Building a Digitally Controlled Analog Synthesizer
In '95, when I was 20 years old and had completed the first 2 general
years of engineering study, I decided to specialize in electronics for
two reasons: I thought I was a good enough programmer to not need a
degree in computer science (the arrogance!), and I wanted to learn
more about electronics to design and build an analog synthesizer.
Studying electronics, I gravitated towards digital signal processing,
away from the analog electronics that lured me in. The pain induced
by writing signal processing code in C/C++ turned into a motivation to
spend a some years on study of programming language theory and
compilers, far away from electronics.
So now, going into 2011, a little over 15 years after the initial
decision to get into analog electronics I am getting into analog
This blog is a spin-off of a more general electronics blog, and
comes with a collection of circuits to be found here.
20170611 Analog and PIC
20170603 PIC synth
20170602 Analog synth: use PIC or ARM?
Synth: permanent setup
20160424 LM3046 replacement for CA3046
20160217 VCF tweaks
disable gschem logging window on startup
20160216 Spice BJT models
20141022 Euororack dimensions
20141016 I want to twiddle knobs
20140910 Dinosaur den - analog synth
20140614 MCP6244 GBW 550kHz
Capacitors for audio
20140608 Off the charts..
4 pole single ended diode filter on breadboard
Diode ladders vs. single leg
20140531 Diode filter pinned between voltage and current source
20140530 Current mirror BCV62 (PNP) / BCV61 (NPN)
20140529 Coupling signal/feedback into the filter section
Building a filter
25 x CA3046 arrived
20140528 digital envelopes
20140527 Digging in the old box
Feed V_BE back to ADC to serve as thermometer
20140526 temperature and v_be mismatch - final words?
How to tune with trimpots?
Updated to non-inverting ST
Inverting / non-inverting Schmitt trigger
20140525 Kalman filter
20140524 Synth arch?
Thermally coupled NPNs
Parallel DAC vs multiplexer
20140519 Discharging a cap from 3v3 using a PNP
Multiple control voltages
20140518 About that PMOS
20140517 What needs to be done
Low side charge?
20mA is too much
Capture / Compare
ISR: one or two comparators?
2N7000 R_DS on
Capacitor / current dimensions
Comparator + software discharge
Looking for a good ISR structure on PIC 18F4550
20140516 1/3 DAC and 2/3 DAC_REF ?
20140512 Current Mismatch
20140511 Transistor array
Two coupled NPN 2N3904 transistors + resistor divider
For thermally coupled transistors, what else is necessary?
Is offset still temperature dependent?
Dual REF DAC
20140510 exponential IDAC (EIDAC)
20130808 M-audio fasttrack pro
20130529 i3 Detroit Public : Analogue Synth Brainstorming
20121216 Exp converter
20121114 UMA25S + GEM S2
General Music (GEM) S2
20121110 Scanned synthesis
Cleaning up digital out
20121009 Alsa MIDI using BCR2000
20121008 18F2550 serial input
20121005 Follow the Joy
20120930 Relaxation oscillator
20110117 Prophet 8
Chopper techniques (Envelope?)
Charge controlled LED
20110116 OTA SVF
20110114 Home made PCBs
The Korg MS20 filter and reverse saturation transistors
20110113 Non-oscillator feedback
Synth requirements revisited
Analog synths on the market
SVF, freq through feedback?
20110112 Approximate PWM
Synth: just build it?
PWM vs. DAC+MUX
Prophet 5: A/D and D/A resolution
2-Scroll modified SVF
20110110 Analog control voltages
20110109 Stacking headers
Moog VCF: current input differential stage.
Env mod: add or multiply
RF envelope generator
Differential amplifier offset
Envelopes: problem is offset
Envelope: One pole variable filter using OTA.
20110108 Random non-tested circuit: Ladder integrator
No analog synths without OTAs!
20110107 Voltage controlled envelope using exp converter
FET voltage controlled resistor
BJT current controlled resistor
RC-decay envelope, FET controlled?
Exact frequency sawtooth w. approximate amplitude
20110106 Nonlinear control
Compensated Sawtooth Oscillator
20110105 Simply dirty exponential converter
20110104 The analog synth myths
20110103 Simple headphone guitar amp
The simple 1-st order SD
Class D / Sigma Delta lit
20110102 Gilbert cell multiplier
20110101 Synth: the real problem
The integrating AD
Minimal digital processing setup
Diode ladder chirps
20101231 Staapl test circuit
20101230 Next analog experiment
20101226 Current conversion, frequency feedback
State variable filter
CD4049UBE current mirror
20101225 PWM/SD and clock jitter
1/2 range Sigma Delta
Current to frequency converter
PIC comparator output
Combinations of dithered Sigma/Delta and PWM.
20101224 PWM expo
PIC-controlled hybrid synth
SVF time constants
Simpler discrete SVF
OTA output current mirrors
OTA mismatch: diff pair + current mirror
20101222 Pot tapering - does it actually work?
SVF dual antilog pots
20101221 Inductors for LED driver
20101220 1-pole ripple: PWM vs SD
Futurlec transistor arrays
Distortion board rev1
Digitally compensated exponential converter
20101219 Modular system
20101218 PWM resistor
20101217 The variable gain/resistor problem
20101212 Breadboarding duty cycle circuit (a-sym clip + DC feedback)
20101209 Distortion : Duty Cycle
20101207 Diode trick to prevent saturation
Opamp Class A bias
Guitar output voltage and AC/DC coupling.
20101206 Picking a staple OpAmp (TL072/TL074)
Picking a staple transistor (BC549-BC559)
20101205 JFET Transistors
20101203 Modding the Behringer OD300
20101202 R,C duality
20101130 Diode ladder filter
20101129 LED power supply
20101128 Transfer functions
20101127 SVF R/C for RC=10ms
20101124 Modular channel strips
20101123 uC controlled analog circuits
PT2399 digital delay IC (Danelectro FAB Echo)
20101121 Modifying Behringer pedals
20101019 Programmable gain amplifiers
20100528 Analog Box
20100519 VCF using modern parts
20100518 FM on PIC
20100515 Broken PAIA Fatman
20100502 The 909 kick drum