Time for a bla-bla-bla post, some personal history to start with..
Eurorack modular synthesizers. You’d think that these things would be the obvious and instant end stop for a DIY synth builder like myself. But I’m my case, not even remotely so. Sure, I’ve been on the map about modulars ever since I started studying sound synthesis in early 90s, and the Euro(rack) format since around 2002. But I just sort of dismissed the whole thing thinking along the lines of ‘looks fun but not my cup‘, and went on to build this and that instead. I’ve even had a number of friends suggest that I should really look into the Euro, but all of that fell to deaf ears!
I don’t know exactly why, but the modular stuff previously never kind of resonated with me. For one, I guess it might have much to do with the fact that what I’ve had the chance to play around with the most, has been dominantly the software kind.. Say, programs like NI’s Reaktor. While software is far more versatile than hardware, for me it lacks much of the spontaneity that patching hardware can offer. Connecting software modules using a mouse just feels more a cumbersome chore than fun, and despite you’re DIYing as much, it lacks all the physical crafting.
Second, I also never stopped to connect all the obvious of what I like. Tinkering with bits and bobs, like a second nature to me. Making compact or miniature builds, yes please! Building or bending audio hardware at my will, hell yeah!
It’s funny really, how much one can be in the middle of it all and not realize the obvious..
Now if you’ve been following this blog you know that some months ago I completed my TTSH build, a semi-modular analog synthesizer. The more I got into patching sounds with it, I was quickly met with how limited a system it actually is to work with. So I then moved on to build a Arp 1601 sequencer clone (pending a blog post btw!).. After which I found myself putting together a Eurorack skiff to host some utility modules, all to expand the system.. And while building the skiff I got into modifying some of the things.. So here we finally wind up to subject of this post..:
I figured that since I’m going to build and mod some Euro modules, I might as well brand that stuff for the fun of it. And perhaps to have something to group/label the modules at places like Modulargrid.net. So after giving it a good thought I chose to go with ProtoTypo; not to copy-cat the other Prototypos around the net, but because I feel it sums up in a fun way what the essence of my Euro builds will be. Like these one-off prototypes that may contain errors created in the heat of all the joy of DIY. Perhaps like what the electronics equivalent of a ‘typo’ is to written text.
What’s to come
So yeah, under Prototypo I’ll be messing around with commercial (DIY) Euro modules, building new or modding existing gear to Eurorack format (eg. my incomplete Monotron Delay Expander springs to mind!). As I get builds done, I’m going to add them to the official ProtoTypo page here on this blog with build details included, just in case there’s someone out there who wants to make one too.. Or perhaps peer-review the circuits, suggest improvements or whatever :)
Builder caution is advised as usual: As I often say, it’s after all just stuff you found online. If there’s a post for a module then I’ve managed to make a working one, but even so I don’t recommend plain blindly following my scribblings. Things to come, stay tuned!