Friday, March 28, 2008


Atanua seems to be getting a lot of press as of late. It's a really interesting circuit simulator that includes a lot of TTL/CMOS building blocks, TTL ICs, LEDs, etc.

The folks over at electro-music who build music-making circuits from logic devices have found it quite useful. I've played with it for a bit, including modeling a johnson ring counter.

Books by Forrest Mims

If you have the remotest interest in music electronics, you owe it to yourself to get some of Forrest Mims' books. The "atari punk console" is based on a Mims circuit.

I've recently purchased the following:
  • Forrest Mims Engineer's Notebook - this is a reprint of an old title that used to be available at Radio Shack. Mine is yellowed (and has a yellow cover) and has been through a lot. More than one page either has solder or solder burns on it. Indispensible.
  • The Forrest Mims Circuit Scrapbook, Vol 1 - Articles that appeared in Popular Electronics. Includes a the full article about the 3914/CMOS oscilloscope that appeared in the early 80s. And a fair number of other useful circuits.
  • Forrest Mims' circuit scrapbook II - Also brilliant. These are articles from the old Modern Electronics magazine. A bit more focus on environmental (solar etc) sensors but still a wealth of knowledge.
His mini-engineering notebooks are worthwhile too. Basically, if you're new to electronics, synthesizers, et cetera, anything "Mims" you can get your hands on is a good deal.

I recently ran across some of his older (early 70s) booklets published by Radio Shack with experiments involving transistors, early ICs. While the individual ICs might be dated, the principals still apply. And at $1 a booklet, they were a bargain!

Some of my music

I'm just about the last person to blow my own horn but here goes. Here's some of the stuff I've done in Reason, Orion, and FL-Studio.
Android's Dream

Blacet Improbability Drive (ID-2510)

I haven't modified my ID-2510 yet but some other folks over at electro-music have applied some mods. Definitely worth checking out.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I am an SK-1

You are a Casio Sk-1-you are a very lo tech toy from the 80's who is treasured for its sampling capabilities-you are a nerd-you are extremly small-you are a great listener-you have a simple style and personality-you are very cheap-you have a great sense of humor -you are the most fun to be with.

Take this quiz!

Making some progress

board stuffing
Originally uploaded by jdfan.
This is the 9710 (vca/modulator) module partially stuffed with resistors. Various sorted resistors in front of the board.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by jdfan.
middle of my desk. the hole is where the laptop goes.

my case

Originally uploaded by jdfan.
the 2nd fracrak is coming. hinges at top support removeable cover (it's a cube when closed). my first go with water soluble stain and clear coat. turned out pretty reasonable.

the right side of my desk

Originally uploaded by jdfan.
inexpensive but reliable multimeter (with cap meter and some other cool functions), drawer full of tools, cme uf-5 keyboard, my stock of spare resistors, etc.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

One step forward...

one step not so much. Almost finished with the box that will hold the 2 fracrak boxes and my ms2000. Will post pictures asap.
On the downside, the midi2cv converter is missing parts. I received two front panels for one kit and no panel for another. Started soldering the VCO module and discovered that I'm missing a fair number of resistors. Found some in my supply but two moderately odd values are still missing. Was impressed for a few minutes that the VCO seemed to be entirely transistor based until I noticed the pcb has spaces for ICs... but no ICs in my kit. Sigh. I'm sincerely hoping this is the worst of it. I really, really don't want to go through each kit and do quality control.
On the other hand, it's going to be an amazing noise making box when I'm done :)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My new modular

I ordered a Paia 9700s modular and some Blacet modules. I've wanted a modular for a long time, especially one with unusual signal processing abilities (that's where the Blacet stuff excels). The Paia has arrived, so progress reports (with photos) will appear here. If you're looking for an inexpensive in to the modular analog synth world, the Paia is a great start.

Electronic Musician just did an article about analog modulars synths (PDF) that mentions the Paia-invented FracRak yet neglects the 9700s. Considering the history of Electronic Musician (which started as Polyphony published by Paia), it's a bit curious.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

electronics references and resources

Forthwith, a brain/link dump of my favorite on and off-line resources for electronics (mostly somehow audio related):

Good references

Books n magazines