Tag: synth DIY guy

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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Cereal Instruments ‘thump’ – DIY Build

Cereal Instruments 'thump' - DIY Build

Cereal Instruments - THUMP - Completed Front

Cereal Instruments ‘thump’ allows you to send two signals through a gritty vactrol amp with low pass gate modes & plenty of gain/distortion. Sounds cool huh? We thought so too and thought it only made sense that the ‘thump’ was our next build. One thing to note is that the ‘thump’ is unlike its brethren kin with regard to power. It is Cereal Instruments first active module, meaning it requires power to operate unlike the ‘mesh’ or ‘swerve’.

The ‘thump’s aesthetics are a matte black panel with orange knobs and white silkscreen give the modules their own unique look. The PCBs that Cereal Instruments uses are excellent quality. They soak up solder like a sponge grabs water. This makes for a stress free build. Speaking of the build, the ‘thump’ would be recommended for intermediate builders and above.

Novice builders could struggle with some of the tight spaces, double PCB layout and the giant pot/switch that needs to be wired in a specific manner in order to get the correct switching.

Let the soldering begin…

Since there are 2 PCBs, start with the logic board first. This is the one that doesn’t have the jack/pot mounting spaces (that is the control board). Resistors, diodes and caps were first up (one cap will be placed on the control board). We used top down soldering instead of bottom soldering due to the ease of access. After these were tacked down, the IC sockets were next. 

Dab one pad with solder and then line up the IC socket with the holes. Heat up the solder and lightly push the IC socket into the melted solder. This will hold everything in place when you turn the control board over and complete the IC socket soldering.  

The main power header is next followed by the standoffs and the electrolytic cap. This capacitor is soldered on the backside of the logic board.  Lastly, attach a wire from the top CV jack pad to the outer CB pot pad as shown in the photo below.

Detailed - Install Wire
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Cereal Instruments ‘mesh’ – DIY Build

Cereal Instruments 'mesh' - DIY Build

Tailgating off the last build, we take on the Cereal Instruments ‘mesh’ module. Another passive module in the Cereal Instruments lineup, the ‘mesh’ is actually 6 attenuators. ‘Mesh’ allows you to passively, mix, mult and attenuate in a small 8hp size.  

Now, this might seem like overkill on attenuators, but think back about the last time you actually needed one and you didn’t have one. This is a utility module with purpose, much like the other modules produced by our newcomer friends at CI. 

Mesh - PCB quote

Another cool thing about the Cereal Instruments ‘mesh’ is that each of the rows set of 3 inputs are normalized together so that they can actually act as an attenuative passive mult. Read that again, that is cool. Let’s not stop there though. The columns on the ‘mesh’ have their top outputs normalized to the bottom, allowing you to mix the top and the bottom rows when nothing is plugged into the top.  With this being said, you now may be wondering what exactly an attenuator does.

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Cereal Instruments ‘swerve’ – DIY Build

Cereal Instruments 'swerve' - DIY Build

swerve - completed front

Cereal Instruments is back with another module and this one is known simply as ‘swerve’. The ‘swerve’ is considered a novice build with its layout consisting of 1 potentiometer and 8 jacks. Each of the top jacks can be switched by the any one of the three below it. A simple turn of the rotary switch and the signal quickly changes. 

But what is this module used for? This module can be used to route cv to different inputs to control the output of the signal. It can be used for vibrato, cutoffs, a signal & hold and many other applications including a straight input to 3x output.  Cereal Instruments ‘swerve’ is also self patchable so that you can reroute signals almost as a bus within your rack. One thing is for sure is that this little 4HP module is very versatile and for a passive module, its circuitry is simple and yet complex. Let us get on with the build shall we?

Let’s get on with the build shall we?

For this build we utilized top down soldering for the beginning and bottom side soldering for the latter. Start by setting everything out and separating all of the components so that they are easily accessible and easy to find. The jacks are up first.

Place the jacks in line on the PCB making sure to line them up correctly with the circuit. We have included a PDF of the document that comes with the kit in case you need a quick reference. It can be found in the links below. 

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