Category Archives: Modular Synthesizer

ASM-2 and PolyDAC PCBs arrived

Today, the PolyDAC and ASM-2 PCBs arrived. It took nearly 4 weeks from Australia to Germany, but I can’t blame Elby Designs for that – it’s just the way things are for non-courier shipment. if you want to order the boards, ask Elby Designs if they can ship via courier service, so it would be faster.

About the board quality: It is brilliant. When I have first seen the PolyDAC, I wanted to produce it myself, I even had the board layouts ready. But then I’ve seen the ASM-2 and I wanted that, too, so I ordered both boards. Elby Designs were nice and put the AD8300 for free inside, as this part is hard to source in Germany.

Things I like most about the boards:

  • Build quality is amazing. Produced by a professional manufacturer, with very solid vias in place.
  • They actually considered DIY builders, and have options to mount different parts in the same spot (see below)
Conclusion: If you are planning to build something that Elby has in stock – order their PCBs (can’t tell about the kits, tough). Quality is brilliant and well thought.
You can actually mount a regular crystal with two capacitors instead of the crystal oscillator. This is very handy as there are no crystal oscillators available in germany which would fit the footprint – only the wide ones. Only thing which needs to be adjusted is the AVR fuse setting to use a regular crystal.
You can mount both in-line and molded versions of transistors. Neat, no more bending!
You can use precision trim potentiometers in both 64W and 64Y style. Neat!

Introducing: Projekt K.R.A.C.H.

Thanks to Unicorn, the synthesizer is now named Projekt K.R.A.C.H. – meaning “Project N.O.I.S.E.” in english.

And even if I didn’t write too much, there has been some progress:

  • A small case is finished
  • The ADSR module is finished
Pics or it didn’t happen:

More YuSynth PCBs!

I’ve etched a few more PCBs, to be exact:

  • 2x LFO
  • 2x ADSR
  • 1x EMS VCF
  • 1x Minimoog VCF
  • 1x VCA

This time I’ve tried out Sur-Tin and black/blue PCBs, and it really looks great! A few more modules are already in the works and near completion.

YuSynth VCO PCBs done

After quite some silence, the YuSynth VCO PCBs are finally done. Big thanks to fabster, who etched a PCB for me. Next thing is building the PSU, so I can test the VCOs out.


Modular Synth: Week One

A modular synthesizer in classic design, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 RAETHIER

Well, crazy as I am, I decided to build a modular synthesizer. The question is: WHY?

Well, if you go out into a store and say: “Gimmez Modular Synthesizerz!”, vendor sayz: “Gimmez big $$$$”. Yes, modular synth modules aren’t that expensive, but they aren’t cheap, either. For a small modular synth, I can easily pay 2k€.

So DIY is the way to go. But it’s not only the cost, it’s also the things I will learn about analog synthesis and the electronics behind. I decided to go with the modules from Yves ( because there are many modules, and even multiple versions of the modules with easily obtainable parts.

I haven’t decided on which module format I will use; I believe I will most probably use MOTM (+-15V, 8.75″ Module Height), simply because yusynth also uses them. And Yves also got plans to easily build a case.

I already have the parts for the following modules:

  • ADSR-2
  • 2x VCO
  • 1x VCA
  • 1x Steiner VCF
  • 1x LFO-1
  • 1x ARP4072
Next step will be etching of the PCBs, and putting the parts together. Front panels and case will follow after all modules are done and tested.

In contrast to most modular synthesizers, I don’t like their old-school look. So I already ordered 700 of nice-looking knobs (they were cheap and very good quality), and I plan to cut the panels either with the RaumZeitLabor FaZzZ0r or via an external supplier. I’ll not reveal many details yet, stay tuned :)