Friday 18 December 2015

Sunday 13 December 2015

Oca, Hundreds of Them...


Ocas, Hundreds of Them


Oca, Lots of It

-or just-

Oca !!!

Saturday 12 December 2015

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Say Cheese !

There's been plenty of fox and badger action over the past couple of days

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Tomatoes !!!

Hundreds of them. Still. And no evil ones

Sunday 29 November 2015

C30 C60 C90 Go..!

Once every few years I look at my dwindling collection of cassettes and undertake to transfer at least some of them into the digital realm. I ended up buying a nice Aiwa deck on eBay last year as my Tascam died and I now have most of my session tapes and gigs backed up across two mirrored drives. All that remains are the ones enticingly labelled  'radio noises' - this one must date from around 1986

Saturday 21 November 2015


After the grand sorting of power supplies, I had a few modules on soak test today, all day, with drums. Which was nice considering it was freezing outside

Thursday 19 November 2015


...A little box for measuring current draw. In my recent sort out I ended up with a tangle of test leads and a selection of miscellaneous items to stop them accidentally shorting out. Enter the lego box. Connect a power supply at one end, a module at the other end, and a multimeter between the two. It's also got a handy switch to open one rail for testing while closing the other

Saturday 7 November 2015

It's Oh So Quiet

It's been a little quiet of late. It's VEMIA weekend and the studio is awash with neatly laid out and tested lots their manuals and accessories, all waiting for shipping. Eccles has been in her element inspecting boxes, her current favourite being from Farnell. With the addition of Cabinet Eleven I decided to have a major re-organistaion of modules along with a concerted effort to measure current draw on everything I have no data for, which has taken quite a few days. Cabinet Twelve is marching inexorably in this direction...

Tuesday 27 October 2015

It's Black Cat Day...

...What's not to like ?

Monday 26 October 2015

Cabinet Eleven (Part Two)

I had to put this on the back burner while I pondered the configuration of the next couple of cabinets. Again this is 2x11u and is the fourth I've made to this spec. The good news is we had the Eucalyptus trimmed, so while at the time of this shot there is a pigeon around four metres up in the tree, it can't (and didn't) manage to do any anything untoward

Saturday 17 October 2015

I Have A Secret Identity As...

...Designer of gaudy Euro panels. I have a dear friend in Italy who will be very pleased. Some of this letraset is 35 years old (and the knobs have been sat in my parts box for nearly 20 years)

Monday 12 October 2015

Oh Dear...

So we either do have a hedgehog, did have a hedgehog or just have a badger. Using the standard household nomenclature, this badger is called Bob

Saturday 10 October 2015

Norm !

We might finally have a hedgehog in residence, but his is one of 152 pictures my trailcam took last night of nothing happening in a vacant hedgehog house.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

VEMIA Time !!!

It's that time of year again and as I sort out my lots for the next auction I realise that some of it is propping up other more important things in the studio, so off to the workshop we go. This contraption is exactly the same height as a signal generator, a pelican case and a block of wood. It now sits underneath the modular. I also built another riser for my desk so that I can reclaim my ex BBC Limiters and get them cleaned up and wired in finally

VEMIA runs till 7th November

Sunday 4 October 2015


...A garlic blotter. For crushing garlic. I made this recently out of a bit of Xmas tree and a porcelain drawer handle that was surplus to requirements. It's coated in Rustins chopping board oil.

Tuesday 29 September 2015

When It Gets Colder - It's Time To Solder

I'm building this for an old friend. He'll have to guess what it is...

Also on the bench is a pair of Barton Decaying Analog Noise modules and a couple of Sloth Chaos boards from Nonlinear Circuits

Tuesday 22 September 2015


...A knob from an EMT140. Well technically it's a handwheel - that controls the asbestos shutters that control the reverb time. We refurbished two of them around fifteen years ago that alleged to come from Decca Studios. They were in fairly poor condition, so it was a bit of a punt but we got one really good unit out of the parts. This is the handwheel from the unit we couldn't salvage. Serial number 743

Monday 21 September 2015

We Still Grow Evil Tomatoes

Just a gentle reminder, like...

Oh Dear...

Yesterday morning I woke up and remembered there was a carboot sale across the road. Within seconds of getting out of bed I had returned with a pair of vintage Wharfedale speakers for a fiver - perfect for the modular. Meanwhile I had to get the workshop window replaced, and the last few days have involved the heady delights of pointing, filling, expanding foam & throwing out various half used tubes of caulk that dried out years ago.

Monday 14 September 2015

It Lives (Part Three)

Some modules just get dragged kicking & screaming into service. I'm afraid the Music Thing Spring Reverb was one of them. I bought the boards back in 2013 when they were just released and after nearly two years, a dead NE5532, a potentially dead reverb tank and a missed board connection I got around to finishing it. It's quite good too

Friday 11 September 2015

Of Mics & Men

I found this in a box this week. Some time ago at the dawn of the internet I needed a suspension mount for some pencil mics. And since I couldn't find any that didn't cost an absolute fortune, I built a pair myself out of some PVC drain couplings. Now the reason I come to mention this is because I can't find the second one, or the big box of mic clips that I used to have somewhere. Damn...

Thursday 3 September 2015

Another Handy Attenuator

Here's another attenuator I built a couple of months ago. I had a nice little Honeywell ten turn pot taken from an old scope and a handful of oversized Alco style knobs from a poorly executed Maplin order some years ago. A spare scrap of 2mm aluminium, a lump of old scaff board and hey presto...   ...I call it a Schrödinger Attenuator, because you never quite know whether (or how much) it's attenuating until you plug it in. In other news I finished the accounts AND finally fixed the other Blacet Time Machine (it had two broken traces)

Wednesday 2 September 2015

A Handy Little Herb Drier

It's getting to that time of year. Here's a handy little herb drier idea that I came up with last night. I've used Eucalyptus because I've a lot of that to hand. As you can guess I've not quite finished those accounts yet...

Tuesday 1 September 2015

I Shouldn't Be Writing This But...

...Isn't it funny that when there are accounts to sort out, you'll get around to doing absolutely anything but accounts...

Monday 31 August 2015

Colonel Mustard

I've some white mustard growing in a couple of areas of the garden so thought it might be fun to try making actual proper mustard. Once the pods are dry they should split into two hulks and a filament holding the seeds. There are several much simpler ways of obtaining mustard, but this is mine

Friday 28 August 2015

A Thing of Beauty

Even though I say so myself, this gate sequencer is a thing of beauty. It took approximately twelve years to get to this stage but it was worth the wait. I decided to rack it up in my shallow case with the quad logic modules (that are also CatGirlSynth). I could have squeezed this into a 3U panel (this is actually 5Ux5U) but part of the ethos of my own panel designs is the use of space

Thursday 27 August 2015

It Lives ! (Part Two)

Finished the Gate Sequencer at last and it worked first time (and why wouldn't it). There's a lot of tidying up to do, and now I really do need another cabinet...

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Soldering On...

The Gate Sequencer - something like 300+ connections to solder.

[edit] I wish I'd just decided to go with the two channel version

Monday 24 August 2015

And So It Begins...

Here's the panel for the CatGirlSynth Gate Sequencer this morning as I started to lay out the grid for the switches, LEDs and jacks. I think there are 76 holes to be drilled in all - oh joy...

Sunday 23 August 2015

Saturday 22 August 2015

Random Gates

I've been after this excellent module from Yves Usson (Yusynth via Bridechamber) for a while. The board itself is very simple but the wiring is a real task. I decided the supplied bracket was a little excessive as it would have made the module close to 200mm deep so I fabricated my own out of 30mm aluminium angle (designed as stair trim, I knew it would find a proper use one day). I also took the plunge and drilled out the panel to add Lumex rather than the supplied cheapo LEDs and of course replaced the switch for a flat toggle

Thursday 20 August 2015

Yet More Half Time Scores

Here's the view from the other side of the room. Middle row on the near right is one half of the dual Stroh Gene Splicer. On the left hand side of that row is a Barton QTLFO. On the bottom left of the picture is a YuSynth Random Gates module with custom bracket (more on that later, it needs wiring and testing)

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Half Time Scores

Here's how things looked a couple of days ago. Unfortunately most of the action is occuring in the distance in the end cabinet on the right. In recent weeks I've fixed around half the modules seeking attention and built a further six. I'm still waiting on a few parts to complete a 909 Clap, fix my ADV Snare and then I can start on the panel for the monster 5U (that's 5U wide) Gate Sequencer

Sunday 16 August 2015

Cabinet Eleven (Part One)

The time has come to seriously consider another cabinet - I've opted for 2x11U again. I have the ISEP extrusion in stock and I butchered a 1U 19" blank to make the side pieces of the chassis. I just need to source some more plastite screws and we're in business. Once the cabinet is complete, I'll need more modules to fill the empty space and the cycle continues...

Saturday 15 August 2015

Friends & Other Animals

I finally figured out the best place for my trailcam was right next to the pond. I'll get a photo of a fox most nights, but here we see a visiting cat as yet unseen here in the day. Meanwhile the five aquatic snails we bought a few months ago to keep the algae at bay have been busy. There's more algae than ever  but I counted 100+ tiny snails around the edge of the pond this week...   ... Yes that's a solar powered lighthouse

Thursday 13 August 2015

A Handy Attenuator

I needed to wire up an attenuator to test the pot values for my dual Stroh Gene Splicer. And as external attenuators are so useful, it clearly needed to look nice once the initital test was over. Here's a 100k pot in an old smoked paprika tin. The jacks are on the bottom.

Friday 7 August 2015

It Lives !

The CGS39 Quad Logic module won the day, and after correctly wiring the grounding wire it worked a treat. Next up was the Barton Dual Decaying Noise, which unfortunately was missing most of its capacitors

My favourite out of this batch is the Stroh Gene Splicer. Such a simple board, but with huge signal mangling potential. I popped a test board onto a cardboard panel and plugged in a couple of sine waves and a triangle LFO...   ...I'm putting two of these boards onto a panel with 100K attenuator pots over the inputs

Tuesday 4 August 2015


My Synthcube order turned up today, as did the remaining caps to finish a Hexinverter NeinOhNein Rimshot. Over at the back is a poorly CGS39 Quad Logic module which I might have figured out finally. Which shall I deal with first...?

Friday 31 July 2015

Potatoes !!!


Hundreds of them

Chips With Everything then...

Thursday 30 July 2015


Got my first order through from Musikding today. Look, they do Alco style knobs in different colours - is this sacrilege..?

Wednesday 29 July 2015

The End of an Era (Part Two)

The is one of my EgoSys Wami Rack 24 audio converters after subjecting it to the usual Mayan ritual dismantling. I kept the IEC inlet, some nice machine screws and the aluminium heatsinks as trophies. The rest went in a skip...

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Nurse !

I'm in the process of refurbishing the modular, and that means trying to figure out modules that I never got around to troubleshooting over ten years ago. The Neural Agonizer was fairly easy (blown tank), then I've a Time Machine with a dry joint somewhere, a clock divider with a malfunctioning counter, an Oakley Sample & Hold with a misbehaving LED, a Boolean Logic module that's just not quite right, oh yes and a bunch of modules I never got around to finishing as metalwork was a bit of an issue. So what did I do ? Of course browse Synthcube and buy some more boards to stuff - it never ends...

Monday 27 July 2015

The End of an Era (Part One)

This is a Casio PT20. I got this in 1983 I think. Clearly it's seen some action (they're supposed to be white for a start). I made some modifications in the mid 80's and (if memory serves) by the mid 90's it no longer worked. Time for the Mayan Ritual...

Saturday 25 July 2015

Carrots !!!

After seven months of 'will they won't they', I decided to hoik some carrots out to check. I think they went from ground to face in less than ten minutes (including washing)

Friday 10 July 2015

The Lazy Mult

You know those days... ...where maybe a cable is too short or you just want an easy access point within a complex patch ? Well ladies, gentlemen & cats I present you with The Lazy Mult

Friday 3 July 2015

Wax Trax (Redux)

This is Cabinet Three drying in the sun. Shortly after this was taken it took a direct hit from a pigeon in the Eucalyptus tree over to the right. Fortunately the wax was pretty much dry so no damage was done. Cabinet Three started life some time in 2001 and was cobbled together out of bits of spare MDF. Fourteen years later I finally got around to replacing it (my excuse being the PAIA Vocoder did make the operation quite complicated, and paying people millions in royalties was taking up all my time)