Category: Review

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 Eurorack Module Kit

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 Eurorack Module - DIY Build

Laurentide Synthworks VG2

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 is a Passive Dual Vactrol Gate meaning no power is needed to get some awesome sounds out of this eurorack module!  Each Vactrol Gate on the VG2 has 1 CV Input (gate, envelope, LFO, etc.), 1 Audio Input and 1 Audio Output. The CV Input hits the Vactrol LED, allowing whatever audio to pass through. In addition, there is a simple Low Pass Filter applied to the Audio Output with an amount (i.e. Cutoff) knob. As this is a passive circuit, it will not give you full cutoff control, but it does allow the calming of brash wave shapes. There is also an LED at the CV Input for a quick visual reference of the incoming signal.

Keep in mind that a passive circuit using a vactrol can cause subtile differences in tone and output sound. One may be slightly “louder” than the other, or one might have a longer or shorter release time. One circuit could be better suited for drums or percussion while the other might process harmonies or sequences more to your liking. That being said, each vactrol or VG2 is unique in its sound.  Being that the Laurentide Synthworks VG2 is available as a DIY kit only, this gives the builder the opportunity to tweak some of the resistors and vactrols and thus making each individual build unique in itself.

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 - Time Lapse Build Video

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During our build, we began by installing all of the supplied resistors and vactrols as recommended. As we dive more into the sound of the VG2, we might consider going back and cutting off some of the 1K resistors. It all just depends on how and what we decide to use it for in the end. The VG2 was supplied with white Davies Clone knobs, we opted to use Blood Red Davies Clone knobs to give our VG2 a more fitting look. (It matches their company logo better!). The build itself was relatively quick and to the point as we completed this module in under an hour. Laurentide Synthworks also provides some basic instructions on how and what to populate in the appropriate order via their website. We really didn’t follow the guide and just jumped right into this simple build. When it was all said and done, we popped it into one of our racks and off we went. For 49$, this kit is a must have in any Eurorack rig.

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 - Build Gallery

Laurentide Synthworks VG2 - Specifications

Module Details:
~ Manufactured by: Laurentide Synthworks
~ Model: VG2
~ Type: Dual Vactrol Gate

Specifications:
~ Power Draw: Passive Module – no power required
~ Depth: 14 mm
~ Height: 3U
~ Width: 4HP

Additional Build Notes

Important Note: As this is a passive circuit, it is advisable to use a Buffered Multiple before the CV Input to maintain voltage/amplitude, especially if you are using the top CV to drive both gates. Laurentides website advises that “whatever is sent to the CV jack on the top gate is also sent to the CV jack on the bottom gate. The downside to this is there is a slight voltage drop causing the both outputs to be slightly quieter than if the CV was only driving 1 gate. If you are only using one the inputs and have something against using the bottom gate, you can plug a dummy cable into the bottom CV, or completely disable it by cutting the trace”. 

Instructions on how to do this on available via the Laurentide Synthworks website or by clicking one of the links below.

https://www.laurentidesynthworks.net/eurorack-diy.html

http://www.laurentidesynthworks.net/vg2.html

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

~ f i N


Nonlinear Circuits Vactrol PiLL – Time Lapse Build

Time Lapse Build: Nonlinear Circuits Vactrol PiLL (NLC Vac PLL)

Violent Behavior PCB

In this build, we take on the Nonlinear Circuits (NLC) Vactrol PiLL module. While the build itself wasn’t a difficult one, it did take some patience when it came to soldering the LED after mounting the panel. With most of the components already mounted, we recommend you use a very fine time on your soldering iron to be able to get to the LED solder points.

Also, make sure you don’t have a lot of coffee or caffeine in your system when it comes to building this module… save that for when you are done!

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The name is drawn from the two main components that define the function and characteristics of the module. One is the vactrol which is a light controlled resistor, these have an interesting effect whereas there is always a time delay whilst the resistor changes its value – this is a good thing and has been exploited by many synth designers, notably Don Buchla.

The PiLL is from a PLL – phase locked loop, this is a special purpose IC which contains number of subcircuits and usually used in radio and digital control circuits. It contains a VCO, logic gate and a phase detector meaning all fun stuff!  

You will notice that our panel is very different from the normal NLC panels. We opted for the White Magpie from Magpie Modular for its unique look and excellent print quality.  

Module Specifications:
Height – 3U
Width – 4HP

Panel:  White Magpie Custom

If you have any questions about the module, the build or functionality please feel free to drop us a line and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

If you are interested in purchasing the DIY kit, head on over to Modular Addict and let them know that fiN Studios sent ya!

~ f i N


Time Lapse Build: Two Tone Dual Low Pass Gate

Time Lapse Build: Two Tone Dual Low Pass Gate - Black and Gold Edition

In our latest build, we take on the custom Two Tone Dual Low Pass Gate Eurorack module. This is the new 2018 Black and Gold version released earlier this year and needless to say … it comes packed full of surprises and killer tones!

Purely customizable by the builder and with their choice of capacitors, one can simply change the sound of this LPG by swapping out the capacitors with one of their liking. Another cool thing about this module is that it’s completely passive… that’s right.. PASSIVE. We are anxious to get this into our rack and had to pick one up as soon as we heard the amazing warmth this little 3HP module provided.

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Now you may be asking, what is all this LPG, VCA and Passive talk? Let us explain…

By definition, a Low Pass Gate is basically a low pass Voltage Controlled Filter (VCF) configured to act like a VCA. A VCA or Voltage Controlled Amplifier is an amplifier whose gain is set by the voltage level of a control signal. Sometimes VCA’s are called Voltage Controlled Attenuators so don’t get confused if you see them called either because they are both the same thing. Now, with regard to synths, the VCA is usually the last point that a signal goes through before being sent to the output; i.e. the VCA determines the output volume level of a played note.

With regard to the Low Pass Gate Filters (VCA’s) that is used in many West Coast Synthesis, the LPG doesn’t allow audio to pass through it when there is no control signal passing through it. Its cutoff frequency is way beyond subsonic range and well below the threshold of audio frequencies. When triggered by a control voltage, this causes the cutoff frequency to rise and allows audio to pass through. Often times Low Pass Gates used vactrols to help them mimic percussive sounds due to the short bursts of control voltage being fed to them.

In the case of the Two Tone Dual Low Pass Gate, it not only uses dual vactrols to help shape its sound, but it does this without relying on power to control the voltage passing through it. This classifies the Two Tone Dual LPG as a Passive Module, meaning “containing no source of electromotive force”.  This means you can save those precious flying bus cables for other modules that need the rest of the juice. 

Overall, this is an amazing West Coast module that has a lot packed into 3HP… and with that being said …we might have to pick up another just for fun because one can never have enough VCA’s!

Purchasing Info:

Fully assembled modules can be purchased by clicking on this link to be redirected to Jon Moshiers REVERB shop.

DIY kits can be purchased by contacting Jon directly, or by sending us an inquiry on our Contact Page.

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