Analog Synthesizers
a disclaimer here: when i started building these synthesizers and gadgets i was working with a very limited budget which constrained me to using materials that i could find for free or extremely inexpensively. small description of my experience in electronics here. at that time there was no internet, synth-diy, or much of any kind of support system. this was after the first wave of analog synths and electronics and in my own circles of friends i was surely the only one building instruments. besides my lack of funds there is also my fashion handicap and my lack of access to any kind of workshop for metalwork or woodwork. hence the very low-tech look of plastic and recycled wood, uneven panels, and just all round 'homebuilt' look...i kind of like it


My first homebuilt analog synthesizer (called The POS) was started in 1986 as a very small semi-modular synth. One large, flat panel with i think 2 VCOs, 1 VCF, 1VCA,and 2 LFOs. The front panel was a piece of hard nylon plastic that i scrounged from my job.  All the "modules" were mounted on this one faceplate but were separate circuits. All were very cheap, shoddy designs but they worked. After  acquiring the book Electronic Music Circuits i started to rebuild them one by one. Originally i started to build a synthesizer for my bandmate to play in addition to our Moog Sonic Six.  He never really took a strong interest in the homebuilt, perhaps it was too weird or something :^)   After many rebuilds the POS started to sound and play much better so i decided "hey, if he's not gonna play it- then i guess i will."  This was about late 1987 or 1988. I started adding FX, i would take apart, modifry, and install them into the POS. Basically it turned into a combination effects synthesizer and traditional subtractive synth.

1993 i decided to hack up one of the realistic MG-1 units i had just acquired that was kind of beaten up.  By this time there were more modules laying around than would fit in the POS so i used a few of them and built an expander unit for the MG-1.  I brought out all sorts of connections on the MG-1 to a separate module in the expander. This became the POG1. In 1996 i chopped the keyboard off the MG-1 and heavily modifryed the circuitry. At about the same time i started working on the POG1 i acquired (most of a) Moog Progidy in trade for a repair job.  Missing the keyboard and a small chunk of face panel it had a toasted VCO, LFO, and Trigger circuit. Since i already owned a Prodigy (in good condition) i knew i liked their sound quite a bit, but thought i could make a new synth with the prodigy guts but a lot more function.

In early 2000 i started overhauling the POG1. bigger wooden case for more module space. Grabbed a few more modules from the old POS which put it in unusable condition :^( Added a spring reverb ---which has since been removed.

Enter the POG2 which was started in 1998.  The POG 2 came together from an overflow of older modules from POG 1 and that Moog Prodigy that i describe above. I fixed (and modifried) the circuits, added about 20 CV ins, and made a wooden case that fit the Prodigy on the top row and my weird sized modules on the second row. I made a mixer and utility in a bigger size to fit next to the Prodigy.

Here's a look at the POG 3 as it is now. It needs troubleshooting, exquisite paint pen labeling, and a few more modules from the big box of old modules or from the box of almost finished new ones.


One of the distinctive aspects of the POG1 is the Flying Saucer which is an optical interface, actually it is a shadow controller. i apply a bright light to the surface which has 9 CdS cells and it generates control voltages which i  can patch any old way into the POG1. Then by moving my hands, feet, head, or whole body through the field of light and creating shadows on the Flying Saucer i can control various parameters on the synth. i haven't used the Flying Saucer in years but i have been comtemplating a newer version of it with a small 8bit micro, i have a few arduinos laying about that would suffice.

Starting in 2012 i used colored acrylic for faceplates of my newer modules. The older ones were a kind of nylon. Here are some of the new modules


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very slightly updated 2007 and 2009 and 2023

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