Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Böhm Soundlab Multi Module

This one is a bit embarrassing... A friend of mine is a proud owner of a Böhm Soundlab Modular Synthesizer. About 300 or so were ever made, and at least half of them were destroyed when the warehouse of the german Böhm company burned down. Needless to say, this thing is quite rare, and modules are hard to come by.
Now, the synth comes in this somewhat flimsy hardshell suitcase, and this particular specimen had some unused space that begged to be filled in a meaningful way.
My friend asked me if I could help, and I said "Yes!" - I offered to make a module with an 8-step sequencer, a state variable VCF (LM137000 anyone?), a double CV Inverter and a double "gender bender" (to convert between banana jack and 6,3mm mono plugs); thus making the most out of the available space.
My friend said "GREAT!" and we agreed on a timeframe of about 3 months or so. You might get an idea where this is going... I started with the module and got it finished to about 85% within the first 2 months... then I moved... and did not have time to work on it....then I moved again... putting it away safely... then I thought about continuing my work (but found good excuses not to)... and finally, TWO-AND-A-FUCKING-HALF-YEARS-LATER, I finished the module (took another whopping 4 hours. I could have done it waaaaaaay earlier....). 
I had some trouble with the sequencer, it is based on the popular "Baby 10" design, and unfortunately that means the gate signals of consecutive steps are joined. Of course, we can not have that. I made it so that rather than gate signals, triggers are spat out, which in return can drive the envelope generators of the synth. It works amazingly well, and I am glad I got this one off my back. It gnawed at my conscience far too long.. but fortunately my friend is very forgiving and never really doubted me (he said so, it must be true!)
And yes, that is a 9mm shell next to the Resonance knob: I put a hole in the panel where I should not have, with a 9mm diameter. The shell just happened to lie around in the streets of Neukölln, Berlin, and it fitted perfectly. So there!

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