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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).

The Modules

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
  • Mixer
  • Filter
  • LFO
  • ADSR

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 Box

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.

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