Build Your Own Moog-Style Synthesizer From Affordable Components

If you want a low-cost synthesizer, Lonesoulsurfer has a tutorial that will walk you through how to make one.

Cameron Coward
a month agoMusic

All sound synthesizers have the same purpose, which is to generate musical notes using electronic components. But there are many ways to accomplish that. A musical note is just a vibration through air with a specific frequency. A “perfect” note would look like a sine wave, but even square waves are recognizable as notes. A synthesizer just needs to produce those waveforms, which means there is a variety of hardware that can be used. If you want an affordable Moog-style synthesizer, Lonesoulsurfer has a tutorial that will walk you through how to create your own.

This synthesizer build is actually based on a circuit designed by Pete McBennett, but Lonesoulsurfer has modified that circuit to include an arpeggiator. You can watch the video and listen to Lonesoulsurfer play this synth, and it’s definitely impressive. He’s just using a portable Bluetooth speaker connected with an auxiliary cable for output, but this synthesizer still has a lot of presence and sounds great. I’m not a musician myself, but this synthesizer seems perfectly capable of producing track-worthy music if you are after that electronic sound. That’s because real hardware is generating the waveforms, unlike when you use synth software on your laptop.

That vast majority of that hardware is discrete components like resistors and capacitors. The only ICs being used in this synthesizer are hex Schmitt triggers, dual op amps, and 555 timers. It’s controlled by a handful of potentiometers and push buttons. You have a few options when it comes to powering the synth. The easiest solution is to use a 9V battery. But you can also use a wall wart power supply, or even a rechargeable cell phone battery with the associated circuitry. Lonesoulsurfer built the circuits on perfboards and housed everything within an old digital calculator case, but you can always use a project box or 3D print an enclosure to suit your tastes. If you’ve been looking for an affordable, yet capable, synthesizer project, this one is worth checking out.

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