Passive DIY Projects for the Eurorack Modular System

October 4, 2013
Limited Edition Synthrotek “Noise Head” T-shirt
October 16, 2013

Frustration may be the god-mother of invention (or in my case translation).   I have been frustrated by the fact that I need lots of really really simple circuits to aid in the development of my ever growing modular obsession. Well, I am not really frustrated that I NEED these circuits, rather that I have had a hard time tracking down cheap and readily available solutions.

This last week I decided to quit being a whiner and so I got some blank aluminum panels from my buddy Tim over at Circuit Abbey (he used them for prototypes and he was gracious enough to give me a couple) with the intension of making an passive OR combiner and a passive mixer.  I really want lots of OR combiners to combine multiple trigger sources so that I can make some fancy drum beats.  With the help of Eric in the office, we turned these projects out in no time.  I was lucky enough to get those pre-cut panels with mounting holes, as most of the work on these projects is just preparing your panel and I don’t want to spend my time making panels.

The super-amazing thing about modular to me is that eurorack (and I am sure Frac and 5U) is still totally ‘punk’ and if we are all lucky it will remain so forever.  I do love that  I CAN make my own panels and projects, I just don’t love the tedium of being an aluminum craftsmen.  I really don’t take a ton of pride in that work (God bless you if you do) cuz I really want to get down to some actual patching!

This has led me to want to get going on the DIY panel revolution.  In the next few months I am going to get some PCB panels made in various HP sizing and with various standard hole sizing for 3.5mm jacks, pots, and switches.  PCB panels will drive the cost down and open up many possibilities for us all to get making all sorts of (at least passive) circuits on a whim for CHEAP.  Punk should be cheap or at least accessible.  Much of the modular world is financially unaccessible to the kids out there who want to make their ideas happen.  Punk should mean being able to spend $5-10 to buy a pre-made panel and some bits and get creative.

I am committed to the idea of making this movement and format accessible if possible.  Yeah stuff costs money and quality will always have it’s price.  BUT we also need good entry and sustainable products to keep the music flowing.  I hope to make a dent here.

Feel free to let me know your ideas for some of these projects or if you would like to contribute  a schematic or want to work on a build.

Waxing Eloquent,

Steve Harmon

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