This is the beginning of a massive MOTM modular project that we’re probably going to be working on for a very long time. We were handed a few big plastic tubs containing dozens of modules ranging from apparently complete to semi-built to just bare boards and we’re just supposed to slowly complete and test them all. Unfortunately, they were all assembled by people who had no idea what they were doing, our client’s interns at his totally non-synth-related job.
We pulled these out first because they appeared to be finished, but neither of them was working at all. I ended up having to look at the schematics, compare them to the PCBs and check every part value. Issues included totally baffling resistor value errors (for example, 4.7 MOhm instead of 39kOhm, 87 ohm instead of 3.1kOhm) that were serious enough to completely prevent them from working, a shielded output cable where the shield appeared to have been intentionally shorted to the hot wire and lots of miswired pots. At least the original labor to assemble them was free!
Once working, they are both very cool modules! The CGS (Ken Stone’s Cat Girl Synth) Synthacon, inspired by the Steiner Parker synth of the same name, is a huge-sounding multimode filter with a waterfall’s worth of resonance that allows you to sweep between three different input signals passing through the three different filter modes. The Dark Star is an oscillator/noise source based on a 1970s arcade console noise chip. It’s an odd thing with an odd sound– the noise is sampled and you can hear the sample repeating, but it’s cool for making really crunchy, kind of trashy sounding noise.