Screech Owl Is A Tribute To The Eowave Persephone

The Eowave Persephone was a beautiful thing—a monophonic ribbon synth capable of producing clean, smoothly varying tones. [Ben Glover] used to own a nice example that formerly belonged to Peter Christopherson, but lost it in the shifting sands of time. His solution was to build one of his own from scratch.

It’s a simple build, but the final result puts out a nice pleasant sound.

Known as the Screech Owl, the build is based around a custom shield designed to suit the Arduino Leonardo. The primary control interface is a Softpot 500 mm membrane potentiometer, layered up with a further thin film pressure sensor which provides aftertouch control. The Leonardo reads these sensors and synthesizes the appropriate frequencies in turn.

All the electronics is wrapped up inside a tidy laser-cut enclosure that roughly approximates the design of the original Eowave device. [Ben] noted the value of services like Fiverr and ChatGPT for helping him with the design, while he also enjoyed getting his first shield design professionally manufactured via JLCPCB.

It’s a tidy build, and in [Ben’s] capable hands, it sounds pretty good, too. We’ve seen some other great ribbon controlled synths before, too. Video after the break.

6 thoughts on “Screech Owl Is A Tribute To The Eowave Persephone

  1. Nifty project.
    Makes me wonder about varying wave form shapes to get different type sounds.
    If you had more than one resistor strip, could you get any capacitive effects and I wonder what that would sound like?

    Now throw in a few guitar effect pedals and the talk-box hose.
    Dang, this took me back to the 1970’s fast!

  2. I’ve looked into the soft-pots but haven’t had a hands on try yet. The musical demo above was a little rough. Having played a homebrew e-bow steel guitar for a while I’ve have gotten good at pitch and inflection because of the low friction of steel on strings, with no fret marks or visual cues.

    Doing vibrato on this ribbon has friction with the finger not present in the steel hindering good musical technique. The steel on string is far more physical than the Theremin which I’ve had a hands on (pun) experience with. It’s standing with body-hand-arm stable vs. hand on bar touching. It’s like singing with one hand.

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