Frequency Central appreciation thread

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DJMaytag
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Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:46 pm

I don't get why there's not much love for Frequency Central around here. I don't see a whole lot of discussion about Rick's modules, and some of the stuff he's put out in the past 18-24 months is absolutely genius. I've got a pile of FC modules to build (though some are doubles) and have a small order of PCB/panels I placed today for some potentially interesting generative sequencing & utility modules.

I got hooked on their System X stuff, which might have been a bit bland & boring compared to the flavors of the month the past 5 years, but it's all rock solid stuff that works well. FC has moved into a lot more of their own original designs, which maybe hasn't caught the attention of everyone, or even enough people to notice. My rack is pretty chock full of FC modules (my main rack) amongst a good bit of DIY stuff I've built, and I'm not sure what kind of system I'd have without FC modules. Not pictured are the FC Boom!, Seismograf BD & SD drum modules, Klang Stadt wavetable oscillator, and State 700mk2 filter (these are in another rack that is a work in progress).

Just built this SH-101 in a box recently after taking an extended break from DIY'ing:


Working on building Infinitely Maybe right now. It's a slow build because of how little time I have to work during the week. Its an interesting little utility that might have some random playability, if I'm understanding it correctly. It might still be pretty cool if I'm not understanding it:


Bought Little Melody today. Looks like an easy "sequencer" of sorts to get immediate inspiration from:


Looking to pair Little Melody and/or Cryptograf with the Polygraf and High Towers modules. Lots of power and flexibility in these two, and I've only recently delved into Polygraf.

Anyone else loving Frequency Central modules, or is it just me?
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by mome rath » Tue Mar 16, 2021 8:16 pm

I used to DIY FCUK stuff and I loved every module

those system X envelopes were badical
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:43 pm

Yeah, the System X stuff is still really good. I still have two of those envelopes, but “upgraded” them to black faceplates last year. I’m waiting to see how the envelope is on Arley Dynamics before I jump on the CEMvelopes.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by peegravy » Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:53 pm

My first modules were diy system x modules. Still use the oscillator and the fcuk raging bull filter. .

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by oilpanic » Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:20 pm

Incredibly easy to build as well. I have a bunch, not in my main rack anymore because of my endless need for new modules but they are solid. I see you even got Ricks blanks in the rack DJMaytag. That’s true devotion. My next set of FC will be trans Europa and some full size time runners, probably a klangstadt oscillator as well. But I have less and less time to build DIY nowadays as covid is cooling off and work is in full swing.

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by Octave b » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:57 am

I am very happy with the xvca,
I just ordered 2 boom!!s, looks really cool

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Wed Mar 17, 2021 6:58 am

oilpanic wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:20 pm
I see you even got Ricks blanks in the rack DJMaytag. That’s true devotion.
The third row is that rack isn't fully set up yet, as the 6U Rackbrute up top is set and the fourth row is in a 3U Rackbrute for now (I do have another 6U Rackbrute filled with drum modules, a WMD Metron, and a few other random things, until I get a third & fourth 6U Rackbrute). I do have one of those FC blanks in the rack right now, and the other is handy to measure modules when I'm not on MG.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by Bodo1967 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:30 am

oilpanic wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 11:20 pm
probably a klangstadt oscillator as well.
Do it ;). You won't regret it. It's awesome.
Mine is behind a 5U panel though, but that of course doesn't matter :D.
... why buy it for $100 when you can build it yourself for $150?

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by helix » Wed Mar 17, 2021 7:54 am

I had a continuum which sounded amazing. Only sold it as i dind't have space for such a module when i needed some more basic things. Also had an lfo off them which was clockable which i regretted selling as soon as i posted it and next turned on the rack.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by optx » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:24 am

XVCA, XVCF v1 and CEMvelope here. Used in nearly every patch since I own them.
I'd love to get my hands on a few of their newer modulation and logic modules.

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by helix » Wed Mar 17, 2021 8:26 am

Just had a look through the site too and there's heapf of relaly fun looking stuff. If my case wasn't full i would definitely be checking some out
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by unitard » Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:03 am

I recently purchased two FC Little Melody modules and installed them in a small rack with some clocking and modulation modules. Two-track generative sequencing fun every time. I also own a Boom!! and just bought a second Boom!! as a full DIY kit. It looks like a simple enough build. Thankfully, I'll have the pre-assembled one to compare my build to. And the Turn! Turn! module looks really useful too.

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by Tonefloat01 » Wed Mar 17, 2021 10:20 am

I love my System X and CEM envelopes (I have two of each) and use them in almost every patch.
They are small (4HP), can be very snappy (fast), sound musical to my ears and do what I expect an ADSR module to do.
Would recommend.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by vasculator » Wed Mar 17, 2021 11:12 am

+1 on the System X ADSR and CEMvelopes. Really simple DIY builds and the circuits are classic.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by oilpanic » Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:32 pm

DJMaytag wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:43 pm
Yeah, the System X stuff is still really good. I still have two of those envelopes, but “upgraded” them to black faceplates last year. I’m waiting to see how the envelope is on Arley Dynamics before I jump on the CEMvelopes.
The CEM has a lower output voltage than the X other than that it is equally awesome. The CEM has a cool retrigger feature that is only active when the gate is high.

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Fri Mar 19, 2021 9:59 am

oilpanic wrote:
Thu Mar 18, 2021 11:32 pm
DJMaytag wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 10:43 pm
Yeah, the System X stuff is still really good. I still have two of those envelopes, but “upgraded” them to black faceplates last year. I’m waiting to see how the envelope is on Arley Dynamics before I jump on the CEMvelopes.
The CEM has a lower output voltage than the X other than that it is equally awesome. The CEM has a cool retrigger feature that is only active when the gate is high.
That's cool. I'll have to get a CEMvelope sooner rather than later. The voltage is probably a function of the System 100 design, where Roland had a lot of stuff that had/needed hot levels to work right. Even their gate/triggers needed to be +10V on some of their 70's gear.

The CEM chips were probably limited to +5V output max, I would imagine.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by knifey » Fri Mar 19, 2021 10:04 am

Fan here. Built the Cryptograf last year, and ordered the XVCA a little before that. VCAs with more than 1 CV input are hard to come by these days.
The Cryptograf is a genius design; so much fun feeding various clocks into it and seeing what sorts of patterns you get.

I did run into an issue where the panel holes for the switches were just a hair too small, but I just filed them a bit and it all worked out, and Rick was helpful in our correspondence.

FC is definitely highly underrated, for sound quality and design originality of their recent products. I think aesthetically they're not as fancy/sexy/polished as the Instruos and XOACs and ALMs, but I don't mind them at all.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by manymachines » Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:09 am

These are great modules and affordable. I've built the routemaster busboard/power, voltsplaz mixer, infinitely maybe, system x envelope and arley dynamics. The last one is a no-brainer if you need an env/vca combo and only 6 hp.

I had problems with sourcing a couple of parts for the infinitely maybe and Rick quickly replied to my Qs about substitutions and even offered to throw in a part for free with my next order ;)

My rack's almost done now but I still find myself toying with the idea of swapping out an osc for the XVCO2...

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by khakifridge » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:19 am

I've been building Rick's stuff since the stompbox days. They've all been straightforward and I've never had a DOA. :tu:

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by Wartimetapestry » Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:45 am

Another +1 for Rick’s stuff.

I’ve built the VCO, XVCO, ADSR, Pocket Calculator and the Polygraph. The VCO was my introduction to DIY and his boards are really forgiving for a beginner. All his documentation is great, with links to Tayda, which is a real life line when you are new to part sourcing etc.

The setup he has with Electric Druid is producing some seriously interesting stuff which just works. I was skeptical about the playability of things like the Polygraph, as generally I like ‘one knob per function’ approach but it is actually quite smooth and practical in use.

You could probably say that his stuff seems modest and less flashy compared to the competition, even when the modules are quite complex. Maybe that’s part of the visibility problem.

I really need to bite the bullet and pick up a couple more System X ADSRs. Also, the Waverunner and VCA... and the newest Boolean module.

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Mon Mar 22, 2021 9:39 am

manymachines wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:09 am
I had problems with sourcing a couple of parts for the infinitely maybe and Rick quickly replied to my Qs about substitutions and even offered to throw in a part for free with my next order ;)
I just ordered the Little Melody, and realized that the sliders are out of stock at Tayda. I think this is the FIRST time I've had an issue come up with a part that was unavailable. That said, I love how Rick uses a lot of the same parts across each module, so if you load up on those parts, you'll almost never have to make repeated Tayda orders to build his stuff.

That said, anyone have any of the sliders for Little Melody that they could spare? :D
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by wiperactive » Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:21 pm

Nice to see a generally favourable response to Frequency Central here.

I've bought a few kits which are still awaiting their DIY turn in a very long backlog of pending projects and I think part of the decision on these has been due to an almost subliminal 'pick-up' of praise from disparate sources over the years.

Fairly confident that, when completed, the System X Dual ADSR will live up to expectations and online demos convinced me to acquire the Klang Stadt. Also have the Meth Amp and the very simple but useful Where? Where to next? Maybe the Turn! Turn!

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by DJMaytag » Wed Mar 24, 2021 12:24 pm

wiperactive wrote:
Mon Mar 22, 2021 1:21 pm
Nice to see a generally favourable response to Frequency Central here.

I've bought a few kits which are still awaiting their DIY turn in a very long backlog of pending projects and I think part of the decision on these has been due to an almost subliminal 'pick-up' of praise from disparate sources over the years.
They really don't get enough praise, especially when you look at Modular Grid. All of my favorite modules are amongst the bottom of the MG "popularity contest," which really is a load of shit if you ask me.

One other thing that's become a big deal is the synthesis power to current consumed ratio. What these modules can do without using a ton of juice is pretty spectacular. I am planning a 6U RackBrute 6U case designed around my Frap Tools CGM mixer module, which will consume nearly all the available power on the +12V rail. I'll be able to stick 84 HP of FC modules in one 3U row, and only use up 100mA tops off +12V.
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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by henrry » Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:09 am

Hi people.
I'm planning to get Seismograf BD and SD kits and was wondering what's the latency and noise with those modules? Basically are they less noisy and faster than Radio music and Proc modules?

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Re: Frequency Central appreciation thread

Post by Kawouddd » Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:19 am

Recently began FC DIYs as some of my first kits. Enjoying them! At the risk of hijacking this thread, if anyone had a CEMosc can I ask if these two capacitors are this way round on their build?! I don’t think this matches the pcb!

Edit: yes, they are backwards on the pcb, correct on the build pictures. After a near disastrous half hour of desoldering my 6yo is now playing it!
6F48B4C0-1CF6-4210-BD6E-C520D1502A9A.jpeg

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