DIY Modular Synth: MiniMoog Filter Clone

Morocco Dave

This was the first synth module I built. It’s been a long road; it’s been on a “temporary” panel in a “temporary” case since I first got it working. Today, I mounted the parts onto an aluminium panel; it’s finished.

IMG_6735The module itself is one of Yves Usson’s awesome designs. For those of you familiar with the superb Arturia MiniBrute analog synth – Yves is the man who co-created it with Arturia. It really does have a warmth and depth that is surprisingly close to the original MiniMoog VCF. As this was my first module, I bought a kit and a ready-made PCB in order to get me going. I learnt a lot building this module, all of which gave me the confidence to tackle further projects with my own strip-board layouts and sourcing components straight from a bill-of-materials.

IMG_6757The kit came from Soundtronics, who are just a…

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DIY Modular Synth: MIDI Distribution

Morocco Dave

Let me put this out there at the very beginning of this post, just so that we’re all clear:

I’m not an analog purist. I quite like digital noises, too.

There, I’ve said it. Still with me? Good.

I fully intend for my DIY modular system to contain both analog and digital elements; if it sounds good and/or it’s easy to work with and especially if it’s a cheap build, it’s in. As a result, I have a plan to produce a couple of very quick-and-lo-fi synth voice and drum modules based on Arduino. They take MIDI rather than CV as their main control (although I will be adding CV mod inputs to them). So, I need a sensible way of getting MIDI around my case, preferably without having tons of MIDI sockets all over the place.

To solve this, I turned to a project I’ve already built – a simple…

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DIY Modular Synth Case: Power Distribution

Morocco Dave

So, I’m building a case for my home-made modular synth. Not this case, which I made just a couple of months ago when I was first dabbling in DIY electronics. Oh no, I’ve outgrown that one already. I’ll be keeping it, though, as a test frame for the workbench.

No, I’m talking about this case:

13U x 2 row modular case

2 rows of modules, each row 13U wide. So, potentially, 26 x 1U modules.

Believe it or not, I’ve already got 17U in the build process… so this one’s probably going to fill up pretty fast, too.

At the moment I’m waiting on parts in order to get this build moving – I’m having a whole bunch of blank aluminium module panels laser-cut , and until they arrive I can’t see the tolerances in the cutting process. Which means I can’t finalise dimensions for the frame they’ll mount into. Which means I can’t finalise dimensions…

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Arduino Nano ISP Programmer

Morocco Dave

If you follow me on Twitter or pay any kind of attention to this blog, you’ll know that I’ve recently been building a variety of DIY music tech gadgets. At the heart of a whole bunch of these is the Arduino programmable microcontroller.


I currently have four or five projects on the go that make use of one of these brilliant Nano boards in one way or another. However, I’d much rather use the Arduino Nano as a bread-boarding and development tool, and transfer the finished code to an ATMega328P chip for the finished piece of work.

Conveniently, you can use a Nano as a programmer for burning a bootloader and your code onto a virgin ATMega. I found this excellent blog post by Martyn Currey that lays out how to go about this really clearly and concisely.

But… I’m lazy and I get bored easily. I got thoroughly dissatisfied…

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