Das hier ist bisher nur ein feuchter Traum: ein Blofeld, der viele, viele Knöpfchen hat und darüber in Echtzeit zu kontrollieren ist. Das Layout ist – ähem, inspiriert – durch den Hartmann 20, der ja wiederum eigentlich ein Sledge in einem teuren Anzug ist. (Und der Sledge wiederum ist eigentlich ein Blofeld mit reichlich Knöppen.)

Behold: the Frankenfeld!

Don’t go looking for a blofeld calibration routine to fix the pitchbend wheel.

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard white, view on the pitchbend wheel

One day, my trusty Blofeld started drifting out of tune – pretty unusual behaviour for a digital synth. Even if it was in tune first, the drifting started as soon as I touched the pitchbend wheel, so I suspected that this was the culprit.

Blofeld wheelbox

Opening the Blofeld (all 18 screws on the bottom – remember?), removing the wheelbox, and measuring the pitchbend pot confirmed that the potentiometer was indeed damaged – while an end-to-end-measurement showed 9k, the end-to-mid-resistance could be virtually anywhere, screaming „Mechanical Damage!“ to me.

The potentiometer is 10k lin with a knurled 6.3mm shaft and an M10x0.75 mount. Waldorf seems to have used a Piher T-21Y type (datasheet). As I did not find something fitting in my parts boxes, I took it apart, cleaned it, adjusted the pickup spring, applied a bit of contact grease, refitted the pot and closed the Blofeld

And now for the good part…

Although I measured that the wheel now zeroed around the pot’s 5kOhm mark, it had most definitely shifted slightly, so I started looking for the calibration routine. There has to be a calibration routine, right?

But the good Blofeld seems to calibrate on power-up and on the first usage of the wheel – no calibration routine for the wheels needed. Phew!

Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard white, view on the pitchbend wheel

Important note: Be careful to ensure that the Molex connector for the wheelbox sits correctly – when I pulled the plug, the plastic holder for the pins got pulled towards the edge of the PCB so when I reattached the plug, it did not sit correctly. Rule of thumb: If the plastic of the connector is visible from the top, you might want to push it back under the PCB.

Ich teste immer noch den neuen Shop, und ich habe gerade ein Plugin entdeckt, dass Shop und Blog in Deutsch und Englisch anzeigen kann.

crash test dummies giving each other a thumbs-up

Ei Karl, mei Drobbe.

Ich bin endlich an dem Punkt angekommen, wo meine Trägheit geringer ist als der Nerv-Faktor, wenn man alles von Hand machen muss, also den Shop wie eine Maschine betreiben, ohne eine zu sein.

Und dann ist es ja auch so, dass die vielen Interessenten an Bobs Firmware eine professionelle, rechtssichere Abwicklung ihrer Anfragen erwarten können.

So kommt’s, dass dieses kleine Blog jetzt die kommerzielle Version des WPShopGermany-Plugins installiert hat. Die Informationen auf der Seite des Betreibers sind zwar ein wenig uneindeutig und – ah, multipel versioniert – aber bis jetzt sieht’s einigermaßen okay aus.

A German shop – for English speakers?

WPShopGermany ist zwar von einer (hoffe ich) beeindruckenden technischen und juristischen Solidität, was Mehrsprachigkeit angeht, sieht es aber (scheinbar) mau aus. Die Macher empfehlen das kommerzielle WPML plugin – noch einmal 79 Dollar?!? Was um so ärgerlicher ist, als die Sprachdateien für US-Englisch schon mitinstalliert sind – wp-content/plugins/wpshopgermany-free/lang/.

Ve vill finally get se hang of your humour, was!

Zum Glück geht’s auch ohne WPML, mit einer neu entwickelten kostenlosen Alternative. WP Multilang sorgt gleich nach Installation für die Zweisprachigkeit des Shops – allerdings ist das mit der Mehrsprachigkeit so eine Sache. Für jedes Dokument, also jede Seite, jeden Post, wird eine Schattenkopie angelegt, die man dann von Hand übersetzen soll – und das habe ich einfach noch nicht überall getan.

To err is human. To blunder spectacularly is untergeeky.

Ich sage mir ja immer, das sei eben so, wenn man eher stolpert und stümpert als konzipiert, aber Fakt ist: ich neige zu Patzern und dazu, Dinge zu übersehen. Wenn der geneigten Leserin, dem geneigten Leser also ein solcher auffällt, ein Versäumnis ins Auge sticht, eine Fehlfunktion – wäre sie so freundlich, mir eine kurze Nachricht…? Danke!


Your Message

Let me know what's up. And how to get back to you.


Worum geht's? Und wie kann ich mich zurückmelden?


Midifying Jenny, Step 1: Replacing the old keyboard chip with a Teensy

This is the first post in a series of small projects for retrofitting my JEN SX-1000 monosynth with a simple and cheap MIDI interface controller. Read about the basic idea here. Today, I am designing and building the micro-controller brain of the Jenny retrofit – if you are capable of basic soldering, it should not take you more than two hours and a couple of very common electronic parts.


Jenny and friends in action

Vanity post: This is what a session with the JEN sounds and looks like, mainly playing it as a bass synth. Look out for the freshly integrated phaser from 20:05 onwards. Other electronic sounds are from my Blofeld, a Ferrofish organ and Synthstrom Audio Deluge beatbox, a Meris Enzo guitar synth, an occasional Octatrack sample, and Eberhard’s guitar.

The glorious monkey art was conceived and painted by my friend Gerald, who – apart from playing organs and the Deluge – edited the video as well.

The chip shop is down…

…as I am installing proper shop software after all. Safer and faster for you, easier for me.

Might take a couple of days though until the webshop plugin is running and properly translated.

If you are about to lose patience, or would like to contact me about any issue or question, please use the contact form. (Yes, I DO know that it stubbornly mistakes some people for spammers but please stick with me; there is also a mail address on that site.)

Jenny getting her very own phaser…

…and my sweet Lord, does it make her shine!

Nothing fancy here. After inserting the booster/overdrive in between VCO and filter section, I took another of those lovely Musikding.de kits for a phaser, built it, drilled some holes into Jenny’s housing and fitted it.

I have been using Jenny as a bass synth recently, and I am quite impressed by the quantities of life and fun this old machine is adding to the mix. She doesn’t do that much in terms of tonal range, but what she does, she does well.

Drilling holes in Jenny’s front

I rediscovered an old trick when drilling metal: use a bit of alcohol, not on the person drilling, but on the surface you want to drill. And don’t go too fast.

A Pre-Filter Booster Stage for Jenny

Giving my JEN SX-1000 a bit of additional low growl by adding a pre-filter overdrive.

A nice little addition: Insert a booster circuit kit where the coupling capacitor between oscillator and the filter used to be. Come on, you’ll have to take out that damn capacitor anyway. And it sounds really nice, punching through the mix (samples below) – especially in combination with the sub-oscillator mod.

I do admit that you might think that this is a superfluous mod. After all, when you drive this circuit – any circuit – into overdrive and into clipping, the resulting wave form will, gradually, start to resemble a square wave.

But I could do it, so I did it. And I like it. So let’s get started.