Testing the 1310 module

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yusynth
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Testing the 1310 module

Post by yusynth » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:50 am

Hi Wiglers

I received three days ago a package from Doug Slocum containing a brand new VC-delay 1310 module. I have been playing with it for three days now and here are my comments :

The pros...
- The first impression is that the module is well built, the construction quality is comparable to that of STG and Synthesizers.com (see the pictures)

- The controls and their use are straightforward : DELAY, RECIRC., MIX and CV AMNT. No need for a documentation, one can easily achieve a large variety of effects from chorus, flanging to echo.

- The module handles pretty well the high signal levels that are usually found in a modern modular synthesizer.

- I have a lot fun using it.

Now, for the cons...
The electronic design can be improved to the benefit of sound quality among two points.

- When the DELAY knob is set between tick 9 and 10 (corresponding to the longest delays) one can hear in the background some contamination from the sampling clock (whistle), when adding recirculation this creates aliasing noise that starts to get annoying. I think that Doug can easily improve this by adding a switch that would let the user insert an low-pass filter to block this clock/alisasing noise when setting the module to long delays

- When recirculation is set above tick 8, a low frequency feedback is gradually building up which is perfectly normal and desirable as well. The problem I see is that clipping distorsion is also very high and harsh. It would be great if Doug could add a soft clipping limiter in the recirculation loop in order to achieve a feedback effect that sounds better just as in a vintage echo tape device.

Conclusions :
It is a nice module to complete a 5U modular system and I am glad to have one. It works nicely as long as you keep the delay under tick 9 and do not push to much the recirculation settings. But these are extreme settings and I am sure Doug will fix that soon (I discussed with Doug about that and he is already studying possible mods :tu: ).
Attachments
Front view
Front view
VC-delay-front.jpg (78.52 KiB) Viewed 289 times
Back view
Back view
VC-delay-back.jpg (37.71 KiB) Viewed 289 times
side view from left
side view from left
vc-delay-left.jpg (40.36 KiB) Viewed 289 times
side view from right
side view from right
VC-delay-right.jpg (54.13 KiB) Viewed 289 times
Last edited by yusynth on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dslocum
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Post by dslocum » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:07 am

Yves,

We greatly appreciate your compliments, as well as your honest criticism and creative suggestions. I will seriously consider them for a future redesign. I'm thinking that the easiest way without a panel redesign would be a push-pull switch on the Delay knob. What are your thoughts please?

Cheers!

Doug & Jerri
Doug Slocum
Synthetic Sound Labs
www.steamsynth.com
------------
"I guess all the Forest Mims Radio Shack books I read finally paid off!"
"I ordered twice as many _______ as I thought I'd need, only to find out that I'm still less than half way to having enough."
"...this whole thing was started by a dream and a mouse." - Walt Disney
"Flatulence sounds aren't just for brass and reed instruments anymore, thanks in large part to Dr Moog." - Ockeghem

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bwhittington
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Re: Testing the 1310 module

Post by bwhittington » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:17 am

yusynth wrote: - When recirculation is set above tick 8, a low frequency feedback is gradually building up which is perfectly normal and desirable as well. The problem I see is that clipping distorsion is also very high and harsh. It would be great if Doug could add a soft clipping limiter in the recirculation loop in order to achieve a feedback effect that sounds better just as in a vintage echo tape device.
I agree with your observations of the module based on my use of the module thus far, but in the case of the recirc pot response, I'd slide that one over to the "pro" column. I would enjoy the switchable option of a cleaner feedback effect also, but for my use, I wouldn't trade my current model for a tamed one. The distortion and feedback effects possible towards the upper end of that dial are my favorite thing about the module. It requires manual control at times to pull it back in control, but this module can make a simple patch wail like a guitar, which I find both pleasing and fun. If it's a technical deficiency, it really is a very happy one in my view. I can see how that wouldn't be for everyone, but it might be a selling point to someone else.

Cheers,
Brian

PS. Quite honestly, I've enjoyed this module so much I've been weighing whether or not I might use a second one.
Last edited by bwhittington on Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

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yusynth
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Re: Testing the 1310 module

Post by yusynth » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:21 am

bwhittington wrote:I agree with your observations of the module based on my use of the module thus far, but in the case of the recirc pot response, I'd slide that one over to the "pro" column. I would enjoy the switchable option of a cleaner feedback effect also, but for my use, I wouldn't trade my current model for a tamed one. The distortion and feedback effects possible towards the upper end of that dial are my favorite thing about the module. It requires manual control at times to pull it back in control, but this module can make a simple patch wail like a guitar, which I find both pleasing and fun. If it's a technical deficiency, it really is a very happy one in my view. I can see how that wouldn't be for everyone, but it might be a selling point to someone else.

Cheers,
Brian
You're right Brian, being a tech myself I tend to be concerned/obsessed with technical perfection but I understand that technical issues can be turned into interesting musical features as well.

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fac
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Re: Testing the 1310 module

Post by fac » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:10 am

yusynth wrote: - When recirculation is set above tick 8, a low frequency feedback is gradually building up which is perfectly normal and desirable as well. The problem I see is that clipping distorsion is also very high and harsh. It would be great if Doug could add a soft clipping limiter in the recirculation loop in order to achieve a feedback effect that sounds better just as in a vintage echo tape device.
Could this be achieved by running the delay through an LPF and feeding the LFP output back to the delay (e.g., with a mixer), effectively bypassing the delay's feedback loop?

I like the delay as it is, but of course, it's better if one can achieve different characters/behaviors when combining it with other modules.

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dslocum
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Re: Testing the 1310 module

Post by dslocum » Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:23 am

fac wrote:
yusynth wrote: - When recirculation is set above tick 8, a low frequency feedback is gradually building up which is perfectly normal and desirable as well. The problem I see is that clipping distorsion is also very high and harsh. It would be great if Doug could add a soft clipping limiter in the recirculation loop in order to achieve a feedback effect that sounds better just as in a vintage echo tape device.
Could this be achieved by running the delay through an LPF and feeding the LFP output back to the delay (e.g., with a mixer), effectively bypassing the delay's feedback loop?

I like the delay as it is, but of course, it's better if one can achieve different characters/behaviors when combining it with other modules.
Absolutely! Why to you think they call it "modular"? :hihi:
Doug Slocum
Synthetic Sound Labs
www.steamsynth.com
------------
"I guess all the Forest Mims Radio Shack books I read finally paid off!"
"I ordered twice as many _______ as I thought I'd need, only to find out that I'm still less than half way to having enough."
"...this whole thing was started by a dream and a mouse." - Walt Disney
"Flatulence sounds aren't just for brass and reed instruments anymore, thanks in large part to Dr Moog." - Ockeghem

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fac
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Post by fac » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:39 pm

Umm... I meant running the delay through an HPF, not an LPF. It is the low frequency feedback I'd want to get rid of.

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yusynth
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Post by yusynth » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:38 am

Well Doug has found a cure to the clock bleedthrough, by changing the value two capacitors !
I have made the suggested modification and it sounds better for long delays !
Well done Doug.

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fac
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Post by fac » Mon Nov 01, 2010 9:25 am

Great! Now that there is the SSL VC Digital Delay Mk2, the Mk1's will be worth more for their unique character and grittyness. :mrgreen:

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bwhittington
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Post by bwhittington » Mon Nov 01, 2010 10:06 am

yusynth wrote:Well Doug has found a cure to the clock bleedthrough, by changing the value two capacitors !
I have made the suggested modification and it sounds better for long delays !
Well done Doug.
Nice! Will the details for the mod be posted soon?

Cheers,
Brian

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dslocum
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1310 Clock Noise Improvement

Post by dslocum » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:13 am

bwhittington wrote:
yusynth wrote:Well Doug has found a cure to the clock bleedthrough, by changing the value two capacitors !
I have made the suggested modification and it sounds better for long delays !
Well done Doug.
Nice! Will the details for the mod be posted soon?

Cheers,
Brian
Hi Folks!

For those who would like to improve the clock bleedthrough, you can return it and I'll make the change at no charge and return ship on my nickel.

If you are comfortable with a fairly simple part replacement and you'd like to try it yourself, you can either replace C9 & C10 with 1uf electrolytic caps (positive lead toward the 2399 chip), or simply parallel the existing caps on the bottom of the board, thus avoiding possible PCB damage when removing the existing caps. The caps are located off pins 7 & 8 of the 2399 chip.

This change will be incorporated in all future 1310's.

Please feel free to post here it you need help or have any other questions.

Here's a photo that Yves was kind enough to supply. Note that he elected to replace the caps with a box type non-polarized version.

Cheers!

Image
Doug Slocum
Synthetic Sound Labs
www.steamsynth.com
------------
"I guess all the Forest Mims Radio Shack books I read finally paid off!"
"I ordered twice as many _______ as I thought I'd need, only to find out that I'm still less than half way to having enough."
"...this whole thing was started by a dream and a mouse." - Walt Disney
"Flatulence sounds aren't just for brass and reed instruments anymore, thanks in large part to Dr Moog." - Ockeghem

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dslocum
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Post by dslocum » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:17 am

fac wrote:Great! Now that there is the SSL VC Digital Delay Mk2, the Mk1's will be worth more for their unique character and grittyness. :mrgreen:
Yeah, just like an original Moog Modular that's overpriced on Ebay! :lol: :hyper: :razz:

(Oh, did I say THAT?) :bananaguitar:
Doug Slocum
Synthetic Sound Labs
www.steamsynth.com
------------
"I guess all the Forest Mims Radio Shack books I read finally paid off!"
"I ordered twice as many _______ as I thought I'd need, only to find out that I'm still less than half way to having enough."
"...this whole thing was started by a dream and a mouse." - Walt Disney
"Flatulence sounds aren't just for brass and reed instruments anymore, thanks in large part to Dr Moog." - Ockeghem

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