Thursday, 14 March 2019

NLC GENiE - build notes

These are my build notes for the Genie Eurorack module.
Its from nonlinear circuits in Western Australia.

+ NLC Blog
+ NLC Wiki
+ BOM & build guide
The name is from the computerdescribed in the 1964 Keith Laumer novelThe Great Time Machine Hoax, although this module differs in ability (can’t time travel or get married ..... afaik), the name is quite suitable

Friday, 8 March 2019

mENG Qi - Dual Passive Low Pass Gate

I've been looking for some Buchla inspired LPG modules lately for my performance case and came across one by Meng Qi.

There were no build notes with this but its pretty simple so was easy to figure out.
Resistors: 390R x 2
Diodes: 1N4141 x 1
Capacitor:  1500pF or 1.5nF (152)
Misc: Vactrol, jacks, panel, pcb, LED

These are not official build notes... just my record keeping in case of future trouble shooting.
 Make sure you get the LED orientation right.

So what exactly is a low pass gate?
The term was first used by Don Buchla and was used in the 200 series 292 module.
It can behave as a VCA, a low pass filter, or a combination of both.
The Buchla design used a vactrol to process the control voltage input. The choice of a vactrol was a stroke of genius as it introduced non-linearities which made the lowpass gate a good module for making percussion sounds like hand drums, bongos,congas & steel drums.

I'm not sure what vactrols are used in the version as the labeling appears to be blocked out.
So this shall remain a mystery. Don used VTL5s . You could also make your own using a LDR and a LED.
The NLC Dual LPG is a good example of how to do this.

The module is only 2HP width.
The gates are I think 6dB slope ... that is single pole/

What surprises me about this module is just how good it sounds ........and all without any power .
A single trigger pulse is all you need 

Orientation of vactrol ... match the dots.

a REALLY simple build ... great as a starter SMD project.

Useful Links:
1. CGS/Elby - Ken Stone's LPG
2. Buchla Tech - Verbos's excellent blog - 292c Secrets with schematics
3. Synth.NL.Blog - 292 5U build notes
4. Modular Synthesis - Build notes for Thomas White's LPG clone.
5. Doepfer A-101-2 LPG filter
6. Natural Rhythm Music - Thomas White
7. NLC Dual LPG

Monday, 4 March 2019

NLC Spasm

The SPASM is a LDR controlled jerk chaos module in Eurorack format.
This is a DIY build.

This module takes the classic Sprott jerk circuit and replaces all the resistors with LDRs.....a 7 way vactrol. 

This means the brightness of the LED in the giant vactrol controls the frequency of the circuit.

What exactly is a JERK circuit..??

"Jerk equations were developed by JC Sprott, .... (they) are very simple equations that are easily implemented as circuits, the diode is the nonlinear element, which is cheap and easy to get. Many chaos circuits use multipliers like the AD633 ($15 each), so I like to avoid those". (Andrew F).
The intro of this paper is a good explanation -

Op amps first.

RL LED resistor ... using a 0805 resistor for panel LED... I'm using a 10K.
RLBox .. using a 2.2k 

I'm using GL5549 LDRs...I have a bag of 100's of these suckers.
These LDRs can go up to 10M+ (In fact they range anywhere from 10MΩ to 20MΩ), so they will be a lot slower but should give a much wider frequency range and some very unpredictable outputs.

I'm going to use 1uF caps with this so as not to go too slow. The great thing about SMD caps is that they are so easy to change. Andrew F says that 10uF will make this extremely slow, and 100nF very fast

 Building the vactrol box

 Line everything up & then solder
Only using double headers as i didn't have any singles on hand.

Feedback pot. "If building a very slow version, a 1M pot is better but not essential". (AF)
I'm using a A500k pot
There is a single LED in the Vactrol surrounded by 7 LDRs

Get the LED orientation right.

The LED section of the vactrol schemo.
 The anode goes to ground

More links to NLC (nonlinearcircuits) projects.

+NLC Blog 
+NLC Wiki
+Build guide & BOM 
+ Sprott's Gateway 
+Wolfram - Demos

Keith Flint

Just heard the news that the Prodigy's Keith Flint is dead at 49.

A post shared by jono (@dj_jondent) on
One of the pioneers of electronic music.

The Prodigy only just toured Australia and by all accounts, the tour was a huge success.
The band's fusion of techno, punk, break-beat and acid was one of my earliest electronic music influences.

Lam Howlett  founded the band back in the early 1990s and he picked Flint to be the bands frontman. Flint scared my parents with his menacing live performances and goulish makeup....and that was part of the attraction. Hopefully this isn't the end of The Prodigy. Howlett's music is synonymous with late 1990's British Electronic music. Along with Fatboy Slim, Orbital and the Chemical Brothers they were the soundtrack of the late 1990's dance culture.

49 years old is way too young.


pics coming


Pics comming

Friday, 1 March 2019

SOMA Laboratory - ETHER

SOMA Laboratory presents ETHER

We all know what a radio is, how to use a simple receiver and tune into our favourite programs. But what if we go further? Instead of eliminating unwanted frequencies, we learn to use them all, discovering the world of noise humans created unintentionally, which we didn't even know exists. Sometimes it may be fascinating, sometimes scary. Are you ready to explore it?
 Soma Laboratory proudly presents its newest device – Ether. Engineered by Vlad Kreimer, this small piece of gear contains a lot of creative potential in a portable and sleek design.

You can easily carry it in your pocket and, when ready, turn it on, plug in your headphones and plunge into the electromagnetic world around you. Simple as that. But beware, once discovered, this world may become your obsession.
Thanks to its high sensitivity, Ether allows you to hear the electromagnetic soundscape in any of your surroundings. Take it to the crowded city center, to a subway car or anywhere you wish. Use the built-in antennas or, with its special input pin, changing encountered metal objects or even yourself into an additional antenna. 

Ether allows you to hear and record things that normally are beyond our perception, yet are still omnipresent basically everywhere we go? It's been like a parallel dimension or a ghost world, accessible only to the chosen few. Until now.

Ether creates a whole new range of possibilities for field recording artists. Microphones pick up what we can already hear, this device simply goes beyond our senses. And it's simply great fun for individuals who want to take it on an electromagnetic ghost chase, alone or with friends.

You can also use it on stage to track down your movements when playing all sorts of electronic instruments, adding a noisy layer to your performance, perhaps even picking up signals from the audience's cell phones and other technical equipment. 

Ether is very sensitive to any kind of digital circuitry that’s in close proximity. This is why itdoesn't have an SD-card recorder. You also have to make sure to keep other electronic devices that you carry (phone, laptop, recorder) at least 30cm/1ft away to avoid interference.

To record ETHER, you need to use an audio cable of at least 1m/3ft in length to connect it to a device like a ZOOM recorder. Even with a long cable, ETHER can sound differently than when using headphones.  

Ether is designed to be inspiring, easy to use and affordable. It will be available for a net price of 120 euros.

You can find more information about Ether on Soma Laboratory's website: