60 Knobs & 60 Jacks

Stop me if you have been here…          …You have been patching your modular synth for a while and then you get a thought of “I wish I could use this modulation source to control one of my other midi synth’s!”  Or what about a ‘deep’ guitar pedal that has a MIDI input and can be controlled via MIDI CC?  How about wanting to use many CV sources to control many MIDI CC’s or NRPN’s or even SysEx…   …with a stand alone box?  Or, how do I easily record all of these CV signals into my DAW so I can use them in MIDI tracks too?

Bastl released their 60 Knobs project last year and made it open source!  I immediately saw lots of potential and decided to see what I could come up with.  Their original project is located HERE.

Here are a couple of different configurations.

So, what did I add?   First is obvious, 60 jacks and the 60 pots are used as attenuators for the incoming CV signals.  Next was a small 9 tile 1U rack that can be used for whatever you want.  Here I have an oscilloscope, 4 LFOs from SYINSI (Each with three waveform outputs) and a couple of FSR’s from Pulplogic.  Of course you can patch up all of your existing modular gear too, but the on-board 1U devices are really helpful to get you started modulating quickly.  And if you know me, you know I love me some 1U gear!

How do you organize 60 knobs & 60 Jacks?  Custom printed/laminated, easily switchable vinyl templates!  What ever custom configuration and arrangement can be made and are attached to the top and bottom of the console via thin strips of Velcro.  Want to modulate all of the modulators in a virtual Matrix 12 with your eurorack gear?

Switchable MIDI I/O jacks and a couple of extra 9V outputs to power various guitar pedals are located in back.  This is completely stand alone.  The USB jack is only for programming the 60 Knobs via FTDI (Arduino based).

This originally started as the quest for the ultimate YM2612 chip controller.  Yes, the same chip in the Sega Genesis.  Using the LittleScale GenMDM I can control all the parameters of the chip via MIDI CC.  And now thanks to the 60 Knobs & 60 Jacks I can CV control all of them…   …EASILY and QUICKLY!

So a few of you are already curious about performance!  As you should be, surprisingly enough the throughput is really good.  I have been able to easily get 30 CV inputs going simultaneously using slower rate LFO’s and roughly 6-7 at audio rate with stable performance.  So now you are asking why not all 60?  Well, in practical terms most of the time you are really only using 6-8 CV inputs at a time, but finding those is the bigger adventure.  You usually only have a few sweet spots of modulation and having access to all of these parameters you are able to quickly dive into those and it becomes fun, as opposed to a chore.  Modulating several of the virtual CS-80’s parameters easily patches into many hours of enjoyment!

“Wait, you are wanting to go back into the box?” you say.  Yep, and I want to use all of my eurorack modular CV control sources too!

I plan to spend more time working on this concept and hope to find a design that will strike a balance between quality and cost.  Maybe the guys at Bastl would be interested in pushing it into this direction?  This one is part of my Vertigo Case series.

One thought on “60 Knobs & 60 Jacks

  1. This thing looks amazing. I just copped a DUDE so I know Bastl’s quality is solid. The shape is beautiful, but I am wondering if it is possible to make its dimensions any smaller, as space in my travel case is at a premium. If its as small as it can be while still maintaining functionality, I’m still interested. I will be checking my email for updates when you decide on things like cost and delivery times.

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