If you’re looking for a compact but capable distortion module for your Eurorack setup, this could be a great one for you! The Single Utility Distortion Module is based on the popular Rat distortion pedal, but features a couple of intriguing twists that make it even more exciting for modular users.
The distortion this module provides brings a gorgeous gritty tone to your modular compositions. It has controls for distortion (ranging from warm to fuzzy), as well as a wet/dry mix which balances between the distorted and the original signal. It also has a level control input which allows you to attenuate the output sound, to help balance the mix with your track.
Alongside working as an excellent and distinctive distortion effect, this utility module can also act as a Voltage Controlled Amplifier (VCA), a two-channel mixer, and even an inverter, for flipping your signals. This extraordinarily flexible bit of kit will certainly provide a wealth of extra sonic possibilities for your Eurorack repertoire!
It has a beautiful black and gold faceplate which is only three centimetres wide, embellished with a wonderful geometric design and high-quality black potentiometer knobs.
Ondes Instruments are an independent electronics maker based out of Santiago, Chile. Starting as a local business providing synth DIY kits, they are beginning to expand their business online and design Eurorack modules.
It’s that time of year again, where we take a look back at the best of the best of new products from our incredibly talented Tindie sellers in 2021! We bring you the finest in sound and musical devices across the board, giving them each a custom handmade, yet fictional award for their ingenuity, design, and overall greatness! Here are some things we can all celebrate from this year – pray silence please, as we announce the Tindie Sound Gear Of The Year 2021…
We’ve all made music playing keyboards, twiddling knobs and waggling sliders – and it’s great fun, but how about making some noise with light? In the early part of this year, the Lumanoise V4 Trautonium was released, based on the Oskar Sala Trautonium from the 1940s which used light to generate synth sounds.
This modern incarnation has 4 oscillators to control, each with pitch and volume attenuation – and a low-pass filter with controls for cutoff and resonance to sculpt and subtract from the sounds. This superb unit comes from the makers of the extraordinary LEPLOOP so you know you’re getting something truly unique, reliable, and imaginative!
Sound is everywhere, and while we as humans are adept at filtering out or focusing on many of the audible sounds around us, there are still sounds beyond our perception – which some special devices like the Electromagnetic Wavesniffer allow us to listen to and capture.
This neat unit comes as a DIY kit or as a finished product allows you to discover the electro magnetic waves emitted from all manner of devices, which may be within the home, on the street, or in a supermarket. Simply plug a battery and some headphones in and begin a world of discovery previously beyond your perception!
Sometimes the universe aligns and a maker comes up with a product so ingenious we’re left wondering just how we lived without it! That’s the case for many owners of the superb Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators, which link together to share tempo but become a little restrictive if you want to mix things up like a ‘proper’ musician.
This Summing Mixer takes the inputs from 5 Pocket Operators and spreads them onto a lovingly designed board which distributes the timing signal and adds controls for volume and muting for each indivudual unit! It’s no surprise this gained plaudits when it was released, and the level of detail they’ve gone to to replicate the design of the POs themselves is very admirable.
Given that we’re not yet selling any time machines on Tindie, rekindled projects from the past are a great opportunity to get your hands on lost relics of early analogue synthesis without remortgaging your home. The drumBs is a modern incarnation of the E&MM Syntom II – an electronic drum module from 1983, originally made available from Electronics & Music Maker Magazine.
It’s primarily designed for modular setups but can be housed as a tabletop unit as well – with jumpers to set for each, as detailed in the accompanying build guide. The module has numerous controls to alter the analoge sound including decay, pitch bend, pitch, mix, pulse, roll, cutoff, and resonance. We interviewed the maker for the Tindie Blog in a rare interview, if you’d like to know more about their excellent work!
There are some sounds which have become synonymous with not only genres of electronic music, but entire movements. Take for example the Roland drum machines; the 808 and 909 which have been immortalized by modern generations and artists like Kanye West. Well, the 606 is becoming just as sought after, and the BD-606 Bass Drum Module seeks to house one of it’s elements in your modular rack for a fraction of the price of it’s forefather.
This dinky 2HP unit comes with features beyond the original’s capabilities – with an accent CV input, tone control, and an internal gate to trigger conversion. With three options to buy, you can source your own parts with just the PCB, get the PCB and all the components, or simply buy a finished unit off the bat. A comprehensive build guide and audio demos are available on the product page.
As far as modern synthesis and sampling techniques go, this is pretty much the cat’s proverbial pajamas! The NSynth Super has been designed by Google’s Magenta Lab, and is a completely open-source project capable of mixing and merging between four sounds seamlessly! This gorgeous NSynth Super comes fully assembled and puts the power of machine learning at your fingertips – with everything set up and ready to play.
A touch screen X-Y controller allows you to mix between four sounds of your choosing, in their original, unaltered form at each corner of the space. Moving your finger between these four points outputs a sound which uses AI to sonically stitch them together – from the sound of a dog barking to the sound of a bassoon, from a high pitched piccolo to a piston engine, almost anything is possible. The future is here!
Making your own pedals and effects is a highly satisfying process, not only giving you the skills to learn how these magical devices work, but putting the ability to make and mend other devices – as and when you need to. Step up then the Complete DIY Bit Crusher Kit, a superb effect for a range of processing opportunities, inspired by the MPCs and Akai Samplers of the 1990s.
It comes as a PCB with a pre-programmed chip, as a partial kit and a full kit – all of which present the opportunity to build a bit crusher! Once it’s complete, there are controls to select between 3 Bit rates, and knobs to control the overall tone, wet/dry mix, and sample rate – for some chunky vintage CRONCH! See what DIVKID thought about it below:
That’s it for another year! We sincerely hope that 2022 brings you joy, happiness, and inspiration given the testing times we’ve all faced over the last year. We will get through it together, and we hope that these small nuggets of joy are able to bring you some escapism, as they have very much done for us. Look after each other and look forward to more Tindie goodies in 2022!
Knowing a drone’s airspeed can be important for a variety of tasks, which is often handled by the use of a Pitot tube setup. However, according to Tindie seller ThunderFly, such devices suffer from a variety of problems. So, as a better alternative, they came up with the TFSLOT01A.
This new sensor works using the Venturi effect, and also features a 9-axis IMU to assist with drone positioning. The setup features better resolution at low airspeeds (under 10 m/s) than other solutions, and can be configured by changing the airfoil profile to adjust sensitivity. It also isn’t as clog-prone as using a Pitot tube, and is designed to survive in environmental conditions such as rain, dust, and snow.
While nominally a sensor designed specifically for drones, this device can be used in any number of other sensing applications. For instance, it could be integrated with a Raspberry Pi, or a generic computer via a USB to I2C converter. More information on this open source design is found on GitHub.
As an amateur radio operator, I always keep an eye out for new Tindie products that help tickle my Ham itch. Digital modes are so much fun to play with, and this incredibly feature-packed Pi Hat instantly caught my attention. In the past, I’ve played around with slow-scan TV (SSTV, kind of like ‘Instagram for Hams’) using my PC and my Kenwood TS-820S, but having to have the radio and computer near each other was always a hassle.
This hat packs everything – the sound card, the push-to-talk control, even CAT control for modern radios which support it into a single board. With a Raspberry Pi 4 attached, this could be the perfect ‘radio room’ computer. The Raspberry Pi has a huge selection of software for use with amateur radio, including lots of contact logging software (I like CQRLOG, but there are many different packages) as well as amazing digital mode software like flDigi (no HTTPS) and the WSJT suite of low-power, long-range digital modes. The board even supports a GPS module which could be used in conjunction with APRS!
To get started quickly, you can flash an SD card with HamPi (Raspbian with a ton of amateur radio software installed and pre-configured) and then connect your radio’s push-to-talk, microphone and audio outputs to the digi Pi. You’ll be on the air in no time!
If you’ve been wanting to get into amateur radio, now is a great time to do so! Many countries charge little or nothing for a license, and there’s a huge network of amateur radio operators who help newbies get into the hobby. Just do a quick Google search for your country and ‘amateur radio’ and you should be able to find the application process. 73 de VA3XMR and see you on the air!
Raspberry Pi single-board computers (SBCs) have revolutionized what’s possible with maker hardware, acting as a bridge between an Arduino’s offerings and a traditional desktop computer. However, as cool as Raspberry Pi SBCs are, they do have a few weaknesses, such as lacking the ability to read voltage signals, and not having a real time clock. One might also require a few more digital inputs and outputs depending on project requirements.
While you could piece something together yourself, perhaps even integrating an Arduino board for its capabilities, the Analog Digital RTC HAT for Raspberry Pi takes care of this for you, as an all-in-one PCB. As creator Jastrzab notes, it adds all the things that the Raspberry Pi lacks, plus increased digital IO.
The device’s ADC pins are 5V tolerant, as are the digital inputs and outputs, which can be appealing for a number of situations. A total of 8 analog and 8 digital ports are provided – you will, however, need to provide a CR2032 coin cell battery, along with a 40-pin header to complete the build.
Raspberry Pi single-board computers (SBCs) are excellent tools, but they are, literally, single boards. Unlike their desktop or laptop cousins, there’s nothing to protect their fragile components from external interference. To help keep things safe, this metallic enclosure from AppliedSBC looks especially beautiful and highly functional.
The enclosure is machine-made out of 6061 aluminum, then nickel-plated. The top section sits below the top of the USB and Ethernet ports, presenting an extremely slim package that is tough and durable. GPIO pins, along with the camera and monitor connectors are exposed via slots on the top, with the microSD slot and other ports on the side also exposed.
The device’s top meets the Pi’s processor, providing a nice conductive mass from which thermal energy can radiate away. Depending on your project needs, the device can be kept in place simply by its weight and a high-friction rubber pad, or you can use it’s holes and the included screws to secure it to wood.
In the world of modular synths a VCO is almost certainly going to be the heart of the operation – a Voltage Controlled Oscillator to emit the synth tones you start off with, before hooking up other elements to process it. This new Cosmic Instruments 3340 VCO comes fully assembled and is based on the famous Curtis CEM3340 or AS3340 chip from some seriously classic synths! Let’s find out more…
The Curtis chips are famed for their inclusion in such seminal synths as Roland’s SH-101 and MC-202, the Moog MemoryMoog, Sequential’s Prophet 5 and Pro-One, Oberheim’s OB-8, OB-Xa and OB-SX and many more! This is a 10HP VCO for Eurorack which will deliver the same square, triangle, and sawtooth waves, controlled by incoming CV signals or by volts per octave for precisely tuned output. In addition to the waveform you can choose between hard and soft sync, as well as PWM – aka Pulse Width Modulation, for some seriously evolving tones.
Each of the designs from Cosmic Instruments has been made from the ground up, and hand soldered before being converted into eurorack format. They’re based in the Netherlands – check out their store for more modular goodies.
Some indie designs simply take your breath away, leaving you asking how you possibly got this far without it! The Plug Puller – JST PH 2.0mm (2pin) is exactly that, a simple and small device to help you lever JST plugs from PCBs quickly and easily – no more wiggling screwdrivers at odd angles to disconnect your internal cabling!
Often electronic designs, PCBs, and internal elements are joined with JST connections, which hold everything in place firmly. However when it comes to removing them, you often find they are fiddly to remove – with ‘nubs’ in place to restrict the movement, which can often lead to you pulling the actual receiving connection from the board or disfiguring one end of the connection. This JST puller fits on 2mm 2 Pin JST connections – which can be found on many power leads and various other places, and means you get a clean pull without any stress.
As you can see in the picture above, it just requires a little bit of leverage from this cool tool to safely disconnect your cables – genius! See a quick video of the pulling action below.
It’s sold by KD Circuits who are based in Ohio, USA – where they make a nice selection of gadgets and accessories for numerous electronic projects.
The spirograph, or more specifically, the spiro, as described in its product listing, makes a myriad of geometric patterns from simply changing a few small settings. Electronics are minimal, including a power supply, motor, and switch, leaving the drawing magic up to an adjustable linkage and gear system. The setup is quite easy to assemble, and even comes with the motor pre-soldered.
As seen in the video below, once a pen is fixed in place, the turntable assembly spins a piece of paper around, while the pen oscillates back and forth in an assigned, but interesting pattern. The device is described as being ‘small and light to carry around and gives hours of fun for children to play with’.
Adults would no doubt find this gizmo fascinating as well as children. If this device evokes thoughts of Theo Jansen’s Strandbeest, creator mectok is apparently no stranger to such contraptions either, creating Crab-ble, a small Strandbeest-style walking table too.
This exciting Eurorack filter creates a myriad of sonic opportunities from one single sound source. Filter any audio input and turn it into a lead synth, sub-bass, or anything in-between through the beauty of subtractive synthesis! Compatible with all of your other Eurorack hardware, the ‘Sallen Key‘ emulates the old school Korg MS20 filter to add some retro colour and warmth to your oscillators.
Including separate high and low pass filters, this module utilises the iconic Sallen-Key filter topology. This method is advantageous because of its independence – each filter works entirely separately without changing the tuning of the other. This filter format is based on the classic Korg MS20 analogue synth, bringing some authentic early 80s harmonics to your synth sound.
This device can also self-oscillate (or create its own sound through resonance) making it a melodic part of your Eurorack setup on its own. The Sallen Key design uses a non-linear feedback path to avoid clipping whilst in self-oscillation mode. The maker has chosen to use integrated LEDs instead of diodes, which is brilliant as it both changes the resonance’s colour and gives the user visual feedback!
This module comes on a beautifully designed black and white PCB, featuring a cryptically wonderful image of what could be a sea creature. This well thought-through design carries through to the included black potentiometer knobs and considered text labels, making it a very satisfying piece of hardware to both look at and use!
Black Noise are an independent electronics manufacturer based out of Dijon, France, and are able to ship anywhere in the world. New to Tindie, they’re selling a variety of exciting Eurorack modules on their storefront. A great place to start building your own Eurorack setup!
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