Aggressively lo-fi

York, United Kingdom | 481 Sales


Aggressively lo-fi

York, United Kingdom 481 Sales On Etsy since 2017

5 out of 5 stars
Simon Ward

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Simon Ward


Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
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Keep It Simple, Stupid!

I've been a musician for a while now - up until quite recently my weapon of choice was a bass guitar, but having fallen down the rabbit hole that is modular synthesis I have a new way to make noise ...

I started out the usual way: buy a rack and a bunch of modules (ADSR, VCA, VCO, that kind of thing) and start making noises. Then I discovered the DIY scene and it all snowballed from there - sequencers, filters, logic modules ... four racks full of noisemakers later and I'm still not done.

My modules are Eurorack-friendly by default (3U high) - although I have 'proper' PCBs made for them, all of the soldering and testing is done by hand ... that includes all the surface-mount stuff in the newer modules.

I'm a big believer in the KISS principle - Keep It Simple, Stupid! If you want all-singing, all-dancing multifunction modules then this really isn't the place for you - similarly, if you're after ultra high fidelity then you may well be in the wrong place; I like my sounds to be lo-fi, dirty and more than a little bit strange.

Finally, yes, my modules are pretty cheap - the reasons for this are simple: I sell this stuff to supplement my existing income and to fund a hobby I enjoy - board runs are kept small (usually 10 at most) and I try to keep costs down where practical; this was one of the drivers behind switching to surface mount - that, and I enjoy the challenge of soldering SMD.

For the really curious, despite working as a software developer I do have a PhD in theoretical physics, specifically the numerical simulation of explosions. It isn't nearly as interesting as you might imagine :-p

Now, go forth and make an unholy racket!

Shop members

  • Simon

    Owner, Electron Wrangler

    Overqualified software developer and part-time synth-mangler - despite having a PhD in theoretical physics I have become quite adept at melting metal over things with a hot pencil and having them make noise afterwards. These are the results ...

Shop policies

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Last updated on Oct 4, 2018
Frequently asked questions
Why don't you offer metal panels?

Short answer:cost.

On the scale that I (currently) work at, getting metal panels made is insanely expensive - to the point where the cost of the panel often exceeds the cost of the module itself. Metal fabrication to sub-mm tolerances doesn't come cheap.

Perspex is a good alternative - for the cost of a single metal panel I can get a sheet full of perspex panels made.

I get that people may not like the Perspex panels - nothing wrong with that. For those people I can offer the design files for the panels so they can get their own made in the material of their choice.

If you desperately want a module with a metal panel then submit a custom order and we'll sort something out, just keep in mind that one-offs are expensive.

I can't find your gear on ModularGrid ....

It's there, but you'll have to dig around for it.

I'm not a habitual user of ModularGrid and I'm not registered as a manufacturer - this may change in the future, but for now I'm content to fly below the radar.

Shipping ...

UK: I use first class Tracked and Signed by default. Particularly expensive gear or orders will use Special Delivery - this way your gear is insured against loss and damage. In exceptional circumstances you'll get your stuff next working day.

Elsewhere: I'll use Royal Mail International Tracked and Signed - again, this offers insurance against loss and damage. For countries where this service is unavailable (eg. Australia, Brazil) then I'll use International Tracked. Shipping times vary - 5-7 days is normal, although for some countries (looking at you, Italy) it can be longer.

In either case, you'll get a tracking number once your order ships.

What mounting hardware is provided?

An appropriate number of M3x10 machine screws (usually 2)

For 99% of cases, this will work. If you use M2.5, 4-40 or whatever then unfortunately you'll need to supply your own mounting hardware.

Perspex sucks! I want to make my own panels ....

Then this is your lucky day ...

I can supply files suitable for use with Schaeffer's Front Panel Designer software and/or AutoCAD DXF files. SVG files are also available on request.

If you just want to cut your own panels out of a different material then DXF is probably what you want - just send it to someone with a laser cutter and you're good. If you wish to customise the panel then the FPD files will be your best bet.

Can the desktop modules run off batteries?

There's no technical reason why not, providing you supply at least 12V to the module or are prepared to replace the on-board voltage regulator.

If you're DIYing, you could always use a 7805 voltage regulator and run things off a 9V PP3 battery. Your mileage will vary (considerably!) as regards battery life.

Why surface mount?!

Cost and speed of assembly.

I can buy surface mount components in bulk for far less than a comparable number of through-hole products, meaning I can keep my prices down.

There's also convenience - I can build an SMD module far more quickly than I can a through-hole module. There's less waste, too, since I don't have to snip off excess leads etc.

Surface-mount soldering really isn't difficult - if you've got a steady(ish) hand and a decent soldering iron I heartily recommend giving it a go.

Regarding returns ...

In the event of something not working, let me know - despite my best efforts, faults can happen and electrons are notoriously fickle beasts. Sometimes it can be 'operator error', other times it can be a genuine fault - in either event, be nice about it.

Basically, if something doesn't work then I'll offer you a replacement (or repair, where practical) or a refund - defective items should be returned to me at your earliest convenience (non-UK buyers: I get that returns are costly - I'll deal with these on an individual basis)

In situations where something is clearly faulty, I'll generally process your refund straight away - no muss, no fuss.