Analog Synthesizer Project

Modular Synth

Super excited about a new project I’m undertaking: Building a modular analog synthesizer. It has nothing to do with robotics or microcontrollers – or at least at present it doesn’t. 🙂

Each year when the Holidays roll around I’m always itching for a project to do for the long winter nights. Last year I had an old robot arm kit from years ago that I decide to get working again and that started the whole robotics kick once I discovered the Arduino.

This time around I had an idea of what I wanted to do as much earlier in the year I attended a meeting where someone demonstrated an old-school modular analog synthesizer they had built themselves, module by module. He used patch cords to interconnect the modules in whatever configuration he desired. The demonstration was ridiculously fun, engaging and produced an amazing variety of sounds. I immediately knew it was something I wanted to try at some point.

So last week I finally searched Amazon for a suitable book on building synths and found Make: Analog Synthesizers by Ray Wilson:

Analog Synthesizers

Got the Kindle version and it’s probably the best $10 I’ve spent in a long while. The book is aimed at the beginner to intermediate hobbyist and shows how to build a relatively simple “Noise Toaster” project. There is also a ton of information about the various components and circuits used in synths that is invaluable for a newbie like me.

But the best thing about this book is its author, Ray Wilson. Ray has been doing “synth-DIY” for many many years and has created an impressive website, Music From Outer Space, where he shares all his designs and projects. It’s on his site that I found the perfect project for the Holidays: The Synth-DIY Experimenter Board. This is a very scaled down version of what I had seen demoed earlier in the year. Perfect.

Here is a video, in two parts, where Ray demonstrates the board in action.

Part 1:

Part 2:

This will be quite a demanding project as I’m going to have to build pretty much everything from scratch.

I don’t have to design any circuits and Ray provides PCBs for all his projects, which I have purchased, but I will have to source all the components, design and build a front panel and enclosure, solder and wire everything, and hopefully not have to trouble shoot too much.

Still, I’m super excited. Will be posting about the build as it progresses.


I managed to track down the person who did the demo, Charlie Slick. He has a blog called Sagittronics

And here is a video of his synth in action:


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