Sputnik Modular (general thread)

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ym2612
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Sputnik Modular (general thread)

Post by ym2612 » Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:59 am

It's getting a little tricky figuring out which Sputnik thread to bump, so I figured I'd start a general thread for the lineup and see if others are interested in posting.

I have the Quad VCF/VCA and the West Coast Random Source so far. They are the Buchla modules I always wanted in Euro. The VCF/VCA gives me those percussive Subotnick sounds and is brighter and snappier than my Optomix, with a wider palette with the three modes. VCA mode is fast enough to do AM.

The West Coast Random Source is digital, which accounts for the single-board construction. The quantized voltages are cool, in that you can easily get a random arpeggiation that sounds pretty good. So far so good, except I wouldn't run pitch-critical CVs through the sample and hold. I tried this last night, and what came out didn't match what was going in. There may be an offset on the voltage coming out.

I've tried the delay a couple of times at Control, and I really appreciate the patchability and flexibility. But it doesn't sound great to me when you change the delay time. You can hear a strong, gritty digital character to the sound when the time setting changes. It's a bit hard to find an illustration of this online, but this video kind of shows it:

[video][/video]

Looking at the website, a number of the modules require +5V, including, surprisingly, the Quad Function & Trigger Source and the stereo mixer.

I like the brushed aluminum panels a lot. They look classy, and I hope to see more makers adopt this (the Mannequins Mangrove has it as well). The clean panel layouts and blue knobs are great too. :party:
Last edited by ym2612 on Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by M6live » Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:05 pm

Redacted.
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Re: Sputnik Modular (general thread)

Post by mheumann » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:25 pm

ym2612 wrote: Looking at the website, a number of the modules require +5V, including, surprisingly, the Quad Function & Trigger Source and the stereo mixer.
I don't think the Quad Function & Trigger needs +5V. I've used it on both a +5V row and a non +5V row, and it works the same either way.

I can also add that I now have 4 of the Sputnik modules and they are generally excellent. I do wish he'd hurry up on those manuals, though, especially for the West Coast Random Source.

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Post by lvoemachine » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:32 pm

I talked to MPC at NAMM (the company who makes the panels) and the process used to make the blue artwork is much more expensive to get done. I have the oscillator for now, but plan on getting a bunch of sputnik to work along side some waldorf/qubit for digital and STG/Malekko for analog. It'll be a nice compliment to my huge MU system.

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Re: Sputnik Modular (general thread)

Post by mritenburg » Wed Feb 11, 2015 3:20 pm

ym2612 wrote:I've tried the delay a couple of times at Control, and I really appreciate the patchability and flexibility. But it doesn't sound great to me when you change the delay time. You can hear a strong, gritty digital character to the sound when the time setting changes.
I wonder if this is related to the DSP chip, the programming of the firmware, the expo converters for the CV input, or something else? I hope it can be fixed with a firmware update.
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Post by roman_f » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:42 pm

the QUAD FUNCTION / TRIGGER SOURCE does not require +5V rail
MIXER does, since it's uses VCA's for panning of channels 1 & 6
S&H and INTEGRATOR are direct clones of original SoU - on;y FRV/QRV/SRV sections are digital
these delay artefacts, afaik, they are pretty common for any digital delays

i will hopefully finish the manuals this weekend :cloud:

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Post by scottmoon » Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:48 pm

roman_f wrote:i will hopefully finish the manuals this weekend :cloud:
:yay:

Looking forward to the rest of your proposed modules. :tu:
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Post by mheumann » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:06 pm

roman_f wrote:i will hopefully finish the manuals this weekend :cloud:
:yay: You're the best!

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Re: Sputnik Modular (general thread)

Post by thetwlo » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:40 pm

ym2612 wrote:It's getting a little tricky figuring out which Sputnik thread to bump, so I figured I'd start a general thread for the lineup
so you're thinking one thread per manufacturer is best?
some have their own sub-forums.
Perhaps one thread per module is a better way?

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Post by ym2612 » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:52 pm

Well, so many came out at once, and so many more are due soon, that I think it makes sense to have a catch-all thread for them, like with Verbos. It seems like a system of modules within Euro. I didn't want to have to start a separate thread for each thought I had on each module.

I'm excited to see the manuals for these, and I hope the Multi Pass Filter makes it out eventually in some form.

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Post by ScremercS » Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:50 pm

roman_f wrote: FRV/QRV/SRV sections are digital
What are the normal voltage ranges for the output of each section?

I checked my west coast random and found the following:

FRV maximum output is 3.5v on both outputs

QRV maximum output is 4.3v, n+1 generates more than 7 states at its maximum setting, 2n does not seem to generate 64 states at maximum setting. n+1 and 2n seem to generate the same output.

SRV maximum output is 4.3v, equal distribution output does not generate 256 states

Noise output is very low, practically unusable
Pink output is -24db
White output -is -28db
Blue output is -20db

These parameters are quite different than a SOU.

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Post by ym2612 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:11 pm

The S&H seems to need a few samples - 3-5 in some cases - to really need to lock on to a voltage. I was stepping through stages on a sequencer with voltages alternating between 0V and 10.69V and the S&H was reading around 4-6V per step.

FYI, the VCF/VCA seems to be AC coupled. It slews DC offsets to 0.

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Post by ignatius » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:16 pm

btw - there's a handful of sputnik videos on the MW youtube page

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUzt2Z ... vYw/videos

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Post by Michiel » Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:20 pm

Any news on when these will be reaching the European suppliers?

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Post by Hari Seldon » Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:30 pm

Any more info or demos on the quad vca/vcf? How is sound and build quality of these?

(I'm thinking about getting one for my live rig to do vca/vcf and audio mixing duties, and leaving the Linix & Doc oc to the studio, freeing up some space)

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Post by Bhairo » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:21 pm

Hey There,

I am still pretty new to West Coast Synthesis so please don't get upset if I ask something that has been asked a million times. I understand that the Sputnik Modules are almost exact clones of the Buchla modules. I am really curious to know what exactly is the difference between owning a Sputnik Source of Uncertainty versus something like the SSF Ultra Random Analog? They both do the same function so why would one be more inclined to purchase the Sputnik over its Analog counterpart? Does one sound more true to the Buchla 266e or it really matter in the grand scheme of things?

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Post by ym2612 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:18 pm

Bhairo wrote:Hey There,

I am still pretty new to West Coast Synthesis so please don't get upset if I ask something that has been asked a million times. I understand that the Sputnik Modules are almost exact clones of the Buchla modules. I am really curious to know what exactly is the difference between owning a Sputnik Source of Uncertainty versus something like the SSF Ultra Random Analog? They both do the same function so why would one be more inclined to purchase the Sputnik over its Analog counterpart? Does one sound more true to the Buchla 266e or it really matter in the grand scheme of things?
The 266 doesn't really have a sound, but it has certain behaviors in its subsystems that are different from the URA or Wogglebug. Ultimately, they're different flavors of randomness and give you more or less control over different areas of behavior.

The URA's stepped voltage outputs come from two sample & hold circuits that sample from a noise source. This makes the distribution of the uncertainty completely flat and random, because white noise contains an even distribution of all possible values. The stepped voltages in the 266 have a number of different distributions possible, depending on user and CV input, and in one section can be quantized among a certain number of stepped possibilities. The fluctuating random sections on the 266 is very similar to the R-Flux output on the URA, but the R-Flux is relatively buried and has no panel controls. The 266 does not have the very useful digital noise source that the URA uses for its random gate outputs. And in Buchla style, the 266 only outputs unipolar voltages (unless you feed noise into its S&H section), while the URA gives you bipolar outputs.

Then with the Wogglebug, you have a chaotic system with stepped and smooth voltage outputs that are interdependent, plus its own weird and only vaguely predictable random gate output.

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Post by Bhairo » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:17 am

thank you!

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Post by ignatius » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:25 am

Hari Seldon wrote:Any more info or demos on the quad vca/vcf? How is sound and build quality of these?

(I'm thinking about getting one for my live rig to do vca/vcf and audio mixing duties, and leaving the Linix & Doc oc to the studio, freeing up some space)
[video][/video]

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Post by ScremercS » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:33 pm

Bhairo wrote:I understand that the Sputnik Modules are almost exact clones of the Buchla modules.
don't believe the hype

the west coast random is not a perfect clone of the 266

it might look nice, but its output range is less than 1/2 of the 266

on the 266 QRV and SRV output range is 0-10v

on the west coast random, QRV and SRV output range is less than 4.5v

don't believe me, check your own module

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Post by analogue01 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:30 pm

ym2612 wrote:FYI, the VCF/VCA seems to be AC coupled. It slews DC offsets to 0.
Oh, so it's strictly for audio? that's a bit of a bummer. but true to the Buchla I suppose...

Seems like there are more than a few bummers in this thread.
Last edited by analogue01 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Hari Seldon » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:21 pm

ignatius wrote:
Hari Seldon wrote:Any more info or demos on the quad vca/vcf? How is sound and build quality of these?

(I'm thinking about getting one for my live rig to do vca/vcf and audio mixing duties, and leaving the Linix & Doc oc to the studio, freeing up some space)
[video][/video]
Thanks. Saw this one earlier, seems like a practical module, still curious to hear some user feedback. Is there anything to compare them to sound/quality? What kind of filter circuit/vca chip is used in these?

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Post by ym2612 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 10:50 pm

So, wasn't worried about the voltage range on the random source at first, but now I discover that it can only address half the stages on my Verbos Multistage, which needs 0-10V input. In Euroland, even the Buchlaesque modules don't always get along. Back to the drawing board, I guess.
Hari Seldon wrote:Thanks. Saw this one earlier, seems like a practical module, still curious to hear some user feedback. Is there anything to compare them to sound/quality? What kind of filter circuit/vca chip is used in these?
The filter is a standard 6db Sallen-Key typology. I'm not sure about the VCA-only circuit, because it can be quite fast and doesn't seem to be strictly vactrol-based.

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Post by lloydcole » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:20 am

ym2612 wrote:So, wasn't worried about the voltage range on the random source at first, but now I discover that it can only address half the stages on my Verbos Multistage, which needs 0-10V input. In Euroland, even the Buchlaesque modules don't always get along. Back to the drawing board, I guess.
Hari Seldon wrote:Thanks. Saw this one earlier, seems like a practical module, still curious to hear some user feedback. Is there anything to compare them to sound/quality? What kind of filter circuit/vca chip is used in these?
The filter is a standard 6db Sallen-Key typology. I'm not sure about the VCA-only circuit, because it can be quite fast and doesn't seem to be strictly vactrol-based.
The 5v - 10v eurorack lack of consistency/protocol is a drag but it's pretty easily worked around. To double your voltage just add it to itself - http://www.modulargrid.net/e/malekko-he ... nity-mixer

The Sputnik modules seem relatively inexpensive and these types of modules are cheap-ish...

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Post by MindMachine » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:27 am

ScremercS wrote:
Bhairo wrote:I understand that the Sputnik Modules are almost exact clones of the Buchla modules.
don't believe the hype
Just believe your ears.
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