Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cynare Demo

If you are new to DIY synths and are wondering what modules you should delve into then hopefully this video will help you decide on Ken Stone's fantastic Cynare. A complete synthesizer on one board, the Cynare has a wealth of options that return a lot of fun for your investment of effort.

Check out for more info.

Pardon the weird voice...bronchitis.

cynare panel

Monday, December 6, 2010

Check out this 16 step Up/Down sequencer

At some point in every DIY Synth enthusiast's journey they realize that they need some sort of structured way to control all the madness they've created. You want to build a sequencer. Often the first type of sequencer you build is something like the Baby 10, a ten step machine based off the 4017 decade counter chip. That's fine, and a lot of people do great music with it.

While going through some conversations on the Sound of Logic forum I ran into something that Psyingo (of the Ruin and Wessen website) posted. When I finally got my head around what was happening I knew I had to build it.

Here's a video introducing the device:


Do you like it? Do you want to make your own? Here's a general rundown on how I created the device so that you can base your own project on it.

Here are a couple of drawings that try to illustrate what's happening.

This first one details how the chips and control hardware are connected. For the most part I stuck to the plan as drawn.

up/Down Sequencer Notes 01

Here are some general ideas on how to interact with the incoming clock signal to create drum trigger signals and off-beat accents.


I like to build things that have interface elements right on the PCB itself. To stick to that theme I used some PCB mounted switches and potentiometers as well as both header pins and banana jacks to ensure ways to interact with other devices and build techniques.

I used photoshop to plan out hardware placement on a nice big slab of perfboard. I then transferred it to the physical piece and prepped the surface for painting and mounting.

Psyingo Up/Down seq layout test01

Psyingo Up/Down seq layout test02

After a test fit, I know that I'm happy with it. I fussed over the details of this thing for about a week. The main thing that changed is that I decided to put the ICs on a seperate perfboard. That created a dilemna of how to package all of this stuff.

Psyingo Up/Down seq layout test03

Now it' time for some painting. I cut some pieces of MDF and primed them grey. Then used my trusty sponge and acrylic paints to create what looks like an old rusty surface.


Time for some assembly with some standard hardware. The only real exotic thing here is the hexagonal PCB standoffs which I got in an auction.



Painted up/dn seq board


Many steps and a couple of troubleshooting days later, the finished piece!


I hope this has been interesting to you DIYers out there. Please leave a comment with and questions or feedback you might have.