Monday, April 7, 2014

Synthé modulaire 2014 free compilation

The members of Synthé modulaire, the French speaking forum about modulars, are very proud to present their fourth annual compilation.
This year we chose the table of the elements as a theme.
As for the three previous editions, this one is available in free streaming or download, just proceed to the dedicated Bandcamp page :

Synthé modulaire 2014 compilation on Bandcamp

Enjoy !

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Grey, black & red little boxes

To expand on functionality of my modular system, I've built and bought some nifty little boxes ...

Passive 4X4 matrix mixer

This little DIY project is based upon a simple design by Repeater Electronics, with a few adaptations.
Each Input column is fitted with one 6.35 jack socket and a banana socket.
Each Output row is fitted with a "kill" switch, a banana socket and two multied 6.35 jack sockets.
The black banana socket is to make the ground connection with other banana fitted equipment.
This way I will be able to interconnect my 6.35 equipment with an upcoming Music Easel or any other banana system.

Passive 3-way attenuator/format jumbler/ 4-way multi

For this one I dismantled a Mos-lab 995 passive attenuator and again added some bananas and multied jack outputs.
So, each of the three channel Inputs is fitted with one 6.35 jack socket and a banana socket (black) and each of the channel Outputs is fitted with a 4-way, passive, 6.35 jack socket multi and a banana socket (red).
A banana socket is fitted at the back of the unit, to make the ground connection between 6.35 and banana systems.
Connections with switching jack sockets are made so that any signal input to the first channel can be sent to three different destinations, each with it's own, independent attenuation level. The chain is broken as soon as a jack is inserted at the Input of a channel. So, if a jack is inserted only into channel 1 Input, then that same input signal will be distributed to channels 2 and 3 also. If a jack is inserted into channel 1 Input and a second jack is inserted into channel 2 Input, then channel 1 will be independent and the signal input to channel 2 will also be available at channel 3. If a jack is inserted into channel 1 Input and another jack is inserted into channel 3 Input, then channel 2 will have the same input signal as channel 1 and channel 3 will be independent.

4x4 passive multiple

Really not much to say about this one, except perhaps that it is very cheap and very handy...
4 rows of 6.35 jack sockets multiple with one In and 4 Out per row.

Now, enough "crappy" DIY, let's get to the real stuff...

Bugbrand PT Delay Standard

I finally got to get me some bugs...

I was looking to replace my beloved Fulltone TTE by something smaller, less heavy, easier to take along for gigs. The replacement needed to be equally charismatic, sound wise, and needed to offer the possibility to overdrive the sound in a nice, warm analogue way. I went for Bugbrand's PT Delay Standard because it delivers all the aforementioned plus lots more...

Overall Input Gain control
Separate Dry and Wet level controls
Separate Delay Drive control
CV/pedal input with attenuator to control delay time
Separate Low cut and High cut controls
Mute buttons to instantly "kill" Feedback  and/or the signal fed to the delay
Separate Delay Out and Feedback In for external feedback processing
Mix Out
This surely is the most analogue sounding, compact, lightweight digital delay unit to date.
At the heart of the unit is the very "common" PT2399 chip, but it is cleverly complemented by pure analogue circuitry, which makes for a very special and unique character.
The filters are very effective and very "musical", really fantastic sounding !
The PT gets very noisy and crunchy with longer delay times but this is more of an asset than a drawback.
The various gain controls make for seamless integration with my modular stuff and provide really creamy overdriven sounds when dialed in properly.
CV control over the delay time makes it an ideal companion to any modular system.
What's not to like about this red little bug ? Maybe its limited availability...
This left me no choice but to get a second one while I still had the chance to do so. That thing is so good that the lucky owners sure won't let it go easily.
Having two of those more than doubles the possibilities ... series, parallel, cross-feedback, stereo, ping pong, etc... Even stand-alone it's almost like an instrument, more than a simple effects unit, capable of producing the weirdest and the most beautiful sounds by the twist of a knob. It really begs to be used and abused in real time, to be played, to be part of a performance. It's definitely not the set and forget kind of thing.
Oh boy, am I looking forward to receive my Music Easel and to take it on the road with these two little red devilish bugs !
Technical details and ordering over here :  Bugbrand PT Delay Standard