this must be the place....goin strong , yeah baby!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

x0xb0x Etudes - pt 3

VCO (that's Voltage Controlled Oscillator, if you missed it) is now complete.
VCF (filter) is also complete.

Either a) My scope is weird or b) I don't know how to use my scope.

When I check the waveforms, first square looked a little off...not entirely symmetrical along the y-axis, nor on the x-axis (ie pulsewidth looked off). Changing the tuning seems to make the wave look better though, as if the PW changes with the tuning somewhat.

Also, if you follow the fabrication manual exactly, then they forgot to mention you need to have R46 soldered in before you test the square wave.

Then I built the filter, and while it didn't look ENTIRELY correct on my scope, I'm chalking it up to either a or b above. Turning the cutoff definitely produced a much more sine-y waveform, and all the way open showed a square/saw with lots of high freq harmonics going on.

Now the biggest bummer I had though, is I'm feeling all high now, and so I decide to move on to the Envelope section. Much to my dismay, it makes a note that out of two transistors, which had previously been referred to as the same piece, they are not the same and you need one particular one in this instance. Sure enough, I had already soldered that one into the VCO earlier, thinking they were the same piece. Literally HOURS spent trying to desolder that sumbitch and in the end I totally broke / hosed the damn component. Of course, this is one of the 'rare' vintage parts that you can't just order from mouser. Luckily, I find this pedalhacker shop on ebay and I've got two replacement 2SK30A-Y K30A in the mail to me now, at a reasonable price (read, $1, $4.20 w shipping).

So production is somewhat on hold as I wait for the missing link. I will consider doing mods now, even though I initially forgot to do them on the VCF, and then qualified it by saying it's too much a pain in the ass right now, and I'll do it later.

In other news, I feel like I can solder ANYTHING now.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

x0xb0x Etudes - pt. 2

Power Supply completed last round.
VCO section is what I am working on now, and glory be, I got a sawtooth.

It didn't come without a bit of pain though.

First problem, in my attempts to be overly organised to make the process smoother, I made a mistake and put all the schematic part numbers for a couple of similar looking transistors under the wrong batch. This was not a huge problem once I realised that a set of 10 transistors probably didn't go in 24 different places. Anyway, thought I'd mention it as it could have completely derailed the project.

The second problem was a total new one to me: CONTROL VOLTAGE. How did I miss the part of the prep guide that said I would need a variable power supply to test the thing?!
Anyway, I got my sawtooth generator all put together, and when I went to test, I was getting very strange results. Weird waveforms, a lot of incorrect DC offset, on and on. I figured, incorrectly, that you could test this stage WITHOUT the variable power supply (supplying control voltage) applied. Boy was I wrong.
So, a quick trip to 'The Shack', as they are very obviously trying to rebrand to now, picked up a voltage regulator, and using parts I had lying around I managed to build a working variable power supply running off a 9 volt. It supplies between 1.25 and 7 volts.
Once I got that in place per the fabrication manual, things started to look exactly right. That saw wave is beautiful, and the tuning pot and the PS adjustment all change the frequency of what I see on the scope.
So I learned that you really shouldn't try to skip steps. I thought, CV, who cares? I won't be messing with it anyway. What I failed to realise is that the CV circuit seems to be integral to the proper functioning of the saw tooth generator.
I was hoping to have the entire VCO finished last night, but a lack of adjustable power supply and a wicked case of allergies has left me OVERLY pleased with my little, buzzy waveform.

Next time, the square wave + VCO completion.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

x0xb0x Etudes - pt 1

Howdy everyone
Do you know the 303?
It's a bassline synth made in the early 80s, vaulted to cult status via acid house, and now firmly seated in the uber-expensive realm of high profile gear lust.

Well if you can't afford one, why not build one from scratch?

Having finally exhausted my excuses to procrastinate (no oscilloscope, no iron, no sockets), I have recently begun doing just this using a kit I bought years ago from Ladyada's site above.

Tonight I did the power supply.
The fabrication guide was immensely helpful, if you are going to do this yourself, READ THE MANUAL AS YOU GO!!! It provides all sorts of insight into which resistor is what, what color codes you are looking for, and common mistakes.

So these posts pertaining to my progress will be more about my personal mistakes.

First, I think sockets are a must. You don't want to fry the ICs with your shitty soldering hand, so just spend the 50cents and get sockets (you need 1 6pin, 3 8pin, 2 14pin, and 9 16pin).
Second, test as often as the manual suggests; no fun flipping the switch and no boomboom.
Third, the only mistake I made on the power supply, check your connection names! I soldered some jumper wires to the wrong set of three jumper holes (j6 vs j4 I believe) and really had a hell of a time desoldering and removing those hos. In hindsight, I probably should have chilled and just left them because I will probably end up needing to put them back anyway.

I only did one modification to the power supply and that is adding a power switch. It is a real PITA to 'cut the trace' between the bottom most pin on the power jack and where it connects to, but anyway thats where you put the two wires which will eventually go to a spst switch. For now, I just twisted them back together. If you know a good way to 'cut the trace' on a pcb, please comment and let me know. I just used a dull knife tip and scraped the shit out of it repeatedly (not recommended, but doable).

I will return, hopefully sooner rather than later, with pt 2 on building the VCO (I will need to set up my huge scope for this, so that's a reason to procrastinate).


let's hope it goes something like this -

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Daft Punk - raw tracks

I'll just leave these here...
(41 tracks, 30mb of recordings used to create 'technologic', 'emotion', amongst others)

Incredible to hear their process at a bit different stage. These seem incredibly untouched, probably the original raw recordings. Somebody's having fun with formant filters...

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Speaking of awesome sandwiches....

...check out my burger expose on Thrillist.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La Grange!

Hey, did yall ever see this? This was us playing in Barcelona. There is a full screen button on the vimeo player if you are feeling gangster

La Grange at Inusual Music, Barcelona from EYEPLUG / tall reed on Vimeo.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

The Crush Is On: Awesome Sandwitch

I made an awesome sandwitch yall, and just had to share.

It was a double decker...3 pieces of toast. Key ingredient was leftover steak and roast slices from my grandma.

I heated them up in a pan with butter, seasoning each side up with lemon pepper. When it was warm, I put them between the bread and covered at both layers with stubbs BBQ sauce. Then after a first bite I realized I wanted to try throwing some honey on there. First I mixed a little honey with the Stubbs BBQ sauce on my plate to find a consistancy that I liked. Once I knew what I was working with I just put a thin layer of honey right in the middle of the sandwich. It was great, I wish I had a picture.

I washed it all down with a glass and a half of milk.

The Crush is On

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

New Year, New Wave

September is in the air. The most exciting of all months on the Austin social calendar, IMO. New spaces and people, and yet, next verse same as the first. Had a chance this weekend to hit up 3 events...the first New Guild Coop party of the year "around the world" where you go from room to room and try a different drink, the first Rancho Dance party of the new tenants career, and the party the Totally Wreck crew was having at their new warehouse space over on Bolm road. The Coop party sort of had an ironic time-traveler feel to it for me. How i did not get any booty when I was living at one is a mystery to me (due to selective memory) because it is just a bunch of folks getting drunk and then lusty. I guess I didn't have what it takes, but fortunately the result is that I got spit out the other end of the Coop Lifecycle Workshop STD free, so we can call it a wash.

It was also a miraculous night because I got to ride my bike for the first time in 2 months. Next stop would be to truck it down to Rancho and see what those folks were doin with the place. Well, they painted the garage to do movie shoots in it, that was a bit of a disappointment. We were pretty sure the property management company had done it at first, but hey, its their place now. And the backyard was still "yup, its rancho alright." Same hodgepodge of folks drinking and throwing their beer cans on the ground. Only now, thankfully I don't have to pick them up.

The real winner of an event this weekend was last night at the Totally Wreck place. I love the parking lot, and just chilled there for the first hour, hour and a half. It has this very yellow, very Austin lighting for the parking lot. My friend Kate said one time she always knew she was in Austin by the yellow light, and it really could not have been more true than at this parking lot outside their new warehouse space. It was great, basking in the yellow light. It was pretty hot in the room from reports, but I didn't think it was that hot. It was a little loud so that unless you were dancing it made more sense to hang out in the parking lot with the cool kids. really i was just waiting for the night to be almost over to go in there and dance. Hanging out in a parking lot drinking is just where it is at. "Outside the show" (there was a show, but I think I didn't notice. Someone told me it was the best show they had seen in a long time....some sort of sound problems turned into a meltdown / breakdown that somehow involved the crowd and was awesome, or something). Par for the course (in a good way). I'm just glad there seems to be a dedicated space for the New Wavers to have a party once a month or whatever. It is just outside enough that it keeps the riff raff gone, and yet is actually pretty damn close, although I dont know that I want to be biking down Airport, I am probably always going to drive when i go there, or get a ride (plenty of people biked it). Projections by Lori and also Vidkids. I really liked the party because I knew I could just wait around at this one party and all my friends would basically cycle in and around. It was great to catch up with so many folks.

Then at the end of the night the dance party scene was great. There was one girl playing it cool and one guy going nuts, and I could kinda swing how i felt like dancing from one polarity to the other.

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