Halfway across the Great Loneliness…

The only true wisdom lives far from mankind, out in the great loneliness, and it can be reached only through suffering. Privation and suffering alone can open the mind of a man to all that is hidden to others.

—Inuit shaman Najagneq, recorded by Knut Rasmussen

If you want to build a modular, my advice is not to do it if you want to have any friends, it takes too much time.

—Jessica Rylan


(click photos to make them BIGGER)

My new DIY synthesizer project is getting better and better. Right after I got my residence permit I realized I had almost a month in Berlin without having to get on a plane, train, bus or boat, so I decided to maximize that time by going deep into the modular cave. The Great Loneliness indeed–but with incredible revelations! This is the realization of a dream I’ve had for ten years now, so forgive me if I geek out for a moment…

The modules I’ve built, from top left to right:

TOP ROW
Two Dual Thomas Henry XR-2206 Voltage Controlled Oscillators (Bugbrand PCB layouts, self-etched)
4×4 Bipolar DC Matrix Mixer (Ken Stone CGS 33 & CGS 04 PCBs)
Blank Panel (singlewide)

MIDDLE ROW
Super-Psycho Modulation Source (Ken Stone CGS 21)
Wave Multiplier (Ken Stone CGS 29)
Blank panel for another Dual Thomas Henry XR-2206 VCO (will complete tonight!)
Blank panel (doublewide)
Two channel DC Mixer (three inputs per channel, large jack outputs)(more CGS 04 PCBs)

BOTTOM ROW
Dual Synthacon Voltage Controlled Filters (Marc Bareille PCBs)
Dual Polyvoks Voltage Controlled Filters (Marc Bareille PCBs)
Blank Panel (doublewide)
Blank Panel (singlewide)
Breadboard Prototyping area (= doublewide blank panel)

Besides most of the PCBs, I’m really committed to making every part of this thing with my own hands. Some people in the synth DIY scene send their front panels out to get professionally etched and anodized. I’m not really concerned with having the “professional look”, partly for financial reasons, and partly because it’s really important to be able to rapidly prototype things, get them in the case and make some fucking noise. The fact that it looks handmade separates it from all that store bought crap that people don’t have any clue what goes on inside of anyways.

With that in mind, I found a great “finish” for the metal by using an orbital hand-sander and 100-grit paper. Very Neanderthal, just the way I like it! The top row modules all have this finish. I’ve got some metal-stamps on order for the panel lettering, and then I’ll probably clear-coat each panel to keep the finger-grease out.

Speaking of noise, sounds soon, maybe on the weekend.

Now Playing (…besides the synth that is…)

baronessblue record[2009 relapse]
coalesceox[2009 relapse]
convergeaxe to fall[2009 epitaph]
eagle twinthe unkindness of crows[2009 southern lord]
helmut scha╠łfer & zbigniew karkowskieminent risk factor[2008 ALKU 65]
lightlife is meaningless & goes on forever[2009 self released]
pelicanwhat we all come to need[2009 southern lord]
prurientrose pillar 11″[2009 heartworm]

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