Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Empty Rack Case

A tease?

Further details added 3rd Jan 09:::

This is a new FrackRack case that I have designed and had fabricated locally in Bristol.

The design has several strengths including:
  • space for eleven frac-widths -> little space wasted in rack-ears
  • modules fixed with M3 bolts + integrated captive nuts for strength yet easy removal
  • detachable rack-ears leaving a 16.6" wide 'box' which can easily be grouped into larger systems
  • integrated power bus bar with 12 x 0.1" power headers and 10 x 0.156"
  • sturdy 3-pin locking power entry on rear-panel
  • only 4" deep! Very compact (though unsuitable for many deeper frac modules...)
  • extremely rugged -> made of 0.05" black painted steel + 0.125" for rack-ears
  • overall dimensions without rack ears -> 16.6" wide, 5.25" tall (3-u), 4" deep
These further pictures show some close-ups without the rack ears attached.
More details as to (my) usage and availability coming soon!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

BoardWeevil09 - first view

Here's the initial build of the new Weevil for 2009 ----> the BoardWeevil

Its like a souped-up Postcard and takes in some new design ideas I've been playing with through 2008. My aim has been to create something with the power of previous big Weevils, but which is more easily replicated (to try to meet demand...)

Some notes:
  • Three Oscs with Lo/Hi Ranges with the usual Quasi-ringmod
  • Oscs 2 & 3 can Sync to Osc1
  • Osc1 also has a Light Sensor for pitching (switchable)
  • Power starve for the Weevil-heart - this also has a switchable Light Sensor
  • Balance Control fades between Ring1 (oscs1 & 2) and Ring2 (oscs 1 & 2 & 3)
  • Simple Tone Control
  • Output Level dial feeding a standard 1/4" jack
  • Onboard Mini-Amp
  • 14 body contacts (gold plated!)
  • All Dials are 9mm Alps -- still compact, but much sturdier than the orig. Postcard ones.
Due for release in Jan09.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Hooting Yard

Most of this blog is tech & sonics, so here's a brief break to introduce.......

Frank Key's Hooting Yard

A never ending stream of talk and interwoven twaddle.
The funniest / most informative...

You can listen to / download radio sessions from the Resonance FM Podcast site

New book available from Lulu.com now

Maybe its an acquired taste?

Monday, 3 November 2008

More Modular Recordings

Here's a few recent snippets of sound from the bug modules. These are presented pretty much warts-and-all -> live takes recorded straight in pure MONO (!) either with a mic straight in front of an amp or direct to a soundcard - no effects..

Plinking LPGs
- this involves a bunch of clock divisions, driving three Osc chains (no keyboard pitching here)
- three VCOs, tuned manually and then modulate with direct clock signals
- going through three LoPassGates controlled by three simple Envs which have different clock divsions..
- a bit of wobble tuning in there!

- a rhythmic one where a trigger seq plays throughout and extra clock divisions build on top
- a bit of an extendo, but the rhythmics become very bouncy towards the end.

- a short burst from an elongated take using only a few modules (6frac width, hence the title)
- there's no traditional VCOs in there, feedback variations causes the rhythms to shift and bounce

(you can click the mp3 label below to find other bug modular tracks)

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Postcards - now in Yellow

The PostcardWeevil has changed colour....

Monday, 27 October 2008

BoomBox for Cube X

The wonderful Cube Cinema has just celebrated 10 years of existence.
There was a big musical party for which I was to do a little 15minute performance.
So, I grabbed the gaffa-tape and strapped together a modular BoomBox system::::

1 x FracCase filled with Bug-Modules
1 x JoyBox control
1 x contact mic'd dog-bowl (swedish)
2 x SLA 12v batteries
1 x crapped-out speaker

Fun Fun Fun

Monday, 15 September 2008


New developments..

AudioWeevil08 batch1

Released today and gone in an unbelievably short time! (under 30mins)

Monday, 11 August 2008

What is this?

Update: Details of the new AudioWeevil08 are now on the Bug Sound-devices page

(click to view big)
More details soon....

Prototype work is just about done!
More details coming soon. I'm sure you can read so know what this is...!...

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Modular recordings

I've just uploaded some mp3s of modular playings - a full CD length of recordings for download.
They're free flowing plays, some rhythms, some drones, some warts.
Pure analogue all made with the suitcase system shown above (though some modules have changed since this photo)
Visit the BugBrand Modular page and enjoy!

Also an archive picture of the modular from Oct07 before the case changed to the more portable suitcase version:

Friday, 30 May 2008

Workshop Noise Machine Schematic

I've just put up the schematic for the recent Workshop Noise Machine on my BugBrand Electronics page. Sometime soon (probably August or so) I'll offer kits for this with all parts and more detailed instructions. The first run of the workshop at Pickled Feet in Berlin went really well last weekend - 14 people (some with zero electronics / soldering experience) got the kits built quickly and with everything working first time - lots of fun noises ensued!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Weevil08 in Mexico played by Erica

Sent to me by Felipe Waller, this is an amazing and touching video of Erica playing a Weevil in Mexico. Thanks to Felipe and good luck to Erica!

Monday, 12 May 2008


Here's a new board-synth design that is going to be used for some upcoming workshop events - build your own drone'n'noise machine. The schematic and design will be shared imminently on the BugBrand Electronics page (once I do up a pdf document for the workshop teaching).

This design features:
3 oscillators - two of which can be sync'd to Osc1 resulting in very rich harmonic drone sounds.
Each osc has a switch for hi or lo pitch. The Oscs are all running at audio-rates (rather than the sub-audio clicks of the PostcardWeevil)
Mixer and comparator to bring together the Oscs and give a stable output level even when starved. The starve also has two settings - stable and unstable.
CMOS overdrive with tone contol and drive setting.
13 touch points!
10 dials!
7 switches (well, 6 if you discount the on/off switch)
1/4" jack output and/or onboard mini-amp.

Results? Power drones and chaoscillations. Touchy-screamy!
(Demo sounds coming soon)

Time to build - pretty quick - hopefully people with little or no experience will be able to build these (and learn something about what's going on too) within 4 hours or so. (maybe being optimistic?!)

Workshops are currently booked for Berlin (24th May at PickledFeet) and then in Lisbon at the UM festival sometime mid-to-late June (exact date TBC - via New Interfaces). Get in touch via the main BugBrand site if you'd like to book a workshop for your area...

BugBrand HoneyComb

One off batch - won't be entering full production.
Crunchy sounds, very sweet indeed...

BugCrusher Batch Apr2008

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

CMOS Modulars

The 4000 series CMOS logic series holds some wonderful chips for clocking (ie rhythmic) and audio generation (squarewaves). There's a very inspiring new forum at electro-music.com that's dedicated to / inspired by Stanley Lunetta..
Lunettas - circuits inspired by Stanley Lunetta

Here's my first module - clocking and XNORs - pretty much the heart of a Weevil but without body contact and power starvation..
Quite a few more designs in the pipeline now - the rhythmic possibilities are really exciting.
I'll be posting more details such as panel layouts and schematics shortly. The whole idea behind these circuits is that they're meant to be quick and dirty -- its actually the panel making that seems to take the longest!

Edit:: more schematics and details now on my electronics page

Can Weevils fly?

The new batch of Weevil08s flew out of the BugShop in under 24hours..

Monday, 17 March 2008

Blow-up Magazine

If you can read Italian...
From the January edition of BlowUp Magazine

Friday, 22 February 2008

New (really)Micro PCBs

This is the first test PCB for the new production version BugCrusherMicro, built and tested today. The Micro part of the name is apt - those three ICs are freaking tiny! My first time with SMD chips and, somewhat surprisingly, they're not actually too hard to work with (though you do need a damn steady hand!).

All the tests have worked out well, so production will be beginning imminently!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Thomas Henry MegaPercussionSynth (BetaTest)

Here's some pics of a new module I've been helping to beta-test. I've previously built quite a few modules designed by Thomas Henry, but this has got to be one of the best - it crams in so many features! You can read more about the project on this electro-music.com thread (I've shared the front panel design file on page 8 and there's a demo mp3 there too).

A brief overview of the features:
There are three sections which together make up a synthesized drum -- Impact (a short impulse like the beater hitting the drum), Shell (the main body of the drum) and Noise. Each section has its own decay control - these are all fired by the main Trigger Input. The Impact is a pretty simple Squarewave and the Noise is white noise passed through a voltage controlled resonant filter (low-pass or band-pass). Its the Shell section that really packs in the features -- its based on the XR2206 chip, outputting a triangle wave, and its basic freq. range is massive - I measured 25Hz right up to 19kHz! But, on top of that Thomas Henry has added a wonderful RingMod osc allowing really great tones.
Just like that things'd be great, but you also get CV modulation for the Noise and Shell (which can actually be cross-modulated with the Impact or Noise outputs) and the great LockMode - this holds all the Envs open, giving you a wierd and wonderful synth voice!

PCBs will be being made available pretty soon for this project once some more testing has been done -- check back to the electro-music thread for further details.

As you can see there's quite a lot of wiring to be done! It was quite a squeeze to fit everything into a 3-frac-width panel, but I'm happy to have such a powerful module in such a compact form.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Welcome Weevil08

Here's the test run of the new Weevil08 design. Its got a similar 3-osc heart to the PostcardWeevil, but the end results are quite different due to the more-involved circuitry with extra pitchings for the Oscs, filter control, etc..

These boxes can make some very rich drone tones along with all manner of crazed'n'burble Weevil sounds! Here's an mp3 demo - 6 minutes covering some of the sonic possibles, recorded straight into a soundcard with no processing...

These will be hitting the BugShop sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, 25 January 2008

Building Bugs - the new BugCrusher08

Things have been busy behind the scenes in BugWorld - I've been trying to streamline my ways of producing devices. Last month I brought out the diminutive PostcardWeevil (which has gone down well!) - my first foray into Pro PCBs (from Futurlec) - and now comes the first box, a new and powerful version of the BugCrusher.

The use of ProPCBs opens up some new techniques and the theory is that I can make things much more replicatable, while also packing more features in. To be honest, there's still plenty of figuring to be done - both on what circuits to build and how to integrate everything efficiently- but things are heading in good ways. Don't be thinking, either, that using ProPCBs makes the building process all that much easier -- it still takes a freaking age to put the boxes together!!!

So, here are the first pictures of the new BugCruhser08 - inside and outside!
A batch of 8 will be released in the next few days via the BugMailList (you are on it, aren't you?!)
There'll be more info going up on the main BugBrand site shortly too.
Coming soon will be a new version of the (standard) Weevil and then on to some more BugCrusher9VoltStomps...

The box features are:
Input Preamp for mic or line level
Voltage Controlled Crusher circuit - with main Crush Control plus variable CV modulation
Mixer to blend Dry / Crushed signals plus switchable phase inversion on the Crushed signal
Voltage Controlled Resonant Filter with LoPass / BandPass - with main Cutoff Control plus variable CV modulation
Output with lo (guitar-amp) or hi (line) levels
Modulation input switchable between Expression Pedal or external Control Voltage (CV - from analogue synths (standard +/-5v levels))
Electronic Bypass Switch plus external Footswitch socket

And some shots of the building process:
There are four boards within - one main board and then external boards joined via IDC headers.
One for Input / Output sockets
Two for dials and switches