Monday, September 19, 2016

Keystep Power Test

So, whenever I get a cool piece of gear that can work standalone - and that can run off of USB power - my first idea is "Oh man, I could just run that off the power on the Synthwerks LAMP-1 module!"

I can hear James from Synthwerks crying from here!

I know I'm not supposed to do this, and I'm sure that I'm risking clouds of locusts and hot hail, but it seems worth a try, right? A few things that I've tried in the past:

- McMillen Qunexus (worked as far as I could tell - the damned stereo output prevented a deep test).
- Arturia BeatStep Pro (did not work - too much amperage draw).
- Monome (it just laughed at me - in that evil Vincent Price laugh).

Since the KeyStep has a lot fewer blingy lights and stuff, I thought it would be worth a try. I wasn't too hopeful, though - the back has a plug for a 9VDC, .5 Amp input. If it actually needs .5/9V, it wasn't going to be happy with the output of the LAMP-1.

And it wasn't. In testing everything, I was able to get note and modulation CV voltages out, but the gate didn't produce enough of a voltage bump to wake up my Intellijel Dual ADSR or my Maths. Further testing, which included running the gate through the CV Tools (so I could buffer, amp-up and monitor the voltage) proved that I couldn't get anything decent even through that combo.

Now, there's nothing saying I couldn't just use a USB-power wart for this purpose. In fact, for you, I tried that as well. I grabbed the first crappy USB-wart I could find (this one was from some P.O.S. Asus Android tablet that I had, or maybe it was from an old Kindle), plugged it in, and everything worked perfectly: good CV and Mod voltage, good gates firing up any and all envelopes. Everything (including the sequencer and arp) worked fine, and I dropped a bit of time having fun with that.

In fact, the Keystep is just that: a fantastic sink-hole of fun. My word to you...


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