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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software
[PCBs] "The Postman" quad Envelope Generator
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:14 pm    Post subject: [PCBs] "The Postman" quad Envelope Generator
Subject description: Super simple quad AR generator
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Hey dudes/dudettes!

I am finding I am running short on AR envelopes for drum synthesis/otherwise lately, so have made a very simple quad AR envelope generator that is easy to build lots of!

This cranky old bastard of a postman doesn't even bother knocking on your door when he has a parcel to deliver...he just walks right up and sticks that stinky "missed delivery" notification on your door!

There are two versions you can build on the same PCB. One is a basic version and supplies your project with 4 simple AR envelopes at a very low parts count, and the other is more complex (but still quite low parts count, for what it is), but offers more interesting envelope shape generating ability.

BoM: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AvD8ZRA_UZL8dE5uWjNqa2loOVlFV2V1NGtvaHczdFE

hexinverter.net Project Page: http://cv.hexinverter.net/?projects=the-postman-eg-v10


Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.


Here are its features:

Basic Version:

- Will run on single supply @ 9-15V (VERY flexible power options)
- Quad Attack/Release envelope generators w/ individual outs
- Gate input for each EG
- LED for each EG

Deluxe Version:

- Requires a dual supply (+/-9, 12 or 15V)
- Adds an inverted output for EG1 and EG3
- Adds two summed outputs for complex envelope shapes (EG 1+2, EG 3+4)
- Attenuation control for EG 1 / 3 in their respective summing sections
- Toggle switches to select between normal and inverted envelopes for EG 1 / 3 in their respective summing stages


So, as you can probably guess, some really cool envelope shapes will be possible by using different length gate signals for the envelopes being summed together. As different gate ON times create somewhat different amplitude envelopes (given that it is an AR generator, and not AD), more complex envelopes can emerge for you to experiment with.

Let me know if you are interested in a PCB (or two...or three...or more) by replying in this thread. I won't be taking preorders, but I WILL order based on how much interest there is, so unless you want to risk not getting some later, let me know you're interested, and how many boards you think you might like.

Demo video to come, eventually Smile

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Last edited by HexInverter on Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
Posts: 1472
Location: Chicago
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hm. Been trying to think about how I'm going to do percussion, this sounds very useful. Depending on price, I think I'd want 2.
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diablojoy



Joined: Sep 07, 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

2 for me too please Mr hex.
cant let one of your projects go past without buying in it seems.

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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elmegil wrote:
Hm. Been trying to think about how I'm going to do percussion, this sounds very useful. Depending on price, I think I'd want 2.


Should be about $15 methinks? No more than that, anyway. It was going to be $12 or so, but then feature creep set in and the board grew by about 33%...haha!

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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

diablojoy wrote:
2 for me too please Mr hex.
cant let one of your projects go past without buying in it seems.


Right on man! haha...I feel like a drug dealer!

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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Two it is then Smile
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magneticstripper



Joined: Jan 12, 2009
Posts: 25
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

4 would be excellent.
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sounds good Smile I will of course post back in this thread when they're ordered and when I have stock, but, if you want to receive an email when I've got stock, you can throw your name on my mailing list if you would like:

http://blog.hexinverter.net/?page_id=14

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sympleSEQ -- the simple to build analog step-sequencer

seqSQUARED -- the Analogue Pattern Generator
--> Put yourself on the hexinverter.net mailing list to be notified when in stock!
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marvkaye



Joined: Mar 14, 2011
Posts: 225
Location: Fla

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Another great project, Stacy... thanks for all you do.

I'm already in on Muff's but thought I'd post this here just because... any chance you could add a + sign to at least one of the electrolytic silk screens? I can never remember if the shaded side is plus or if the square hole is plus, etc, etc... it would be so much easier to have at least a single reference. I know, we can check the schematic and run the traces from the power connector, but a single + would eliminate all that. Sorry to be a rag. Rolling Eyes

<marv>
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

marvkaye wrote:
Another great project, Stacy... thanks for all you do.

I'm already in on Muff's but thought I'd post this here just because... any chance you could add a + sign to at least one of the electrolytic silk screens? I can never remember if the shaded side is plus or if the square hole is plus, etc, etc... it would be so much easier to have at least a single reference. I know, we can check the schematic and run the traces from the power connector, but a single + would eliminate all that. Sorry to be a rag. Rolling Eyes

<marv>


Thanks man Smile No problem...this is what I like doing!

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me! I do always mention in the build documentation what my nomenclature is (it is the SHADED side that is negative on all of my PCBs...so it is whatever colour the silkscreen is!)

Also, my PCBs feature square pads for the +V leads of polarised caps.

I will however add some negative signs beside the shaded areas.

I actually have an obsession with symmetry which is why I tend to forget to add the note on one side...it's asymmetrical that way! haha

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sympleSEQ -- the simple to build analog step-sequencer

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--> Put yourself on the hexinverter.net mailing list to be notified when in stock!
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marvkaye



Joined: Mar 14, 2011
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HexInverter wrote:

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me! I do always mention in the build documentation what my nomenclature is (it is the SHADED side that is negative on all of my PCBs...so it is whatever colour the silkscreen is!)

Also, my PCBs feature square pads for the +V leads of polarised caps.


Oh yeah, build documentation.... Idea

(It's still nice to have at least one visual reference on the board... thanx.)
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

marvkaye wrote:
HexInverter wrote:

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me! I do always mention in the build documentation what my nomenclature is (it is the SHADED side that is negative on all of my PCBs...so it is whatever colour the silkscreen is!)

Also, my PCBs feature square pads for the +V leads of polarised caps.


Oh yeah, build documentation.... Idea

(It's still nice to have at least one visual reference on the board... thanx.)


Yes, you are correct. My aim from now on is always to make PCBs able to be assembled without any sort of supportive documentation, which is why I always prioritize part VALUES over designations (names) on the PCB.

I don't understand why other people doing DIY boards don't do this. "D1-D29" means shit all to a human being...only makes sense to a machine Smile

Of course it's useful to have reference to the schematic -- which is what the overlay with names in the build manual is for!

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Danno Gee Ray



Joined: Sep 25, 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'd be interested in 2.

Thanks
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Boogdish



Joined: Sep 21, 2009
Posts: 122
Location: Bloomington, IN

PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

HexInverter wrote:
marvkaye wrote:
HexInverter wrote:

Ah yes, thanks for reminding me! I do always mention in the build documentation what my nomenclature is (it is the SHADED side that is negative on all of my PCBs...so it is whatever colour the silkscreen is!)

Also, my PCBs feature square pads for the +V leads of polarised caps.


Oh yeah, build documentation.... Idea

(It's still nice to have at least one visual reference on the board... thanx.)


Yes, you are correct. My aim from now on is always to make PCBs able to be assembled without any sort of supportive documentation, which is why I always prioritize part VALUES over designations (names) on the PCB.

I don't understand why other people doing DIY boards don't do this. "D1-D29" means shit all to a human being...only makes sense to a machine Smile

Of course it's useful to have reference to the schematic -- which is what the overlay with names in the build manual is for!


Not to derail your thread, but just wanted to say I absolutely agree with you on this.
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ashleym



Joined: Aug 20, 2009
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Location: uk

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

One or two for me please. You say the PCBs are cheap but the trouble is all the hardware that ruins me.......

Thanks for using lots of the same resistor values especially ones I use a lot elsewhere- this helps a lot.

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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ashleym wrote:
One or two for me please. You say the PCBs are cheap but the trouble is all the hardware that ruins me.......

Thanks for using lots of the same resistor values especially ones I use a lot elsewhere- this helps a lot.


Hehe no problemo Smile This design is very lending to 10/100k standard resistor values.

Yup, the hardware is always the expensive part -- and, panels! (unless of course you are making your own...then it's pretty cheap)

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Feifer



Joined: May 16, 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

So if you can mix 2 of them together would it be possible to end up with something like a ADSR, while feeding trigger to one and gate to another?
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
Posts: 338
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Feifer wrote:
So if you can mix 2 of them together would it be possible to end up with something like a ADSR, while feeding trigger to one and gate to another?


Close to...but not quite. An ASR is possible simply by using a gate and holding it for as long as you want in the sustain cycle.

However, to generate a true ADSR, at least one of the envelopes would need to be an A/D...which none of these are!

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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm still really unlcear on the difference between A/R and A/D Smile
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elmegil wrote:
I'm still really unlcear on the difference between A/R and A/D Smile


Let me help ya clear that up Smile

Attack/Decay:

When a gate arrives, the A/D cycle begins. The entire cycle repeats whether the gate is removed or not. In other words, if you apply gate very quickly but remove it right away, it will continue to rise up after removing the gate, peak, and then fall back down afterwards.


Attack/Release:

The difference here is that the amplitude is a function of the gate length. The envelope only ever reaches maximum amplitude when a gate of long enough duration is applied. Whenever the gate is taken away, the release cycle immediately begins happening, and the output begins to fall towards ground. If you hold the gate for awhile, it will ramp up, sustain at about 2/3 the supply voltage, and then wait for you to take the gate away before beginning the release cycle.


Neither one is "better" than the other all around...they're sort of like comparing apples/oranges. One may be better for other shapes.

In the case of this design, it actually works in our favour that the amplitude is adjusted by the gate length. This means that by putting different gate lengths in different A/Rs and mixing them together, you will get different amplitude/duration envelopes interacting with eachother, which is always fun.

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numbernone



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

At that price I will definitely be having 4.
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

numbernone wrote:
At that price I will definitely be having 4.


banana

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elmegil



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
If you hold the gate for awhile, it will ramp up, sustain at about 2/3 the supply voltage, and then wait for you to take the gate away before beginning the release cycle.


So then an AR is like an ASR where S is fixed at 2/3 of the supply?
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vjrex



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

4 please
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HexInverter



Joined: Aug 21, 2010
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elmegil wrote:
Quote:
If you hold the gate for awhile, it will ramp up, sustain at about 2/3 the supply voltage, and then wait for you to take the gate away before beginning the release cycle.


So then an AR is like an ASR where S is fixed at 2/3 of the supply?


This one is...yes...

Unless I am gravely mistaken, I think that when people say "AR" and "AD" they're really throwing these terms around pretty loosely/interchangeably (save a few folks, who I am sure are sticklers about the nomenclature)

During my research for this project, I naturally arrived at many of the popular synth websites which I frequent -- MFOS, some others...

Anyway, I happened to notice that in one project (and thus, one envelope generator design), Ray (from MFOS) called his envelope generator two different things...and switched back and forth multiple times!

I had to carefully read his circuit description and understand the circuit in order to see that it was in fact an attack/RELEASE EG, and not an attack/decay like was thrown around a few times (by others referring me to schematic, and by Ray...)

I think a lot of folks also loosely call an ASR an AR, and so on...

Not to single MFOS out there...I arrived at many other sites/designs where folks were calling them things that did not really describe the actual circuit functionality perfectly accurately.

It's a bloody jungle out there for envelope generators! Haha.

Anyhow, this is most definitely an ASR in its most technically accurate description. If you gate it short enough (ie: a drum trigger) it will be an AR as it does not have time to sustain at peak voltage at all, but, if you hold the gate there (ie: a long note, holding down a key, or something), it will be an ASR.

In this way I think it is actually most useful Smile

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sympleSEQ -- the simple to build analog step-sequencer

seqSQUARED -- the Analogue Pattern Generator
--> Put yourself on the hexinverter.net mailing list to be notified when in stock!
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