Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Build VII

Eyesight has returned after surgery and I'm still having trouble with the power.

Here is the wiring diagram from Doepfer (link).

The problem is that the -12v light comes on but the +12v light does not. Today I tried swapping a power unit from a small, empty  case (which had two lights on) to the Rack and the situation stayed the same - one light on the Rack, 2 in the case. I used the same power cord and concluded that the problem must be the three inches of wiring from the XLR socket to the Doepfer unit, but that seems to be ok.

The quest continues.
I might install the Livewire Collection in one of the old cases.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Friday, 25 September 2015

Build V

Previous - Subsequent

I am adding a shelf below the desk to hold all the transformers. After that, it's on with the power supply for the main unit.

[29 Sep] Progress with the power to the main unit.

[3 Oct] Link to Doepfer instructions, including a wiring diagram.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Build IV

Previous - Subsequent

Back from Wales, first coat of varnish on.
While in Wales I bagged an XIX 1902 on eBay for £27.45. Just the 1901 to get (see previous post).

Bought a Pittsburgh Sequencer for the Dream Machine, but that's another blog.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Build III

Previous - Subsequent

Good progress today.
Woodwork completed on all the sections, plus wood stain, varnish next.
Power supply to the main unit started.
And I chopped the excess shelf off the desk yesterday.

Snap to follow, might manage a little more tomorrow night but off to Wales for a few days then.

The Pittsburgh micro arrived. It is lovely but the cheeks are seriously overpriced: nevertheless, its beauty is confirmed. I'll set it up to run while I finish the build.
I'm tempted to try a Dream Machine in the micro first.

Oops, this bit belongs in the main blog.

Monday, 14 September 2015


Gradual progress.

All good furniture should have an inscription.

The best piece of furniture ever, Rietveld's Red and Blue Chair, was inscribed,

Wenn Ich sitze, möchte Ich nicht
sitzen, wie Mein Sitzfleisch möchte
sondern wie Mein Sätzgeist sich,
saäze er, den Stuhl sich flöchte.

This is probably not too distant from Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit. Attributed to Milne, used by Courtney Barnett and much older than both.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Build II

Previous - Subsequent

74cm / 29" available in the garage. Minus 1" for clearance and ½" each for wood and end pieces, that's 26" rails. Work should recommence tomorrow (Fri 11th).

I am considering reducing the depth of one of the desk shelves to make patching easier. It's a shame to interfere with a work of art, but so it goes.

[11 Sep] The first stages of the three units have been built and are looking good.
Next, consider the power supplies. I have one Doepfer unit for the main box. I'll first plunder the existing setups for Zeuses, as I imagine the garage and top rail will use three of those.


main blog - old blog
Links: EMIS - Postmodular - SchneidersBuero - Thonk - MODULARgrid
Rubadub - clicksclocks -

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Supplies / Build

The first set of metal-cutting blades I ordered from Amazon seems to have gone astray. A second order (made yesterday) arrived today. Starting tomorrow or Tuesday.

[8 Sep] Four rails complete - I will not be sure of the width of the garage until the main unit is further along.
It looks as though 2+1 in one unit will be too cramped and so V1 will be two angled and the garage and the +1 separate.

Thursday, 3 September 2015


There is some sense of the tail wagging the dog here, but,
  • Thonk/Lamond end pieces don't fit my free rails,
  • I already have the end pieces I used in The Cupboard,
  • Those end blocks happen to be in the format of two pieces: four rails and two rails (that was done in order to get it into the cupboard),
  • It would therefore be easy to cut the rails to width and use the 2-rail end pieces for the garage, then cut the 4-rail down to 3-rail and use that for the main section.
  • Here's the compromise - using a straight 3-rail and rather than 2+1 would mean abandoning the elegant, classical 2 slopes and a straight (image from synthesisers.com)
Continuing the slope for three rails would, apart from aesthetic considerations, have practical consequences in that either the top rail would be very shallow or the garage would be too deep.

I shall have a ponder. I guess that if I have to cut the 4-rail end pieces anyway, I could cut them 2+1+1 rather than 3+1 and stick to the original design.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015


I have rails of two profiles, neither of which fit the Thonk/Lamond end piece.
So it goes.

But both are still workable-with and I will make a start tomorrow.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Sunday, 30 August 2015

I've found some squared paper

This is my first pass at the elegant profile of the rack.

I have more-or-less decided to integrate the three racks in the main unit rather than separate 2+1. This will mean restricting the depth of the garage and base unit but I think that is a price worth paying as it makes the most efficient use of the space available. In that case the the A154 Sequence Controller will not fit: so it goes, I don't have one yet and, in any case, sequencers are traditionally stored on the top shelf so if I get one, it can go there, alongside the Tiptop z8000.

I'm now waiting on the Lamond ends to check if they fit and then design more precisely.

I found the following in an old (2011) post on The Cupboard
  • start by identifying my top 10 modules(/groups), get those in place and work from there. Initial thoughts must be
    • Cwejman MX-4S
    • Livewire AFG and Dual Cyclotron
    • Metasonix R54
    • a brace of 109 Signal processors with associated ADSRs
    • the best three filters
    • the above rhythm unit (the Pittsburgh Timetable in the pipeline, get the µstep)
    • the best three output processors
    • the best three random note generators
    • the best VCOs (AFG and R54 above, must have the Plan B Model 15 VCO and Malekko anti-oscillator)
    • two sequencers
    • half a dozen [only half a dozen ?] Doepfer utility modules

It seems a reasonable starting point.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

I've found the rails


[29Aug15] I have six pairs of rails 36" wide plus insert strips. When I made The Cupboard, I fashioned my own end pieces out of slabs of aluminium which are unwieldy, slightly inaccurate and wasteful of HP. I am hoping that the perfectly-formed Lamond end-pieces will fit on my rails - I'll order a pair and even if they don't fit they will be useful sometime. The £200 saved by not buying new ones would nearly fund a Rene (well, more than half).

On the top shelf will go some XIX processors. They might not necessarily be used, but they look very pretty and complement the Mondrian/Rietveld desk. I already have the ME1903 and I'm on the lookout for the others (EH1901 and CP1902). SoS review.

[30Aug] I have ordered one pair of Lamond ends from Thonk (£16 including postage) and a set of metal-cutting blades from Amazon. I cannot start until I know whether the ends will fit and thus how wide to cut the rails. And I'm still waiting for the squared paper to rough-out the design. It has already been noted that the garage needs at least 80mm clearance for the deepest module: in addition to that, a patch cable needs an extra 35mm on top (rather more than the knobs) and a Tiptop Stackcable 55mm.

As regards width, the plywood and bolts on both sides take 2cm (based on the small rack) and the base unit, of course, has to fit inside the garage, so it will be around 5cm narrower than the main unit.

[31Aug] I have also found a couple of pairs of rack ears. Although more wasteful of space than Lamonds, they are free. Perhaps they'll do for the garage.
The two sheets of plywood available are 90x120x1cm and 60x105x0.5cm.

The Garage

We'll consider the garage here - the one or two horizontal racks that park underneath the main console and containing mostly control voltage generators - sequencers etc. The initial listing in MGrid shows a maximum depth of 80mm (for the Doepfer A154) so that will do for a starting point.

Note that I don't own all the modules shown, currently the Tiptop z8000 ✓, Kilpatrick K4815 ✓, Make Noise Pressure Points ✓, Doepfer A149 1&2 ✓✓ and Quantiser ✓.

Acquisitions to be considered are the Doepfer Sequencer and Controller and various Make Noise modules (Brains, Memory and Rene). There is no pressing need to buy any of these yet, though perhaps Brains is worth a look.

It is probably worth adding some LFOs, particularly VCLFOs to the garage: the Doepfer A134-4✓ might find a place.


main blog - old blog
Links: EMIS - Postmodular - SchneidersBuero - Thonk - MODULARgrid
Rubadub - clicksclocks -

How big?

The widest Thonk rails might just fit, given the additional width of the Lamond brackets and the plywood sides. I suppose I could cut an inch off if necessary. Three vertical rails is the minimum with a garaged skiff at the bottom. I'll get some squared paper and draw it.
Depending on the depth of the sloped rails, the base skiff might be two rails deep. As regards the contents of the base, there will be some of the Make Noise Pressure points modules and similar and I would also like a Doepfer sequencer (not currently owned). I note from the data sheet in Mgrid that the depths of the first four candidates for the garage are:
  • 24mm - Pressure Points
  • 40mm - Doepfer A155
  • 80mm - Doepfer A154
  • 59mm - Tiptop Z8000
Four rows is the maximum in Mgrid, so it's one rail in the garage for now.
Power will probably be uZeus in the garage and Doepfer in the main housing. If there is a problem with height, I could go for a "deep" garage, two sloped rails and one rail on the first shelf.

Copied from the main blog

I have been having such fun building the small desk rack that I'm tempted by a large desktop installation. The 2013 SoS article on Eurorack included a few shots of the author's setup, a classic three stepped tiers and base unit, as right.

I could produce something similar at about zero cost - I have plenty of plywood, a spare Doepfer power supply, a Zeus for the base power and a lot of rails, not be mention dozens of modules not currently in use.

Alternatively I could use the new Thonk rails and Lamond side pieces and build 150HP wide. Four pairs of 150HP rails plus threaded strips and Lamond sides would be 4 * (£31 + £11 + £12 = £54) = £216.

In 104HP it would be 4 * (£21 + £9 + £12 = £42) = £168.

And in 84HP 4 * (£20 + £8 + £12 = £40) = £160.

Clearly the 84HP isn't worth considering unless I use existing rails. 150HP is tempting.

84HP is around 17 inches, 104HP 20" and 150HP 30".
Modules are around 5¼" high and so three rows of 150 would be 16" high and 30" wide: that might look a little stumpy. I could not justify 5 rows of 150HP plus base.

There's some good information here from Stefan Burbulla.

If I start small and cheap, I can always rebuild more grandly and extravagantly later and so (subject to finding and evaluating the rails I have in stock):

  • three rows of 84HP plus base;
  • configuration will be a smaller version of the standard synthesizers.com cabinet, i.e. two on the slope, one upright and keyboard garage below.
I'll need to find out the slope angle. The size quoted is 48-3/8"w x 14-3/4"d x 18"h. The single upright row is 8½" deep.
The depth of the garage will have to be sufficient to house a base with suitable skiffy modules and at the same time the slope of the bottom rail will have some effect on the depth of modules it will hold.

[27 Aug] I have a location 18" high and 30" wide: the Mondrian/Rietveld desk.