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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Thomas Henry designs
The Thomas Henry Mega Percussive Synthesizer
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

All I can say is he perfs like the wind Very Happy And builds front panels. And supplies circuit readings. I've never seen anything like it.

Feast your eyes on the glory that is THeff!


MPS Perfboard Proto.jpg
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THeff's Perfboarded MPS, hot off the grill.
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Alienation



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Totally pro !! Shocked

Awesome job. salut
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Thomas Henry



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, it's absolutely amazing work, and Tim's follow-up with measurements is really helping nail things down. This'll be a nicely worked out project in no time at all, despite its size.

It'll take a bit more time to get a pro-quality PCB ready to go but I'd definitely say we're ahead of schedule. Obviously, we're shooting for repeatability here, hence the careful beta testing. So far there have been two breadboard versions (Scott and me) and Tim's perfboard beauty. Next up is the PCB version, which will also go through a shakedown.

What a team! I wish I had had a group like this back in the MAP days.

Thomas Henry
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Alienation



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When the tallies for pcb's begin be sure to count me in. Cool
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THeff



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:59 am    Post subject:  The MPS playing it's heart out... Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hello all,

I put together a demo of the MPS last night with the Clangora thrown in for cymbals. I created it with a MIDI file from the web called "Delta Force" I believe.

It is a multi-track recording to demo the many voices of the MPS. All of the drum sounds and the cow bell (visions of SNL!) are from the MPS. The HH, Ride CY, and Crash CY are from the Clangora.

The synth voices are from a Korg MIDI sound module which I mute on and off throughout the song so that you can hear the percussion better.

Some of the sounds could stand some more tweaking, but I was anxious to get an MPS sample up on the thread.

Thomas Henry has done a great job at creating a percussion module with mega versatility and yet very straight forward operation. In his typical and unique way he has utilized every IC to it's fullest extent...trust me on this! He has a knack for finding the "unimportant IC pins" and making really cool things happen with them. Cool

Regards,

Tim


MPS & CLANGORA Demo-01.mp3
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 Filename:  MPS & CLANGORA Demo-01.mp3
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Finally - a real sample! This is great, Tim! It sounds as good as it looks!

Cheeerios,
Scott

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State Machine
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Great progress !! Nice prototype and sample ! Cool Cool Good then, three prototypes acting quite stably on breadboards AND perf-boards. Should be a snap on printed circuits Very Happy

Hey Andy, don't move too fast !! Gotta get time to move the Klee parts out, then I am ready for the MPS prototyping on my bench!


Bill
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StephenGiles



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It sounds superb. Have I missed the schematic or is that to come?
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
then I am ready for the MPS prototyping on my bench!


thumb up

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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hey Stephen,

The schematic hasn't been posted yet. It appeared about 30 ms before Tim finished the perfboard Laughing

Cheers,
Scott

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The Alison Project



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sounds great, you guys will have my money.
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I had a little bit of time with the Klee and the MPS breadboard, and recorded three samples in rapid succession. Each sample was recorded using the same patch, each sample just has different settings of the Klee, MPS and modules. The patch consists of two VCOs, two VCAs from the quad VCA module, a couple of LFOs from the quad LFO module (one is clocking the Klee), the 2040 clone filter and late MS20 filter, and the DSC2000 plugged into input 2 of the 2040 clone filter. An additional voice is created by tapping from the first output of the Late MS-20 clone, through the wave multiplier straight into an input of the mixer. The mixer output goes through the Lexicon and into the recorder, mono. The Klee is the only controller used. The shell CV is connected to the A+B output during these recordings, so the Klee is controlling the shell pitch, more or less from recording to recording.

The first one recorded was mps_klee1. It begins with the mps mixed in on the fade in. It goes for a while, then a little bit of delay is added.

The second one recorded was mps_evp1. The "EVP" portion of it refers to the "Electronic Voice Phenomona" that supposedly is the event of a spirit's or ghost's voice being accidentally recorded on audio tape. The reason being, at the very end of the sample, I cranked the delay and reverb to max, and the Lexicon started channeling what I think may be......Satan?

Anyway, the sample is a 32 step sequence (16X1, Invert B On). It starts out with the MPS as the only voice. The Klee is set for the 2V range, so the voltage steps are very widely spaced in amplitude, which switches the pitch of shell portion of the MPS into a higher, tone-like register. As the sample progresses, I switch the range back and forth, and, at the end, well, Satan speaks, and he sounds pissed off for one reason or another. Right before, some pyeeewwww sounds can be heard. That actually isn't the MPS, but the resonance from the Late MS-20 Filter Clone.

The third sample I recorded, mps_klee2, begins without the MPS. This particular sample had the MPS and one voice controlled from the output of Gate Bus 1. The synth voice's EG was Gated from the gate output of gate and the MPS from the trigger output. When the sample begins, Gate Bus 1 is merged. There are enough gate/trigger events on gate bus 1 where no triggers occur and the gate is held constantly high - so the arpeggio heard is the voice coming through its filter/VCA being held open by the gate. Then, I set one gate bus switch from gate bus 1 to gate bus 2, which eliminates an entire set of gate signals from gate bus 1, allowing the merge function to produces discrete gates and triggers, which allows the voice to become staccato, and, at the same time begins triggering the MPS. You'll hear it when it happens. Very Happy

Cheerios,
Scott


mps_evp1.mp3
 Description:
Klee controlled MPS and synth

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 Filename:  mps_evp1.mp3
 Filesize:  5.43 MB
 Downloaded:  904 Time(s)


mps_klee1.mp3
 Description:
More MPS and Klee stuff

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 Filename:  mps_klee1.mp3
 Filesize:  2.85 MB
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mps_klee2.mp3
 Description:
Klee smacking electronic MPS skins, baby.

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 Filename:  mps_klee2.mp3
 Filesize:  2.21 MB
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The Alison Project



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:
Each sample was recorded using the same patch, each sample just has different settings of the Klee, MPS and modules.


This sounds great and now I want the KLEE even more...

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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A new optional has been added to the MPS - for the price of a single DPDT switch, one can choose to use the MPS in either the "Locked" or "Unlocked" mode. What, pray tell, are the "Locked" and "Unlocked" modes?

We're glad you asked. The term "Locked" refers to the three internal VCAs of the MPS. The "Unlocked" mode is the normal mode you've heard in the samples and the description - the VCAs and filter are under the control of their respective Envelope Generators. The Locked Mode locks the VCAs open, so each signal can pass continuously out of the outputs. This allows one to apply the raw signals to the modular, for example for using your modular's functions to form drum voices or for other purposes. You get the noise output, through the filter, which manually adjustable. The Impact Oscillator provides another manually adjustable output. The Shell output is a VCO output (controlled by the CV input) that can be crossfaded with the ring modulated product of the VCO and the third ring modulator VCO.

Here are a couple of samples. The big one is, well, big, mainly because I increased the resolution of the MP3 - lower resolutions put artifacts on the noise function, and I thought it best so that one could hear it for what it actually sounds. As a result, my largish sample got more than largish.

So, I broke off the first part, which is just the locked MPS noise through its filter (BP Mode) and the shell output, ringmodulated, and under control of the Klee, and made a smaller sample of that.

The larger sample uses the locked MPS with other synth modules in a one-take Klee sequence - instead of forming the percussive portion of the sequence, it becomes the rhythmic tone the sample is based on (the UD-1 is used for a kick and a VCO through modulated wave multiplier takes up some percussive duty). At 4:17 I fade in the impact oscillator briefly - the way the pot is situated on the breadboard, it's hard to get a grip on control, so it sweeps a little right in that area - you can't miss it. Every now and then I give the noise filter a sweep up and down. Towards the end of the sample, I start twisting on the ring modulator VCO pot while the shell VCO is still being controlled by the Klee, which gives some nice crazy tonality.

Cheerio,
Scott


mps_locked_brief.mp3
 Description:
Noise and Shell Ring Mod (first part of longer sample).

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 Filename:  mps_locked_brief.mp3
 Filesize:  1.33 MB
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mps_locked.mp3
 Description:
The big Kahuna - noise, shell ring mod, impact oscillator in a Klee Kontrolled mish mash along with other modules and stuff.

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 Filename:  mps_locked.mp3
 Filesize:  11.88 MB
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bugbrand



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whoah - that 2nd sample gets righteously aggressive and snarly! Mmmm - great sounds!
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott Stites wrote:
As a result, my largish sample got more than largish.


Well at least we now know it to be possible to upload 11.88 MB over a dial up link Shocked Laughing

Very nice track !! Thanks for taking time for that.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Scott, dude --- Love the progression ----- very well done. I love the new sounds as they fade in and out !! Great composition indeed !!!!!!! Oh, this shit gives me goosebumps man .......

I would like to name it officially "LOCKDOWN" ... Cool Cool Cool

Bravo, again ...........
Bill
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Tanks Bill and Jan!

Actually, <cough> the file got uploaded by a computer connected to something decidedly faster than dial-up, though I seem to recall, in quiet times, successfully uploading files equally large through dial-up.

The MPS in locked mode is pretty cool - I wish my breadboard wasn't so precarious - the pots kinda hang there, so I can't just grab'em and start twisting without pulling them off the board Laughing .

The Shell VCO operates off an expo converter, which is roughly V/Oct, though there is no adjustment for an exact V/Oct response (there is not a single trimpot in the design!). Drum voices don't require gnat's-ass specs on the VCOs, so it was never intended to be an exact VCO. Using a keyboard, you'd probably not care for it much for even-tempered music, a sequencer certainly could yank it around pretty close. But, generally, it certainly fills the bill as a great little effects generator/glitchatron/rhtymic motif generator when it's not filling duty as a drum voice. In fact, even in un-locked "drum" mode, cranking the decay time of the various sections is a really cool way to "riff" in some crazy stuff, especially when you have a digital delay synced to it.

It is the Mankato of drum voices, as far as I'm concerned; the realism and punch this thing delivers is amazing to me. The locked mode is just some extra icing on the cake. I can't wait to get it out to the world. I've been using it with the UD-1 lately, and they compelement each other very well. I want three of these and a UD-1 in a single kit, along with a clangora. I think that would just rip.

Right now the team is stuck in a holding pattern - our PCB guy disappeared in a flash and cloud of ozone in Kleestr....errr...Australia, and we haven't heard a thing from him. After he shows up, I would imagine things will move pretty quickly.

Cheers,
Scott

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philpeery



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Man, this one sounds better and better with each post! Locked mode will be very cool indeed! I don't want one anymore, I MUST have one, or two, or three....!

Gonna need a bigger studio because of E-M!
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shawn



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is mind blowing.. thanks for the samples!
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toybox



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

well-done nice the last sample is what i want to do good stuff!!!
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very Happy

The MPS keeps revealing its secrets. I used to think, though it could do a mean cowbell (and we all know that MORE cowbell is required for just about everything), the flat cymbally percussive instruments were always just about out of reach.....mmmmmmbut I was wrong. Thomas put everything in there for just such a thing! No modification required, it's just a matter of patching it the way you want it.

Quite simply, you can modulate the shell VCO, right? Well, why not modulate it with the noise generator? Then, perhaps adjust a little ring modulator in there. Voila - all the elements for a nice cymbol or open high hat recipe right there!

But, Wait, There's More! Not only does the MPS provide the noise output for these kinds of things, you can also modulate things with the impact generator output. The impact section EG, by design, has a much lower time constant than the other two sections, because impact need only provide a brief transient at the beginning of the voice. But, you can still stretch it out, then modulate the shell with that, and you get a nice, snappy, metallic high tom, for example (of course, that's just one example).

So, the idea we're talking about is to normal the CV input to a switch that can select either the filtered noise output or the impact generator output. With no external signal applied to the CV, you can dial in cymbals, open high hats, all manner of metallic percussive nicknacks, or you can add sizzle to other voices with the impact generator.

Here's a sample of the impact generator oscillator modulating a high tom sound - it really gives it some oomph and makes it stand out. The UD-1 plays the kick bass, and my synth supplies the other burps and squiggles, but you can't miss that tom.

Cheers,
Scott


impact_modulated_tom.mp3
 Description:
Check out the Tom Voice in this!

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 Filename:  impact_modulated_tom.mp3
 Filesize:  3.67 MB
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's a composition that, like the one above, uses the Klee to control the MPS. This time, a sort of open high-hat voice is programmed on the MPS. The voice shows up at around the 00:48 point. Again, the UD-1 is supplying the kick and the rest of my synth is doing its thing. All one take (like the previous).

Gotta run,
Scott


emklee_infection.mp3
 Description:
MPS generated open high-hat voice appears at 00:48.

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 Filename:  emklee_infection.mp3
 Filesize:  11.03 MB
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Scott Stites
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's the latest block diagram of the MPS.

The "Lock" switch has been added. This locks the envelope generators of the MPS high so the Noise, Shell, and Impact outputs can put out their raw signals - either for processing with your modular or as a cool generator in its own right.

The Noise/Impact switch allows either the noise generator output or the impact generator to modulate the shell VCO. This addition adds a whole new pallette to the MPS. Since I recorded that last sample, I've gotten the most amazing range of new percussive instruments out of it - cymbals, rimshotty kind of cymbals, tambourine-like sounds, you name it. The impact generator adds some FM zip to the timbre of the voices - it's great for fine tuning the aggressiveness of voices, too. And, it provides yet another variation of putting an extra bit of "something" into that all-important impact transient (it's amazing how that brief part of a drum voice can really just make a drum voice stand up and say "hello").

I've been having a blast programming different voices with it.

Oh, yes, there is a way to add the Noise/Impact switch functionality to a banana jack system (the standard configuration uses a patchover scheme with N.C. switch jacks).

Our man from down under is back on the PCB job. Hooray!

Cheers,
Scott


MPS_Block Diagram.pdf
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 Filename:  MPS_Block Diagram.pdf
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chaotician



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

May I reserve two of these boards please?

also is there an up to date BOM? as i would like to start to gather bits for this...

Cheers,

Matte
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