CUMULUS (2013) IS NOW ON SPOTIFY!

It took me almost 5 years but I finally published my 2013 album ‘Cumulus’ on Spotify.

Check it out via the link below for some all-modular bliss :).

Cumulus by Halt! Run!

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Hanging Acoustic Foam without messing up the walls

After moving into our new apartment I realised the acoustics in the room designated as the home office space were just horrible. Actually it was so bad that late night meetings were almost impossible due to the echoing and booming.

The solution? Auralex Acoustic Foam of course!

I picked up a bass trap and 3 wedge panels, all 2″ versions to begin with but soon ran into the problem of how to attach them to the walls.

Three of the eight (don’t ask) walls in the room are concrete, and drilling massive holes felt like a really bad idea, so instead I started looking for a non-destructive solution.

Here’s what I came up with:

1. Silicon, transparent, (almost) 100%

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I bought this stuff at Bauhaus here in Sweden, but you should be able to get it at any DIY or home center. Make sure it’s as pure as possible otherwise it might eat through the foam.

The best thing about this stuff is you can just peal it off the wall once you want to take the panels down, and similarly from the back of the foam.

2. Testing

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I started out by testing a small chunk of silicon in a corner of the room, just to make sure it wouldn’t leave any marks. After 48 hours I was able to simply drag it of the wall with no artefacts. Similarly I put s small piece on the back of a panel, with the same result.

3. Application and hanging

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Finally I put a good, solid amount on the back of the panels (like an X in a square) and simply pushed them up against the wall. They stuck really firmly and I was able to let go almost immediately.

So there you have it. Cheap, simple and non-destructive. Silicon FTW!

The road to a simple DIY Pedal, pt 2

After pouring over several potential veroboard layouts I’ve decided to go for a simple Bazz Fuss as my first project.

A quick search reveals endless variations and tweaks, but for this first version my plan is to build one of the very simplest, as seen below:

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With the goal set I started out tonight by cutting down the board to the necessary size. I used a regular knife to trace out where the cuts should go, then simply snapped the board to the right dimensions.

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If you think it looks bigger than the layout above that’s because I added 3 additional rows for drilling holes for the spacers that will secure the board in the pedal case.

Here’s another couple of shots with most of the components soldered in. I’m one capacitor short so I decided to stop here for tonight.

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Building or Buying?

Let’s just get it out of the way, building your own pedals will probably never be cheaper than just buying them.

That is, unless you plan on building a lot of pedals. Economies of scale will likely never work in your favour, but if you stick with the hobby for a while I suspect you start to build up a supply of various components and tools, to the point where you can experiment with new builds with almost no additional investment.

Then it might just start to make economic sense…

Then again, I guess very few builders are into this stuff for pure economic reasons. I know I’m not. I do this (or I want to do this) simply because its fun. And educational.

My goal is to get to a level where I can experiment with effects that I dream up myself. I already have several ideas that I’ve been carrying around since I got into modular synthesis.

Hopefully this time around I’ll actually realise at least some of them!

I wiggled the Nyborg 12, here are my thoughts

Introduction

I have slimmed down my workspace by shedding some weight in terms of analog synth gear, but I still have a soft spot for physical knobs and I will always want a solid analog instrument on my desk.

On that note, I looked around for what my next analog synth should be, and there was one that really stood out for me, the Analogue Solutions Nyborg 12. The thing that caught my eyes, besides the well rounded specs, was the fantastic design and form factor. Like something taken straight from the set of a 50s sci-fi movie I pictured it towering on my desk with its LFO led slowly pulsing…

Right??? Yes, awesome indeed!

Still it’s a pricey piece of kit, so I wanted to actually ‘play’ it for a while to get a feel before I pulled the trigger, and here are my initial thoughts after wiggling with it for about 20min in the store.

Impressions

nyborg-12-rightYes, the design is fantastic, including the font and color scheme, size and slight inclination of the font panel.

Ergonomically it’s a great kit to work with. Knobs are large and easy to grip and the placement of the patch points along the top makes it easy to connect to the outside world without cables cluttering up the whole front panel.

(You really wish the Dark Energy from Doepfer would take a cue here…)

The whole unit is also a lot lighter in weight than you might think, which at first had me worried that it would tip over. Turns out the wider base is enough to support it though, and you can flip the front panel over and lay it down flat on your desk if that suits your taste.

Soundwise the filter (SEM style, 12dB, multimode) sounds every bit as nice as you would expect. Friendly, warm and creamy, especially the LP. It does lack some of the biting quality of a Moog style 24dB filter, but that’s not what the Nyborg is trying to deliver. If you want that you want another synth.

The oscillators I found to be very well behaved. Suffering perhaps a little from the same somewhat constrained qualities (a bit tame?) as I often hear in DSI instruments like the Tetra and the Prophet 12. (Yes, I know those use DCOs and not VCOs, but to my ears they sounded similar for some reason.)

The build quality was OK but not as stellar as Analogue Solutions like to tote on their website. Potentiometers felt a bit wobbly and the casing was not 100% sealed in the edges meaning dust could easily find its way in. Could just be that the unit I wiggled had stood in the store for a while and taken some abuse…

Conclusions

front-flatI’m sure there’s an audience for the Nyborg and that in the right hands it can and will sound great, but for me it was not that immediate fit that I had hoped for.

I had a hard time dialling away the metallic cleanliness which I did not expect to find in an all analog instrument like this, and the build quality just didn’t feel as solid as I had wished for.

Still, it’s a fantastic instrument if this is what your looking for, and there’s a good chance me and the Nyborg might meet again. Perhaps then the stars will align and it could be the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship…


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