This page is just some lists and explanations of Synthesizer parts for
people inexperienced with Analog and Electronics
What you need is somewhat outlined on this page; but it is really just
a quick checklist.
a "Baseline" stripped down synth has
envelope generator:this controls the way a note changes as it is sounded.
It can control volume and the sound of the filter at the same time.
Filter: VCF: voltage controlled filter. A fancy automated tone control.
Oscillator: VCO: voltage controlled oscillator:Very simply a noise maker
that has a tuned pitch, like any musical melody instrument. It is the
main source of sound.
Vca:Voltage Controled Amplifier: Like an automated volume knob. It isn't
exactly an amplifier.
Power Supply: Usually a synth has a power supply and a wall mount adapter,
but I will limit this project to a wall mount supply
To get these you need to put together
Op amps: an integrated circuit for any audio application
Transistors: The basic thing in any complex electronic thing. (solid state
at least, there were "pre transistor" electronics)
Capacitors: Good stuff, hard to explain
Resistors: Limits current and can lower voltages to the right level
Trimmers: Variable resistors, in this case small ones inside a device
(diodes are also common, as are other integrated circuits)
You can stick them in:
A PCB: a circuit board: those tan or green flat things with components,
wires and microchips ect. or
A prototype socket board: just press the wires and chips into the right
place and wow
This is usually not a good permanent circuit.
Then you can put that in a box,
or a rack mount case
or a floor pedal
or a tin can ect.
But it needs to connect with the outside world with
Pots: It's a variable resistor with a large knob, like on any other synth.
Short for potentiometer. (don't try it)
Switches: Turn functions or whole unit on/off
Jacks: For many different things, but you need one at least to plug into
headphones mixers or guitar amps.
Light sensor: senses light, but not color
and many others
Wire cutters good ones $15 or so
Needle nose players
Soldering Iron, I recommend spending $15 or so
Solder sucking iron : actually necessary, you will make an error or two
The all purpose Pcb $4 to $20
Reading schematics is important, and it's very straightforward. I learned
from a 200 in 1 electronics kit.
Look at the reading schematics link here http://arts.ucsc.edu/EMS/Music/courses/126.html
If you are soldering you need detailed instructions on that, sometimes
it can be found in the soldering irons package.
The basic project is still not worked out yet.
CV and Gate are the basic controls a keyboard or sequencer uses to effect
a synth, all MIDI/CV converters seem to use this same style. This block
diagram may be confusing at first, but you will get it in time. This is
only the sound generating parts of the synth, I will go over keyboards
and sequencer control later.
Audio is the actual sound, starting at
the VCO, it is changed by the VCF and made quieter by the VCA (amplifier
is quite misleading)
CV is a type of control that acts instantly to accurately adjust
or sweep filter volume or pitch.
VCF, VCO, and VCAs have a knob to adjust the control
voltage as well, I'll show those farther down. If you don't understand any
of this you can still build the circuit. Troubleshooting when it doesn't
work becomes the problem when you don't have a firm grasp on electronics
or modular style synth experience. If you work with MIDI, cv and gate are
the same as "note on/ off" and "key number" transmitted to keyboard or computer.
This CV stuff is just the original way of working with keyboards and
sequencers that hook up to each other. This method dates back before midi
and even computers.
This VCO is accurate to tuning except the temperature
problem. This means within a certain range it will be 1 volt per octave
and sometimes need adjustment. Filter and amp are the same but remember
it is pretty minor. This is supposed to be easy and I'm trying to simplify.
Lets get familiarized with diagrams and schematics. This is a representation
of an actual working circuit. The symbols represent real parts and the lines
are wires and parts of the pcb that connect
them. Regardless of what this does just think about the aspects you understand.
The in is an audio input, the out an audio output. The 1/4 TL074 IC is the
same as most op amps, including the 741 op amp. If you have no idea how
to read a schematic learning is just a matter of knowing what the
symbols mean and being familiar with electronics.
SYNTH PAGES :>
These are the analog synth pages. Analog synthesizers are a great hobby
and there are many aspects to it. These pages are intended for anyone
interested in building, modifying, resotoring, or using them. It also
has some explainations of analog effects such as those used for guitars.