The Machine


This is the second synthesizer I made. It was made for playing on stage and to be worn like a guitar. I like this design because the audience can see me turning knobs.

It is made from biscuit tin metal, the knobs are made from a broom pole that I have cut up.

One of the main features of this synthesizer is that it has a ribbon instead of a keyboard, this means that you can slide from one note to another. I got the idea when I saw some old footage of the Osmonds playing Crazy Horses.

It has 1 filter, a spring reverb, a sample and hold, 2 LFOs, and 2 audio oscillators. That makes 4 oscillators in total. Each of the output's 4 oscillators can be fed to the FM input of any other oscillator via a knob, this is what 16 of the knobs on the front panel do, so it is a variable strength FM patch matrix. So it is capable of some quite horrendously unrepeatable settings. The other knobs are for tuning, wave shape, PWM, and filter controls.

It is a bit of a confusing mess. You might think I know what is going on here, but I have forgotten what does what! This makes repairing it very hard. This is bad because it was never very reliable. I can remember lots of occasions where I had to get my soldering iron out on stage half way though a gig, somehow I always managed to fix it. At the time I did not actually know much about electronics. I used various circuits that I found in books in the library.