After a month of downtime, I am back in the saddle. I got tonsillitis and had to go to the hospital, then my grandmother died. It's been a bummer, but I've done a little bit of work on a couple modules that I'm ready to show. These pictures are just the panel designs on paper with knobs laying on top, but they give a suggestion of what the finished modules will look like.
The first is a clone of an oldie. I don't care too much for the idea of cloning old modules (I'd rather do something new), but people keep asking me about 258 oscillators. It makes sense that some 200e users would crave the raw analog sound of the classic 200 sound source. There are a couple things that make this a funny one to re-do in modern times.
The first is that it used a µA726 matched transistor pair. That transistor is heated to maintain a constant operating temperature, so the scale doesn't drift as it heats up. This part is long obsolete. Although I could buy NOS ones on ebay, I have decided that this is not the best idea. Since the 259 uses a regular matched pair and a tempco resistor and the 208 switched from a µA726 to a regular matched pair and tempco in one of it's design revisions, I figured it would be ok to do this one with an LM394 and a tempco resistor. I also have redone the PCB so that all the panel controls mount on it. It makes the module much cleaner looking and less prone to failures. If the pots fail 20 years from now and nobody is making the same ones I have used, one could always panel mount some and wire to the PCB like the original design. It could be built up using the original knobs, blue knobs (if I can get the big blue ones!) or the ones Don is using now on the 200e modules.
The second thing is that the 258 has no keyboard input. Don decided to put a fine tune on the left-most CV in instead. I have never cared much for this and have entertained several other options. The first idea was to put a push/pull pot in the left-most position and when it is pulled engage a trimmed CV in rather than the scalable one that is normally there. Grant Richter told me he had done this on an actual Buchla 258. The problem I have with that is the depth of those pots would require really long stand-offs and panel mounted pots. The second idea I had was to put a gray banana jack in the hole where Don put the fine tune control on the left. This would work, but I don't know that I like having a banana jack in the area where the knobs are, call me weird. The final idea I had was to put a toggle switch where the fine tune was. If it's up, the input is trimmed 1.2volts/octave or whatever and if it's down, the CV goes through the control. I have set up my PCB so that the original fine tune control, the banana jack or the switch are all possible. I plan to try them all out and decide which suits best.
Although I did a couple 258 clones a few years back using a CA3080 instead of the discrete transistors in the core, I found the triangle symmetry to be imperfect and the whole exponential converter had to be changed to use a PNP pair, hence this module will be true to the original design using discrete transistors.
The second module I have ready to order parts for is the Quad Voltage Processor I wrote about last month. I thought I could get all the parts between the controls on a single PCB, using SMT, but I found that it was more parts than I anticipated. It is a motherboard with all the panel controls and a second board with the actual circuit. Since this is essentially 2 whole 257 modules, each with an extra CV input, I think that is respectable enough. I'm really looking forward to getting this one built up. This will be a boon to small 200 systems, where it will solve many control voltage situations.