The Synth DIY Go Crazy Thread

Hey everyone!

We’re Enrica and Roland, a couple of makers from Düsseldorf, Germany. With a distant past in just regular, classical instruments (Cello, Double Bass, Guitar, you know, like wooden boxes with strings on them) we got into soldering our own gear because of @pichenettes - starting with an Anushri, then a Shruthi, just before Mutable ceased to do kits. Funnily enough, we only then discovered Modular a while later.

We’re super into DIY mainly because, especially in the modular world, you can just try lots and lots of crazy stuff that noone would ever mass produce - all the while having LFOs and Oscillators and Filters ready to go and thus not having to reinvent the wheel all the time.

So what are your projects? Do you guys and gals ever build crazy stuff just for the fun of it?

Let us start it off:

This was inspired by the Teenage Engineering modular, seeing that all their pot caps are LEGO Technic axles. Enrica went on and prototyped this awesome litte LEGO Technic to Eurorack adpater. It takes CV in, and records or plays it back directly to a servo motor. In this clip Enrica is stepping through the LFO shapes of the Mutable Instruments module tester.

And here’s using a motor as a sound source, driving a motor with Gijs Gieskes’ VC122, then picking it up with an Inductorjack and running it through Mutable Instruments’ Rings. The motor again is controlled with a LFO from the Mutable Module Tester.

What are you building?


I designed & built a touch control panel. It uses midi to interface with the synth, and hooks into a laptop computer for “brains”. Right now I’m using it on my Yamaha DX7IID synth, but will be adding to the software, to make it work with different ones.

A problem with capacitive touch sensors is dealing with ambient electrical noise. This can cause sensor output to have poor response time, and the last thing you want in performance controls on a music instrument is time lag. I devised an effective method of cancelling out that noise, that doesn’t rely on filtering, averaging, or complex processing, and it works well even on noise that’s at or near the sensor’s operating frequency, without adding more than a few microseconds of lag time.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well the look & feel of it ended up, I was worried that since it has no mechanical “feel” to it, it might be tedious to use, but the snappy response time gave it a natural feel in use. I also didn’t expect how much effect it would have on my playing, but I got more than I bargained for! Now I’m finally breaking down and focusing on learning how to play well, I have a long way to go.

Here’s a (poorly done) video showing the control panel in use, and showing a bit of what’s inside.

video of synth with touch-control panel