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Official Simple Instrument

Music Canvas

Inspired by the Buchla Music Easel, Canvas is an additive synthesizer designed for experimental music composition and performance.
Simple Synth DIY board
Daisy seed microcontroller
Touch sensor
Multiplexer
Neopixels

build complexity

Advanced

coding language

Arduino

design engineering

Lucas Bonvin

ux & interface design

Roey Tsemah
build it yourself
Grab a kit and build this synthesizer, picking up design and engineering skills along the way.
Inspired by the Buchla Music Easel, Canvas is an additive synthesizer designed for experimental music composition and performance.

Inspired by the legendary Buchla Music Easel, Canvas is a DIY additive synthesizer designed for experimental music composition and performance.

Canvas is designed to inspire exploration. With its countless routing possibilities, using switches and touch pads, one can discover a world of sound, melodies and groovy patterns. The synth engine, routing and interface are drawn from the original 1972 Buchla Music Easel.

Canvas runs a complex oscillator with patchable wave shape controls. A second oscillator can be used to modulate the complex oscillator (both AM and FM) and can be added as an additional voice as well. Two LPGs (low pass gates) and VCAs (voltage controlled amplifiers) are assigned to the oscillators output and can be controlled by two envelopes.

In its heart, Canvas has a 5-step sequencer, clock, pulser (sawtooth waveform) and random voltage source. These can be routed in different ways to control the various parameters of the instrument.

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You can build your own Canvas, using the Simple kit and the Canvas instructions on Github. A video tutorial is also in the pipeline and will be release in the near future. This is an advanced build, so if it's your first time you might want to start with a simpler project like the Audrey II feedback synth, or the Spotykach dual looper. The build can be divided to a few sections. Each section has a test piece of code to assure you've done it correctly.

For step by step instructions, follow this link.

General building steps

  • Daisy Seed basic connectivity
  • Faders
  • Potentiometers
  • Switches
  • Multiplexer
  • Touch sensor
  • Neopixels
  • Front panel assembly
Open source code
Click here to grab this project's code
Simple Synth DIY board
A synth prototyping board for building standalone and Eurorack instruments
Daisy seed microcontroller
A powerful microcontroller for synthesis programmed through C++, Arduino, Pure data and Max MSP
Touch sensor
A touch capacitance sensor can detect anything that is conductive
Multiplexer
Adding additional GPIO pins to a microcontroller
Neopixels
individually-addressable RGB color pixels and strips based on the WS2812, WS2811 and SK6812 LED/drivers, using a single-wire control protocol
About the instrument
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