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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New studio and Moog 914 clone

I am moving to a newly finished attic space for my studio. I'm pretty excited about it. This photo shows it with sheetrock and baseboards. The painters finished today and I should be able to move in this weekend. I get the far end, about 12 feet wide, and 15 feet long out of about 30 feet. The rest will be for storage. the two round "lights" are actually skylights. They install a mirrored tube to a clear dome cover and it collects and reflects the light like crazy. I will put some diffusers over the openings to help soften the very bright highlights.

Next, I have a new project. I decided to roll my own Moog 914 fixed filter bank. I have two of Yves Usson's version, and PCBs for Jurgen Haible's version, so why my own? A couple of reasons. First, I want it to easily fit behind a euro rack panel. Second, I want to have PCB mounted pots to minimize flying wires. Third, I found a source for inductors and I want to make it easy to use either inductors or a GIC simulated inductor like Jurgen offered. The result will be 4 PCBs which will fit behind a 28 HP euro panel.

Carsten Toensmann at has his own 914 clone for which he made his own inductors. He has decided to offer a service of winding custom inductor values, in particular those found in the 914. I think he is also offering PCBs. Carsten is very helpful and I encourage you to look at his work. Really amazing.

I purchased two sets of coils from him and will build at least one of these clones with real inductors. The layout I'm making will allow for the size inductor Carsten is making as well as a simulated inductor for the high pass and band pass cells. The low pass will have to use real inductors or an active low pass filter like Yves Usson designed or Jurgen Haible designed.

I decided that I will have the option of using all the original Moog circuitry. Most of the parts are still readily available and the one transistor which is out of production, 2N2926, is still to be had at Nikko Electronics I have always had great service from them and highly recommend them.

Besides using the original Moog circuits, by flipping a couple of DIP switches and moving a jumper or two I'm going add the options of having a more useable output stage as well as an input stage that can handle higher input levels than the Moog original. In my simulations, the circuits I borrowed (from Jurgen Haible's fixed filter bank clone) match the frequency response of the original very closely with the advantage of a higher level output and higher level inputs. I am also adding even and odd cell outputs following Yves Usson's great idea.

I'm almost read to actually start the layout process. I've got the input and output stages designed and simulated. I have the basic bandpass filter cell designed as well as the high pass and low pass sections. I just have to copy and paste all the filter cells and adjust the values. Then, layout the PCBs. I think I might realistically have PCBs in hand by the end of July to middle of August. I'll post some samples when I have it built.