Soundlab Ultimate & Ultimate Expander build thread

Discussion & Documentation for Ray Wilson's synths, modules and noise boxes.

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Bodo1967
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Post by Bodo1967 » Thu Aug 31, 2017 3:34 am

Bodo1967 wrote:So calibrating all three VCOs is up next :D.
It still is up next since the battery of my DVM failed when I wanted to do it yesterday :doh: and I didn't have a spare at hand - that deserves a :bang:, a :deadbanana: and a sarcastic :yay: to myself :party: :hihi: .

Anyway, at least I could check the VCA, and that's working fine including the mod sources (AREG & LFO2) :tu:.
... why buy it for $100 when you can build it yourself for $150?

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Bodo1967
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Post by Bodo1967 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:15 am

Bodo1967 wrote:So calibrating all three VCOs is up next :D.
[x] done on Sunday. Indeed a bit tedious (due to two interacting pots per VCO), but I got if fairly well in the end. The VCF of the Ultimate as such is also calibrated, so I'm more or less done with it now. :nana:
BTW, I used my Arturia MiniBrute as a CV source.


Checking/troubleshooting/calibrating the Expander is up next. Let's cross fingers (or press thumbs, as we do in Germany :D) I don't have another faulty SSM2210 (in the variable state VCF, that is) - in that case I wouldn't have another spare and need to order new ones. I'll see shortly :grin: .
... why buy it for $100 when you can build it yourself for $150?

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Post by Bodo1967 » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:14 pm

Bodo1967 wrote:Checking/troubleshooting/calibrating the Expander is up next. Let's cross fingers (or press thumbs, as we do in Germany :D) I don't have another faulty SSM2210 (in the variable state VCF, that is) - in that case I wouldn't have another spare and need to order new ones. I'll see shortly :grin: .
My. MFOS. Ultimate. Is. Finished. As. Of. Today.

:party: :guinness: :nana: :bananaguitar: :loves:

I first did the final checks on the Ultimate as such (external input). All fine. So I mounted the PCB to the case.

On to the Expander .

First up for testing was the VCF. Works great in all three modes (LP, HP, BP). And I actually managed to get a nice octave tracking in less than 5 minutes :eek: . Luckily, the SSM2210 was OK *phew* .

On to the ADSR. Just two different settings (ADSR generator was triggered by the RGG in gate mode):

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The signal mixer as such also worked great - except that the selecting toggle switch that decides whether the mixer or the VCA output should be sent to line out was faulty and I had to replace it. No big deal.

The ring modulator was up next. Funny sounds and beautiful patterns on the o-scope (these alone are worth playing around with a ring modulator 8-) :hihi: ).

The 'little helper' modules such as CV inverter, attenuators, CV distributors also worked flawlessly.

That's the envelope follower (top) and the AR envelope that's feeding it (bottom). Three examples with different settings:

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Time to mount the Expander PCB as well - and a final view inside:

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And then I mounted the back wall, turned the synth 'round and... one last picture on the workbench:

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In my home studio. Aren't they a nice pair?

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I think it is now time to say a huge Thank you! to Synthcube for making this possible and, of course, for keeping Ray's wonderful instruments and legacy alive.

I've really enjoyed the build - it was my third (and biggest so far) MFOS project, and every single one is a simply unique piece of musical instrument.

I really hope to have done MFOS and Synthcube justice with my documentation in this thread. Please feel free to ask if there are questions left open, or if you wanna see some more O-scope pics 8-) :hihi: .
Last edited by Bodo1967 on Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
... why buy it for $100 when you can build it yourself for $150?

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wiperactive
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Post by wiperactive » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:25 pm

...and thank you to all who have a shared their building experiences on this thread :yay:. To have these construction insights on top of Ray's already great documentation is much appreciated for those of us who may be preparing and hesitating a little (in my case) or yet to build this great project.

I'm due to build an 'expanded' Ultimate and Expander but my SDIY skills and confidence still need a little 'honing' at this point in time after an over-long period of time away from the work bench.

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synthcube
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Post by synthcube » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:03 pm

what a lovely finished product!!! congratulations!
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Post by barnabe42 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 3:12 pm

Just complete the ultimate today.

It has been a real hassle but I finally got done.
I am still not happy with the case, I will try better if I get access to a laser CNC machine. I will do some side in real wood just like moog mother 32.

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Next step is to try to generate sounds out of it :) , I will try to connect to my beatstep pro.

I was wondering if some patches are available for this synth, it would be good for newbie like me to start from somewhere.

I don't know what is coming next but I would use the ultimate as a base against an minimalist eurorack, maybe just get couple of PCB of Mutable mutable instrument. Not sure it if is a good idea as would need to switch between banana and jack connector ...

Anyway I will first start with this.

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Fri May 18, 2018 3:59 pm

tojpeters wrote:And yes bummer about the pot shafts
Oh well, it'll take an hour or so to saw them off and deburr them with a file. Could be worse, but still... :)[/quote]


I'm relatively new here, finishing up my MFOS U+A build, still finding problems here and there. As for shaft length--I come from amateur radio land, and have built a couple few transceivers and other station accessories from kits and scratch--and sawing off potentiometer shafts is pretty standard practice when making up panels. At least it has been my experience. Just make sure you clamp the SHAFT rather than clamping the pot body itself. That is probably obvious to any builder. Cheers.

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Post by JCHaywire » Fri May 18, 2018 4:09 pm

I am very happy to have found this forum. As I mentioned earlier, I really regret it wasn't 18 months ago when I started the build. I will document my build here for the time being, though. It appears to be a really helpful and gracious atmosphere. I appreciate that so much. Being able to ask questions that might elicit, "Huh? How does he not know THAT?" without actually hearing that in the response--is a relief. It's not the case among radio amateurs, in my experience. There's a lot of snarky shaming going on there.
I came across MFOS from a simple google search, and didn't realize that Ray had passed away until after I had my build underway. There is some activity on the MFOS subreddit, precious little on FB, but that's to be expected. It looks like this is the place. Funny nobody steered me here when I asked, but that's just how it goes.
Anyway, my MFOS build!Image
With my panel, I started out blowing up the PDF to about 120% because I wanted my stuff further apart. My hands are big, and I was tired of building miniature stuff. I also had NO knowledge of rack-mount. I discovered that world after I started my build. I just made it the size of a big hunk of aluminum I happened to have in my junk--and I didn't want to cut it. Drilling the faceplate was really fun. [/img]

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synthcube
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Post by synthcube » Fri May 18, 2018 4:38 pm

thanks for joining us here, good luck with the build, you will find lots of helpful folks here!
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2SynthCube

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music from outer space: www.musicfromouterspace.com
blacet research: www.blacet.com
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music from outer space euro smt: www.mfoseuro.com

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Post by tojpeters » Fri May 18, 2018 5:12 pm

Total respect for the paperface panel,and bonus points for using a piece of scrap aluminum
Lots of help here and very little snark
There’s a troubleshooting thread in the DIY section the forum if you run into any trouble

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Sat May 19, 2018 9:17 pm

More photos of my build from several months ago. I'm boxing now. I'm not using a traditional rack at all, but just a box (with a pair of car speakers a guy gave me at work) in kelp green.
Image

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Post by JCHaywire » Sat May 19, 2018 9:35 pm

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I opted to do my panel with my own lettering. Everywhere I kept seeing "professional faceplate" and I thought I kind of wanted my hand-built device to look hand built. This time, at least.

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Post by JCHaywire » Sat May 19, 2018 10:10 pm

Image

I have a bunch of old knobs from estate sales and the like--but in the end I discovered they weren't suitable for this project, even thought they were kind of cool.

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Post by synthcube » Sun May 20, 2018 8:41 am

that is fantastic-- unique, one of a kind!!
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2SynthCube

synthcube webstore www.synthcube.com/cart
music from outer space: www.musicfromouterspace.com
blacet research: www.blacet.com
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music from outer space euro smt: www.mfoseuro.com

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Sun May 20, 2018 9:49 am

Image
Before I found nuts that fit these banana jacks (from Ax-Man Surplus here in St. Paul, MN--an amazing place indeed) I just glued them in with Gorilla Glue. Turned out OK, but I would have preferred to have found the nuts first.

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Sun May 20, 2018 10:41 am

Image

As others have noted, I utilized conscripted labor whenever possible. One must cut costs. :yay:

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Sun May 20, 2018 10:45 am

Image

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Post by JCHaywire » Sun May 20, 2018 10:47 am

Image

As much as I loved my "Land Of Knob" assortment, gleaned from years of yardsale picking, deceased engineer giveaways, and hamfests--none of these fit the aesthetic I was going for with the faceplate. I ended up ordering from Thonk.

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Tue May 22, 2018 6:12 am

tojpeters wrote: Twist a little loop in the leg for attachment points for the mods
Image

This is an excellent idea. I kind of felt my way forward, so this kind of pre-planning didn't happen. You're right about parts quality and troubleshooting--forget finding a problem if you don't trust the integrity of your parts. Having said that, however, resistor and some capacitor values can and should be checked with whatever test equipment is necessary through the build.
If you can't do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Tue May 22, 2018 6:14 am

tojpeters wrote:Total respect for the paperface panel,and bonus points for using a piece of scrap aluminum
Lots of help here and very little snark
There’s a troubleshooting thread in the DIY section the forum if you run into any trouble
I appreciate that. I used the printout of the PDF as a drilling guide only. Although my faceplate may not be to the standard of many, it pleases me. Thanks, man.
If you can't do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

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JCHaywire
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Post by JCHaywire » Tue May 22, 2018 6:21 am

Image

In my build the auxiliary panel is over to the side. Everything's on the same plane with this build.
If you can't do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

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Bodo1967
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Post by Bodo1967 » Tue May 22, 2018 8:22 am

JCHaywire wrote:Although my faceplate may not be to the standard of many, it pleases me.
I like it as well :tu: . Perhaps even add a few small cartoon-like drawings? I think it'd go nicely with the "chalkboard"* appeal.

* in a positive sense!

And you'll love this wonderful instrument once it's finished!
... why buy it for $100 when you can build it yourself for $150?

ThomasT
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Aluminum capacitors question

Post by ThomasT » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:42 pm

Hi Everyone, thank you for everything you’ve all posted. I had a quick question - for C54, C64 and C69, Ray’s BOM calls for non polarized aluminum capacitors. I have polarized caps for all three - are they ok to use? His pcb shows 64 and 69 as polarized.

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tojpeters
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Post by tojpeters » Fri Jul 19, 2019 5:40 pm

Those must be bipolar

ThomasT
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Post by ThomasT » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:38 am

Thank you for your quick reply. (And damn - I bought the wrong ones)

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