[PROJECT] Expanders for Turing Machine Random Looping Seq

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[PROJECT] Expanders for Turing Machine Random Looping Seq

Post by Tombola » Thu May 02, 2013 6:21 pm

This is the build/project thread. The thread about Thonk kits is here.

[video][/video]

A mere six months after the prototype, here are two expanders for the Turing Machine / Random Looping Sequencer.

There are three parts:
* A backpack for the RLS board. This adds expander headers, buffering and reverse polarity protection for the main module.
* Pulses: a random, looping clock divider, with seven pulse outputs, controlled by the main module.
* Voltages: an eight stage random looping step sequencer with illuminated faders, controlled by the main module. Unusually, any number of stages can be active at once, creating unpredictable results.

More details, schematics, gerbers etc here at Music Thing Modular.

One RLS with a backpack can control one Pulses module and one Voltages module. With a bit of hacking, you could probably connect two Pulses or two Voltages, if you wanted. The three modules will share one power header.

All three are fast, simple builds. The backpack and pulses modules contain no unusual parts beyond the sockets and optional PTC fuses. Voltages contains illuminated faders, a couple of resistor networks and vertical 9mm pots.

If you built a RLS, you can definitely build these. If you bought an RLS but would like to try DIY, these could be a place to start.

Like the Turing Machine, this is a completely open source project. The schematics, Eagle CAD files, Gerbers, laser-cuttable panel designs and Mouser BOMs are all available under a Creative Commons license that permits unlimited commercial use.

One of the people making use of that license is Thonk in Brighton, who will very shortly be offering full kits for all three expander PCBs. There is also a MuffWigglers thread on his kits.

(BTW, I'm working on a fairly minor revision of the main RLS board, which is why Thonk isn’t offering RLS kits at the moment. These expanders will work with all revisions of the main module.)

Patch details for the clip above: One pulse output is pulsing the white noise from the RLS module through a QMMG, creating the kick drum sound at the start.
The two outputs (normal and inverted) from the voltages module are going into a A156 quantizer, then into two sizes of a DPO oscillator. Each time the note changes, the sine wave outputs are pulsed through the QMMG.
One more output from the pulse module is triggering the FM bus on the DPO, causing the bleeps and bloops.
Image

Two mumble-vision videos, explaining the modules in more detail:

Pulses:
[video][/video]

Voltages - make sure you stick around for audio rate FM bit at 4:20:
[video][/video]
Last edited by Tombola on Sat May 04, 2013 5:55 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Memory_Leak » Thu May 02, 2013 6:27 pm

sweet can't wait !
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Post by falafelbiels » Thu May 02, 2013 6:30 pm

:party:

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Post by Tombola » Thu May 02, 2013 6:37 pm

Clearer shots of the backs of the modules in situ. As you can see, my 'random chips poking out the back of modules' design philosophy is intact, but Thonk's PCBs are much prettier than these green prototypes.
Image
Image[/img]
Last edited by Tombola on Thu May 02, 2013 6:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by tony d » Thu May 02, 2013 6:39 pm

That's fucking cool man !

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Post by diablojoy » Thu May 02, 2013 6:40 pm

nice one Tom :tu:
I like the inverted out wish i had thought of that -useful

I will hopefully have a video up of my kleeish version on the weekend
but will post it in the original topic so as not to muddy this one up
It probably wont happen today but if it does it definitely wont go smoothly.

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Post by mattrick » Thu May 02, 2013 7:20 pm

:love: :hail: that looks pretty badass :yay:
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Post by netpusher » Thu May 02, 2013 7:51 pm

Holy crap, this project has really progressed! Awesome work!

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Post by Peake » Thu May 02, 2013 7:51 pm

:mrgreen:
This is not the place I'd imagined it to be.

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Post by mmelnick » Thu May 02, 2013 9:02 pm

Will be getting one \m/\m/
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Post by mckenic » Thu May 02, 2013 9:12 pm

Wow - just - wow!

FANTASTIC Tom - really, really impressive and so cool!

Thank You for sharing your work with people so we can build our own - really, really Thank You!!! :hug:

This is wonderful!!!

Woo!

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Post by waveglider » Thu May 02, 2013 9:39 pm

Wow, amazing! I just ordered some PCBs, and parts from Mouser for the RLS. Once I build that, this is definitely next on the list
:yay:

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Post by Thonk Support » Fri May 03, 2013 12:30 am

Kit interest check here

viewtopic.php?p=1159364#1159364

All panels will be available in both Sweeping Arcs and Spirograph styles.
I'll be selling loose PCBs too.

If you're registered on Thonk you can add the kits to your wishlist.

http://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/pulses-expander/
http://www.thonk.co.uk/shop/voltages-expander/

Image

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Image
Last edited by Thonk Support on Fri May 03, 2013 12:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by gwaidan » Fri May 03, 2013 12:33 am

Oh my.... :hyper:

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Post by Smugrik » Fri May 03, 2013 1:33 am

This is brilliant !! :yay:

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Post by waveglider » Fri May 03, 2013 2:12 am

How much different is the new RLS pcb from the 2.1 version?
I just ordered a bunch of the 2.1 boards from ITead Studio, will there be any issue with the backpack board and 2.1 main pcb?

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Post by waveglider » Fri May 03, 2013 2:16 am

:doh:

I see my answer lies in the other thread.
Glad it will work with all versions of the RLS!

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Post by Tombola » Fri May 03, 2013 2:26 am

waveglider wrote:How much different is the new RLS pcb from the 2.1 version?
I just ordered a bunch of the 2.1 boards from ITead Studio, will there be any issue with the backpack board and 2.1 main pcb?
Whatever changes I make to with the main PCB (I haven't finished it yet), it will be compatible with the backpack and with existing panels. This was all designed with a v2.1 board.

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Post by Thonk Support » Fri May 03, 2013 2:57 am

waveglider wrote::doh:

I see my answer lies in the other thread.
Glad it will work with all versions of the RLS!
Its in the first post of this thread too :hihi:
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Post by Tombola » Fri May 03, 2013 11:46 am

From the other thread:
ollepetersson wrote:Anyone care to explain a bit what the expanders do? I read the following but still can't get my head around it?

http://musicthing.co.uk/modular/?page_id=323

Voltages is a step sequenser clocking the random looping sequencer? and Pulses? does it do more than just a simple clock divider?

Cheers,
/Olle
I'll try, it's hard!

Pulses:
This one is hard to explain, but pretty clear when you're using it - it's a buch of rhythmic pulses synchronised to the clock in.
Look at the LED bar on the main module.
Imagine the first LED (after the clock indicator) is a pulse output.
Each time the LED is on, the output is active, and the clock pulse can pass through to the output. If the LED is off, nothing comes out.
You can hear it at the start of the video at the top of this thread - that kick drum pattern at the start is coming from the pulse output marked 7 - you can see the LED flashing in time.
The first four outputs come directly from the 1,2,4,7 bits. They will all output the same rhythm, but offset by the number of steps:

OUT1 = x__xx_x_
OUT2 = __xx_x_x
OUT4 = xx_x_x__

The lower outputs are ANDed versions of the top outputs, so

OUT1+2 = ___x____

In use: Lock the RLS into a loop. Patch the pulse outputs to trigger-ey inputs - sequencer clocks, 'Strike' inputs, Low Pass Gates, drum modules, FM indexes. If you don't like the rhythm, swap to another pulse output. Once you get something good, let the RLS 'slip' a bit, and the entire rhythm will shift, while remaining in time.

Voltages:
This is even harder to explain.
One the curious things about the RLS is that it has a rather distinctive sound.
The random voltages it produces can follow a familiar pattern, sometimes rising and falling in a recognisable way, as the binary bits flow into the fixed digital to analog converter.
In a normal DAC, a preset function determines how much each single bit contributes the the voltage output, according to the binary value. So 00000001 will add a few millivolts, but 10000000 might add 4 volts.
The voltages module is (and I'm not sure this makes it any clearer) a non-standard digital to analog converter that you can play.
In this DAC, the positions of the faders determine how much each bit contributes to the final voltage output. 00000001 might be a few millivolts, it might be 8 volts - it depends where the fader is.

Each fader is controlled by one bit from the RLS. Step 1 controls the top fader etc.
If all the faders are to the left, the main output will be at zero volts (roughly)
If you slide one fader up, each time that bit is active, the ouput will go up by an amount proportional to the position of the fader.
If you have a loop in the RLS where only one bit is active (i.e. one bit zipping across the display), then Pulses acts exactly like a normal step sequencer, with the 'scale' knob acting like an attenuator on the output voltages.
However, if you have more than one bit in the loop, the voltages from each active fader are added together.

The positions of the faders set up the range of possible voltages that the module can produce. The binary stream from the main RLS module determines how those voltages actually emerge.

This is - I think - similar to the first prototype Klee sequencer by Scott Stites. On his site, he says:
"Setting it up to perform a 'sequence' is very different than a step sequencer - it's like molding clay more than anything, because each pot not only affects the level of its bit, it also influences the mixed output level of the other bits when it's high at the same time. It can, however, be a very creative process."
The inverted output comes with a 'shift' control, which simply adds up to +9v to the signal. I did this simply because I didn't want an output that could only produce negative signals - this inverted output can drive oscillators etc once 'shift' is turned up a bit.
As Scott says of his module, this is a very intuitive, suck-it-and-see module. You can't program it, but you can steer it.

In use: Lock a loop into the RLS (ideally one with a good mix of 'ons and offs'). Patch the Voltages main output to an oscillator, and listen to the output. As you move the faders and the scale control, you're producing big voltage changes - 0-9v, so the oscillator may spring in and out of audible range. Use the scale control to control the range of the sliders. Move one fader at a time, so see how the sequence changes. Small moves can make big changes, and vice versa. It's sometimes possible for one fader to cancel out another. THEN, unlock the RLS by moving the main knob to 12 o'clock. You'll hear random notes, but within the system of notes and intervals that you set up with the faders.

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Post by ollepetersson » Fri May 03, 2013 2:55 pm

Thanks for that detailed explanation. I now understand the Pulses quite clearly and this seems like an awesome expansion! Especially when using with quantizers with no "note change" output pulse.

The Voltage explanation I'll have to read a couple of more times or just build it and try it out :)

I love random and psuedo random stuff and thanks ALOT for bringing us these modules!

Cheers,
/Olle

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Post by spotta » Fri May 03, 2013 4:50 pm

mckenic wrote:Wow - just - wow!

FANTASTIC Tom - really, really impressive and so cool!

Thank You for sharing your work with people so we can build our own - really, really Thank You!!! :hug:

This is wonderful!!!

Woo!
100% Agree. Tom for president! Can't wait to try them out :bacon:
Spotta
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Post by Tombola » Sat May 04, 2013 5:56 am

Two Mumble-VisionHD videos, explaining the new modules in more detail:

Pulses:
[video][/video]

Voltages - make sure you stick around for audio rate FM bit at 4:20:
[video][/video]

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Post by knob_alchemist » Sun May 05, 2013 12:10 pm

Great Work! :tu:

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Post by DonaldCrunk » Sun May 05, 2013 12:52 pm

really interesting design, i can't wait to build one.

i have a question - with the Voltages expander hooked up, what is the behavior of the "OUT" output of the main RLS module? does it mirror the positive out of the Voltages expander, or does it do it's own thing?

apologies if this has been asked before...

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