Saturday, March 21, 2015

The same thing we do everyday, Pinky...

So, I like synthesizers.  They're buzzy, growly, quacky, chirpy fun.

Most look something like this:

Keys, switches, some knobs if you're lucky.  But back at the dawn of time the earth was ruled by gigantic, fearsome synthesizers like this:

They are called modular synthesizers.  It was thought for a time that they might be extinct, but healthy populations are starting to develop once again in a few parts of the world.  They allow musicians to connect groups of oscillators, filters, amplifiers, etc by hand to construct sounds electronically.  In addition to giving more sonic flexibility than their smaller descendents, they have the added virtue of looking like something from an evil scientist's lab.  Here's a picture of my own modular synthesizer, which was sick and neglected when I found it:
Sadly, no new modules have been made for my own modular system for about 30 years, so I've decided to make some of my own!  The problem is that my new ones sound nice, but look crappy.  Exhibit A:

To be fancy, I drew up a front panel in DIPtrace and placed an order with Dirt Cheap Dirty Boards. They finally arrived from Hong Kong today and they look good!
This is a generic front panel with a jack board and strip board that I'll use for a handful of different hand wired modules.  Here' a shot of the perforated boards before separation:
And here's everything put together for a quick fit check:

At 25 bucks for a run of ~10 boards (I received 12), I think it's a great deal!  If there are any other old PAiA enthusiasts out there looking to expand their old modulars, you can get a run of these here:
The holes are drilled for potentiometers, 3.5mm jacks, and tip jacks like those found here: