Waveform Magazine Project 4 - Catwalk - DIY Build
As the latest Waveform Magazine hit both the digital and home mailboxes, we were anxious to see the gang had come up with for their latest DIY module. We had the opportunity to build, review and share all of the previous Waveform Magazine projects in previous months and needless to say our curiosity was struck by the new packaging of Project 3 – The Switchenator.
As you can see in our Switchenator build photos, the header card/packaging of the module listed all 3 of the previous projects (PT2399 Delay, Gateway Oscillator and The Switchenator)… but the card had another listing. What could the Catwalk be? Was the Catwalk the notorious “Project 4”? Could this be a clue to the next module or DIY project this amazing magazine has developed? The simple answer is yes! Ladies and gentlemen, Waveform Magazine has presented us with Project 4 – The Catwalk.
The Catwalk? What the?….
Let’s start with the most relevant question about the project… the name. What is a Catwalk? Well, according to Merriam-Webster, the by standard definition of a catwalk is “a narrow walkway (as along a bridge)”. With that being said, how does this relate to modular synths?
The Waveform Magazine Catwalk series takes up no HP and acts as a bridge between modules. Talk about simple and yet absolutely genius. Time to break down what each portion of the project is and start building…
Catwalk Multiple (MULT)
Multiples… buffered, passive, switched and so on and so forth. The world of modular synthesis is full of multiples. They are a staple in any modular system and are often referred to a necessity with regard to patching. Like any module, they take up space and sometimes that space can be very valuable.
The Catwalk Mult, allows the use of a passive mult while avoiding taking up any space. How? Well, it simply mounts over the top/bottom of other modules rack screws.
* NOTE * Catwalk Multiple build starts at approx. 0.38 sec into the time lapse video. The Catwalk Mini Mult is the first portion.
When we started building the module, we were curious on how it was going to mount using the standoffs. Waveform did an excellent job providing their assembly instructions and guide. The build was quick as you can see from our time lapse. Mount the jacks to the longer PCB and tack down the middle leg of each jack to hold them in place.
Next, flip the module over and place the panel of the jacks to help line everything up. Screw down the nuts, flip the board and tack down the rest of the legs on the jacks. Thats it. You are done.
The Final Outcome
When it comes to mounting, locate an area on the top of your modules or at the bottom of the modules. You will need about 17-20HP to mount the Catwalk.
Upon finding the right spot, remove the screws from the modules that are mounted to the rack and replace them with the provided nylon standoffs. (Be careful not to over-tighten as the base of the standoff can break off in the sliding nut or nut strip).
After the standoffs are installed, place the Catwalk over the top and use the provided washers and screws to mount the Catwalk to the standoffs. It is important to use the washers because they help provide support for the mounting hardware, (so don’t leave those out!).
At this point, you are ready to rock, or patch as we say in the modular world!
Catwalk Mini Mult
As we completed the Catwalk Mult in its entirety, we were stoked to see yet another couple of small boards in the package. Waveform Magazine not only thought about the standard sized passive multiple, but they threw in a bonus with a Mini Mult. This Catwalk Mini Mult is half the size of a standard passive. (approx. 12 to 14HP vs 17 to 20HP).
As for the build, the Mini Mult of the Catwalk is a copy “cat” of the standard multiple aforementioned (except its half the size). There are 4 jacks, 1 small panel and a little bit longer PCB. Like before, Waveform also included standoffs for case mounting.
Step 1, Step 2 and so on and so forth...
To build this mini mult, start by mounting the jacks to the PCB board (the longer one) and carefully flip the board over. Use tape to hold the jacks in place or you can be find the right angle to carefully flip the PCB over.
At this point, it’s time to solder the middle leg of the 3 legs. This will keep the jacks in place as you mount the Catwalk panel (the smaller board). After placing the panel and making sure everything is lined up, place the nuts on the jacks and flip the board over and finish tacking down the remaining legs.
Now, onto finding the perfect mounting location and placing the standoffs.
Mini Multiple: A Closer Look.
Important: Take your time when you are mounting the Catwalk modules. The standoff’s provided are made of nylon and can easily strip or break off if they are over torqued (i.e. use care and caution here).
For the third Catwalk module in this months DIY set, Waveform Magazine designed a ribbon controller to bring chaos and triggers to your modular synth.
Unlike most ribbon controllers, this one utilizes an LED so the signal is visually present. Also, unique to this controller is the “scratch” pad… check it out!
How is this thing powered?
The Ribbon is passive but it requires “power” from a voltage source. It doesn’t plug into a busboard or power supply. It receives “power” from an LFO, an oscillator or even a voltage output control module.
The Catwalk Ribbon has 3 jacks, a couple resistors, 1 LED, some wire, a PCB, panel, a soft pot slider, some fancy sticky ribbon to cover the soft pot and all mounting hardware. The assembly is also pretty straight forward. Start with the LED and solder it down to the “long” board (the PCB).
Pay special attention to the fact that it has to be bent at a 90 degree angle and that the short leg goes into the square hole on the board. This is essential due to polarity.
Putting it all together
Set the jacks on the PCB and do not solder anything yet. You want to place the panel on the top of the jacks and tighten down the nuts to keep the panel in place. This is to help keep things in place prior to soldering.
Once the jack nuts are hand tightened, flip the module over and tack down the jacks. Upon completing this step, remove the panel (nuts) and grab the short wire that was sent with the kit. This wire is thin so be careful when you are placing it.
Solder the wire into the hole to the left of the resistors marked “Paw”. The other end of the wire will be soldered onto the underside silver circle pad on the top of the PCB.
Optional: If you are wanting the Catwalk to look more presentable, make sure the silver ribbon tape is cut at 90 degrees on one end. If not, cut to 90 degrees. That 90 degree end will be placed away from the pins on the soft pot slider.
You want to carefully peel and adhere to the top of the soft pot. Start at the end opposite the pins, and when you get close to 1/4” away from the pins, cut off the excess.
Ribbon Build Gallery
Next, feed the ribbon through the rectangle slot on the top of the PCB with the cat paw on it and place the 3 legs into the solder holes/points. Do not solder anything yet. To help hold everything in place, screw the nuts back onto the jacks. The moment of no return is now upon you.
Carefully peel off the backing of the soft pot ribbon and starting from the rectangular hole, work your way down the ribbon/panel. Take your time to make sure it’s centered, straight and that your soft pot legs remain in their respective solder holes..
Once the ribbon is placed and in its resting point, flip the board and solder down the legs. Be quick on the soldering of the ribbon legs as too much heat can melt the ribbon itself (ie. rendering it useless).
Mounting it all up...
Now that you have completed the Waveform Magazine Catwalk Ribbon module, it’s time to mount it in your case. Being that this is a longer module, you are going to have to around 35-37 HP available (you might have to rearrange some things).
To mount the module, remove the two screws from the modules that you want to mount the Ribbon on. Set these aside and grab the 6mm standoffs that were supplied. The 10mm standoff will go between the two Catwalk panels to help give leverage when mounting. Again, make sure to use the supplied washer and place it between the 6mm standoff and the PCB (under the 10mm standoff).
Basically, the right side mounting breaks down like this .. working down from the top of the module:
— screw — Catwalk Panel — 10mm standoff — Catwalk PCB — washer — 6mm standoff —
Be careful not to over-tighten like mentioned previously in the Mult installs. The nylon standoffs can snap if they are torqued down too much. (You could replace the mounting hardware that was supplied, but you would have to find that at a speciality store).
Once everything is mounted and in place, it’s time to play. As mentioned previously the Catwalk Ribbon can be powered by an LFO, an offset voltage or another source of voltage. This is patched into the “POWER” jack on the farthest left. After powering the module, you can patch your output to the “paw” jack and the “ribbon” jack acts as the voltage out so that you can patch into other modules.
The Final Words…
Mult & Mini Mult:
Multiples, multiples and more multiples… we can’t get enough. As a staple in every modular system, the multiple is something that many of us rely on to move signals across our systems. The Waveform Magazine MULT and Mini Mult are no different in that they do the same with signals. The bonus to each of these passives is that they do not require any space in your rack! I can’t stress how unique and actually “thoughtful” of Waveform this is.
The design is a nice matte black and the silver accents of the modules blends in perfectly with the previous DIY projects from Waveform. The builds were quick and easy which is most passive mults are. This is a must have for any system. Period.
The Cats Ribbon:
The Catwalk Ribbon is just fun. From the short amount of time that we have had with the module, we have been able to use it as a trigger, a waveshaper and even gate. As the Ribbon is also in the passive family, it does require an input for power. We simply just patched an LFO into it and off we went. The LED is a cool way to see what is going on with the signal too.
The design is like its brethren kin, the Mult and Mini Mult with its matte black and silver accents. The Ribbon is a “long” module/tool, in that it does take up some cross space in your rack. Even though it doesn’t take up space mounting in the regular 3U territory, it requires around 35-37HP to mount. You might have to rearrange a few things, but trust us, its WORTH IT.
Waveform Magazine has done it yet again with its Catwalk series. This project is innovative, inspiring and thoughtful of them as rack space is very cherished by artists. As we wind up our review and build guide, we have to say thanks to the gang at WF. We can’t wait to see what the next project is!
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 …