Surface mount analog components

Purely out of curiosity, is there some kind of influx of new analog surface mount parts available these days? Suddenly theres a lot of new analog synth gear available, and most, if not all of it is surface mount based, right? Im just wondering if new IC’s are out there that made it possible.

There are a bunch, more than through hole. Look at analog devices line up and THAT corp

There are many more SMD transistors, caps and LEDs available. Also, all the old classics like: TL06/7/8x etc, LM13700, LM3900 and such are still made even as SMD. The only new thing was that Korg made their Monotron toy-like things as a smaller SMT feasability study. Some modular manufacturers have been all SMT for a while - it’s the only way to make compact Eurorack stuff if there’s too much circuitry involved.

The rest is just market forces, demand and cheaper automated assembly techiques being available to more companies.

You have lots of Eurorack, Cynthia gear, the new Buchla 200e series, DSI, Korg and more doing SMT boards for their analog/hybrid products. I’ll even expect more DIY to be less afraid of SMD soon.

also worth mentioning that analog parts these days are better quality than of old as well, so crazy matched pairs back then are not even necessary in some cases where the tolerance of two parts is good enough. Look at the TT303, no match NPN and PNP stuff

Yup, matching is not needed/critical since the devices are very small with small dies, tight tolerances and in close physical proximity. Luck has it that it will work well enough in most cases. Plus, it’s way easier to get hold of temperature compensating PTC resistors in surface mount costing very little.

Sure, I realise that surface mount has always provided many analog parts, but is there more variety now than there was say, a year ago? Particularly for actual synths. Are there VCF’s and OSC’s “on a chip” like we used to see years ago, but in surface mount form now?
As I say, its just a curiosity :slight_smile:

And im not against surface mount for manufactured products. Im not keen on it for DIY though. And thats despite having surface mount training from time served at Soundcraft some years ago. So I can work with it, I just don’t enjoy it like I do through hole.

And sure the TT303 is one of the new synths that made me curious, as that is largely surface mount. I was always sceptical of user reviews that claim it sounds just like the original when the innards seemingly have much less in common. Is it wrong to think they are unlikely to sound exactly alike? I see some people say “It sounds better than a x0xb0x![](” To me that says it sounds better than an original 303 too, given how close the x0x parts and circuit compares with the original.
I’ll be curious to see reviews of it from reputable people with 303 experience. Not that I need yet more 303 soundalike synths…
Anyway, I digress)

No new IC out there. The only two “unusual” ICs you’ll find in analog synths are the LM13700 and the V2164 (maybe some fancy transistors array or THAT stuff) - all have been available in surface mount package since day one. Besides that, an analog synth does not require special parts - boring capacitors, resistors, transistors, op-amps which are produced in vast quantities for other products. Keep in mind that electronics is always analog at some level… Cellphones contain transistors, caps, resistors too.

The market for analog synths is getting bigger; people want these machines for cheaper, and they expect more functions in a given form factor - hence the choice of SMT since through-hole is not competitive for mass-production.

Thanks Olivier :slight_smile: That clears that up then! So perhaps it is more coincidence than anything else that so many new analog synths happened to appear within just a few weeks of each other.

There’s no technical explanation but I wouldn’t call what’s happening at the moment a coincidence.

After menu-diving in teh dark parts of the 80’s came VA synths bringing back more direct control. Then software synths and piracy of them made things difficult for musical instrument companies reliant on hardware sales. Then came a small resurgence in old analog things again, modulars are back stronger than ever etc. Elvis did in fact never leave the building!

So, the old became the new “new” and that’s where we are again. We’ve come full circle. Next up maybe some more hybrid schemes like the Ambika or the Prophet-12 (or vintage digital?) but I don’t see how endless menus could come back into fashion again.

So, we now have a mini MS-20, a reissued Buchla Music Easel and more hybrid polyphonic synths. Things are looking good :slight_smile:

Olivier, I didn’t mean to imply that demand for analog synths was a coincidence? I was thinking more along the lines of how closely the timing of some recent releases was a coincidence (even allowing for Namm).
Anyway, it’s damn cool that we have so much analog (and hybrid) gear to choose from now. Maybe prices for the old stuff will stop becoming so ridiculously inflated. Im not one to believe that old analog is better than new analog, thats for sure…

it’s just a zeitgeist thing I think. everything comes in waves. analog is so hot right now.

I can’t wait for the Roland U-110 “30 years” anniversary edition.

Analog has been “hot” since the 80s, in some music genres it never went away.

Acid house was in the 80s. Rave in the 90s.

Regarding the 30years U110 anniversary… this will be the first time the original vintage gear will be cheaper than the reissue, even for mint parts - i paid 39,77€ for mine. I has some cool Drums, btw. Not as coolsas the procussio, but still butter and bread uaable

Well, there was that Amiteque TX81zt which would have cost 250 USD, still using a crappy LCD, no encoders, just old-school endless menus. The site is gone now, but no wonder - who would resurrect a sub-100 “Lately Bass” module and ask for more money for a reissue that retains the crappy UI of the old version?

@Jojjelito yeah, that is an odd idea. Especially when you can still pick up original TX81Zs pretty cheap on eBay.
Incidentally, you can get other useable sounds out of it, with some tweaking.


@Jojjelito dont be talking shit about the TX81Z, best $70 anyone would ever spend :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You can get a DX100 for it if you want a cheap programmer-TX81Z is a superset of the DX21/27/100 sysex, same ID and everything…

best $70 ist the procussion…