Build Your Own Analog Synthesizer

Course Overview:

Learning to synthesize sounds means you can create either real-world sounds, for example of a trumpet, or make a new sound that sounds like it's coming from outer space.

At its core, it's all about taking one or more waveforms and shaping them to create the sound you want.

In this course, you'll learn simple circuits to get started building your own analog synthesizers. You'll learn about circuits to create different waveforms, circuits that shape the sound (VCA), and a simple way to play sequences of this sound (a sequencer).

After finishing this course, you'll have a sequencer that plays a rhythm out of a sound that you've created and shaped. You will also know how the circuits work and how to tweak them to be able to create and invent new sounds on your own.

Prerequisites

To make the most out of this course and be able to both do the practical experiments and understand the circuits you'll build, it's recommended that you've gone through all the steps in the roadmap Improve Your Basic Electronics Skills first.

But if you're already comfortable building circuits on a breadboard, and you have a good understanding of the basics of current, voltage, and the basic components - feel free to jump right in!

Equipment You Need

  • An audio amplifier: For example, PC Speakers or you can build one yourself
  • Soldering Iron
  • Clippers

Components

  • 3 x Breadboards (Or one very large breadboard)
  • Lots of long and short breadboard Wires
  • 9V Battery
  • Battery Connector
  • Male Mini-Jack Connector
  • Speaker Element
  • 2 x CD40106 Schmitt Trigger Inverter (74C14 will also work)
  • 1 x CD4017 Decade Counter
  • 1 x TL072 Opamp (others opamps will work too)
  • 1 x Potentiometer (100 kΩ)
  • 2 x Resistor (1 kΩ)
  • 2 x Resistor (10 kΩ)
  • 1 x Resistor (100 kΩ)
  • 1 x Resistor (2.7 kΩ)
  • 3 x Capacitor (100 nF)
  • 1 x Capacitor (220 nF)
  • 1 x Capacitor (10 µF)
  • 2 x Small-signal diode (Ex: 1N4148 or 1N914)
  • 1 x NPN Transistor (ex 2N3904 or BC547)
  • 1 x 2-Pin Pushbutton
  • 3 x Green LEDs

If you're unsure about any of the components, go into each lesson marked "Experiment" to see images of the components used.

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