Overview of the UBZR1 Analog Synthesizer
I have been interested in synthesizers since a very long time and I had do-it-yourself built two analog synthesizers. These were of the classical patch cable and "potentiometer control" type to define and control the sound.
This time I wanted to build a synthesizer that can store and re-store "patches" and settings while keeping a manual tactile feeling when operating. I named it UBZR1.
For UBZR1 I had the following design objectives:
- Musical capability similar to the MiniMoog synthesizer
- Fully analog sound generation
- Save and restore of patches and settings
- MIDI interface
The synthesizer has four main parts:
- Analog sound generation
- Digital to Analog Converter
- Human User Interface with real knobs and switches
While MIDI is used for the "digital side" of things − for example to store and retrieve patches − there is yet no MIDI capability on the keyboard side. I.e. the keyboard is an analog device like with the classical synthesizers. I intend to add MIDI on that side as well. Due to the modular design this is straight forward to do.
The description of UBZR1 on this web site is structured in the following sections:
- Architecture: this section shows the sound generation and modulation components and the signal path
- Mechanics: this section shows the case and mechanical construction
- Modules show the various electronical components of UBZR1 that are mostly built as slide-in modules for a standard 3-unit height 19" crate. Exceptions are the power supply and the analog keyboard
Check out the sound clips to hear some examples what this piece can do.
Please also read the legal notices for this project.
Human User Interface (HUI)
I have the following requirements for a "real" HUI:
- Real knobs. "Heavy" gear with good tactile feed back
- Real switches
- Settings displayed in an analog manner (e.g. bar graphs)
- Arrangement of knobs, switches and display to follow the signal path on a panel as with vintage analog synthesizers
- All knob and switch settings which means "patches" shall be able to be stored
- Patches to be re-called and shown on the displays
- Storage of the patches shall be achieved both:
- within the HUI device itself
- as MIDI SysEx files on some external file system based storage medium, usually a PC, MAC or other MIDI-capable device
- No noticeable and annoying operating system overhead with boot process et cetera.
The GHTL1 device is my solution to these requirements.