Order Assembled PCBs for Google's NSynth Super Machine Learning Synthesizer

I'm getting boards assembled for Google's Synth Super synthesizer ( https://nsynthsuper.withgoogle.com )

They will be $42 for the circuit board with all surface mount parts already attached.

The order form is HERE!!!


How to Bananafy a Korg SQ-1

After building my Buchla system and now my 73-75 Serge panels, I've been looking for a means to sequence the banana-laden synthesizers. After eyeing my SQ-1 sitting on the shelf, I decided to test out the voltages and see what is happening. To my pleasant surprise, the gate outputs on the SQ-1 are hot enough to trigger all my different Buchla modules. Although the SQ-1 only puts out v/oct and Hz/Volt and not 1.2v/oct, I still find it to be a useful module. Eventually I'll add a conversion board inside but, for now, it's great.
An added bonus of the SQ-1 is that you have 2 channels of USB-MIDI to cv/gate conversion. The only thing that's a little funky about the SQ-1 is that it isn't 100% class compliant. The only time I've noticed an issue with this is when I try to connect it to the usb-host jack on the iConnectMIDI4+.

The conversion itself is fairly simple. I've done 2 so far and each one took under an hour. The cost is the cost of an SQ-1 and 5 banana jacks. Right now it is the holiday season and you can get a new  SQ-1 below full price.


The first step is to remove the 4 philips screws on the side of the unit along with the 4 hex screws on the top. Remove the selector knob.



The unit should come apart but be connected via the 2 wires for the battery connection. Be gentle not to break these wires. Unsolder them to make the rest of the process easier.

Now that you have separated the top and bottom housings, remove the 6 screws that hold the main circuit board in place.



Add in your banana jacks to the top housing. Make sure to bend down the metal tabs to make sure they don't make contact with the circuit board below them. I used Cinch banana jacks and they fit in with no problem.





Solder wires to the banana jacks. Don't make the wires too long or else it'll be difficult to fit them in. Don't make them too short or else it'll be difficult to solder them to the circuit board.




On the circuit board, remove the jacks that you don't want. I chose to turn the LittleBits jack into the ground jack since I don't plan on ever using LittBits.
The plastic housings for the jacks are easy to pop off by hand. This exposes the metal prongs. With pliers, you can heat up the pads and remove the corresponding metal prongs. No need to use solder wick to remove all the solder from the holes since we'll just be soldering back on to them.



On the back of the board, make sure to bridge the 2 sets of pins as shown in the following picture. These pins correspond to the switch in the gate out jacks. The SQ-1 tries to do something smart with normalization with the gate outs, but, this is no use to us so we need to trick it into thinking a jack is plugged in. 


Solder the wires to the corresponding pads as shown in the picture below. Note the ground (black) banana jack goes to the ground pad whereas the other 4 go to the signal pads. 


Carefully put the circuit board back, screw it in, and test everything out. Make sure you have analog voltages coming out of the CV outs and gates going out of the gate outs.
Put all the screws back where they were and enjoy your new bananafied sequencer!



Github Projects and DIY Synth Modules

It's been a while and I have been keeping busy.

I'be been slowly curating my github with open source firmware and hardware projects. 

All of the open source circuit boards have been designed in Altium and their files are available with the projects. You will also find a zipped up folder in each project that can be sent directly to a PCB board house for manufacturing. If you ever have a problem with a board house accepting the files, please reach out and I'll help you out.
I strongly recommend PCBWay for board fab. I've have 12 boards fabbed by them and I've never had a problem. They always ask the right questions if they are unsure about something but they don't barrage you with e-mail likes Sierra Circuits (never ever use them). PCBWay make everything easy and from quote, to file submission, to payment, to tracking the progress. I usually get the boards in my hands 2 weeks after I submit the files and the prices are some of the cheapest I've encountered. Often times, PCBWay is even cheaper than places like OSHPark.

I have also been slowly building a Buchla system from scratch. When it is complete, I'll write a post about the process and provide some video examples.

Sound Nicer

My newest module is the Sound Nicer.
It is based of the CoolAudio V2153. 
It is a sonic maximizer expander type of deal.

Fab files and Altium project files can be found here: https://github.com/auxren/SoundNicer

TripsQuad: Quad Waveshaper

My first eurorack module design is a quad waveshaper called the TripsQuad. 

It is open source and you can build it yourself. All the files for fab and assembly are here:
https://github.com/auxren/tripsquad

Here is a demo of the first prototype:

Simple DINSync Breakout Box

I recently got really lucky and picked up a TR-606 for stupid cheap.
I made this simple little breakout both to interface with my eurorack system:


Just 4 jacks. Cut the end off a MIDI cable and broke out the cables in the box.  


The DINSync jack on the TR-606 puts out Clock, Reset, Start/Stop, and Fill. The box can work as an input or output source for the syncing, so my 606 can act as a master or a slave. 



Updating Industrial Music Electronics STILLSON HAMMER MKII

The update is pretty simple. I have tried it with a MAC and not with Windows yet, but I believe MPLAB IPE has the same process for both. 

You'll need a PicKit. I have a PicKit3 and haven't tried it with a PicKit2.

Download MPLab HERE

When downloading, make sure to select MPLab IPE and unselect IDE unless you want the full development suite.

Once you finish the download, open up MPLAB IPE.

Under device, type in 'dsPIC33FJ128GP310A'. That is the MCU used by the Stillson Hammer.
With your PicKit plugged in, you should be able to see it show up under tool. Connect to it. 

On the source line, select the Stillson's firmware.

Plug your PicKit into the back of the Stillson as shown:

Click program and it should run through it's little process of programming.

When complete, restart your system and you should see 1.500 firmware on your Stillson: