I’ve got the power

My esteemed spouse put in a noble effort toward the pyrography on my new case this weekend. There are still some hours more of work in it (lots of stippling!), and things like rheumatoid arthritis pain, Captain Marvel, and a bit more complexity in the task than expected have slowed the process.

In the interim I’ve done some thinking about the specifications for the power supplies in the case, vs. the listed consumption. Sparing you my limited-understanding description of Eurorack power supplies, my modules need close to 100% of capacity on the -12V rail and that’s not a good thing. Meanwhile the case can supply a ton more +5V current than it needs to, but apparently converting from +5 to -12 isn’t an easy matter. I may pop some USB power sockets into my case to grab some of that sweet +5V.

My solution was going to be: try it, but keep my old add-on PSU (which I’d really prefer to sell) to run a couple of the hungrier modules if necessary.

Instead, I started looking at which modules are hungriest for that rare and exotic -12V:

  • QPAS stands out as the most gluttonous by far (and rumor has it the listed specs are even a little lower than what it actually demands), but I like it and would prefer to hold on to it.
  • Natural Gate is absolutely going to stay in this system no matter what, I don’t care how much power it might need.
  • Crossfold is up there… oh hey, I have the ER-301 which can do wavefolding. My first attempt sounded good-ish but not good enough. My second attempt though — after reading some research on the subject — was much better and I feel confident in letting this go.
  • Sputnik 5-Step is also pretty hungry — but I think I will hold onto it.
  • Maths, the BBD, and the E370 are all significant, but fair compared to what they do for me.
  • ModDemix needs a good bit of -12V, but I don’t tend to use it very much and can now easily duplicate what it does in the ER-301. DTA has unknown power specs, probably fairly mild but I don’t know for sure. I can replace both with a Xaoc Tallin, which has some nifty features and sweet overdrive should I want that, for modest power, space and cost savings.
  • ALM S.B.G, the FX pedal interface, isn’t one of my favorites and also is a little greedier than options I like better. The ADDAC200PI seems ideal (and at 1/3 the power) but everyone is sold out — I wrote to the maker to see if it’s available at all. The Retro Mechanical Labs GPI seems an okay backup option.

I also have a Make Noise Erbe-Verb arriving today. Broadly, it does for reverb what the Doepfer BBD does for delay — an experimental, open, slightly crazy thing. Normally reverb goes at the end to put a sound into a contextual space; this one can do that but can also generate sound itself, and/or be modulated in all sorts of alarming and dramatic ways. People are still discovering and sharing completely new uses for it and there’s even an entire EP made with nothing but Erbe-Verb, and I find that pretty exciting.

Aside from maybe switching my Tides for a Xaoc Zadar and keeping an ear out for what u-he CVilization will have to offer, that’s the end of my planned gear changes. But I plan to attend KnobCon in September, which might lead to something.

I also plan to upgrade my computer this year. It’s an 8 year old machine where literally everything but the motherboard, CPU and case have been replaced at least once; the case is not my favorite and the CPU is a first-generation Core i7. Moore’s Law died a few years back, but still a budget AMD Ryzen could eat it for breakfast. I’m just waiting on the third generation of Ryzen chips, rumored to be 15% faster, with more cores and less power consumption and coming in June, to make that change. Intel still leads them just a little on single-core performance, but costs about twice as much for the privilege. Whether I’ll go prebuilt, choose my own pieces using PC Part Picker, or somewhere in between with a barebones or customized gamer setup, I’m not sure.