module patched back to front d'oh! seriously, i just don't get it

don't judge me!
panda30y
Where have you found 9mm pots with solder lugs? I can't find them in the mouser catalog, so I've gone with the 12mm. According to my measurements it would barely fit, but it's scary close!
BugBrand
DGTom wrote:

I really like the bugbrand modular layouts but the pot / jack thing is a little wierd to me, but I've never met one in person. I love his earlier lunetta / DIY panels which have been a big inspiration.


Cheers - probably due to my use of 16mm Alpha pots etc - I found some of the Lunetta designs I did a bit too tight ... I like compact, but not *too* compact.. It can be hard figuring a 'standard' sort of layout throughout a range of modules, but the four dials + inputs left and bottom works out pretty good - modules are relatively easy to make in batches..

Oh, by the way - I do have a dual DC (polarizing) mixer design - the UTL4 - the only thing holding me back from making these more available is getting hold of good stocks of the centre-detent pots - I can get them but they're more expensive than they should be and I can only get long shaft ones which then require some cutting down.. Trying to source better!
DGTom
panda30y wrote:
Where have you found 9mm pots with solder lugs?


I've been getting mine locally & paying retail = $$$ but they are better than the 16mm they have & I've only been getting them in batches of 10, but;

http://www.smallbearelec.com/Detail.bok?no=693

I'll be getting some of these ones soon grin They cost more, but, I figure the added expense for increase in density & more room behind the panel is worth it (for me) as all my modules are single Frac unit, for the time being.

BugBrand wrote:
Cheers - probably due to my use of 16mm Alpha pots etc - I found some of the Lunetta designs I did a bit too tight ... I like compact, but not *too* compact.. It can be hard figuring a 'standard' sort of layout throughout a range of modules, but the four dials + inputs left and bottom works out pretty good - modules are relatively easy to make in batches..


I figured you'd be doing something sane like using 16mm pots & allowing for finger space Dead Banana

your dead right of course, some of these lunetta modules are way too dense (after my success with 16 hole layout at the weekend I'm going to attempt yout 4094 next!) & I would avoid doing 'normal' modules like this, but its almost part of the lunetta charm for me now, patches end up looking as awkward & angular as they sound nanners

to be honest, are centre-detents worth it? I don't have a problem with my 3Ps & most centre-detents I've heard have leaked a little anyway.

UTL4 is awesome tho! Does Mix 1 still output with the link switch on?
Roycie Roller
panda30y wrote:

All my mixing would be done with this though, both cv and audio. I'm probably going to build all of my 292c with only 1 audio input so i can fit 2 each on 2 space panels.


Good to see you're putting a DC mixer in the rack ear! It's a tiny pcb.
A 6-in, 1-out DC Mixer makes an fine interface or output mixer (i run the output (set fairly low) directly into the mic input of my computer & record like that- it works great!).

If you want to mix audio & CV together within the synth, the CGS Mega Mixer would be better i reckon- it's specifically designed to do that, whereas the DC Mixer is more for one or the other, depending on the pots you use.
fluxmonkey
wow, thx for the hot tip on smallbear... i've gotten those from mouser at $3.50@, so $1.95 is a big savings...

these are not solderlugs, but i've never had trouble winding stranded wire on the connection and soldering. i usually add a little heatshrink too, at least to the wiper connect.

b

DGTom wrote:
panda30y wrote:
Where have you found 9mm pots with solder lugs?


I've been getting mine locally & paying retail = $$$ but they are better than the 16mm they have & I've only been getting them in batches of 10, but;

http://www.smallbearelec.com/Detail.bok?no=693

I'll be getting some of these ones soon grin They cost more, but, I figure the added expense for increase in density & more room behind the panel is worth it (for me) as all my modules are single Frac unit, for the time being.
DGTom
applause someone else on the forum posted that link the other day, I thought I'd checked ALL the pots smallbear keeps.

I wasn't sure what to call the 'bits' on them, but likewise I've never had a problem wiring them, its just abit more precision than regulars - they mount really nice on perf board as well grin
BugBrand
DGTom wrote:
to be honest, are centre-detents worth it? I don't have a problem with my 3Ps & most centre-detents I've heard have leaked a little anyway.

UTL4 is awesome tho! Does Mix 1 still output with the link switch on?


Ah - there are onboard trimmers to null the centre point! This point varies slightly if the power lines vary from exactly +/-15v - I set them up before sending, but if problems occur they can be trimmed 'in your system'. There's still a little 'give' around the centre detent, but you can always get to zero if you always turn down (ie turn up then turn down to centre - gives the zero point)

And, yup, the link just attaches the Mix1 to the mixer of part 2 - output Mix 1 is still active! So you've got two independent and/or a 4 channel.

Useful!
Cheers!
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