Electrical Engineering and Synthesizers


Does anyone know of good resources (online lectures, books, documentaries, or otherwise) for learning the engineering behind synthesizers, like circuity and all of that?


You could start here:


I remember Olivier from Mutable Instruments saying somewhere that he learned a lot from online course materials of this one EE professor from Georgia Tech:

Actually did some quick googling:

His name is Aaron Lanterman, here’s his website - http://lanterman.ece.gatech.edu

Course sites:



I tried watching some of the lectures, but it went a little too fast for my understanding of electrical engineering.


Just seconding the Electro Notes documents. It’s been recommended to me various times.


Lots of circuits here:





This is how I started: http://www.nicolascollins.com/handmade.htm



You didn’t specify your level with this stuff, so here are some resources:


Forest Mims ‘getting started in electronics.’ - a nice review book, in notebook format. Starts basic but… basics are good.

Forest Mims Engineers Notebook.

Make: Analog Synthesizers. Ray Wilson. (of Music from Outer Space). Basic-ish.

Foundations / Wide Ranging:

Practical Electronics for Inventors. Scherz and Monk.

A bit more eclectic:

Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking. Nic Collins.

Crazy old Reference:

Musical Applications of Microprocessors. 1980. Hayden Books. Hard to find but lots of good old stuff.

I have all of these if you want more info on any.



Seems that a bunch of us all posted Nic Collins’ book at nearly the same time.


I hit post 2nd. I get the silver medal?


If you have the time, an electrical engineering degree helps :wink:

But seriously… @jonas mentioned MI, all the schematics for those modules are available so it’s useful to study them or any other schematics available online. The book “The Art of Electronics” is pretty great too, but you need to be comfortable with a fair bit of math to get the most of it. Math helps in general with circuit design though :slight_smile:


I love that book and read it from cover to cover. Collins courages experimentation and has such a great diy spirit. Lots of fun breadboard + simple things to try.

This ubuweb page has a bunch of old papers and curiosities: http://www.ubu.com/emr/index.html


Also, check out Collins youtube-channel, he’s great!


Going to resurect this thread rather than start my own. I’ve been considering modifying some circuits in some modular gear.

Is there anyone with a decent knowledge of electrical engineering who would be willing to let me PM some noob-ish questions about what’s going on in a schematic to help make sense of a few things? :pray:


Unfortunately my own electrical engineering education left me with a lot more practical knowledge of software design than circuit design, but I feel like a circuit design/troubleshooting help thread would be something I’d intently eavesdrop on.


Yeah, a general thread seems like it could be useful as well. This has some overlap with the Hardware Design thread as well. Maybe a general thread Q:A thread would be useful as well?


I’m an EE. I work in RF power generators but I can try to answer some questions.


You can just ask in this thread! No question is too basic. We all start somewhere! And in a few years when your module business is thriving, we’ll have this as a testament to that :slight_smile:


Ask away. I’m an EE also and I’ll throw my hat in the ring.


my good friend + fellow circuit bending wizard and noiser will molasses actually compiled a fantastic list of electrical engineering books/guides with relations to synths - https://textuploader.com/1an76

definitely give his instagram a browse too - we share a lot of the same design philosophies, tho he’s more willing to coat things in “shrek green” spraypaint - https://www.instagram.com/molasses_llc/