Syntiac rebuilding information
Before you begin running to the nearest electronics store
This page provides the basic information for those who want to build the
Syntiac synthesizer themself. Because of the experimental character of the
Syntiac we can't give a complete cookbook. We will give information about the
way we build it. Building a synthesizer system of the complexity of the Syntiac is
not a trivial task. If you are new to electronics we recommend you start with a
simpler project. If you think you got enough experience, check at least three times
if all information you need is available and all the schematics are clear. It
can be rather frustrating after 3 weeks of building you discover that some important
piece of information is missing.
Make a plan
Planning is very important. Otherwise you will lose weeks just with waiting
for components to arrive. Although the Syntiac is mostly based on standard components
most of these are needed in large quantities. Buying all components in one time means
big discounts, it often also means waiting for delivery because most stores don't have
all components ready available in large amounts.
Make a list of all components needed and also when you need them. Build all
the oscillators with the same type and value for the components, otherwise you
never get them tuned. For example I use metalfilm resistors everywhere even
if 1% precision is not needed (they are also low noise).When you replace a component
with an equivalent, replace all occurences. Equivalent will not mean
100% the same! (atleast not with electronic components).
It is difficult to just list all tools you need for building the Syntiac. I will give
hints along the way, but keep in mind that it is easier for me to debug the schematics,
because I designed them. So you can better be over equiped with tools as without them.
You need ofcourse a solderingiron of some better quality as a 10-dolar-give-away-present.
A soldering station is better because you can store the iron there and control the temperture.
A digital multimeter for mesuring Volt, milliAmps and Ohm is something you can't miss.
Some can also do Frequency and capacity mesurement, I never needed that personaly,
but it can come in handy. A dedicated Frequency-counter device will do fine too :-).
Then we get the osciloscope, ofcourse it isn't absolutely nessesary to own one.
The prices of these things drop by the minute and it is a great help during
fault hunting. I have a dualchannel 30 Mhz one and that is a real overkill. The
highest frequency I ever messured in a analog synthesizer was around 400 khz
(it was a clock from a digital noise module).
Most modules of the Syntiac are self supporting. You only need a power supply
and a scope to test them. They can be build in any order you want, although it
may be wise to use the following list. Build modules from top to bottom in the
list so there is enough hardware to test every function.
- Power supply providing +15Volt and -15Volt
- Two or more oscillators
Now the synthesizer should contain enough modules to properly test other modules
you like to build. It is perfectly possible to build the modules on some type of
vero or experimental board, I did this when building the prototype of the Syntiac
synthesizer. But if you want the synthesizer to be portable and easy repairable I
strongly recommand making proper PCBs for it. I will post designs for
these to the webpage as soon they are ready.
The front panels have dimensions of 16 cm by 25 cm which can populate 24 potmeters.
For complex modules like a sequencer or a large mixer a 32 cm by 25 cm panel is used
to house a maximum of 48 potmeters. Every potmeter is assigned an area of 4 by 4 cm.
Ofcourse the maximum is never reached, because switches and connectors also use up space.
Sorry, more information not yet available.