Limited number of SHRUTI-1 Synths Made Available to Narrat1ve Nerds!

edited April 2010 in Everything Else
Hey Y'all--
I am proud and happy to announce that the inimitable and amiable Olivier over at has decided to make THREE (3) of the original Shruti-1 synth kits available to you fools on the Narrat1ve forum!

As you all know, better than me, the Shruti is an AVR based digital synthesizer with a CEM3379 based analog filter. As far as I can tell, this project is kickass both in its execution and its usefulness as an instrument. Since you of this forum are the ones who told me about this project in the first place, I'm excited that this is happening.

NOW: The reason Olivier is doing this is because this first run of the kit is, of course, his first time selling this, too, and he wants design and usage feedback from people who don't suck. He says it better than me in some correspondence we had:

"As soon as I get the PCBs, I want to allocate 3 kits to the guys hanging out at your forum, since they look smart ; and as they have already assembled your sampler they won't be total noobs."

Hear that? You're smart. So he'll hook you up, and in return you can help him (and you) get a better synth. So, if you don't feel confident building one of these, it might be the responsible thing to do to pass.
So, with no further fanfare, here's how you order them (via Olivier):

"...directly contact me at . Kits are 115€ + shipping (I haven't checked for all destinations but it's at most 20€), and include everything except case and power supply."

And tell him you're writing him because of this post on the narrat1ve forum.
So those of you who want in on the ground floor, get cracking, and make the rest of us proud!

Finally, I know that probably more than three of you want these, and I'm sorry there are only three made available here. There are some more general release dates coming, and Olivier knows more about that than me. I also know some of you will probably miss out on this who were really excited about the Shruti, but the only fair way I could think of to do this was, well, the random crapshoot that is this post.
[FWIW, I'm not even snaking one on the sly :-)]

Thanks again for all your support with WTPA and show Olivier how things get done here at the nerd camp.



  • edited April 2010
    nice, all over it.

    this is exactly why I spend most of my day just staring at this forum waiting for new posts..
  • Likewise...
  • Yeah, i just emailed him about ordering one as well. I have to say, after the sweet dreams demo, I was sold. :) I feel bad since there are only 3 available to this forum, but I hope that things will progress fast enough that everyone who wants one will get one soon. Also, I learned my lesson with the SammichSid, I remember it coming out and thinking how great a kit it seemed to be and I always wanted a SID based synth, and then I kind of forgot about it and I'm deep down in the depths of the waiting list. So I'm trying to not wait on this synth.
  • Dang, I'm away from my computer for one hour (to go outside, of all things!), and this is what happens?!

    Anyway, email sent. Crossing fingers. And circuits.
  • edited April 2010
    Likewise - busy day at work, no time to check audio stuff online - and THIS happens! Oh well - email sent....we'll see! I read on Olivier's site the other day that he's also working on a non-CEM version as well, which might be cool too...

  • edited April 2010
    Hi all!

    I'm the Shruti-1 guy, and am glad to be here! The 3 kits are gone. What's going to happen next?

    - Batch 1: I might have 1 or 2 units left if some people change their mind at the last minute. In this case I'll ping a bunch of people taken at random from those who have posted their email address on the pre-order questionnaire ( and who match the right conditions (skills to assemble a kit, OK with a case-less kit, etc...)
    - Batch 2: 3 units will be reserved, again, for the WTPA crowd ; and I'll see what I'll do if there are some units left.
    - CEM-less batches: since I can "easily" get those (still a lot of parts to stuff into bags!), let me know in advance if you are interested and I'll order parts accordingly.
    - PCBs: again, let me know so I can re-order accordingly. Scoop: the next batch of PCBs is going to be Platypus-themed.
    - Batch 3????: thanks to my "genius at viral marketing" (dixit CDM), the project is discussed even in obscure ESQ-1 fetish forums and some guys have started contacting me "hey, I have kept those chips when my ESQ-1 died! Now I am glad something fun can be done with them!". This won't be NOS parts, contrary to what I am using in the first batches, but by pooling the CEM3379s from people happy to see them go into something new and fun, it might be possible to do another batch of 20.

    CEM3379s are not the future, though, and I am s/working/studying/g a lot to get a new synth design (same philosophy, AVR, on some aspects simpler and cheaper) but with an analog filter based on modern components (If you want to know I'm going the LM13700 route). Will get the PCBs for the digital part and a bare minimal analog section next week, at the moment sketching bits of schematics, looking up books, solving equations and learning SPICE until I have more breadboard space to experiment.

    A last thing: 3 person (including someone whose most advanced project ever built was a patchbay) have assembled the kit and it worked without any problem in all cases. So the edges are not going to be as rough as we all expected. I've written some instructions here:

  • edited April 2010

    you have come to the right place for dry humor and hardcore hardware testing.. If there is something wrong, someone here will be whining about it.. Biggie needs a girlfriend, you have got a good crew here. Sie sind willkommen ..
  • edited April 2010
    Hi Olivier,

    Too bad I think I did not make it to the first three - but that's OK, I will be patient! In particular, I'm interested to hear what you will do with your new filter design not based on the CEM. I think it would be cool to hear some A/B comparisons of the CEM version with the LM13700 version you are planning; I'm one of those people that do NOT think there's anything magic in the old stuff, and that modern components ought to be usable to come up with something just as good...

    Plus, another thing to think about is creating a sense of "community" around your creation -- with only small runs of 20 kits or so, there won't be all that many users out there, and I think what makes these projects especially fun (like with the x0x, WTPA, midibox, etc...) is the sharing between people. For example, read the "Start, Loop, End Point Adjustment?" thread here, and see all the fun we've been having humping Todd's leg for the past 6+ months! You'll need a critical mass to get that leg humping going, and I worry that a CEM-based version will never get enough people on board...

    Congrats on a really nice looking project!
  • Great news! this looks fun.
    Looking forward to the feedback once they're up and running!
  • wow! that list filled up quick. I am really happy that this place here is so alive and doing well. I really like this place for its intimacy and livelyness ... really cool!

    Also really cool that I made it on the list on the less intimate forum for the shruti1! Really getting excited here. My main worry with the kit is - how to house it, once it is done. I think olivier recommends a ns1790 hammond box on his site, but there are so many holes that aren't plain round holes, but rectangular shapes - I am not sure how to cut these forms in an aluminum enclosure- any tips how to do it, or a hint for a easier-to-work-with housing?
  • @dnigrin:

    I'm not trying to emulate the CEM3379 output and its response curves, so a real A/B comparison won't be straightforward. The main goal is to get something that sounds in the direction I want it to sound (not squelchy or weird because I want to keep it suitable for many different applications ; solid and musical). However, from my limited experience, it has always appeared to me that, compared to SSMs or transistor ladders, the curtis filters sounded more "theoretical", as in "close to what an ideal 24dB/octave filter would sound like" - which is maybe why so many people diss them. So I have the feeling that a textbook-ish thing wouldn't be that far, and that the most complicated thing would be to scale/adjust the response curves (for example in the voltage->exp. current source)... So I agree with you on the "no magic" thing as far as the Curtis filters are concerned ; but I think there's one point you overlooked: while clearly, signal-processing wise, there's nothing exceptional or unattainable in them, the fact that everything needed to process a digital oscillator came pre-bundled into a single chip *is* some kind of magic modern components won't give you. It makes PCBs simpler and more compact ; and for a beginner, approaching a project with 100 points to solder is better than a project with 200... If those chips were made again, even at $10 (instead of $5 for a LM13700, a quad op-amp and everything needed to make it work) I think I would go with them, especially in the context of a polyphonic synth...

    Regarding the community, a forum is on its way, let me do the CSS styling first so it won't look exactly like this one (I decided to go lightweight, installed vanilla...) :D And I'll probably try to get every user to fill a little profile with photos of their finished kit, links to songs, etc. All those were things I did for my software (

  • @blue_lu

    I've reordered a bunch of caps for keys which are circular instead of rectangular, if you prefer them, let me know, and I'll ship that instead with your kit!
  • edited April 2010
    I have some cool idea's for cases.. Oliver, do you have PCB dimensional layouts available (X-Y stuff)? I'm all about these hammond extruded cases these days ( ), I used one for a midibox CV and it looks great and is reasonably cheap (~$30)
  • edited April 2010

    Hmmm you know what? I think other people interested in the Shruti-1 and not hanging out on this forum would love to hear more about that. I can get DXFs from the Eagle files, if that would help. But I'd rather continue this discussion in a more Shruti-1 centric place!
  • @Oliver

    Point the way Cochese.. I'm on your list so I should probably be on your forum :P
  • as soon as there is a forum for the shruti, we will be there! :)

    altitude, could you post a pick of your midibox cv? also, was the extruded case easier to work with from the metalwork side of things?
  • @lu

    I'll shoot some pics shortly. Yes, the case rocks. I actually did all the machining for mine myself and the case consists of a sliding top and two ends so it is very easy to work on..
  • It's awesome this is going the way it is.
    @pichenettes -- thanks again.
    If you feel like nerding out on LM13700 based designs, holler! I like OTAs in general. It's been a dream of mine to design some discrete ones.
  • @Olivier: Yes, the self-contained chip does certainly make things easier, no doubt. Perhaps one day, these kinds of chips will be made again. In the mean time, looking forward to your new design, and/or getting on the list for the next CEM batch too!

  • Ok, gates of the forum opened! You won't be disoriented because it's the same forum software (wanted something super simple, but it turned out this thing is an absolute nightmare to style!)
  • Just checked status of the shruti, cause I want one and I saw this

    To those that got one- lucky dudes :>)
  • Bummer, I didn't get one, someone beat me to it, bastards ;).

    Curious about the new one though, from that incredibly blurry picture, the actual physical dimensions remind me of the Sammich Sid, nice compact design with the LCD and the pots and buttons on top with another board underneath. I hope he's able to make more than 20 this time around. I'm also quite curious what he's decided to use as a filter (if he's including one, which I assume he is).

    It seems like there have been some really great DIY kit stuff to come out in just the past few years.
  • he's going to do the filter with a LM13700 this time. so i think this will be available for a longer time.
  • just got 5 in the post!
  • five!! wtf, one for each finger? lol
    cool makes me envious again with my just one :D
  • He's doing a great job with that filter, so far. A nerd to be reckoned with, this one.
  • Just got a list email for a new shuruti-1 kit batch ready, ships tomorrow, just did the paypal
  • I just got my CEM version today, woo hoo!
  • @rosch: group buy between buddies.
  • This Nerd just got his kit. Thanks Olivier
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