Dreadbox Erebus DIY kit

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csaban
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Post by csaban » Mon Apr 30, 2018 12:46 pm

I'm afraid you have to wait till the pcb & schematic pdf is published.

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Post by autodafe » Tue May 01, 2018 12:43 am

new month, credit card reset, just ordered :-)

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HorseyWindpump
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Post by HorseyWindpump » Tue May 01, 2018 12:48 am

I'm torn between ordering it now, or waiting for some early reviews to come in (at which point it'll probably be sold out ... ). Just want a bit more technical detail first!

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Post by Marizu » Tue May 01, 2018 4:44 am

The sound is fantastic, but it seems strange that there doesn't appear to be any CV control over the filter cutoff and resonance.
As to duophony, in the original Erebus, the last two notes triggered via midi would be the oscillator pitches. To do that with CV, then I would assume that you would need a second gate in, otherwise you would always have a 0V growler drone.
I'd love to see more, but the filter thing probably rules me out.

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Post by Lockheed » Tue May 01, 2018 5:27 am

Marizu wrote:As to duophony, in the original Erebus, the last two notes triggered via midi would be the oscillator pitches. To do that with CV, then I would assume that you would need a second gate in, otherwise you would always have a 0V growler drone.
Doesn't being paraphonic mean the same envelope is used for all voices (or both in this case - if two voice paraphony is even a thing) ?

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Post by Marizu » Tue May 01, 2018 6:59 am

Lockheed wrote:
Marizu wrote:As to duophony, in the original Erebus, the last two notes triggered via midi would be the oscillator pitches. To do that with CV, then I would assume that you would need a second gate in, otherwise you would always have a 0V growler drone.
Doesn't being paraphonic mean the same envelope is used for all voices (or both in this case - if two voice paraphony is even a thing) ?
Yes, you are right. I meant two voice paraphony.
I'm just going off this review, around 2:47:

Paying a bit more attention, I can see that the original Erebus has a switch for unison/paraphony that the lil version doesn't have.
Paying even more attention, I realise that this thread was where all of the conversation about two note paraphony was :doh:
viewtopic.php?t=200369&highlight=

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ucacjbs
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Post by ucacjbs » Tue May 01, 2018 7:14 am

I’m *guessing* that the ‘cut’ jack is cutoff CV.
Marizu wrote:The sound is fantastic, but it seems strange that there doesn't appear to be any CV control over the filter cutoff and resonance.
As to duophony, in the original Erebus, the last two notes triggered via midi would be the oscillator pitches. To do that with CV, then I would assume that you would need a second gate in, otherwise you would always have a 0V growler drone.
I'd love to see more, but the filter thing probably rules me out.

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Post by aabbcc » Fri May 04, 2018 3:21 am

So I recieved my kit yesterday and had a few hours to build some, first impressions is that everything feels like a random chinese diy kit:

*Resistors look and feels like those cheap light blueish you can buy from banggood etc, really flimsy and crappy leads

*Ceramic capacitors have even flimsier leads, seriously, hair+ hair spray provides something sturdier

*Only 7 IC sockets are provided and the board has 12 IC’s, this is however CLEARLY stated in the build manual but I still think its a really cheap move, especially since they already seem to have boarded the cheap componenet train headed to China.

*Board is 2mm thick and seems to have massive ground planes, never built a diy kit/synth that has forced me to crank up my soldering iron above 310C to complete a good joint in 2-4 seconds (Using Hakko FX888D with a genuine Hakko T18-D 1.6m chisel tip). This combined with the fact that there arent enough supplied ic sockets for the IC’s will be a sure fire way for newcomers to burn their IC’s I’m afraid. Furthermore the provided capacitors have leads that are quite thick in comparison to the width of the holes, this combined with the ground planes can make it hard for beginners to actually get solder flowing through the hole.

*Solder pads are really skinny and seems to be HASL coated (somebody please correct me if I’m wrong) would much have preffered ENIG.

*Pot caps LOOKS nice but feels really cheap.

*Packaging was really subpar, front panel and pcb were just thrown in a cardboard box with no surrounding packaing/bubble wrap or what ever protecting them from scratches. As I was walking with the package in hand I could hear the agonizing screams of the pcb and top panel being thrown around in the box like a mitten in a tornado, poor boards…

Overall everything from packaging to componenets feels like a random chinese DIY kit from banggood and not a synth from a well known manafacturer. I was actually a bit surprised since I’ve built loads of stuff produced by enthusiastic hobbyist which always have provided superb quality and great overall feel.

On the other hand I guess you are getting a lot of value in this kit but I wouldn’t mind paying a few extra euros to bump up the overall quality and feel, especially since they aren’t offering only the panels and PCB but they force the components on you. On the plus side the front panel looks great!

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Last edited by aabbcc on Fri May 04, 2018 5:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Morphology » Fri May 04, 2018 3:35 am

Hi @aabbcc thanks for the heads up re the sockets and general quality.

You've certainly made a neat job of the build so far.

I've a kit on order (has been dispatched from Greece), do you remember which IC Sockets are _not_ included in the kit?

I'd like to make sure I've got enough of the correct sized IC sockets available.

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Post by aabbcc » Fri May 04, 2018 3:47 am

Morphology wrote:Hi @aabbcc thanks for the heads up re the sockets and general quality.

You've certainly made a neat job of the build so far.

I've a kit on order (has been dispatched from Greece), do you remember which IC Sockets are _not_ included in the kit?

I'd like to make sure I've got enough of the correct sized IC sockets available.

Morph
Thanks :guinness:

Additionally you need:
4x 14 pin
1x 8 pin

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Post by Morphology » Fri May 04, 2018 4:20 am

Ha! My kit has just arrived....

Unfortunately, I am away for a few days, so won't be able to start the build until the middle of next week :sad:
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Post by workshop86 » Fri May 04, 2018 5:43 am

Just finished mine - love it! Very much the classic Dreadbox sound. It's quite a big build but nothing particularly difficult about it. I personally would advise buying the extra 14 pin and 8 pin sockets - I agree that it would be better if they were included, but no complaints otherwise.

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bagoly
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Post by bagoly » Fri May 04, 2018 3:01 pm

Hi!

I just received my kit today and after having a quick look, i have to say I'm slightly disappointed. I don't mind the cheap resistors or the missing IC-sockets, i can see it being a problem for beginners, though.

What bothers me the most is the general construction of the module. I didn't have a close look at the pictures before ordering, so i was surprised to notice that the pcb is held in place only by the four standoffs and screws, none of the jacks or pots are fastened to the frontpanel.

Especially with vertical pcb-mounted jacks on a board this wide, i can see it becoming a problem down the road, due to the phyisical stress on the pcb and the solder joints after a lot of plugging and unplugging. I know i've had a lot of unfastened jacks fail on vintage gear in the past. I just resoldered two jacks on a yamaha mt100 yesterday.

I can see the point in choosing jacks and pots without mounting hardware in a production setting, where it cuts down on assembly time, but i don't really get it in a DIY kit. :sadbanana:

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Post by aabbcc » Fri May 04, 2018 6:41 pm

Hm, I'm getting basically zero voltage on all the test points in the building instructions :S

Whats even more unsettling is that it feels like I have a short between +12v and ground somewhere.

I get continuity between all points in the red box (which is where the 10pin cable connector from the PSU bus board enters). Im assuming the two top solder points in the red box are for the +12V?

The yellow box is supposed to be the -12V according to the pcb but Im getting jack and shit, my meter just keeps trying to find the voltage but can't settle for anything.

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Post by aabbcc » Sat May 05, 2018 2:38 pm

Ugh so Dreadbox apparently can't release schematics for this one.

Anyone have a good idea where to start?

Problem being I have continuity between +12v and ground pins. Have gone through everything with a magnyfiyng glass and can't find any small piece of solder or similiar shorting anything.

Follow link for a bit more detailed photos or just zoom on this one. (And I'm aware of the two pins sticking out slightly above the "D" in "Dreadbox :) )


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workshop86
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Post by workshop86 » Sat May 05, 2018 3:01 pm

aabbcc - Does the LFO led flash when you power up? It should do at this point. I can't see anything wrong on the quick look I've had at your pics - the soldering looks neat too!

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Post by bagoly » Sat May 05, 2018 3:30 pm

Hi aabbcc,

I can't see anything wrong either, soldering looks good and all the semiconductors seem to be oriented correctly.

The pads don't have a lot of clearance and depending on the quality of the pcb you could have easily scratched the soldermask of the adjacent groundplane with the tip of your iron, making it very hard to see the solder bridge.

If everything else fails you could liberally apply some liquid flux and reflow all the -12v pads, start with the IC-pins, the power header and the diodes and electrolytics next to it. The flux will literally draw the solder away from all the areas it's not supposed to go. It works even better with a hot air reflow station, if you happen to have access to one of those. Be careful though, as to much heat can damage the pcb.

hope you'll get it working soon!

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Post by aabbcc » Sat May 05, 2018 3:53 pm

workshop86 wrote:aabbcc - Does the LFO led flash when you power up? It should do at this point. I can't see anything wrong on the quick look I've had at your pics - the soldering looks neat too!
Nope, the lfo led is dead when plugging in the power cable :( Yea I doubt there is anything wrong with the soldering too, hmm...
robin87 wrote:Hi aabbcc,

I can't see anything wrong either, soldering looks good and all the semiconductors seem to be oriented correctly.

The pads don't have a lot of clearance and depending on the quality of the pcb you could have easily scratched the soldermask of the adjacent groundplane with the tip of your iron, making it very hard to see the solder bridge.

If everything else fails you could liberally apply some liquid flux and reflow all the -12v pads, start with the IC-pins, the power header and the diodes and electrolytics next to it. The flux will literally draw the solder away from all the areas it's not supposed to go. It works even better with a hot air reflow station, if you happen to have access to one of those. Be careful though, as to much heat can damage the pcb.

hope you'll get it working soon!
Good tip on the liquid flux, will try that and report back!

Update: Ugh, reflowed pretty much everything and cleaned up the board again, still the same issue.

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Tuning and calibration

Post by Michiel » Sat May 05, 2018 6:33 pm

Any tips on how to do the tuning and calibration - and what to look out for? The (otherwise good) documentation is rather short on details there. What is the best way to set the Scale and Tune trimmers, in particular.

I'm finding it difficult to hear much of a difference for the VCA click settings. What's the best approach there...?

[My build was pretty straightforward. The board is fairly dense, but quite doable. I also socketed all the ICs. I agree with what others have said: disappointing that none of the jacks and pots connect with the panel.]

One tip: make sure the polarised caps are as low as possible, otherwise they'll touch the panel.

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Post by HorseyWindpump » Sun May 06, 2018 1:08 am

Still waiting for my kit to arrive - was wondering about the following though
robin87 wrote: What bothers me the most is the general construction of the module. I didn't have a close look at the pictures before ordering, so i was surprised to notice that the pcb is held in place only by the four standoffs and screws, none of the jacks or pots are fastened to the frontpanel.

Especially with vertical pcb-mounted jacks on a board this wide, i can see it becoming a problem down the road, due to the phyisical stress on the pcb and the solder joints after a lot of plugging and unplugging. I know i've had a lot of unfastened jacks fail on vintage gear in the past. I just resoldered two jacks on a yamaha mt100 yesterday.
Does anyone know how easy (or possible) it is to replace the supplied jacks and pots in this kit with ones that can be attached to the front panel?

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Post by Michiel » Sun May 06, 2018 4:29 am

HorseyWindpump wrote:Still waiting for my kit to arrive - was wondering about the following though
Does anyone know how easy (or possible) it is to replace the supplied jacks and pots in this kit with ones that can be attached to the front panel?
Pretty difficult I’d say. Have a look at the build doc, the jacks have an offset footprint (asymmetric). At least none of my jacks would fit. The jacks are also quite tall. Pots are vertical 9mm Alphas. You’d have to fold down some of the caps to make it all fit.

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Post by vertflyer » Sun May 06, 2018 4:30 am

Is the envelope pre patched to the vcf and vca or just vca? And does patching to either break that normalled patch?

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Michiel
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Re: Tuning and calibration

Post by Michiel » Sun May 06, 2018 4:38 am

Edit - problem found - bad solder joint

[midi also not working... but I haven’t really looked at that properly, also because I’m unlikely to use that often)
Last edited by Michiel on Sun May 06, 2018 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tuning and calibration

Post by ludotex » Sun May 06, 2018 4:40 am

I am really liking mine. I cant complain really, analog 2 vcos, filter, with BBD for 150 euros. The panel is much nicer than the Hades (design wise and material wise). I found the build straight forward, probably easy/intermediate level though. Even though the pots and jacks are not mounted on the panel mine feels sturdy.
Bravo again Dreadbox :nana:
Michiel wrote:Any tips on how to do the tuning and calibration - and what to look out for? The (otherwise good) documentation is rather short on details there. What is the best way to set the Scale and Tune trimmers, in particular.
For the tuning, play some octave on the CV. Listen to just OSC1 and make sure you hear a real octave between the 2 notes while you tweak scale 1. Then same for OSC2. Once that is done, I matched OSC1 and OSC2 together with the tune 2 (with the "vco2" slider at middle on the panel).

For the click you can turn down both OSC on the panel to hear the click by itself.
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Re: Tuning and calibration

Post by Michiel » Sun May 06, 2018 5:39 am

ludotex wrote:For the tuning, play some octave on the CV. Listen to just OSC1 and make sure you hear a real octave between the 2 notes while you tweak scale 1. Then same for OSC2. Once that is done, I matched OSC1 and OSC2 together with the tune 2 (with the "vco2" slider at middle on the panel).

For the click you can turn down both OSC on the panel to hear the click by itself.
Thanks, I think I did the cv part - but wasn’t sure how accurate this all should be. Sounds like it is quite approximate: roughly one octave tracking, rather than precisely.

I’ll follow your tips on the VCA.

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