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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Developers' Corner
How to start
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NathanJ



Joined: Jan 19, 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Idaho, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:53 pm    Post subject:  How to start Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I recently started looking into making a synth. I want it to have most of the same functionality as a MiniMoog. the problem I have is that I do not know where to start. I know about oscillators and basic electrical components But there are lots of thing I have no clue about when it comes to this. If people could point me in the direction of good tutorials or guides that would be awesome thanks!

-nathanj
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Agent86



Joined: Jan 17, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: The Cone of Silence

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Are you sure you know what you're getting into??? Laughing

So, the first question I have to ask is, "why?" What is your goal? Do you just want the end product, or are you more interested in the process of learning and building? If you just want the sound, it will be *WAY* cheaper and easier to just buy something that already exists. On the other hand, if you want to learn and build, be warned, it will take over your life! Cool

OK, so if you're going to go through with it, how much of the work do you want to do yourself? Do you want to do everything from scratch, collecting the schematics and making the circuit boards yourself? Or do you want to buy pre-made circuit boards and search out the parts? Or would you prefer to buy a complete kit for each of the separate parts of the sound?

Stepping back for a moment, do you want to make a complete synth that includes the keyboard and the sound generator, or will it be alright to have a box with the sound generator and use something else to control it?
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NathanJ



Joined: Jan 19, 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Idaho, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I do know what I am getting into. I want to build it so I can say I have built a syth. I have soldering skills and have put together a few circuits. I would want to do it from scratch finding the schematics (or even designing them myself)! and the keyboard would be cool but not necessary at first (where would I get one? could I scrap it off of a broken casio?)

also buying some kits for modules or buying some of the stuff I would be fine with
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Agent86



Joined: Jan 17, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: The Cone of Silence

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

OK, cool, you want to build it yourself. Cool

So, I think the first thing to decide is what kind of format you want it in. Do you want to have a rack mount system or have it in a case that sits on your desktop? If you want a rack mount system, you can either make a full rack with case that contains everything, or you can go for one of the racks that holds individual modules. If you use a full rack chassis, you can mount a power supply and your voice modules in it, but you may run out of space. The modular racks are cool because you can expand them easily with more modules. If you fill up one row, then you just add another. Of course, if you go the modular rack way, you'll have to decide which format to use. There are a lot of variations, but the main ones are either 3U tall or 5U tall (a "U" is one rack space, 1.75"). If you go with 3U, you have small knobs and jacks and if you go for 5U, you get big knobs and jacks. If you choose 3U, then you'll have to decide whether you're going to use 12V Euro modules or 15V frac ones. With the 5U, you'll pretty much use 15V. Of course, if you're going to do everything yourself, you don't have to follow anybody else's designs... Wink

For a Mini-like design, you're going to need a VCO, a VCF, a VCA, and an ADSR (envelope) or two, plus you'll probably need some kind of MIDI-CV converter. Once you've got one or two of these things, you can start connecting them together and experimenting, then you'll start to see what else you'll want.

Check out the web sites and catalogs of as many analog modular systems as you can. The old Synthtech MOTM catalog used to have a nice section about which modules to choose. There are a lot of dedicated sections here in the DIY area of the E-M forum, you can find lots of designs here too.
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elmegil



Joined: Mar 20, 2012
Posts: 1524
Location: Chicago
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Or if you're building a modular yourself you could use 5U with medium sized knobs Wink

I use 3/4" instead of the standard 1" knobs on all my stuff except complete kits. I like to think of it as the bastard child of Euro styles and MOTM (5u) sizes. Very Happy
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bubzy



Joined: Oct 27, 2010
Posts: 558
Location: United Kingdom
Audio files: 63

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

RUN AWAY!!!!!
_________________
_Richard_ Smile
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Agent86



Joined: Jan 17, 2013
Posts: 4
Location: The Cone of Silence

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bubzy wrote:
RUN AWAY!!!!!

Why do you think I said:
I wrote:
be warned, it will take over your life!

LOL!
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brock



Joined: May 26, 2011
Posts: 96
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I kind of lean to the "run away!" sentiment too but I think you have the right idea of starting with something with a defined set of functions like the Minimoog. The problem with starting a modular synth is it's never finished...

I'd recommend looking at a complete synth board such as the ASM-2 http://www.elby-designs.com/contents/en-us/p737_ASM-2.html
or Ray Wilson's Sound Lab Mini-Synth or Sound Lab Mini-Synth Mark II http://www.musicfromouterspace.com

The great thing about these designs is that you can decide how much you want to do yourself. You can build straight from the schematics, or buy a board, buy parts kits, and panels are available for for the Sound Lab synths.

Check out both sites, they have lots of diy info, and of course there is an amazing amount of info about these synths on this forum too as a bunch of people have built them.
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Hedefar



Joined: Feb 07, 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Continuing brock's idea of building a synth from a kit:
I can recommend Mutable Instruments' Anushri: http://mutable-instruments.net/anushri

I built one of these a couple of weeks ago and really like it. You get a lot of functions at a decent price and the quality of the circuit boards, as well as their support and building instructions, is high.

The kits just got back in stock now. When they are sold out, they don't expect to get them again until May. Last time they went fast so I ordered my parts from 4 different places. It worked out but getting the kit would have been a bit cheaper and much, much easier.

And if you build a case for it yourself, you save some cash and get a chance to make it a bit more of your own design Wink

Here is a demo of the Anushri:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CicBnoXc28
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