Here are some recordings I made with the first Swashbuckler:
So the Swashbuckler is mere millimeters away, I am just sorting out the final bits now. Planned launch is… let’s see, ummmm… TOMORROW!!! So I have set up a Big Cartel page and you can buy a kit from there using Paypal. The URL is here: http://artsynthesizer.bigcartel.com/ – for the record, first round of postage will be on Monday the 3rd of March.
I have been busy / lazy and I haven’t managed to put together a demo of the Swashbuckler yet, which is a bit rubbish – so I guess I should stop typing and maybe put a little something together tonight? I can say that the few people to have had the Swashbuckler experience have been transformed into instant noise junkies!! Here is Kim playing with her build: (001!!)
***Update: I am planning on releasing the complete assembly kit on the 1st of March, more details to come soon***
You may or may not have caught the recent post on my Swashbuckler project, (look down a bit) I am now happy to announce that the boards have arrived from fabrication and I have built the first working Swashbuckler project!
The Swashbuckler is a pocket sized instrument based on the CMOS 4093 chip. Here is a list of features:
- 4 square(oid) wave oscillators, stacked so that 2 modulate the other 2
- Two light sensitive frequency controls
- Touch sensitive modulator
- Knob for modulation
- Starve control knob for chaos
- An optional passive low pass filter for more tame squaroids
- Volume control knob
- Power Switch
- Red LED
- Packed full of swashbuckling goodness
The project will be available as a complete set of parts with a PCB or a fully assembled instrument ready for action. You will need a soldering iron, solder and some wire snippers to build the project. You don’t need any experience to build this project and it doesn’t require any wiring.
Kits will be around the £20 mark
I am in the process of gathering the components to make a number of kits, watch this blog for updates and demos coming soon! For now, here is a pic:
I added a pair of low pass voltage controlled filters and a pair of voltage controlled amplifiers. The filters are Sallen Key filters and the cutoff frequency is controlled by modulating a pair of vactrols (the large black components near the middle of the board), The VCAs are based on a circuit using a transconductance op-amp (OTA) called the LM13700.
I later adjusted the two circuits (after making the following videos) as the filters weren’t reaching the higher frequency spectrum (I sacrificed a little fatness for a better sweep range) and I improved the signal to noise ratio of the VCA.
I have been very busy with most of my spare time for the last few weeks developing a modular project (not the SDIY Experimenter!). Using lots of new ideas and techniques from recently trying to be a good bookworm!
I have developed a Voltage Controlled Oscillator and a similar concept (but simpler) Low Frequency Oscillator, a tasty Voltage Controlled Low Pass Filter based on the Sallen Key Filter concept and a Voltage Controlled Amplifier.
I have more stuff in the works as well. I am using lots of techniques which are new to me such as using transistors as voltage controlled resistors in the VCO, “vactrols” for the low pass filter and transconductance amplifiers for the VCA.
Today I started tidying up my design and prepared a pair of VCOs and LFOs on a breadboard:
I also made a test video after correcting a couple of mistakes:
The VCOs have a frequency modulating input (voltage controlled) and a soft sync input (I call it soft sync because you can attenuate the signal you sync to for a varied affect – the term soft sync is ambiguous in the world of analog synths). The VCOs and LFOs are capable of producing perfect triangle, square, sawtooth and ramp waveforms but they don’t scale to accurate musical pitches.
In the video, I patch the LFO to frequency modulate the first VCO (through an attenuator), and patch the output of the second VCO to the sync input of the first (also through an attenuator). When the second VCO is set to certain frequencies, you here a kind of stepped pitch which sounds like a musical scale.