Monday, December 1, 2014

DIYcrap audio mixer #1

Introduction


During the last year I have built four synthesizers: a MFOS Noise Toaster, a x0xb0x, a Shruthi, and a Sonic Potions LXR drum machine. Hence, now I have an urgent need for an audio-mixer, and I have decided to build one, DIYcrap-style.

Modules


The mixer is based on the MFOS Stereo Panning Mixer. This circuit board uses TL071 and TL072 opamps and gives four mono input channels each with panning two effect send loops. In addition there are two stereo inputs, a headphone amplifier and stereo out to drive an external amplifier or recording unit.

I also need some built-in effects. The first effect is the MFOS ECHO FXXX. This is a PT2399-based delay module, and I am going to use two of these. Hence, they can be used in parallel (for awesome stereo effects), in serial (for super-long delays), or individually on two different mono-sources.

The second must-have effect is Reverb. I will use the SKRM-C8-R02 Reverb/Delay from
www.experimentalnoize.com. This unit is based on the Spin Semiconductor FV-1 and comes preprogrammed with a few stereo reverb and delay effects. With some additional circuitry it should fit nicely with the stereo mixer.

The last effect I am going to add is distortion (or fuzz). I have yet to create this module but i might try out the MFOS fuzz module to begin with.  The fourth module is also from MFOS and is a Stereo Auto Panner. Hopefully, this unit will provide some cool effects. Lastly, since delay and reverb does not fit nicely with low frequencies, I am going to add a variable high pass filter for the effect out part of the mixer. I might give this variable 20-200Hz filter a try.

Panel


One of the biggest challenges with the mixer is to create the front panel. Inspired by the latest Soundlab MkII from MFOS I decided to use the BUD-box AC-423. It is a 17x7 inch box in aluminium.
The status now is that I have soldered most of the boards and I have created the first version of the front panel in Inkscape.


First prototype of the layout (some text is missing)

The design is inspired by other MOTM-style synth-panels, like this one.

I also got useful tips about creating front panels in Inkscape here. Schaeffer is a popular choice for manufacturing the front panel. A more DIY-ish solution is to use LazerTran. However, I will probably just laminate an A3 paper and glue it to the AC-423 in the first version.

This project is still work-in-progress, and I will use this blog as my build log and as a place-holder for all the links I collect. 

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