Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mutable Instruments Elements + Mikrophonie

I've been beta testing the new set of MI modules the past couple months. Elements by far is my favorite. The others are amazing in their own right, but Elements is something special. Hook a Mikrophonie up to it and it becomes unworldly.

Friday, October 24, 2014

New Line of Eurorack Devices and Official Web Site coming Soon

Over the past 6-8 months I have been working on a Eurorack Module that will be rackless. These devices will be passive inline modules that plug between patch cables.

The first two to be released are:

Pocket Knob: Inline Attenuator
Pocket Gate: Inline Passive Vactrol Gate.

The Pocket Knob pretty much speaks for itself. Its just a knob with an IN and OUT jack for attenuating CV and Audio Signals.

The Pocket Gate is a vactrol based passive VCA. Simply, a CV IN and an Audio IN and OUT. The CV in can be anything from a trigger, gate, Envelope, LFO, etc. to drive the Vactrol. Send your VCO or any other audio source through the IN & OUT and get VCA type effects. They will come in 2 flavors: Fast (Quick release time for percussive sounds). Slow (slower release better suited for sequenced patterns or larger, drawn out drum sounds).

Currently the case design has been finalized. Next step is to have the cases made with injection molding (a much more daunting task than I had originally thought) and get the PCB's made. At this time I do not have an ETA, but if my foot was put on a block to be hobbled, I'd say by the end of the year or very beginning of next year.

If you have any questions regarding this project, or are a retailer and would like to sell these in your shop, please contact me at

FYI, the picture below shows the 3D Printed Prototypes. The cases will look much nicer when complete and will be white with nice Lexan overlays. The logo will also look a lot more banging. Also, the shaft on the Attenuator will be changed to a standard D-Shaft so a knob can be added, giving much better control.

This is just the 1st of a series of devices I plan on releasing in this form factor.


I registered the domain Currently I have a friend working up the design of the site and am hoping to have it live within the next month. Most of the stuff here will be migrated over. I will be adding a "Store" where merch can be purchased. I have shirts and stickers on order and the buttons just arrived today. I'm also planning on pre-modding Werkstatt's to sell in the shop as well.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ambika will still live here

Yesterday Mutable Instruments announced the demise of MIDIpal, Shruthi XT kits, All Shruthi filters except the SMR-4, Anushri & Ambika.  In light of this I have procured a stash of Ambika Motherboards and all filter types.  I will be able to accept build requests for Ambika for quite some time.  Email me at if you have any questions.


Link to the announcement.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

hmmm, what could this be? More details coming soon...

#3dprinting #protoing #laurentidesynthworks

Sunday, September 14, 2014

LSW 15 - Knobcon Edition

Just spent the weekend at knobcon. This was the first time I attended and the first time I've taken LSW outside of my basement! Initially I was a bit overwhelmed, but once I got my table set up and started to meet people, the nerves settled. It was truly an amazing experience. I got a lot of positive feedback for the caseless module prototypes (more on these later) as well as the modded Werkstatt and TTSH. The highlight for me was meeting Herbert Deutsch and then having him asking me to take a photo with him! Seriously, what!?!

Another great experience was all of the spontaneity. It was a lot of fun to walk up to a modular cranking away on a patch and then tweaking with it into another direction. Macro Machines table was right next to mine and at one point on Saturday we clocked our modulars together. I coulda done that for the rest of the night. As my day job, LSW and fatherly duties keep me occupied pretty much 24/7, I don't get to take my synths out. Finally having the opportunity to do this was spot on.

So, now it's over and all I can do now is count down the days to the next one...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Werkstatt Mods continuum

It wasn't an easy decision to come to, but after much thought, I realized there was really no avoiding adding some knobs to the Werkstatt.  It was really bugging me that I couldn't use the Werkstatt glide when using the EXP VCO IN, as the Glide is part of the keyboard which tracks 3V/Oct.  It doesn't work will with 1V/Oct gear.  The other thing was being unable to control the level of the VCO and the External IN.  So, I added a glide and mixer circuit.  It'll be a small PCB with SMD parts that'll fit right onto the kludge area.  There's even enough room to solder in the MINICV PCB for some MIDI action!

I'll be putting an order in for some of the PCB's and this will be a standard mod to be added to any Werkstatt's from here on out.  I'll post the schematics and PCB files in the next couple of days as well.

Laurentide SynthWorks 14 - Werkstatt Mod Walkthrough from Laurentide SynthWorks on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Nother Hotel Sesh (Minibrute SE & Werkstatt Jam)

A positive to traveling for my day job is having uninterupted downtime in a hotel.  I try to bring gear with me when possible.  This time I rolled out with an Arturia Minibrute SE and the modded Moog Werkstatt.  The Minibrute is on the left side and the Werkstatt on the right.  Everything was recorded onto a Tascam DR-40.  The main track was laid down and then overdubbed the more percussive parts.  The Werkstatt is by far one of the most enjoyable synths I've played in a long time (with the added mods of course).

Sunday, August 17, 2014

LSW now on Vimeo

Decided to make the switch to Vimeo.  From now on all of the "Video Series" video's will be posted there.  Be sure to head over and follow.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

LSW 13

Finally took the werkstatt for a proper test drive with the eurorack so I could get a decent demo of it in action utilizing some of the mod's.  It starts the video out.  The LFO is being modulated by Mutable Instruments Tides (slope is being modulated by a Make Noise DPO in LFO mode.  The V/Oct is controlled by a sequence).  The combined modulation of the Werkstatt LFO with it's own rate and Tides creates interesting variations of the rate. The Werkstatt LFO is controlling the PWM.  The sequence is from Make Noise Rene.  The VCF Out on the Werkstatt is going into a passive diode clipper (this is a prototype and part of a small line of devices that I am working on getting manufactured).  Drums are handled by Mutable Instruments Peaks.  The clicky hi-hat-y part is a Mutable Instruments Braids.  The other sequence is a Make Noise STO controlled by a clocked set of Pressure Points..  Some Concertmate MG-1 "Bell Tone" for filler added.  Then just some reverb and delay.

Video Series page updated

Just added a 2nd youtube playlist. This one features videos of people using their LSW built synths in the wild. Good stuff!

Check it

Ambika does TRON!

Here's a fantastic cover of Derezzed by Synthway on an Ambika built by LSW!  We love to see our builds in action, so please let us know if there's vid's or songs out there using LSW builds and we'll put it up!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Moog Werkstatt Mod's Breakdown

I've received several requests detailing the mod's that I added to the werkstatt (which are seen in the video below), so, here's the list.


GATE: This one requires the most work.  There is no direct way to trigger the envelopes without modifying the circuit board.  A trace is cut, then wired to a switched jack, so when nothing is plugged in, the envelope is triggered by the keyboard.  When a jack is insterted, the connection is broke and the external gate will trigger the envelope.  There is a small circuit added (an op-amp and some resistors) to the input to stabilize the voltages going in.  Basically making sure that the voltage used is consistent and doesn't suffer from voltage drop.

VCO EXP: Jack wired directly to the patch point.  This is the 1V/Oct Input.  This input requires calibration of trimmer on the circuit board.

VCO LIN: Jack wired directly to the patch point.  Linear scaling.

LFO: Jack wired directly to the patch point.

VCA:  Jack wired directly to the patch point

CUTOFF FREQ: Jack wired to the VCF IN patch point.

AUDIO:  There is a jumper on the circuit board that's between the VCO Output and the VCF Input.  I removed the jumper and wired a switching jack in it's place so when nothing is plugged in, the VCO is fed into the filter.  When a jack is inserted, the VCO is silenced and the audio from the jack will pass through the filter only.  There are 2 reasons why I did this.

  1. There is no way of silencing the VCO, so whatever audio is sent through the filter will be blended with the VCO
  2. The VCO, to me, is sent to the VCF a little too hot.  This way, with an external attenuator I can regulate the volume of the VCO.  Also, it makes it easier to mix in other audio sources, such as other VCO's.

VCF: Jack wired directly to the patch point

LFO TRI & Square, VCO Saw & Square: Jack wired to the waves directly, regardless of the switches position.


As the panel is custom one-off's which are ordered per job, I can change what jacks are added.  The panel I added to mine made the most sense for what I wanted, but you could have a competely different idea, like putting the keyboard and env CV OUT on jacks to control outboard gear with the werkstatt 1 octave keyboard.  Or, changing a jack to PWM Or, ditch one of the jacks to add a switch to turn the VCO to filter ON/OFF (or a potentiometer for volume control but this would require the space of 2 jacks).  If you have some idea's, send me an email and we'll go over the options.


Panel: $35. These are custom and made to order.  There is a 2 week lead time before they arrive.

Full Mod: $120.  This includes labor and all parts needed for the panel above. Any customizations may alter the price.  

NOTICE:  ANY MODIFICATIONS TO THE MOOG WERKSTATT WILL VOID THE WARRANTY!  Which is kinda funny because I work for a manufacturer and a large part of my job is warranty work.  But, unfortunately I don't work for moog, so the only warranty I can offer is on the work I do.  None of the mod's will damage the synth, so no worries there.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

LSW 11

I recently traded some unused eurorack modules for a Roland MC-202. This be me first x0x. I have never played one so I didn't really know what to expect. I had thought it would be just like an SH-101. Plug in a CV Keyboard and play away. Nope! Found out real quick the CV & GATE in go through the 202 processor and get quantized and snapped to tempo. Thankfully Dinsync has some good "how-to's" on his blog. Once I finish with the mod's I'll put together a proper post with documentation (like adding a switch to get the LFO rate from 30 sec to audio rate).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LSW 10

For the most part, the Prodigy is extremely simplistic in design. It doesn't have the ability to adjust or modulate pulse-width. The LFO only has 2 shapes and 2 destinations (pitch & cutoff). The envelopes don't have a dedicated release. It doesn't have noise or S&H. Then, to top it off, I have an early model, so it doesn't have any CV IN/OUT. I could mod it, but I'm just not into drilling holes into this thing. But, despite all of it's shortcomings, it is, without a doubt, one of the best mono synth's I have ever owned. The filter is amazing and the VCO's sound incredible. I've had a lot of mono synths come and go, but this one is a mainstay for sure.

The 90's (especially the mid 90's)was a fantastic musical period (personally anyway). I was done with High School and had no ambitions other than going to shows and hanging with friends. I spent a lot of time at Fireside Bowl (those from the chicagoland area should know this venue and how amazingly important it was to the music scene). Just about every show there was memorable. Most of them get lost in the mix of memory, but a couple shine through. Most of the time, the memorable performance was one of the opening acts that I had never heard before. Specifically this show on 7/21/96. I was there to see Anal Cunt and Charles Bronson. But who I was not prepared for were Flying Luttenbachers and Xerobot. Both bands were fucking incredible. To this day I think of the Xerobot performance as a major influence on me. It was one of my first exposures to a band using analog synths in very unconventional ways. And the Flying Luttenbachers, well, they're just legendary.

Since the early 2000's I've fallen out of the "scene". I can only hope that under everything there are still kids in bands doing things nontraditional and playing in some of the worst venues ever. Sometimes it feels like the internet has spoiled that idea, but that could just be me and my old dumb age blaming things on my oldness and out-of-touchness.

Anyway, I started this post with a direction, but now I don't care so...

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Korg Monotron driven by a Synthrotek Sequence 8 module clocked by 4MS SCM. Mutable Instruments Peaks in Drum mode clocked by 4MS RCD with rhythmic breaks tweaked with the RCD breakout. Both fed into a Music Thing Modular Spring module.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Late night exploration with the TTSH.  Pulled the MFOS WSG out of a dust pile for this one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Werkstatt Mods cont.

I found that the 1 octave keyboard ranges from 0-3v.  So, when a standard 1v/oct is applied, the scaling is nowhere near 1v/oct.  This is a bummer as I wanted to break the keyboard connection to the VCO so I could send the incoming CV through the glide circuit.  In order to make it work (as far as I can see) is either add a 4053 to switch between 2 different trimmer/resistors that are both set for either 1v/oct or 3whateverV/oct the Werkstatt keyboard is  (linear?) ... or, ditch the keyboard completely and re-purpose the glide to go through the VCO exp IN only.  I don't like either of those options.  I'm ok with adding a panel to the back for a row of 3.5mm jacks, but I'm not a fan of switches and pots sticking out hear and there.  I'd rather just add glide externally instead.

On the plus side, I designed a panel for the row of jacks I'll be adding to the back. Most of them are just taken right from the header patchbay.  Instead of a straight VCO out, I'll route the square and saw waves to separate jacks.  I'll more than likely remove the jumper on the PCB between the VCO and VCF and normal it to the Audio IN.  This way I can send audio through without the VCO mixed in.  Having the saw and square waves separate I can route those through modules and add other VCO's, then through a mixer and back into the Audio IN on the Werkstatt.  The overall plan is is to keep everything relatively simple but still useful.  The thing that makes the Werkstatt so much fun is its simplicity.   I could go crazy and add a daughter board with a 2nd VCO with saw/square/triangle, a mixer section, a noise source, S&H, etc etc etc all with SMD parts, then create a new case with knobs and switches galore....  but why?!  I have plenty of other synths that do that.

I may add a midimplant though.  We shall see.

EDIT: Updated I/O Panel above!

Once I nail down a panel design, I'll offer to do this mod if there's enough interest. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Moog Werkstatt Sequence

Now that I have the gate in done I can really play with this beast.  Still really bummed the PCB is 3U.  To big to fit between the eurorack rails. :(

Moog Werkstatt-Ø1 Mods

External Gate IN:

I finally found some time to start poking around inside the Werkstatt.  First on the list is adding a Gate IN to trigger the envelope.  I followed peff's idea of using a voltage follower for the Gate IN.  I did a breadboard test and had it running in minutes.

I was wiring the Gate IN directly to the sustain switch and found that in order to have it work properly, the trace coming from the keyboard will need to be cut.  I found a small spot just before the gate is converted into a trigger.  here's a schem (oh, and I used a TL072):

All of the parts fit nicely on the kludge area on the PCB with pleanty of room to spare.  You'll notice I added some capacitors.  These are just .1u bypass caps at both voltage inputs to ground.

I know I'll be adding more, so at the moment I have the jacks just dangling out of the back through a small slot just above the power jack.  Eventually I'll drill out the case and mount them inside.  One thing to keep in mind is BE MINDFUL OF YOUR SOLDERING IRON!  I wasn't paying attention and it got a bit too close to the sustain switch.  :(  Hopefully Moog will be nice enough to supply me with a part number.  It works, just a little melted.

Friday, June 27, 2014


one of these came today...

I was really bummed to find that the PCB is almost exactly the same size as a Eurorack front panel, which means it's to big to fit between the rails. :(,  But, there is pleanty of room below the PCB at the back to add a bunch of 3.5mm jacks (with some case drilling).  I'm really digging the size and addition of the 1 octave tact switch keyboard.  Most synths this size require an external keyboard for control, but this I can grab and play while tweaking on a modular patch.  Fantastic!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

LSW #7

So, this one doesn't technically qualify as part of the video series, but I am using a couple modules that I assembled.  It was more due to the excitement of getting Peaks in the mail today.  Finally some simple drums!  Plus more modulation choices.   One day Peaks will be fully released.  Until then, you can watch this video and eat jelly.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MFOS Soundlab Love

I did a demo video of the MFOS Soundlab Mini-Synth MKII back in december of '12. Well before I started LSW.  It just made it to the home page over at Music From Outer Space!  It's quite an honor and privilege to grace the main page of one of the predominant Synth DIY figures/manufacturers.  The information available on his site is invaluable & indispensable.  It has helped me understand both general and specifics pertaining to synth building/designing.  Thanks Ray for the props!

and if you've missed it, here's the video:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


After sitting for about a month with several issues, I finally finished the Mini-Meanie (sort of)! I finished the build quite a while ago, but I was waiting on the "rare" parts to become available at Thonk. Impatiently I ordered everything from UTSource. After I installed the key parts, I found that 1 of the 4027 oscillator boards was DOA and VCO 2 was not outputting the Tri/Sine waves. I scoured that damned PCB looking for either a solder bridge or the wrong part. I checked every component 3 times each looking for something misplaced, but it all looked ok. Figuring it was a bad part from UTSource, I shelved the TTSH until the Thonk stuff arrived. While I waited I worked on the clock bleed by removing the LED blinky transistor for the S&H rate and did the jumper fix. This got most of the bleed, but it is still there unfortunately. For now, setting the rate to max keeps it unnoticeable, but I want to figure this out eventually. I did try several different power supplies as well as my bench top supply and none of it fixed it.

Last week the Thonk kit came and I finally had some time over the weekend to start looking at it. First thing was the 4027 board. I pulled out the fancy trannies and put in the Thonk ones. The 4027 was still dead. About this time I started really freaking out. How could something with barely any parts not work! It couldn't be a resistor or cap.... oh wait, maybe the 3906/3904 is bad! I pulled them out and dropped in 2 new ones. There it was! Bummed that I sacrificed some of the rare parts, but, good to know the UT stuff wasn't bad. Keeping this in mind, I pulled out the 3904's in the VCO 2 circuit that's part of the Tri/Sine wave. Again, problem solved!

One last thing was the filter cutoff would raise the pitch of the VCO's as I would raise the cutoff. Another headpounder which ended up being that a keyboard CV needed to be applied. I know that it's mentioned to add a jumper to short the CV to ground, but that didn't change the issue.

To Do is add the reverb tank (which is on order) and add the 2 speakers, which I'll do eventually but it's not a priority for sure. Lastely I'd like to add a MIDI 2 CV internally. Right now I'm using my Kenton Pro Solo, which works great because it can send the gate and trigger needed for the envelopes to fire. I have a midimplant I could add, but I'd need to make a gate to trigger converter. Not hard, just not wanting to do that at the moment.

Below is a quick video of the first patch. It's annoying and ear piercing and sounds like a Tron junkyard bike race, but, it was fun to patch and mess with nonetheless. Soon I'll put together a proper demo.

As for building these: I'll do it, but the availability of future batches is really up in the air. There were some serious issues with the logistics company. They damaged a large amount of the cases and panels (mine being one of them). I know the issue has since been addressed and corrected, but there has not been any word of a new batch being processed. We shall wait and see.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Surging Along

The year so far has been pretty intense. On top of Laurentide SynthWorks growing (I've done as many Ambika's in the past 2 months as I did last year), we have a 5 month old baby that of course needs lots of attention and a career that pulls me out of state a lot. The downside is I spend lots of time on daddy duties and builds that I don't get a lot of time to create music. Oh well.  Hopefully once the baby gets a bit bigger I can jump back into writing tracks again and working on Adirondac songs.   

Nonetheless, I love what I do and I wouldn't change a thing. I'd like the see LSW grow more and more each year. It would be great if I could quit my day job. Here's to a great year!

Friday, April 25, 2014

LSW #6 Video

After finishing building 2 MIDIpals (no, I will not build these to sell.  The PCB's are no longer available for purchase.  I had these PCB's made for myself from the files made available on the Mutable Instruments website), I added some headers so I could chain them together easily without added cables.  In the vid I have the 1st MIDIpal set to the sequencer with a simple sequence playing.  It is then feeding into the 2nd MIDIpal which is set to the delay app.  That's a fun app to play with on a poly synth.    I have the Ambika broken up into 2 parts.  Part 1 is 4 voices and controlled by the MIDIpals.  Part 2 is 2 voices and controlled by the QuNexus.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Road Patch #2

Spent several days up in Michigan. This patch has a more coherent structure. All sound is produced by the Make Noise STO Module. Modulating the Shape can lend to an amazingly huge sound. Coupled with the Sub out... woh! Definitely my favorite module at the moment.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Road Patch

One constant with my day job is a lot of out-of-state travel. When I built my Eurorack, I wanted it to be portable and small enough to bring on a plane. It's basically broken into 2 racks. The main is a 2 Row 6U 104hp Monorocket case which has all of the sound source and modulation modules. The 2nd is a 1 Row 3U 104hp Monorocket which has all of the controls (sequencers and touch plates). I can carry the 2 Row on the plane and fit the 1 row in my checked luggage. Works out like a charm. I really like the idea that I can pack up a massively complex synth into a seat of a car and go!

Anyway, the idea is to record the hotel "sessions". I'd like to be able to get a number of usable tracks for a full length. At the least, have fun when I'm not at home working in the lab. Below is the 1st "song" I recorded one night in Omaha NE.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

PolyLAB Update 1/23/2014

List of things competed:

  • Prototype Case built
  • LFO, S&H, Globals PCB, Saw2Tri, Midi2CV, Power Supply & Transformer all mounted
  • Globals Panel Prototype built
  • MIDIpal LCD and Encoder installed and mounted to Globals Panel
To Do:
  • Wire it up!
I built a quick-and-dirty power buss board, but I did order a PCB.  Just waiting for that and 1 10k Pot for Voice 2 Resonance.  I ended up going with the Midimplant MIDI2CV with a MIDIpal for the dispatch to achieve poly.  The nice thing about the Midimplant is 1 board has 2 independent midi2cv's.  Each can be assigned a MIDI channel and have their own V/Oct & Gate.  Wish I had read the spec more clearly before I ordered a 2nd one.  Guess one can never have too many midid2cv's.

Hopefully 1 more month and the prototype will be complete!  Then, this spring I'll try my hand at bending aluminum.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Green Ambika

This one has 6 4P voicecards.  Custom green case made by Frank the Official Casemaker.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Video Series #5 added

Demo of a ShruthXT with the SVF (Midnight Edition) filter board.  The XT really helps unlock the beast within the SVF.  If you're not familiar with it, it is a dual 12db State Variable Filter, each with Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass.  They can be set up either in parallel or series, offering an amazing amount of modulation possibilities.  Truly an amazing and underrated filter.