Category Archives: DIY Synth

DIY Synths, basic oscillator circuits

The Curmudgeon’s Corner #3 12.20.2010

By Hank The Curmudgeon

Greetings And Salutations! First off Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanzaa, Wacky Festivus and/or anything else you can celebrate. Oh, if I don’t get #4 out by the end of year Happy New Year! May you have a safe and wonderful holiday season. Here’s hoping you get that soldering station or capacitor assortment you’ve been dreaming about. Now onto this episodes insanity…

Selected Videos.
“Miniature” Microtonal Udderbot & Dulcimer Duet

Frank Giorgini’s Udu Utar Played by Brian Melick. Thanks to Gene Barth for finding this video!

#11 Math.

Your generic ubiquitous Switchcraft #11 1/4″ Open Frame Mono Jack…shopped around on 11/26/10.

But Hank, you whine, why didn’t you note the prices on eBay? Because the jacks may, or may not, be available, shipping can be outrageous, I don’t want to wait 2+ weeks for Taiwanese post, I’ve seen the plating flaking off due to corrosion, etc. That’s why I didn’t list eBay…but I’m not ruling eBay totally out.
If ANYONE knows of better prices for Switchcraft #11’s PLEASE contact me! *We have some Plastic Stereo jacks in

DIY Heavy Metal. Go explore the individual instruments at:

Ballet Mecanique At The National Gallery Of Art

Interesting background material:

Ooo Shiny…Hi-Tech Shiny. @ “Only” $12,843.77 each we’ll take a dozen!

Urban Planning Meets A Music Sequencer?
Thanks to Chicago Buck for finding this. There is some very interesting potential for teaching musical theory and composition to someone who has no music background or training.

Can One Really Bend “Star Wars”?
Or at least use it as a sample source? Yes!!! If anyone follows through with this I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT!

Virtual Breadboard.
Sadly NOT a dynamic circuit simulator but still a neat idea. Plus it’s great if you need a graphic illustration in your handouts for a class!

Extra Credit: What circuit do I have loaded in this example?

$1.2M Accordioning Brass Musical Watch. Even if I had $1.2 M to waste I’m not so sure a watch, this or any watch, would be on the shopping list…

Performance: Catherine Brisset On The Cristal Baschet And Gilles Dalbis On Percussion. What? You don’t own a Cristal Baschet!

Nicely Done 555/556 Time Page. Good clear explanations of our little friend Mr. 555 and what he is capable of.

Jumbo Otamatone: DIY Seed? First watch the video:

Now, ignoring the silly giant musical note form factor, this would be an easy DIY project coupling either a DIY ribbon controller or a COTS ribbon potentiometer such as with almost any VCO or APC circuit. Now the question becomes what goofy package can you house this in to make a bunch of money.

After You’re Done With That Holiday Brew…

Excellent Tutorial on Building Logic IC Oscillators from Beavis Audio Research

The Beavis Audio Research Group just added a great overview for building CMOS Oscillators and LoFi Synths. Starting with your basic oscillating Hex Schmitt Trigger and finishing with a Heterodyne Peyote Space Explorer. The tutorial has clear examples with valuable pieces of information for adding LFOs, Rate LED Indicators, Line Level and Volume control as well as component values for good frequency ranges. Excellent work!

Atari Punk Console 2.0 in Everyday Objects

APC 2.0 Kit from

APC 2.0 Kit from

Nag Champa APC 2.0 by Kaz – More images in this Gallery.

Atari Punk Console Cup Cake

Cupcake 2.0 by Wayne

Atari Punk Console 2.0 Sorbet

Sorbet 2.0 by Gary, more info at

Atari Punk Console Flash Light

APC 2.0 Flashlight by GroovyPancakes.

So far the APC 2.0 kit users are good at following instructions, especially when it comes to using discarded everyday objects as cases for their new noise makers. Above are some of examples found floating around the Internet. If you have more please let me know and I will post them. We also created a Facebook page to share the love of the APC 2.0 on the most addictive Social Networking site, one more thing for you to keep tabs on. just did a very nice demo and a writeup about an APC 2.0 prototype. Watch it below.

The APC 2.0 Kits are plentiful and still for sale from the, packaging is now all paper based in order to help reduce the plastic waste. So far the feedback has been extremely positive from all over the world. As a side note, more inexpensive and easy to build kits are on their way from the GetLoFi labs. Stay Tuned!

diy* Festival 2008 in Zurich Switzerland, 5-7 Dec

The 4th annual diy* Fest looks like a switch filled time! The event is slated to be from December 5th through the 7th in Zurich, Switzerland at DYNAMO. The curators describe it as “…an event that specifically addresses a creative and joyful approach to technology and fosters public discussion at the nexus of art, science and society. It is also a showcase for innovations in music and media art. The organizers value international collaboration with universities and art institutions as well as individual interesting artists and technologists.” The event will feature an exhibition, concerts, talks, workshops, and tons of cool people to hang out with! If you want to get involved with the festival email: and describe how you would like to contribute by October 31st!