Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Students will explore simple electronic circuits which make up the various components of an analog synthesizer, and combine them in a portable, battery-powered, sound-making instrument. There will be a final presentation on the last day of the workshop where students will present their instruments and teach others how to play them.

Credits: 3

Schedule: 03.04.2018 - 06.04.2018

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Ian Holzer

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Antti Ikonen

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English

CONTENT, ASSESSMENT AND WORKLOAD

Content
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    In this course we will explore simple electronic circuits which make up the various components of an analog synthesizer, including:

    • Voltage Controlled Oscillators
    • Voltage Controlled Filters
    • Generative Sequencers
    • Envelope Generators
    • Voltage Controlled Amplifiers
    • Mixers
    • Distortions
    • Microphone Inputs

     

    You will have a chance to build some of these various circuits yourself, explore ways of controlling them, and combine them in unique and personalized sound-making instrument that is portable, has its own loudspeaker, and can be powered by 9V batteries.

    There will be a final presentation on the last day of the workshop where students will present their instruments and teach others how to play them.

    You are required to bring a wooden enclosure of some kind to build you instrument. Please locate this before the course begins! Cigar or wine-bottle boxes work very well if you find one large enough. You can also ask the Aalto Fablab to help you construct one using the laser cutter. The lid of this box should not be more than 5mm thick. The size of your box should be at least 20cm x 15cm x 6cm, and preferably larger if you want more interface controls or a larger speaker.

     

    If you want a larger speaker than the 8-10cm ones I will provide, please salvage one from an old boombox, clock radio, or hi-fi system. The bigger the speaker, the louder and lower in tone it will create. Make sure it fits inside your box, however.

    You can see images and videos from previous versions of this workshop here:

    http://macumbista.net/?page_id=1187

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    During this workshop, students will create an electronic sound instrument over 5 days of 7 hours each. 80% presence required.

     

Workload
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    During this workshop, students will create an electronic sound instrument over 5 days of 7 hours each.

DETAILS

Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    RECOMMENDED TEXTS

    Most of these are available from the Media Lab library, and will be reserved for our use during the course.

    Collins, Nicolas: Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Second Edition). Routeledge, 2009.

    Mims, Forrest M. III: Engineer s Mini Notebook Vol I: Timer, OpAmp & Optoelectronic Circuits & Projects. Master Publishing, 2004.

    Mims, Forrest M. III: Engineer s Mini Notebook Vol III: Electronic

    Sensor Circuits & Projects. Master Publishing, 2004.

    Mims, Forrest M. III: Engineer s Mini Notebook Vol IV: Electronic Formulas, Symbols & Circuits. Master Publishing, 2004.

    Williams, Elliot. Logic Noise. https://hackaday.com/tag/logic-noise/

    Wilson, Ray. Make: Analog Synthesizers. Maker Media, Inc, 2013.

Prerequisites
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    This class is largely intended for students of the Department of Media, in particular the Sound in New Media students. Therefore, while prior experience with electronic circuits is not necessary, participants will be expected to have some working knowledge of sound and how it is produced electronically (terms such as frequency, amplitude, timbre, oscillator, amplifier, filter, etc, should all be familiar).