Category: SynthDIY

Reverse Landfill Pentamix – DIY Build

Reverse Landfill Pentamix - DIY Build

Reverse Landfill’s unique approach to modular synthesis is something that they are becoming known for. Their cryptic silkscreens on their panels also makes for some interesting patching if one is unfamiliar with the modules. The Pentamix is one of Martijn’s newer modules that helps bring all of the other Reverse Landfill modules together.

A 5-channel audio mixer, the Pentamix’s real magic happens when you patch the inverted output and use the another output to send out to an effect and then back again into the Pentamix.

With its 555 pentagram, this mixer brings a new dimension to ones rack… but enough about the module, let’s get onto the build… 

Resistors and Diodes...

Start with the resistors on this build. There are not very many of them (12 to be exact) and their polarity doesn’t matter. Each resistor set is marked so its easy to figure out what goes where if you can read a BOM.  You can find all of the Pentamix’s documentation on the Reverse Landfill website for quick reference. 

Diodes are next and one thing we love about Martijn’s modules is the extra power protection. The diodes (x2) will protect your module if the power is reversed for any reason. The 2x resistors next to the diodes are there for extra protection. One thing to know about diodes is that their polarity does matter. You want to be sure that the black line on the diode lines up with the silkscreen on the PCB. A quick tack down of these and its time to move onto the IC sockets and caps. 


Synthrotek VERB – DIY Build

Synthrotek VERB- DIY Build

As described by the Synthrotek site, “the Synthrotek Verb is a reverb module like no other. This three PT2399 unit offers a warm tape saturated spring reverb like sound but with the added flair of the subtle modulation which truly makes it shine.” This was enough for us to decide to take on the VERB on for the next build of September 2020.

Unlike a lot of other reverb modules, this one does not require a “tank” to produce its reverb. It relies on the x3 PT2399 circuits that were previous utilized in other delay modules. 

The PT2399 is back … again.

We won’t go into all of the technical jargon like we have in previous builds (see Synthrotek DLY and Waveform Magazine Delay builds), but we will say that the PT2399 is a very versatile IC. It can be used for delay’s, echo’s and even reverbs (as this module uses them).

To keep it simple, the IC takes in analog audio input and converts it into digital stream of bits to add a digital delay to it. This audio delayed audio signal is then provided as output (ie. perfect for these module types).

On with the build ...

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Synthrotek DLY (Delay) – DIY Build

Synthrotek DLY (Delay) - DIY Build

Synthrotek DLY Kit

Delay, echo, reverb and distortion are all common effects for synthesis and in the world of modular synthesis, they make all the difference in the world. Synthrotek have had a long history of effects modules in their lineup and the DLY module is one of their finest.

The DLY is a PT2399 based delay module that can be dialed in to fit the users preferred range of delay due to the independent rate control. 

Another rad feature of the module is that unlike the ECHO module by Synthrotek, the DLY has a true wet/dry mix knob, giving the module its unique character and allowing it to be chained within the effects loop. Since fall was upon us, we decided to take on a couple of the companies legendary effects modules for our latest builds.

The PT2399...

Before we jump into the build video and all that jazz, let’s revisit an old friend of ours.. the PT2399 IC. You might recall a previous build of the Waveform Magazine PT2399 Delay module, where a karaoke module was converted into a delay module.

The Synthrotek DLY utilizes the same chipset. Aforementioned in the Waveform build, the PT2399 is a CMOS echo/delay processor developed by Princeton Technology Corp. It includes an ADC (Analog to Digital converter), 44Kb of RAM to store the samples and a DAC (Digital to Analog converter).

This chip was created as a simple solution to add delay/reverb/echo to karaokes and set-up entertainment systems. What does this all mean? This means that the chip is a perfect candidate for a delay module and the gang at Synthrotek decided to base a module around it.

Onward with the build ...

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Zlob Modular Triple Cap Chaos – DIY Build

Zlob Modular Triple Cap Chaos - DIY Build

Started in 2015, ZLOB (pronounced ZWOB) Modular offers a unique take on modular synthesis. Their latest module, the Triple Cap Chaos is unlike anything that came before it as stated on the ZLOB website. We found this intriguing and once it was announced via their social media feed, we jumped on the kit and ordered one up. Shipping was fast and before you knew it, it was ready in waiting in our backlog. 

Triple Cap Chaos (C^3 Chaos) is a 2hp analog, chaos based, noise oscillator, pseudo ring modulator/harmonics generator, and audio mangler. Sounds friggin’ rad huh? We thought so too.  According to the ZLOB website, “It expects a +5v to -5v max signal in to modulate the chaos. The “IN” jack is an A.C. coupled input for audio in, although cv and audio can work for both the “CV” in jack and “IN.” The “IN” will interfere and interact with the onboard chaotic oscillator depending on the frequency of the input, which may take some experimentation”.. This module … is right up our alley.  Let’s get on with the build shall we?

Triple Chaos - kit
Zlob Modular - Triple Cap Chaos Kit

About the kit ...

ZLOB provides some really great documentation via their website which is always a plus when taking on a new build. The components were also individually labeled which shows how much time the company puts into their product. This also made it easy to sort things out when cracking the kit open. We used our handy dandy acrylic sorting tray to separate out all the parts prior to jumping into the build. 

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