Modular Performance Synthesizer
This is a completely modular performance synthesizer designed to generate a wide range of sounds and musical environments while also being relatively portable. It was custom built to fit snugly into a military grade shipping case and is reinforced to withstand lots of bumps and thumps.
There’s no midi or presets on this thing. All sounds and sequences are created by patching points together and building up complex musical systems. The synthesizer is similar to many modular synths of the past but incorporates a number of unconventional modules like frequency controlled audio samplers and a voltage controlled light display. The basic layout is: about a dozen analog oscillators and filters, 3 loop-able random sequence generators, a clumsy but effective analog drum machine, a fleet of glitched out 80’s era digital effects circuits, 3 micro controller based tap tempo LFO/rhythm clocks a whole bunch of mixers, a stereo compressor and a high power light synth. Some of it is custom designed circuitry, some is adapted from online schematics, some is circuit bent, some is off the shelf.
The drum machine uses a modified MegaPercussiveSynth module which you can read about here. You can buy the PCB here. The MPS is designed to generate a single drum tone made up of three voices. I made a small adjustment to the board to isolate the voices and allow for triggering of the individual voices. This makes up my whole drum sound bank. The sequencer section uses a bunch of CMOS chips and 2 obsolete rhythm sequence chips (LM8972).
Here’s a video of my first experiments with the LM8972 drum brain IC:
The core sound making element of this piece is three Modular Benjolins.
early stages of prototyping: