[sdiy] Low voltage synthesis?

Chris McDowell declareupdate at gmail.com
Thu Jan 13 19:42:17 CET 2022

I have dug into this some. 

I built a VCO, VCF, and VCA from LM13700s running at 3.3V. While it was what I'd call "a little bit noisy", they sound "old" which to me often equates to "good" 

I'd say build something and determine if it is too noisy. I used MCP6002 op amps and LM13700. 

> On Jan 13, 2022, at 10:20 AM, cheater cheater via Synth-diy <synth-diy at synth-diy.org> wrote:
> Synths generally run off 15V or 12V power rails, which among others
> helps with SNR. However, it creates a bunch of power dissipation, plus
> you can't use some of the tiniest components. Does it make sense to
> build synthesizer circuits that run on much lower voltages than that?
> Say, 1.5V rails? Are there techniques of suppressing noise that are
> better than just ramping up the voltage rails? Have the parts
> progressed enough nowadays that we can do this?
> Never mind stuff like interfacing with existing modular synthesizer
> parts etc. Let's say you're building a modern 8-voice polysynth with 4
> VCO, VCF, VCA, ENV, LFO per voice. Obviously that would generate loads
> of heat and possibly tuning issues given the constraints of a
> keyboard, plus it would be huge, especially given the size of
> capacitors vs their rated voltage.
> Where would noise creep in first if you started lowering rail voltage
> in your synthesizer designs? What other disadvantages in terms of
> signal integrity come from using low voltage rails for synths?
> Thanks
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