Despite the lingering reality that most of us don’t have what it takes to make it to the upper reaches of the Hit Parade, there remain many who still harbour a secret desire to make music. What better way to realise this dream, than by making [Blog Hoskins’] $20 MIDI synth project!
The write-up goes into a staggering level of detail to ensure that it’s accessible at all levels, to the extent that a complete beginner could probably assemble a working synth by following it. For some of the fancier parts of front panel there’s a reliance on a laser cutter, but even without such wizardry the Average Joe with an electric drill could still do a pretty good job.
Behind the panel though it’s not short on features it’s a surprisingly simple design. At its heart is an Arduino Nano, surrounded by potentiometers and switches for user control, and an opto-coupler for the MIDI lines. Sadly for analogue synth fans there’s not much else in the way of circuitry, but the point of a build such as this one is to create a playable instrument with the shortest path to usability. A video full fo those glorious synth sounds is below the break.
MIDI synthesisers are a frequent feature here at Hackaday. A recent favourite is this four-voice instrument that uses servos as its active element.