Delta,  Personal

Delta & Life

Recently my partner was rushed to hospital and has spent 5 days in with a serious condition, thankfully she is now out but will need to have major surgery in 6 to 8 weeks. This has got me thinking a lot about my life and what is important to me. She and Suzi are what matter to me above all else, this trip into hospital has really brought that into focus.

So what is the upshot? Well, I’m giving serious thought to Delta being my last commercial synth. It takes a lot of work to make a poly synth, and for one person it can be very hard. There’s a lot time and money needed in every aspect, hardware, software, design, sound design and so on. Whilst I love making synths, making multiple of them and selling them adds so much extra complexity (marketing, packaging, FCC, CE, customer support and so on) that I’m not sure I want to spend my life doing these things when I would rather be with my partner and my dog, in short with my family.

But whilst I’m considering it, I’ll share with you where I’m at with Delta and a couple of pictures of the development platform.

Development UI

Now this user interface is not the final design, this is just simple and flexible enough that I can try different features I want to add/remove/change whilst meaning I don’t need a whole new front panel PCB each time. It also let’s me test the core functionality and check for bugs.

Where the action happens

And this is the back, it’s not immediately obvious but the front panel is one PCB and the voice board here is another. I’m using development board for the FPGA (CMOD A7) part of it as I have a few and they’re supported by the Xilinx Vivado toolchain.

On the left is a Teensy 4.1 for the front panel, this drives the display, handles MIDI, reads the knobs and switches and generally does the house keeping. Again I’m using this as I had one around and for this stage of development I didn’t want to spend a long time designing a board that I knew ultimately would be replaced by a proper front panel.

You can also see the 8 VCFs and VCAs for the voices, I’m really happy with the sound of the VCF and VCA, and the sound of the main synth engine within the FPGA, there are a couple of bugs to resolve and a couple of features I would like to add, but for now I want to spend some time with my family.

electronics and synth nerd.