Professional Programmer, Musician, Maker
Resources for DIY Synth Makers
Updated: 7/5/2020 11:07:47 AM
All of my electronics knowledge is self-taught from books, online resources, e-learning, and experimentation with kits and DIY designs. The purpose of this page is to document some of the valuable resources I've stumbled across over the past few years during my explorations into DIY circuit design.
I treat this page as a living document of links and resources for things I find useful, so check back for updates.
- Make: Analog Synthesizers - A must-read for anyone looking to get into Analog Synth design. Ray Wilson, the founder of Music From Outer Space was a key contributor of electronics knowledge to the synthesizer space. MFOS is a valuable resource for a myriad of synthesizer circuits, each with detailed explanations, diagrams, and PCB layouts. I highly recommend reading the book and building the noise toaster and other various circuits on breadboards. The Appendices provide valuable information for applying CMOS and other integrated circuits in synthesizer design.
- Small Signal Audio Design - A very detailed book with an emphasis on many applications used in synthesizer and small audio circuit design.
- KiCad - Free, robust, open source CAD design suite with tools for creating schematics and PCBs. It is very popular, so there are a lot resources around the web for learning.
- CircuitMaker - A free, cloud-based offering from Altium with emphasis on collaboration and sharing of projects. I don't use this much anymore due to its limitations, but used it quite a bit as part of taking the Crash Course Electronics and PCB Design class.
Schematics & Guides
Synth & Eurorack Kits
The following list of online suppliers are my regular go-to resources for various electronics parts for any purpose.
- Tayda Great selection and affordable at lower quantities. Fast shipping. Site is a little slow to access from USA. Good selection of Pedal parts.
- Digikey - Wide selection of parts, great parameter search, fast fulfillment and shipping. Also a great resource for articles and datasheets.
- Mouser - I consider this the sister site to DigiKey, as it offers many of the same features.
- Jameco - All around great supplier of components, tools, kits, and grab bags. In particular, I've found them a great resource for TTL chip kits and transformers.
- SparkFun - Supplier of components and digital boards and microcontrollers. Also a great selection of articles for various projects.
- ProtoSupplies - A good selection for parts for various applications. I buy my high quality breadboards here.
- LCSC - A great place to pick up components for various needs. I mostly use them in conjunction with JLCPCB's SMT assembly service, as they integrate the LCSC parts library as part of the ordering and assembly process.
- Amazon - A great place to start building your collection of passives and other components. When you're first starting out, you have to amass small quantities of a lot of things, and Amazon is a great place to pick up kits with multiple values of resistors, capacitors, buttons, and other prototyping supplies. It's also a great place to pick up test equipment and tools.
- Octopart Search multiple suppliers, used in conjunction with CircuitMaker.
Some knobs for potentiometers.
- JLCPCB - Great for quick turnaround of high quality PCB prototypes. I've ordered dozens of PCBs from them and usually receive them within 2-3 days of ordering thanks to their rapid turnaround and quick DHL international shipping. Their customer service is exceptional, and I've had engineers reach out to me from time-to-time to ask questions and provide assistance with designs I've submitted. Check out the Strange Parts Factory Tour video for a full rundown of their process.
Front panel manufacturing. I have yet to vet any of these services, as I have been using PCB front panels in my prototypes.
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