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Important notices
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Metasonix  
Author Important notices
metasonix
To R-55 buyers:

Please DO NOT remove the label covering the back of the PC board.
It is there for a reason, and will NOT catch fire. It is attached with
permanent adhesive, so removing it will be extremely difficult anyway.....
metasonix
Hopefully, everyone knows our new address (495 N. Main #109).

Do NOT use the 870 S. Main address ever again.
UPS packages will NOT be forwarded automatically. We begged, they refused.


If in doubt, look at metasonix.com. That is the correct address.
metasonix
SOME NOTES ABOUT POWER SUPPLIES

Please, do NOT cheap out on power supplies for Metasonix R modules. You're spending serious money on modules, so nickel-and-diming on the cabinet or power supply is a really bad idea.

R modules pull a LOT of current when powered up cold. You want tubes, this is part of it. Yes, there are directly-heated subminiature tubes, like the 1J24B tetrode used in the L-1 VCA module. They are quite limited in voltage gain and applications, because they were designed to save power in battery-operated equipment. We use the NOS tubes we use for reasons of performance and availability, not to save power.

For a small system, the Doepfer A-100PSU2 is recommended. It will run five "regular" R modules, or four R-56 reverb modules, very nicely (although it gets quite hot). We use an A-100PSU2 to burn in R modules before packaging. Doepfer's A-100DIY PSU is also okay, as are their suitcase or "monster" cases that contain these supplies.

If you want to run more modules, or are building your own cabinet, please use oversized power supplies. We strongly recommend Power One/International Power 3-amp linear supplies (or larger).

Or a set of big fat Mean Well switching supplies, the kind used in Monorocket's special cabinet for Metasonix-based systems. (It's a special-order item from Monorocket.)

Linear supplies are generally preferred over switching types, although some switchers are quite high-quality and make good substitutes. If you use switching supplies, overrate them drastically. If you're trying to run 5 or 6 R modules, use switching supplies rated for at least 8 amps. Surplus switching supplies are usually okay IF they have ample current ratings, although you should check them for switching/RF noise carefully. Noisy supply rails can cause all kinds of strange and intermittent problems.

The R-55 needs a good deal of +5v power, as noted. Again, please don't cheap out on this supply. I'm sorry if it bothers you, we are limited to using the 2D21 thyratron in it, which draws a lot of current.

We do NOT recommend the Tiptop uZeus or Happy Ending kits, even for one R module. They just won't handle the cold load. The Zeus Studio is also not recommended, although it's been claimed to be able to run one R module.

The Makenoise PBB is marginal, it should run one R module, but just barely. Same applies to the Synthrotek power supply.

MFB's MIDI/CV converter and power supply combination is not recommended to run Metasonix modules.

Pittsburgh Modular's Cell 48 is not recommended. The Cell 90 will probably run one R module adequately. Cwejman's power supply is an unknown quantity, please check with Cwejman before trying it.

The Doepfer mini-case is okay for a single R module (just barely), but you will have to purchase a larger 9vAC or 12vAC adapter plug to power it. Check with us before trying it.

Regardless of the kind of supply you use, make sure the cabinet is well-ventilated, or at least large enough to handle the excess heat.
metasonix
POWER SUPPLIES RECOMMENDED FOR METASONIX MODULES:

All of the following will require busboards and some wiring. If you don't know how, get a good technician to do it for you, don't take any risks. If you're a beginner and really don't know where to start, don't experiment; spend the money on a good, preassembled cabinet from Doepfer or Monorocket.

The following suggestions are aimed at experienced DIYers or technicians who want to build a "premium" Eurorack cabinet. They all involve working directly with dangerous AC mains voltages.


A. For best possible performance, linear regulated supplies are strongly recommended. They are large and heavy, and are thus suitable for studio systems not intended for stage use.

*If you don't need a lot of +5v power (and most people don't), the International Power IHBCC512 is excellent and recommended. It will run eight Metasonix R modules easily. This type is available from Mouser and from MPJA.

*For the best possible performance, get the International Power IHDCC-150W or Power-One HDCC-150W-AG. Either has 3.4 amps on +-12v rails and 12 amps from the +5 rail. If you're running R-55 thyratron VCOs, this model is strongly recommended. The two makes are essentially identical electrically but different mechanically. Yes, they can be wired to put out +-15v instead of 12v. This is advanced work, and you have to be an experienced technician to try it. Metasonix R modules can operate on +-15v power, but require dropping resistors to avoid overvoltage on the tube heaters.
These supplies are available from Mouser or from Digi-Key.


B. If you must save weight and space, use good-quality "OEM" switching power supplies. For Eurorack modulars, you will need two 12v supplies, one wired for +12 and the other wired for -12. You can "experiment" with cheaper surplus supplies, but you do this at your own risk. The supplies recommended below are not very costly. In fact, they are cheaper than some of the "powered busboards" on the market.

*For a smaller portable system, we recommend the Mean Well SE-100-12 supply. Two are needed for powering a Euro cabinet. They will run up to ten R modules easily. Available from Mouser or from MPJA. If +5 power is needed also, get a Mean Well SE-100-5, available from Mouser. You can run up to ten R-55 thyratron VCOs from it.

*Building a really big modular? Perhaps you ought to use a pair of Mean Well RSP-750-12. They make 62.5 amps at 12v dc. A pair of these will run more than fifty Metasonix R modules conservatively. Available from Mouser.
metasonix
A few notes about why our tubes aren't scarce, but people go crazy over certain things:

It's a matter of scale in this case. When a discontinued electronic device becomes scarce, and continues to be used in equipment that is popular and well-regarded, crazy people start to hoard it. This happened to all of the commonplace audio tubes. It's not unusual for Mullard ECC83s, which used to be dirt-common, to sell for $500 new-in-box today.

And it's also happening to semiconductors that were used in popular analog music gear. "The special" chips used in the TB303 are so damn difficult to find, if you CAN get one, they will only be available from a very few specialty dealers. Who will ask hundreds of dollars. Yet they were relatively commonplace and cheap Japanese chips 25 years ago. They weren't "special" at all, except perhaps for the microprocessor with its internal code. Old germanium transistors are being used in guitar fuzz pedals because of their "fine vintage tone" so collectors are now hoarding germanium transistors.

Crazy hoarders make popular things even scarcer than they actually are, because they take them off the market completely and hide them. It reached insane levels with Western Electric tubes, specifically the few types used in their theatre and PA amplifiers like the 300A/B, 350A, 310A, 274A and a few others. Japanese audiophiles went bonkers over early WE theatre audio gear for home use in the 1980s, and so "old junk" being removed from movie houses suddenly became valuable. The words "Western Electric" have become so "magical", that crazies hoard even the Western Electric tubes that are useless today. WE made tubes that were mostly for telephone electronics, and trust me, they are useless and will remain so. Doesn't matter.

I used to know a guy who did that. He was a confirmed schizophrenic, and he lived in a small apartment in San Francisco. In 2007 he died after years of heart disease and prescription drug abuse. He was already well-known as being obsessed with WE tubes and audio equipment. When his family went into his apartment (which NO ONE had ever been permitted to enter), they found more than 400 original 300A and 300B power triodes, piled up everywhere, most new in the original boxes -- along with hundreds of other WE audio types. He was literally sitting on a fortune, and came from a relatively wealthy family, yet he often went hungry for days because he refused to sell anything. Today those tubes sell for between $2500 and $4000 apiece.

Once nut-cases latch onto something, it becomes almost impossible to find, and hideously expensive if someone IS willing to sell it. Economists call that "artificial scarcity". Usually it's caused by accident, and sometimes greedy corporations or maniac collectors try to cause it deliberately.

There's a crappy Wikipedia article.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_scarcity

Metasonix doesn't have this problem, because we are using tubes that nobody is hoarding. Therefore they are of little value, and therefore supplies are excellent. A tube dealer in Florida quietly bought up the remaining stockpile of TV and radio tubes in the warehouses of Richardson Electronics, one of the world's largest distributors. Something like 10 million of them. Most have been useless for 30 years and will be even more "useless" in the future, unless someone like us can find an application. Collecting tube TV sets, unlike old tube guitar amps, hi-fi gear or radios, is an unpopular hobby -- apart from a few "very historic" sets like the RCA CT-100.

We'll be able to keep making Metasonix products for decades, just using NOS tubes only, because the products use tubes like this. Things that are "undesirable" for one reason or another and are not being "hoarded".
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