Reverse Landfill Aconitum Noise Mixer - DIY Build
We are HUGE fans of Reverse Landfill and their modules and we were lucky enough to pick up the Aconitum CV mixer module prior to it being discontinued. This noise mixer module has 3 types of analog noise which include white and 2 colored typed with adjustable bass and treble knobs.
The noise outputs are also normalized to the volume knobs and if nothing is patched in, these outputs control the noise volume. At only 8HP, the Reverse Landfill Aconitum Noise Mixer was our first build of 2021.
As with any Reverse Landfill module, Martijn (the owner) provides excellent documentation via his website. You can download the Aconitum V2 Build files here or on the main Reverse Landfill website. After you download the build files, it is important to read the BOM carefully. There are no fancy graphics showing components so you will want to make sure you know how to read a BOM.
If you don’t know how to read a BOM, you might want to go ahead and turn away. Martijn’s modules are for the intermediate to advanced builders and novices will want to take a backseat on these until they have a little more experience. Now, enough with all of the intro stuff… you know how we do this… on with the build!!
Resistors and Capacitors...
First up are the resistors. The resistors are all individually labeled so it is easy to see what is what. If you are unsure, either use a component tester or a multimeter to test the values of the resistors. There are 22 resistors total and placing them is quick and easy. We used top down soldering on the resistors to help speed up the process of tacking things down……
With the capacitors (ceramic), you will want to make sure to NOT let them sit flush with the main PCB. You will want the parts to sit about 1-2mm above to ensure that there is a good connection between the capacitor and the PCB. With the electrolytic caps, you can push them all the way through the soldering points to sit flush on the PCB.
You will also want to ensure you mount these correctly due to their polarity. Pay special attention to the silk screen and the orientation of the part. Once these are placed correctly, tack them down by flipping over the board and flowing the solder.
The IC Socket ... and a little trick!
After we wrap up the resistors and capacitors, we placed the IC socket by quickly soldering one hole and then applying slight pressure to on top of the socket. Line up the pins of the socket to the PCB and make sure not to place any direct pressure on the socket. If you do without applying heat, the pins in the socket will pop up. Now, carefully reheat the solder on the bottom of the PCB and the socket will snap to the board setting it in place. The socket can now be tacked down to complete the IC mount.
Note: Do not insert the TL074 just yet… we will do that last before we power up the module.
Aconitum Noise Mixer - Time Lapse Build
The Transistor and the power header
The transistor is a 2N3904 (or 2N2222) and its polarity is very important. This component is also sensitive to heat so when you tack it down, be quick and move on. We like to give it a few seconds to cool down between soldering points. After this has been completed, the power header is next.
Use the same technique as you used with the IC socket and this component will be done in no time. Now, it is time to move onto the front of the PCB. Flip that baby over…
Jacks, pots and the front panel..
Before you jump right into tacking down jacks and pots, take a minute to reset. We were offered 2 different panels with our Reverse Landfill Aconitum Noise Mixer and we chose to go with the original wooden panel. (we set the black one aside and might build another later).
The jacks that come with the kit were THONKICONN and are all the same. Place these jacks AFTER you place the 2 types of pots. The pots are a100k and b100k and they do go in particular spots on the board. Pay attention to the silk screen on the PCB and place but do not solder the pots down. Place the jacks next and then grab the front panel.
Make sure to line everything up and hand tighten the nuts onto the jacks and pots. This will hold everything in place once you flip the board over to tack everything down.
Aconitum Build Gallery
Once you get the jacks and pots soldered down, it is time to place the knobs. We are very particular when it comes to the knobs on Reverse Landfill modules. As with previous builds (Pentamix, NOISE, Creep Cluster, etc), we had to order the knobs separately. These were kinda tricky to find and required a special order at TME.com (part # GTP6M-12×16-S). The knobs are mounted on top of the pots by simply pushing down on them. Careful not to put too much pressure on the shaft of the pot. We used a microfiber cloth to help push things into place.
Builders Note: We went ahead and ordered about 20x more knobs so that we could have them for future Reverse Landfill builds.
The IC chip is the last thing on the menu. You will want to make sure that the legs of the IC chip are sitting at a 90 degrees angle so that the chip will fit correctly into the header. The important thing here is making sure to line it up correctly; orientation matters.
Once this has been set, you are done building the module. Head on over to your rack and attach it to a tester or get to patching. We attached ours to our Synthrotek TST module and found that everything was ready to go.
Reverse Landfill Pentamix - The Final Thoughts...
The Aconitum Noise Mixer by Reverse Landfill was a relatively easy build with special attention needed when mounting the IC and the electrolytic caps. Outside from this, the build itself was pretty quick, but it is not recommended for novice builders. With the choice of a wooden panel or a black panel, you can customize the look of your module accordingly. Without the special knobs, the module looks off. Martijn selected the perfect knobs for his modules that is for sure.
With regard to the performance of the module, we are just getting to know it. It is by far a brutal little Noise Mixer and it fits right in with its brethren kin (NOISE, Creep Cluster, etc). We look forward to spending more time with it and plan on utilizing it on an upcoming noise album we are working on.
As we have said many times before… whenever Reverse Landfill releases a module, we have to pick it up due to its uniqueness and its ability to bring add something to our rack that has never been heard before.