Custom Marsynth Work
This page will highlight various custom projects that I have worked on. The details of each project are typically governed by the customer and their specific interests and requirements. Custom designs typically take more time to develop and cost more, but the end results can be worth it! Be sure to check back from time to time to see what pops up here...
Custom Noise Box: The NoiseTom
My friend Tom of KC's Restless Breed had me build up a custom white noise box for his live rig. He emphasiezed the need for something with a strong, low growel that could really push the bottom end of an amp well. The design was based off of the core of the CNG with a few minor tweaks. The main controls include filter cutoff freqeuncy (big knob), filter resonance, output level, and an on/off switch. It has an additional switch to allow for two pre-filter gain settings; the higher of the two will overdrive the filter and produce great low grumbles at low cutoff frequency settings. The enclosure was chosen to take up a little space as possible and to take the abuse of live use.
Custom Morris Box
Comissioned build for my friend Charles Shriner aka dRachEmUsiK. This unit had been in discussion since I built the first Morris Box, and although it took some time, I was pleased with what we ended up with. Charles plays an Akai Ewi (among other electronic goodies) and from the get-go said he wanted to be able to run it through something. The concept seemed simple enough: put an external input on a Morris Box! This ended up being a much more detailed design than I had originally thought as mixing in clean, line level external signals into the chaotic, noisy heart of the Morris Box and have it come out the other end sounding "acceptable" was quite tricky. I ended up adding two additional controls; input gain/attenuation and level for a new mixer that the oscillators were fed through. The oscillator level control really added a lot more to the unit than I expected. Normally in the diode summing mode, the oscillators push the filter quite hard and clip a fair amount. This ends up taking away some of the filter's capability to shut down the signal very much, but still leaves you with interesting, overdriven sounds. With the new level control you can get the same diode summing, ring-mod-ish interactions between the oscillators but with far more filter cutoff range. I had a lot of fun playing with the gain range on the preamp circuit and found a lot of good distortion/fuzzy stuff that will likely find their way into future products. Check out the audio Charles posted up shortly after recieving his synth.
Custom Heart Breaker
What started out innocently enough as the build for Heart Breaker #3 slowly twisted and mutated into a unique little monster of a synth. The customer already had an enclosure chosen for this synth from the beginning and requested a panel be used rather than a full enclosure. The request was made also to tuck the photocells that control the oscillator's pitch into the main board and couple them with LEDs to form vactrols. These vactrols will be driven by an external microcontroller to provide precise control over each oscillator. During a final tune up of the main board, I happened upon a simple modification that revealed an inner beast hidden within this otherwise sweet sounding little synth. Dubbed the "chaos" switch, a single additional control added to the front panel allows this synth to dive head first into chaotic, non-linear madness; check out the video and audio!