Audio synthesizers can range from vast racks of equipment with modules stitched together by a web of patch cords to a couple of 555s wired together in an Atari punk arrangement. This light-controlled synth comes in closer to the lower extreme of that range, but packs a sonic punch that belies its simplicity.
The project is the latest version of [lonesoulsurfer]’s “Moog Light Synthesizer,” which shares a lot of the circuitry found in his first version a couple of years ago. This one has a lot of bells and whistles, but it all starts with a PWM oscillator that contributes to the mean, growling quality of its sound. There’s also a low-pass filter that’s controlled by a couple of light-dependent resistors, which can be played by blocking them off with a fingertip. A couple of inverters form a drone oscillator that can be switched into the circuit, as well as a 555-based arpeggiator to chop things up a bit.
All those circuits, as well as support for a thirteen-key keyboard, live on one custom PCB. There’s also an off-the-shelf echo/reverb module that’s been significantly hacked to add to the richness of the sound. The custom wood and acrylic case make the whole thing look as good as it sounds.
We noted that [lonesoulsurfer]’s previous “Box of Beezz” drone synth seemed to evoke parts of the “THX Deep Note” at times; similarly, some of the sounds of this synth sound like they’d come from the soundtrack of a [Christopher Nolan] film — check it out in the video below.