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The DelphiChord Analog Mini-Synth.

  • Based on the Mini-Synth MkII by Ray Wilson of MFOS
  • 2 tuned VCOs capable of tracking 4 octaves @ 1V/Octave, with CV/Gate inputs and waveform outputs
  • 2 Envelope Generators with Gate/CV/trigger Inputs and Outputs
  • 4 waveform LFO with CV/Gate Outputs and switchable inputs from both VCOs
  • VCA with switchable and attenuated inputs from VCO1, or LFO
  • State variable VCF with CV/Gate Inputs and outputs.
  • White noise generator
  • Patchable sample & hold
  • Wave form generator for ramp to triangle, and triangle to sine.
  • Powered by internal 115VAC to 12VDC 750mA supply
  • External 12V jack for sequencer, keyboard or additional module power.
  • 0-12V CV input and capable of patching with most commercial and DIY analog synthesizers or keyboards.

I was thinking of building something steampunk, but after searching the net I found some really good examples already out there of steampunk synths. I don’t even know if they worked or not, many of the artists took the chassis from commercial synths and repackaged them into a steampunk version. Very cool ideas, and I thought why try to continue down the same path of others when another fork in the same path may yield interesting results. So I thought…”What if physicists back in the 1840s built one”? I thought “what would it look like… some sort of Franken-synth”?

I also wanted to pay tribute to Ray Wilson, who in my mind was one of the greatest DIY electronics teachers out there. Ray devoted much of his life, and certainly his passions toward DIY synths. I never met Ray, nor exchanged emails with him. He became ill just at the time I really started to read his site. I learned much from Ray, on passion, inspiration and synth building ideas, that I decided to dedicate one of his last mini synth designs to something cool. This site is about inspiration to other artists, makers and creators and I hope the DelphiChord can accomplish that.

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The DelphiChord is short for “Delphic Accordion”. Delphic is taken from a Greek historical meaning of ‘mysterious, obscure or ambiguous’. And accordion, “Concord of sounds”.. I think you get it. The names used by physicists back in the mid-1800s were latin made up things, that I swear were derived over bottles of port wine. Instead of Voltage controlled oscillator or VCO, we can have a Euphoric Pendulum. Instead of “Sample & Hold”, how about “Nefarious Possession”? You can see the names and translations on the panel photos. The panel is made of brushed stainless steel. I originally wanted copper, but I could not find anyone in my area that could laser etch large copper sheets. The box is actually a CD tower. It stood vertically and opened in the middle. Both halves were the same depth, but I needed to get the dust (and old laundry) off my table saw, therefore the top is less in depth that the bottom.

DelphiChord

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This synth has tremendous bass, yet can exceed 27KHz in the upper frequencies. The total range is about 10Hz to 27.5KHz. The original design and Ray’s edition can track 7 Octaves. I build this from strip board and hand wire, so there is some sloppy work to kill that chance. Having said that, after calibrating both VCOs it will track just over 4 Octaves.

For sound demos go here: https://youtu.be/DmPLkwRwsWU

and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohmywQaPlZ0

For a complete demo, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGOuFKsuVXQ

The synth is also patchable with many other commercial or DYI synth modules. In fact the entire project concept of the “Magical Music Room”or “MMR”, will likely incorporate 15 synthesizers, sequencers and rhythm modules or machines. All of which will be patched together for an orchestrated sound machine. The DelphiChord is supposed to look used, worn but inviting. It may end up being a small table or foot locker in the “MMR”.

For more images and info of the build, look here: http://sixbyseven.ca/delphichord-build/

Dedicated to Ray Wilson of Music From Outer Space.