Sacramento Audio Waffle #54 at The Red Museum

Audio Waffle 54 flyer

Come check out Sacramento Audio Waffle #54 at The Red Museum in Sacramento. Sunday May 19, 2019 @noon.

Brought to you by NorCal Noisefest, Thee Instagon Foundation & The Red Museum.

There will be amazing waffles & coffee/juice with a 8-10$ cover charge. Start your Sunday with some NOISE!

Venue Information:

  • Details: Sacramento Audio Waffle #54 by NorCal Noisefest!
  • When: Sunday, May 19, 2019
  • Where: The Red Museum – 212 15th Street, Sacramento CA
  • Cover Charge: $8 – $10 (sliding scale)
  • Show Time: 12:00pm PST 
  • Other Details: Cash Only. Kid Friendly (bring ear protection)

Featured Artists:

INSTAGON  (sacramento) [mixer set]

NICOTINE MANTIS (los angeles)

FILTHMILK (oakland)

BROTHER STEED (sacramento)

LA MACACOA (oakland/pueto rico)

PAROUSIA (sacramento)

If you have any questions about the show, please feel free to contact NorCal Noisefest.

Hope to see you there!

~ f i N


Nonlinear Circuits Bong0 Module – DIY Build

NLC Bong0 Module - DIY Build

As our summer kicks off,  we take on a new build … the Nonlinear Circuits Bong0 Module.  We decided to take a break from the hole-through components and try out our soldering skills with SMD components. Surface Mount Devices or SMD are different from your basic hole-through builds in that the components are mounted as stated … on the surface of the PCB board.  The actual terminology for this is known as SMT or Surface Mount Technology.  

So what’s the big difference between hole-through vs surface mount components?  Usually the size of the component.  SMD components are small… some of them are VERY small. One’s choices in tool selection is also different as well.  You can use solder paste and hot air guns or you can use small gauge solder and your trusty iron if you choose to.  For the NLC Bong0, we chose small gauge solder and good ol iron sides. 

Ok … enough of the technical jargon, let’s get onto the NLC Bong0 and the build/review itself!

Bongo or Bong0?

The Nonlinear Circuits Bong0 Module is described as a Twin-T drum module with an LED acting as a nonlinear resistor.  This means that the module is able to be used for all sorts of things besides drums.  It can be patched to create complex bass lines, drones or even a crude VCO.  For this build, we highly recommend the use of a magnifying glass due to size of the 0805 SMD resistors/capacitors.  As you can see from our photos, the components are small and the use of some fine pointed tweezers is also a necessity during assembly. 

You will want to make sure to have an open and clean workspace too.  If a component goes flying across your bench because you picked it up the wrong way, your build might be slow going as you try to find something the size of an ant.  We fortunately found the few resistors that decided to fly across our workbench and were able to complete the build as required. (we accidentally grabbed the part with our tweezer by an edge – we got lucky!)

NLC Bong0 - Time Lapse

We started the assembly toying around with some solder paste and our hot air machine, but ultimately ended up soldering with our trusty ol iron.  Take your time with this one, as working with micro sized pieces can be very painstaking. 

NLC Bong0 - Gallery

NLC Bong0 - Build Notes and Patching

In the end, the build itself was pretty straight forward, but there are few resources out there to go by.  The BOM was online and we had to do an online image search to ensure that we mounted the diodes correctly due to the PCB printing of the diode layout not being very clear (the PCB is only 4HP and very tight in some areas). 

Once we completed the module, we populated it into our test case and fired it up, piping a sine wave into the module.  Instantly, we heard that beautiful clean bongo sound.  As with any module, factory sounds don’t cut it at fiN Studios.  We triggered the NLC Bong0 with our 4MS Atoner and patched the audio out of the Atoners oscillators into the Bong0… the thing went wild! Just like the description said, it functioned as a VCO and our droney bass lines were born.  If you want to hear what the Nonlinear Circuits (NLC) Bong0 Module sounds like during our test, check out the audio samples in the video below.

NLC Bong0 - Audio Samples

NLC Bong0 - The final verdict!

After the short time we’ve had the module, we can tell you that we intend to utilize the NLC Bong0 in more way than one in future segments and write-ups.  This little 4HP module from Nonlinear Circuits is a winner and tapping into its circuitry was so intriguing… it might just be time to order another! (dualing Bong0s anyone?…. LOL!)

If you have questions about the build process or suggestions/feedback about this post, feel free to contact us! 

Until the next build … 

~ f i N


Synthrotek TURN Eurorack Module DIY Build

Synthrotek TURN - Power Management Module DIY Build

Synthrotek TURN - Instagram photoAre you having power issues with your Eurorack system?  Do you ever experience flashing lights of doom when you power on your system? The Synthrotek TURN might have you covered!

Let’s face it … rack systems draw and use a lot of power. Whether this be on start up or whether it be through a sustained time period (during recording, tinkering, performing, etc). Much like the Windows screen of death or the Mac spinning rainbow wheel; rapid blinking lights or no lights upon startup of a rack system can be VERY stressful. This is something that we can all face from time to time and trying to find the source of the issue can be a real task. Things like flipped power cables, bad solder joints and overloaded power rails can all be culprits. With all of these potential issues causing power draws, the gang out at Synthrotek have come up with a solution to tackle power management upon startup. Introducing the Synthrotek TURN.

We were one of the many that were having startup issues from time to time and spent countless hours going through and testing each module/cable only to find that nothing was wrong with our rack. We emailed Synthrotek and come to find out the Synthrotek TURN was under development. Upon its release, we picked one up and decided to take on the build. With all that being said, lets get onto the build…

Synthrotek TURN - Time Lapse Build

Play Video

A relatively inexpensive module; the TURN can be a headache saver. The build itself was also a painless task for anyone with a small level of soldering knowledge. During our build which lasted roughly 30-45 min (a little longer because we had a dirty iron…which we had to clean), we used two different sizes of solder for the various connectors and jacks. With all resistors, we used a smaller gauge wire (0.4mm) and a slightly larger gauge solder for jacks and knobs (0.8mm). With only two resistors, 2 LEDs, 2 switches and 4 molex adapters, we were finished before we knew it.

Upon completion, we quickly placed the TURN into our performance case and instantly powered on the main power. Toggled a switch and the next set up modules powered up. It was flawless and provided us with some peace of mind with regard to over amping the system. One thing to note is that the Synthrotek TURN can be used with Synthrotek power/bus boards via the supplied Molex cables or 3rd party power/bus boards via Molex adapter cables, adding more versatility to the TURNS already usefulness. Hands down, this is a must have for any rack.

Synthrotek TURN - Build Gallery

Synthrotek TURN - Module Specifications

TURN Detailed Features:
Module width: 4HP

Module depth: 50mm (with cables plugged in)

Max current draw: 8mA

Synthrotek TURN - Additional Information

BONUS: If you are in the need of saving valuable HP, you can install the TURN switches in the side of your case! The TURN can be purchased as a PCB without a panel; when mounting into your case, the LEDs and standoffs are not needed, so only two holes are necessary (for the switches). This is pretty rad!

Supplemental Photos and Wiring Diagrams

If you have any questions about the build process or if you would like to send us suggestions, please feel free to contact us!

~ f i N


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