Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

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ashley27
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Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by ashley27 » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:38 pm

I have all of the components and PCBs to build 2 x Living VCO modules. My original plan was to DIY a 6 oscillator monster as my be all and end all.

- Has anybody built two of these modules?

- Has anybody built two of these modules and loving the results achieved with 6 VCOs?

- Has anybody built two of these modules to then decide one is actually enough?

- Has anybody built two of these modules and considered working out a way to connect 6 x VCOs to a single driver board?

Finally, the Living VCO build thread is a daunting read at 25 pages long and 600+ posts. Is it necessary to read through the entire thread for modifications etc or has all of this been summarised elsewhere that I can't find?

Thanks.

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EATyourGUITAR
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:51 pm

I don't think there is any great documentation all in one place. a lot of this happened without the creator present to guide us. obviously you know about his death. us DIY people mostly just DIY. we don't get paid for this. the only financial interest now is between synth cube and the family. send an email to them (synth cube) or check the product page.

personally I would not want 6 VCO's stuck together. they sound great as is. it would be a waste to make it into a super saw. that would cover up a lot of the detail you hear when working with 3 VCO's all slightly moving. if you go too far you get a bee hive when you paid for an opera singer. :hmm:
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SyndieBot2000XL
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by SyndieBot2000XL » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:57 pm

ashley27 wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:38 pm
Finally, the Living VCO build thread is a daunting read at 25 pages long and 600+ posts. Is it necessary to read through the entire thread for modifications etc or has all of this been summarised elsewhere that I can't find?
Can’t answer this question without knowing which version you have.

I built the logicgate/barcode version last year after I impulse bought a pcb and panel set on Reverb - that version has a couple unique “gotchas” that can bite your ass hard if you aren’t expecting them.

With the version I have you definitely can’t use one driver for six oscs as the driver board has one discrete sine shaper for each osc board.

As for how it performs, it’s beautiful. It doesn’t like cheap power supplies - draws too much power for the little “stupid usb psu” style sticks, and the “MFOS wall-wart” style supplies make it output sheets of crazy fm’d noise.

I’ve never wished I had another one - in fact I came across a stripboard layout once and I didn’t even bother saving it. One time was enough for me. I’m sure you could do some neat stuff cross modulating the one with the other but I have other oscillators that take up way less space.
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by sduck » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:25 pm

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by KSS » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:40 pm

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:51 pm
the only financial interest now is between synth cube and the family. send an email to them (synth cube) or check the product page.
Pretty sure Random*Source owns the IP of JHaible. RC Hoffmann, working wth Serge T and Fonik aka Matthias Hermann at randomsource.net

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:43 pm

KSS wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:40 pm
EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:51 pm
the only financial interest now is between synth cube and the family. send an email to them (synth cube) or check the product page.
Pretty sure Random*Source owns the IP of JHaible. RC Hoffmann, working wth Serge T and Fonik aka Matthias Hermann at randomsource.net
that is news to me. I remember that synth cube announced they were in negotiations with the family. I didn't get the update. or maybe I am thinking about MFOS? eh :guinness:
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by thetwlo » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:09 am

ashley27 wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:38 pm
I have all of the components and PCBs to build 2 x Living VCO modules. My original plan was to DIY a 6 oscillator monster as my be all and end all.

Thanks.
I think even 3 or 4 would be great! just no space, and building one was a bit of work. I only built the Random Source version but still have 2 sets of the other version, and I'm tempted to build those up.
I guess it depends on on how you want to use them, it should get crazy and beautiful modulating all those against each other.
Build as many as you need! It's a lovely thing. I would love 4.

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by thetwlo » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:10 am

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:43 pm
maybe I am thinking about MFOS? eh :guinness:
yup ;) or even Blacet.

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the bad producer
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:09 am

I have built many, have four of the original ones (12) but not often all at once!

Also, having built all versions (original, Barcode, *RS*) I would recommend not bothering unless you have original PCB - the rest are a total clusterfuck . I mean you could, but you won’t enjoy the experience.

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by ashley27 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:50 am

Thanks for all the replies. I have the black barcode PCBs, VCOs rev 1.3 and Driver rev 1.1. All from 2014.

Has anybody had problems with these particular boards or shall I stick to the relevant BOMs?

It looks like there's definitely scope for solder bridges, for the trannies in particular. It's tight!

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:49 am

There are a few errors/things to look out for on those;

* Some of the PCB mounted pots need to be wired (PWM and FM IIRC) as pads are wrong.
* The SMT cap pads are tiny, maybe 0402?
* The transister footprints are indeed tight, but flux and careful soldering will see you through that!
* You need to choose your trimmers carefully, I used side adjust - if you use top adjust you can't get in there with your tool to adjust them when the PCBs are mounted to the panel
* All resistors should be 1/8W, you can use 1/4W size but it quickly gets annoying!

Otherwise, it works and works well, sounds great! There was some discussion of resistor subs for 12V, so I would go through the whole build thread and make copious notes before doing anything, especially if building for 12V...

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by SyndieBot2000XL » Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:23 am

ashley27 wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:50 am
Thanks for all the replies. I have the black barcode PCBs, VCOs rev 1.3 and Driver rev 1.1. All from 2014.

Has anybody had problems with these particular boards or shall I stick to the relevant BOMs?

It looks like there's definitely scope for solder bridges, for the trannies in particular. It's tight!
Buy your resistors from Tayda! Cannot emphasize this enough - the holes are too small for the resistors you get from Mouser - you’ll have to figure something out for the %0.1 precision resistors - I tried sanding the legs down... when that turned out to be incredibly (outrageously, ridiculously, etc) tedious I ended up kludging them in by putting thinner snipped leads in the pcb and then soldering the too-thick resistor legs across, if that makes sense. It’s ugly but it probably saved me two hours of sanding resistor legs and cussing.

Also, it’s my understanding that the outputs might need to have their switch tabs soldered to ground - I didn’t do this and it may be why my LVCO howls like a banshee when I plug it into a floating ground PSU like the MFOS.

I believe there was a correction at some point re: the FM and PWM pots - mine worked without trouble, except for a wire kludge the PWM needed to have it’s full range. YMMV

TL:DR Yes, you should probably read the whole build thread.
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by sduck » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:17 pm

the bad producer wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:09 am
would recommend not bothering unless you have original PCB - the rest are a total clusterfuck . I mean you could, but you won’t enjoy the experience.
I wish we could put some kind of pressure on r*s to rerelease the original version of the PCB - he's got the gerbers. He could easily redo his panel board to work with it, and have his addon doodads on that pcb. It would still fit the same size panel he's using.
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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by KSS » Thu Mar 19, 2020 12:20 pm

SyndieBot2000XL wrote:
Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:23 am
Buy your resistors from Tayda! Cannot emphasize this enough - the holes are too small for the resistors you get from Mouser
the bad producer' recommendation to use 1/8W solves that issue and you don't have to deal with crappy tayda iron lead R's. Been told their "Royal Ohm" brand are good quality.

It's also *much* easier to simply drill the hole a bit larger. And solder both sides if the pad-hole served as a via. Much faster than sanding and clipping. Make a note and keep with the module for use if repair becomes necessary.
TL:DR Yes, you should probably read the whole build thread.
Agree wholeheartedly! Every one of these massive build threads has loads of information that can be applied to other modules and electronics.

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by gbiz » Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:24 pm

I used TE Connectivity LR0204F series resistors, which are the correct physical size, they fit flush to the PCB & their legs fit the holes. I sourced mine from Farnell, but Mouser also stock them.
The resistor bodies have to be 3.5 x 2mm to fit correctly. The body of a regular 0.125W resistor might still be too big, so check the physical size in the datasheet of the resistors you plan to use. FWIW, the LR0204F are rated at 0.25W ...

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by ashley27 » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:59 pm

Top tips, thanks.

Did anyone bother with 10turn pots for frequency?

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Re: Living VCO, anybody using 2 x modules?

Post by the bad producer » Thu Mar 19, 2020 4:02 pm

I have on all my original JH builds, but i think if i did it again I would use COARSE and FINE

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