Friday, 22 May 2015

Synovatron Documents Downloads

EDIT 27 May 2015: Please checkout the Support Data Tab where all the following information will be maintaned

I have just found out that the file hosting site that is used to download Synovatron documents (user manuals, data sheets, fitting instructions etc.) has ceased to be. These docs have now been rehosted onto Google Docs where they can be viewed or downloaded. The new links are as follows but if you experience any problems with file downloads then please email for info at

Euro Module User Manuals

CV Tools 
Cascade Polarising Mixer/Attenuator/Slew

Euro to Buchla CV/Gate/Trigger/Pulse Translator












ModuleModule User Manual

Buchla to Euro/serge CV/Gate/Trigger/Pulse Translator 


cvgtElements Data Packs

Gate/Trigger to Buchla Pulse Translator


Analogue Systems to Doepfer (Euro) Adaptors Instructions

ASM2DB Adaptor
Analogue Systems Module to Doepfer Bus Adaptor fitting instructions

Tech Note: If using an ASM2DB Adaptor on a uZeus ribbon cable bus then read this to avoid damaging a module - DO NOT line up the red stripes

DM2ASB Adaptor
Doepfer Module to Analogue Systems Bus Adaptor fitting instructions

5ASM2DB Adaptor/Expander
5 channel Analogue Systems Module to Doepfer Bus Adaptor Board fitting instructions and bare board info for DIYers 


Saturday, 17 January 2015

ASM2DB Tech Note for use with uZeus ribbon cable bus

Here is a guide if you are using the uZeus ribbon cable backplane.

(apologies I didn't have a real uZeus backplane to hand but hopefully you get the idea)

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Custom Half-width Buchla Modules

I was asked to design and build a pair of custom half-width Buchla modules for some clients. They each had two half-width slots spare in their custom built cases and wanted to fill the spaces with Euro to Buchla CV and gate translator modules.

The brief was simple (and the same for both clients): 5 channels of 1V/oct to 1.2V/oct CV translation and 5 channels of gate boosting to Buchla levels; the Buchla stepped pulse was not required, just big pulses (10V or more).

This was a great opportunity to use the Synovatron Proto range of prototyping boards which accomodate 5 channels and offer stackability if more circuitry is required than will fit on one board; see below.

The Proto range of boards
As the Proto boards are designed primarily for Euro there was space on the 4U Buchla front panels to add some extras in the form of a passive attenuator. Here are the front panel designs that we agreed on:-

CV and Gate modules
To keep costs down it was decided not to have panel marking as the functions are obvious.

The CV module design used a straightforward precision amplifier with gain of 1.2000 (yes that accurate), 1M Ohm input and 0 Ohm output impedances. The gate module used comparators and output and LED drivers. The outputs each have diodes in series allowing them to be wire-ORed by just connecting outputs together (common to Buchla, wish it was used on Euro).

The CV module electronics fitted nicely on a ProtoJax board with plenty of space as you can see:-

For the gate module I decided to put the input comparators and sockets on the ProtoJax board and output buffers and LEDs on the ProtoXp board and stack them together (it  probably could all have been put on one board but it was simpler to make use of the space). The stacked ProtoJax and ProtoXp boards can be seen here:-

The gate board was powered from an MTA connector and the CV board took its power from the gate module (hence the 10-pin ribbon headers for a linking ribbon cable); this was at the client's request as they only had one spare connector (these are very low current modules and daisy chaining them didn't cause any crosstalk issues). 

The finished panels looked pretty good; they were made by Schaeffer using Front Panel Designer

If you are interested in the Proto range of PCBs or in having a custom module built then please contact me at

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Synth Repairs

Analogue Systems RS-40 Noise, Sample and Hold, Osc

This came in as 'defective'. After a while it became obvious the noise output was not working. This was traced to an open-circuit LEVEL contol pot (10k lin) which was replaced. Still it didn't work as a sample and hold - i.e. I was expecting to see a stepped output from S\H OUT. Not having used the RS-40 before it took me a while to realise that the noise and clock signals are not normalled to the Sample and Hold circuit like the front panel markings suggest; the lines linking NOISE OUT to EXT SRC IN and INT CK OUT to EXT CK IN suggest to me these are linked in some way but no. 
After looking at the jacks it was clear that these are not normalled (I'm not sure if this is the case with all RS-40s but this one looked clean and unmodified so I'm assuming it was factory standard). I used external patch leads and to link the noise and clock outs and ins and hey presto it worked. The first thing that I saw on the scope was at each sample point the sampled signal is present for what I guess is the duration of the sample pulse (about 0.2ms). When using the RS-40 to modulate a VCO I could not tell that the noise spikes were a problem, in fact it is probably above hearing range (at least mine). 
Noise spikes

However I didn't much like it and I didn't much like not having the noise and clock not normalled to the S/H circuit. I spoke to the owner and he agreed to have a couple of simple mods applied.

The noise and clock signals are present on the jack board close to where they would have to go for normalled connections. The switched contacts were connected to ground on both EXT SRC IN and EXT CK IN jacks by solder bridges. I removed the solder bridges and fitted links as can be seen here. This worked a treat allowing it to work without patching but still allowing external signals to be patched in if need be.

Solder removed from red arrows and links applied at yellow arrows
The noise spikes 'problem' although not audible was fixed by placing a 10nF cap across the S/H output amplifier's feedback resistor (27k) making it a low-pass filter with a cutoff of 590Hz. This got rid of the spikes without adding noticeable slew.

10nF capacitor

Spike free steps

Saturday, 13 September 2014

5 into 1 Analogue Systems to Doepfer Bus Adaptor/Expander

The new 5ASM2DB Analogue Systems Module to Doepfer A-100 Bus Adaptor/Expander is now in stock and available to order. 

NEWS UPDATE 25 Oct 14: SchneidersLaden have stock and can be ordered from their website at RhythmActive also have stock and can be ordered from their website at

For DIY enthusiasts it is also available as a kit or as a bare PCB. 

The 5ASM2DB offers five Analogue Systems sockets on one small circuit board with low-current LED indicators to show that ±12V and +5V power is available. It comes with a ribbon cable to connect to the A-100 bus and four self-adhesive nylon PCB mounting pillars (you can of course use screwed in pillars so a drilling template will be provided).

If you have several Analogue Systems modules in a Euro rack then the 5ASM2DB could be a better alternative to using several ASM2DB Adaptors because it expands the bus and frees up A-100 Bus connectors for Euro modules; it costs roughly the same as three ASM2DB Adaptors. ASM2DB and DM2ASB Adaptors are still available.

5ASM2DB Adaptor/Expander
What you get with the 5ASM2DB Adaptor/Expander
What you get if you order the 5ASM2DB DIY Kit

Price info and ordering

For sales, support and combined shipping enquiries please contact  

The base price is without delivery and VAT.
The UK and EU prices include delivery and VAT @ 20%
The ROW price only includes delivery; VAT is not applicable. 
Model                                        Base            UK              EU                ROW
5ASM2DB Adaptor/Expander    23.00 GBP   30.06 GBP   32.58 GBP   27.45 GBP
5ASM2DB DIY Kit                      16.00 GBP   21.66 GBP   24.18 GBP   20.45 GBP
5ASM2DB Bare PCB                  Available from
UK delivery by Royal Mail First Class; elsewhere by Royal Mail International Standard.

Friday, 29 August 2014

New product preview

This is a design that has been hanging around for over a year in a 95% complete state but I have now taken the bold step of finishing it and going into production. It is called the 5ASM2DB and is a 5 socket version of the popular ASM2DB Analogue Systems module to Doepfer bus Adaptor. It is fabricated on a small circuit board and has 3 LEDs that indicate the presence of ±12V and +5V. The 5ASM2DB will be supplied with 4 self-adhesive nylon mounting pillars and a short ribbon cable so it can be placed adjacent to a busboard and linked via the ribbon cable (standard Euro rack 16 pin cable). It is not recommended for use with the Analogue Systems RS-370 as this draws a whoppng 680mA from the 5V rail.

It will be priced at roughly that of 3 ASM2DB Adaptors so the aim is you get 5 for the price of 3; which will be of interest to those of you with many Analogue Systems modules to go in a Eurorack case.

Availability is from mid-September and will also be available as a DIY kit and as a bare PCB for the more adventurous DIYers. Here's an image from the CAD package - it will not be red BTW!

Confused by Cwejman ribbon cables?

I received an order to build some Cwejman standard ribbon cables that were 40cm long. Up until then I had no idea they were different to standard Eurorack cables. So here is what I found out and hopefully this takes the mystery out of it for anyone who is lucky enough to own one of these top modules (and it's also a sales plug - no pun intended).