The Story Of The SynTesla Steampunk Synthesizer

The SynTesla is a unique steampunk synthesizer that looks like a relic from an alternate past.

Here’s what creator Pj Tardiveau told us about the project:

This is a personal DIY project. The core of the synthesizer is based on a Waldorf Streichfett Expander, doped with 2 Tesla 6F31 Vacuum tubes for pre-amplification and equalization and 2 Tesla EM84 Vacuum tube VU-meters.

The main difficulty of this project was to adapt an existing Synth PCB with controllers directly soldered to the main board. I had to carefully rip of all the potentiometers, switches and buttons and replace them with parts that could fit a thick wood control panel.

The entire structure is made of French Oak wood, with a Steampunk style. The idea was to create a synthesizer that looks like an old electrical control panel from the late 19th century.

It has 3 octaves keyboards with no modulation or pitch bend wheels, but 2 octave up and down buttons. The sound characteristics are directly related to the Waldorf Expander. It’s a dual sound engine, featuring a polyphonic strings section and an eight-voice solo section. You can “morph” the different sounds using the big wheel on the board. Twelve patches can be stored and selected in the Memory section just under the big Voltmeter.

Here’s an example of Tardiveau’s SynTesla in action:

16 thoughts on “The Story Of The SynTesla Steampunk Synthesizer

    1. wow, what a great idea. so original, like this post! never been done before! such a wonderful invention needs a fitting name. how about calliope.

  1. The French labels for the knobs add to the quaint character. « Équilibre » for “balance”? Interesting.
    Interesting also that the music played isn’t itself marked as “steampunk”.
    It’s also a pretty decent ad for the Waldorf string synthesizer. Had noticed the Streichfett in stores but hadn’t listened to it.

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