Category Archives: audio

x0xb0xes: made in China, Germany and USA

Ages ago i bought my first Mode Machines x0xb0x from Touched by Sound in Germany. They were the first fully assembled x0xb0xes on sale here in Europe and hence they have been reviewed a few months later on Sound on Sound. They came with those horrible looking MC303 knobs, but the idea of having a fully operational, Bassline clone with onboard sequencer was embarassingly exciting. In 2017 all this has changed, since the advent of the RE303!

From the description given to me by TBS and the sticker on mine, they indicated that they were Made in Germany.

One year later Mode Machines came up with the x0xb0x mk2, this time “guaranteed” to have been made in Germany. 

Would this second statement imply, mine was actually made somewhere else other than Germany, EU?!

Today i decided to pop my Mode Machines x0xb0x open and have a look inside.

The machine itself, sounds good but it loses more of the lower frequencies than it should as you turn the cutoff and resonance up, but it sits nicely in a mix because of this and it is quite squelchy.

Now on with the gutshots:

Dirt on the pcb, almost like corrosive traces of handling, etc

Components scattered on the board and soldered, clearly assembled as quickly as possible.

Grey looking solder joints. I dont know if rohs approved solder is supposed to look like this but it’s not shiny, they look almost like cold solder joints.

Rubycon electrolytic caps.. part of the standard kit i suppose..

More traces of handling.. dirt..

Made in Germany.. really?!
All in all, the only other example i can think of of a pcb that bears the same, corroding handling marks, grey solder joints and cowboy assembling like this, is my chinese made, battered components sporting, bog standard, cheap as hell, barely working, terrible looking digital oscilloscope. They even smell bad, the same way.


My personal feeling: my Mode Machines x0xb0x was really either made in China or made in Germany by hurried chinese workers in a very dark and unpleasant cabin.

Sometime later, i got my hands on a NY made, x0xb0x from x0xs0urce: a whole different story.

Rounder sound, red leds instead of purple ones, and check these gutshots..careful assembling and soldering, etc. a work of love-mind you it costed twice the price of the mode machines..

Welcoming greenie caps as per the original tb303..

Selmer Buzz-Tone

I have been building Selmer Buzz Tones for a few groupies n fans recently. 

Featuring original, near-impossible to source transistors, 2N2613 on choc brown paxoline board, on eyelets just like the original. 

One small mod is the cap tuck away under the board, to give it some juice (otherwise it wont buzz!).

Cheapo build for a friend:

Another build.. featuring the Palenque astronaut..


Expensive nos carbon comp build for a groupie:
They all sound 👍🏿.

Hohner Basset

When i bought it it looked like this


I opened it up to clean it and realised this wasnt its original colour.


It really was taupe gray before, but the years had the plastic chassis yellowing

I decided to restore it to its original colour (or as close as i could…)

After 5 months of great fun, I had to open it up because the output went silent.

Gutshots of the Hohner Basset!

Lets start with the DIN jack that connects it to the bass amp..


Keyboard:

Circuit board and caps jungle:

Inside the white enclosure there’s a lamp and a ldr.. this assembly is the actual “percussion” section.

You press a note on the keyboard, the light goes off slowly (sustain) according to the knob position, when not in auto mode.

Video below..

Pcb: 3.1967!!

Ahem this means the caps have been doing their job for 50 long years! Only one of the capacitors has failed, please note- the blue valvo 100uF cap now measures 1uF!

Output DIN and 3 pronged jack, fuse

Video showing the lamp going off when a note is keyed.

Dynacord EC280

Was this the very first BBD delay? 

 
Tabletop machine, self oscillating AND from past internet auctions and reviews it is apparent, nobody knows how to determine if theirs is in working order (😂), because it is very temperamental and does a lot of different things.. But when it behaves, it’s magic!

Echo, reverb and has a very weird chorus.

Amazing and beautiful, nothing like a tape echo or a memory man.. Far less predictable!

A delay with character.

    

     

De La Soul Three Feet High And Rising

1989. This and Paul’s Boutique blew my mind that year.

Can you guess how many times i happily re-bought this record (the first one being the picture disc when it first came out) through the years? Same as Paul’s Boutique actually.. 😂