[sdiy] Silhouette Eins optical synthesizer

cheater cheater cheater00social at gmail.com
Thu Sep 2 19:47:26 CEST 2021

Very interesting new synthesizer. Several novel ideas that we could
look at for synth DIY.

The immediately coolest thing is using a screen as a front panel.
Essentially the inventor stuck potentiometers to the front of a PC
monitor. I considered doing something similar maybe 15 years ago but
somehow I thought it wouldn't be "perfect enough". I guess Johannes
Pit Przygodda is less held back by stupidity like that. The end result
is very cool. I wonder if anyone else has tried that. The front panel
can show the current setting of a knob (think LED rings) and you can
reconfigure what knob does what parameter. Real cool. Perfect fusion
of analog knobs, patch memory, and in-depth configurability.

The second cool thing is the synthesis method. A camera scans the
silhouette (hence name) of an item placed on a light table like you'd
use for drawing (essentially it's an LCD screen always showing a
full-white picture). I understand this then is used as an input to a
wavetable synthesizer, but I'm not sure. The Synthtopia article
mentions it might be like the Oramics Machine, but from looking at the
video I believe it might be more like an Optigan.


The third cool thing is the haptic element of the video based
synthesis method. The light table and objects placed upon it become a
control surface, and that's very valuable.

I feel like this will be returning in the future. Being able to place
arbitrary objects on a control surface and to use them as a control
interface and even element of the synthesis engine is a huge step
forward from just having knobs, sliders, strings-with-rings, keys,
buttons, and the like.

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