Building an Analog Synthesizer for Science Fair

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In summary, the author is trying to build a synthesizer for an independent study course at their high school. They are finding themselves in a time crunch and need some advice. They suggest looking for a kit or guidance from PAIA Electronic Synths.
  • #1
astro_kat
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I'm trying to build an analog synthesizer for an independent study course at my high school. The submission date for the science fair is Feb. 8th, I'm really finding myself in a time crunch.

For starters, I thought this would a little easier, but everywhere I look I have to back track and read this and that. I had to go back and read a ton of trig just to get the physics of how my synthesizer would work. But I don't have enough time to learn it all, not yet--I want to learn the principles simultaneously as I build the machine, I've got to multi-task.

anyways, I don't know squat about computer hardware, i planned on making it with old *i mean old school stuff* like transistors, no microchips. but that's becoming impossible. My physics teacher told me to try to think up the functions I want my synth to have, the more functions the harder it is--but the more appealing at the sci-fair. I'm not even sure what I want it to do, it needs at least one octave of keys and a few different forms of oscillators--I need a minimum of five distinct sounds (or more) that the synth can produce.

I really don't know where to begin, if anyone has any advice to offer, even a direction I can go--it would be nice. websites, books from local libraries, whatever. Maybe even someone I can talk to about it. yeah--a mentor on this whole thing would be REALLY nice. :biggrin:
 
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  • #2
i guess i would suggest that you check out PAIA electronic synths:

http://www.paia.com/

and see if they have a kit for you.

do you need to build this from scratch? do you need a keyboard action?
 
  • #3
Well, I made one that I called the synthestring. It synthesized string instruments (using triangle waves and filters). It had six strings to select the tone and slide-pots for attack, sustain, and decay . Bow, pluck selecting. And a couple of sound effects (percussion, tremolo). I used op-amps for the oscillators and filters, etc. And a little digital for multiplexing.

You will need to have access to op-amp chips, transistors, lots of caps and resistors, ...
And a lot of time.
 

Related to Building an Analog Synthesizer for Science Fair

1. How does an analog synthesizer work?

An analog synthesizer works by manipulating electrical signals to create different sounds. It consists of several components such as oscillators, filters, amplifiers, and modulation sources. The oscillators produce the initial sound wave, which is then filtered and modified by the other components to create a unique sound.

2. What materials are needed to build an analog synthesizer?

The materials needed for building an analog synthesizer include a breadboard, resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, transistors, operational amplifiers, and a power supply. A list of specific components and their values can be found in various DIY synthesizer kits or online tutorials.

3. How difficult is it to build an analog synthesizer for a science fair?

Building an analog synthesizer for a science fair can range from moderately difficult to very difficult, depending on your level of experience with electronics and soldering. It requires a basic understanding of circuitry, as well as patience and attention to detail. However, with proper research and guidance, it is a manageable project for most science fair participants.

4. Can an analog synthesizer be used for scientific experiments?

Yes, an analog synthesizer can be used for scientific experiments. It can be used to study and manipulate sound waves, as well as investigate the effects of different components on the final sound output. It can also be used to demonstrate concepts such as frequency modulation and signal processing.

5. Are there any safety precautions to consider when building an analog synthesizer?

Yes, there are a few safety precautions to consider when building an analog synthesizer. It is important to work in a well-ventilated area, as some components may release harmful fumes when soldering. It is also recommended to use safety goggles and gloves when handling small parts. Finally, always double-check your circuit connections and use caution when working with electricity.

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