When we last saw our hero he was struggling to source parts for an NLC timbre! module. Aside from the PCB and panel and power cable, nearly all the parts could come from my stash or from Tayda, with two exceptions. Tayda doesn’t have the J112 JFET, and one possibly usable substitute they do have listed is out of stock. Another possibly usable substitute is in my stash, but I was getting mixed advice on the likelihood of its working. Tayda has acceptable jacks but better ones are available from SynthCube, except they’re also out of stock. Both the J112 and the jacks could be ordered from Mouser, but that would add $8 worth of pain to the bottom line. So the plan was to wait until the jacks were in stock at SynthCube and then try the JFET I have, assuming of course nothing else went out of stock in the meanwhile.
Then I found a better way forward. All I had to do was to decide to spend even more money on another module to build, one that requires lots of parts not available from Tayda. Order those parts from Mouser and add the J112 and the jacks to the order. Simple!
After all, the timbre! was coming in at a low enough price that I could think about buying something else, too. And I’d been thinking about surface mount. It’d be good to get surface mount soldering into my skill set, opening up lots of new possibilities for building. I’d seen a few modules being marketed as good choices for an introduction to SMD, such as the Music Thing Modular Simple EQ and the Hamara Labs Attenuverting Mixer, but while they might be good ones to build, they aren’t ones I strongly want to have at the moment. I was stymied trying to find other beginner-friendly SMD-based modules until I hit on the idea of Googling “Eurorack 1206”. 1206 being the designation for the largest, hence easiest, variety of surface mount devices (it’s 0.125″ x 0.06″).
That led me to the Tindie store of PMFoundations, a maker who hadn’t really been on my radar since apparently they’re available only on Tindie and not through vendors like SynthCube, Modular Addict, or Thonk. They have a good sized collection of boards and panels for sale including some 1206-based ones they describe as good choices for SMD beginners. I narrowed my shopping down to the Sample and Hold and the Dual Ring Modulator. Finally I kind of mentally flipped a coin and decided on the former (really the tiebreaker was that it has only one IC, while the Ring Modulator has two).
Kits aren’t available, so I had to source parts, and Tayda carries 0805 but not 1206 components. I considered going to DigiKey but PMF supplies links to Mouser project lists which made Mouser a good deal easier. Probably a bit higher in price but I figured it was worth it to get to bed before 2 am. So orders went in for:
- timbre! PCB and several power cables from SynthCube
- timbre! front panel from Magpie
- Almost all remaining parts for timbre!, except JFET and jacks, from Tayda
- Sample and Hold PCB and panel from Tindie; also from Tindie, a little kit to practice SMD with before building the module
- Sample and Hold components, and JFET and jacks for timbre!, from Mouser
I hope I remembered to order everything. It was late.