This workshop will teach you how to build your own square wave synthesizer. A synthesizer is an electronic musical instrument capable of producing a wide range of frequencies (notes) to make melodies. Square waves are one of the most commonly used
waveforms in all synthesizers. They sound somewhat rough to our ears and might remind you of old 8-bit video game systems such as the Atari 2600 or Nintendo Entertainment System.
In this workshop you will:
- build a square wave synthesizer with sequencer you can take home
- learn the fundamentals of electronics from a beginner’s perspective
- acquire a collection of electronic components you can use after the workshop
- learn how to expand and experiment with the circuit you build
- be given a list of handy DIY resources for building future projects
The synthesizer you’ll build in this workshop (like this one) will play an adjustable melody using an integrated step sequencer. A step sequencer is an automated device that “steps through” each note one at a time in a repeating pattern. So instead of pressing keys as you would on a piano, you adjust each step of the sequencer to play a particular note in order to form your melody. You can adjust the rate (speed) at which your melody plays and change the individual notes in real time (via potentiometers) as the sequencer runs.
Your sequencer will consist of eight steps so your synth will thus play eight different notes. Your synth will include an audio output jack so you can plug it into a stereo system, amplifier, or computer to hear or record your performances. Amps will be provided at the workshop for testing and playing your synth.
In the process of building your synthesizer, you’ll learn the fundamentals of electronics, and specialized logic components such as integrated circuits (ICs) and digital waveform synthesis. You’ll also learn how you can modify your circuit to customize your synth and how you can incorporate the circuit into a larger musical system.
You'll build your synthesizer on the provided breadboard, which means:
- you don't have to solder a darn thing
- you can easily make modifications to your circuit to customize your synth
- you can reuse the breadboard and components to build other circuits
If you ever wanted to get into electronics but didn't know where to begin, this workshop will give you all the materials and know-how you need to get started. You’ll be able to reuse your breadboard and components to build a variety of other projects in the future. You'll also be provided with a list of handy DIY resources, such as useful tools & components, DIY-friendly vendors, and other cool circuits you can easily build and modify.
This event is part of the Circuit Benders' Ball, a day-long celebration of hardware hacking, music, art, and the creative spirit. Register for one Circuit Benders' Ball workshop and get a CBB t-shirt for free! (Limit 1 per student.) Register for all three Circuit Benders' Ball workshops and get into the music showcase for free! (A $15 value.)
This class has already occurred.
Saturday September 29, 2012
10:00AM - 1:00PM
Josh Gumiela is a sound designer, electronics tinkerer, and educator. He's the proprietor of GumiElectronic.net, a DIY electronics blog providing free-as-in-freedom tutorials on circuit bending, modification, and design of electronic audio devices. He's been teaching audio and interactive media classes since 2005. Josh is currently designing interactive sound sculptures and making peculiar sounds with his hand-made devices.