The classic Buchla 208 / Music Easel gets a new DIY expansion – and it can sound totally evil

Plenty of classic moments in modular have been remade or cloned. This project goes further, and expands on the original – and the results can be used for evil as well as good. Just listen to this:

The Buchla 208 “Stored Program Sound Source” is the powerful analog step sequencer that was the heart of the 1973 Music Easel. You can get something like that now, as in the form of the Buchla 208c module (at a hefty US$2599) or start your Easel with a LEM-208.

Roland Klinkenberg writes to share that he’s got a private project that turned into a product. And it all started with “recovering from a broken leg due to skateboarding, overlapped with some COVID quarantine boredom.”

Now that project is a powerful expansion option for any version of the Buchla sequencer. Features:

  • 8-step sequencer, clocked by either the pulser or the 208 sequencer’s switches
  • LFO, 0.02Hz into audio range, with frequency CV input
  • Portamento
  • Envelope generator with ADSR, looped, and LFO modes, plus level control and decay time CV in

— and more, all in an extra PCB as mod expander. You also get extra modulation inputs via the edge card connector on the 208.

IMG 1445
IMG 1451

More details:

8 step (un-quantized) sequencer, clock-able (seq trigger) by either the 208 seq or the pulser, or by the 208 seq or key pulse in (done by a jumper on the PCB). Output is 13.5V (basic Buchla 208 offset voltage) but when selected as portamento source it can be scaled to (for example) 3V. This will give you a more workable range for melodies…it’s fiddly though, being un-quantized.

LFO/VCO (NE566) for modulation duties, CV controllable three way range switch (very cool pinball effects!), pitch either by pot or CV input

Portamento/ slew circuit for both the MO & CO or for the CO only. Input can be Key voltage or the 8 step sequencer

from prog output can be the 8 step sequencer or the LFO/VCO

“To prog 1” is for (CV) controlling the pitch from the LFO/VCO or for controlling the three way range switch from th LFO/VCO

“To prog 2″is for controlling the CO wave shape pot or the switch.

#Steps either by random voltage2, or by the 8 step sequencer / LFO/VCO (the one that’s not selected for “from prog” output)

See also ModWiggler:

and for Dutch speakers, even more:

Tons of videos on Roland’s YouTube channel; here are some explaining features, like the trippy portamento:

and prog switch modulation:

Alien grooves are what it’s about:

Or for some very left-field techno (putting the “banging” in “banger”), ready for your next gig on Proxima Centauri – hey, it’s the nearest star system, and in these ecological times I’m reducing dilithium crystal consumption:

Check Roland’s music on Bandcamp – great stuff on there, out of Arnhem, Netherlands.

Todd Barton has also posted some great videos:

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