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So... If I were to start making portable synth cases? POLL!
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion  

What would you be interested in?
Portable Euro case sub $300 w/ Power
42%
 42%  [ 6 ]
Portable Frac case sub $300 w/ Power
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Both
7%
 7%  [ 1 ]
Portable Euro / Frac case sub $300 w/ Power
50%
 50%  [ 7 ]
Total Votes : 14

Author So... If I were to start making portable synth cases? POLL!
D/A A/D
So I am tired of thinking about it and I just want to start PLANNING to do it.

We need affordable euro cases, and there needs to be a portable frac case. So what do you guys think???

It would be a bit heavy, as I would more than likely be using MDF. I could technically offer 3u and 6u cases, I would actually like to offer the 3u as 42hp on top of 42hp.

So we would be looking at MDF flight cases, butterfly latches, steel corners & edges. Internally mounted linear power supply, and since I like them vector rails with sliding nuts.

Ideally I would like to keep them around the $200 mark, but we'll have to see what sort of wholesale prices I can get on the parts. Speaking of which, I would also likely use the Blacet PSCONN2 for the Frac and I would look into the MFOS bus board for euro.

I could even offer a case that is 3u of Frac and 3u of Euro...

So lets hear it.

Alex
flts
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the frac portability issue simply because many of the Blacet modules are so deep? I remember quite a lot of them were in range of 15 to 20 centimeters. If you get a SKB / Gator / whatever 3U or 6U rack case and mount the rack cage to one of those, you'll have a pretty portable system already - as portable as the depth allows at least.

What kind of wood does the Doepfer portable suitcase use btw, some kind of plywood? I don't think I've ever seen one live.
tragedybysyntax
I'm going with a pelican case. smile
D/A A/D
The doepfer cases are made out of a plastic. I can totally make a portable Frac case, it'll just be a little deeper.

Alex

p.s. I am an experienced carpenter.
Kwote
as it stands now i can get a 12 u skb for under 200 bucks. 4 frack racks used for about 50 each and psconn's hard to say cuz i don't always get em used.

even ps500's i'm sorted most times. my last two i got used. the new one's 99 and i'm getting 20 to 30 off.

i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways). i already have an extra frac rack and ps500. so i just need the skb etc. right now. i'm guessing if i play my cards right i'll be able to get everything i need for around $300

so for now i'm cool with your offer but if your venture pans out and it gets attractive enough i'd definately consider it.
D/A A/D
Kwote wrote:
as it stands now i can get a 12 u skb for under 200 bucks. 4 frack racks used for about 50 each and psconn's hard to say cuz i don't always get em used.

even ps500's i'm sorted most times. my last two i got used. the new one's 99 and i'm getting 20 to 30 off.

i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways). i already have an extra frac rack and ps500. so i just need the skb etc. right now. i'm guessing if i play my cards right i'll be able to get everything i need for around $300

so for now i'm cool with your offer but if your venture pans out and it gets attractive enough i'd definately consider it.


Fair enough, but what I would be building would be smaller than that... Again, this is just a feeler...
Muff Wiggler
Kwote wrote:
i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways).


seriously?

I've always mitigated the "one PS500 per two racks" rule-of-thumb by actually adding up the current draw of all connected modules, to get the most I can out of each PS500

and.... funny enough, I'm finding that two racks, pretty much regardless the combo of modules, is the most I can really get out of a PS500. Maybe two racks plus one or two modules more, but that's it. I can't imagine getting four racks out of one - unless there's lots of passive modules, and mostly low-draw modules in those 4 racks.

Toss in a JAG or a Noise Ring or a Time Machine (or many others) and pow, there goes 100ma right away....

but if you can get 4 racks on a PSU, more power to you! (pun intended)
Kwote
Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways).


seriously?

I've always mitigated the "one PS500 per two racks" rule-of-thumb by actually adding up the current draw of all connected modules, to get the most I can out of each PS500

and.... funny enough, I'm finding that two racks, pretty much regardless the combo of modules, is the most I can really get out of a PS500. Maybe two racks plus one or two modules more, but that's it. I can't imagine getting four racks out of one - unless there's lots of passive modules, and mostly low-draw modules in those 4 racks.

Toss in a JAG or a Noise Ring or a Time Machine (or many others) and pow, there goes 100ma right away....

but if you can get 4 racks on a PSU, more power to you! (pun intended)


well i haven't tested it yet. i'm going by Hans suggestions. He told me that he's found he can get around this as most modules are over rated and the PS500 is under rated.

i'm leary as of yet but i've got 12 u worth of frac modules running right now. none are passive. 2 racks per ps500 and i know i'm going over 550 on both. thanks to the HexZone in my 6u case and the Time Machine in my 8u case. this is a slight example of Hans theory at work.
eyehue
Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways).


seriously?

I've always mitigated the "one PS500 per two racks" rule-of-thumb by actually adding up the current draw of all connected modules, to get the most I can out of each PS500


the two fracs per ps500 standard is what i've also been reading for a few years now.
Kwote
D/A A/D wrote:
what I would be building would be smaller than that... Again, this is just a feeler...


totally cool. i'm considering getting a 4u for effects modules when i perform with my turntable. i don't need more than that to tweak external sounds.

but for the studio i've finally decided to always go 12u. getting the 6u took awhile to fill up but my 8u filled up in about 3 months. and now i'm stuck getting another skb. so i gotta bite the bullet and trust that 12u is a good target for my current rate of expansion.
Kwote
eyehue wrote:
Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
i should be able to power 4 frac racks worth of modules with just one ps500 (roughly anyways).


seriously?

I've always mitigated the "one PS500 per two racks" rule-of-thumb by actually adding up the current draw of all connected modules, to get the most I can out of each PS500


the two fracs per ps500 standard is what i've also been reading for a few years now.


it may be wise to continue following that rule of thumb. i'd rather have a big overhead then almost none. but ps500's are expensive and if you don't need as many you don't need as many.

i'd like to atleast try 3 racks for 1 ps500 and see how it goes. hans just goes until he gets a little bit of brownout then removes a module or two til everything's cool again.

i also remember on the CGS yahoo group that there was a discussion on how to test the ratings on your modules. i need to go dig that up. sounds easier than what Muff's described.
flts
D/A A/D wrote:
The doepfer cases are made out of a plastic. I can totally make a portable Frac case, it'll just be a little deeper.


Doepfer site says: "The A-100 suitcase is made of black or grey coated wood with aluminium extrusions with the rail construction fixed to the other parts of the suitcase"

The images I've seen have looked like it would be "film faced" plywood or whatever it's called, but I can't be sure since I've never seen one IRL. Maybe one of the suitcase owners could chime in.

Quote:
p.s. I am an experienced carpenter.


My father's one too, so now I know DAD and D/A A/D who are experienced in that area lol (sorry, I'm Finnish and really have no real sense of humour)

Btw. the idea of having 3U be two rows of 42HP is actually really cool - it would make a portable case that has a nice form factor: smaller than the full-blown 6U boxes but bigger than, say, the Doepfer mini case. The only problem I can see is that if you want to make an Euro case like that, the users will have a bigger puzzle problem in their hands... Whereas you can fit 84HP of modules in a single row, you might not be able to fit same amount to 2x42 if you're unlucky with the module widths.
Muff Wiggler
john told me the PS500's are under-rated enough to safely get 550ma from them

once you start pushing it, it really depends on the modules and how you are using them, as the draw varies depending on what inputs and outputs you are using and how you set the knobs, also some modules are more sensitive than others.

I push as close to 550 as I can out of all my PSUs.

However.... I have all three of my VCOs hooked up to one PSU. I follow Grant's tip to never hook up a VCO and a Time Machine to the same PSU! But, regardless, on this PSU I only push it to 510 - I've found that if I go any higher the VCOs lose tuning stability. Perhaps it is a feature! PSFM (Power-Sag Frequency Modulation)
eyehue
sorry for hijacking the thread D/A A/D...

to get back to your question, was it just do we think you should make cases or are we interested in buying them? my vote would be yes, make them, it would fill a void in the market. but, no, i would not buy one because i already built two frac cases of 3 fracs each for myself.

and, maybe we should start another thread on PSs, but for the record i am going to build my own for my next one using the MFOS PCB and a nice 1000mA or more wall wart. though maybe this route could help D/A A/D in designing his cases small enough to cleverly tuck away the psu and not have it stick out the back like a Blacet PS500 does.
D/A A/D
flts wrote:
D/A A/D wrote:
The doepfer cases are made out of a plastic. I can totally make a portable Frac case, it'll just be a little deeper.


Doepfer site says: "The A-100 suitcase is made of black or grey coated wood with aluminium extrusions with the rail construction fixed to the other parts of the suitcase"

The images I've seen have looked like it would be "film faced" plywood or whatever it's called, but I can't be sure since I've never seen one IRL. Maybe one of the suitcase owners could chime in.


I have one and it must be really thin plywood... But it is more than likely that.
sgnhh
I'm only interested in racks at this point.
Kwote
Muff Wiggler wrote:
john told me the PS500's are under-rated enough to safely get 550ma from them

once you start pushing it, it really depends on the modules and how you are using them, as the draw varies depending on what inputs and outputs you are using and how you set the knobs, also some modules are more sensitive than others.

I push as close to 550 as I can out of all my PSUs.

However.... I have all three of my VCOs hooked up to one PSU. I follow Grant's tip to never hook up a VCO and a Time Machine to the same PSU! But, regardless, on this PSU I only push it to 510 - I've found that if I go any higher the VCOs lose tuning stability. Perhaps it is a feature! PSFM (Power-Sag Frequency Modulation)


i've got 3 VCO's on the same PS500 too. I've also got the Hexzone on that same supply. based on the given ratings i'm using 581 ma with no issues although i haven't gone up and down a lot of octaves but everything seems fine to me.
Kwote
if you really wanna go balls out i'd suggest doing a little of everything.

fully powered cases with support for the modules in both euro and frac or both combined. cases without power. just cases straight up, we provide our own power and racking solution. and different sizes.

anywhere from 3u to 12u
Muff Wiggler
Kwote wrote:
i haven't gone up and down a lot of octaves but everything seems fine to me.


oh you don't even need to check with up and down octaves... when it happens you can't even maintain a single pitch! sounds all lfo-like
Kwote
Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
i haven't gone up and down a lot of octaves but everything seems fine to me.


oh you don't even need to check with up and down octaves... when it happens you can't even maintain a single pitch! sounds all lfo-like


so you've experienced this then? how many modules did you have connected?

The Hexzone is rated at 150. i used to trip about all this. so much so that i missed out on getting a TM last year a couple times. back then i actually thought i'd need a dedicated PS500 for it. boy was i wrong.
wetterberg
Generally the problem isn't one for the Frac people - their racks are exTREMELY cheap compared to the Euro ones, which usually, due to their labcoat origins, have "lab specs" or even "military spec" which makes them very dear.


I have a ton of ideas on the subject, and have PM'd you, D/AA/D!


Iz on!
Muff Wiggler
Kwote wrote:
so you've experienced this then? how many modules did you have connected?


oh yes. it's how i realized that you can't always push it all the way to 550.

I don't know how many I had connected - maybe 12-14 or so, added up to about 530 or so and the VCOs started to wobble
Kwote
Muff Wiggler wrote:
Kwote wrote:
so you've experienced this then? how many modules did you have connected?


oh yes. it's how i realized that you can't always push it all the way to 550.

I don't know how many I had connected - maybe 12-14 or so, added up to about 530 or so and the VCOs started to wobble


hmmmmm. so how am i pushing 580 and no wobbling. must be something else going on with your setup at the time. maybe one module or two in particular that were acting out of line.

this is always a great subject. i wish consumed would chime in soon.
flts
wetterberg wrote:
Generally the problem isn't one for the Frac people - their racks are exTREMELY cheap compared to the Euro ones, which usually, due to their labcoat origins, have "lab specs" or even "military spec" which makes them very dear.


Yeah, it's weird though that nobody seems to make complete Eurocard rack frames that aren't built to rigorous spec and cost an arm and a leg. I've encountered several Finnish '70s or '80s powered mixer frames and distribution amps (or whatever) that have been used in central radio systems in places like comprehensive schools. My DIY rack box is actually built from pieces of one of those. While they seem kind of no-bullshit as far as construction goes, I don't think they're military spec or have been particularily expensive, and they have everything mounted in 3U Eurocard frames.

When I've been searching for sources of inexpensive frames, all I find is broadcast, networking and heavy industry related companies and I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of them bought their frame assemblies from Schroff / Proma. Some of them probably fabricate their own, 3U Eurocard is still a pretty common standard in some industries it seems.
wetterberg
Quote:
Portable Euro / Frac case sub $300 w/ Power
- that would entail supporting both power systems from one psu, right? I think that would definitely be a tough nut to crack.

Does anyone know if there's a limit to how many amperes the psu can pull? The modules draw what they need only, right?
*showing decaying electrical knowledge, must recharge brain!*
felix
I'd be totally down with a Euro + Frac case. If Muff or anyone else who has Frac and Euro can measure, I believe their faceplates are the same height.

So long as the mounting holes are at the same vertical height as well, it would totally work if Vector rails were used. I was going to try this with my DIY case (before epic fail), but never got around to finding out if it would work.

The PSU part of the problem could be just having room for a second PSU.

There are several Frac modules that I would love to have, Binary Zone, Mini-Wave, Noise Ring, but I couldn't see dedicating a whole case.
consumed
wetterberg
felix wrote:
I'd be totally down with a Euro + Frac case. If Muff or anyone else who has Frac and Euro can measure, I believe their faceplates are the same height.
unfortunately not true. So we'd need a rail with no lip, clearance above it and so on. Eek.
felix wrote:

So long as the mounting holes are at the same vertical height as well, it would totally work if Vector rails were used. I was going to try this with my DIY case (before epic fail), but never got around to finding out if it would work.
would love to find out. I bet you it's failboats ahoy though hmm....
felix wrote:

The PSU part of the problem could be just having room for a second PSU.
There are several Frac modules that I would love to have, Binary Zone, Mini-Wave, Noise Ring, but I couldn't see dedicating a whole case.
An extra psu would make it quite a bulky and expensive thing, I reckon. But it should be possible to find a *good* psu with tons of power spewing out 5, 9, -12, 12, -15 and 15. There's just such an ocean of psus out there, and that scene is changing a lot now, too.

I reckon the ability to mount like a 42HPs of frac would be exciting. Integration would be even better.
consumed
so yeah ive maxed out PSUs, most recently on my euro system.
my VCO pitches got funky.
so i unplugged stuff until they stabilized.
then, i noticed my high pass filter was occasionally spitting low frequencies out randomly.
so i had to unplug more stuff.

ive definitely powered three racks of blacet/wiard from one ps500 and am guessing i could have gotten away with more. but by then i had gotten rid of my time machine.
felix
Dead Banana
wetterberg
http://www.modularsynth.com/chart.html
timmah
tragedybysyntax wrote:
I'm going with a pelican case. smile


Please let us know how you go with this, i'd like to do the same thing, but am rather new with modulars.

cheers
chimologic
Sounds like a great idea, but I would suggest whichever direction you go to make sure your case is carry on flight standard.

Thats the only reason I got the doepfer suitcase to begin with. otherwise is not really 'portable' just 'easy to carry inside the US'
Kwote
chimologic wrote:
Sounds like a great idea, but I would suggest whichever direction you go to make sure your case is carry on flight standard.

Thats the only reason I got the doepfer suitcase to begin with. otherwise is not really 'portable' just 'easy to carry inside the US'


now that is an excellent point.

probably the best place to start but it'd be cool to see a modular case company with diverse options for all our situations.
Roycie Roller
Yeah mate, i reckon its a great idea & it will sell regardless of competition. I think a frac/euro case (ie. both in the one case) is a great idea- i'm building a modular regardless of format. I think this idea will really appeal to people who want to have a small setup. But the real clincher will be if you can find a way to make swapping modules in, out & around super fast & easy..This will make gig preparation nice & quick.
humanfaculties
chimologic wrote:
Sounds like a great idea, but I would suggest whichever direction you go to make sure your case is carry on flight standard.


Yes!! Maybe something that can fit in a case like this Pelican one.
wetterberg
may I ask why pelican cases specifically? I think they're quite overpriced, which is kind of counter-productive to the whole making-things-cheaper thing.
consumed
does scott/harvestman use a pelican case for his euro system?

i have a pelican for my machinedrum. it is a fantastic case -- extremely durable and light and waterproof, dustproof etc. however, i imagine you would have to drill through the case to mount the rails, which would blow the waterproof qualities.

finding a pelican with a deep lid would allow mounting on both sides of the case top and bottom.

blacet/metalbox/frac can end up being extremely deep (sometimes over 6") so a deep case would be necessary. however, all wiard frac modules are under 1" deep due to the parallel pcb. most euro are pretty shallow too, except the plan b voltage processor and the first rev of the model 15 oscillator (and maybe other designs).

i think that peter g used a zero halliburton case for the NIN euro suitcase system.
humanfaculties
wetterberg wrote:
may I ask why pelican cases specifically? I think they're quite overpriced, which is kind of counter-productive to the whole making-things-cheaper thing.


It certainly doesn't have to 'specifically' be a pelican case......but it's a good starting point I think. I was actually thinking of something that would fit inside the case or a similar case. Pelican cases btw are readily available and tough as hell.....and the 1510 is great becase of the carry on specs. Carry on is key, really.....can't be stressed enough imho.
wetterberg
it's true - if you wanna sell anything to an american it has to be carry-on compatible.

the standard length+height+depth<45" is a serious limitation to anything pertaining to modulars, though:

either you'd have to do a fully external PSU (which would be its own little briefcase or something) and then you could actually fit a tight 12u system in carry on (if we're talking eurorack, that is)

OR you'd end up with basically a knockoff of the doepfer suitcase - which has the advantage of being sort-of stackable.
humanfaculties
wetterberg wrote:
it's true - if you wanna sell anything to an american it has to be carry-on compatible.


Not so sure about that. hmmm.....

It seems to me it's more like if you wanna sell something to someone who travels with their modular via an airplane.
Kwote
werd. i'm an A-Mereecannn. and i don't care about carry on.

i do want to get a 4u case for simple effects applications but i don't really need anyone for that. skb makes a pretty cheap one.
spbaker
kinda off topic, but if you look around there are other options for cases, they might need a bit of modding to get them ready, but the techniques i used for this would be applicable to pretty much anything... i'm also a fan of having removable lids that are deep enough to keep a patch stored (deep enough for the cables to be left plugged in)

stay tuned for the DIY thread on this one- a MUFF forum exclusive! love
wetterberg
humanfaculties wrote:
wetterberg wrote:
it's true - if you wanna sell anything to an american it has to be carry-on compatible.

Not so sure about that. hmmm.....

It seems to me it's more like if you wanna sell something to someone who travels with their modular via an airplane.
you're right, it was off the mark. My own very limited experiences from working in the US got involved there - going from major city to major city simply == airplanes the few times I was there. So yes, the touring muso would typically need carry-on, generally speaking.

But what's more interesting to me is designing sort of esoteric cases
9u console-type cases,
3/4-wides, 1½-wides, doublewides,
top+bottom mounted suitcases, that sort of stuff.

It's a shame that all the cool cases like the Grenader/Cortini case have to be 100% custom, really.
The Alison Project
For Euro distro boards check out Ken Stone's
http://www.cgs.synth.net/modules/cgs73_bus.html

I recently used these for two euro rack's.

Here are the headers I ordered from Mouser
http://www.mouser.com/Search/ProductDetail.aspx?qs=dR34hP2JS5D776SIgAU l8g%3d%3d

The Euro cables are so small I needed to break the board into two and fit half at each side of the rack (there are notches on the board so this can be done easily - thanks again Ken Stone).
Soy Sos
I know I put up these pics before, but it seem relevant here.
I've used it out and it's worked out great. Of course there's
no way I would be able to carry it on a plane, but I haven't
gotten any overseas modular performance offers yet!
The external power supply has been a good way to go for
me also.

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