Making a stereo Sidekick

Is there any reason why I couldn’t make a stereo Sidekick using two of each boards? I was thinking of replacing the pots with dual gang pots, so I could control both channels with the same pot. Same for the buttons and switches if suitable ones are available. I’d need to mount them on my enclosure surface though and hook the up with wires, so I’d need pots which can be mounted on a top panel.

Maybe the electricity routing will be something that’d need most tweaking so that I don’t have to use two power supplies…

Does anyone have any comments regarding this? Thanks.

wouldn’t it be nice to be able to control each channel separately though? ganging the pots would mean losing all that interesting stereo stuff you could do with a filter on each channel…

Yes: why the hell dual pots? If what you want to do is have the same parameters for the L and R channel, couldn’t you just use one sidekick board and route all the CV to two filter boards?

i had that plan for the benjolin once but i kept it double mono.
in fact the dual gang pots don’t have the exact same resistance and curve, that would probably make them quite expensive. so in order to have them exactly the same (stereo) in order to be able to detune one a bit you’d also need additional trimpots to compensate the differences.
and for me the effect wasn’t worth that much action, although the idea is actually not bad, true stereo.

There’s a reason why we build voltage-controlled circuits :slight_smile:

It’s much more convenient to route, duplicate, scale etc. a control voltage than have every signal signal go through pots, dual pots, quad pots on a control panel!

The ideal solution would be to have two filters that could either be locked together for stereo operation, or operate independently.

Actually, maybe that could be achieved by adding extra ‘chaining’ ports to multiple Sidekicks, so that you could chain together two units with some kind of multway cable, such that the controls of the ‘master’ Sidekick also controlled the VCA/VCF of the ‘slave’ device.

Just a thought.


In the above scenario, you’d just have to pass control voltages between the two Sidekicks, rather than having to come up with some complicated matrix for the pots and switches, so it would be relatively easy, I think.


The sidekick is not CV-controlled. It cannot be “controlled” by another unit so it doesn’t make much sense to try to chain them. The only thing it can do is send CV values to a filter board.

Yes: why the hell dual pots? If what you want to do is have the same parameters for the L and R channel, couldn’t you just use one sidekick board and route all the CV to two filter boards?

I had been wondering about a stereo sidekick also, and pondered this exact setup. No reason why that wouldn’t work, right? Presumably you could also get away fitting the PS components to just 1 of the filter boards too…

@pichenettes but the filter boards ARE CV-controlled, aren’t they? What I’m talking about it taking the CV voltages from one Sidekick control board, and connecting them also directly to the filter board on the other Sidekick, so that the controls on one control the filters on both. Or is this not feasible?


if you connect their grounds too

@toneburst: When you said “connecting the CV to the other sidekick”, I thought you meant another Sidekick board.

So the setup would be the following: sidekick board 1 > filter board 1, sidekick board 1 > filter board 2. And there’s not much you can do besides that (except add a 3rd filter board). Two control/sidekick boards cannot feed the same filter board.

But 1 SK > 2 filters should work?

Yes, of course.

Thats food for thought for a future project. But for now, me & my trusty soldering iron are taking a well earned break! I gotta start using some of this stuff I have made now :wink:

@pichenettes that’s what I thought (and had in mind). You have the advantage of two completely independent Sidekicks, with their own set of controls, or, if you want to, you can connect them together such that you have one set of controls controlling two filters, for stereo operation. Inevitable slight differences between the way the two filter boards were adjusted/tuned would create, hopefully, a nice stereo effect.


This could be achieved - with a bit of perfboard hacking - by using a bunch of SPDT switches (or a CD4053) to route the CVs from the two sidekick boards to filter board #2. With the switch in one position, filter board #2 is controlled by sidekick #2 ; with the switch in the other position, filter board #2 is controlled by sidekick #1.

@pichenettes That sounds good :slight_smile:
What do you think, skip? I think having the flexibility to have two completely independent Sidekicks + the stereo option might be the way to go, unless deskspace is really at a premium.

The other slight downside over a dedicated stereo solution in a single box would be that you’d still need 2 power-supplies.


pichenettes, I’m not an expert in electronics. It’s been ages since I’ve soldered anything except connectors to wires, when making my own ones, so please excuse my ignorance. :smiley: I’m very much willing to learn though and I am interested in building my own music gear. :slight_smile: If I could make it work with normal pots, then all the better.

toneburst, your idea is actually very good. I would likely house them in the same case though, preferably with a switch (or maybe individual switches), which would allow me to link/unlink the controls (individually if I had separate switches). I’d like to get by with a single power supply though, if possible.

The SMR4 board has pads with +/- 5V and ground, so you can build one SMR4 board fully (with power supply), and a second board without the power supply ; and then link them at these pads.