Tag: tools

Reverse Landfill Pentamix – DIY Build

Reverse Landfill Pentamix - DIY Build

Reverse Landfill’s unique approach to modular synthesis is something that they are becoming known for. Their cryptic silkscreens on their panels also makes for some interesting patching if one is unfamiliar with the modules. The Pentamix is one of Martijn’s newer modules that helps bring all of the other Reverse Landfill modules together.

A 5-channel audio mixer, the Pentamix’s real magic happens when you patch the inverted output and use the another output to send out to an effect and then back again into the Pentamix.

With its 555 pentagram, this mixer brings a new dimension to ones rack… but enough about the module, let’s get onto the build… 

Resistors and Diodes...

Start with the resistors on this build. There are not very many of them (12 to be exact) and their polarity doesn’t matter. Each resistor set is marked so its easy to figure out what goes where if you can read a BOM.  You can find all of the Pentamix’s documentation on the Reverse Landfill website for quick reference. 

Diodes are next and one thing we love about Martijn’s modules is the extra power protection. The diodes (x2) will protect your module if the power is reversed for any reason. The 2x resistors next to the diodes are there for extra protection. One thing to know about diodes is that their polarity does matter. You want to be sure that the black line on the diode lines up with the silkscreen on the PCB. A quick tack down of these and its time to move onto the IC sockets and caps. 


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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