does anyone own a midiverter?

Blacet, Metalbox, Synthasonic, PAiA and the rest.... a frac frenzy!

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johnnymad
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does anyone own a midiverter?

Post by johnnymad » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:53 pm

i'm really thinking about getting one. i'd just like to get some opinions from people who own or have used one. thanks.

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Cat-A-Tonic
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Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:14 pm

I've been considering one too.

To be honest I'm a little scared off about it's reliability/longevity since Blacet sent notice
about how extremely sensitive the entire PCB is to static electricity due to the integrated SMD IC.
If you fry the IC then you have to buy a new board.
If there were a drop in replacement for the chip this wouldn't be such a big deal.
:tinfoil: :tinfoil: :tinfoil:
John's comment was focused on the kit version and the necessity to wear an anti-static bracelet during the build process.
Touch a trace on the PCB after walking across carpet in sock feet and poof. :deadbanana:

It really is a credit to John that he is so honest, and forward with his customer base about potential issues like this.

It saddens me, as I was pretty much sold on the module prior to this info.
Now I must pause, and weigh the alternatives.

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johnnymad
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Post by johnnymad » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:33 pm

i've never bought a new blacet module. i've only bought them as kits and on the used market. i haven't really looked into the build on this module, but i'm almost certain that if i buy it, i'll buy it pre-built. does the static issue go down if the module is already built?

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Cat-A-Tonic
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Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:44 pm

johnnymad wrote:i've never bought a new blacet module. i've only bought them as kits and on the used market. i haven't really looked into the build on this module, but i'm almost certain that if i buy it, i'll buy it pre-built. does the static issue go down if the module is already built?
I think getting a pre-built one just means there is less necessity for you to be manhandling the PCB and potentially frying the built in IC.

Still though, I wonder if when it's all connected up to the power supply and grounded...
is there the possibility of sending a static shock through one of the jacks?
:emt: :eek: :despair:

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johnnymad
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Post by johnnymad » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:51 pm

i always thought that ic's were safe once they were socketed/soldered. i only know enough about electronics to not kill myself though. :lol: i think i'm going to get one. i really want to play my modular, and there's something about having a module to do it; not some standalone midi to cv.

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Post by Cat-A-Tonic » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:09 pm

johnnymad wrote:i always thought that ic's were safe once they were socketed/soldered. i only know enough about electronics to not kill myself though. :lol: i think i'm going to get one. i really want to play my modular, and there's something about having a module to do it; not some standalone midi to cv.
The problem is that the vulnerable SMD IC is already on the board.
There is no socket. It can't be swapped out.
Some ICs are apparently still quite sensitive to static after being soldered/socketed,
but there usually isn't much need to touch them after they're in place.

I really hope it works out for you without any problems.
Please report back and tell us how it is if you get one.
Good Luck.

I agree about it being nice to have MIDI-CV conversion in a module format.
Hopefully the esteemed Nathan Kirchner will come along and disqualify some of my fears.

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Post by johnnymad » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:50 pm

i'm sure Nathan will chime in. i've had questions about this module before, and he was quick to reply.

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:23 am

Cat-A-Tonic wrote: ... how extremely sensitive the entire PCB is to static electricity due to the integrated SMD IC.
This is not correct - You couldn't kill that DAC with a rock. (The DAC is the only surface mount device on there.)
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
If you fry the IC then you have to buy a new board.
This is also not true. Replacing this 8 pin SMD device is very doable. If you're not skilled with a soldering iron you're probably not the best person to do it, but there are plenty of people that wouldn't even blink at the job.

Cat-A-Tonic wrote: :tinfoil: :tinfoil: :tinfoil:
Unless you are literally made out of lightning you are not going to have a problem!
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
John's comment was focused on the kit version and the necessity to wear an anti-static bracelet during the build process.
The DAC7573 is most likely the least ESD sensitive device on any of the board.
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
Touch a trace on the PCB after walking across carpet in sock feet and poof. :deadbanana:
Not true.
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
It saddens me, as I was pretty much sold on the module prior to this info.
Now I must pause, and weigh the alternatives.
I think the chances of it dying from ESD are up there with your modular getting hit by a bus.
Last edited by nathankirchner on Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:33 am

johnnymad wrote: ... but i'm almost certain that if i buy it, i'll buy it pre-built.
It's easy for me to say buy it pre-built because I don't have to pay for the modules. But if you are in doubt then buy it pre-built. There is a technique for hand soldering SMD devices, you can learn it through trial and error but mistakes happen.

Last time I heard the DAC was going to be sent already soldered to the board for the DIY kits though. I'm not sure if this the case though?
johnnymad wrote: does the static issue go down if the module is already built?
Yes. The risk of damage due to ESD is considerably less once the device is on the PCB.

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:36 am

Cat-A-Tonic wrote: is there the possibility of sending a static shock through one of the jacks?
:emt: :eek: :despair:
No.

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:37 am

Cat-A-Tonic wrote: is there the possibility of sending a static shock through one of the jacks?
:emt: :eek: :despair:
No.

edit: Opps, double post. sorry.

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:45 am

Cat-A-Tonic wrote: Hopefully the esteemed Nathan Kirchner will come along and disqualify some of my fears.
Esteemed? Not sure how I feel about that.

Ok, I'm off to see if I can find my prototype. One pic and this conversation will be over :)

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Post by nathankirchner » Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:06 am

This is the prototype that the Midiverter was developed on. Yes that is the device of concern flipped onto its back with pieces of wires soldered to its dangling legs.

It stayed like that on my desk for however long it took me to get it working, it's been thrown around, rubbed, covered in dust, wiped, treated like crap and and thrown in a box for the last however long. It still works.

Whilst I'm a bit of a risk taker and have next to nothing to lose from a dead device (so I wouldn't recommend being as dodgy as me), just so you all know - no anti-static precautions were taken (I don't even own an anti-static strap), my work bench is timber, my iron is ungrounded, as are my pilers, tweezers and side cutters.

ESD damage is a 1:10,000 chance - If you are in a manufacturing environment that may mean that 1 in 200 units are faulty (a complex circuit might have a couple of hundred devices in it). This is a big percentage if you make 1,000,000 DVD players per week like some companies do and this is where concerns about ESD comes from.

But for us, sitting at home with one or two devices the story is a little different. [/img]

Image
Image

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johnnymad
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Post by johnnymad » Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:10 am

:party: thanks for letting us know, Nathan. i still don't know if i'll buy it pre-built or in kit form, but i'm definitely going to get one. thanks for putting our concerns at ease.

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Post by Kendall Station » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:17 pm

I have one and it works great....the separate clock and gate outs are great, and the velocity / cc outs are great as well. very handy for the size / price, I'd say go for it.

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Post by scozbor » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:53 pm

i built one and had no issues with static. i used no anti static thingy during the build, except when handling and installing the ICs, which I always do.

the functionality of the device is great. the only thing I dont like is that the midi jack is only held to the pcb by solder. i am concerned about its longevity, and would have liked the midi jack to be screwed to the panel as well.

i find the midi jack quite stiff with any midi lead and have to really push it in hard. this will probably improve with time though.

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Post by Kwote » Wed Aug 26, 2009 11:09 am

Awesome breadboard Nathan!!! :mrgreen:

I like it. I dunno what the heck happened to my plans. I mean I do.. Guitar. But hey I still want a midi/cv. None the less I think I've still got my eyes set on the Encore Expressionist. However I love this midiverter so it's definitely going in my just in case folder.

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Post by Kendall Station » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:26 am

Kwote wrote:Awesome breadboard Nathan!!! :mrgreen:

I like it. I dunno what the heck happened to my plans. I mean I do.. Guitar. But hey I still want a midi/cv. None the less I think I've still got my eyes set on the Encore Expressionist. However I love this midiverter so it's definitely going in my just in case folder.

:tu:
seriousl if you want that kind of functionality buy a motu 828 mk1 for $150 and then Volta.....you'll be better of and still have enough money for some new modules or a new rack/PSU

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Post by nathankirchner » Fri Aug 28, 2009 1:48 am

Kendall Station wrote:
...if you want that kind of functionality buy a motu 828 mk1...
Does the MOTU 828 MK1 have CV outputs? (I tried goolge - but I wasn't getting anywhere fast so I just thought I'd ask).

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Post by antennafarm » Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:53 am

nathankirchner wrote: Does the MOTU 828 MK1 have CV outputs? (I tried goolge - but I wasn't getting anywhere fast so I just thought I'd ask).
if you use MOTU's program Volta, the outputs 'become' CV outputs. only certain audio interfaces can be used for it, though. there's a subforum here about it. also:

http://www.motu.com/products/software/volta

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Post by Kendall Station » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:02 am

yup, any interface will work as long as the outputs are DC coupled....

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Post by Kwote » Sat Aug 29, 2009 2:23 am

If using volta means having to program shit on my computer I'm still down with the Expressionist.
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