Rollz-5 PCB

The Rollz-5 is at heart a drum machine, but one capable of drones and other weird effects. This unique machine is not driven by a step sequencer, but instead utilizes geometric rolls (and connections among them) to generate unruly polyrhythms.

Originally designed by Peter Blasser from Ciat-Lonbarde, this PCB has been laid out by Meng Qi

This is a PCB only.

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Instead of the sequencer on most drum machines, Rollz-5 implies geometric rolls that output pulses in different paces, set by component values while building. Even rolls will produce rhythmical signals while odd rolls yield high frequency oscillations. The rolls can be connected together to form complex rhythms and audible signals.

Then the signals from rolls will be connected to 3 different sound modules, following descriptions are taken from Peter's website :

  • AVDOG : which uses the same resonant filter as Gongs, but at a very low frequency, to transform pulses into a slow undulation. This undulation controls the amplitude of a simple drone tone, to make a ghostly complement to the pulse material. I created this translator to balance with the plucked and pulsed sounds. It’s like sending pulses through a watery wave-tank which speaks a simple tone, a complement to the more abrupt rhythms of the other translators, yet it relates periodically because it is based on the same raw material.
  • ULTRASOUND : knob sets the cutoff frequency around which ultrasounds are reflected down to audible range. It uses a switched capacitor filter, which has a (happy) side-effect of heterodyning high frequency sound by its reference tone. It sounds like an old-time radio as it sweeps through stations; there are audible difference tones swooping up and down. This translator also filters the timbre of the even pulses.
  • GONGS : It works with even pulse material, waiting a period set by the control knob, then pulsing a resonant filter preset to a certain pitch and damping. Normally I would desire moveable pitches, but I reconciled with set pitches because this is a drum machine- The tones mark phrases around which melodies develop externally, and I would rather control the phrase length than the tone of the gong. Anyhow, a creative hacker could easily mod these circuits to make the pitches moveable.  The sonic effect is anything from a short woodblock tone to a long deep resonant gong, synchronized at short or long periods.

Specs & Downloads

Specs & Downloads

manufacturer MengQi
Depth No
+12V No
-12V No
+5V No
Additional Resources [BOM] Rollz-5+ PCB by MengQiMusic


8 x [511-TL082CN] (082) (inlcuded in this kit)
8 x [511-TL084CN] (084) (inlcuded in this kit)
2 x [511-4013] (4013) (inlcuded in this kit)
2 x [511-4066] (4066) (inlcuded in this kit)
4 x [18-1N914] diode
1 x 1N4007 diode
24 x PNP transistor [512-BC557B] (557)
60 x NPN transistor [512-BC547B] (547)


1 x 10uF electrolytic
30 x 1uF electrolytic
24 x .01uF (103)
16 x .001uF (102)
3 x .1uF (104)


4 x 220
1 x 1k
4 x 4.7k
32 x 10k
4 x 15k
88 x 22k (includes the 4 needed for Ultrasound fix)
4 x 47k
44 x 100k
28 x 220k
36 x 470k
4 x 1m
4 x 2.2m


1 x vactrol
16 x 10k pots (inlcuded in this kit)
1 x 1k pot (inlcuded in this kit)
4 x 1m pots (inlcuded in this kit)
8 x 2m 3296W trimpots
1 x 9v - 15v power supply (circuit spec'd for 9v, but different folks have had different results)
banana jacks (inlcuded in this kit)
IC sockets (inlcuded in this kit)
mounting hardware

Variable Parts:

8 "x" 2m2 - 22k (avdog undulation speed - 2m2 is extra slow, 22k is fast)

"Hairy" capacitors
4x 10uf - 100uf electrolytic (avdog undulation sensitivity - 10uf is "sensitive", 100uf is "extra sensitive")
4x 47uf - .1uf ("rhythm slow to fast")
36x rolls caps (Peter B says .1uf and up. Although it looks like folks are using stuff between .01uf-ish and 100uf-ish, but mostly in the .1uf to 47uf range)


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