Simple modular DIY
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.