Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Turmoil ringmodulator running...

I found a bit of time to redo the design of a ringmod I built exactly last year. This new one has an added lowpass filter, fine-tuning control and expression pedal support for the frequency. I've also improved the noise gate enough that I no longer need a control pot for calibration. It sounds much better! Carrier bleed is pretty-much non-existant even with high-frequencies. I've removed triange/squarewave blending because square wasn't very interesting and in fact worstened the bleed.

Over the next few days, I will be drawing up a PCB layout and hopefully building a final prototype before I make batches of these.

Happy new year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

another Dying Sonar video

First 3 minutes are random noodling/bad playing. I was playing better earlier today, honest! Then for 30 seconds I'm having trouble with the sound. After that it's all drone. Main purpose of the video is to show how it interacts with a guitar.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dying Sonar pedal synth

Have a little time this xmas holiday and I'm not quite inspired enough yet to start doing the PCB layout for my massive dronebox project, so I started something easier.

It's a simple idea. Make an oscillator (I used the ones I fixed up for the dronebox project), make an LFO (based on part of the Tremulus Lune and somewhat modified) and have the LFO modulate the volume of the oscillator. And make it in stompbox format.

It can either be an instrument or a pedal somewhere in the middle of the chain. It does absolutelly nothing to the guitar signal that passes through it. It will add pulsating beeps, drones, tones how fast and how slow you want them. It's great for electroacoustic/ambient sets where you need a rythmic bassy tone in the background! Loop it, and all kind of layering possibilities open up! The controls are as follows:

Volume: volume. does not affect passing-through guitar signal.
Smooth: blends between sawtooth and squarewave LFO
Space: space between pulses less or more
Speed: tempo of the LFO. extremelly slow (like 2 BPM) to way too fast (pulses smeared together)
Shape: oscillator shape blends between triangle and square
Freq: frequency of oscillator. used with Range toggle switch will get you anything between 10Hz to >18KHz

Paints are acrylic and the finish is clear epoxy resin. It has a couple impendance and volume problems which I need to fix, but it works okay if you don't use an amp. Here's a brief video with me goofing off on it:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

drone box preview

drone box. it's a synth, basically. designed to make walls of tones and drones!

not really based on any existing circuit. it's a bunch of simple ideas that will all be wired together in weird ways. at first it was going to be pseudo-modular but decided I'd rather mess with well-planned switching and relays instead. here's how it basically functions:

6 oscillators each with a wide frequency range, fine-tuning and triangle-square shape control. sub brings the range down to literally pulsating textures (less than 1hz in frequency). the highest is ear-shattering/borderline off human-hearing. each oscillator can independantly and selectivly be pitch-modulated by either of the two sequencers. each sequencer can be hard-synched or independant. portamento blends the steps so that they flow more naturally if wanted. either sequencer can be set to loop or to be triggered. if triggered, it stops after the eighth step. each oscillator can be independantly panned (left to right) and mixed to a final stereo mix for potentially wicked awesome stereo soundscapes! the final stereo mix volume can be modulated by either of the two sequencers as well.

a bit of technical info: oscillators are opamp based. I use tl072s. sequencers are just 4017s. I use vactrols to modulate stuff around.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Voetsek tremolo DIY guide..

Some people have asked for a guide for that insane 16-step tremolo I built. Here's an archive with the guide as well as PCB transfers in 600dpi. I'll be the first to admit that this circuit needs some tweaks and could be much better! I'm learning about this stuff, and I'll make a better one sometime.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cacophonator build

Built a Cacophonator for someone. Needless to say, I'm going to miss it!

Here's a 4-minute sample:

Saturday, November 15, 2008


In the last few years, effect-making has rapidly become a near-obsession of mine! Because I had been posting these personal creations in various places on the internet, people were starting to take genuine interest. This blog is an effort to keep them informed of any custom jobs or short runs I might make, and to keep me organized.

I'm by no means an expert. This is relitavelly new to me! My builds are still a mess inside, and I frequently annoy pros on how to do this-and-that's. I am getting better though, and I think I've gotten up to a level where I'm confident enough to build a few, sell, and not worry too much about the reliability or robustability of the paintwork.

A familly photo of those I've made. Doesn't include the ones I later dismantled for parts.

A lot are based heavily off existing designs and were excersises in making them look pretty or understanding how they work. Others (top-left, top-center, top-right, bottom-second and third) are original designs. I'm most likely to make a batch of the ringmod (white with all the circles) for those interested, as well as several little feedback loopers like the one at top-right.

I'll update this blog with ideas, finds, prototypes, samples and others' works of interest!