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Making digital synthesizers nowadays (?)


New Member

I am an electronics engineer and in my and a few years ago, when I was a student my hobby was building of digital synthesizers (physical, hardware synthesizers, not VST). In general - virtual analog, FM / PM synthesis. A few months after graduation I realized, that nowadays (for me) it doesn't make sense in the world of PCs, VSTs and so one. I still really like to do this, but I'm not, because this is really time consuming thing and I don't see any chance on making at least enough money to don't need to have additional job. So I have a few questions for you to make sure if my thinking is correct:

1. Do you think that building hardware digital synthesizer (VA / FM / PM) for commercial purposes makes / or not any sense nowadays? Why / Why not?
2. If yes - how this device should looks like? (interface / synthesis engine / parameters, polyphony channels, functionality and so on)
3. What is annoying to you in digital synthesizers available today?
4. If it doesn't make sense - do you have other ideas how to use hardware skills in music making? :D (sorry, just trying to find new path of life before I'll decide to be a software guy :D)

By the way - this is how my "master's project" from student years looked like:


Holden Sandman

New Member
If you look over on the GearSlutz forum you might get a better idea of the market.

Everyone seems to be craving real analog synthesisers these days. There's a bit of digital stuff in eurorack format though, maybe you could produce some digital eurorack modules?


Senior Member
If you don't want to lose the hardware path an interesting way would be to follow integration:

1. the behavior of the audio signal in digital domain, also the perfection of the code programming. See VCV Rack.
2. the behavior of virtual synthesizers in relation with hardware controllers. Look the last Omnisphere 2.5
3. the next breaking field of synthesizing live audio signal into virtual synths, e.g. granular, subtraction, etc. + live performance (venues, shows, gigs, concerts). See Ableton Live, Max from Cycling '74, Pure Data.
4. Designing DSP for real instruments. See ProphetXL.
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