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DIY Synth Building

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 8:53 pm
by SynthiChris
In advanced sorry Mods if this is in the wrong forum, I think this Is the best place?

Anyway, Im a sophmore in High School, and at my High School there is a project that last for years called your graduation project. The project is supposed to be on a topic that you would be intrested in college or further on. I've choosen Analog Audio Synthesis (Analog Subtractive), and I know a fair amount about VCOs, VCFs, VCAs, LFOs, Envelopes, Sequencers, Sample and Hold, Polyphony, Timbre, etc... But It has always been in the back of my mind to actually build my own synthesizer. And Hince the project requires a model or project that requires at least about 15 hours of work, I thought this would be a great Idea
Know keeping in mind that Im not a NASA Engineer, and Only know a fair amount about electronics, (I.e I can read Circuit Prints, built some stuff on my RadioShack Electronics Learning Lab) I want to keep the intensity at a simple amount. Im not talking about building a Synthi 100 or Moog Modular, just a simple box with a VCA, VCF, VCO, and like and Envelope. All the sites that I check are pretty intense... But I saw a sound lab from Music From Outer Space
Looked like pretty cool, but cost alot! Around $250 for me to buy the board, parts, case, soldering Iron, knobs, decals, and shipping... Not my cup of tea.
I thought about just building a VCO, VCA, and VCF... but I I dont know where to get PCB's? Im not the one to make my own, just kinda takes too long and the etchant, mistakes, etc...
Sorry for rambling on, just kinda need some resources, any help would be great!
Chris :)

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:24 am
by Huppo
I made the Minisynth from MFOS and the total cost of parts was about $100. That even included getting the PCB from MFOS. You can put it in any box you want and you dont need decals.

If the Minisynth is too large a project, check out their WSG or 'Weird Sound generator.' Pretty much covers what you're looking for with fewer parts and simpler assembly.

click here

Also check out PAIA's Fatman:

Might wanna poke around here too:

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:36 am
by SynthiChris

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:24 am
by nathanscribe
One thing to consider about DIY is that the components on the board cost very little - what adds up are all the pots, knobs, switches, case, and power supply. The size or number of circuits in a project don't necessarily add up to much, and it's easy to say "oh I'll have three envelopes, two LFOs, a couple of filters..." etc, and then find you need to spend a small fortune on the control panel. So fewer controls and the cheapest kind of enclosure you can find/make are two ways to accomodate a low budget.

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:04 pm
by Huppo
'Tis true. I housed my Minisynth in an old car/truck speaker box with a cutout for a 6x9" speaker. I cut a hole in the opposite side and left the speaker in there with the intent of putting in a small, battery powered amp to make the synth freestanding. The front panel was jsut a rectangle of sheet metal I got from a hardware store for a couple bucks and I drilled the holes myself. The knobs were indeed pricey compared to the few pennies most of the components cost.

When I made the WSG, I housed it in a hinged metal CD case I got for a buck at a dollar store. I just tore the Cd holder pages out.

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 10:12 am
by Altitude
+1 for the fatman, excellent documentation that will definitely teach you quite a bit and you can get an enclosure for it right from Paia

Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:02 pm
by Huppo
Pursuant to my post above, here are pics of my Soundlab Minisynth housed in a truck speaker enclosure. The controls aren't labeled yet, but you get the idea.


Re: DIY Synth Building

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:25 pm
by guesswho
What about an atari punk console?