emSynth Miniature Modular Music Synthesizer

Inexpensive Miniature Synthesizer

Today's low cost miniature circuitry has broken the rules in the synthesizer game and emSynth is here to give you all the advantages!  Based on a new Arduino microprocessor, each emSynth board can be a synth in itself and in small groups they offer tremendous musical possibilities.  Everyone - from new synth beginners to big iron weilding old timers will enjoy emSynth's miniaturization, low cost, and surprising audio dexterity.

The old phenomenon of wealthy purists financing wall-sized investments in sound has enjoyed an immense resurgence in popularity in recent years, but who has ten grand for a synth these days?  Not me and probably not you either, so most of us go with software or we have a small subset of techies who build custom circuits.  These are good options, yet so many of us dream of plugging wires into modules to make our sound just like in the old days.

Well, now we can do that - with "little iron" - AKA emSynth.  You can have your oscillators, sequencers, filters, and even the newer zany whatchamacallits all in miniature form; you just have to dream it up and program it into the microprocessors of your emSynth system, wire them up together however you like on your breadboard(s), and play that music.  I know its corny but its true as well - you are only limited by your imagination!

Available Immediately!

The long awaited emSynth generation 3 modules are available and have a stock of parts to build board.  sThe first 200 circuit boards have arrived and the early adopter customers have received or will soon receive their orders.   We are offering individual boards for a price of $20 and six for $100 with a $20 shipping and handling fee.  Note that one half-sized breadboard can hold up to six emSynth boards.  See below for ordering information and please note that programming is necessary for these boards.

About Shipping and Handling

Actually "handling" is free - I never understood why companies charged for "handling".  As the late great Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes comedian extraordinaire once commented:  "How much does it cost if you don't handle it?"  haha.  But shipping costs are another matter I've put a $10 fixed cost on shipping for continental USA orders.  For international orders, I have not yet quite figured out how to automate the process, so please send an email to emSynth@gmail.com telling me your location and I'll be happy to estimate the shipping myself and send you a PayPal invoice to your email.  That's the temorary solution for international orders, everyone else just pays ten bucks.  Deal?  Deal!  :)


Please note that you will need a programmer to upload your custom code to the ATtiny85 chips that populate the emSynth boards.  You can buy one from Sparkfun.com for $19.95 plus shipping or you can use an Arduino board and a breadboard or another programmer.  The Sparkfun board is here.

One Unit:  $20

emSynth boards contain an Arduino programmed chip that can be a working synthesizer in and of itself, so you really only need one board to get going with the main functionality.  Just click on the button shown here to order a mere single board for test purposes (though we know you'll want more soon).  Please note that you can adjust the quantity to be whatever you like, however any orders of five units or more should be made with the Six Units: $100 discount shown below.  Confusing?  Yes I am!  Well, I try to be clear as mud anyway.  .

Six Units:  $100

Get one free unit by buying half a dozen at a discount price!  Since you can create a mini-synth with just one emSynth board, imagine what you can do with six of them.  You could, for example, use one as a controller and the other five as noisemakers with one of those five being the output driver.  Or you could program six identical boards that all interact like the spokes of a wheel in a loop.  With emSynth you are only limited by your creativity, and music hobbyists do tend to be rather creative, don't we?

Shipping and Handling

The shipping and handling charge helps ensure that your order to the continental United States is tracked and traceable with our support guaranteed.  For international orders please see the shipping cost estimator and add $10 for handling.


the fearless leader and founder of electro-music.com, mosc, has graciously provided us with a forum.  This will be a significantly useful resource for emSynth users, allowing us to get help from our peers, share our work, and also enjoy the work of others.

Chat Room

I propose we use the electro-music.com chatroom for chatting about emSyuth.


Coming soon:  daughtercards!  You might be wondering about circuit density - with eight pins on emSynth boards, am I really saving a lot of space here?  Yes!  Because each board has a piggyback connector for holding daughtercards that will perform functions like audio I/O, potentiometer, switch, LEDs, speaker, power input, and the like.  Your purchase today helps finance the arrival of new emSynth daughtercards that  you will enjoy immensely!

The Chiclette

Also coming soon is a dedicated emSynth processor board with a four-bit R2R ladder and a power supply decoupling cap and that's it!  It will have two analog inputs and one analog output and will use only five pins for the best compromise of circuit density vs flexible use.  Due to its smaller size and simplicity, the Chiclette will hopefully be a little bit lower in cost while also offering improved circuit density.  You'll want a handful of Chiclettes!

Our "Romantic" Series

For those with romantic hearts, the alternative line of emSynth boards as described in the Generation Two web page will gradually become available as well.  These will be dedicated circuit boards that perform functions such as oscillators, filters, audio I/O, VCOs, sum/difference, spacialization, and on and on.  You will enjoy true analog and digital mixed-mode sound albeit lower in quality than an expensive wall-sized modular yet with its own characteristic goodness!  Romantic boards will become available based on customer demand.

Please see the Generation Two webpage for a historic view of the first attempt from 2012 at the Romantic series.

Software and Documentation

So you're all excited about your inexpensive programmable emSynth modular system and you're eager to make some sounds right away!  Well for most of us that means doing a little programming of the emSynth chips.  To do this, we must first read up a bit on some docs here on the emSynth site that I've written to give you a healthy head start in that direction.  Also you can download code from our software repository.

 emSynth Song (in progress)

 Alien Enemy is the name of this song which I wrote the lyrics to this morning.  It is rather disturbing so read them at hour own risk.  I will be creating music for Alien Enemy with emSynth boards soon.

 emSynth Videos

The first emSynth Generation 3 video is out, and here it is!

Below you see a video that I created to show the type of thing possible with just a strictly digital synthesizer - all the more so with the Generation 3 programmable boards!

















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