I’m working on a mono expressive synth called Wiggler. It’s inspired by Duduk, MiniMoog, and the Ondes Martenot. It’s a mono synth with cap touch keys that can be wiggled for vibrato and pressed down for emphasis.
Long term I want to make my own expressive synth products. For my first project I’m trying to find a simple concept that can be ready this year. To me that means no screen, injection molds, or custom sensors. Wiggler feels like a pretty good fit, it can be made from PCBs and a waterjet flexure.
The expressive input gives depth to the relatively simple synth. It was fun to rethink the typical ADSR/LFO modulators, I looked over pictures of the Minimoog, Sirin, and Mono Lancet for inspiration and landed on “Pluck,” “Press,” and “Wiggle.”
Here’s a video going into the build process, flexure/sensor function, and synth patch. Would love to answer any questions and hear what you think.
Love it, love everything about it. You had me at the bend at 0:12. Kudos for exploring a space where the synth is simple and the focus is making it into an instrument, rather than throwing 900 features into the tone generation.
Very cool design philosophy to pack expressiveness and fun into a small box with a few well chosen inputs. Loved watching the video and learning about your choices. It would be fun to try making some microtonal/drone music on this just by modulating the wiggle on a single note for a long time.
Did you consider adding some resonance to the filter? (Sorry if you covered this and I missed it)
If I was performing on this I think I’d personally prefer the pure minor scale without the raised seventh, but that might just be me : )
@Tyler id say I’m primaripy a synth nerd and mechanical engineer. I do like to noodle on instruments and grew up playing bass, but I’m not super well practiced at it
@terribleben thanks for the input, I do want to accommodate natural minor. That’s actually a big thing I’m wondering about, is how to do the scales. Right now I’m thinking a 3 position switch with options: Major, Minor, User. Then on the back there could be a DIP switch with 5 toggles for flattening the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and/or 7th of the user scale.
(Edit: oh yes I have a resonance knob, labeled “!” in the video)
I’m leaning more towards finished product than kit. My personal preference is to provide a polished instrument experience more than the experience of building a kit.
I’m glad you like the note layout. I was inspired by keyboards. It also leaves one hand free for knob wiggling. My original sketches were more like an Ondes Martenot with the left hand pressing down on a block and the right hand selecting the note and wiggling.
I’m thinking about adding another row of four notes below the root note so that there’s musical breathing room on both sides of the root note. But then you start having problems with different amounts of leverage on the different rows. Need to test it.
Here’s what the front panel might look like for v2 which will use real PCBs