May 2, 2018 by Finegear

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May 2, 2018 by Finegear

Mixerblocks is going full metal jacket

After hundreds of hours of 3D rendering and virtual cutting, a few hundreds more of fine tuning and mind-bending aligning ... we’ve only just received the very first prototypes for the Basic Channel metal enclosures.
More is in the making ;)

May 2, 2018 by Finegear

We just had to paint it black
We started working with a new fablab in Bucharest and we couldn't help experimenting with the black mdf. The results were beyond our expectations , allowing us to fulfill the request many of you made for black enclosures.
Check the website to see more!
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EVOLVING CONFIGURATION

With Mixerblocks, you can keep adding channels to your console, each time you add a new instrument to your setup.
In a similar way, you can add new FX send/return buses to use more effects. You can also add submix buses to help grouping your instruments. Some more devices (recorder/looper, vuMeter indicator, etc.) are being designed and coming soon.

PERSONALIZED ROUTING

More than just adding up the sounds from each channel, Mixerblocks allows routing the channel signals to effects and/or (more interestingly) any submix buses, which in turn can be flexibly routed to the master outputs (left, right or both), processed through insert effects or connected to other devices through the individual outputs. And again, more blocks (devices) are being designed, which will further enhance Mixerblocks’ routing possibilities.

INFINITE DESIGNS

The Mixerblocks concept includes the possibility to design different kinds of channels with varying features and sonic behaviours (different types of preamps or EQs) so that the mixing console can truly adapt to any particular need by including a combination of channel types.
This is also an open-hardware licensed product so that anyone who wants to (private or company), can design a compatible channel block or extra module block.

Your new analog audio console!

 

The Mixerblocks series is an original concept for a modular and expandable audio mixing console. A variable number of channel strips can be connected like building blocks between themselves and to a main I/O “docking” block. Each channel “block” can have one or more “extra blocks” connected to it, adding supplementary effect sends/returns or submix groups to the configuration.

The currently available blocks are:

contact us to order yours now

BLOCKS

BASIC CHANNEL & DOCK

BASIC CHANNEL BLOCK

This block contains all the features/modules for a complete channel strip:

  • Balanced XLR/jack input,
  • input amp,
  • pad,
  • phase invert,
  • phantom power,
  • EQ,
  • pan,
  • FX sends,
  • master bus,
  • submix bus,
  • mute,
  • solo,
  • fader amp,
  • DIYRE Colour insert slot,
  • insert jack

A signal intensity and a clipping LED give a visual feedback about the channel’s audio signal.

It is powered by, and it sends its signals to a docking block.

MORE
Two connected Basic Channels & Main Docking Station

MAIN DOCKING STATION

The central block for any Mixerblocks console, it powers the channels and it sums up the signals and sends them to the (balanced) outside world.

The signals routed by the docking block are:

  • master mix,
  • submix,
  • two effect sends,
  • their two respective effect returns,
  • a solo bus (for the phones output)
  • the incoming signals from the extra blocks.

The master and the submix buses also have effect inserts and balanced outputs. A stereo 10 segment LED vuMeter helps visualising the output signal while strategically placed clipping LEDs indicate if any signal saturates.

 

MORE

BASIC CHANNEL BLOCK

This block contains all the features/modules for a complete channel strip:

  • Balanced XLR/jack input,
  • input amp,
  • pad,
  • phase invert,
  • phantom power,
  • EQ,
  • pan,
  • FX sends,
  • master bus,
  • submix bus,
  • mute,
  • solo,
  • fader amp,
  • DIYRE Colour insert slot,
  • insert jack

A signal intensity and a clipping LED give a visual feedback about the channel’s audio signal.

It is powered by, and it sends its signals to, a docking block.

MOREBUY

MAIN DOCKING STATION

The central block for any Mixerblocks console, it powers the channels and it sums up the signals and sends them to the (balanced) outside world.

The signals routed by the docking block are:

  • master mix,
  • submix,
  • two effect sends,
  • their two respective effect returns,
  • a solo bus (for the phones output)
  • the incoming signals from the extra blocks.

The master and the submix buses also have effect inserts and balanced outputs. A stereo 10 segment LED vuMeter helps visualising the output signal while strategically placed clipping LEDs indicate if any signal saturates.

The connected channels have to be connected to a dock.

MOREBUY

EXTRA-BLOCKS

The extra blocks connect to the back of a channel or to to the back of any other extra block, as well as connecting between themselves between channels (right to left) to form a row. A row of extra blocks is connected to a corresponding extra docking block which routes the “extra” signals into the main docking block to be added to the main mix bus.

EXTRA EFFECTS CHANNEL BLOCK

This block adds an extra effect send with pre/post selection for a channel.

Two connected Extra Effects Channel Blocks & Extra Effects Dock

EXTRA EFFECTS DOCK

A row of extra effect channel blocks are connected to this block which contains the effect send level and output as well as the return input and level.

EXTRA EFFECTS CHANNEL BLOCK

This block adds an extra effect send with pre/post selection for a channel.

 

EXTRA EFFECTS DOCK

A row of extra effect channel blocks is connected to this block which contains the effect send level and output as well as the return input and level.

EXTRA BUS CHANNEL BLOCK

This block adds four extra submix buses (A, B, C, D) to which a channel can be sent. The left channel can be routed to submixes A and C and the right one to submixes B and D.

Two connected Extra Bus Channel Blocks & Extra Bus Dock

EXTRA BUS DOCK

A row of extra buses blocks connects to this block, in which each of the four submixes has a corresponding fader amp, a balanced output with an effect insert and routing switches to the left and right master mix bus.

EXTRA BUS CHANNEL BLOCK

This block adds four extra submix buses (A, B, C, D) to which a channel can be sent. The left channel can be routed to submixes A and C and the right one to submixes B and D.

EXTRA BUS DOCK

A row of extra buses blocks connects to this block, in which each of the four submixes has a corresponding fader amp, a balanced output with an effect insert and routing switches to the left and right master mix bus.

NEW EXTRA-BLOCK AVAILABLE!

EXTRA-METER & OUTPUT BLOCK

The extra-meter and output block (XMETER) contains

• 10 LED peak meter
• balanced output jack
• insert jack

This block is a special among the extra-blocks because there can be only one of these blocks per channel and it always has to be the last one to be connected to the channel’s row of extra blocks. There is no need for more than one peak meter per channel and usually there’s no need for multiple outputs per channel either.

Three unconnected Extra Meter Output Blocks

SIGNAL PATH

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Channel block

  • Current draw: max 120 mA
  • Input impedance:
    11 kΩ unbalanced
    22 kΩ balanced
  • SNR: -93 dB
  • Crosstalk (at 1 kHz):
    channel mute: -70 dB
    channel down: – 70 dB
  • Pad: 0 dB/-20 dB
  • Input amp gain: -60 dB … 10 dB
  • Fx send gains: -65 dB … 0 dB
  • EQ:
    gain high: ±10.5 dB @ 60Hz
    gain mid: ±10.5 dB @ 300 Hz – 1.9k Hz
    gain low: ±10.5 dB @ 12 kHz
  • LoCut frequency: 70 Hz
  • Fader amp gain: -60 dB … +10 dB
  • Frequency response:
    Input to main: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
    Input to submix: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
    Input to effect sends: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 53 mm x 63 mm x 400 mm
  • Weight: 450 g 

Docking block

  • Current draw: max 0.35 A
  • SNR: -93 dB
  • Input impedance:
    FX return: 32k Ω unbalanced, 64 kΩ balanced
  • Output impedance:
    Main mix putput: 70 Ω unbalanced, 140 Ω balanced,
    Submix output: 70 Ω unbalanced, 140 Ω balanced,
    Effect send outputs: 70 Ω unbalanced, 140 Ω balanced,
    Phones output: 30 Ω
  • Crosstalk (at 1kHz):
    Master down: -70 dB
  • Frequency response:
    Input to main: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
    Input to submix: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
    Input to effect sends: 20-20 kHz, +0/-0.5 dB
  • Master fader amp gain: -60 dB … +10 dB
  • Submix fader amp gain: -60 dB … +10 dB
  • Phones amp gain: -60 dB … +10 dB
  • FX return amps gain: -60 dB..+10 dB
  • LED vuMeter: 3dB/LED pair
  • Dimensions (WxHxD): 145 mm x 63 mm x 400 mm
  • Weight: 970g

Power supply

  • Supply: 2.5 or 3.8 A
  • Voltage input: 110 V/ 220 V
  • Voltage output:
    +15 V
    -15 V
    +48 V
  • Max current draw: 2500 mA

DIY

The Kit

 

The blocks (channel, dock, extra effect channel, extra busses channel, etc.), come in a DIY kit containing:

  • a PCB with the SMD components (resistors, capacitors, op-amps and diodes) already soldered
  • the true-hole components (knobs, sliders, LEDs, buttons, etc.) that need to be soldered
  • Mechanical components and
  • An optional enclosure (MDF of metal)

Most of the components are already mounted and this ultimately is a very quick and easy build, nevertheless careful mounting is necessary for a good fit with the enclosures and between the blocks. The assembly instructions can be found here.

This way to the assembly instructions
Contact us to get your own

Enclosures

 

The enclosures available for the Mixerblocks kits are MDF or sheet metal (coming soon).

The MDF version gives a beautiful laser cut slick-looking console, whereas the metal enclosure builds up to a more classic console, suitable if you need to safely travel with it or if you want better shielding.

Mounting the MDF enclosure is very easy, and very soon you’ll find instructions in the Documentation section. Also, if you want to adapt the design or just cut the enclosure yourself, that’s also where you’ll find the CNC-ready designs.

DIYRE compatibility

 

The Basic channel block is compatible with the Colour format series circuit blocks from DIYRE. These are various small modules with a standardized footprint and connectivity that replicate certain classic analogue circuits’ sonic “color”. By using them, one can slightly modify (colour) a channel’s sound. A switch is used to bypass the module and an RGB LED indicates the “type” of Colour circuit that’s connected.

Open Hardware

 

In order to encourage DIYers everywhere to build their own consoles, other companies (or individual makers) to design new channel block types or extra blocks, as well as to be transparent,  all the technical design documents are published under the cc-by-sa-4.0 license.

If you want to know more than what’s shown in the signal path drawing, check out the links in the documentation section and study the schematics, PCB files and mechanical drawings on Github.

Take it to the community

 

You encountered a problem or you’re not sure about something while building one of the kits? You want to share an experience you had building or using a Mixerblocks console? You have an idea for a new type of block or for improving on an existing one? You want some information or advice before deciding what to buy?
Or maybe you just want to [understandably;)] show off your newly built Mixerblocks ?

Come to our forum, you’ll find a place there for all these and more.
We want to build a community of Mixerblocks users who exchange experiences and ideas to help each other and to help us evolve the Mixerblocks concept.

This way for the Forum

DOCUMENTATION

  • SIGNAL PATH
  • MIXERBLOCKS user manual (pdf) – coming soon
  • BILL OF MATERIALS (.xls) – coming soon
  • SCHEMATICS – coming soon
  • PCB FILES – coming soon
Found what you wanted to know? This way to the shop!
Making your own? Share your knowledge on the Forum!