Skip to main content

Posts

Midi Moose improvements: Clock outputs

Midi moose, revision 2 One night I was jamming with my synthesizers. Digitakt was generating beats and sending midi to Acid Moose. I also added modular synth to the mix but getting it in sync with the rest of the gear was cumbersome. I had to connect midi to my midi2cv module, program a midi track with steady 16th notes and use the gate signal as a clock. I started wondering why isn't it as easy as syncing a midi device to Digitakt? I pretty soon realized it can be! I already have an arduino doing other midi stuff inside my midi thru magic box and it had plenty of io pins free! Drill a hole for the connector, solder some wires and write some code and the modular will be in sync with midi! Original Midi Moose post is available here: http://noiseembedded.blogspot.com/2019/04/midi-moose-midi-thru-with-twist.html
If it's worth doing it's worth overdoing! As there was plenty of io pins free and I have plenty of gear to sync I decided to add more than one clock output. I could …
Recent posts

Mutable Instruments Ripples Clone -- My First SMD Project

SMD Soldering for Real! As I mentioned in my earlier post I'm currently trying to learn SMD soldering. After successfully completing two dummy practice boards it was time to try a real project. I had ordered four Mutable Instruments clone boards from https://www.amazingsynth.com/ and Ripples was the easiest so it became the first victim. Sourcing the Components Sourcing SMD parts is all new to me. Capacitors have all kinds of weird material codes, resistors have unfamiliar wattages etc. Luckily amazingsynth.com provides mouser BOMs so you get almost all parts to the shopping cart with a click or two. I will eventually get familiar with SMD parts but at this stage I'd rather not add any more difficulty to the build by ordering wrong components. 
Unfortunately potentiometers are not included and jacks need to be ordered elsewhere. I happened to have plenty of thonkiconn jacks from Thonk and also some potentiometers. Unfortunately it later turned out that they were not suitable …

Uraltone Mixer and Spring Reverb (and some synth literature...)

Bjooks and DIY kits Every now and then I had seen pictures of the beautiful and super interesting Push Turn Move book by Kim Bjørn: https://www.pushturnmove.com/. Unfortunately it's not available as an eBook and the price has been too high for me because of the shipping costs. Some time ago Bjørn launched the Kickstarter campaign for his third book Pedal Crush. All the buzz it generated in social media led me once again to the Push Turn Move web page. This time I was delighted to find our local DIY music electronics store Uraltone in the reseller list. Of course I had to buy both of the already published "Bjooks" immediately and while at it I decided to buy some Uraltone eurorack DIY kits too. I have wanted a spring reverb since the days I got my first electric guitar and another mixer in my eurorack wouldn't harm. After a short bike ride to Uraltone I had my back bag full of reading and soldering! Support your local! Uralkit Spring Reverb Here's a link to the k…

Midi Moose - Midi Thru with a Twist

Midi Issues Everywhere After finalizing the Acid Moose 303 clone build my midi usage increased significantly. So did my midi problems. Unfortunately I just couldn't get the Acid Moose midi interface working reliably. Sending too many messages made it freeze and the whole device had to be rebooted. I tried changing opto-isolators, crystals, pretty much everything around the pic microcontroller but nothing helped. Anything more than simple note on and note off messages would make it fail. Unfortunately that midi implementation is significant part of the sound because it mimics many 303 peculiarities so changing to another microcontroller implementation wasn't an option either. Needless to say the source code is not available. I finally gave up debugging it and decided to add a midi filter in front of it to throw out everything except the bare minumum of needed midi note messages.
Around the same time I also bought an Elektron Digitakt sequencer/sampler. It provides 8 tracks of …

Acquiring New Soldering Skills

Surface Mount Future It's time to face the truth. Nobody uses good old through hole components for professional electronics designs nowadays. This of course means that there's less demand for components and more and more new components are only offered in surface mount form factor. Sooner or later hobbyists need to follow the trend and start using SMD components too.
I have been avoiding SMD projects without any good reason. I've seen how easily hardware designers at work solder all those tiny barely visible components but somehow thought it would be too difficult to be fun. And I don't want to waste my scarce free time doing something that I don't enjoy!
I have Mutable Instruments Clouds module in my eurorack and have always liked the open source approach they have. I have been aware that many people build their own DIY versions of those brilliant modules but have always skipped those projects because of the SMD soldering. After giving it some thought I figured o…

Acid Moose - Two 303 Clones in a Hard-driving Box

The Synth Roland TB-303 must be one of the most fascinating piece of music gear of all time. I have never owned or played one but have loved the distinctive sound that has defined the whole acid techno music genre. About two years ago I was looking for interesting synth DIY-projects and found out about Oakley Sound and their TM3030 clone. It's an accurate but modernised version of the original TB-303. It can be built with the original Japanese semiconductors or with more modern and easily sourced components. It doesn't have a sequencer like the original box has but has a special midi interface that reproduces many of the TB-303 features.
The Box For some reason I have been hauling an old Macintosh Plus external hard drive enclosure with me for two decades. It's so beautiful in all it's dull greyness and brings back memories from the countless hours spent in front of our first computer back in early nineties. This must have cost a fortune in the eighties!
About 15 year…