This guy took an ancient (1980 or so) paper-tape reader from a Heathkit computer and rewired it so it would control a simple oscillator bank made with 555 timer chips. Then he made punched tapes for it, by writing a QBASIC program. I’m afraid to ask how long it took him.
Courtesy of Make magazine: a MeeBlip synth, built into a vintage cookbook.
It isn’t quite a synth, but I reckon it is as good as the other “steam powered synth” out there.
Sorry about the background noise. Video is here:
Ken (from cgs synth)
Nick Collier has made a Flash animated version of his “Beast” synthesizer.
Try it–all you can make is glorious anarchy.
May I introduce, Hugh LeCaine.
First, watch this awesome video on the legendary Electronic Sackbut :
(sorry don’t know how to embed video here…)
As I troll around for Hammond Solavoxes and Novachords for my own projects, I must state here that THE ELECTRONIC SACKBUT WAS THE FIRST VOLTAGE CONTROLLED SYNTHESIZER, not some univox organ a dude is selling on ebay, despite what the ebay page claims. Although the novachord, clavioline, ondioline, trautonium, are all beautiful, LeCaine made a synthesizer with voltage control of things like filters, VCAs and pitch before 1950!!!
This technical touch of voltage control allowed the integration of all sorts of nuanced control of the instrument without the need to discretely switch components in the circuit or contrive complicated mechanical variable capacitors and inductors (as used on some other instruments of the time ie, martenot’s string).
Gotta love the look, too.
Visit http://www.hughlecaine.com/en/ to see the many more interesting and trippy sound machines invented by this nuclear physicist.
Like the “Spectrogram”, which often controlled the “Oscillator Bank”. Here’s a picture of a spectrogram tape that LeCaine used to synthesize bird chirps:
And, yes, this was all done with tubes – what would you use in 1945?
He apparently pulled the voice board out of a perfectly good Moog Voyager,
installed it in a Modularworld case, and wired it up like a modular.
Am I missing something here?
well I stole this from Synthtopia but this site is overdue for a newpost
The work of Moritz Wolpert. More here.
First, Russian DIYer Dmitry Morozov, better known as vtol, has a website full of his colorful instruments. Nice panel art! He apparently makes limited issues of some of them for sale.
Then, Flickr user “jugger-naut” built a tube synthesizer in plug-in module form.
His main site for custom work is here. His cabinetwork is so beautiful, it will make you cry. Be warned, you will be exploring every link there. He has schematics of almost everything he’s built — clever designs, easy to reproduce.
Seen on Matrix, with no information. It was, as it turns out, based on a Texas Instruments sound-effects IC (probably an SN76477). It appears to be built into an old tube tester cabinet. In case you didn’t know, Raes is a notorious Flemish artist, founder of the Logos Foundation—and dedicated nudist.
Here is a list of Raes’ DIY instruments.
The technology to do this has been readily available for at least 30 years. What gets me is that very few actual working musicians seem to be capable of doing a decent one-person-band. (She also appeared on Conan O’Brien last year.)
You won’t find more simpler obscure gadgets than the ones sold by Sonodrome. They even have PC software to go with their little bits of hardware. PC boards come in four colors. (And MAKE magazine’s market is selling the amplifier kit, along with the Atari Punk Console.) Enclosures are up to the builder. YouTube videos here.
Dave Wright found this at a “junk shop” in Tucson. It uses two CEM 3394 chips, plus a PAIA MIDI-CV and a few assorted circuits. It was very well-made, almost commercial quality. The maker’s identity is a total mystery.
mystery homebrew synth
—if not the decade.
Is it still being made? I can’t tell, the order form was on an AOL homepage, which has since been pulled down.