The modular synthesis world can seem like a nearly all-encompassing macro-field, containing within it many different areas of study. Of course, having some musical knowledge is a plus, knowing how to play a keyboard and sequence notes can be helpful for getting beyond noodling and into more substantive production. As well, an understanding of sound synthesis is important to make the most of the time you have with your instrument. A basic awareness of the principles of electronics can also be extremely helpful, especially when hardware begins to malfunction or you want to build diy or your very own modules.

One of the more helpful individuals on the web is electronics whiz and musician, Collin Cunningham. His series, Collin’s Lab, is one of the most comprehensive and entertaining electronics education series on the web. Collin has made a number of video series for Make Magazine and Adafruit as well as his own site, all of which are at the same time informative, exciting and hilarious. Collin’s Lab features Cunningham’s expert presentation and technique which are easy to understand and his half-rockabilly/half-nerd-chic style creates an instant rapport with the viewer.

Collin’s Lab covers a wide variety of basic electronics parts, tools and projects. He has an entire series of videos about individual electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes and more, as well as how to read schematics to put them all together. Another series covers some basic projects including the classic Atari Punk Console, a crunch square wave synth and favorite first project for diy instrument makers.

In 2012, Cunningham was named Creative Engineer at Adafruit, where he is both creating new video series and developing Adafruit’s amazing new software for electronics enthusiasts, Circuit Playground. Circuit Playground is an app for electronics reference and calculation. The Circuit Playground website describes the app features…

  • Decipher resistor & capacitor codes with ease
  • Calculate power, resistance, current, and voltage with the Ohm’s Law & Power Calc modules
  • Quickly convert between decimal, hexadecimal, binary or even ASCII characters
  • Calculate values for multiple resistors or capacitors in series & parallel configurations
  • Store, search, and view PDF datasheets

Check out Collin’s great videos if you have interest in knowing more about your system and the devices in it!

Watch for our How To Build Your Own DIY Modules course coming soon from Voltage Control Lab…

And we’ll have coverage of the 4MS Spectral Multiband Resonator coming this week!

Intro to Electronics with Collin’s Lab

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