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DIY Hybrid Analog/Digital Modular Synthesis Intensive Course

  • Location:
    New York

DIY Hybrid Analog/Digital Modular Synthesis Intensive Course: "CMOS Music"
an electronics hardware based digital logic intensive

Taught By: Phillip Stearns (Harvestworks 2010 Van Lier Artist in Residence)
Hosted by Harvestworks

Monday through Friday, Sep 20 - 24
11am to 5pm

$750 (one price, includes materials)
Register here:

596 Broadway, #602
New York, NY 10012
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleeker

This 5-day (6 hours each day) intensive course assumes a modest level of electronics knowledge. It is designed to be friendly to those who are just getting started in electronics and have a curiosity in making their own electronic musical instruments. Over the course of the module, students will review the basics of electricity, identify components, learn how to read and write schematics, design and build their own custom digital modular synthesizers from the 4000 series of CMOS logic integrated circuits.


The 5-part course features modules with hands-on activities that will immediately apply concepts to practical projects. Each successive activity will grow in complexity and become increasingly open-ended and self-guided. Students will be given simple example circuits and encouraged to develop their own modifications or extensions based on the concepts and information learned in the related lesson.

With the completion of the intensive, students will have a solid foundation of knowledge in basic electronics concepts, and the ability to create their own electronic musical instruments from scratch using a hand-full of components. The types of applications we will focus on as examples will include: simple oscillators, drone synthesizers, simple gating, 2 methods of sequencing, frequency division, and a 1-bit synthesizer that incorporates several of the concepts covered through the modules.

Lesson Overview:

Day 1
Module 1 - Electronics Basics (Build a simple LED circuit)
Module 2 - Introduction to 4000 Logic ICs and Oscillators (Build a simple RC

Module 3 - Mixing Signals with Logic ICs (Build and mix together multiple
Module 4 - Switching and Sequencing with Logic ICs (Switch between multiple

Day 3
Module 5 - Counters (Build a Sequencer)

Day 4
Module 6 - Survey of other Logic ICs (Design Final Project + Begin Building

Day 5
Module 7 - Designing Interfaces (Finish Building Circuits + Design Interface)