Tuesday, 25 August 2015

New Rack IV


Worked first time.
That's unusual for me.

The ADDAC radio is not providing a very good signal: that needs fixing.

And the Thonk Radio Music kit arrived today.
[26 Aug] And the Erthenvar Fibonacci today. It is beautifully built.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Shall I build a big rack?

I have been having such fun building the small desk rack that I'm tempted by a large desktop installation. The 2013 SoS article on Eurorack included a few shots of the author's setup, a classic three stepped tiers and base unit, as right.

I could produce something similar at about zero cost - I have plenty of plywood, a spare Doepfer power supply, a Zeus for the base power and a lot of rails, not be mention dozens of modules not currently in use.

Alternatively I could use the new Thonk rails and Lamond side pieces and build 150HP wide. Four pairs of 150HP rails plus threaded strips and Lamond sides would be 4 * (£31 + £11 + £12 = £54) = £216.

In 104HP it would be 4 * (£21 + £9 + £12 = £42) = £168.

And in 84HP 4 * (£20 + £8 + £12 = £40) = £160.

Clearly the 84HP isn't worth considering unless I use existing rails. 150HP is tempting.

84HP is around 17 inches, 104HP 20" and 150HP 30".
Modules are around 5¼" high and so three rows of 150 would be 16" high and 30" wide: that might look a little stumpy. I could not justify 5 rows of 150HP plus base.

There's some good information here from Stefan Burbulla.

If I start small and cheap, I can always rebuild more grandly and extravagantly later and so (subject to finding and evaluating the rails I have in stock):

  • three rows of 84HP plus base;
  • configuration will be a smaller version of the standard synthesizers.com cabinet, i.e. two on the slope, one upright and keyboard garage below.
I'll need to find out the slope angle. The size quoted is 48-3/8"w x 14-3/4"d x 18"h. The single upright row is 8½" deep.
The depth of the garage will have to be sufficient to house a base with suitable skiffy modules and at the same time the slope of the bottom rail will have some effect on the depth of modules it will hold.

[27 Aug] I have a location 18" high and 30" wide: the Mondrian/Rietveld desk.

I'll continue this post on a separate blog.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Tidy Cables II

I posted on cable tidies in 2013. Yesterday I came across an elegant ADDAC product selling for €16. Schneiders list it so I'll get one or two with my next order.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Radio Music

I do not have a good track record with electronics builds but, ever the optimist, I have ordered a  Radio Music kit from Thonk.

This is, from the description, a remarkable product. It is not a radio but rather a means accessing sound files stored on a micro SD card. The suggested contents (which include two episodes of The Archers) are an eclectic mix of bits which can be used to simulate random radio tunings. The documentation references the team radio works of John Cage in particular.

If I fail to make one, I'll try to bribe someone to do it for me.

It should complement the ADDAC FM Radio.

Friday, 21 August 2015


[1st Nov] Collection complete (-ish).

I fear that gearlust is beginning to set in again. I feel the need to acquire a set of Livewire modules. These comprise (or so I thought):
  • AFG ✔
  • Dual Cyclotron ✔
  • Frequensteiner ✔
  • Dalek modulator
  • Vulcan modulator
  • Dual Bissel generator
  • [I doubt if I'll ever find or afford a] Chaos Computer (and Circuit Abbey Intermix)
I bought the AFG new, the Frequensteiner second hand, and David at PostModular found me a Cyclotron (and I squealed at the price).

There is a quality to both the build and the conception [and the noise made by] Livewire modules that is missing from many of the boutique items launched more recently: they epitomise one of the high-water marks of Eurorack. 
I expect that one day there will be a similar movement to the  period instrument fad in classical music that puts a greater value on earlier modules. I appreciate the period instrument inclination (the Orchestre R√©volutionnaire et Romantique were tremendous at the Proms this year) and I also like older modules.

A contributor to Muffwiggler has created a fine set of Livewire manuals. Here's one: the others are very similar.

Here's the full list from ModularGrid. Some I have never encountered - voltage mechanic and audio compositor and, to be frank I hadn't heard of the chaos computer before I started this post.

I'll aim for a case of AFG, DC, Fq and try to find a Dalek, Vulcan and Bissel. The Chaos Comp will probably remain a nice to have.

Monday, 17 August 2015

New Rack III


I made a start on the woodwork today.

[18 Aug] I've had a thought. Rather than just making passive multiples to mount horizontally below the main rack, I could include spaces for thee proper modules with a max width of, say, 6HP. That would allow me to include the prime number clock divider, a multiple (real or diy) and another utility module. They will have to screw into wood.

This they now do.


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Dream Modules

Doepfer has released a clock divider that works with prime numbers. I have ordered one. I think I suggested this a few years ago.

I had not previously heard of Erthenvar but they do a series of dividers, including Fibonacci numbers. Outstanding.

Memory is a strange (and increasingly unreliable) thing. I first suggested primes in a Yahoo Groups poll in Feb 2010 with a fuller explanation a few days later:
"The reason this idea came to mind was a recent piece in The Times referring to a lecture by Marcus du Sautoy at the Royal Society available here entitled The secret mathematicians, it concerned the use of maths in art and starts with a piece by Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time. It uses rhythms of 17 and 29 beats - as these are prime numbers, a sequence would not repeat (at least until you get to 17*29).
I think La Monte Young used primes too.
The lecture also refers to the Fibonacci series which I think is mentioned in a later post but I haven't got there yet.
Anyway, as I play with long automated noises, I thought prime-based rhythms would be fun.
A prime number is only divisible by one and itself (2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17 etc).
Cheers, Nick"

Thursday, 6 August 2015

New Rack II


I am planning a new rack above my desk. 84HP using Thonk rails and uZeus power. The current notion for modules is:

with some sideways diy multiples underneath.

Module instructions:

[8 Aug] The uZeus and the blanking panels (for diy multiples, from ebay, not EMIS) have arrived. When the rails arrive, I'll be round to B&Q for a sheet of plywood.

[13 Aug] The Thonk rails are quality kit and especially the Lamond mounting brackets: expensive but beautifully formed. Go get plywood.
Perhaps I should work a quantiser into the rack.