Awesome Steampunk Modular Synthesizer

Over at The Steampunk Workshop,  Jake von Slatt has a nice write up on a Jules Verne inspired analog synthesizer with etched brass control panels.

While we’ve seen hundreds of nice modular synths, you have to admit the etched brass panels on this are pretty sextacular.

Here’s what the synth’s creator has to say about it:

I don’t have any plans to add a keyboard to the setup anytime soon. Being an electronic instrument the control interface is somewhat arbitrary. I feel that the piano-keyboard paradigm forces you to approach the instrument with a mind set that is deeply rooted in western musical tradition and therefore has some baggage attached to it.

I’m more interested in creating an open ended music system that encourages exploration and discovery and not be limited by the twelve notes of the western scale. The idea being that this system is an experimental sound generating engine, with all parameters for shaping the sounds available as panel controls. I’m not so interested in sitting down and playing a melody on a keyboard. If that were the case I could have just bought a Casiotone and been done with it.

I’d love to see more panel experimentation like this.

Panels are typically the most expensive components in modular synthesizers, especially large-format ones. That’s unfortunate, since you can put the electronics behind a piece of cardboard and it will sound the same.

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