Life in Boxes and FPGAs

Well, the move went “ok”, I can’t say it was the most enjoyable experience, nor the smoothest, but it’s done.

I’ve unpacked about 75% of things and now have my soldering iron and workbench set up again. Which now means I’m starting to catch up on orders that were placed during my move.

The new place is smaller and so I’ve had to downsize my workshop considerably. So I have relutctantly taken the decision that I will no longer be manufacturing Eurorack modules, onc ethe last few Waveplane modules have gone, that will be it. I will however be working with someone to license these designs for their own product line, in much the same way as I did for Tangible Waves “wavetables” module

There are a number of reasons for this but primarily because I don’t have the space to store all the parts and modules for 3 types of modular system (MU, tangible waves and eurorack).
For now, I will be focusing on the MuSeq sequencer for the MU (dotcom) system and the delta poly synth but there are other modules planned which will be available to be licensed for eurorack systems going forward. Likewise the same is true of Tangible waves modules (which I really enjoyed working on). 
Does this mean I’m sick of modular and/or synths? no, I don’t think I could ever give up synths, I suspect I’ll still be designing them when I’m in my 90s. I still love modular , and non modular, synths, but just right now I have a much smaller space in my new place, so a downsize is a must sadly.

Some of you may have seen some of the pictures I’ve posted of my playing with FPGAs.

VHDL code on an FPGA generating three sawtooth outputs

This is a bit more than “playing”, what I’m trying to do is see how much/how many oscillators/voices I can fit into a single FPGA. I have a number of concerns over the use of CPUs for creating oscillators and voice control.
So I’m seeing if there is mileage in switching to an FPGA in place of the CPUs for Delta.

Life & Focus

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.

Update on life at Dove Audio

Just wanted to give a quick update about things going on here at Dove Audio.

Things on Delta have halted for a short while whilst I finish a couple of projects, the NJM2069 Module was one of those and the MuSeq is the next.

MuSeq is significantly behind, basically Dove Audio is just myself, Paula, with the odd bit of help from my partner Jon. I hit a major bug with the MIDI handling in that the library I was using (which seemed to do everything) wasn’t interrupt driven and you had to poll it. Which meant that when syncing to MIDI clock it would sometimes miss clock when switching pages.

Reworking, or refactoring, this took a while. But it’s working. This blow kind of took the wind out of my sales, hence finishing the NJM2069 module first. Now the NJM2069 is out, I am working on the MuSeq again.

Life at Dove Audio

I wanted to give a quick update on various projects and so on, so let’s dive into this.

MUSeq
Things are going OK with this, I’ve narrowed down a few more bugs, but the MIDI timing bug remains and it’s now significantly behind schedule.
Right now the code is split across about three files and the majority of the code is in one huge file. So to make life easier (scrolling up and down a few thousand lines of code isn’t easy) I’ve begun splitting the project into smaller part. For example one file for the UI, one for the file manager, one for clock and so on. Now My coding skills aren’t the greatest in the world, however the ace up my sleeve is that Jon, my boyfriend, is a professional coder.
Jon is going to help me split the project into multiple files and get it to compile (my attempts all ended up with hundreds of compiler errors), this won’t be a quick thing, but it will be worth it when it’s done.
The layout of the second revision of PCB is planned to start next week with removal of things like the unused display, but the addition of a mode switch and some other small tweaks. So things should be settling down into their final form.
My hope is to build another couple of these and get them into the hands of a couple of people to beta test and report bugs/problems to me prior to making these available to buy.

2069 VCF+VCA
Things are going well with this, PCBs have arrived and they look fabulous;

We have a small block in that the next generation of panel has been blocked for a while whilst the people making it recover from some COVID related problems.
However I plan to start assembling the first 3 or 4 of these this coming week ready for when the panels arrive. So keep your eyes peeled!

Delta
Delta is something new, something I’ve been thinking on for a while. It’s a poly synth and I’m happy to report things are going well. I’ve proto-typed the VCF & VCA and I’ve got the basic voice code working.
Prototype PCBs have been sent off to be made so further development can be done (somethings you just can’t prototype on strip board).
Here’s a Render from my CAD package of the board.

Delta Prototype Voice PCB

I’m keeping full specs close to my chest right now, I have a clear idea of what I’m aiming for, but until I’ve proven it’s possible and have sound demos I won’t be giving anything away.
Rest assured though, there are a number of innovations that will be going into this polysynth.
I will also add, don’t expect this to be ready quickly, this is probably 10 to 12 months away from being available to beta testers as there is a lot of work to be done yet. But I do plan on providing updates as things move forward.

Other News
In other news, don’t forget we have some Waveplane oscillators left in both Eurorack and MU format and available to buy either Direct or from our dealers.

Dove Audio Update

I wanted to write a quick update, so you don’t hink I’ve fallen off the face of the planet 🙂

Firstly I had some major surgery in November (nothing life threatening) and I’m now finally back on the mend and pretty much back to my normal self and speed.

Secondly during my recovery time I’ve spent a lot of time looking at my projects. One of these is a design for Tangible Waves which you can expect to see in the near future (I have one of their systems and it is simply awesome and so portable it’s nuts!), I will share links and videos once it’s complete and announced by them.

The other one I’ve spent a great deal of time with is the MuSeq Sequencer, A large portion of this was refactoring the code to make things work quicker and more reliably. the bank play mode is now in and there’s a short video on my instagram feed here –

The refactoring has taken a lot longer than I had expected, but is done now.
This leaves me the following things on my “to do” list;
1. Move CVB to second function
2. Save Bank play
3. Resolve a small issue with editing a pattern then switching to bank play (it looses the edits)
4. Add MIDI Clock in/out
5. Add Sync 24 In/Out
6. Add USB MIDI In/Out
7. Add some menus
8. Redesign PCB and panel (with the correct sized holes).

In all honesty, there’s about 3 or 4 months of work in there (remember I have a day job, so this is done in my spare time).

Once MuSeq is completed, I will resume work on the MuTable, I’ve had some ideas on that and I plan to add user up-loadable wave-tables and a few other features.

I’m also finishing off assembling the batch of Waveplane modules (eurorack and MU) inbetween writing code (when my eyes go cross potty from staring at code). You can find these modules in my store and also in my dealers.

Thanks for reading.
Paula

P.s. If anyone is up for helping me with some webdesign of my page, I’m happy to talk trade for a module in return.