books on analog synth circuit design?

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coolpizza
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books on analog synth circuit design?

Post by coolpizza » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:03 pm

i'm looking for a book on analog synth circuit design and construction. I can't find reviews of the one's on amazon ANYWHERE, and most of them are $50+ and I don't want to spend that much on a less-than-perfect book

Has anyone read a book they can recommend? or have a book they'd like to sell?

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Post by synth3tik » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:13 pm

You may want to look at electronic circuit design, and not synth circuit. There are may upon may books with designs and schematics available. Chances are though that you will find them in a electronics book.

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Re: books on analog synth circuit design?

Post by Yoozer » Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:43 pm

coolpizza wrote:i'm looking for a book on analog synth circuit design and construction.
Do you already know basic electronic circuits?
I can't find reviews of the one's on amazon ANYWHERE, and most of them are $50+ and I don't want to spend that much on a less-than-perfect book
But often they can be had secondhand, and age doesn't matter that much since the principles are well understood for several decades.

You might check http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/ though - as it'll cost nothing but your time :).
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Post by jupiter8 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:30 pm

An Analog Synthesizer for the 21st Century
http://www.magsmoke.com/thomas_henry_books.asp

I hear they're really easy to build designs and sound great. Have'nt built any so i can't vouch for that but heard demos and they sound awesome.

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Post by xpander » Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:06 pm

all good suggestions. analog synth circuits are used are common in electronic circuits outside the synth world, a good electronic circuit book (or linear/electronic circuit "cookbook") will teach you how to create and understand the basic circuits that comprise an analog synthesizer- and you'll get a greater appreciation for what's going on rather than the retarded misconceptions.

a couple things to note:
- building/designing your own analog synth will not save you any money, especially if your time is worth anything.
- decide if you want to make music or make synthesizers, because DIY synth design will eat up massive time.

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Post by nathanscribe » Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:14 pm

xpander wrote:a couple things to note:
- building/designing your own analog synth will not save you any money, especially if your time is worth anything.
- decide if you want to make music or make synthesizers, because DIY synth design will eat up massive time.
I wish you'd told me this fifteen years ago.

:lol:

It's extremely satisfying though. If you have the patience and the resources, I highly recommend it. Let us know what you blow up first - my first and only proper smoker so far was a 741 in a botched filter. Cracked in two and emitted black nasty clouds. Lovely.

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Post by coolpizza » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:40 am

xpander wrote:... a good electronic circuit book (or linear/electronic circuit "cookbook") will teach you how to create and understand the basic circuits that comprise an analog synthesizer- and you'll get a greater appreciation for what's going on rather than the retarded misconceptions.

This is precisely what I'm looking for: an understanding of circuits and how to create them. I have considerable electronics experience (I've built a soundlab, I can tell you how a resistor works, and I can troubleshoot and fix my equipment), but I can't design my own circuit.

xpander wrote: - building/designing your own analog synth will not save you any money, especially if your time is worth anything.
I know
xpander wrote: - decide if you want to make music or make synthesizers, because DIY synth design will eat up massive time.
I want to make PERFECT tools for the music I make...it maybe insanely time consuming, but it's necessitated by my creative impulse

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Post by neandrewthal » Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:39 am

xpander wrote:
a couple things to note:
- building/designing your own analog synth will not save you any money, especially if your time is worth anything.
Saving money all depends on how much DIY you do and what parts you use. If you buy complete parts kits or use fancy Schaeffer panels you won't save much. If you source all your own parts and make your own front panels you can save a great deal. I've spent over $1000 on parts in the last week, but when I am done with them, I'll have something that would have cost at least 3 times as much if bought new. Also, people who know enough (I wish I was one of them) are able to make just about any old parts work for them. It's possible to build synths entirely from scrap if you know how to make proper substitutions and modify the circuits to accommodate what you have on hand.

As for time, the time is money thing doesn't really work for me. Unless you are refusing overtime hours at your job just so you can go home and build, the time you spend on synths is not costing you anything, and if you enjoy it (like I do) then it's quite the opposite.
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Post by xpander » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:06 am

neandrewthal wrote:Saving money all depends on how much DIY you do and what parts you use.
yep. won't save money though.
neandrewthal wrote:As for time, the time is money thing doesn't really work for me.
it works for me and is a pretty standard warning from anyone who knows the real hours it takes to build a usable synth from the ground up especially if you're starting from a book. think about the time it takes just to figure out what make/model of oscilloscope, adjustable power supply, multimeter and soldering iron to buy. and then you get to breadboarding, figuring out which suppliers to use, what parts you need, which circuits to try, and then start hitting up DIY boards/lists to get advice when things don't work the way they should or to figure out what stray capacitance is or why your circuit is noise-y, unstable.... figure how many nights will be spent figuring out whether or not you should have a panel fabricated and screened or use stock parts. what kind of cabinet, keyboard, etc. oh, and then you realize that you need to build dedicated power supplies once you move from the breadboarding phase.
coolpizza wrote:This is precisely what I'm looking for: an understanding of circuits and how to create them. I have considerable electronics experience (I've built a soundlab, I can tell you how a resistor works, and I can troubleshoot and fix my equipment), but I can't design my own circuit.
that's good- and you of course have a lot of learning ahead of you. go to a good book store or library and find a good "intro to electronic circuits"-type book, it is a HUGE field and there are many books on the subject. once you learn the basics- and there are a lot of basics to learn- you can start looking at online DIY synth schematics and figuring out what's going on. soon you will be ready to buy the ancient 4th edition of the Radiotron Designer's Manual, a revered book on both the dark arts and witchcraft.
coolpizza wrote:I want to make PERFECT tools for the music I make...it maybe insanely time consuming, but it's necessitated by my creative impulse
cool! i suggest defining exactly what you want before you get bogged down with the how-to then augment & change as you learn. it's not for the faint of heart, but realizing your perfect synthesizer has got to be a rewarding experience.

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Post by mistercooper » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:46 am

You might want to try and get your hands on an electronotes collection.
m-audio Radium 61, Korg Kontrol49,
Nord Modular rack, ER-1
Soundlab
CS-50
Custom built modular w/ ~30 modules
TX-216, VSS-100, PSR-470
Ableton Live, Reason, Cubase, plugs

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Post by th0mas » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:21 pm

neandrewthal wrote:
xpander wrote:
a couple things to note:
- building/designing your own analog synth will not save you any money, especially if your time is worth anything.
Saving money all depends on how much DIY you do and what parts you use. If you buy complete parts kits or use fancy Schaeffer panels you won't save much. If you source all your own parts and make your own front panels you can save a great deal. I've spent over $1000 on parts in the last week, but when I am done with them, I'll have something that would have cost at least 3 times as much if bought new. Also, people who know enough (I wish I was one of them) are able to make just about any old parts work for them. It's possible to build synths entirely from scrap if you know how to make proper substitutions and modify the circuits to accommodate what you have on hand.

As for time, the time is money thing doesn't really work for me. Unless you are refusing overtime hours at your job just so you can go home and build, the time you spend on synths is not costing you anything, and if you enjoy it (like I do) then it's quite the opposite.
Man, if I still lived in your city I would be your best friend. :D

+1 on the comment as well.. A lot of the cost comes not from the discrete components but the panels, potentiometers, etc. If you watch on ebay you can get some lots from chinese factories at the price of about 1$/ea for nice metal pots or switches. A year or so ago I bought a few lots and it's saving me tons now not having to shell out $2-$3 per pot every time I want to build something.

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Post by eucarya » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:51 pm

May be a bit too introductory but Handmade Electronic Music by Nicolas Collins is a great primer. You can use alot of the projects in the book (such as the simple oscillators) as starters for your own more complex instruments or experiments.

Additionally I'd suggest something like a Paia Fatman as a simple synth kit that in conjunction with reading and research might give you a better understanding of how circuits work.

I'm only speaking from where I'm planning to start, as I have a very rudimentary (but slowly growing ;)) knowledge of circuits. I started the oscillator breadboard project in HEM and was already sparking off ideas on how to incorporate something that simple into a usable instrument...

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