From: et472@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Michael Black)
Subject: Re: Building Analog Synths
Date: 8 Dec 2002 16:23:55 GMT
Organization: The National Capital FreeNet
Reply-To: et472@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Michael Black)
NNTP-Posting-Date: 8 Dec 2002 16:23:55 GMT
X-Given-Sender: email@example.com (Michael Black)
"Richie086" (Richie086@hotmail.com) writes:
> can anyone here point me towards a website or bookstore that has information
> on how to build or what goes into building analog synthisisers (sp)
> I've been going to school for electronics for about 1 1/2 yrs so i know all
> the basics of electronics, but when i look for resources on this subject ive
> come up short.. i've been opening up old synths (not tinkering with
> anything tho on the off chance of messing it up) just to see how everything
> works and i have the basic idea..
> any help is appriciated!
You're not likely to find much recent material, since analog synthesizer
techniques were bulky and more useable for studio work than live performance.
Once digital was affordable, it pretty much all moved over to that.
So what you need to be looking for is older material, 20 to 30 years old.
Back then, there was plenty of material about making synthesizers, which
just happened to be analog. There were plenty of magazine articles. Don
Lancaster wrote quite a few introductory articles for Popular Electronics
in '74 and '75. A lot of PAIA designs showed up in Radio Electronics,
including their early modular synthesizer. There was a whole newsletter,
Electronotes, out of Syracuse, NY, about theory and building of synthesizers.
Tab Books published quite a few books analog music synthesis, including
circuits (many reprinted from magazine articles).
Of course, specific dates would require looking them up, and at this point
finding such things may be difficult, but that is the best source of material,
since it dates from a time when people were using it and interested in it,
so the descriptions may be more detailed, and there were construction
If you need to find websites, then do a websearch. Likely it will be
easy to find some sites, since there apparently is still some interest
in analog synthesizers, though a relatively small interest. Such sites
are likely to be the places to find detailed bibliographies, and legal
or not, maybe copies of the articles.
Check your libraries to see if they have any books. If you're lucky,
they had some twenty years ago, and they still have them on the shelves.
Most of the circuitry in an analog synthesizer is not unique. Once you
understand the basics (a voltage controlled oscillator, that can put out
various waveforms, a voltage controlled amplifier, an envelope generator
to control the attack and decay via the VCA, some sort of filtering, and
maybe sundry low frequency oscillators. Oh, and some sort of circuit
to take the keys and put it into a form to control the VCO) and see
how sounds work, then it's relatively easy to dig out circuits that will
do the work, since the same circuits would see useage in plenty of