My first DIY synth, the Shmøergh A1 is a good monosynth but when I gave it to some musician friends for a spin it turned out to be a bit overwhelming, hard to understand and def. not ideal for live situations. So I sat down with my homeboy Flame and made a concept about an analog synth that is much simpler and easier to use on a gig—we call it the Shmøergh Hog.
I could reuse a lot of the circuits and ideas from the A1 so I finished the basic prototype during the weekends of the last 4-5 months. Here's how it looks and sounds today:
This is cool but some parts are still missing to make it a complete instrument.
Week 1: keyboard
You may recognize that the whole thing is in a BITTERGURKA IKEA flower pot and I'm sure you see that it doesn't have any built in keys. So at the moment, to be able to play this synth you need to use an external keyboard which has special outputs called "control voltages", which is rare. Any instrument on a live gig must be simple to set up (says the drummer)—you plug in your guitar or synth and off you go. To achieve this, the Hog must have a built-in keyboard. I'm planning to use a donor keyboard and a MIDI converter for this, so it should be done in about a week. I know, ambitious but I'm trying to pull my son to help me write code for it.
Beyond this, there are at least two incredibly simple and genius effects that I must build in this synth: a reverb and a talkbox.
Week 2: spring reverb
OMG. If there's anything that makes the sound of anything in the world a million times better then that must be a spring reverb. This synth must have one. No question. Luckily the circuit for a spring reverb is very simple so that's week 2.
Week 3: talkbox
The funkiest sound you can get from a synth is through a talkbox, which is a genius idea: it pushes the sound through a tube to your mouth and allows you to form the voice. So eventually you sing on the voice of the instrument generating the sound (typicall a guitar or a synth). The circuit contains about 4 components, so week 3 should be enough for it.
Week 4: make some noise
If all goes well, I'll have a week to spend on making music with my new baby. Wish me luck so I could finish everything.