Announcing: Synthesizers.com Manufacturer Sub-Forum

Please check out the new sub-forum by following the link above. It is nice to have another manufacturer onboard and opening another direct communication line to potential and existing customers

Soundtronic MFOS Ultimate MIDI

Discussion & Documentation for Ray Wilson's synths, modules and noise boxes.
Post Reply
User avatar
synthcube
you will be assimilated
Posts: 2425
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:42 pm
Location: Boston
Contact:

Soundtronic MFOS Ultimate MIDI

Post by synthcube »

With full support and permission from synthCube/MFOS, the folks at Soundtronics have created an amazing project- the MIDI Ultimate. Paul and his team have various configurations available so you can buy as much or as little as you need from them in order to get the project done.... while we expect that the majority of build support will be arranged via Soundtronics directly, certainly feel free to use this thread as well for questions/comments etc!

Soundtronics MIDI Ultimate

Image
Facebook: www.facebook.com/2SynthCube
Small Bear Webstore: www.smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/
synthCube Webstore www.synthcube.com/cart
Music From Outer Space: www.musicfromouterspace.com
Blacet Research: www.blacet.com
MOTM DIY Analog Synthesizers: www.motmsynthesizers.com
User avatar
Eric the Red
Ultra Wiggler
Posts: 887
Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2015 12:43 pm
Location: Detroit, MI

Post by Eric the Red »

Thinking of pulling the trigger on this and having Soundtronics send this bad boy my way.

A few questions I have:
-is a PDF or hi res graphic of the front panel available? While I like this panel, I would rather make my own to fit the aesthetic of everything else I’m building.

-what mods are available? Is it possible to make a giant patch bay that has ins/outs for all o the modules?

Thanks
Abandon all hope, ye who wiggle.
User avatar
synthcube
you will be assimilated
Posts: 2425
Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:42 pm
Location: Boston
Contact:

Post by synthcube »

Soundtronics are the main force behind this so we will encourage them to log on here for ongoing answers and support...
Facebook: www.facebook.com/2SynthCube
Small Bear Webstore: www.smallbear-electronics.mybigcommerce.com/
synthCube Webstore www.synthcube.com/cart
Music From Outer Space: www.musicfromouterspace.com
Blacet Research: www.blacet.com
MOTM DIY Analog Synthesizers: www.motmsynthesizers.com
User avatar
Paul Cooper
Common Wiggler
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm
Location: Rugby, UK

Post by Paul Cooper »

Eric the Red wrote:
A few questions I have:
-is a PDF or hi res graphic of the front panel available? While I like this panel, I would rather make my own to fit the aesthetic of everything else I’m building.

-what mods are available? Is it possible to make a giant patch bay that has ins/outs for all o the modules?
I certainly can make a PDF of the front panel available. Hacking the 5U x 10U front panel layout will mean making some compromises. All pots and switches are PCB mounted which of course determines the panel layout. The compromise would be having the pots and switches off-board with lots of panel wiring but can be done. Message me if you need the PDF.

The MIDI Ultimate was designed to be a standalone instrument so no real thought has been given to hacking opportunities. No doubt the DIY community will come up with ideas but we have a couple that we are going to discuss in the last EPE magazine artice. All of the toggle switches carry out the patching so if you were to ditch the switches and route wires to a patch board then it could be done. I admit that switches can and do restrict the number of patching options available but they have covered a great number. If there is a patch not covered, let me know as it may be able to be incorporated in any later revisions.

Hope that helps
User avatar
johnstilton
Common Wiggler
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:31 am
Location: Elgin, IL, USA

Post by johnstilton »

I am interrested in learning more about the technical specifications of the MIDI section, as this was something that does not appear to be an MFOS design and there is no information on that site.
User avatar
Paul Cooper
Common Wiggler
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm
Location: Rugby, UK

Post by Paul Cooper »

Hi John,

The MIDI interface appears in part 5 of the magazine articles. In summary, you have a 16 way MIDI channel selector switch, all 128 MIDI notes are accurately converted to a CV, plus a key down gate signal. Additionally, the key velocity is available as a CV although there is a selector switch to change that to the pitch bend or mod wheel. It is a basic interface with the mod wheel only giving a CV so really only used for expression rather than actual modulation. The velocity CV is the most useful especially when patched to the VCF and / or VCA.
User avatar
johnstilton
Common Wiggler
Posts: 235
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:31 am
Location: Elgin, IL, USA

Post by johnstilton »

Thanks for the reply. I think I’ll buy one of the MIDI kits. I’m about 15% into a conventional Ultimate+Expander+Extras build right now. Fortunately, I haven’t finalized on a panel layout yet. Besides the 5-pin midi, what is the total number of panel components (switches, jacks, pots, etc) that I will have to plan for in my panel layout?

I am also curious to know what midi controller(s) you have used for testing this circuit (esp the Velocity function)
User avatar
Paul Cooper
Common Wiggler
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm
Location: Rugby, UK

Post by Paul Cooper »

From memory, there are 49 pots, 1 rotary switch and 41 toggle switches.
As for testing the MIDI interface, basically all of the gear I have in my set-up which is mainly Roland but also 3 cheap MIDI controllers. If in the unlikely event you have any issues with the MIDI interface, just let me know and I will investigate, the software is dead simple and easily altered and will be fully covered in part 5 of the magazine artiles.
User avatar
Soundbrigade
Common Wiggler
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:35 am
Location: Vänersborg/Sweden
Contact:

Re: Soundtronic MFOS Ultimate MIDI

Post by Soundbrigade »

I just had to get this one, and got it delivered early this year and managed to get the VCOs, VCF and Mixer in place when "the special operation" began and I felt I had to take care of the Ukrainian refugees arriving to our town.

A few of my notes (so far):
The kit comes with each components for module in a separate bag with a BOM enclosed - no need to sort through a heap of components.
The downside is that all vital info on the project is available in the EPE Magazine which adds a few bucks to the cost.
But the articles are well written and contains all info needed. However It had been great to see a booklet like the one ETI made for the 4600 synth or PE made for the PE Minisonic. Selling that booklet at a price would be no problems as it surely would get a lot of people on board the Ultimate project.
And has to be added, the modules are built in a certain order and EACH module can be tested as it has been built - :tu: .

The panel and the predrilled aluminium "subpanel" looks fine. The alupanel is a great help when aligning all potentiometers and switches.

It's great that ALL and EVERYTHING is mounted on the PCB - no need for a twomillion cables. Patching done by switches, I asked Paul about that and he convinced that it is a good compromise.

There are some nice extras - reverb/echo and full ADSRs AND MIDI - making the synth even more versatile. :mrgreen:

Any MINUS?! I lacked a 39K resistor, had an opinion on the patching (see above) and it had been fine to have external CV inputs for each of the VCOs - but that is how I had planned to use my Ultimate.
I am not that fond of using a wallwart, but I guess that is to circumvent regulations about mains voltages, so maybe I will probably use a suitable transformer and stick an IEC connector to the case.

The EPE Magasine has full drawings of the case and I will at least use the measurements to make a case out of a piece of solid oak I have.

Guess that's all for now. Leaving for Chicago and a three week "vacation" with highlights like Ella (6yo) and Ruby (3yo) - my granddaughters - and KnobCon, will delay the finish of this project yet some more.

Oh, one more thing before signing out - Soundtronic/Paul Cooper has been very helpful and promptly answered all my questions!
IMG_2850.JPG

When looking for a great analogue synthesiser kit, there aren't many choices. Either have to go for modules or rather exklusive stuff or software (Arduino/Teensy) synthesisers. In my humble opinion this one is really good as it is rather powerful (3 VCOs, 2ADSRs, Echo, MIDI!!), not that complicated (no wiring) and can be built and made to sing withing a few evenings. Purchasing the 5 or 6 issues of EPE will give ALL details.
It costs some money, but I think this one is worth every pund, shilling and pence. :yay:
Due to economical cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has to be switched off.

/Magnus
User avatar
Paul Cooper
Common Wiggler
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:30 pm
Location: Rugby, UK

Re: Soundtronic MFOS Ultimate MIDI

Post by Paul Cooper »

Glad to hear you are enjoying the build. Sadly, this synth has now been discontinued as the level of sales did not warrant it being continued. It was very much linked to the magazine articles who have the copyright and they were published some time ago.
The mag was going to publish the articles along with theremin and other music related projects but it did not happen. Real shame as we could have then included a construction book with every kit.
Paul Cooper - Owner of Soundtronics
Websites: Soundtronics, M²Synth , M²Synth on Kickstarter
Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, Youtube
User avatar
Soundbrigade
Common Wiggler
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2020 4:35 am
Location: Vänersborg/Sweden
Contact:

Re: Soundtronic MFOS Ultimate MIDI

Post by Soundbrigade »

Sad to hear, but I am happy I picked up a kit in time. When I am back to Sweden I will have time to continue building and testing it.
Tomorrow I am off to KnobCon …
Due to economical cutbacks, the light at the end of the tunnel has to be switched off.

/Magnus
Post Reply

Return to “Music From Outer Space”