Menu de Secreciones


Oh hey, check it out – it’s VF’s third official foray into the world of synthesizer modules, not to mention enigmatic nomenclature that’s undoubtedly based on some obscure pun in Spanish that only three or so other people are even aware of. In this case, we welcome the Menu de Secreciones, which in English, roughly translates to “Secretion Menu” – I’ll give you a moment to involuntarily shudder and will also include this warning – if you’re so inclined to find the origin of this pun, please do not Google the name of this module – as we’ve yet to claim a decent foothold of the web over said phrase, you’re apt to see some things that most people would probably prefer not to see, especially at work or around children. The key words here are “Menu” and “Secretion,” after all. Yuck.

However, just to make sure y’all know that those at the house aren’t that kind of sicko, here’s the root of the pun – for a good 8 or so year’s I’ve been goofing around with delay circuits – but not for delays, mind you – there’s far too many of those things in existence. No sir – I’ve been more about exploring the potential of a certain karaoke chip in ways it ought not to be used, largely manifested as a series of vibrato and pitch bend devices that’ve ended up under the employ of several close friends, relations and those in the know enough to ask. And, seeing as my roots are somewhat entrenched on the left coast of this here United States, there’s a certain formerly-cool hamburger restaurant that prided itself on its “secret menu” – see what I’m getting at here? To take a deeper dive into the etymological roots of this module’s name to save your poor eyes from processing various fluids and discharges in an office environment, for a good time in my foray into the whole electronics world, I’ve tried to maintain an inventory of stock designs, but ultimately found myself continually doing custom work since since it helped pay the bills and hustlers gotta hustle – and over time, these custom builds started getting a bit of a reputation to the point where I’d get requests for things inspired by previous custom things – some of which made it into production, micro-runs, or just floated around on the “secret menu, where if you were cool enough to ask, you might possibly receive.

But what about this module? Thanks for asking. So yes, it’s a delay based on a certain karaoke chip, as is the way of all “boutique” builders. And in that light, it shares several similarities with others of its ilk. Some are much more expensive, others a lot cheaper and some may even be the cheap ones repackaged into a fancy wooden box and sold for 10 times the price of the cheap one (which I assure is not the case here). If you prefer any of those, to each their own, go get ’em tigers. Truth be told, most of these hardly vary from the datasheet provided by the company that manufactures the chip. This one kind of does, though. I mean, yeah, you can get the whole echo thing, but you can also push it into overclocked territory for full-on fidelity breakdown. And yes, some other devices also do that, so wait, there’s more! There’s also an LFO built into this critter so you can control the delay time to this thingy-thingy by way of the power of blinking lights and varied waveforms. Again, that’s standard delay magic, but in this case, I’ve erred on the side of the extreme because that’s what I do and said LFO swings w-i-d-e. This is no mere warble, if you pardon my French, shit get’s weird, especially when the waveform begins to get funky. Speaking of – unlike previous VF boxes, this one actually has voltage control! I mean, kind of – there’s really no calibration or volt-per-octave silliness here – just a kind of funky “choose your own adventure and overwrite the internal LFO oscillator with whatever makes a signal” type dealy. Meaning you can clock some wacky with a gate, or send in some sort of strange waveform, or maybe an audio signal or what have you and the light in he center will dance accordingly. All said, things get saucy but quick. And again, yes, there are other delays out there that do the CV thing over all the parameters, but this one’s mine. I like it and think it sounds pretty good. Hopefully, if you’ve made it this far into my diatribe, there may be some convincing bullet points for you to mull over as well. Apologies for this in advance, but for those who appreciate a cheesy closer, here it is: while this circuit may not be on our secret menu any longer, we can only hope it’ll secrete itself into your setup and maybe your heart.

I’m so sorry I ever wrote that. Anyways, here’s the details:

Business Stuff

Price for this guy is $199, which includes shipping and handling (whatever handling actually is). Sorry for the higher-than usual price point, but trying to rock this whole indie builder thing in a pandemic/supply-chain/inflation/war thing is pretty nuts. I’m dedicated to keeping this venture going, but until the dust clears and those in a position to profit over human misery have been brought to knee, such is the new normal. However, please keep in mind that each one of these is lovingly built by hand and while we’ve spared no expense on quality, we have spared expenses on marketing, packaging, merchandising and other general business necessities. In other words, don’t expect a neat box with a glossy zine promoting other products or an interactive DVD where you can compare models, etc. We went this way intentionally in order to provide you, the public, with an affordable, quality module without up-selling you on the fluff. What can I say, we’re practical weirdos who stand behind an honest product and would rather not subject you to a sales pitch. Why? Because after over two decades of being firmly entrenched in the world of diy experimental music, its all we know. Maybe one day this will change, but until that watershed moment, we’re still here to offer you honest gear at an honest price and write about our singular endeavors in the collective third person.

If you decide to take the plunge, we ship priority mail from Ithaca, New York, typically from the mail room of a large research institution that dominated the general economy of said town, for anyone really into specifics. In the case of international orders, we’ll do whatever we can to get it to you in a reasonable amount of time with tracking attached – but kindly remember that this decade is currently defaulting to perpetual toxic weirdness, so patience is probably a good thing to muster. Also, if you happen to be in one of those countries whose government is currently engaged in armed conflict with my government, both openly or by proxy, feel free to reach out for a diy option if you prefer. While some people might disagree, I’m fairly convinced that the international/experimental music community isn’t the cause of any of our contemporary planetary issues and maybe, just maybe our small acts of global community might possibly help negate the actions of various elected and unelected officials with a predilection for human rights violations and nature hikes into other sovereign entities and whatnot. What can I say, I’m an optimist in some regard or something.

Oh right – here’s the current link to our online store on the interweb. One day it would be wonderful to be all like “here’s our ever-expansive list of distributors,” but in the meantime, we’re just a cottage industry trying to make a ripple in the waters of big synth.


Additional Info

  • Power is provided by the usual ribbon cable (included) – red stripe down into the shrouded header. Power draw is fairly minimal – probably less than 100 ma, and only on the positive side of the cable.
  • As with all audio electronics that have exposed circuitry, I am in no way am responsible for electrocution, injury, loss of life, etc. due to misuse of this product, act of angry deity, etc. I trust that you’ll do the right thing in the end and not do something foolish like lick this or perform in the bathtub or something, but hey, gotta cover my backside.
  • Depth is minimal – like maybe 16 mm or so. In other words, “skiff friendly.”
  • Width is 10 hp. Not too big, not too small.
  • Finally, as with all our products, this one comes with our usual blanket, all-encompassing, non-expiring, totally transferrable “if we can fix it, we will” guarantee. I build solid and stand behind my wares, but in the event that something happens, I’d like to think I have your back. Just don’t do something asinine like melt it into a block of styrofoam or douse it in lucite. That might complicate things. Just frame that one and put it on your wall. Whatever you did, the story is worth more than the object.
  • Finally finally, if any questions come up, please feel free to get in touch. We’re people persons – honest!

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