Category: Updates

Erica Synths Modulator II – DIY Build

Erica Synths Modulator II - DIY Build

Completed Front - Modulator

Following our last build of the Erica Synths Mixer II module, we decided to go back to back by taking on the Erica Synths Modulator II. This DIY module is essentially an LFO with simultaneous triangle and square wave outputs. It is a clockable S&H module with external CV input and noise source. It is also one of the new kits currently being offered by the gang over at Synthrotek.

Apart of the DIY series from Erica Synths, the Modulator II is unique in that it not only has one noise source, but two. Noise sources come in the form of “backpack” PCBs that one can swap for different tones of noise. You have the choice of transistor-based or Zener diode-based noise generator for massive, full spectrum white noise.

As you start this build, it can easily feel overwhelming upon cracking open the kit being that there are multiple PCBs and a bunch of components. Synthrotek did a great job on this kit by providing a clear BOM which we have scanned and linked below. They also separated all of the components for each backpack PCB so that the parts could be located quickly and partnered with the correct board.

IMPORTANT: Before we jump into the build, take note that this is not a build for novice builders. This is due to the very tight soldering pads, poor layout of the silkscreen and one’s ability to read a BOM. You do not want to go into this build not knowing how to read or build from a BOM, being that there is little to no step by step assembly instructions.

The Erica Synths assembly guide is really generalized compared to most DIY build guides we have seen from other companies (but hey, thats why we are writing this up and recording our videos).


Erica Synths Mixer – DIY Build

Erica Synths Mixer II - DIY Build

The Erica Synths Mixer II is part of the DIY series that are now being offered by Synthrotek. Of course, when we heard this, we had to reach out to our friends in the shop to see if we could get irons this kit. A couple of weeks later the kit arrived and we anxious to get it into the shop and in our rack.

So what exactly is a mixer…?

A mixer is literally just that. It mixes whatever you put into it into something with all parts combined. We know how simple that sounds, especially if you think of it like cooking or baking terms. A mixer, mixers the ingredients together to make something else. 

Erica Synths simple describes the Mixer II as a “simple, straight-forward audio mixer” and that the Mixer II is an “essential part of any modular setup.” This is where Erica Synths could not be more correct. A mixer is an essential part of any music recording whether it be via a studio rack, performance rack or recording console (aka. mixer); you need it to mix your ingredients into something else. 


Synthrotek Dual Low Pass Gate – DIY Build

Synthrotek Dual Low Pass Gate (LPG) - DIY Build

SR LPG - Completed Module

Lately, we have been on a kick with the slider series from Synthrotek and for this build, we took on the Synthrotek Dual Low Pass Gate (LPG)! If you were to ask any modular artist if they had a LPG in their rack, 9 out of 10 artists would answer with a yes. It is a staple in modular racks and this is especially so with West Coast Synthesis. Synthrotek kicks it up a notch by giving us not one, but two low pass gates in one 4hp module.

 Another badass thing about this module is that when you are not using at an LPG, you can use it as a VCA! (one can’t have enough VCAs!) When in VCA mode, it bypasses the low pass filter and resonance leaving color out of your audio input. 

The Build...

Before we jump right into the build, take a minute to deconstruct the kit itself. Synthrotek does and always has offered outstanding documentation and reference material on their website. They have also included a visual BOM with the kit to help move the process along.

Being that the Dual Low Pass Gate is apart of the slider series of modules released by Synthrotek, this module would sport the same beautiful slider pots and sleek black panel. We recommend that you have some soldering skills prior to taking on this build. Even though its not really an advanced build, it does require a very steady hand and clean iron (also the board mating can get tricky if you jump the gun).


Synthrotek ADSR – DIY Build

Synthrotek ADSR - DIY Build

For our latest build, we take on the new Synthrotek ADSR. This ADSR is a small (only 4HP) and simple envelope generator that has a CV additive available in its ADR stages giving it a unique controllability that few ADSR modules have.

It is well known that as one dives deeper into the world of modular synthesis, it becomes apparent that certain types of modules are needed to compose dynamic sound. ADSRs can dynamically change the “movement” of sound due to its ability to alter parts of the sound waves. 

Before we jump into the build, we have to state one thing.An ADSR is a must for any modular artist, and the Synthrotek ADSR is an excellent choice!

What is an ADSR?

By definition, ADSR stands for Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. It’s a must-know concept for all types of music production and sound design. Together, they make up the ADSR envelope which can alter the shape and sound of audio giving you dynamic music.

This concept of ADSR applies to all sound no matter what kind of source you’re using. ADSR controls are most commonly found on VST synths, hardware synths and samplers. Now, enough with the jargon, lets get on with the latest build… 


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