attack; release; LFO shape (sine,
triangle, sawtooth, square); LFO rate;
LFO cutoff frequency; LFO depth;
and overall system volume.
Those first four parameters (pots
1-4) are for waveforms, whereas the
next four (pots 5-8) are for the LFO
and LPF. Pot number 9 is the volume
We Built This City
Before you can Rock the Casbah, you must build the
kit. Putting the Macchiato kit together is a relatively easy
task, albeit with a couple of minor niggles (see Figures 8-
10). The biggest nuisance is the use of those confounding
“blue meanie” metal film resistors.
While it can be difficult to accurately guess color
bands on these metal film resistors, a great tip in the
assembly manual offers some sage guidance for ensuring
accurate resistor values: Use your digital multimeter for
verifying the resistance of any questionable value.
Even the instruction manual missed two of these blue
meanies: resistors R3, R5-R10, and R12 are 560K, but
incorrectly color-code swapped for resistors R1 and R13
which are 470K. Just use your trusty multimeter for
verifying which resistors are which and you’ll have no
Along with these swapped resistor color codes, there
are a couple of misprints on the PCB silkscreen. Luckily,
each of these errors is highlighted in the assembly manual
with a suitable disclaimer, “Don’t be dismayed that ...”
This reassurance goes a long way towards making the
remaining assembly of the Macchiato Mini Synth kit a very
As we mentioned earlier,
you should expect to spend around 3-1/2 hours
assembling this kit. One of the measurements that we
always use for evaluating the quality of an electronics kit is
what is left over in the parts bag when the project is
finished. In this regard, we were lucky to find just one of
those great knob-less pots Feeling So Lonely in the bottom
of the bag.
Upon completion, you have four options for housing
your Mini Synth. You can use the plastic chassis from
Zeppelin Design Labs. This is a great choice that features
tiny magnets for holding the sides together — very
inventive. Your second option is to use the supplied
chassis template for making a folded DIY cardboard
container for your music machine.
If you elect to pursue this option, there is step-by-step
guide in the assembly manual for using a cereal box as
your cardboard source — again, very inventive. Following
along with this DIY ethos, you could optionally make your
own 3D printed housing. Finally, there’s a fourth option;
the one that we used (shown in Figure 11) which is
leaving the assembled kit bare.
No matter what your final chassis choice is, armed
with the Macchiato Mini Synth in your pocket, you will be
a Band on the Run. NV
September 2017 53
FIGURE 8. A couple of
assembly pointers: You will
need to solder the power
LED proud of the PCB for
installation into a chassis.
FIGURE 9. Also, a filter capacitor is soldered
to the underside of the PCB.
FIGURE 11. The next sound you
hear will be my Moonlight
FIGURE 10. Finally, the serial number
sticker only goes on when the job is done.