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 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:

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…

rbss? what?

It seems that we should have supplied some instructions/hints to go with the rbss, so here are some hints and tips!


The best place to read about how the rbss works is by reading Tom Whitwell’s description of the original Turing Machine. The only difference is that the rbss is implemented in software and the 8/16 step switch is replaced by the length control.

Getting Started

To start with, patch clk out to clk in, set the rate control to around the middle position — the LED should now start flashing. Yes? Great!

Now set the length control to its maximum, and the chance control to the middle. Now we’re all set to do something random.

Connect cv out to the cv input of an oscillator and the output of the oscillator to something you can hear. Hopefully at this point you will hear the pitch of the oscillator randomly fluctuating.

Now change the chance control to its minimum position — this will mean that the random sequence stops changing (you might be able to hear the repeating sequence, but it has 16 steps so it’s not always obvious).

Now gradually reduce the length, and you should hear the sequence becoming shorter as it repeats. If you reduce the length to its minimum, the randomness will stop (because the length is now 1, there is no change between consecutive steps), and it is highly likely that if you increase the length again then you won’t get any randomness until you move the chance control away from its minimum position.

If, instead of reducing the chance control to its minimum, you increase it to the maximum, the sequence now repeats after 32 steps (the sequence flips after 16 steps, so descending runs become ascending runs and vice versa). Reducing the length control shortens the sequence as expected, but when length reaches the minimum you will hear the oscillator pitch flipping between two values.

another rbss video

This is something I’ve been playing with for a little while, and the production firmware has now made this more usable — using the rbss as a source for audio. Check the video (and like and subscribe etc. please!)