Saturday, March 30, 2013

My DIY-Tools

While i am still waiting for parts for an upcoming DIY-project, i thought it would be a good idea to show you the DIY-equipment that i work with.
I don't use any expensive professional type tools, everything here can be bought on a budget, and upgraded if you have the money.
So far i have done all my modifications/expansions with this set of tools.

My main tools for DIY-projects

My soldering-iron is a 30W Velleman electrical soldering-iron without temperature-control.
I know some people prefer temperature-control because some of the components can be sensitive to high temperatures, but
so far i haven't damaged anything... ;-)

Wire, soldering-tin in 2 different sizes,
a de-soldering pump and a lighter.
I have 2 different sizes of lead-free soldering-tin, both with a low melting-point.
The thinnest one is 0.7 mm and i use that for the more delicate soldering-points.
I use the slightly thicker (1 mm) tin thread mainly for making connections (i.e. soldering a wire to a switch)
I hardly use the spring-loaded desoldering-pump on the lower left side of the pictures.
It can be used for removing old solder off a PCB.

The needle-nose pliers in the first picture are used to cut wire and for all kind of other purposes: bending, mounting and de-mounting the knobs and mini-jacks from the frontpanel.

The red and black wire is used for making the connections.
Although i have (many) more colors, i seem to end up using almost only these two colors.
I strip the ends of the wires with a lighter before use.
I don't need another special tool for that... ;-)

6-Piece precision screwdriver set
The 6-piece precision screwdriver set is also unmissable for me.
The different sizes make it perfect for any job.
From de- and re-mounting modules to trimming potentiometers on the PCBs, i use them for almost anything.

I learned most of the basics about DIY and soldering off the internet.
There are many how-to videos to find on YouTube and Wikipedia is filled with all the information you'll ever require.
Besides that there are a lot of books available about this topic.

A suggested read :

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Darkness: Doepfer MAQ16/3 Dark Edition

It seems that Doepfer is extending their successful  'Dark'-product-range even more with their latest announcement.
A new version of the MAQ16/3 MIDI Analog Sequencer will be black and feature Dark Energy-style knobs.
There's not much additional info, but i guess the inside of this fantastic sequencer will stay the same.

It looks great, and this is not the first time that a black MAQ will be available, but those models had the same style of knobs of the original MAQ, only in black...

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

New Doepfer A-157 Pictures / Dark Flow Announced

Doepfer posted their latest design and a bit more info on the upcoming A-157 (Mini Schaltwerk) Trigger Sequencer Subsystem modules on their website.
Hopefully the finished modules will be shown later at MusikMesse this year (10th-13th of May in Frankfurt, Germany)

A-157-1 Mini Schaltwerk design
The name 'Mini Schaltwerk' seems appropriate now, because it does look a lot like it's larger Schaltwerk brother.

" The LED/button matrix module A-157-1 is the core of the subsystem.
It is used to set or reset the trigger event on each of the 16 steps of each of the 8 rows.
The trigger output module A-157-2 outputs the 8 trigger signals and has an LED display for each trigger.
We will probably add a mute button or mute switch for each row that allows to turn the trigger output off/on independent for each row.
In the final version the modules A-157-1 and A-157-2 will be probably merged into one module only because both modules are essential for the subsystem.

The module A-157-1/2 (or the merged module that will contain both units) can be connected to a simple control module or a more sophisticated control module which is planned for the future (similar to the A-155 and A-154 conceptual design where the A-155 includes a simple control unit that can be replaced by the A-154 which offers a lot of additional functions).

At the beginning a simple control module A-157-3 similar to the A-155 control unit will be available.
It offers only the functions clock, start/stop and reset (both with manual controls and control inputs).
For this standard control unit the tempo (clock) is the same for all 8 rows, the direction is forward and the length of each row is 16.

We also plan a more complex control module A-157-4 that allows additional functions like 128 memories for trigger sequences, different clock/start/stop/reset for 2 or 4 groups of rows (e.g. common for rows 1-4 and 5-8, or in pairs), independent first/last step for each row, independent direction (forward/backward/pendulum/random) for each row, one-shot mode, LC display and so on.
But these ideas are very preliminary and we will have to find out which functions are essential."

Doepfer also mentions that there are also plans for an A-157 stand-alone version adapted to the design of Dark Energy and Dark Time with the same case dimensions and wooden side panels (provisional name "Dark Flow")

Release date: ~ fall 2013 (only A-157-1 ... 3, so far there is no release date available for the planned module A-157-4 and the stand-alone unit Dark Flow !)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Blue LED Lights MIDI Controlled using a Doepfer MTC 64

James Bragg, member of the Doepfer Yahoo Usergroup recently shared his latest project.
He has just finished his 16-LED light-panel using a Doepfer MTC64 MIDI-to-Contact board.

The MTC64 is an universal MIDI interface that converts up to 64 succeeding MIDI note on/off or program change messages into 64 TTL voltages (0/+5V).
The TTL outputs of the MTC64 can be used to control different switching functions. 
With suitable drivers (e.g. switching transistors) relays, lamps, motors, electromagnets, even magnetic valves and so on can be controlled.

James only used 16 of the 64 switching contacts.
He explains: " When playing synth live I use an Akai  MPC1000 sampler for backing beats and I wanted to synchronize lighting with it."
In the video he shows how it is all made.

Video: Blue LED Lights MIDI Controlled using a Doepfer MTC64

" A project using a Doepfer board to Midi Control LED lights. We're going to use this for our band Phoenix-Flare so the lights can be synced perfectly to the Drum Machine "
Uploaded by James Bragg
Subscribe on YouTube: hyperdust7

Friday, March 22, 2013

Random Videos by Daniel Hofer

On a new YouTube channel by Daniel Hofer, a lot of interesting Doepfer-videos are popping up.
Mainly just wild audio-demonstrations without voice-over, but with very interesting sounds and great audio quality too.
Sadly the descriptions are in German, but i did a rough translation of them all... where possible ;-)

Video 1: 1.3.13 space 02
" Quantised RVnoise dynamically shaped with the DSP Effects-Module from Doepfer.
Inverted Shape + Original "

Video 2: 16.3.13 Resonanz Gate to QVR to VCF

" QVR from doepfer controlled by Gate, controlling the Filter Frequency from the A-108 "

Video 3: 25.2.13 SH Cmp Morp
" 2 LFO Signals into Comperator, Signal Out in Trigger in of the ADSR, VCO1+2 to FM morphing over Offset "
All videos by Daniel Hofer, 
subscribe to his YouTube channel HERE

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MAQ16/3 FracRak Breakout Box

MAQ 16/3 FracRak breakout panels
Not every-one finds it practical that the Doepfer MAQ16/3 Sequencer has all its connections on the backside of the module.
Especially when you change your setup a lot, you don't want to climb behind your 19"-rack to change patch-cables every time.

Of course there are always people who have figured out a solution for this.

This MAQ breakout panel that i found in an old Matrixsynth post came with a pair of custom made FracRak breakout panels to bring the MIDI jacks and the 1/8" Voltage Control and Gate jacks to the front of your FracRak panel for easy patching.
These would have fit perfectly next to your Paia modules for example.
It also had the necessary cables to connect to these panels from the back of the MAQ16/3.

Sideview of theMAQ 16/3 FracRak
breakout panels
According to the maker these panels were not cheap to put together. (Try pricing the 2 MIDI panel mount barrels and even the 6 panel mount 1/8" barrels)

Theoretically it is possible to make such breakout panels for a Eurorack system.
The CV and Gate outputs would fit easily on one of those 8HP wide pre-drilled blank panels (A-180-style) that Doepfer sells as spare parts. 
You can even put in a few extra switches for your own maximized customization experience. Your limit is your imagination.

Personally, I have long CV (red coded cables) and Gate (blue) wires coming out of my MAQ16/3 that come into my Eurorack system through multiple A-180 Multiples modules, but i can see the benefits of this module.
It might be worth investigating the possibilities of a Eurorack breakout panel a little more for a future blogpost.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Random Video: Improvisation XXXII by Andreas Krebs:

Andreas Krebs, blogger at and writer of the Big A-100 Book (still only available in the German language) uploaded an impressive 26-minute long video of his latest improvisational piece... Enjoy!

Video: Andreas Krebs: Improvisation XXXII

"Andreas Krebs: Improvisation XXXII "Wind Horse" 20.02.2013
Instruments: Doepfer A-100, GForce ImpOSCar2 "

Find more about Andreas HERE

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Doepfer Pre-MusikMesse 2013 Announcements

Dieter Doepfer made a few announcements today about the upcoming new modules and about the MusikMesse 2013, that will be held from the 10th to the 13th of April 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany.

I'm looking most forward to the new A-157 Mini Schaltwerk prototypes, i cant wait until the are finished.:
Doepfer stated that they " ...will hopefully show the "large" version of the trigger sequencer A-157/miniature Schaltwerk (8 rows with 16 steps each).
The 8x16 button/LED board is ready but I cannot guarantee that the controller board will be also ready for the Musikmesse."

One of the earlier
A-190-5 prototypes
They will also show the prototype of the new version of the A-190-5 Polyphonic USB/Midi-to-CV/Gate Interface (with LCD) and the A-190-8 USB/Midi-to-Sync Interface at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt.
These modules will be available about summer 2013. 

The other news:

The small version of the multiple A-180 is available in April 2013 (2 HP only, name: A-180-2)

The module A-171-2 (licensed copy of the Serge/CGS VCS) will be available about end of April or early in May 2013.
(It will be interesting to see how the Serge's new deal with TipTop works out - expect a surge of Serge for your Eurorack this year /PP)

A-171-2 Serge
Slew Limiter
The re-designed A-130 (linear VCA) is now delivered with a precision VCA circuit (SSM2164) instead of the CA3080).
The new A-130 is DC-coupled.

The re-designed A-131 (exponential VCA) is now delivered also with an improved VCA circuit (high end THAT VCA circuit instead of the CA3080).
The new A-131 is also DC-coupled.

The A-135 will be available from about May 2013 in a revised version with DC coupling of the signals and single outputs, i.e. it can be used also as 4 separate linear VCAs with manual gain, CV in with attenuator and signal in with attenuator.
Because of the DC coupling it can be used also for modulation signal processing (i.e. voltage controlled mixing of control signals).

So, a lot of updates, can't wait to see the first pictures of the A-157 combo coming from MusikMesse.
Are you going to MusikMesse this year and want to contribute pictures to PatchPierre.Net?
Feel free to contact me via the comments, email or Twitter, thanks in advance!

Doepfer DIY Synth for Eurorack

I have a lot of respect for the DIY/synth community and their inventivity.
A Google alert notified me about this module, a Doepfer DIY-synth built into a skiff-friendly 42 TE wide Eurorack panel... the smallest one i have seen so far.
For those of you interested, it is still for sale on eBay...

"Doepfer DIY synth for Eurorack format
Fully patchable complete modular analog synth.
Size 42TE (213 mm) / Skiff friendly

The module has:
30 Patch points (3,5 Euro standard jacks)
27 Potentiometers
plus 2 switches and 2 LEDs for ADSR and LFO

You get:
A VCO, Multimode filter (LowPass, HighPass and mixed mode), LFO (trangle and rectangle), ADSR, inverter, slew (portamento)
Each with several attennuators and parameters not normally seen in other modules."

Auction ends on the 15th of March - find it on eBay HERE

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Alternative Controllers: Dmitry Shtatnov's Wob-Wob Fader

Dmitry Shtatnov uploaded a nice video from his latest DIY-project/invention.
He created a CV-source module that consists of an 8 HP front-panel with two faders, two separate mini-jack outputs and a switch.

Dmitry's Wob-Bob fader
The faders generate CV voltages, and each fader has its own output.
A switch is added to select between (regular) fader mode and so-called wob-wob mode with a 0V.-centre in the middle.
I must say it does create a nice effect, and IMO not only suitable for making Dub-Step...

Dmitry even shares the schemetics if you're interested in this project, contact him via his site or via YouTube.

Video: Wob-Wob Filter
" This short demonstration shows my little invention: CV-source dedicated for Dub-Step drops. Unlike regular fader, this one has its maximal value on the middle position. Schematics available. It's very simple and it's free for non-commercial use.
You can get schematic here:
R2 and R3 can be replaced with 4.7k to increase the sweep width."
Uploaded by rpocc

As an alternative you could also use the A-174-2 Modulation Wheels CV Source for this.
This module has 2 wheels, and comes standard as one spring loaded wheel with bipolar voltage output, and one wheel without spring with only positive voltage output as a standard.
For each wheel two jumpers are available: one for the voltage range (positive or bipolar) and one for the voltage plateau around 0 V.
Another option to re-create this effect would be with an A-174(-1) Joystick module...

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Using a Doepfer A-145 LFO as Swing Generator

I have decided to make a few short tutorials for the blog with relatively basic tips for your modular synthesizer.

The first video in this series shows how you can use an LFO as alternative 'Swing Generator'
I used a Doepfer A-145 LFO to show the principle.
The A-145 can do a great job as a (continuous) envelope generator, especially when using the reversed saw-tooth wave.

In the video the TB-303 is playing, the A-100 is playing the same pattern via the TB-303's CV Output.
The Gate from the TB-303 is fed into the Reset In on the A-145 so each time this module receives a Gate signal, it starts a new cycle.
Slow LFO cycles (Low mode) will result in longer envelopes and faster LFO's will result in interesting (swinging) rhythmical discoveries.

Video: Using an A-145 LFO as Swing Generator by PatchPierre

" Short PatchPierre Tutorial
Equipment used: Doepfer A-100, Roland TB-303, Machinedrum "

Uploaded by PatchPierre (subscribe!)

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Doepfer A-118 Extra Random Output Modification

A-118 front panel,
secured and ready
for drilling
In preparation for the next #ModularBattle round, i figured out i had to do something to get a little bit more out of my pretty basic set of Doepfer Modules.

I decided to add an extra Random Output to my A-118 Noise/Random Voltage module, which was quite an easy job.

After i removed the knobs and the sockets i could remove the frontpanel of the module.
I mounted it on a flat piece of (old)wood, and secured it with two nails to avoid the frontpanel slipping away.
With a nail and a hammer i punched a small guide-hole for my drill, and drilled an extra hole for the new mini-jack connector.

To protect the front-plate, you can use an adhesive foil or (painter's) masking tape to cover the front, but if you drill very carefully, and don't wipe but blow the aluminium-scrapes off the module you'll be fine.

A-118 extra random output wiring
The new mini-jack connector was one that i ordered from Doepfer earlier (i have a big collection of mini-jack connectors, knobs and switches - they sell them seperately as spare parts) and the connection with the other random output was made with 2 pieces of wire and my soldering-iron.
The connection was as easy as it looks, and it looks like my soldering-skills are (slightly) improving...

Finished module with
extra random output
Don'be afraid for any CV-loss now that the signal has to be distributed over the two Random busses.
Doepfer confirmed to me that "this just works as a mini multiple and doesn't lower the CV"

Now that the modification is done, the module sends 2 similar (controllable) random voltages to both outputs that i can use for all kinds of purposes throughout my modular synthesizer.

For a modification that was done in less than an hour, it is a nice improvement...

The mods described on this site will most likely void any warranty and, if not done carefully, can damage the circuit board, IC chips, and faceplates.

"The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war." John Lyly's 'Euphues' (1578) #ModularBattle

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Gestural Control of Modular Synthesizer via Kinect by Robotmakers

A video by Robotmakers was uploaded to YouTube this weekend, showing another alternative way of controlling your modular with gestures.
Finally someone found out how to use the Microsoft Kinect system to control a (modular) synthesizer.

Kinect is a motion sensing input device by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 game console and Windows PCs, based around a webcam-style add-on peripheral. 
It enables users to control and interact with the PC or Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller or mouse, through a natural user interface using gestures.

Although this hack only converts the gestures to a MIDI signal, it can be easily converted into CV voltages with any simple MIDI-to-CV converter.
I predicted that this would be possible when the Kinect was announced in a post from January last year about Doepfer's Mogli glove
I didn't expect it would take this long before a video showing this would appear on YouTube though...
(or did i miss earlier attempts?)

Video: Gestural Control of Modular Synthesizer via Kinect

" Custom software enables gestural control using Kinect and PC. Hand movements in the X and Y axes are translated into MIDI signals which generate control voltages, allowing 2 dimensional morphing of waveforms in a "Morphing Terrarium" module, processed through modular moog.
Recorded in the superterranian lair of the Robotmakers. "
Uploaded by robotmakers

Also read the other blog-posts i wrote about touch-less gesture-control, like the Theremin, the Doepfer Mogli and the Wii-mote.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

PatchPierre Goes To Battle

You've probably heard and read about the ModularBattle challenge that was started by KlirrFaktor and Fi0cz a few weeks ago.
The rules are simple so far; Round one - one module only / Round 2 - two modules, and so on...
 - no external CV, click or audio - tracks no longer than 2 minutes - no additional edits or effects - track as video or audio.
I made quite a few videos so far, although i failed to enter my first video in time.
Starting from now on I will post them here on my own blog too...

Find all the other entries at
Follow ModularBattle on Twitter via the #ModularBattle hashtag

My #ModularBattle entries so far:

Video 1: Out of competition #ModularBattle Round 1 entry by PatchPierre

One module only - Doepfer A-127 Triple VC Resonance Filter

Video 2: PatchPierre Sells Seashells - #ModularBattle Round 2

Two modules only - Doepfer A-118 Noise/Random Voltage plus Doepfer A-106-1 Xtreme Filter

Video 3: Sonic Pointillism by PatchPierre - #ModularBattle Round 3

Three modules only - Doepfer A-118 Noise/Random Voltage plus Doepfer A-188-1 BBD plus Doepfer A-147 VCLFO modules

Video 4: Acid Ducks by PatchPierre - #ModularBattle Round 4

Four modules only - Doepfer A-118 Noise/RND + A-147 VCLFO + A-111 VCO2 + A-127 VCRF

My new entries will be added to this post later...

Next round - ModularBattle Round 5: The perfect drone
Here are the rules:
give us your perfect drone - modular only ^^ - track must be no longer than 3 minutes - no additional edits or effects - track as video or audio

Feel free enter next week's battle that has a deadline on the night of the 24th of March.
You may add your tracks with postings @ or, on Soundcloud or on Twitter with the hashtag #modularbattle