WintherStormer

WintherStormer modular

The WintherStormer modular is a DIY analog modular synthesizer. Erik Stormer and Terje Winther has build several large cabinets containing the various modules. This is an ongoing project. Terje Winther has just updated one cabinet to serve as a sequencer-based instrument that he calls the "Berlin School Dream Machine". Many of the modules we have make ourselves, others we have bought readymade or in kit form. The various cabinets have been made partly by a professional cabinet-maker, and partly by ourself.

Oakley Sound System analog modular - «Berlin School Dream Machine»

We started out building modules from many manufacturers, but soon found out that Oakley modules were the best; good PCBs, great docs, and fantastic support, but most of all superb modules that are useful, stable and continue to work day after day, even in demanding situations like outdoor concert in various venues.

Originally we choose two standards of height (3U and 5U) to match the different manufacturers, but have switched to 5U height only. We originally choose the smaller 1/8" minijacks, as they are smaller, cost significantly less than large jacks, and is the standard used by the first two module makers we started out with. However, we are now turning to 1/4" jacks only and hopefully better quality pots as well. We have also changed knob styles to some moog look-a-like knobs.

The various WintherStormer modular cabinets contains modules from a lot of different manufacturers, kit suppliers and general internet schematics. Many of the modules have circuit boards from Oakley Sound Systems (highly recommended!), and in addition we often make our own circuit boards from various sources.

The change is now complete, and Terje Winther have build his own «Berlin school dream machine»:

modular synth photo 1

modular synth photo 2

modular synth photo 3

The modules are these:

Top row, from left:
Oakley Noise/Filter iss. 1 - in a non-standard silk-screened front panel.
Custom/DIY Multiple, dual - one 5-way and one 4-way. Non-standard width to close up space
Oakley VCO - Slim-VCO version A iss. 1.1
Oakley VCO/LFO - Slim-VCO version B iss. 1.1 - with green and amber LEDs and jack PCB
Oakley VCO/LFO - Slim-VCO version B iss. 1.1 - with only red LEDs and no jack PCB
Oakley Ring-Modulator iss. 3
Oakley/DIY Mixer - modified with extra inputs, inverted output, output volume pot, plus multiple
Oakley VCF - Superladder, original demo version, with large green knob for cutoff
Oakley Overdrive iss. 1 - including overdrive and distorsion
Tellun VCF - State variable filter TLN-428 Rev. 1.0 - based on the CEM3320 IC
Oakley ADSR/VCA iss. 4 - looping envelope with integrated VCA
Custom/DIY ADSR - envelope with normal and inverted outputs and option for really long times
Formant/DIY ADSR - envelope generator with modifications (only survivor from first generation!)
Oakley LFOs - 3 x Oakley Little LFO iss. 2 in one panel. I could not decide if I wanted switches for times or LED indicators in the available space, so I installed switches with dual LEDs in the switch. Very useful, but really expensive parts.

Middle row, from left:
Custom Blank panel with WintherStormer name. Very narrow, to fill up the remaining space
MOTM VCO - in a nonstandard silk-screened front panel
Oakley VCO - the «one-of-three» fullblown VCO iss.4
Oakley VCO - the «one-of-three» fullblown VCO iss.4
Oakley VCO - the «one-of-three» fullblown VCO iss.4
Oakley VRG iss. 2 - Versatile Ramp Generator, with red knobs to seperate them
Oakley VRG iss. 2 - Versatile Ramp Generator, with red knobs to seperate them
Oakley Sample/Slew iss. 1 - sample & hold combined with slew generator
Buchla VCF and/or VCA - Resonant Lopass gate based on Peter Grenader´s work
Buchla VCF and/or VCA - Resonant Lopass gate based on Peter Grenader´s work
Custom/DIY LFOs - four simple LFOs with various wave outputs in one panel
Oakley VC-ADSR iss. 2 - Voltage controlled envelope generator with integrated VCA
Oakley/DIY VCA - three old Basic VCAs iss. 1 in one panel. I only had two originals, so the third one is made on veroboard.

Bottom row, the narrow one - from left:
Oakley MIDI-Dac iss. 3 - MIDI-to-CV converter in custom made front panel
Custom/DIY Buffers/distributors - two sets of buffers, mainly for pitch and gates. Internally patched from the MIDI-Dac. Uses high-quality precision opamps and multiturn trimmers for precision.
Custom/DIY CV-switches, one with an on/off switch and one momentary switch. Gives off a positive voltage, mostly used for manual gates

A total of 33 modules. Some modules have multiple functions, so I can be pressed to find:
9 VCOs
6 VCFs
7 VCAs
11 LFOs (I love LFOs!)
9 Envelopes
4 Effect modules (noise, ringmod, overdrive, S&H)
4 Utilities modules (MIDI, multiple, buffers, manual switches)

All front panels are aluminium metal, from various sources and different generations. There are various types of knobs, as you can see, although mostly «moog-like» knobs. The different sizes doesn´t bother me, but I might change some knobs in the future.

All in all - a perfect and complete «Berlin school dream machine» to go. I even have a custom-made large wooden flightcase for it that has been with me for years now.

Here are two long demos I slapped together to show off some sounds and possibilities. Normally I don´t combine like this: most of the time this modular is used for sequencer-lines only, and maybe some effect sound, while other instruments do other tasks. However; I wanted to give it a go to see if I could make complete songs on this modular only. Everything is recorded direct to disk without any edits and with only this modular and a step-sequencer - all sounds are from this modular (reverb and delay added externally) - the sequencer delivers CV and gate, while an external MIDI-keyboard drives the MIDI-CV interface for the solo line. I think I used all modules for these demos:

Berlin School Dream Machine SoundCloud


Here is what it looked like before:

Two stacked cabinets, an old photo