BioT – touch plates for AE modular

BioT is a collaboration between Wonkystuff & the label Hot Air. From an initial concept and panel design from Hot Air, we have made the panel flippable so that alternative panels can be exposed (one on the reverse of the panel, and one internal!) using a spring connector to cut down on soldering (not cheap, but once an idea is in your head, then it’s hard to shake it off). So, not as cheap as it might be, but 42 times less expensive than a Verbos touchplate keyboard… and we all know how important the number 42 is?

Over to Matt:

This is not in any way a capacitance touch plate of which there are many in modularland. It is more in line with Reed Ghazala’s anti-theory of circuit bending. Some of you on the forum have made diy versions of this. It also has precendents in Michel Waivisz’ Kraakdooz (cracklebox ) and Tom Bugbrand’s postcard & board weevils. On the forum Xodes has manufactured something similar for Eurorack as one of you guessed.

The idea, basically, is to use short circuits creatively: the body (finger or…? ) makes a connection between two plates, but the finger will always have resistance and depending on the surface area covered that resistance can change acting like a bio-potentiometer. Long live ExistenZ & the new flesh! “our bodies are machines, our minds are full of screams” as Jane from Big In Japan howled! The added factor of the close proximity of all of the possible connections also makes it an arena to feel your way around randomly or instinctively to making many interesting permutations of connections just by slithering a finger or two around ( hello ipad/iphone users everywhere ) and hence, with a little bit of trial and error, surprising sounds will be found and can be morphed between as different strengths of touch and positions merge signals that wouldn’t obviously be patched and buzzes, crackles and fizzes from the electricity in your digits add to the shorted broken sounds from voltage and waveforms brutally forced to fight each other for the entertainment of Caesar’s thumb. 

Obviously this doesn’t have the full scope of laying yr hands on the inside of random circuits (Major Morgan is my companion in this i have an army of 12 of them with their butch circuitboard chest hair exposed.) BUT it does have the versatility of being able to pick and choose where you introduce circuit breaks/flesh resistance. Lusting after the new Make Noise Strega? Well why not save half a grand and get one (or two?) of these and see what you can come up with in AEland.

BioT will only come in kit form but is a VERY simple soldering task. It will be simultaneously launched this Bandcamp Friday morning 7th May (no fees for a day!) on the Hot Air bandcamp page hot-air.bandcamp.com and on the Wonkystuff website, limited numbers of approximately 15 to 20 on each site. Price will be £17.50 plus postage. there will be a demo album of noises on the bandcamp page which will be a name your price thing so buying from wonkystuff won’t mean you miss out on that. 

We hope this deceptively simple module is to some of you peoples noisy taste.
here, finally, are some visuals:

Core1 News

It’s been a while since the Core1.C was released, and since then we’ve been thinking about how to improve on the product which we started with in 2018. We think that the latest revision is worth posting about…

It was always intended that end-users would be able to reprogram the Core1 with whatever sound making code they fancied — hence the ATTiny85 was made removable. It turns out, however, that whilst it is possible, it’s not the most usable workflow (unplug chip; program chip; plug back in; modify code; unplug chip; etc.). With this in mind, one of the team asked the question:

“Could we make the Core1 programmable over an audio input?”

Continue reading “Core1 News”

rbss & quantizer issue

Over on the AE Modular Forum (which is a great community resource if you’ve not visited), it has been noted that the rbss does not always play nicely with the Tangible Waves quantizer module — unfortunately, this is ultimately down to a small issue with the output of the rbss (prior to serial number 130). The good news is that this is a relatively simple fix for the earlier revisions of the rbss, requiring just the addition of a single component.

Continue reading “rbss & quantizer issue”

new design #2

The next module for redesign is the mm33 — the order for the next batch of PCBs has just been sent off…

The redesign of course uses the new font and graphic design previously seen in the qvca, but the mm33 electronics have also been redesigned:

— The module now uses surface mount components, so it’s a little bit neater than the original mm33! We have yet to decide whether to offer a kit for this version, we’ll keep you posted.

— Gain for each channel has been increased to improve the behaviour when using the mm33+ within feedback patches.

— Each output channel now has a switch to select whether the output is targetted for CV or audio (CV signals are relative to 0v, whilst audio signals are centred around 2.5v). It is of course possible to use the audio setting for CVs if that is what you want to do!

The updated module will be available on the webshop just as soon as they arrive!

a new year; a new design

Following the sell-out of the first run of qvca modules, a second batch of PCBs has been ordered, and these will be made available on the webshop just as soon as they are available! Electronically the new run differs only slightly from the first batch, for manufacturing and calibration purposes.

Hopefully it will also be clear that the design has changed somewhat since the first ‘red circles’ version; it is intended that all of our modules from now on will follow the same design patterns. We are sticking with the black PCB panel, with highlights being a combination of silkscreened white and exposed (tinned) copper tracks.

The typeface has changed (using the SB Flip font family from SelfBuild Type Foundry), and the AEModular logo has been replaced (for now at least) so as to indicate that these modules are 3rd-party and not made by Tangible Waves (although we are still of course in close communication with Robert and the TW crew!).

Obviously the panel graphic is a segment of the wonkystuff W logotype!

Anyway, I’m now off to redesign some more panels…

uncertainty…

Now that the UK has left the EU, it looks like there will be an impact on selling modules etc. from the website. Information seems very patchy — especially for a new business like us, where we are trying to just keep ahead of the curve!

We have already seen some shipping prices increase, but for the most part these are relatively minor. Since wonkystuff is not VAT registered, we have not been charging VAT (we are legally not allowed!); so unfortunately it looks like customers in the EU will now be charged VAT and import duty by the local customs organisation or postal service. This is subject to any minimum values which may apply in your territory.

This makes me very sad (and worried!), but I hope that some level of ‘normal’ can be reached soon — change is always disruptive, but I am hoping that there will be some certainty in the coming months.

year end – and another thing!

Just to say that we’re now pretty much on Christmas vacation, there may be some building going on in the spaces between festivities, but we hope to be back up to speed at the beginning of 2021.

Thanks to the Government’s behaviour, we have no real idea about the impact that Brexit will have on shipping (both PCBs and components coming in to us, as well as delivering to our valued customers). It may be that shipping costs will change, but we just don’t know unfortunately…

UPDATE 22/12/2020 — Since the UK borders are now shut because of Covid-19, as well as the uncertainty regarding postal services at the moment, I have decided to shut the shop until the new year. My hope is that there will be some way to continue shipping in the new year.

It is highly likely that the orders which were posted earlier this week will be delayed, and orders placed this week will not be posted until we know what is going on.

so, 2020 eh?

Well, what a year.

My plan was to treat 2020 as a depth year; getting to know the gear that I have in a bit more detail rather than simply buying new shiny things. However, it didn’t quite turn out like that…

In April, my long-term collaborator (and fellow wonkystuff-er) Ash bought himself an AE Modular system and having enthused about it to me, I also went and purchased a starter rack 2 with a SEQ16 (from Juno), with a mind to do some long distance (York-Leeds) collaborations with Ash, and also perhaps to work on modifying some pre-existing wonkystuff sound-generators to the AE Modular standard for future adventures with our Orlando Ferguson project.

standard mm33 panel (left)

A few months on, and September saw the release of the mm33, a variation of our long-existing 5×5 matrix mixer, tailored for AE Modular — it turned out that it was the very first 3rd-party module for the AE system… and the rest of the year went by in a bit of a blur!

The blur includes a collaboration with Robert on the exciting oscilloscope module (the recently announced METER module) and the release of the rbss random sequencer (in multiple editions!).

I would like to thank everyone who has bought modules from us, all those who have offered ideas and support via the forum and Discord channels, and to Robert and Carsten for their unwavering support (and probably too many emails — sorry Robert!). We wish the AE Modular community all the best for the future.

We have a couple of things in the pipeline (hinted about on our instagram!) for the start of 2021, as well as some more off-beat ideas from the other members of the wonkystuff team… I hope that we will be able to add more content to our YouTube channel also, especially regarding the new modules!

On a more uncertain note, we will have to wait and see how the stupidity of Brexit impacts us, but at the moment we are in a ‘wait and see’ mode; I hope that things like shipping costs etc. will not be disrupted too much; the impact of Covid is of course still being felt, but we all hope that this will be mitigated soon.

Here’s wishing you all a happy Christmas and new year — we hope to see you in 2021!

John, Ash and Simon