My interest in electronics started while i was in grade school but really took off making my own gadgets in 1985 when i got a job in the electronics industry as a bench technician working for a subcontracting manufacturer. Basically they would take contracts to build all sorts of small electronic devices such as telephone autodialers, electronic scales, circuits for helicopters, etc. I already had a very strong inclination for building music stuff, at this point i was playing some pretty far out, spacey, electronic music, i had electronic tech training, and had 2 years of electricity and electronic shop in high school. My first gizmo was a fuzz box, a real chunky one at that. A (noisy) tremelo/preamp followed . The tremelo was pretty cheezy (i used a square wave LFO to modulate a VCA!) but the fuzz/distortion was ok. After 7 months i got another bench monkey job at a place that made telephones where i met and worked with an Vietnamese engineer and a his team of helpers. After a while these guys were impressed enough with my personal interest and diligence (i wasn't afraid to fry up circuits more than once to figure out how they worked) that they started to teach me some neat tricks and some basic engineering. At my bench (on company time) i designed and breadboarded a single bit delta modulation ad/da unit that, when run at high enough clock speed could pass a decent bandwidth audio signal. My co-technicians, immediate manager, and even the head of engineering were suitably impressed. No mention was made of the fact that i was supposed to be sucking solder fumes fixing failed printed circuit boards. Next i bought a few books on electronic music instrument construction. The first two got me started on simple circuits, but the third one i bought, Electronic Music Circuits by Barry Klein was the one that really helped me design and build some very nice analog synth modules. It included a lot of reprinted Electronotes designs (which is how i discovered EN). Eventually i got a "real" job in a US subsidiary of a Japanese key telephone system manufacturer (still bench monkeying around.) After about 6 months i applied for and was promoted to engineers' ass, now working directly for the Japanese engineers who designed these systems. In this position i really got to see what's makes some complex telephone switching system circuits work which was very much audio related and quite fascinating. Once again the engineers were very helpful and quite interested in my circuits. Years later when i first got on the internet the two things i looked up were natural perfumery and DIY electronics. I discovered synthDIY mailing list which became a great source of info, ideas, and community.That's way past history now and i rarely even seem to get enough time to solder as many things as i can dream up. update (2008): i now have an electronic workshop set up in my garage. exciting new circuits are on their way...another update, i did do some more synth circuitry between 2011-2014, i built a lot of chaos related modulator circuits as well as a bunch of vactrol based circuits. By this time it was easy to buy bare PCBs on the internet which significantly speeded up development time. I rarely ever built the circuits as they were designed but it still made it easy to realize my own variations. Unfortunately i haven't completed my third modular synth yet.
Many of my designs are often just improvements
or just add-ons to already existing circuits. there is a plethora of published material
on electronic circuits for music and noisemaking fun. i am not much of
a perfectionist but i have come to appreciate better designs, simpler solutions,
and more precise circuits over the years. Choosing to build higher quality designs in the first place i find
less need to revise already constructed modules.
|Music Electronics/Electronic Music||Links to Synth-DIY|