Homemade Alien communicator/timemachine

Gman

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I'll bet most people here wouldn't even recognize what this beast is but I've put an enormous amount of effort into building it so I'd figure I'd share it.

It's a fully analog modular synthesizer. It is a tool for creating sound. This is a daft punk cover I did a while back. It was recorded in one take and all the sound is generated entirely from the 4ft cabinet made up of only analog discrete components (resistors, capacitors, transistors, and op-amps). There is no digital processing whatsoever which I think is astounding.


Back story:
2 years ago on Robert Moog's birthday, the google doodle was a minimoog synthesizer. My mom showed it to me and I had never seen or knew what a synthesizer was. I didn't know what all those knobs did but I sure as hell wanted to find out. Sadly these machines are near extinct and go for thousands of dollars. Luckily I have a soldering iron so I decided to build one. Nearly 2 years later having spent countless hours (lost track around 100 hours which was over a year ago) and over $1,000 in materials, it is almost done. I am going to finish it this summer. I just ordered the remaining discrete components and an old oscilloscope from ebay.

Here are the modules I have completed so far:
3x Voltage-Controlled Oscillators VCO
1x Dual Low-Frequency Oscillators LFO
1x Steiner Voltage-Controlled Filter VCF
1x Minimoog Voltage-Controlled Filter VCF
1x Noise/Sample and hold
2x Voltage-Controlled Attenuator VCA
1x Triple Attack-Release generator AR
2x 3 channel Mixer
1x 4 channel Mixer
1x 8 x 3 sequencer
1x Sequential Switch
1x ⅛” to ¼” jack
1x Multiples

And Here is what I will fill the rest of the spaces with. Keeping it basic with mostly utility modules because you can never have enough mixers or amplifiers to control the sound and patch complex modulations.
1x VCO
1x Clock Divider
1x Sequential Switch
3x ADSR generators
2x VCA
2x 3 channel Mixer
1x CV expander

They are all hand soldered on breadboard. If I had more time and money, I'd build them on custom pcbs but I just cant do that at this point in my life. Also it is close to completion, so I'd figure I would just finish this one. The cabinet is nice, but I constructed it two years ago so the precision is questionable. I would like to redo it as well, but like I said, it's already almost done. I'll probably start a second one after this anyway.

Here are some pics of what I have so far
IMG_20160504_243655595_zps4jgxtqid.JPG

My cat loves it too
IMG_20160720_182618039_zpsr0kkbfnk.JPG

The minimoog filter
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The Triple Atack-Release Generator
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And the utility oscillator. I made three of these, and still one left to go..
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Aurelio

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So no time traveling? That's disappointing :\
All jokes aside, very nice project, I saw it on your youtube channel few months ago and I liked it a lot
 

Gman

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So no time traveling? That's disappointing :\
All jokes aside, very nice project, I saw it on your youtube channel few months ago and I liked it a lot
They say there is one specific patch when tuned right, it will take you back to 1973. I haven't found it yet though. I have used it to communicate with aliens on a few occasions, still waiting for a reply
 

Gman

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That looks like something Daft Punk would use, mad props for your progress so far, can't wait to see the last few panels installed!
Daft Punk's is MUCH bigger, takes up an entire room!
This is gorgeous. I'm a fairly recent synth geek, but I have crazy respect for true analogs and the people who make, use, and understand them. Bravo.
Hey thanks! Apologies to anyone out there who uses a Macbook to make music, but a Macbook is not a synthesizer in my book. Analog or GTFO

So I got my 40 year old oscilloscope today. I didn't do such a bad job calibrating the waveforms by ear actually. The Saw and Sine waves could be fine tuned a little more but it is all pretty close. Here are the 4 waveforms produced by the oscillator before and after the 12pole Low-pass filter. The Minimoog filter is a 24pole low-pass filter but I thought the wave forms looked cooler on the 12pole one since the feedback is much more tame on that one.
IMG_20160730_132848407_HDR_zpsrsn8dvz5.JPG
IMG_20160730_132957644_zpsaysereq7.JPG
IMG_20160730_133048232_HDR_zpsxkr2owag.JPG
IMG_20160730_133253104_zpsonkzkbrm.JPG
 
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Gman

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20 days left of summer break, gotta make the most of it! I built 4 modules in the past two days.

1x 4 channel mixer
2x Voltage-Controlled Amplifier
1x Dual Attack-Decay-Sustain-Release generator -I had an extra double wide panel left so I made it into a dual module. I still have to build one more ADSR generator.

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ShockSlayer

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Very nice.
 

Gman

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I built the 3rd ADSR generator making it my 6th envelope generator in the whole system (3 of them are just Attack-Decay). In comparison, the Moog system 35 which has inspired me only has 3 envelope generators in total. Mine is gonna be pretty damn powerful https://www.moogmusic.com/products/modulars/system-35

I also built the Clock Divider. It does divisions of 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32. It would be nice to have a clock divider with odd divisions but the circuit was pretty simple and only uses a single wide panel so why not

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Matthew

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I love the wiimote in the background, why not put it in the foreground though, It's clearly the eye-catching centerpiece of the picture. I'm looking forward to seeing you incorporate it into this build. :P

Oh, and this project is freaking awesome.
 

Gman

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I built the second Sequential Switch. The circuit I used acts as a double way switch whereas the Moog seqential switch could only route signals one way, pretty useful. So using it, you can route one signal to 4 destinations, or 4 signals to one destination. What is most astounding is how the new one is so much cleaner than the one I built last year, same circuit still.
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Hey wasnt this hooked up to a keyboard sometime in the early stages? Looks dope dude
 

Gman

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Hey wasnt this hooked up to a keyboard sometime in the early stages? Looks dope dude
Yup, I have a mini CV keyboard that I can hook up to the synth. I mostly use the sequencer to create beats and melodies though because I'm not much of a keyboard player.
 
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