Drone Lab V2
–Drone Lab builders Forum
–Housing info and artwork
–How to use your Drone Lab
–Mods and upgrades
–Sound and video samples
Questions welcome at support[at]ghostwizard[dot]com
ORDER YOUR DRONE LAB HERE.
What is the Drone Lab?
The Drone Lab is a 4 voice analog drone synth, rhythm generator and FX processor. It is capable of generating rich, textured soundscapes, hypnotic drones and complex rhythmic sequences. It features a series of filter and distortions circuits as well as an audio input jack. This allows it to be used as an effects processor for external audio signals.
The Drone Lab was designed to invite modification and expansion. A series of add-on modules are in the works. Ideas and suggestions are welcome!
Building a Drone Lab
The Drone Lab is being sold as a kit as well as in finished form.
Detailed build instructions will be posted here soon.
You’re welcome to buy the PCB and parts from us or build it all from scratch.
The Drone Lab plans are completely open source and available below. We encourage others to use and adapt the plans as they like.
What is a DRONE?
A drone is created by slightly de-tuning 2 oscillators. This creates a rhythmic phase canceling effect as the output waves line up and diverge. The density of the drone can be increased by adding more oscillators tuned by harmonic steps above or below the other oscillators.
The Drone Lab is engineered to allow for the creation of dense, pulsing drones. A series of filters and a distortion circuit have been built in to add more depth and variation to the drone.
TREMOLO (volume modulation):
In order to create movement in the drone we developed a complex, interlinked tremolo system with independent controls for each of the four oscillators. Each oscillator has a tremolo on/off switch, an inversion switch and a pulse divider adjustment. Each of the four tremolos are controlled by one master clock. The divider adjustment creates sub divisions of that clock. The sub division output is then used as a volume control signal for the oscillator.
In the drawing below you can see the master clock rate and how that rate has been divided. The length of the division is set using the “division” knob. The illustration also shows how the pulse can be inverted using the “invert” switch.
TREMOLO CLOCK. The master clock is totally modular, meaning it can control the clocks in other Drone Labs or be controlled BY other Drone Labs. This means any number of Drone Labs can be linked together to make extremely complex rhythmic sequences.
It can also be synced with other gear like modular synthesizers, drum triggers or old drum machines with a trigger output.
AUDIO INPUT. Any audio signal can be added to a drone and run through the distortion and filters. The input goes through a preamp, so un-amplified signals like a guitar or microphone can be used.
The Drone Lab V2 is based on the architecture of the V1 with a number of substantial improvements.
-Interfacing added. Audio input jack and tremolo clock syncing
-Fine tune pitch control added for each oscillator
-Improved fuzz stage
-Improved and expanded divider/tremolo feature
De-tune and fade the volume of four oscillators to create rich drones.
Add external signals into your drone or use the Lab’s filters and distortion as an FX processor.
Low pass filter
Modify the tone of the oscillator bank and input signal before it goes into the distortion.
Adding distortion brings out the phasing rhythm between two or more tones.
Band pass filters
Two slightly resonant band pass filters can be adjusted to drastically alter the tonal character of your sound. Achieve wah-wah and phaser sounds as well as creating classic analog synth filter effects.
Add movement to drones and create interlinked pulses and complex sequences. Sync the master tremolo clock to a limitless number of other drone labs to create a rhythmically linked drone orchestra. Alternate clock sources may be used such as modular synth clocks, drum machines, piezo triggers and simple DIY clocks such as the 555 timer.
Battery or wall power
The Drone Lab draws very little power and will work for days straight on a single battery. In the event the you don’t have a battery it can also be powered using a standard 9 VDC wall wort power supply.
Add your own circuits!
It may be small, but a proto area has been added to the board to allow for simple circuit addition. We’ve got oodles of ideas that we’ll post as the project goes on. Hopefully others will contribute their ideas and designs as well.
LISTEN TO THE DRONE LAB!
Here’s a sample of the Drone Lab doing it’s droney thing.
0:00 fade in single tone.
0:05 second tone added.
0:11 light distortion added.
0:14 Low pass filter turned up.
0:19 Band pass filter turned up.
0:27 Third tone added.
1:05 Fourth tone added.
Here’s a sample made using the tremolo feature.
I don’t usually post samples of my gear going through other effects, but I have to show off how great the Drone Lab sounds with distortion. This sample was made by sending the Lab through a distortion/feedback circuit I’m working on specially for future versions of the Drone Lab. It’s a little unruly for a lot of sounds but works wonders on steady drones.
Here is a video of 3 of the first Drone Lab prototypes going at once. This video really shows how well they work together.