December 18, 2023

That Time I Got a 246 Filled With 10 Turn Pots

People do crazy things.

After all of these years, I ended up with a 246. This one was part of the Audities Collection, I believe in the silver colored Zero Halliburton case they displayed before.  

I have never been into the idea of putting blue Rogan knobs on everything, even if Buchla never made it that way. I wanted it back to the right color switches too. But I never imagined that someone would have replaced all 64 pots with Bournes 10-turn pots! I guess one could get some real precision with that. Anyway, for me it's all back to original. I still love the build quality of these things. Those Dialight buttons....


July 24, 2014

City Mouse Meets Country Mouse

What happens when the Good meets Evil? East meets West? Then meets Now? Can't we all just get along!?

I had an original Buchla 288 in my shop. I got it working and was able to introduce it to my 288v. A good time was had by all. It's a cool module and a very powerful piece, even if it is noisy.

Made From the Best Stuff On Earth

 Don Buchla split up with CBS as a distributor of his products after the 100 Series and in 1970 released the 200 Series Electric Music Box. What is really mind blowing about these first, black knobbed modules is the serious quality of their build. The lighted push buttons on the 246 sequencer have an incandescent lamp in them and are about $75 if you find them now. The pots are military grade CTS panel mounted beauties. C&K toggle switches, Switchcraft audio jacks and Johnson banana jacks were used in all of the original Buchla stuff, so it's easy to overlook them. The LEDs on a 246 sequencer are from the first batch of LEDs to EVER HIT THE MARKET. They are a gold can with a glass dome. If you want to replace these LEDs, you're looking at about $20 EACH!!

Each module came in its own chassis box with a Cinch-Jones pigtail. They were meticulously hand wired. The cabinet holds them down from the front, covering the module and manufacturer's name. They have a significant weight to them. It's crazy stuff and a far cry from the plastic junk that gets churned out these days. Long live the original! (24 volt power rails and all!)

May 11, 2013

Video of the new Verbos 247v sequential voltage source

Here's a quick video of my 247v module in my Buchla 200 cabinet. It shows some of the sequencing features. The 247v is connected to a 259, 281 and 292. The 281 is in sustained mode to get the benefits of the variable pulse length on the 247v. To start, I run it from it's internal clock and switch around the stages' on-off-slide switches. Then, I run it from an external pulse from the 281. This shows how the TIME MULT control acts like a pulse length/slide length control. I then show some tricks with patching stages into the strobe input and send in voltage to the analog input from an off stage 254 to select which stages are playing. There are loads more features, using the yellow inputs to make envelopes and stuff. I hope this starts to show it off...

April 17, 2013

The 247v Sequential Voltage Source

I have been working on a new Sequential Voltage Source. It is only a single module space and packs a big punch. It does most of the things a MARF or ARF does, but without any menus. It can act as an 8 stage sequencer with two rows, voltage control of the clock/slide rate, switchable slides/pulses, pulse outs on each channel and the ability to loop from any stage to any stage.  It can act as a multi-stage envelope, up to all 8 stages with any stage as a sustain stage or any stage pausing unless a key is held. It can act as ADSR, AHDSR, HADSR, AD, AR, AHD, LFO saw, pulse, square, triangle, something more complex, LFO that only runs when a key is held, LFO that only runs when a key is lifted.

I wanted a small sequencer with every function on the panel. I wanted to do TB-303/MC-202 type sequences with slides selectable per stage, where the pulse output holds the whole stage on a slide stage but only pulses 25% of the stepped stages. I desperately scrambled to complete two for my performance during the NAMM show. I made panels from PCBs because they take less time to manufacture. I only got one finished and then it didn't work when I got there! Anyway, it's working now. It's pretty fun.

misc. banks on the 263v

The 263v has been a lot of fun. When I programmed the scales, I had a bunch of left over memory spaces. I filled those spaces with random voltage sequences that are similar to the ones in the middle sections of the 266. Of course they are addressed by control voltage instead of pulses, so they have different uses. I threw in a set of 16 smooth random patterns. If you send in an LFO, you get back something like the fluctuating randoms in a 266, well not "random" but fluctuating. Finally, I through in some pulse sequences and some melodic sequences. Using the random sequences and the melodic sequences is a bit like dropping a sample loop into music (you have to trim the start time and length using a voltage processor).  I hope that these functions add something useful to the toolkit.

BTW. I also got it to track 2 volts/octave for the old Buchla guys who need that.

November 21, 2012

Quantizer/Analog Shift Register take II

In 1972 as a resident at CalArts, Fukushi Kawakami made four modules as additions to the school's rather extensive Buchla 200 system. The modules are a Control Voltage Switching Matrix, two Control Voltage Integrators and what I believe is the world's first Analog Shift Register.

Since then, the world has fallen into disarray, computers have taken over, analog modulars have gone in and out of favor several times and those four Fortune Modules have ended up in Grant Richter's hands. Somewhere in the middle of all that, Serge made an analog shift register and wrote about it (under the nom de plume Arpad Benares) in Synapse. Even before the Fortune Modules, Buchla had made a rather amazing Control Voltage Integrator called the 155, but that's another post.


Analog Shift Registers are a bank of Sample and Holds. In fact, using only the first output, it is a Sample and Hold. When a pulse is applied, the CV on the input is stored on output one. Whatever was on output one is moved to output two, and so on. 

In 1997 I made 2 copies of a module that was a dual four stage analog shift register as well as an 8 channel voltage quantizer. One of these is still in daily use over at OSI music and the other is rotting on a shelf in my shop. When this photo went around the forums and blogs some people suggested that rearranging the panel to allow the analog shift register outputs to be quantized via shorting bars would be a good idea. Point taken.


I had a couple of ideas of my own that could make it a better module. Sadly, it got back-burnered and never saw the light of day until now. The new version has rotary switches to select the scale to quantize to. The ASR outputs can be plugged into the quantizer with  shorting bar. There is no longer a "slave" switch to chain the two ASR's together, but a cable and shorting bar can now do that too. Some new ideas have come up as well, like using the quantizer to look-up the voltages from the "random" voltage sequences from the 266. It's obviously not as glamorous as an oscillator or filter, but it will come in useful to some people.