New project: small, portable, self-contained square/digital/noise/logic synth! I'll be using mostly cmos logic chips to generate weird sounds and rhythms using square/pulse waves. this kind of synth is called a "Lunetta"
progress so far: got a small box to contain it; got a power jack, power switch, LED power indicator installed; small speaker with holes drilled for more sound; and an arduino for midi control and more square/logic generation
next up: LM386 power amp to power the speaker, then some square wave oscillators
logic/cmos synth update: while I wait for a shipment of LED's and hookup wire I'm working on the code for the #arduino . Planning to use it as a clocked binary noise generator, a gate sequencer, and maybe a VCO
Incorporating an #arduino into my new synth. One of the features that I got working (yay!!) is a random 16 step gate sequencer. The arduino listens for a clock pulse (like a square wave) and on each pulse it plays a step of the gate sequence (on or off). If you press a button, a new sequence is generated. The sound is quiet because I haven't built an amp for the speaker yet
Just a quick demo (not great sound) of my new small modular synth. My big modular is generating a sequence using a shift register and an R/2R ladder DAC, and that voltage is going into the small modular to modulate the pitch of a VCO. Also: some diode mixing, XOR mixing, dividers, and manipulating the "voltage sag" knob to lower how much voltage the entire synth is getting. I hope to do some better audio-quality videos soon
pro tip: if you add a "power sag" knob for your synthesizer, where you can change control how much power all the chips get (from full power to no power), be sure to remember that you did this if your synthesizer starts acting all weird. It's probably because you bumped the power sag pot (and the whole point of that is to make things weird!)
getting close to filling this box up! it's really becoming a rat's nest of wires inside. if I were more organized maybe I could avoid that.. but everything works so... 🤷
added 3 more chips yesterday (AND, OR, and a 4069 hex inverter), with 16 connections coming off the board and going to the panel. amazingly, everything worked the first time I powered it up. I think my soldering is improving!
At last, some sounds! Here's 20 minutes of different patches on my new synth. I'm still learning to play it, here are some sounds that aren't too difficult to create with it. I'm sure there are a billion more, just waiting to be discovered.
WARNING: LOUD AUDIO here's a patch on my new modular synthesizer. What I'm going for is something like listening to slowed down ethernet/network data played by 8-bit robots whose chips have been slightly overloaded with too much electricity
I've never heard anything quite like this, but if you have, please let me know!! I really want to hear more music like this
thinking of some names for my new synthesizer... something like "Interstellar Boolean Logic Exploration Device" (IB-LED). I also keep thinking of the phrase "Not east coast or west coast synthesis, more like Data Coast™
almost done with the main circuits! around 90 patch points, maybe 15 or so integrated circuits (chips), probably miles of wiring, added a handle salvaged from another old box, tons of LEDs. Once I finish the circuits, it will be time to paint it BRIGHT ORANGE
another patch on my new synth... getting closer to that "the matrix is self-destructing and the dot-matrix printers are rising up to take control" sound that I'm looking for
it's amazing to me how much the sound can change by turning a few knobs. In these sound clips I'm not patching anything, I'm only changing the speeds/frequencies of the different square waves. The magic of modular synthesis!!
@laemeur thank you very much for the kind words! my plan is to document all the modules and circuits I used (all of which are very simple, I don't think any of them use more than about 15 components total) so that others could build similar machines. honestly the hardest part for me is the soldering and wiring!
build update: added a few "bend" points (inspired by Bastl's "Bit Ranger" which is an inspiration to and very similar to my synth) where I can insert things like capacitors or diodes directly into the circuits to change the sound. also, I can get some more sounds from each oscillator without having a million more bolts. nearing the finish line on this!