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

mailing list

In case you’re interested, we’ve just started a mailing list — here’s a signup form!

Many thanks!

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!)

rbss update

So, the first batch of the rbss has sold out (there were less than 10 made, so maybe it’s not so surprising). Next up — and almost ready to start building — is another batch of 10, but this time in yellow, with a different panel design. Here’s a sneak peek:

The LED in the yellow version will actually be red, to tie in with the ’70s colour scheme and a time when all LEDs were red…

Follow announcements about availability over on the AEModular forum which now has a wonkystuff board for product announcements and general chit chat.

an rbss video

What with all of the stuff that’s been happening, I completely forgot to post the latest video demonstrating the wonkystuff rbss module! This one ups the production values by actually using a tripod and recording the sound through a mixer. Wonders will never cease.

As the firmware for the rbss has been refined, we’ve been discovering more neat little tricks that the rbss can do, but those will have to wait for the next video.

rbss update

rbss ‘flatpack’

Thinking that the rbss might be available as a part-assembled kit for a small reduction in cost — the PCB would come with all of the surface-mount components already soldered, just meaning that the customer would need to solder the connectors and pots, and do the final assembly…

(Also shown: 25x70mm peelable vinyl sticker and 25mm button badge!)