Simple synth DIY
This page is intended to be a format-agnostic (can be built for Eurorack, 4U, 5U etc.) list of simple but useful electronic music projects.
If you're new to DIY electronics, please read the synthesizer do it yourself page first.
For more complex all-in-one synthesizer projects, see Category:Projects.
synthesizer modules are defined and differentiates from components such as amplifiers, oscillators, filters, etc. by having voltage control.
Entry level projects
Designed more for simplicity than high performance. Good enough to get an introduction to some basic principles of Synth DIY. Using just a handful of components and easily built on stripboard or perfboard.
Passive circuits don't require powering.
- CGS real ring modulator and CGS real ring modem -
- Moog passive filters -
- Passive mult - Probably the easiest module to possibly build, all you need is some jacks, some wire, and a soldering iron. This module allows you to split a signal to be sent to multiple destinations. Passive mults are not suitable for V/octave CV control, because the voltage may drop when split, due to varying impedances in the destinations
- Vactrol VCF - This can do interesting things right away unlike a VCO which doesn't do much interesting on it's own.
Active circuits need some Volts for power.
- Atari Punk Console - one of the simplest audio-generating circuits. There are CV-controllable versions available, however,they do not track voltage, and so are not suitable as melodic voices.
- Baby 10 sequencer -
- LMNC simple EG - a very cut down envelope generator
- LMNC simple-filter - a simplified MS20 LPF
- Tim Escobedo's Q&D VCF
- ^ Vladimir Ussachevsky: A Bio-bibliography by Ralph Hartsock, Carl John Rahkonen, Greenwood Press, 2000, ISBN 0313298521
- Electronic Synthesiser Construction by R.A. Penfold, Bernard Babani, 1986, ISBN 0-85934-159-3 - Typical Babani pocket-book. It contains details for making a basic synthesizer with the usual VCO-VCA-VCF voice, including an ADSR envelope generator, and several simple sequencer circuits. Online at E-Music DIY Archive.
- Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking by Nicolas Collins, Routledge, 2009, ISBN 0-415-99873-5. A guide to the lowest tech electronic music possible; circuit-bending existing toys, moving on to building simple oscillators, filters, amplifiers using CMOS circuits. Simple, inspiring projects that work and will get you started in music DIY.
- Make: Analog Synthesizers by Ray Wilson, Maker Media Inc., 2013, ISBN 1-4493-4522-0 - easy to read, contains a lot of practical advice about soldering and construction. A more accurate title would be How to build the MFOS Noise Toaster.
- Kristian Blåsol's Modular In A Week (MIAW), YouTube
- Peter Edwards' Casperelectronics website and Casper Electronics DIY synth building YouTube channel.
- Sam Battle's Look Mum No Computer website and Look Mum No Computer on YouTube.
- Chris Beckstrom's Getting Started in Synth DIY: First Steps
- Easy beginner kits!, Synth Diy Guy, YouTube
- The layout factory, stripboard layouts of modules, electro-music.com forum
- stripboard compendium, Mod Wiggler Forum, Sep. 2012
General sources of schematics and layouts
- The layout factory at Electro-music.com has hundreds of strip-board layouts for various modules. The Schematics Vault also lists lots of schematics in one thread.
Kits, PCBs and panels
- Barton Musical Circuits - slightly more advanced projects.
This page has been split to Passive mult on 3 July 2019. The history of this page serves as the attribution history for the contents of that page, before then.
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