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Where do I start? - SparkFun Electronics

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Where electronics enthusiasts find answers.

By DeCiBelz
I’m a big fan of music, and thanks to a friend of mine I’ve been getting into (understanding and valuing, not playing or owning unfortunately) Modular Synthesis/Synthesizers.

It’s kind of pushed me to understand audio much better, as well as the various devices that modulate audio, and how those modulations affect our perception of the audio.

So jumping ahead: I’m also curious how these things are made, and (mixed with other various projects I think would be fun/interesting) I wanted to see what it would take to create/build/design my own synthesizer.

I already understand the fundamental components of a basic subtractive synth (which is a relatively “safe” first synth to design, as it’s basically the most common/easy to control/design type of synthesizer out there AFAIK), but actually designing/creating/connecting/building the components is a total mystery to me.

I figured this would be the best place to come to with questions.

So a general list of things I would like to know how to do/create eventually are:

A morphable oscillator (either between the various basic analogue wave shapes, or maybe a basic shape that gets warped by an exterior source [like another oscillator, or a signal filter/shaper of some sort])

A physical MIDI sequencer (has a MIDI out that sends MIDI instructions to MIDI compatible hardware) with advanced sequencing algorithms. (I’ve already made a MIDI clock and a MIDI sequencer in Reaktor 6, but I wouldn’t mind creating an actual physical component that I can jam on in a live setting)

And then (totally changing topics), a super advanced project I will probably never complete: An autonomous drone that can navigate my house on its own, so my cats have something to chase/play with.

I think the MIDI one would be the easiest of them all, because it’s (in my limited understanding) a matter of hooking buttons up to a processor that turns those button presses into commands... then again, sync-ability with a MIDI clock source might be a huge headache - as well as transmitting MIDI clock data in an appropriate way as well.

But I’m jumping way ahead... I think... just starting with an unfiltered programmable oscillator might be a better 1st project/goal?

Sorry if I seem super arrogant/dumb. I have a bad habit of just jumping head-first into impossibly complicated projects when I want to learn how to do something (first song I tried to learn on guitar was the Trooper - still haven’t finished, that was 10 years ago haha)

Anyways: TLDR: Have grandiose ambitions. Have little knowledge of any of this. Where do I start?