Modular Synth: Week One

A modular synthesizer in classic design, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 RAETHIER

Well, crazy as I am, I decided to build a modular synthesizer. The question is: WHY?

Well, if you go out into a store and say: “Gimmez Modular Synthesizerz!”, vendor sayz: “Gimmez big $$$$”. Yes, modular synth modules aren’t that expensive, but they aren’t cheap, either. For a small modular synth, I can easily pay 2k€.

So DIY is the way to go. But it’s not only the cost, it’s also the things I will learn about analog synthesis and the electronics behind. I decided to go with the modules from Yves (yusynth.net) because there are many modules, and even multiple versions of the modules with easily obtainable parts.

I haven’t decided on which module format I will use; I believe I will most probably use MOTM (+-15V, 8.75″ Module Height), simply because yusynth also uses them. And Yves also got plans to easily build a case.

I already have the parts for the following modules:

  • ADSR-2
  • 2x VCO
  • 1x VCA
  • 1x Steiner VCF
  • 1x LFO-1
  • 1x ARP4072
Next step will be etching of the PCBs, and putting the parts together. Front panels and case will follow after all modules are done and tested.

In contrast to most modular synthesizers, I don’t like their old-school look. So I already ordered 700 of nice-looking knobs (they were cheap and very good quality), and I plan to cut the panels either with the RaumZeitLabor FaZzZ0r or via an external supplier. I’ll not reveal many details yet, stay tuned :)

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