DIY Frames (Black Magpie)

DIY Frames (Black Magpie)


DIY Frames (Black Magpie)

The heart of Frames is a 4-channel analog VCA under tight digital control. Through flexible input/output mixing and normalling options, it can be patched to serve the following purposes (among others):

  • 4-channel attenuator/VCA.
  • 4-channel mixer.
  • 4-channel programmable CV source.
  • Quadraphonic signal dispatcher.

But what makes Frames truly unique is the way in which channel/CV levels can be controlled, using a technique inspired by computer animation. Frames allows up to 64 configurations of the 4 level knobs to be stored and recalled throughout the course of its big Frame knob. By rotating the knob (or sending a CV to the Frame modulation input and adjusting its amount with the attenuverter), the configurations are morphed into one another.

To fine-tune the animation and get varied morphing or sequencing results, the following options are available for each of the 4 channel:

  • Easing curve (stepped, linear, exponential, logarithmic, sine, bouncy)
  • Attenuation response of the level knob, from linear to logarithmic

With a bit of patching and imagination, Frames can also be repurposed as a 4-channel sequencer, a multi-stage envelope generator or a trajectory generator for quadraphonic panning



An analog mixer...

4-channel voltage-controlled mixer based on the V2164 IC.

  • 4 DC-coupled signal inputs.

  • 1 global input, sent to all unconnected inputs, and normalized to a precision voltage reference (+5V or +10V).

  • 4 DC-coupled channel outputs.

  • 1 global mix output, collecting signals from all unpatched outputs, with a -6dB gain.

... under digital control

  • 12-bit digital control of the gains for the 4 VCAs.

  • Up to 20 keyframes, each keyframe storing VCA CVs for each channel.

  • Per-channel easing curve selection: stepped (no interpolation), linear, accelerating, decelerating, sine, bouncy.

  • Per-channel CV/VCA response selection, from linear to logarithmic.



Width: 18hp

Depth: 25mm

+12V Current: 90mA

-12V Current: 30mA


The full kit comes with everything you need, including the ARM processor pre-flashed with the latest firmware at the time of kitting.


Module Parameters

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Tags: diy, kits, eurorack, module, mutable instruments, 18hp,