February was a strange month. As you may know, we rely on our Chinese manufacturers for the production of many parts of the AE Modular. As every year, China closes for some weeks over the Chinese New Year festival in early February, therefore we placed a big order before that. Four big parcels arrived in Germany in time, with the module boards we needed to fulfil a huge amount of outstanding orders plus filling our stock; we were happy that everything went well so far. But then we found that our parcels were held by the German customs, we learned that the customs were overloaded by much more parcels they have to process (with the same staff), mostly caused by the new and somewhat chaotic customs situation of UK Brexit! So for around two weeks we did what we could with the material at hand, but the bulk of our product was stuck! And we thought 2020 was bad for shipping!
Then we heard more and more troubling reports from some customers in the USA who asked about parcels that were sent many weeks and even months ago and still hadn’t arrived! After some digging we finally received a message from DHL about the abysmal state of the US Postal Service and its backlog of half a million packages! You can read most of it on the forum:
We are still investigating other options to hopefully reduce the wait time and also to make the posting of our valuable packages more secure. As a first measure, we added optional DHL Express shipping for orders from North-/South America. With this, parcels are delivered usually within 3-4 work days.
On a much more positive note, we have started on the design of the special systems for educational purposes and are now working on a matching curriculum with an organisation which specialises in delivering music workshops for kids! We will reveal more once there is a bit more substance to this project, but it’s definitely going in the right direction and is very exciting!
The mentioned miseries have no impact on the very good mood in the AE team; we are so motivated and encouraged day by day by all the feedback and excitement we get from our customers - from YOU!
With the most important packages detained at the customs facilities, Robert had time again to finish off some new modules! The series of modules that make up the mixing console in AE Modular is now extended and offers serious playability to live and studio artists. You can expect further extensions like modules for tone control/equalizer and muting channels in the near future - the field of “mixing” offers a lot of modular extensibility too ;-)
MIXCONSOLE XLR Out (balanced)
This is an extension module for the MIXCONSOLE which we introduced earlier in the year. It adds two balanced XLR sockets for connection to PRO audio equipment. It connects to the MIXCONSOLE via an internal connector cable at the back of the module.
You can buy this module here in the online shop.
MIXCONSOLE JACK Out (unbalanced)
If you don’t want to use adapters between the ⅛’’ (3.5mm) mini jacks of the MIXCONSOLE and a studio mixer or audio interface, then you can install this module which offers mono ¼’’ (6.5mm) unbalanced jacks. This module connects either to the MIXCONSOLE or to the XLR OUT module via an internal cable at the back.
You can buy this module here in the online shop.
This is another module that makes playing with the AE Modular fun and engaging. The joystick can be moved into 4 directions and either send four individual control voltages or attenuate 4 incoming CV signals. In addition it acts as a CV mixer on a separate output.
If you have an eye on a four-quadrant audio mixing with the joystick, then you will welcome the upcoming 4VCA/VCMIX module ;-)
You can buy this module here in the online shop.
We’ve added the following accessories to make AE Modular even more colourful, and to give you more tools to make music and even build your own modules.
New Rack Colour Options!
You can now choose many different colours for the front and side panels when buying individual racks, check it out in the online shop. The days of the grey, red and black are numbered! Combine these new rack colours with the colourful knobs and you can create your very unique style!
To buy the racks with the colour options, go to this product in our online shop!
Adapter audio cables 3.5mm to 6.5mm
The MIXCONSOLE only has 3.5mm mini jacks, but most audio mixers and effect pedals come with 6.5mm connectors so we now offer these adapter cables in our online shop.
Of course, they can be used also with MASTER, 4I/O and other modules with minijack sockets.
Various parts for DIY
As you can see in the forum (more about this below) there are more and more people that create their own modules, either just for themselves or, as we hope, to sell or otherwise make them available to the wider AE Modular community.
We want to support this as much as we can, so here you can buy the original parts that we are using to build the AE modules.
If you are a manufacturer and want to buy these parts in bulk for your product development, please contact us. We are happy to negotiate a favourable arrangement with you!
Express shipping for North-/South America
After the painful experience with the extreme long shipping times to the US we decided to add optional express shipping for these countries. Of course, the shipping costs are significantly higher (especially for small parcels with a few modules / accessories), but if you need the components really quick, you have this option now. You can choose between regular shipping or DHL Express during checkout.
Music made by the Community
Every month the AE community surprises us with new music! It’s an incredible joy to see the system being used in so many different ways, each beautiful in their own ways. And even though Jamuary is over, the community didn’t stop producing more tracks than we can list here!
This month was abuzz with DIY projects! It is amazing what people come up with if you give them a relatively simple framework and safe voltages to play with. Many of these projects look really promising and we hope that these might turn into proper modules in the future! Here are just some of the projects that were presented this month.
AEtari Punk Console
The Atari Punk Console is probably the “Hello World” of sound electronics! And in this post, it is shown how to patch it on the BRAEDBOARD module. Inadvertently pictures of a new cute “baby” case were leaked ;-)
When the DIY community is missing a function, it just builds it! Here are two designs for a ring modulator circuit
Teensy 4.0 Sample Player
The sound examples for this DIY sample player based on a Teensy chip is very promising and all the code is provided in this post. Check it out!
CV to MIDI
It seems that user @sleeptotem never sleeps! Here is another project based on a Teensy which transforms CV to MIDI. It’s very sophisticated even though it currently lives on a breadboard.
This wasn’t really introduced as a DIY project, rather it featured as part of a techno jam by our techno master Keuerslager Kurt. But this simple compressor circuit sounds “badass”!
Kurt’s Dead Band Waveshaper
Keuerslager Kurt is on a roll! This module now comes with a “proper” PCB and there are hints that this glitchy, noisy waveshaper might become a proper product, possibly a DIY kit! Exciting to see new 3rd Party developers on the scene!
Euclidean Sequencer with Arduino
This is a very sophisticated sequencer based on an Arduino Micro and assembled onto a AE Modular DIY board. It looks and sounds amazing and we would love to see more of this.
New mini AE format by XODE
The AE Modular format got even smaller when, completely out of the blue, XODES announced his invention and prototype of the 1/3 modules. These consist of a base module in 1U format which is used to mount up to 3 smaller modules. Very impressive design and the prototype looks absolutely gorgeous!
You should check out the thread on the forum which showed the excitement this has sparked in the AE Modular community!
However a few days later there was this thread on the forum from XODES about potential pricing, design and manufacturing principles and how an independent module manufacturer can make a living from designing and selling synth modules without compromising his principles. It was a very good discussion and showed that there are always many sides to one story and that it’s important to view an issue from many different angles. Also that sometimes one might not do something if it means compromising on one’s principles. Please read this for yourself:
We completely support XODES’ position and hope that he will find a way to make this work for himself and the AE Modular community. If you are keen to see the 1/3 modules come to life and have an idea on how to help XODES make this a reality, please let us know in the forum!
Colourful Racks sighted on Facebook
Joel, one of the first Kickstarter supporters, has started the colour revolution and posted this beautiful photo of his rack which looks like the German or Australian Aboriginal flag, but not quite ...
There was also a discussion on logical colour schemes and we like the following idea:
What do you think? If you have transformed your rack with coloured knobs and have other ideas about the colour schemes, then please let us know in the forum!
There were reports of some dead Wasp Filters which could be due to a production issue for one batch of modules. If you have a dead wasp that has this behaviour then please contact us for help.
Wonkystuff’s rbss doesn’t play nice with the QUANTIZER module?
There were some reported issues with the QUANTIZER module when used together with the rbss module from Wonkystuff. This issue has to do with some jittery noise on rbss modules of earlier batches (below #130) and can be fixed relatively easily by soldering a 103 capacitor onto the board. This thread shows how this issue was tracked down in the forum and subsequently resolved by Wonkystuff.
You can find the instructions on how to fix your rbss on the Wonkystuff website:
It’s just amazing to see how constructive and helpful the AE community is! There is never any blaming, just people working together to find and fix problems in a supportive way.
It’s truly a very special community!
Robert Langer, founder of tangible waves. Here, I will share some thoughts, background infos and news about AE modular and tangible waves.