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BugModular FAQs
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Author BugModular FAQs
BugBrand
This is a new list for general Q&A on the BugModular system.
Feel free to pose questions!
***************************************************
What are the measures of the neat modular setup pictured with the plexi side panels?
The frames, without RackEars measure 16.6" across (c.42cm)
- 11 x 1.5" + 2 x 0.05" for the metal frame

If signing up for a complete tailored system, does one receive a discount on the total?
Sorry, but no...

Am I guaranteed to receive all the parts I request?
I will be working closely with the 'Initial 12' system users to complete their systems to their exact spec. Most likely we focus on 1rack setups to begin with.
In the initial stages I may have to limit certain modules to 1-per-customer-per-batch -- eg. with the CTL1

What happens if I need (for example) an extra CTL1 Touch Panel a year later – might it be possible to buy one?
This should certainly be possible - for anyone with a system I would hope to keep an ongoing relationship - I want this to be personal and flexible). Trading-in modules should be possible too - there is a good chance of being able to swap/sell modules between the small BugModular-user-base either via me or directly between users.

Do you plan to sell more tailored modular systems when the first 12 are done?
Yes! That's the plan - though, of course, I must first focus on these 12 systems!

I’m not a big fan of sample-rate-reduction. Is there any other use for a BugCrusher module?
The PRC2 BugCrusher is, basically, a Sample & Hold module - traditionally these are used at low frequencies to create random clocked steps, but this version adds the Audio-rate option.

From which BugBrand model did you pick the OSCs (or are they new)?
These are new designs - though with continuation of investigations I've done previously eg. DroneMachine VCOs - the Thomas Henry XR-VCO and other designs in the VCO-Chip cookbook have been a great source of inspiration.

Pulse/Sine wave is always nice options for OSCs and LFOs. Any chance this might show up?
The SYN2A already has Sin/Tri/Pulse outputs! SYN2B is likely to be similar but with PWM replaced by Shape / XFade between Sin / Sqr.
SYN2C is likely to be a 2-width version with more CV inputs + more output options.

Will your Joybox ever go into production? What does it do?
Not in the same form, but work is already well underway for a 2-width Joystick control module.
The JoyBox was two Joystick controls (each with X & Y CV outputs) plus two trigger/gate generators (using buttons)

I noticed you use three PWMs, two Touch Panels and two Envelopes on your newly assembled unit (with the see through plexi panels). Some advantages are obvious – a PWM for each OSC, and plenty of alternatives for patching the Touch Panels. Could you however say something about what (in your opinion) would be the biggest disadvantages of having just one of each?
Well, cost and availability have to be major considerations at this stage! Space in the rack, also....
Two CTL1s - its great to have two independent panels!
Several VCOs - allows, for example, great cross-patching or use of one as a modulation LFO (they run Audio or LFO rates)
With this 2-rack system it is possible to make a very nice 3-voice setup -- with a 1-rack system you are more limited (though you can always multi-track things in a computer)

Will there be any portable solutions?
Yes, given time! I have already got ideas on a 2rack portable frame quite similar to my personal Suitcase System and other ideas are being discussed / investigated. Such areas are on my mind, but may take a while to bring to fruition.

How about the quality of the modules? Any clicks in the outputs when using switch controls or other unintended oddities? Anything else I should know about them?
I think my system is of really high quality! (both in circuitry and in build/mechanical terms) There is obviously a large scope due to the complexity of the system, but comparing it with my more chaotic sound devices (eg Weevils), everything is much more stable and repeatable - basically, it is a stable system, but one that invites experimentation to push it into unexpected territories!
The main difference from my other SoundDevices is that the Modular setup allows for much more system standardisation - signal levels etc are all configured and tweaked so that everything is stable and happy working together.

******************************
What were the driving thoughts that you chose FRAC as your module format? Personally I prefer the 4 HE format that Serge and Buchla use. It´s the best compromise of space and functionality (3 HE systems are often too flumsy and 5 HE too bulky IMHO).

I initially went with Frac as the frames (from Paia) were very well priced. I then came to like the regular size (1.5" multiples) used in comparison to the overly-open-ended approach of the Euro 84HP -> having a regular size to work in helps, for me at least, to achieve a nice set of standard layouts.

Size was an important factor too - 3U was seen as the option suitable for portability - 5U wasn't readily available from what I could see - and I've never really seen any 4u frames available.

Yes, I did feel that the Paia frames were a bit flimsy (I never tried the Blacet ones) though this has improved with the recent ones which have top/bottom/rear panels. That was quite a consideration in designing my custom rack (which certainly ain't flimsy - you could kill a man with it!)

The PCB front-panel method provides great strength to the modules - I initially tried out 1.5mm material, but this did have some flex. This has been totally eliminated by using 3mm material.
parasitk
BugBrand wrote:
Feel free to pose questions!
***************************************************
If signing up for a complete tailored system, does one receive a discount on the total?
Sorry, but no...

Am I guaranteed to receive all the parts I request?
I will be working closely with the 'Initial 12' system users to complete their systems to their exact spec. Most likely we focus on 1rack setups to begin with.
In the initial stages I may have to limit certain modules to 1-per-customer-per-batch -- eg. with the CTL1

What happens if I need (for example) an extra CTL1 Touch Panel a year later – might it be possible to buy one?
This should certainly be possible - for anyone with a system I would hope to keep an ongoing relationship - I want this to be personal and flexible). Trading-in modules should be possible too - there is a good chance of being able to swap/sell modules between the small BugModular-user-base either via me or directly between users.

Do you plan to sell more tailored modular systems when the first 12 are done?
Yes! That's the plan - though, of course, I must first focus on these 12 systems!


So when do you think the next round will be for full systems? There's no way I could get money together by February for a full system (too short notice!), but I really would love to get in on this. Add a wave shaper/folder/multiplier and this is my dream live performance system! SlayerBadger!
BugBrand
I can't say for sure yet, but it may well not be 'til the middle of the year.
(will update)

Even at this stage its not a 'pay-all-at-once' situation as I'll be building up systems over the course of a few months.

As an example (this is NOT the actual timeplan):
End Feb - Rack / PSU / Cables / PRC1 / UTL2
End Mar - SYN2 / DD1 / DD2
Mid Apr - SYN1 / CTL1
End Apr - ENV1 / PRC2
etc.. roughly.
Payment is only taken at each delivery stage.
(and international shipping is only expensive on the initial stage due to weight of rack + psu)

So, basically, each month I will complete batches of several modules. The initial 12 system users will all be asked beforehand which modules are required (+ quantity) and then I'll build to satisfy. Plus, potentially, a few extras in 1/8" format along the way.
A Dingleberry Monstrosity
man, your prices are VERY nice! SlayerBadger!
god... so tempting..... so very tempting........

just out of curiosity, could you do a 1/8 conversion and if so how much would something like that run?
BugBrand
A Dingleberry Monstrosity wrote:
man, your prices are VERY nice! :sb:
god... so tempting..... so very tempting........

just out of curiosity, could you do a 1/8 conversion and if so how much would something like that run?


Cheers.

By 1/8" conversion - do you mean converting something from 1/8" to banana or vice versa?

To be honest, due to a generally hectic schedule, I don't take on much custom work.

Conversions may be pretty simple though - depending on module. I'll be converting a couple of Wiard modules for one of the beta-testers -- but this conversion is only possible on some modules -> the Borg Filter and Noise Ring are easy enough to do, but the JAG has board mounted sockets + switch, so conversion looks to be impossible / too complex
whyterabbyt
BugBrand wrote:

To be honest, due to a generally hectic schedule, I don't take on much custom work.

Conversions may be pretty simple though - depending on module. I'll be converting a couple of Wiard modules for one of the beta-testers -- but this conversion is only possible on some modules -> the Borg Filter and Noise Ring are easy enough to do, but the JAG has board mounted sockets + switch, so conversion looks to be impossible / too complex


Hi Tom,

Do you reckon it would be much work to adapt one (or two) of the Flight of Harmony Plague Bearer barebones modules?
flts
whyterabbyt wrote:
Do you reckon it would be much work to adapt one (or two) of the Flight of Harmony Plague Bearer barebones modules?


I don't think there's much adapting to be done, as I think flight already offers the barebones kits with banana jacks instead of 1/8" if required. At least the page says so, maybe he'll chime in himself. If not, you could always buy a few banana jacks yourself. In any case, otherwise I'm guessing the module should work with the Bugmodular PSU - you could just get a blank Frac panel of the correct size and put a banana-plaguebearer behind it.

edit: I mean, unless I misunderstood what you mean adapting, I'm pretty sure you could build a PB barebones with banana jacks yourself and put it to a Bugmodular with no problems.
BugBrand
Yep, agreed - I think it'd be pretty straightforward - largely 'cos the PB board doesn't have any board-mounted I/O sockets.

You'd probably want to do your own panel as there'd be no need for the 'multed' I/O sockets with banana (if I'm getting it right - the PB has two sockets for each of the four I/O points, right?)

Power-wise - should be fine - though worth noting I use MTA100 connectors for power rather than the larger MTA156s (I could sort you a cable out no sweat)

Cheers!
whyterabbyt
flts wrote:

edit: I mean, unless I misunderstood what you mean adapting, I'm pretty sure you could build a PB barebones with banana jacks yourself and put it to a Bugmodular with no problems.


I know I probably could; unfortunately I have this really bad problem with actually finishing things like that, and thus it'd probably never happen in any kind of useful timescale, even if I had the parts. Hence wondering if Tom could do it.
That aside, though I was thinking more in terms of matching the panels with similar PCB material, and power connectors (the latter of which Tom has answered)
flts
whyterabbyt wrote:
I know I probably could; unfortunately I have this really bad problem with actually finishing things like that, and thus it'd probably never happen in any kind of useful timescale, even if I had the parts. Hence wondering if Tom could do it.
That aside, though I was thinking more in terms of matching the panels with similar PCB material, and power connectors (the latter of which Tom has answered)


Ah right, true. The "finishing things" part sounds familiar lol
BugBrand
It would be possible to design and make a frontpanel in the bug-style, but it could only really work price-wise for perhaps 15+ units. Getting a one-off panel would just be too pricey.
Roycie Roller
Hey Tom, have you considered putting a starve function into the main power supply? Have you ever done any experiments starving power with your other modules?
Muff Wiggler
Hey Roycie - the SYN1 Weevil module in the BugModular has voltage-controlled starve SlayerBadger!

and it's awesome
BugBrand
I had a little play with a big Variac (variable voltage supply) last night - didn't work out to be amazing, but quite a fun experience taking input AC supply from 240v down to 100v.
I did some short recordings so'll update later today most likely.

Its *not* something that'd be possible to implement generally -- the variac cost me £50 and is VERY big and heavy!
Roycie Roller
Sounds interesting! I'd definitely like to hear it, as i'm also thinking about getting a variac. From my own experiments with almost flat batteries, sometimes the results can be great, sometimes plain boring. Interestingly, the boring bits are when the IC's seem to stop working, but a flat monotone still gets through.
whyterabbyt
BugBrand wrote:
It would be possible to design and make a frontpanel in the bug-style, but it could only really work price-wise for perhaps 15+ units. Getting a one-off panel would just be too pricey.


ah, right. thanks. im thinking now that if I can get in on the modular, ive already got a potential layout that would be nicest based on two racks worth anyways, so mebbe worrying about other modules is a bit premature at this point smile
BugBrand
New vid with an initial bit of power starvation -- right down at the bottom it sounds nutso!

vurt
i want one SlayerBadger!
thatkiddelay
So I really don't want to sound pushy or anything like that--honestly, Tom's got a great operation going here...I know everything's hand built, and I get plenty excited hearing the sounds coming out of these initial 12 units...

(Thank you all for the sound and video!)

But how far are we from future batches, month-wise? And what's would the waiting list looking like for said batches?

I'm curious b/c there are other a few other boutique units I'm looking at which may become available soon, and I don't want to spring for them & be caught with no cash when my time comes

Got to time my expenditures right, right? w00t
parasitk
thatkiddelay wrote:
But how far are we from future batches, month-wise? And what's would the waiting list looking like for said batches?

I'm curious b/c there are other a few other boutique units I'm looking at which may become available soon, and I don't want to spring for them & be caught with no cash when my time comes

Got to time my expenditures right, right? w00t


+1

I'd hate to miss the window on that Touch Plate because I wasn't prepared with some money (hence all the selling now)...
ndkent
BugBrand wrote:
I had a little play with a big Variac (variable voltage supply) last night - didn't work out to be amazing, but quite a fun experience taking input AC supply from 240v down to 100v.
I did some short recordings so'll update later today most likely.

Its *not* something that'd be possible to implement generally -- the variac cost me £50 and is VERY big and heavy!


Just curious, what are you driving with your lowered voltage? The transformer for your modules? Something other than your modules? Or perhaps I'm missing something and your modules are 240v AC to begin with or something.

Regarding missing something, wouldn't voltage starving be easy enough to do by just trimming down the easier to deal with DC for the modules?
BugBrand
ndkent - it was really just an experiment, not particularly leading to anything. I have the Variac for testing PSUs for worldwide voltages, so just wanted to see how things would behave - I haven't found it particularly interesting...


Availability:::!!:::

At this stage I'm still rolling with the developments very much, so please take any ideas of timings with a pinch of salt -- times can (and do) change!

I was hoping to be able to offer up further systems around mid-year once the initial systems are complete (or nearly complete - some will be left slightly floating pending further module designs). This date is still very tentative - especially as there's a lot going on behind the scenes that you guys won't be seeing at the moment (case designs & new modules etc). There's certainly no clear path or example of how I should be running my business here so I'm just putting in many hours to constantly try to push things forward on many fronts.

Worth noting that I have had many enquiries for full systems - far more than the 12 systems I was initially offering. I have always been uncomfortable with waiting lists because things change both for me and for you peoples, so all I am doing at the moment is keeping general track of people interested, not making any decisions at this stage who may get involved in future systems.

As far as individual modules go (and this is the area that flits across into more standard 1/8" world) - my main focus remains on completing the systems for my banana users. Just working on this is already quite a challenge (but something I like!). The TouchPanel has, in particular, generated a lot of interest and I will certainly keep this well in mind as I move things forward. I would say at this stage that 1/8" versions WILL be available, but the quantities are unlikely to be great for now. Time wise on this in particular, I'd imagine some time Apr/May for these to begin appearing.

Cheers!
parasitk
BugBrand wrote:
Time wise on this in particular, I'd imagine some time Apr/May for these to begin appearing.


That's just what I wanted to know, thanks! Now to make the doctor appt to go over which organs I don't really need (and that's not to imply that your stuff is expensive, just how poor i am! hihi)
thatkiddelay
Tom -

Thanks for the prompt & detailed update, especially given your busy schedule. I now have enough information to make an informed decision about my purchasing plans, so, much appreciated. Mid-year is actually great for me...good news.

The uncertainty and high demand : supply ratio has me a bit worried (esp. since I'm admittedly new to modulars & probably not a priority candidate--rightfully so), but I'm all for waiting and keeping my fingers crossed 8).
krelnarb
Re-reading this (as I often do, wishing I was among the 12 :( ) I wanted to say that I think your full system purchase plan of pay-per-module as they're built is a good Idea.

Good for you in that it's easier to build a bunch of similar module at same time, good for us in that we can meter our expense while watching our system grow, much the way our systems grow anyway. bit by bit.

Looking forward to mid-year, or beyond, whenever it happens.

Cheers Mr.Bug!
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