Future Sound Systems Portland percussion synthesizer

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Future Sound Systems Portland percussion synthesizer

Post by futuresoundsystems »

Hello world!

We're pleased to announce our new DIY project - the Portland drum synthesizer:

Image

There are full details on the FSS website. Meanwhile, you can listen to it on SoundCloud:

http://soundcloud.com/futuresoundsystem ... land-demos

It'll be available from Thonk at some point in May, alongside a Eurorack panel + our new Battery Simulator DC power adaptor for both Portland and Brunswick.
Unique designs and ideas in sound since 2005:
http://www.futuresoundsystems.co.uk
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Post by Bartelby »

Looking forward to seeing this tomorrow!
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Post by BugBrand »

Likewise!
Well done Finlay!
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Post by sizone »

how did it achieve it's name? does it ship out covered in broken glass and used needles?
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Post by Bartelby »

Had a quick play with one today. Nice sounding bit of kit...
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Post by SoundPool »

very nice, really digging the combination of the simplicity of the circuits with versatility with all the patch points. this combined with the brunswick and some creative cross patching, the two offer quite a lot of possibilities for some more abstract sound design too.

the bax EQ is an especially nice touch, I really like squeezing every little thing you can out of the board by just adding a couple more caps/resistors. especially when you get into things like feedback patching I think small tonal controls like this make a big difference and get overlooked.

since there is a Euro plate, I assume the dimensions are different from the Brunswick? If there is more in this line can we expect it to be squeezed into 3u? don't give into the tyranny of 3u - give those fingers some room!
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

sizone wrote:how did it achieve it's name? does it ship out covered in broken glass and used needles?
Not quite ;)

The Brunswick came from the BEEF workshop carried out at The Brunswick Club (RIP) of Brunswick Square, here in Bristol. Portland Square neighbours Brunswick Square - both are kiiind of a case of dying venues / art spaces here in the city.

Look here.
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

SoundPool wrote:since there is a Euro plate, I assume the dimensions are different from the Brunswick? If there is more in this line can we expect it to be squeezed into 3u? don't give into the tyranny of 3u - give those fingers some room!
The dimensions are indeed different - it's far wider and a bit less in the Y dimension. Brunswick stands at 194 x 120 mm whilst Portland is 228 x 112 mm. However, the pitch/spacing of the pots and jacks are the same between the two - there are more jacks and pots on the Portland :hihi:
Unique designs and ideas in sound since 2005:
http://www.futuresoundsystems.co.uk
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Post by shiftr »

Love the sound of this thing.
Will there be a PCB only option too?
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

shiftr wrote:Love the sound of this thing.
Will there be a PCB only option too?
It's likely so, yes, though that will be up to Thonk. There's nothing exotic in the design whatsoever, as long as the major electronics retailers keep stocking DIP 4000 series ICs :confused:
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Post by SoundPool »

futuresoundsystems wrote:
SoundPool wrote:since there is a Euro plate, I assume the dimensions are different from the Brunswick? If there is more in this line can we expect it to be squeezed into 3u? don't give into the tyranny of 3u - give those fingers some room!
The dimensions are indeed different - it's far wider and a bit less in the Y dimension. Brunswick stands at 194 x 120 mm whilst Portland is 228 x 112 mm. However, the pitch/spacing of the pots and jacks are the same between the two - there are more jacks and pots on the Portland :hihi:
ah ok, will a front panel also be released for this eventually? I think the two together in a mini case would be perfect. I haven't used schaeffer but I'm guessing it would be easy enough to mod the panels to both be 228x120.

also will the battery simulator connect in a way that we can keep the 9v connections too so it can also be used without a wall wart?
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

SoundPool wrote:
futuresoundsystems wrote:
SoundPool wrote:since there is a Euro plate, I assume the dimensions are different from the Brunswick? If there is more in this line can we expect it to be squeezed into 3u? don't give into the tyranny of 3u - give those fingers some room!
The dimensions are indeed different - it's far wider and a bit less in the Y dimension. Brunswick stands at 194 x 120 mm whilst Portland is 228 x 112 mm. However, the pitch/spacing of the pots and jacks are the same between the two - there are more jacks and pots on the Portland :hihi:
ah ok, will a front panel also be released for this eventually? I think the two together in a mini case would be perfect. I haven't used schaeffer but I'm guessing it would be easy enough to mod the panels to both be 228x120.

also will the battery simulator connect in a way that we can keep the 9v connections too so it can also be used without a wall wart?
Yes - we've been working on a case for the Portland today and the proto Euro front panels arrived yesterday.

The Battery Simulator board connects to either the Portland or Brunswick via the PP3 battery snaps, so yes, you can remove the BattSim and put batteries back in its place :party:
Unique designs and ideas in sound since 2005:
http://www.futuresoundsystems.co.uk
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Post by autodafe »

futuresoundsystems wrote: The Battery Simulator board connects to either the Portland or Brunswick via the PP3 battery snaps, so yes, you can remove the BattSim and put batteries back in its place :party:
Oh God Yessssss !!!! ;-)
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

Hello! The Portland and all associated goodies are now available from Thonk:

Portland kit
Portland enclosure
Brunswick / Portland Battery Simulator
Unique designs and ideas in sound since 2005:
http://www.futuresoundsystems.co.uk
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Post by Agawell »

I'm going to buy one once the panel is available
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sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

an oscillator is an oscillator - utilities are possibilities

choose the case to fit the modules - not the modules to fit the case!!!
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Post by Kingnimrod »

Received the kit yesterday, and put it together.

I ordered the full kit plus the enclosure and battery simulator. I'm not sure I'd mount it in a euro case, as it's pretty wide, but nice to have that option. The enclosure is very handsome and feels fairly solid. I think it's painted PCB material (??). Total weight with battery simulator installed, and enclosure, as delivered by Thonk, is about 1.5 pounds.

Although not necessary, I am adding washers and nuts to all of the pots, plus knurled nuts to all of the jacks. The kit includes 2 knurled nuts for 2 of the center jacks.

Also note that the long sides of the enclosure are open, in case you live in a dustbin.

Image
Last edited by Kingnimrod on Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
proubaud

Post by proubaud »

Definitely considering buying one, and would love hearing how it sounds like after some post processing !
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Post by Kingnimrod »

So I assembled mine but due to some error on my part I'm having a lot of noise coming coming out of the HH output/ring noise bleeding through certain areas. After going back over the board several times I'm no closer to squashing it. Also not sure whether the other parts are functioning normally.

I'm hoping to find someone local to help me figure this out. Once I do I'll post sound clips.
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Post by Agawell »

just ordered one from thonk... lost patience and ordered before the panels are in!!!
Modular Audio and Video Synthesis on Instagram

Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine!!!

sound sources < sound modifiers < modulation sources < utilities

an oscillator is an oscillator - utilities are possibilities

choose the case to fit the modules - not the modules to fit the case!!!
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Post by platform »

Kingnimrod wrote:So I assembled mine but due to some error on my part I'm having a lot of noise coming coming out of the HH output/ring noise bleeding through certain areas. After going back over the board several times I'm no closer to squashing it. Also not sure whether the other parts are functioning normally.
The hi-hat section of mine has constant bleed which you can change the pitch of using the hi-hat tone knob so this may just be "normal". Or we've both fucked up in the same way.

I also get some bleed from the ring mod (or maybe noise) through to the kick drum at some settings.
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

platform wrote:
Kingnimrod wrote:So I assembled mine but due to some error on my part I'm having a lot of noise coming coming out of the HH output/ring noise bleeding through certain areas. After going back over the board several times I'm no closer to squashing it. Also not sure whether the other parts are functioning normally.
The hi-hat section of mine has constant bleed which you can change the pitch of using the hi-hat tone knob so this may just be "normal". Or we've both fucked up in the same way.

I also get some bleed from the ring mod (or maybe noise) through to the kick drum at some settings.
There's a bit of bleed with the hi-hat circuit, and this can be heard particularly when the Treble is fully boosted on the Mixer section, but it shouldn't be overly troublesome. If it is, then please do send us an email or post an example here and we'll do our best to get it sorted out. With the BD Drive all the way up, the BD resonator is susceptible to some noise bleeding in too.

We've also just made a quick start patch which should help new builds out:
Portland First Patch Guide
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

Here's also a quick text run-down of all the input and output functionality:

BD In: Input to the bass drum resonator. Note that, for normal bass drum behaviour, this circuit expects either a trigger signal or a decaying envelope. This is why Decay 1 is normalled to this input.

BD Out: Audio output of the bass drum resonator.

Ring Mix: This is an audio input which allows for signals to be mixed in with the "ring" generator (6 XOR'd square waves). The Noise Output is normalled to this input in order to give the hi-hat section more hiss. The level of this mixed input is controllable with the Ring Mix pot.

Ring Out: Audio output of the ring generators + Ring Mix signal.

TT1/2 Trig: Trigger input for the Twin T resonator. Note that a gate signal can be input here - there is a gate to trigger converter before each Twin T resonator.

TT1/2 Out: Audio output of the Twin T resonators, taken before the TT Drive controls - these are used in the Snare Drum mix circuitry.

SD Mix: This is an audio input which allows for signals to be summed to the two (overdriven) Twin T resonators. VCA 2's Output is normalled to this to form the noise section of the snare drum. The level of this mixed input is controllable with the SD Mix pot.

HH In: This is an audio input which feeds the hi-hat filtering and VCA circuitry. The Ring Output is normalled to this input.

HH Out: Audio output of the hi-hat circuit.

HH Envelope: Unbuffered output of the hi-hat envelope (both closed and open signals) which can be used to control external equipment.

OH Envelope: Like the above, an unbuffered output of only the open hi-hat envelope.

Decay 1/2 Trig: Trigger/gate input for the Decay envelope generators.

Decay 1/2 Out: Output of the Decay envelope generators. Note that the output of these are normalled to the corresponding VCA CV inputs, as well as Decay 1 firing the Bass Drum resonator.

Noise Out: Audio output of the noise generator. This is normalled to the input of VCA 2.

VCA 1/2 Input: Audio input of the VCAs. Note that the Ring Out and Noise Out are normalled to VCA 1 and 2 respectively.

VCA 1/2 CV: Control inputs to the VCAs. The outputs of the two Decay envelopes are normalled to VCA 1 and 2 respectively.

VCA 1/2 Output: Audio output of the VCAs.

Mix Out: Audio output of the four-channel mixer, post Baxandall tone circuit.

Mixer Input 1-4: Audio inputs to the four-channel mixer and Baxandall tone circuit.

Hope this explains a bunch! :bananaguitar:
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Post by platform »

futuresoundsystems wrote:
platform wrote:
Kingnimrod wrote:So I assembled mine but due to some error on my part I'm having a lot of noise coming coming out of the HH output/ring noise bleeding through certain areas. After going back over the board several times I'm no closer to squashing it. Also not sure whether the other parts are functioning normally.
The hi-hat section of mine has constant bleed which you can change the pitch of using the hi-hat tone knob so this may just be "normal". Or we've both fucked up in the same way.

I also get some bleed from the ring mod (or maybe noise) through to the kick drum at some settings.
There's a bit of bleed with the hi-hat circuit, and this can be heard particularly when the Treble is fully boosted on the Mixer section, but it shouldn't be overly troublesome. If it is, then please do send us an email or post an example here and we'll do our best to get it sorted out. With the BD Drive all the way up, the BD resonator is susceptible to some noise bleeding in too.

We've also just made a quick start patch which should help new builds out:
Portland First Patch Guide
I should be clear that I'm not bothered by any of this extraneous noise! I want the Portland to be raw. There's plenty of other things i can use for pristine.

The sound on this thing is really nice. If you're after a monster kick then you should probably look elsewhere but for the interzone that goes from snare-ish to metallic-sh it's delicious. Recommended for people that like the DFAM and Syncussion and those old Boss/Amdek drums.
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Post by futuresoundsystems »

platform wrote:
futuresoundsystems wrote:
platform wrote:
Kingnimrod wrote:So I assembled mine but due to some error on my part I'm having a lot of noise coming coming out of the HH output/ring noise bleeding through certain areas. After going back over the board several times I'm no closer to squashing it. Also not sure whether the other parts are functioning normally.
The hi-hat section of mine has constant bleed which you can change the pitch of using the hi-hat tone knob so this may just be "normal". Or we've both fucked up in the same way.

I also get some bleed from the ring mod (or maybe noise) through to the kick drum at some settings.
There's a bit of bleed with the hi-hat circuit, and this can be heard particularly when the Treble is fully boosted on the Mixer section, but it shouldn't be overly troublesome. If it is, then please do send us an email or post an example here and we'll do our best to get it sorted out. With the BD Drive all the way up, the BD resonator is susceptible to some noise bleeding in too.

We've also just made a quick start patch which should help new builds out:
Portland First Patch Guide
I should be clear that I'm not bothered by any of this extraneous noise! I want the Portland to be raw. There's plenty of other things i can use for pristine.

The sound on this thing is really nice. If you're after a monster kick then you should probably look elsewhere but for the interzone that goes from snare-ish to metallic-sh it's delicious. Recommended for people that like the DFAM and Syncussion and those old Boss/Amdek drums.
Precisely what we were going for :love: All the bleed really comes into its own once you compress this thing a lot, then play with the tone controls during a take. Nice nice crunchy nice nice :guinness:
Unique designs and ideas in sound since 2005:
http://www.futuresoundsystems.co.uk
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Post by JimY »

Metal Beat!
Me like.
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