Monday, 29 November 2010

Progress Update

Well, over the past few weeks Synovatron Electronic Music has been registered (the tax office now knows about me), the first batch of DIY kits are half sold and I have customers in UK, Sweden, France and Turkey. 

I have had a really nice write-up from a great synth enthusiast Pierre SernĂ©.  Thanks for that Pierre! Please visit his blog.

I have added some new pages to the blog - Feedback, Modular Sounds and CV Tools Project. Feedback is a place to make any comments or suggestions (and a bit of shameless self-promotion). Modular Sounds is about the 'music', or you may prefer sounds, that I have made with my modulars. CV Tools Project is a blog-style, step-by-step, account of the design lifecycle of my CV Tools module which aims to be both educational and a subliminal sales ploy (_8-(|) doh!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Eurorack synth prototyping products now available

Please check out the product and support pages on this blog. 

Kits and cables are also available through eBay; just search "Modular synth prototyping kit" or click here

Friday, 5 November 2010

Update on New Eurorack modular synth prototyping kits - Circuit boards have arrived

The new DIY prototyping circuit boards have arrived. They look good and the quality is very good.

The pots, pot brackets, headers, caps and jacks all fit which which is a huge relief.  To give you an idea of what they'll look like assembled checkout the preliminary piccies below of both types of board with some components assembled ready for prototyping to start. Note I have added some LEDS to one of the DIY2 boards too.

Time now to sort out the packaging, data pack, options and pricing - about another week before they become available.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Update on front panel artworks

Just thought I'd give a little more detail on front panel artworks as there is already some interest.

The picture below of my module currently in development shows the CAD drawing for a 12HP front panel in the top left. The adjacent front panel overlays show an evolution from a very simple, flat looking artwork to more 'sexy' metallic looking and coloured alternatives with some apparent depth.
Edit 08/07/11: The following graphics, based on ink-jet/laser printable vinyl overlays, was attempted on the first off batch of CV Tools modules but has been withdrawn in favour of a standard screen printed panel for two reasons. The first was that it was not liked that much by customers; people saw it as a cheap label. The second was that it was expensive and difficult to apply accurately. I will still use the overlays for prototypes.Please read the following but note it has all been superceded by events.

My task is to make this a service that is affordable by streamlining how I go about setting out the pot scaling, legends, functional grouping (separating lines or boxes). A good place to start from is if you use Schaeffer Front Panel Designer to get the panel made then I can use the DXF file generated to align the graphics to the holes; obviously with as much description from you as possible about what you actually want to see.

The one-off 2mm anodised panel from Schaeffer cost me 27 Euros (about 23GBP, $35US but it is beautifully machined!!); I anticipate the cost of an artworked plastic overlay would need to be less for that size panel to make it attractive, including my design effort (that's why I need to streamline the process - the slicker I get the more viable it'll be!).

The hardest part is lining up the overlay accurately on the panel as the overlay is self-adhesive. I'm getting quite adept at this now as I have prototyped several overlay types. You do get several chances and I may include a spare.

I am still developing the technology as it needs to have great graphics, be cheap to make whilst still having good wear and scratch resistance properties.  This balance is not easy and I will still need to explore better processes and techniques so initially this will be for smaller prototypes with some caviats on how much abuse it can handle. The artwork is great quality though and the durability is reasonable but could be better. The price will reflect this fact. Having said all that I'm going to use it in my system as it stands as I don't tend to abuse my hardware.

Any suggestions and comments would be most welcome.