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[BUILD] Oakley ASV Analogue Synthesizer Voice
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author [BUILD] Oakley ASV Analogue Synthesizer Voice
I've built loads of Oakley modules, in fact over the last four years I've built them all and some more than once, you could say I'm really experienced at building Oakley Modules - and that's where the problems began. There are two golden rules, firstly make sure you are using the latest build documentation from the Oakley web site, and secondly, read it. Things started well, and to be honest there is a very successful outcome, but there were a few self-inflicted issues during assembly that could have been easily avoided.

I started with a nice straight forward assembly of the ASV Socket PCB. Sockets were attached finger tight to the front-panel, I used a metal rule to line them all up and then soldered the PCB in place. Job done.

Time to tackle populating the main board. I had nearly completed soldering all the resistors when I noticed a typographical error in the documentation, it was very minor but I checked to see if there was an updated Builders document on the web site and found the latest version was 1.12, I was using 1.6. Better download and use that. This version corrected some earlier errors and includes later modifications to accommodate the version 1.2 Pot and Switch board. I realised I needed to change a small number of resistors I'd already placed and carefully checked through everything I'd already done to ensure it was correct. Having made the necessary corrections the rest of the board population was straight forward.

The main board connects to the Pot and Switch PCB and Dual VCO PCB using ten-way SIL sockets and headers, I decided to dry assemble these boards together and then solder the SIL connectors, thus ensuring they were all correctly aligned. With the 11mm spacers in place and a bit of masking tape to hold things in place it worked a treat.

I used a couple of Greenies for the required 39nF Polyester Caps on the main board, they just fit under and at the side of the attached Dual VCO board - phew.

Then came the second fuck up. I populated the resistors on the Pot and Switch board and only realised when I noticed all the resistor holes weren't populated that I'd used the PCB version 1.1 BOM list. They all had to come out and be changed to the Version 1.2 BOM. No excuses, other than the obvious, didn't read what was in front of me which clearly stated "Note this is for issue 1.1 Pot boards only. Check which issue you have before starting to populate your board", I of course had a version 1.2!

The rest of the assembly was pretty uneventful. I decided to populate the Pot board in small batches starting with the four corner pots and one of the central pots. This made lining up the pots and panel holes a lot easier and also ensured I was able to straighten out a slight bow in the PCB as I went along. This method did require removing and replacing the front panel and pot board a number of times, doing up the front panel nuts etc, but I found it ensured everything was properly aligned and I didn't have to force anything into place. The switches and LED were the last items attached.

Population of the Dual VCO board went without a hitch as did final board assembly

And the front panel. The knobs are all from Musikding as were the pots. Musikding are my new favourite supplier in Germany for this type of component. I used to use Banzai exclusively but they have become unreliable of late taking many weeks even months to deliver components that appeared as 'in stock'.

Power up testing failed initially, the LED was off and there was no output from the Main Out. This was tracked down to inadequate crimping of one of the ribbon cables in it's socket, I use a small vice to push the connection together and obviously hadn't quite crimped it tight enough. This meant I wasn't getting a +15V signal from the main board through to the NC lug of the Gate in socket which is required for the envelopes to be gated. It took a little time to track down by going through the schematics and applying a little bit of grey matter, always unpleasant, but it was a simple fix.

Calibration was straight-forward. If you've calibrated an Oakley VCO before it's the same method. I always take my time and get the tuning as accurate as possible, time spent on this ensures really good tracking across a full-size keyboard and this is no exception. I really liked the use of a Spectrum analyser to set up the filter, not essential but really easy if you have access to one, I used the one that comes free with Ableton. If I can set up all my filters using this I'll be really pleased.

How does it sound? Listen to Tony's sound samples on the Oakley web site he's a much better musician than I am. All I can say is, it sounds even better 'in the flesh' and I anticipate significant use.
Dr Gris
I don't need one but I want it!!
How much did it end up costing you?

I populate a spreadsheet with all the components required for a module, it allows me to place orders for components in larger quantities if I am building several modules or units. Based on the cost data I gathered doing the ASV I estimate it cost me £400-£450 including the front panel from Schaeffer, all other hardware, PCBs and components. Not a bad price for a dual oscillator, LFO, State Variable Filter, dual ADSR envelopes and a VCA. The ASV does have its own sound and is a useful addition to my system. The inclusion of a sub oscillator and the ability to feed a triangle wave from VC01 through to the final mix out gives a very rich tone when needed. I think it's destined to become a 'classic'.
Dr Gris
Thanks for the info. That is indeed a very good price for a very nice synthvoice

With panel, total cost for me was about $450. Enjoy playing the ASV more than my model D. Kind of shocked that this module has flown under the radar. It is Really Good.
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