Reverse Landfill Monotropa v3 - DIY Build

When it comes to unique and must have modules for our rack, Reverse Landfill is one of the top manufacturers on our list. This month, we are following up our Aconitum Noise Mixer build with another Reverse Landfill aptly called the Monotropa.

This diy module one of the Monotropa’s currently being offered by Martijn. The other version of the Monotropa is known as the Monotropa II or mk2 and is also available via the Reverse Landfill ETSY shop.

Reverse Landfill Logo
Monotropa - Completed Front

At its core the Reverse Landfill Monotropa is a feedback EQ distortion module or basically a bad ass mother f*cker. It consists of 4 pots for frequency volume, 1 pot for feedback amount and 1 pot for gain amount. Since this kit is the 3rd version of the original Monotropa, several revisions to the layout and panel have also been updated. These are subtle differences but they make one hell of an impact.

To sum up this module, it can make any sound bigger, add bass, mids and highs with resonant qualities. In other words, it can completely destroy your beats and percussion which is EXACTLY what we were looking for. Would this module be love at first patch? Let’s see… 

Links and more links…

Below are a series of links that have been provided by Reverse Landfill to help assist with the use, building and patching of the Monotropa v3.

If you are building an older version of the Monotropa, you will have use this link to see all of the versions previous to and including the v3 (this build).

The Build begins…

As we kick off the Reverse Landfill Monotropa build, we started by laying everything out and separating components. We used our parts sorter to help keep things separated. Martijn makes it super easy to sort things out because everything and we mean everything is clearly labeled. After sorting, it was time to place the resistors.

Bend the legs at 90 degrees and line them up according to the BOM and silk screen. Once these are placed, use top down soldering to tack everything down. Snip off the legs and move onto the caps. 

Monotropa v3 - Time Lapse Build

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Capacitors...a couple of types

The electrolytic caps are polarized, meaning they go a certain way. Make sure the long leg (positive) goes into the correct hole when placing the component or your module will be in for a world of hurt.

After placing these, flip the board over and tack down the legs. The other caps are not polarized, so they can go either way on the board. Make sure they match the BOM when placing and tacking them down and pay special attention to the values of the caps.

They are very specific as the BOM states.  Time to move on to the sockets and complete the back of the PCB. 

IC and Power header…

There are 2x 14-pin IC sockets that will hold our TL084 chip. These sockets will be mounted alongside the 10-pin power header and will use the same mounting method to make this a simple task. Start by placing a dab of solder into one of the appropriate holes on the PCB and then gently set the header on top of the PCB where it will sit. Flip the board over and heat up the previously dabbed solder and lightly press the socket into the PCB (you barely have to use any pressure). 

Complete these steps for the 2x IC sockets and the shrouded power header. Once this has been completed, its time to move onto the jacks and pots.

Note: Do not place the TL084 chips until the very end of the build. This protects the chips from shorting should the PCB or any part close to the chip become overheated when completing the build. 

DO NOT place the IC yet!

Monotropa v3 Build Gallery

Jacks and Pots … oh yeah!

As we knocked out the back of the PCB, it was now time to turn attention to the front of the PCB. Being that all of the pots are the same rating (b10k), go ahead and place them onto the board. Do NOT solder these parts just yet… we will get to that. The jacks are all the same as well (thonkiconn) and they can be placed according to the silk screen too. 

Next place the front panel and line everything up. A good set up tweezers helps line things up here, as sometimes things move around because they haven’t been tacked down yet. After lining everything up, place the nuts over the jacks and pots and flip the board over to tack everything down. We used our Synth DIY tool set to complete the job once we soldered all of the parts into place. 

Fancy Knobs?

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 (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 suggest ordering a lot more knobs for future Reverse Landfill builds!

Part #GTP6M-12x16-S -

One … more … thing…. IC Placement

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 Logo

The Mangling of beats....

After a quick test, we installed the Monotropa next to its brethren (NOISE, Creep Cluster, Pentamix, etc) and fired it up. Immediately upon patching a drum sample through the module it screamed for more. The sound was brutal and it absolutely destroyed and mangled the beats… it was love at first patch.

This module not only brought the grit, but it also brought the angst. We were curious to see what it would do when patched with its kin.

Reverse Landfill also offered a patch guide (via the links above or on their website) to assist in the patching of the module. In our experience, we have found that it is just more fun to ignore these guides and patch anything and everything to see what happens. Hell, why not? 

Monotropa v3 - Our Final Thoughts...

The Monotropa V3 is a beautiful angry little beast and we instantly fell in love with it. In fact, we were so impressed with the module, that when we heard there would be a Monotropa II, we did not hesitate buying it immediately.

If you would like to pick up the Monotropa II or any other Reverse Landfill modules/kits, you can do so by visiting the Reverse Landfill ETSY shop (tell him we sent ya!). In the end, this module is actually one of our faves due to its uniqueness, low cost and its overall brutality.

If you have questions about the build process or suggestions/feedback about this article, feel free to let us know by contacting us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Until the next build …

~ f i N

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