The Secret Southside Synthesizer Society (Tssss) has released a mini desktop synthesizer DIY kit called StartHere designed as a beginners introduction to Synth DIY and based on the MeeBlip Anode.
Tssss is a group of artists based on Glasgow’s Southside who meet up and run workshops where they build synths. The StartHere Synth is the DIY project they base their workshops on. Due to the pandemic shutdown, they’ve had to cancel all the workshops and so have an abundance of StartHere kits which they are now making available for sale. This could be the perfect way to kick off a Synth DIY hobby and keep yourself amused while in self-isolation.
The kit is based on the Open Source MeeBlip Anode which combines digital oscillators with an analogue filter to form a nicely aggressive hybrid pulse/wavetable monosynth. Tssss has changed it a little bit by replacing all the surface mount components with through-hole to make it more suitable for beginners. They’ve replaced the 9V power socket with a Mini USB port and they’ve swapped the output socket for a 3.5mm mono jack. The software is unchanged and version 2.5 which includes dual envelopes and 16 wavetables.
Build your kit
The kit comes with everything you need to build it and includes two silkscreened PCBs and no case for that streamlined naked look. The build guide instructions are excellent with every component photographed and added step-by-step. All you’re going to need is a soldering iron and some spare time.
For fifty quid this is a real bargain and you get to learn a bit about how synths are put together. A ready-made MeeBlip Anode would cost you around $140. I’m not in love with the name, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like perhaps something like the “DIY Danger Synth” or “Fizz Machine” or “Glasgow Glitch Matrix” or anything else really. But it’s certainly a good place to start your Synth DIY journey and I hope Tssss come up with some more kits.