My first DIY Bleeps and Bloops
February 12, 2010 12:15 PM   Subscribe

What are some of the best kits to build my first synthesizer? Specifically ones that come with nearly everything.

I know of the selection from Music from Outerspace, the x0x0b0x, and Squidoo has a nice set of links but I thought I'd ask Metafi for some advice on the issue. Since I'm getting started I thought the more complete the kit (in order of importance: PCB, Hard to find crystal/diodes, resisters/capacitors, power supply, case) the better.

In terms of my skill level I'll say I was an Electrical Engineering major in college but changed to a liberal arts so I have the know-how to solder and build but have almost no test equipment such as a multimeter, oscilloscope, or bench power supply.

Some other questions I have are about Modular systems, wikipedia had some info but no opinion as to what is best:
  • What is the most economical setup for a beginner or for a DIY builder?
  • What is the most widely used voltage / power supply for modular setups?
  • Would going modular first, instead of a kit, be an time/money investment since I could slowly build it versus spending time/money on a single 'box' especially from a hobbyist perspective?
posted by wcfields to Technology (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: PAIA has been making analog synthesizer kits for decades. I'd start there.
posted by aerosolkid at 12:31 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yep, PAiA.

Another neat little project is the Atari Punk Console. I like the Voice of Saturn kits, but you can go full-on DIY with it, too.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:26 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

just wanted to say that saturn thing sounds awesome - reminds me of forbidden planet (in the vid with the guy demonstrating it where he links it up to the sequencer! wow. just wow.)

good luck on this mate
posted by marienbad at 3:56 PM on February 12, 2010

I built a Moog Etherwave Theremin from a kit about ten years ago. It was ridiculously simple to assemble & quite economical to purchase (although they seem to have more than doubled in price in the last decade). It is loads of fun to play & always attracts a crowd at parties.
posted by torquemaniac at 6:46 PM on February 12, 2010

depending on the extent of diy you crave, doepfer are releasing a diy synth board in summer for about 100 euros, fully populated though (you bring your own pots and sockets and case to the party).
posted by 6am at 1:30 AM on February 13, 2010

I'd say doepfer power supplies (eurorack) seem to be most common. I think you'll want to go modular since your inevitably expanding collection will want to be intermixable, in which case the basic paia synth and mfos design (sans modular) wouldn't be that appropriate. you didn't say if you really want to go modular or not.

the most cost effective entryway whilst still modular and coming with all the hard bit supplied will be this new doepfer diy kit I think. and it's cheap enough to consider getting two!
posted by 6am at 1:39 AM on February 13, 2010

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