Category Archives: wisdom

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..
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.

BUT: it sports original 536 transistors, that give it a very impressive TB303 character! 

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..

But ouch! This has 945 transistors (Roland mass production’s transistor of choice in those days)- it doesnt sound as wild as the Mode Machines!! 

OC81D Tone Bender mk ii build


Bought these trannies more than one year ago. Finally got around to build it. Sounding GREAT. Very violin like tails, good smooth fuzz.
Thanks Dr. Nomis @ freestompboxes for keeping an open mind over these new dsi transistors.. and helping me with my build!

Audio clip (pedal engaged set at low volume, mind you..still plenty volume on tap!):

And the finished pedal, boxed

yours truly

Paul’s Boutique

In 1989 i popped to the record shop, New Records here in Venezia. The only hip hop, funk, reggae outlet we had back in the days. Thats where i started buying stuff that was beyond rock in 1987. PE, Ice T, Cool J, Eric B & Rakim, the entire oeuvre of Run DMC, you name it. 1987-91 was basically RAP’s golden era, the coming of age of a genre that was just facing the Long Player format with enough chops and creativity, up until the massive uni directional boredom that gangsta brought along.
Well, i had already been caught by the sampledelic extravaganza that was De La Soul’s 3 ft High And Rising. But when i heard Pauls Boutique, it was much more crystallised, more real.. it was cool, it was a lifestyle of dusted records, parties and weirdness.. What a blow. Too funky, too trippy, too good.
I seriously think that ANYTHING that is good, and cool, musically and in terms of lifestyle nowadays is nothing other than the stream of influences that Beastie Boys/ Dust Bros record had on my generation.
I cannot think of a record thats funkier, freakier, younger and hungry and cool than Paul’s imaginary shop!
And then Grand Royale magazine came, to take our journey deeper and deeper. What a combo!

yours truly

A barbecue gallery

When we were in our 20es we would have bbqs on the beach. And dance surf, garage music all night long. Although later The Man put a stop to our fun..
We turned 30, but still we did go ahead and have a few even after the law was against us. But it became a logistic issue to meet all at once with friends living all over the place.
Now i mainly have a bbq either alone or with a couple of friends or my fiance, ‘in the family’.
Its good fun to get messy, laugh, drink, and eat great food.

In a way, it is us going back to the premieval campfire and eat game. A refreshing way to go back to our roots, to the basic, early, true meaning of REWARD.