Mystic Circuits 0hp AND/VCA, Take Two

Have a listen to the 0hp VCA/AND Gate working as a VCA

A while back I got my hands on some 0hp Modular kits from Mystic Circuits. I’d gotten one of each (at the time) and went about building these lovely little passive utilities. Unfortunately, by the time I got to building the AND/VCA module I’d been hunched over a desk, breathing solder fumes for too long, and botched the build. The failure was combination of loss of focus (I really should have taken a break) and poor management of my work-space. I grabbed the wrong resistor and soldered it into the wrong space. Good news, a few weeks ago it was time to make another mystical order and I picked up a second VCA/AND kit for another go.

This time, with fresh eyes (and lungs) and a fastidiously organized work-space the build went like a dream. As with the other modules I’ve built (Vactrol LPG and OR Gate) Eli’s video walks you right through the build. It is important to give it at least a quick viewing as there is an incorrectly marked resistor on the board, and you’ll want to make sure you get that right.

Up until the recent 0hp Filter the VCA/AND was the most complicated 0hp build. The OR Gate and Vactrol LPG don’t have too many parts and are very simple builds. The VCA/AND has a couple more parts, and a little, six-legged chip and the build is a bit tight and definitely requires more attention when soldering. That said, if you have a little bit of soldering practice and follow the video carefully, the build will go off without a hitch. You should have a working module in about 40 minutes (roughly the run-time of the build video.) Mine came together a smidge quicker thanks to previous experience. All in all, it’s a bit of a challenge, but nothing you can’t handle. And in case you forgot, I’m not a highly experienced solder-jockey. I’m about as amateur as they come. So if I can do it, I believe that you can too.

In use the VCA/AND is a handy little thing. The AND functionality can be a lot of fun when used in conjunction with a clock divider. It’s even more fun when you use it with an OR Gate and a clock divider, you can get some pretty cool little grooves going. Yay for chaining logic and 0hp modules. As a VCA it functions just as you’d expect. When used for audio, to my ears, it has a bit of its own character (this could be because I’ve only been listening to LPGs for a few months) have a listen to the audio track up top to hear it for yourself. I did my best to give it a good audition across a couple of octaves and with varying amounts of harmonic content and types of modulation.

The Mystic Circuits 0hp VCA/AND Gate makes it really easy and inexpensive to add another VCA, or two, or three as you have needs, without eating up valuable rack space. As you guys know I’m a big fan of creating small, focused systems and that means making compromises. I can’t always fit everything I’d want. But the 0hp modules really make it easy to have a couple extra vital utilities at hand when I need them. I love all these fun little modules and I’m glad to have a handful of them at my synth station, but the 0hp VCA/AND Gate stands out among them, because you can never have too many VCAs.


Honorable Mentions:
Mystic Circuits 0hp VCA/AND Gate


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