Mitch Altman : ArduTouch music synthesizer
ArduTouch music synthesizer
Easy to solder together for complete beginners.
Comes with a 4-voice sawtooth waveform synth.
Lots of other synths available for free download to make very different way cool, beautiful, harsh, or noisy sounds, music, and noise.
An open source digital synth with a touch keyboard and amp/speaker (Arduino-compatible)
International
I love synthesizers. I've been working on this project for over 5 years. It's designed so that anyone can use it to learn to solder using the project's super nice assembly instructions -- even for people who have never made anything before. It comes with a way wonderful synthesizer that can make music right away with its built-in touch keyboard and amp/speaker.

If you like, you can download any of the other 10 synthesizers to make lots of very different music, sounds, and noise! To add another synth, the completely open source ArduTouch project uses the free Arduino software to program it (using Windows, Linux, or MacOS).

The free ArduTouch Arduino library has many examples that serve as a tutorial for learning how to create your own synthesizers.

And, for people who want to take things further, the ArduTouch project is designed for beginners to learn the basics of Digital Signal Processing for creating music, sound, and noise from computer chips (microcontrollers).
Side Story
Since making ArduTouch synth kits almost 1,000 people have made them. That means that almost 1,000 people have learned to solder. That fills my heart with joy, since I love it when people enjoy soldering. :) It is really fun for me to give workshops with these kits. I wanted this kit to be good for education, and I'm very happy that several teachers and professors have used the kit to teach students of all ages how to make cool things with electronics, as well as teach students the basics of Digital Signal Processing for making music, sounds, and noise with computer chips. After workshops, it has also been a lot of fun jamming with people, each playing the synth they just made themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
What inspired you to do this?
I love music synthesizers! And I wanted to create a very inexpensive one that would enable anyone: to learn to solder; optionally to easily upload a large variety of way cool synths (with the free Arduino software); optionally create their own synths; optionally to learn the basics of Digital Signal Processing to make music, sounds, and noise with computer chips.
How long did it take to make it?
I've been working on the project for almost 5 years. And I keep improving it.
How long have you been doing things like this?
I've been playing piano and keyboards since I was a little kid, and have been making my own synthesizers since I was a teenager.
How much did this cost to do?
It took lots of time, but very little money to develop -- about $50 to make the first version. But now they cost much less to make each one. I have them on my website for $30 each.
Have you done other things like this?
My masters thesis was a digital music synthesizer in 1983. ArduTouch is much better. :)
What did you wish you knew before you started this?
I wish I would have known KiCad before creating the PCB with EagleCad. EagleCad is nice software, but KiCad is entirely free and open source, and it is incredibly powerful software. All of my future boards will be made with KiCad.
Are there plans available to make this? Do you sell this?
ArduTouch is completely open source, and all of the documentation for PCBs, firmware, and everything is on my Github (maltman23), and they are for sale on my website:
http://cornfieldelectronics.com/cfe/products/buy.php?productId=synth
What’s next?
This version of the hardware has remained the same as I continue to upgrade the free and open source ArduTouch Arduino library and develop more synth sketches for it. The next version will have the ability to play ArduTouch with MIDI, and have software to control all of the parameters of all of the synths from your laptop. I'm also developing a more powerful version with super high quality audio -- this won't be a kit, but will still be open source, and hackable.
Resoures?
The firmware was designed by me, and coded by my friend Bill Alessi, a total firmware wizard! For more info on the project, please see the section for ArduTouch on my website's projects page:
https://cornfieldelectronics.com/cfe/projects.php#ardutouch
with all of the details on the project's Github:
https://github.com/maltman23/ArduTouch
Mitch Altman : Maker
The maker Mitch Altman
Berlin, Germany
Inventor of TV-B-Gone remote controls, creator of ArduTouch music synthesizer kits, co-founder of Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco

Photograph by Dennis van Zuijlekom
Connect with Mitch Altman
How I can help you:
I give talks and workshops anywhere in the world, as well as online. I am also happy to help people with their projects, I love mentoring people wanting to start or run their own small company, as well as on how to manufacture your project.
How you can help me:
If anyone creates any synths for ArduTouch, please let me know, and I'll share it with others.
And donations are always welcome!
https://www.patreon.com/mitchaltman