Ray Wilson

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Ray Wilson (1956–2016) was influential in the synth DIY community. Many people got a start in the world of synth DIY due to him sharing his designs on his Music From Outer Space website.[1]


Education and how MFOS got started

Ray became interested in analog synthesizers in 1968 when he first heard Switched-On Bach by Wendy Carlos.[2]

First employed at a steel mill he bought sold and traded analog synthesizers, mainly Korgs, Mini-Moogs, and a variety of the patchable semi-modular Rolands. There he also went through an electronic repairman apprenticeship program. Supplementing the classroom training with breadboard experimentation, a Heathkit microprocessor trainer kit, and a great deal of reading and maths. Learning enough to spend the next fifteen years in the medical electronics industry.[2]

Together with a friend in the 1970s through into the early 1980s he sold electronics kits under the name Waveform Processing, advertised in Radio Electronics magazine. While keeping on researching, breadboarding and developing monophonic and polyphonic synths. Coming across the versatile Curtis Electromusic Specialties ICs designed by Doug Curtis.[2]

The Ray Wilson Sound Lab.

Then doing electronic design at Intec Systems and Siemens Pacesetter, his focus shifted to designing electronic test equipment and writing software. Until in 1994, he moved from California to Aurora, Colorado where his work became solely software development. The desire to work with electronics brought him back to synth-DIY, starting a website called Ray-Land to publish the circuits and PCB layouts that he was coming up with.[2]

Developing and publishing a simple, battery-powered mini-synthesizer, called the Sound Lab Mini-Synth for which he started selling PCBs, led in 2008[3] to the birth of his brand Music From Outer Space LLC aka MFOS. The information available on the MFOS website is respected by synth-DIYers the world over.[2]

On the 21st July 2016 Ray died of cancer.[1]

Not open source

Ray was happy to share his circuit designs and knowledge with hobbyists but did not give permission to mass or hand produce what he considered his intellectual property.[4][5] MFOS designs are now owned by synthCube.

Writings on electronic music

  • Make: Analog Synthesizers, Maker Media, 2013, ISBN 1449345220
  • The Sound Lab Mini-Synth Sound Synthesizer, Nuts & Volts, March 2006, p. 44, + Parts and PCB art, Nuts & Volts Magazine
  • WP-20 Mini-Synth kit construction and operation, 1980


  1. ^ a b RIP Ray Wilson, Matrixsynth, 23 July 2016
  2. ^ a b c d e Make: Analog Synthesizers by Ray Wilson, Maker Media Inc, 2013, ISBN 1-4493-4522-0
  3. ^ Music From Outer Space LLC, LinkedIn
  4. ^ "Making $Money$ With MFOS". Archived from the original on 2017-12-19. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  5. ^ Ray Wilson of “Music From Outer Space” On Do It Yourself Synthesizers, Synthbeat.com

External links