Therematron - where the trouble starts !

Recently I got together some friends with the intention of creating a Kraftwerk cover band. It's going well but one of the ideas we stressed with regards to performance is that we would use analog gear as much as possible and where possible. Since we started to learn their earlier tracks in particular Radioland I decided that I wanted to make an analog performance synth that didn't use a keyboard but instead used something along the lines of a Theremin.

So I couldn't settle for something as simple as a basic Theremin. So I looked into the problem. PAIA's Theremax seemed a good starting point as it was essentially a basic Theremin with some expand ability added in the form of voltage control and gate outputs.

The PAIA Theremax adds the ability to mix in a more square waveform. To control outboard units, there are Pitch and Volume Control Voltage outputs. But the features that really set Tmax apart as a gestural controller are it's Velocity Control Voltage (proportional to how fast you increase the Volume) and Gate/Trigger outputs. A convenient foot switch input allows muting the internal tone source without disabling the CVs.

So I thought - "This is a controller as much as a sound maker ? I'll add a synth to it !". I've been wanting an excuse to make a MFOS SoundLab Mk2 for sometime. So the addition of the SoundLab Mk2 will give me much more tone making ability and with the Theremax's abilities I can use the Aerials to control more than just pitch. Of course later I can make up a small keyboard for this unit but for the moment to aim is for non-chromatic.

The final piece is Ray's Echo Rockit which will give the whole unit another dimension. The Echo Rockit is a PT2399 chip based echo unit which can be used to create numerous BBD type effects with some "lovely" nasty artifacts to boot.

The whole package is to be built into a wooden box with a two tier front panel which has all the patchbay included.

Here's the front panel design at the moment:-

The case is plywood which will be varnished. The front panels are a composite aluminium material which is a piece of pvc sandwiched between two thin pieces of aluminium. Very easy to work with, light weight and strong.

The front panel design is something new that I have started working with. Using a CNC router, I cut through the aluminium layer and then fill this cutaway area with acrylic paint. Even though I am still in the testing stages of this process it is going quite well. My next test for this process is to spray paint a piece of this material black and then engrave the piece to see if the paint stays in tact. The reason for doing this is that the whole process is going to be more affordable if I can paint the standard white material any colour I want and then fill in the engraved areas any colour I wish. I can purchase coloured board which is my backup process.

Here is the first physical result of the job - the PCB boards are now fully populated with components.

I have come across an addition which will need some fiddling around to achieve but I really need to unit built before I can sort this out ? Oh well I may end up with an extra control or two which eventually don't do anything.

Next step is to make up a wiring diagram I think.