EDU DIY Output
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We – Erica Synths and Moritz Klein – have developed a series of educational DIY kits under the brand name mki x es.EDU with one specific goal in mind: to teach people with little-to-no prior experience how to design analog synthesizer circuits from scratch. What you’ll find in the box is not simply meant to be soldered together and then disappear in your rack. Instead, we want to take you through the circuit design process step by step, explaining every choice we’ve made and how it impacts the finished module.
In total, we have developed 9 kits to build a fully-featured modular monosynth: a sequencer, a VCO, a wavefolder, a noise/S&H module, a mixer, a VCF, an Envelope generator, a dual VCA, and an output stereo mixer with a headphone amplifier. Additionally, an affordable eurorack case with a DIY PSU will also be available. While these kits are easy to build, we did not compromise on design and functionality. We will launch one kit every 4-6 weeks. For each kit, there is an extensive user manual (40+ pages; can be downloaded separately) that will dive deep into not only the electronics behind each circuit but also the fundamental principles of sound synthesis. We hope that the mki x es.EDU project will inspire future engineers and will contribute to the ever-growing diversity of electronic music technology.
NB! All kits in these series are simple and come with extensive user manuals, therefore we will not provide customer support in case your DIY build fails to function or similar.
User manual — Sept. 2, 2022English
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EDU DIY VCO
The mki x es.EDU VCO is the first educational DIY kit in this series. It is an analog sawtooth-core oscillator with a reasonably accurate volt/octave tracking, made from just a handful of basic components. It features sawtooth and pulse outputs as well as 1V/oct, FM, and PWM inputs.
EDU DIY VCA
mki x es.EDU VCA is a simple yet efficient dual VCA for your eurorack system. It has DC-coupled inputs so you can use the VCA both for audio and CV signals. Inputs of the second VCA are normalled to the first one which allows to split the audio signal to both VCA or control both VCAs with a single CV. A 60-page build manual explains the electronics behind the module and provides step-by-step build instructions.
DIY eurorack case for mki x es.EDU system
The mki x es.edu project takes you on a journey of building a complete, self-contained eurorack system. Those who are already into eurorack will find the mki x es.edu modules to be a nice addition to their existing systems, but those who are about to take their first steps into modular synthesizers will need a reliable and safe power supply unit (PSU) and enclosure.
EDU DIY EG
Many iconic sounds like the squelchy acid bass line, snappy techno kick drum, and swelling dream pop pad wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for envelope generators. So, the next module in the mki x es.edu line is a slightly optimized ADSR envelope generator. Optimized because it has only 3 controls. With sustain on, it outputs an ASR (attack/sustain/release) envelope, but when the sustain is set to a minimum, it becomes an AD (attack/decay) envelope generator that ignores gate length; Release and Decay are controlled by the same knob. A looping function and an inverted output make the module more versatile for complex patches.
EDU DIY Sequencer
If you’re new to DIY synthesizer building, you might’ve run into this issue: you just set up your first VCO on a breadboard, spent a good while troubleshooting the stubborn thing – and then you realize you have nothing to actually control it with. OR if you already have a decent modular setup, but still haven't found a simple, hands-on sequencer - here’s a compact, yet versatile 5 step sequencer with adjustable sequence length, per step gate status, and output range! It works both from an internal and external clock and has reset input for more complex sequences if several sequencers are chained up. It works also as a waveshaper when clocked at the audio rate.
EDU DIY VCF
Who doesn’t love a good resonant low pass VCF? It’s arguably the beating heart of any subtractive synth – adding character, dynamics, and a good deal of retro-futuristic oddness to your patches. That’s why a diode ladder VCF that sticks to super basic and widely available components was created. On top of that, the architecture is as approachable as possible by avoiding the tricky diff-pair setup classic ladder filters rely on.
EDU DIY Mixer
Mixing might be more of a utility function in a modular synthesizer – but this doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be dull and boring. Case in point: this super simple three-channel mixer with built-in diode distortion will make your patches sound delightfully rough.
EDU DIY Noise/S&H
Whether you use it for self-sequencing, for adding a dash of randomness to your filter movements, or for rough analog bitcrushing, a sample & hold-circuit can often be the secret sauce that takes your patch from decent to distinctive. That’s why we came up with this super simple JFET-based implementation – and then upgraded it with a couple of extra features like an internal clock generator or a dedicated slew output. Of course, we’ll need an interesting input to sample – which is why you’ll often find sample & hold modules with an integrated noise generator. So we’ll do the same! But instead of just one noise color, we’ll throw in two extra: pink and blue in addition to the standard white noise.