Sunday, 26 June 2016

New Sound Waves - Synth Meet - Sunday 26 June

107 Redfern St, Redfern.

Another fun arvo with my friends from New Sound Waves. 1

video 2

Korg 911 Guitar synthesizer

video 3
 These Metro Modular modules look great. They are on my to buy list.
Justin, their designer was at the meeting. Very helpful in explaining them. The filters esp sound great. Based on old Aires schematics, with oodles of modulation points.

 And, like wow... Paul A shows up with not one, but two Plumbutters. OMG.

Built by Ciat- Lonbarde its true what the blurb says ... its a drum & drama machine.

"My face is a psycho-geographical map of the cities of Baltimore and Cleveland.....
You can see my wild spaces are represented by a deer-horn,...

 and my downtown by a factory, and in between, a vast swath of suburban developments. 

It is a gradient of these three areas- urban, suburban, and rural- that informs my electronic synthesis. "

I'll upload videos soon.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Buchla format 212r - Dodecamodule

Some pics of a recent build. The 212r is a awesome sounding module.
(video to go up here soon). I would love to hear a vintage one.

These aren't building instructions, just some records for future reference should I decide to
build another..

It was quite a big build .... lost count of time after the first 20 hrs., but I reckon you could knock
one off in a weekend if you put your mind to it. (I'm not a professional technician).

This is PCB 1

PCB 2 ... reverb tank sits in the middle.
Its very much like the setup in a 208r version 1.

One cap exploded while I was testing various +15v to +24V voltage regulators.
I decided to just use my system's external +24v bus.

reverb tank fitted :-)

I've mixed the knobs up on purpose to remind me of the pot values. Davies are all 10k linear.
Serge style are 50k log.

I'm very impressed with the module. I esp like the output amplifier on the right.

I finally understand why there are a mix of 50k & 10k pots. Its a beautiful sound. We have voltage control over amplitude on the top, voltage control of location (left/right channels) in the middle, and CV of the reverb on the bottom.

More videos to be posted soon here.

Up till now I have been using a pulse from the buchla 281 to trigger the 212r. However a question in muffs from Robbot emcouraged me to test the dodecamodule again. It actually does not need an external clock (like the vintage 212). "The envelopes will self cycle using this trick - patch a cable from the red pulse output of the Triple Env Generator section of the 212 back to the red pulse input and then set the attack / decay time to the desired speed.

If that doesn't automatically start the env generator clocking, flipping the 'sustain' switch up/down and back will do". Thanks Robbot. :-)

Sunday, 19 June 2016

ATMEGA16 microcontroller AVR Synth - Elby Designs

  • just tweaking this new synth
  • trying to find its sweet spots
  • "The AVRSYN is a monophonic "virtual analog" synth based
    • on the Atmel AT90S8535 microcontroller. It was originally designed by Jarek Ziembicki.
    • His aim was to check to see if a simple micro-processing chip could be used for sound synthesis.
  • Paul Maddox later adapted this design design using a
  • ATMEGA16 instead as the AT90S8535 is no longer in production.
    • The AVR consists of
    • two DCO's, a DCF, and a DCA. There is also an LFO and an AR/ASR
  • envelope generator.
  • This synth comes in a kit form
  •  The AVRSYN is a monophonic "virtual analog" synth based on the Atmel AT90S8535 microcontroller. It was originally designed by Jarek Ziembicki. 
  • His aim was to check to see if a simple micro-processing chip could be used for sound synthesis. Paul Maddox later adapted this design design using a ATMEGA16 instead as the AT90S8535 is no longer in production. I think they succeeded. The AVR consists of two DCO's, a DCF, and a DCA. There is also an LFO and an AR/ASR envelope generator. All sounds are from the AVR. Thanks to Blake C for the tweaking. Check out Blakes tunes at: 
  • Thanks to Matt from RhythmActive for the AVRSYNTH

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Arturia - Beatstep Pro - basic manual


BeatStep Pro allows you to store and recall 16 Projects. Each Project contains a MIDI controller map, and a bank of 16 sequences for each of the three sequencers (Seq1, Seq2, Drum).

To recall a Project:
hold the PROJECT button and press one of the 16 step buttons. The currently loaded Project will be displayed by a lit button.

When you open a new project, the default settings are:
SEQ1, SEQ2 and DRUM send and receive on channels 1, 2, and 10
Time division is set to 1/16 •
Gate time for each step is 50% •
Swing is set to 50% •
Randomness and Probability are set to 0.

As soon as you make any changes, you will have started a new project.

1. select a pattern.
 Use the <> buttons or press the SEQUENCER button + the number.

2. Clear a pattern
  hold the SHIFT button and press Step button 1.

3. Set Tempo
  Turn the RATE/FINE encoder.  or use the TAP button

4. Record a pattern
  Select SEQ1, press the RECORD button and press the PLAY button.
 Use the pads as a keyboard to enter notes in real time.

5. To Save a pattern
    a. press SAVE
    b. Press the step button - number 1 to 16

6.    To save a project:

a. Hold the SAVE button
b. Press the PROJECT button and hold it •
c. Press the Step button number you chose earlier. (number 1 to 16)

When you follow these instructions you will overwrite the selected Project and all of its patterns.
Be sure this is what you want to do! If not, be sure to find out which memory location is available and store the Project there instead.


Sequence Length

The default length is 16 steps, but a sequence can be up to 64 steps long.

If you’d like your sequence to be less than 16 steps long, simply hold the LST STEP button and then press the Step button that corresponds to the desired setting.

To make longer sequences:

(Chapter of manual)

1.  press the << and >> buttons at the same time . The buttons should be dark.

Hold the LST STEP button. •
Press the >> button once. A white LED will appear above the number 32.
Press Step button 16 (technically it’s button 32 now). It will turn green. •
Release the LST STEP button. Step 32 has now been defined as the last step in the sequence.

Now press << and >> at the same time to enter Sequence Follow mode (the buttons should be lit).

Next, press Play. You should see the Step buttons cycling through two sets of 16 steps, one with data and one without. You should also see the Step Group LEDs changing every 16 steps:

Steps 1-16: Red LED over #16, White LED over #32 •
 Steps 17-32: unlit LED over #16, Pink LED over #32 (White + Red)

The Red LED indicates the current position of the sequence. The White LED means that the last step in the sequence is during steps 17-32.

If you decide you want more than 32 steps for this sequence, hold the LST STEP button and press >> until the White LED is over the right number. Then press the appropriate Step button and you’re ready to create.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

ARP 2500 - My Monday Fix

Playing around with the 1004T VCO

This is a unedited and live video. The two main modules used are the 1004T (toggle switch) VCO and a 1047 filter.

The 1004 oscillator is the most versatile in the series (1004T, 1004R, 1004p) R & P stand for Rocker & Pot.
The 1004T has inverted waveforms & a built in mixer.

Synthrotek - 1U Stereo mixer

A very very easy build today.
Parts are cheap too.
It's built around a TL074 opamp.

Great is you have a tight space. Only 1U.
 The assembly instructions are here:

You can purchase these from Matt at RhythmActive
or direct from the manufacturer

For more Euro DIY builds click here:

Chiang Mai, Thailand - Wat Chedi Luang

Chiang Mai means "new city" and was so named because it became the new capital of the Lan Na kingdom when it was founded in 1296.
It's in the northern mountainous region of Thailand. There are plenty of historic temples to visit. My favourite is Wat Chedi.

Wat Chedi Luan's construction began in the 14th century, though records indicate it took over 100 years to complete.... prob finished in the mid 15thC. ??
In 1468, the famous Emerald Buddha was installed in the eastern niche. In 1545, the upper 30 m of the structure collapsed after an earthquake, and shortly thereafter, in 1551, the Emerald Buddha was moved to Luang Prabang. The Emerald Buddha is today housed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

the city pillar (Lak Mueang) of Chiang Mai, named Sao Inthakin. It was moved to this location in 1800 by King Chao Kawila; it was originally located in Wat Sadeu Muang.

 reclining Buddha 

wihan of Wat Chedi Luang

 Inside the wihan of Wat Chedi Luang, 

 Inside the wihan of Wat Chedi Luang, money offerings are dropped into alms bowls during the festival

"The Inthakin or Lak Mueang Festival in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand (also known as Sai Khan Dok or Bucha Sao Inthakin in Thai), starts on the 12th day of the waning moon of the six lunar month and lasts eight days. Centered around Wat Chedi Luang, this is a celebration of Brahmic origin. On the first day, which is called Tam Bun Khan Dok (lit. "Flower Bowl Blessing"), offerings of flowers, candles and incense are made to the city pillar as well as the many other Buddhist and Lanna-era icons. Dancing, musical performances, carnival games, and Thai vendor food is present. This is a very large celebration in which the Chiang Mai citizenry participate." Wikipedia. 


Monday, 13 June 2016

CellF - live performance, Sydney 10th & 12th June

I had the pleasure of seeing CellF again. The performance was held at the National Art School, Sydney.

There are many people involved with this project, but the main individuals are :
Guy Ben-Ary who donated the original skin cells,
Nathan Thompson who designed the housing/incubator and
Andrew Fitch of NonLinearCircuits (NLC) who designed the synthesizer itself.

For more info, click here:

Guy's skin cells were converted into neurons using stem cell technology.
These were then grown on an array of 60 electrodes which connect the cells to the NLC synthesizer.
The incubator/cells are housed in the glass cube:

These cells can both receive and send information with the outside world via these electrodes.

I think Andrew's synth is just as important.
Some pics:
It's the translator between the cells & the outside world.

So what does this all sound like? I've seen & heard CellF on a number of occasions and the sounds are always changing & developing.
Friday's performance used a fresh batch of cells which sounded very excitable & energetic.
It was at times hard to distinguish the synthesizer keyboard (Yamaha)  from the cells.

Sunday's performance used a drummer, a double bass & a violinist.
I quite enjoyed this. The space between sounds allowed the cells to be better heard.

Maybe they were also tired after the last 3 days.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sega Master console

Some future hacking ahead of this wonderful piece of kit.
Thanks to Renee & Wonderboy

The sounds are classic 1980s chiptune.

Little-scale has some excellent info:

The Japanese Master System used the Yamaha YM2413, aka OPLL.
It's a cost-reduced FM synthesis sound chip manufactured by Yamaha Corporation and based on their YM3812 (OPL2). The FM sound generator uses an 8-Bit data bus to control all of the registers.

I don't have a Japanese version. This uses the following:

    Zilog Z0840004PSC
This is an 8-bit processor running at 4 MHz.
I/O Controller
    Sega 315-5237
    NEC D4168C-15 or NEC D4168C-15-SG
    Sega 315-5246
    2 x NEC D4168C-15 or 2 x NEC D4168C-15-SG
Video Encoder
    Sony CXA1145P

It has 8 kB of ROM, 8 kB of RAM and 16 kB of video RAM. Video is provided through an RF switch and displays at a resolution of 256 × 192 pixels.

Sound is provided by the SN76489 PSG (Texas Instruments) chip. The Japanese version also integrates the YM2413 FM chip, which had been an optional feature on the Mark III.

The PSG (programmable sound generator), or PSG, is a sound chip that generates sound waves by synthesizing multiple basic waveforms, and and combining them into more complex waveforms.

The game cartridge slot.

The SN76489 Digital Complex Sound Generator (DCSG) is a TTL-compatible programmable sound generator chip from Texas Instruments. It contains:
  • 3 square wave tone generators.
    • A wide range of frequencies.
    • 16 different volume levels.
  • 1 noise generator.
    • 2 types (white noise and periodic).
    • 3 different frequencies.
    • 16 different volume levels.
 Sega used  modified versions of these sound chips that were incorporated into the system's VDP video display processor. (Sega 315-5246).
The above link is very useful.
Audio is tapped off the sega 315-5246 at pin 15.

The pinout info re the rest of the Sega 315-5246 seems to concern video rather than audio.
So attempting to mod this console would probably end in tears for me.:-(
Maybe a better option is to purchase a SN 6849 and build a synth around this.
They are literally "cheap as chips". I bought 5 for under $3.

Some SN76489 synth links: