So... If I were to start making portable synth cases? POLL!

Anything modular synth related that is not format specific.

Moderators: luketeaford, Joe., lisa, Kent

What would you be interested in?

Portable Euro case sub $300 w/ Power
6
43%
Portable Frac case sub $300 w/ Power
0
No votes
Both
1
7%
Portable Euro / Frac case sub $300 w/ Power
7
50%
 
Total votes: 14

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D/A A/D
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So... If I were to start making portable synth cases? POLL!

Post by D/A A/D » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:17 pm

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

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Post by flts » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:37 pm

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.

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Post by tragedybysyntax » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:46 pm

I'm going with a pelican case. :)

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Post by D/A A/D » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:47 pm

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.

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:56 pm

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.
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Post by D/A A/D » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:01 pm

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...

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Post by Muff Wiggler » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:05 pm

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)

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:32 pm

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.
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Post by eyehue » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:33 pm

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.

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:37 pm

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.
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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:42 pm

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.
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Post by flts » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:58 pm

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.
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.

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Post by Muff Wiggler » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:00 pm

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)

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Post by eyehue » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:01 pm

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.

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Post by D/A A/D » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:03 pm

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.

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Post by sgnhh » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:20 pm

I'm only interested in racks at this point.

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:33 pm

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.
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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 3:37 pm

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
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Post by Muff Wiggler » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:00 pm

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

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:24 pm

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.
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Post by wetterberg » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:30 pm

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!

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Post by Muff Wiggler » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:40 pm

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

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Post by Kwote » Thu Aug 07, 2008 4:55 pm

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.
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Post by flts » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:30 pm

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.

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Post by wetterberg » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:55 pm

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!*

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