Saturday 23 January 2021

Message to clients

I retired from my day-job as a test systems design engineer in April 2020 with the view to spending more time on my part-time business/hobby Synovatron. However due to a number of factors (mainly age, health, fitness and to a lesser extent COVID-19 restrictions and Brexit) I have reluctantly decided to call it a day on Synovatron and retire completely

From 1st February 2021 Synovatron Limited will cease to trade and will not be taking any new orders from then. I will, however, retain spares and test equipment in order to provide support and warranty cover for any Synovatron products sold directly by me or by retailers during 2020, 2021.  

The Synovatron logo is a representation of me and my wife (the two birds) flying off into the sunset so I guess I always realised this point would come, I wish that I had the fitness for it to have been further away, but that's life. So long and thanks for the interest, I really enjoyed making stuff that people use for creative sound exploration. I will be refurbishing my house, spending precious time with my family and actually playing my own synths (for once). Keep safe you lovely people.

NOTE: Some products (e.g. CVGT1, Euro Bananas, Jacks) may find their way to various retailers and some may even be continued by other parties (and possibly rebranded) yet to be confirmed. Watch this space - I will post any news if anyone does take up continued production.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Moog Voyager XV-351 Output Adaptor

If you have a Moog Voyager (the backlit version, not the Old School or RME versions) and you want to connect a VX-351 Output Expander you need to have an Output Adaptor fitted to the output ribbon cable connection on the Voyager's analogue board. The trouble is that Moog no longer provide these and if you have bought a VX-351 for your Voyager and the VX-351 seems to be misbehaving (CV instability or noise) then the chances are you don't have an adaptor fitted.

A few years ago I set out to design a eurorack module that did much of what the VX-351 does i.e. output all the Voyager's internal signals (CVs and gates) but to make them a little more eurorack friendly and add a few twists: red and white noise, random gate pulses, more LFO wave shapes and variable slew. The result was the VXP1 (you can read all about the VXP1 here). 

I also could not get VX-351 Output Adaptors to sell as part of the VXP1 package so I designed my own version from scratch to be a 'form-fit-function' replacement. I use it with both my VXP1 and VX-351 and it works a treat!

VXP1 Output Adaptor

To be clear you do not need this if you want to use a VX-351 (or VXP1 for that matter) with Old School or RME Voyagers.

Check out this useful 3rd party web page which describes how to open the Voyager and fit the Output Adaptor .

Friday 3 August 2018

Modules and Kits from Synovatron

Updated 31st January 2021: Synovatron will cease to trade from 1st February 2021 onwards. The following products will no longer be available from Synovatron Limited. Some items will be available from retailers and I will post the status of those when I know the final state:

CVGT1 - 8HP Euro to Buchla CV-gate-trigger-pulse translator
No longer available directly - please check out Noisebug or SchneidersLaden who have may stock of modules.

VXP1 - 14HP Voyager Output Expander
No longer available

VXP1-OS - 14HP Old School Voyager Output Expander
No longer available

Jacks - 4HP 3.5mm minijack to 1/4" jack format jumber
No longer available directly - this may become available for sale by another company - watch this space, I will update when I know

Euro Bananas - 6HP 3.5mm minijack to 4mm banana socket format jumbler
No longer available directly - this may become available for sale by another company - watch this space, I will update when I know

Trunks & Mults - 6HP 8-channel trunk lines and two 4-way multiples
No longer available directly - this may become available for sale by another company - watch this space, I will update when I know

More info on Jacks, Euro Bananas and Trunks & Mults modules and kits on this page.  

Euro Bananas, a pair of Trunks & Mults, Jacks, CVGT1 and VXP1

Limited edition Black Gold CVGT1 (SOLD)

Sunday 10 April 2016

VXP1 Voyager Output Expander for Eurorack

(BLOG UPDATED 3rd August 2018)


VXP1 and VXP1-OS are no longer available from Synovatron for £180.00 GBP. 

Preliminary user manuals can be downloaded from these links:
VXP1 Handbook Rev 1.0 
VXP1-OS Hand Book Rev1.3

Back Story

A few years ago I designed and built a Eurorack interface for my Moog Voyager. I built it in a week to take to the Brighton Modular meet to see if there was any interest in such a module.

I have a Moog VX-351 which is a perfectly lovely bit of kit but I wanted something that had 3.5mm minijacks to make it easier to use with my Eurorack and Roland 100m modulars. The module I built was a simple breakout panel that had one jack per signal available on the Voyager's Accessory Port (a 25 pin D connector). Most signals were wired straight through but one or two included active electronics to provide scaling to give a more useful 5V range, in particular Keyboard Pitch had a scaling amplifier and a trimmer to set it exactly to 1V/octave. LEDs with driver circuits were also added to the LFO and the two gate signals.

Prototype Voyager Output Expander

Most modular users don't have a Voyager (and sadly it's now out of production) so I didn't get too much interest at the Brighton meet but I did get some interest on Twitter and Muffwiggler and in particular from one wiggler whose frequent enquiries about its development has spurred me on to develop it. It has been very slow going due to a number of reasons (not all connected to the module itself, the real world has a way of changing one's focus!).

Output Adaptor Retrofit

One reason for procrastination was due to an error in Moog's design of the Voyager's Accessory Port which was not suitably buffered; which means that when a cable is connected to the port some of the signals become unstable and oscillate. Moog's remedy for this was to use a small adaptor board that has to be retrofitted inside the Voyager between the main circuit board and the Accessory Port's ribbon cable (this just affects backlit types, not the Old School version).

The Output Adaptor is a small circuit board that adds a 330 Ohm resistor in series with many of the signals; here is a link to an installation guide. The 330 Ohm resistance is enough to isolate the capacitance of the extra cable length which maintains amplifier stability (ED Note: If you want to understand about amplifier stability then this series of 5 short videos by Analogue Devices is the perfect intro, in particular video 4 which describes this problem nicely. Ideal for anyone designing with op-amps).

As you will see from the installation guide that fitting the adaptor is a bit much for some people to take on and I didn't want to encourage inexperienced Voyager owners to open up their expensive synth and potentially damage it or harm themselves (there is an AC mains hazard around the power inlet if you don't disconnect from the mains). Unfortunately there is no other solution other than to use an Output Adaptor (like that supplied with the VX-351) so fit it if you are confident or get a music shop tech to fit it for you. You might already have one fitted if your Voyager has been used with the Moog VX-351. I tried to find a source of Moog Output Adaptors but alas no joy so I designed one from scratch; problem solved! Here it is:

Smaller, Better

Another reason for delay is that I increased the scope of what the VXP1 can do; I didn't want this to be a Eurorack rip-off of the VX-351. Rather than just a simple breakout panel it now handles each signal with active electronics as follows:
  • All signals are filtered, buffered and have the necessary gain and drive to give more Eurorack-friendly output levels.
  • The smooth and step Sample and Hold outputs are replaced by just one output and a variable control to give an adjustable slew to Sample and Hold.
  • There are more LFO waveforms: ramp, saw and 10V clock.
  • There are more noise options: white, red and random pulses.
  • The panel is narrower than the first prototype: 16HP down to 14HP.
Here is the second prototype panel I have used during my development (a simple but mechanically accurate panel with engraved text made by Schaeffer):

Here is the panel design:


For Old School Voyagers which don't have a touch panel the VXP1-OS has repurposed the redundant TOUCH sockets to become a 3-input gate combiner. 

VXP1 Module, Cable and Adaptor | VXP1-OS Front Panel

Saturday 13 June 2015

New Euro to Buchla CV Translator - CV1.2

The CV1.2, one of the cvgtElements range of DIY circuits, is available and its data pack is ready to view/download on the support page. CV1.2 is ready built and tested, you have to DIY them into your own modules/panels.

CV1.2 takes a Euro 1V/octave CV and translates it into a Buchla 1.2V/octave CV - ideal if you want to take a Euro pitch CV into the Music Easel's pitch KEYBOARD CONNECTION

The GTPulse datapack is also available to view/download on the support page.

Friday 22 May 2015

Synovatron Documents Downloads

EDIT 31May 2015:

For those who have tried to download from links printed on kits, fliers and data sheets etc without success: I apologise but the original file hosting site has shut down without warning in recent weeks. All Synovatron docs have now been rehosted onto Google Docs where they can be viewed or downloaded. The new links are shown on the Support tab above where all downloadable documents will be maintained from now on - if you experience any problems with file downloads please email me at Keep an eye out for new and updated documents. Any additions or significant updates will be announced on the blog as they occur.

The documents added to Google Docs are:-

CV Tools User Manual 
CVGT1 User Manual 
cvgtMM User Manual 
GTPulse Data Pack 
ASM2DB Adaptor Fitting Instructions & uZeus Tech Note 
DM2ASB Adaptor Fitting Instructions 
5ASM2DB Adaptor/Expander Bare Board Data Sheet and Fitting Instructions

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)