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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

As we head into August (and towards our 100th sale! Who would have guessed?) we’ve got some stuff to announce! We’ll start with the important bit, though… prices.

Price changes

We’ve updated the pricing and shipping in our Etsy store. We’re now offering free standard shipping on all items (we’ll be adding tracked shipping as an option soon, too) and we’ve rationalised how our prices are calculated across the board. This is for a number of reasons:

  • Etsy have changed the prices that they charge us; we run to the bone on margins so we had to work to incorporate this.
  • Our PCB costs have increased over the past few months.
  • Our original pricing was, to be honest, pretty much made-up-as-we-went-along; we’ve improved that to reflect our costs-of-sale and a known, uniform margin across the range.

The bottom line is: some things have gone up a bit, some have gone down. On average our prices will increase by less than GBP 3.00 across the board – and there’s no longer a shipping charge to add to that!

New products

You may have spotted some new stuff floating about on the site…

_MG_7584_thumbStringTheory Synth

Finally it’s here – the stand-alone version of our popular poly string module. Featuring it’s own power supply and big-boy MIDI connectors, this is otherwise pretty much identical to our StringTheory Eurorack module.

_MG_7495_thumbNiceBottom

We’ve built StringTheory Synth to the same form-factor as our ThruBox MIDI splitter (that is, it’s designed to dock in a widely-available aluminium stompbox enclosure). But we wanted something simpler that we could ship flat-packed, too, so we’ve come up with this simple kit that puts a really nice bottom on your ThruBox or StringTheory Synth.

_MG_7515_thumbDummyLoad

While we were designing a DIY Eurorack power supply (more about that later in this post) we knocked out a really simple little module that just consumes power and turns it into heat – so that we could measure how our PSU performed under different loads and be brutally honest about its capabilities. We thought this might be useful to DIY-ers out there so we’ve turned it into a kit. If you’re going to blow anything up whilst messing about with the supply in your rack, make it one of these instead of one of your precious modules.

_MG_7377_thumbStringTheory Software Update

We’ve updated the software for the original StringTheory, improving note-handling and adding a (much asked-for) MIDI offset feature.

Details are in the owner’s manual; the hardware remains as it was.

Owners who can burn their own ATMega chip can get the software now, for everyone else we’ll be adding a chip replacement item to the shop.

All of the above are already on the site and will be in the shop this week.

Yet more products

As if all the above wasn’t enough, here’s what’s currently on the bench for release during August…

_MG_7502_thumbDualist

Our dual power supply for Eurorack is based on the tried-and-tested MFOS wall-wart supply designed by Ray Wilson. Designed to integrate seamlessly with our ThirdRail and MiniBus products, this unit provides ample, stable power for a handful of modules.

_MG_7512_thumbAlso in the pipeline is a matching 4HP front panel, with AC inlet, main power switch and an indicator LED for each rail. Ultimately, we’ll be selling a complete set of Power panel, Dualist, ThirdRail and MiniBus, all securely mounted on MakerBeam rails for instant integration into your system (we’ve already got the prototype powering our test rack!)

In development

Meanwhile, when we’re not packaging and shipping all this lovely stuff, we’re busy designing new things. Here’s what’s currently in the development pipeline…

TimePiece

One clock to rule them all – a system master clock that outputs MIDI and a range of analog clock signals, for tying all your lovely kit together. We’ve included 1, 2, 24 and 48 ppqn analog outputs, plus a MIDI in and MIDI out, so that you can inject the clock signal into your MIDI chain. Currently being prototyped, we expect to have the final PCB design and software ready by the end of the month. This will be available in both Eurorack and stand-alone formats.

Telegraph

A Eurorack module that fires out pseudo-random gates, based on Morse code. Clock in, morse out, happy days. This one’s a bit of a way off from a finished piece (we’re trying to incorporate an elegant way of the text that the Morse is generated from being user-programmable) but it’s definitely going to happen!

That’s everything for now – see you in the Autumn (if you survive the heat, of course!)

 

“Rack space is expensive”

I was reading posts in a Facebook group dedicated to Eurorack synths the other evening, when I came across a conversation about whether people tend to just keep every module they buy or periodically “clean house” and swap things out. The argument for only keeping what you really like and need was that “rack space is expensive”, so you tend to cycle stuff through your rack and stick with the faves.

Which led me to the thought… hell yes, rack space is expensive (even when you DIY it).

A more important question might be: why, and does it have to be?

Take our test rack as an example: it’s about as simple as it can be, a pair branded 84HP rails and desktop ears, a DIY power supply and a DIY bus-board. It’s incredibly untidy and (to be honest) a pain in the arse to work with – and even that’s coming out at over £100, probably approaching £1.50 per HP.

So, a new mission for MakeSynthsNotWar – we’re gonna try our damnedest to make an 84HP, open-back, desktop rack, with an integrated and a properly-tied-down power supply and an expandable bus, all for £1 per HP.

Why? Because rack space is expensive and we’re idiots and we love a challenge, that’s why.

Oh, and how about this for an idea – we’re going to design it so that you can take it to bits and mount it into a “proper” case when you’re ready, with minimum fuss. Or you can just buy the bits and kit a case out with them. DIY FTW!

 

 

StringTheory ships tomorrow!

Our poly string-synth eurorack module, StringTheory, will be available to purchase through our Etsy shop from noon (UK time) on Saturday 14th April 2018.

Initial stock is limited, and we’ll be honest – we’d completely underestimated the level of interest that this module would generate. We’re expecting the first batch to sell out very quickly – so we’ve already ordered component stock for more. If you don’t grab one of the first ones don’t fret – there’re plenty more on the way.

Fully-assembled modules will be on a 1-2 week lead time (we’re not going to rush builds and everything is going to be properly tested before shipping).

New products for April

Here’s what we’re cooking up for release this month:

ThirdRail: For those of you with just +/-12V in your modular, we’re releasing a 5V supply, to the same form factor (and with the same modular edge connectors) as the MiniBus power bus.

ThruBox: We’re re-stocking this very popular build right now (the first production run sold out in under 2 weeks!)

StringTheory: The “Revision A” boards have arrived and the first prototype will be assembled, tested and recorded this week. In this revision to the original prototype, we’ve improved the output RC filter and added a “gate-to-bus” feature; we want it to be as good as it can be before we release it. Not long now! StringTheory will be available as

  • PCB & panel
  • PCB, panel & pre-programmed ATMega chip
  • Full kit

MidiIn: Dead simple, dead useful, 2 components. A 5-pin DIN MIDI socket with a pin header on the back; use this to add a “big” MIDI socket to your StringTheory module, or to receive MIDI into an embedded ThruBox via your Eurorack’s front panel. Available as

  • PCB & panel
  • Full kit

MidiAccess: The daddy of Eurorack MIDI distro. One full-size DIN MIDI IN, 2 x THRU and, on the back, 3 sets of pin headers for sending MIDI behind the scenes to other modules (StringTheory, for example). And you can daisy-chain them for even mo’ MIDI. This module sets you up to interface with lots of future developments that we have planned! Available as

  • PCB & panel
  • Full kit

Bundles: There’ll be cost-saving bundle options for adding a MidiIn or MidiAccess to any StringTheory order.

All of the above should be in store around the middle of the month – we’ve just got a lot of building, photography and document-writing to do first!

Towards the end of the month, we’ll be releasing StringTheory Synth, a stand-alone version of StringTheory which will run from a 9 to 12V DC supply, with DIN-format MIDI In and MIDI Thru. StringTheory for everyone! We’ve designed this to exactly the same form-factor as the ThruBox – that is, you can drop it into a Hammond stompbox for road-ready toughness.

Phew – busy times!