Tag: synth DIY

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. 


Zlob Modular Diode Chaos – DIY Build

Zlob Modular Diode Chaos - DIY Build

Tailgating off the Triple Chaos, we decided to pick up the Zlob Modular Diode Chaos due to the uniqueness of this module. The Diode Chaos is a 3HP analog low frequency voltage generator that is packed full of chaos. The module is based on a circuit from a paper called “A Simple Chaotic Circuit With Light Emitting Diode” written by Volos, Wang, Jafari and Kapitanik. 

What makes this module really unique is its “Trig Out”. The trigger is not a standard “trigger out” in that it has an exponential rise and fall to its peak. This means that it cannot trigger every module out there because some modules are looking for a perfectly squared off edge in their rise. 

An example of this is if you pair the Diode Chaos with Maths. Maths cannot handle the trigger coming into the Trig In, but it can accept the signal into its Gate In. Unusual? Yeah, we thought so too. It was time to get on with the build!

About the kit ...

Zlob Modular 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.  

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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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