This probably is no real surprise to anyone but there is a world wide shortage of ICs at the moment, a month or so ago it was pretty much just micro controllers, but now it seems op-amps and even voltage regulators are in short supply. To cap this off a number of IC vendors are seeing this as a chance to “end of life” a few parts as well.
Add on top the complete train wreck that is brexit and the additional costs of buying and selling goods outside of the UK and things go from bad to worse.
And to cap it off, we’re also now seeing supplier issues in the UK, shortages of materials, courtesy of Brexit, and increased costs for parts and manufacturing. Add that in to the previous mix and that finding suppliers who are reliable and consistent in the UK has become almost impossible.
What does this add up to? well, a perfect storm for UK manufacturers like Dove Audio, creating a lot of stress and uncertainty.
The result? Building modules and synths has become somewhat of a chore, dealing with suppliers, HMRCC, taxes, shipping, supply issues and has taken the ‘fun’ out of building synths.
So we’ve taken the decision that we’re going to be pressing pause on things for a while, we’re not closing up, we’re just going to put everything on pause for a while. We’ll be keeping an eye on IC supplies and all the other fun things going on, but for the moment we’re taking a break.
It’s been a few weeks since I posted on this website, I’ve been working on the MuSeq updating and I’m pleased to say I’ve finally got it working, you can see this and previous videos on the Dove Audio YouTube Channel.
I’m finishing the beta unit build and I’m hopeful these will go to beta testers before the end of April. Then after a few weeks of testing the plan is to get the PCBs and panels on order, this will take about 6 weeks and then we can become shipping them to our dealers.
For those wondering what’s happening with the poly synth, Delta, It’s on hold whilst I’m at this critical stage with MuSeq, once the beta units are out and the orders have been placed, I can resume work on it.
So that’s pretty much it for this update, follow us on YouTube for more MuSeq videos and start badgering your preferred supplier to contact me about obtaining stock of the sequencer as soon as it’s available.
Things are marching on with the MuSeq sequencer for the MU style modular synth. The pre-production PCB is assembled (couple of extra mod wires).
MuSeq has a number of modes and features, so I’ll explain them here;
2 Channels of sequencing, A & B (channel A shown above)
Channel A has the following modes;
Note (1V oct but scaled to 12 notes)
Step Length (variable from 1/32 to 1/1 with triplets)
Gate triggers (1, 2 or 3) commonly called “ratchetting”
Channel B is linked to Channel A, but still has the following modes
Note or CV (512 value resolution)
Gate Triggers (1,2 or 3) same as channel A
you can change the first step,
the last step
direction (forward, backward, pendulum, Fwd/bck and Random currently)
Syncable from MIDI or internal clock currently, will be adding Sync24, USB MIDI sync and also a pulse input from other modules in your system
Digital output (x2), one for Run/Stop and one for clock out (from 1 beat per bar down to 32 beats per bar)
Inputs (x2), can be used for Tempo, Channel A note, run stop, clock input, pattern change.
Bank play mode, this lets you chain up to 8 patterns together, with the added advantage that you can enable/disable patterns on the fly and set a number of repeats for each pattern. So you could have pattern 1 play 3 times, skip patterns 2 & 3 and then play pattern 4 once, then skip patterns 5,6,7 & 8 and go back to pattern 1.
Loading and saving of 8 banks of 8 patterns to an SD Card in text format, making it easy to share patterns.
There’s a way to go with the software but most of the features listed above are already in. I’m confident by the time the first production run arrives I’ll have got everything in.
One of the main goals for this was to make things smaller, I love sequencers, but loosing 8U of rack space to get 2 or 3 channels of fairly limited sequencing didn’t really appeal. MuSeq is 3U wide and has two channels and of course you can get up to 64 steps per channel with variable gate lengths without sacrificing a channel to do that!
I’ve endeavoured to keep the “analogue sequencer” feel as much as possible, but sometimes I think adding some digital into the mix makes for a truly powerful sequencer.
Below are a few images from the prototype showing the various “pages” which are selected by the knob just below the tempo knob.
Some of you may have noticed that the Dove Audio facebook page has gone. This doesn’t mean we’re gone, we’re still here, making synths and modules for synths.
What it does mean is that we’re no longer willing to support a platform that continues to allow hate speech, bigotry and mis-information (lies) and continually fails to do anything to remove such pages.
We believe the world would be a much better place without these things, and so we’ve decided to take a stand on that.
For the latest information, keep an eye on these pages, our Twitter account and YouTube channel.
PCB routing all done and prototype PCBs have been ordered.
We’re having parts fitted by the PCB supplier, though there will be a few we have to do by hand (for example, the through hole parts).
Couple of changes to the PCB; 1) It’s smaller so as to ensure it fits in both the Box11 and portable cabinet styles. 2) A rotary selector switch for the mode select (was previously a pot) 3) An extra switch to enable “bank play” mode (just below and to the right of the tempo knob 4) Moved the jack sockets up a little so there is the correct amount of space for the MIDI sockets. 5) An extra chip to allow updating via USB. 6) Offset and scale presets for both analogue CV outputs, so you can be sure you’ll get 1V/Oct regardless of any power supply problems.
The code base will be the same as before, so there should be minimal work to bring this board up.
The next steps will be assembling testing the first PCB when it arrives (early February) and then designing the new front panel (a few things have moved, so the holes will need to move accordingly) and then shipping to beta testers.
We’ll post a video once we have the prototype up and running.
Well things were going swimmingly and then I hit a problem.
Basically with the current software development (SDK) and tool chain I’m using there is no way to get “self programming” to work. Self programming is basically the bit that allows you to update in the field from an SDCard, USB, MIDI, etc.
To get around this I’d have to do one of the following; – Swap to a new micro processor and new SDK and start from scratch (will take a lot of work, several months)
– Swap to a new SDK and port over the code and libraries I’m currently using (will take a month of two of work)
– Send out programmers to repair centers around the world to allow them to do updates (no extra time, but a lot of extra cost and annoyed customers).
None of the above are particularly appealing and I need to have a think about which way to go.
2020 has been a terrible year for Dove Audio sales wise, and I’m just about treading water financially, yes I do this as a hobby so don’t have salaries to worry about but I do have accountants bills, website bills and tax bills to pay.
These two things, and a number of personal issues I’m dealing with, have hit my mood very hard and I can feel myself dropping back into depression.
So, I’m going to be stopping for a while whilst I try and get some semblance of a “level playing field” back into my personal life and have a think about MuSeq.
Another quick update for MuSeq, This time I’ve added the ability to set the “clock out” rate, so you can go from 1 clock per 4 beats all the way to 32 clocks per 4 beats. A short video is below
There are a few things left to do, so here’s a list;
Clock in from front panel (feed it say 8 clocks and get 24 PPQN resolution)
Self updating, i.e. you can update from SDCard
Sync 24 Out
Some internal tidying up of sequence loading/saving, particularly when in Bank play mode.
Redesign of PCB and Front Panel
The big hurdle is going to be the self updating, it always is. As it essentially requires you to boot into a bit of code to check for updates, then clear itself and load the main code, add in the ability to make it so you can’t brick it and things become quite difficult quite quickly.
The remainder should be straight forward, then it’s a case of getting prices and looking for a couple of beta testers before it can be shipped.
We’ve finally found a suitable place to relocate to and we will be moving the end of August, this means we will temporarily not be be able to complete and ship further orders until around the middle of September.
This has taken a huge pressure off me personally, as have a couple of major life changes in recent weeks. My mood has lifted significantly in recent weeks as a result.
In short, I’m going to drop my current project list down to just three things and try and focus my efforts on those, they are;
MuSeq – My MU sequencer, there are a number of hardware changes that are needed, so I will be looking at these first. I did post a recent video with an update on some extra functionality that has gone in on my YouTube channel.
Delta – The basics are there, the analogue VCFs and VCAs work and the oscillators are all working. I’m considering a slight change to the VCF to give it a fourth filter mode and there is likely to a processor change (which is why it’s on headers) . I am pleased with how small it is, 110mm by 110mm for four voices.
PJ5CPU project, this is a bit of fun for me, basically it’s a RISC microprocessor made from TTL logic with a single instruction per clock cycle. I’m hoping to achieve 1Mhz/1MIPS from it, but it’s really just for fun and is not aimed at becoming a commercial product.
There are other things I would like to do, for example more modules for Tangible Waves, but for the moment I need to try and keep my focus.
Whilst Dove-Audio remains a hobby/cottage industry things aren’t likely to happen quickly, but I will post updates when I can.
There’s a new synth show in Bristol! Run by the people at Elevator sound and it’s called Machina Bristonica. The event is at the end of March, March 30th, and promises to be a great event with lots of modular companies in attendance. Dove Audio will be there with our WTF oscillator and with some luck we’ll be showing the prototype of something new! So stop by and say hello!