A very boring yet crucial part of any setup. A buffered multi always comes in handy and it’s pretty easy to build as well. Since I was building one myself I added a few leds to indicate signal and it’s polarity, that way I got some indication what’s going on. I used 2 separate leds since I didn’t have any dual coloured leds lying around. It would look a bit fancier with a dual led, maybe I should order a few, just in case I build a few more of these.
It shouldn’t be all weird stuff, sometimes one needs some simple building blocks. After a bit of experimenting with sending audio from the mixing desk to the modular I found myself short of a way to amplify a line level signal to the audio levels used in a modular. Hence, I thought I build myself an input module with the sole task to take in a line-level and give it a nice boost. It’s a simple module actually.
I was one of those guitarists who spend more time with his effect pedals, then with his guitar. I ended up exchanging my guitar for synths when it came to music making. Not really a surprise there, but my love of piling effects together into a huge unpredictable pile is still there, and somehow, even with a bunch of 19″ racks I haven’t been able to scratch that itch. You could use a computer these days, but nothing beats a bunch of wires and noisy electronics to spark creativity. Guitar pedals are nice and all, but do lack in certain areas when you try to use them with synths.
While doing research for the oscillator I stumbled – seems to be a common theme — upon these IC’s. The ICL8038 promises to be a stable oscillator with very few external components. It’s an obsolete product, but I could get a few of them via Ali-express cheap enough to experiment with. Since it offers a sine output I immediately thought about doing some FM type percussion. That way I wouldn’t need 1/v per octave and pitch fluctuations wouldn’t be that much of a problem either. I also had a V2164 quad VCA chip around, so a 4 operators (aka oscillators) seemed a perfect fit. Enough to provide some interesting FM timbres at least.
Since Coolaudio started reissuing old IC’s used in various synths I always eyed the V3340, which is a reissue of the CEM3340 chip as used in many classic synths such as the Roland SH101, Prophet 5, Memory Moog and plenty of others. It’s, in essence, a fully featured 1V/oct oscillator on a single IC and thus takes away a lot of the headaches inherent to VCO design. Things like linearity and temperature compensating are taken care of for you. This takes away a lot of the pain of building VCO’s, in fact, since these IC’s are available again a DIY polysynth starts to become a possibility.