Their website vectortours.de is one of the most confusing I’ve ever seen. A German domain with a weird mixture of Albanian and German text. Most of the phone numbers don’t work, and when I tried calling the German number and asked in German about their lines from Macedonia to Montenegro, they were dumbfounded and had no idea what I was talking about. Some of the ticket desks in Skopje firmly denied the existence of the company, until we eventually found one who gave us a ticket. Then, by chance, we ended up staying in a hostel in Prizren which was literally next door to the Vector Tours office, which was adorned with three completely different logos! I think some other weird stuff happened which I forgot, but in total this was enough to cement them as a semi-legendary entity and permanent in-joke.
Some tips for building a Mutable Instruments Ambika, based on my experiences:
Based on the part numbers in the BOM, suppliers will sometimes pick a CD4050 chip. These are not fast enough and will cause SD card access to fail, it’s necessary to use a 74HC4050.
If you’re using a 74HC4050 and SD card access is still failing, check whether communication with all of the voicecards works. I had a lot of issues where failing or badly connected voicecards would interfere with the serial lines and prevent SD card access from working.
The 3.3V regulator, DACs and all the MCUs can be obtained free from the Microchip samples service if you’re willing to do it over a few months in limited quantities of two part numbers at a time.
My Pololu USB AVR Programmer wasn’t able to provide enough power whilst programming, so I had to power the boards for programming. For the voicecards, having both 6 pin headers connected interfered with programming because of data being sent to the voicecards over the serial lines. I ended up powering up the motherboard, placing a stackable connector in the power/audio socket voicecard socket and plugging the voicecard into that for flashing, so that it’s powered but the serial lines are disconnected.
I programmed my Ambika with the YAM firmware to get those smooth sounding PolyBlep square and saw waves. I built the firmware myself, downloading CrossPack 2010-01-15 which provides avr-gcc 4.3.3, the correct version for compiling most old MI AVR firmwares.
I would recommend buying higher quality pots and encoder with metal shafts rather than the flimsy plastic ones in the BOMs. There are so few on the Ambika that the added expense is only a few euros in total. An Ambika is such a large time and financial investment that there’s really no reason to use flimsy, wobbly plastic pots.
I got my PCBs from the Pusherman group-buy, they‘re very cheap and work fine.
I built an Ambika to join my family of Walnut Mutables!
I messed up the LED holes in this one, but the laser engraved front panel graphics and text came out really well. The back panel is acrylic so I can admire my electronics handiwork and Olivier’s amazing design any time.
I took the opportunity to give my Shruthi a knob upgrade, too.
and here’s @briansuda’s translated hieroglyph version! https://optional.is/required/2009/12/03/welcome-the-entire-land/
@BurntToast_DFIR fantastic, thanks! Any idea where I can get a copy of the CD?
EDIT: I found it, the website is a bit labyrinthine.
Dramatic happenings at the mill last night! A huge dead tree fell over the bridge, causing a minor earthquake. Nobody hurt apart from a fence (which fortunately doesn’t even belong to us)
@briansuda what on earth is “Gender: Weak Female”?!
I’ll be at the Mazurki Festival Tagowisko Instrumentów (Musical Instrument Exhibition) with my instruments on Saturday the 28th. It’s not on the English programme, but is on the Polish one so is definitely happening! Come and try out my gurdies, and see my (experimental) MIDI system and hybrid synth in action!
Hurdy Gurdy #7, finished and picked up by the customer!
3x chanters, 2x drones, 2x trompettes, 4x capos, 4x sympathetic strings, 3 channel active preamp system. Very happy with how this one came out — in fact I need to retro-fit some of the electronics changes onto my own instrument… No more 50Hz hum!