YouTuber Chris Synths is working on a DIY polyphonic analog Synthesizer

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YouTuber Chris Synths is working on an 8-voice polyphonic analog Synthesizer with discrete components, two VCOs per voice… as a DIY project.

Before I dedicate myself to the big music industry again, I want to give space to a very welcomed DIY project. YouTuber Chris Synths is currently working on a polyphonic analog Synthesizer. It’s impressive to see that he is developing this synth on his own and from scratch.

Because many polyphonic analog synthesizers are big projects that multiple people work on. Often a team from the hardware and one from the soft/firmware side.

Chris synths polyphonic analog synthesizers

Chris Synths Polyphonic Synthesizers

He is working on two polyphonic analog synthesizers as DIY projects.

The first is an 8-voice analog poly Synthesizer. Each voice features two VCOs, a ladder-style lowpass filter, state-variable highpass filter, a wavefolder, and ring mod. Plus, you have an 8-stage analog phaser. The wavefolder is definitely a nice addition as it makes far harmonic-richer and more complex sounds possible.

On the modulation side, it has two envelopes, three LFOs, and a cool joystick on the left. Arpeggiator and sequencer are also onboard. A decent feature set for a DIY project.

The circuitry is made with op-amps, OTAs, and discrete components. The components are:

  • two ST microcontrollers for MIDI, voice control, display driving, front panel scanning, etc.
  • 23 DACs, 21 DAC7554, and 2 AD5676 produce the control voltages.
  • circuit design and PCB layout was done in Eagle,
  • PCBs by JLC
  • sheet metal design and ordered from emachineshop
  • software in C using STM32CubeIDE
  • knobs and buttons are 3D-printed

There is a demo of the current prototype and it sounds lovely.

6 Voices

Chris Synths has been working on this project for a long time. It all started with a small desktop six-voice version with two VCOs per voice, a multimode filter, 3 LFO, 2 ADSR, and a phaser for effects. Same here, no Curtis or SSM chips, all discrete and op-amps.

I also like the reduced feature set. Less is often more

I’m excited to see how Chris Synths’s DIY analog polyphonic synthesizer project will continue. Follow him on YouTube to stay up to date. Or simple visit Synth Anatomy, I’ll write about the latest news on this project.

More information here: Chris Synths (YouTube)

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