The VCS3 Card : Every 208 / Easel needs a SYNTHI !

Discussing some incredible modules that don't quite fit into the other forum categories.

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papz
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The VCS3 Card : Every 208 / Easel needs a SYNTHI !

Post by papz » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:45 pm

Hi

I'm happy to announce the release of a new Portbellabz card for Music Easel and 208 under EMS Cornwall license.

This card expands the Music Easel or 208 with original EMS Synthi A and VCS3 circuits : an oscillator that produces simultaneous square and triangle waveshapes with wide range and features useful modifications (synchronization, shape CV, hi/lo range) and a noise generator with variable colour, together with my acclaimed Random Voltage Generator modification module that expands many original EMS Synthi A, AKS and VCS3, unlike the 208's one, it's true random.
The inputs and outputs voltages are adapted to match the ones used in the 208.

http://www.portabellabz.be/vcs3.html

It is available pre-built (€460 + shipping) or as a DIY PCB set (€130 shipped) like the 208 ToolBox.

The prices include a commission for Robin Wood at EMS, that is the same for each pre-built unit or PCB set sold.

It works as is with 208p, 208r and BEMI / Buchla USA Easels. The tracking can be set to 1V/oct, 1.2V/oct or 2V/oct (or other, but who wants that ? :lol: ).
It also works with a 208r rev1 if its useless card connector is rewired.

The great Todd Barton did video demos, thanks Todd !


Image
Image
Image

Oscillator
- 100% analogue discrete components
- square and triangle outputs, blue bananas are full range outputs for modulation, red knobs are outputs to the mixer
- wide range from very slow LFO to ultrasonic, switchable hi/lo range with fine tuning
- tracking good on about 5 octaves via the 208's keyboard CV in
- variable frequency CV input with attenuverter via black banana
- variable shape CV input with attenuator via black banana
- variable sync input with attenuator via black banana

Noise
- 100% analogue discrete components
- white banana is full range output for modulation
- red knob is output to the mixer
- variable colour

Mixer
- tinijax out to feed the 208's preamp
- banana out for mixed modulation

Random voltage generator
- available on the white banana - a mini slide switch behind the panel selects noise or random, this affects the white banana only, the noise is still available in the mixer when random is used
- clock input via the 208's inverter "to card" socket
- noise colour changes the random voltage

Bill Sequeira kindly did this nice overview. Thank you Bill.
The pictured card is a prototype, the production one will look very similar.

Image

Thanks
Last edited by papz on Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:30 pm, edited 26 times in total.
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I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by Neovintage » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:49 pm

Great to see it out now. :yay: :yay:
thehordijkmodular.blogspot.fr

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Post by papz » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:11 pm

:chug:
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by Fuzz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:22 am

I'm very intrigued by this. Can't wait for Todd's video! :love:

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Post by Synesthesia » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:33 am

oooh class! nice one papz

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Post by Umcorps » Mon Feb 04, 2019 3:48 am

You already know what I think about this :hail:

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Post by hox3d » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:53 am

Damn!
These are cool features.

Still hoping for one big expander that features the handful of Portabellabz cards you created.
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Post by construct09 » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:08 am

:jawdrop:

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Post by jfloftin » Mon Feb 04, 2019 6:05 am

Very nice...

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Post by sparks » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:03 am

NEATO! :party:

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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:16 am

Thank you !

No plans on a "big expander" but the Hub is a good alternative ;)
http://www.portabellabz.be/hub.html

I modified my own 208 to have a direct CO output (pre LPG) to use it as a master to sync the Synhi Card's oscillator. The how to will be in the build notes, it's quite simple : I added an opamp to get the appropriate level and replaced one of the panel "signal output" tinijax by a banana jack, but to avoid drilling the panel to enlarge the hole for the banana, the CO could be connected to the former tinijax and a banana/tinijax cable used.
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by dan_p » Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:56 am

OK smarty pants, very good, but how about a 208 card for the Synthi?...
Oh you got a Nickel, I got a Dime,
I'd like to get to know you but I haven't got the time,
You got to walk like a mannequin, roll like a tyre,
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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:11 am

I'll think about this, thanks for the suggestion :tu: :lol:
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by bsilverberg » Mon Feb 04, 2019 11:54 am

This looks amazeballs!! Can't wait!

If we're offering up integration suggestions, how about some type of assembly that connects between the Program Board port on the 208 and the Presto-Patch port on the Synthi?

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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:20 pm

Thanks

I've thought to such an interface between the Synthi and 208 using the edge connectors but it quickly proved very complicated : this would need a lot of voltage adapters both ways, a routing solution such as a second matrix...
Big work, high price and not sure whether such a specific interface would be very useful or succesful at the end. Not worth doing to sell only a few units.

I did a matrix interface to interconnect 2 Synthis about 10 years ago. This actually opens to huge and vertiginous possibilities but that's theory, in practice I never use it. The Easel and Synthi are great self-contained instruments for live situation thanks to their immediacy, accessibility and ergonomy, this kind of console is actually the opposite of these.
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by dan_p » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:29 pm

papz wrote:I'll think about this, thanks for the suggestion :tu: :lol:
Then I'll be expecting commission...

:lol:

:75:
Oh you got a Nickel, I got a Dime,
I'd like to get to know you but I haven't got the time,
You got to walk like a mannequin, roll like a tyre,
Act on reaction dodge the big spud fryer
------------------------------------------
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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:42 pm

All I can imagine is something like Digitana's AKS KS Expander rather based on 208 circuits and layout. But this would be a big job and expensive device as well, that would be more limited than a real 208 interacting with a Synthi via its existing inputs and outputs. :mrgreen:

The advanced clever design of the 208's program card slot makes it more adapted to expand this way than a Synthi.
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by vgermuse » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:22 pm

Awesome card!! Such rich and deep sounds and timbres. Papz rocks!
And nice graphic manual Bill!

Be sure to download these sounds that Papz made for best audio
http://www.portabellabz.be/SYNTHI_Card_demos_mp3.zip

Here is my first little video teaser. More to follow . . .

[video][/video]

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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 4:36 pm

Thanks so much Todd ! :yay:

A small clarification : the "shape" (pot and CV in) is not wave mix but wave shape control, it changes both triangle and square together, like on the Synthi.
Triangle changes progressively from ramp (CCW) to inverted ramp (CW) passing by a triangle at mid course.
Square changes progressively from a line (CCW) to a line (CW) passing by a symmetrical square at mid course. The lines are mute because the pulse becomes too short to be perceptible.
The wave mix is controlled by setting the level pots.

From the VCS3 user manual :
Image
Last edited by papz on Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by lumin » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:50 pm

This looks great papz. Congratulations. Very interested in one.

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Post by papz » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:53 pm

Thanks

Feel free to pm me or email me if you want to be on the waiting list for a pre-built card, the sooner the better place ;)
Finest EMS gear service and Music Easel/208 goodies

I'm not a synths dealer and I'm not aware of an inexpensive Synthi secret market, please don't ask me if I know one for sale.
I don't offer support of any kind to people attempting to build clones of EMS equipment.

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Post by nickbaba » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:28 pm

Great to see this out in public, Papz... this is indeed an awesome expansion for the Easel and having been lucky enough to try one I can say it sounds fantastic.

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Post by vgermuse » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:21 pm

Here's my next installment exploring the noise and random voltage features... :party:

[video][/video]

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Post by wsequeira » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:15 pm

Fantastic demos Todd! Glad the Synthi Card is now in the wild. :guinness:
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Post by wsequeira » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:16 pm

Not sure why two copies of the message were inserted - please disregard.
Last edited by wsequeira on Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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