Reverse Landfill Veratrum - DIY Build
Reverse Landfill’s modules never cease to amaze us and lo and behold they have done it again with the Veratrum; a noise and texture voice with brutal chaos. What is it you ask?
The Veratrum was a intership project between Reverse Landfill‘s own Martijn Verhallen and Freek / FRUKU. It took over 4 months to develop and in the end the Veratrum Noise Module was born.
Veratrum contains 5 oscillators that go through a “pseudo” ring modulator and this in turn creates chaotic drones and swarming sounds. It has 2 audio outputs (square swarm & filtered) and one LFO output which when used at really low frequencies, blips and clicks seemingly are on the attack.
The Reverse Landfill Veratrum eurorack module also features two touch pads that control the volume and pitch of two oscillators. Its unique look and cryptic control surface mirror that of its brethren modules produced by Reverse Landfill. Now let’s get on with the build shall we?
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 buying of the Veratrum.
Of course, we are here for you as well if you have any questions while building the module. Just hit us up on our Contact Page.
Stand and Resist…
To start the build, we separated out all of the individual components that were ordered from the BOM. The BOM and build guide are available in the links above as well as on the Reverse Landfill site. Usually, resistors are mounted lying down… this is not the case with the resistors on the Veratrum. The resistors need to be placed “standing up” or bent on one end and straight on the other (as you can see from the completed rear photo).
If you are unsure about the value of the resistors, either break out your trusty multimeter or use a digital component tester to double check values. Martijn also provided a resistor placement guide (linked above and on the RL site) to give a visual representation of where the resistors need to be mounted.
Features and Specifications:
- 3x Saw wave VCO with frequency pots and CV input jacks with offset potentiometers
- 2x Saw wave VCO with 2 touchpad controls (enable + pitch)
- 1x LFO (Ramp, Saw, Triangle) with rate control potentiometer and jack output
- 1x Vactrol lowpass filter with CV input jack
- 1x Swarm output (square wave like)
- 1x Filtered out (triangle like)
After the resistors have all been placed, tack them down and move onto the diodes paying special attention to their orientation/polarity. Diodes can be soldered from the top down since there is plenty of room to access the pads. You also want to make sure that you do not leave your iron on the diodes for very long as it can damage the part.
Once the diodes have been completed move onto the electrolytic capacitors since their polarity matters as well. Pay attention to the silkscreen to see which way the negative side (the side with the white stripe) faces. Tack these down and move onto the normal caps and the box cap. Since orientation doesn’t matter on these parts, simply place them and solder them into place.
Reverse Landfill Veratrum- Time Lapse Build
IC Sockets and Transistors…
Solder the 3x 14pin IC sockets to IC1, IC2 and U1. Make sure to take care and orientate them properly. The notch on one end should match the silkscreen layout. It helps to first solder the 2 opposite pins and then check to see if the socket is aligned flat to the pcb. If it is not, press down slightly on the socket and reheat the pins; it will click into place. Finish up the IC’s by tacking down the rest of the pins.
Builders Note: Do not place the IC’s yet. This will be the last thing you do so you don’t fry them.
The orientation of the transistors is VERY important. When you get to this section of the build, things can be a tight fit on the board. Make sure to take your time and watch your iron orientation as you start to navigate the new components with the previously mounted components.
Intermission … Take a break … grab a cold beverage…
Next up we move onto the vactrol and the trim pot. The trim pot is quick and easy. It simply just needs to match the silkscreen and you can tack it down and move on. As for the vactrol, you will use the LED and the LDR. You can use heat shrink or electrical tape to wrap around the touching heads of the components. (The important thing here is that there is little to no light coming into the merged parts).
Once you have made the vactrol, you can solder it in place at the bottom left side of the pcb. Just make sure you note that the long leg of the LED goes in the LED+ hole and the short leg of the LED in the LED- hole. Messing this up with cause a major headache when it comes to isolating any issues with the build.
Veratrum Build Gallery
Give me the POWA! … oh yeah!
Insert the 10-pin shrouded header into its reseting place. This part also has an orientation; one side is open and one is not. Make sure the open end of the header matches the silkscreen marking on the pcb.
An easy way to mount the header flush is to solder one pin and check if the header is aligned correctly. If not, slightly press the header and reheat the pin. It should click into place if you do this correctly and now you can finish up tacking down the rest of the pins.
Potentiometers, jacks and that tiny switch…
Flip the PCB over and place the jacks one at a time. We soldered the ground pin on each one of the jacks just to keep the them in place while placing the panel. This allows for some “wiggle” room when you are trying to place everything and mount the panel.
After the jacks have been placed, grab the pots and the switch. Place these according to the PCB and then set the panel on top of the pots/jacks/switch. At this point in the build, you will want to use a couple of the jack nuts and the pot nuts to hold the panel in place as you flip it over to solder every thing. Lastly, remove the nuts and then the panel and set it aside.
Wrapping it all up… Touch pads and Panel
On the backside of the panel you will see 4 pads (labeled Pad1, Pad2, etc) towards the lower center of the panel. Flow solder onto these pads to help prep them to mount 4 individual wires. Once you have the solder blob ready on each pad, grab your wire and cut about 1 inch or 1.5 inches of wire. You will strip the ends of each wire so that you can tack these down onto the panel and the PCB.
Builders Note: To make soldering wire easier, it helps to tin the ends of the wire after you strip them.
Hold the wire and quickly heat the solder blob while pushing the wire into place. Once it cools, move onto the next pad. Rinse… repeat until all 4 pads on the panel have wires hanging out of them. Bring the PCB close to the panel wires and solder the other ends of the wire into the respective holes on the PCB. Be careful not to “overflow” the solder or melt the other wire due to leaving your iron in one place too long. Time to finish this up.
IC and Knobs
While you have the panel off, it’s time to place the ICs. We used our IC leg bender tool to make quick haste of getting the legs of the IC where they need to be. Once they are bent at a 90 degree, you can pop them into their matching sockets. Careful not to mess up the orientation of the ICs, as it can damage the module. After the IC’s have been placed, set the front panel back onto the module, paying special attention to the wires that are attached to the touch plate solder pads.
Tighten down the nuts on both the jacks and the pots so that the panel is in its final resting place. We used our Synth DIY tool set to ensure that the nuts were tight and secure. These are available over at our ETSY shop and come in very handy if you want to not scratch your panels when tightening things down.
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 suggest ordering a lot more knobs for future Reverse Landfill builds!
Reverse Landfill Veratrum - Final Thoughts...
As mentioned at the beginning of the build, we have a very special place for Reverse Landfill modules. Their unique sound and design are something that really stand out in one’s case. The Veratrum is no exception. It’s brutal…. let me say that again… it’s brutal. Touch plates on the module gives the performer a more intimate interaction.
While we haven’t had a lot of time to really get to know the Reverse Landfill Veratrum, we can say that we are so glad we have had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand. The Veratrum is going to be one of our “go-to” modules by Reverse Landfill and we know that its uniqueness will be cherished on many tracks to come. One thing is for sure (and we have said it before)… we can’t seem to get enough of modules made by Reverse Landfill into our racks!
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 …