When I began building my first modular synth I promised myself that I would never start making schematics, PCBs and front panels. I wanted to focus on the sonic possibilities and challenge the technology and collect a huge library of sampled analog sounds to use for new ways and ventures when I was composing. Therefore I started buying the first modules for my modular and got a very nice system from synthesizers.com.
Synthesizers.com or just Dotcom is made by a really great man in Tyler, Texas. Roger Arrick got the idea to make Moog inspired modulars around 1996 and sell them directly to customers through the internet. Today synthesizers.com sell a lot of different synth-modules in the Moog-format and selling these to musicians all over the world to very reasonable prices. You should definitely check out his web-site synthesizers.com and consider following Roger on Facebook.
It was at synthesizers.com I first read about people who develop synthesizer modules that you can build yourself and Roger Arrick recommended an English guy by the name Tony Allgood who develop SDIY modules in both MU– and MOTM format under the name Oakley Modular. Tony Allgood is doing some very good and thorough contruktions and have modules to assemble a complete synthesizer. Finished modules are available from Tony’s business partner Krisp1.com.
While there are good people like Roger Warrick and Tony Allgood producing synthesizer modules at very reasonable prices there is money to be saved when you assemble a module. In addition, you get a better understanding of the opportunities each module contains when you have built it yourself and as always, there are several good sites on the Internet where you can get help.
There are two real good internet communities where sharing knowledge and diagrams and help each other to develop PCBs and buy rare or inaccessible components. At muffwiggler.com you can find plenty of information on modular synthesizers and many manufacturers, like Oakley Sound Systems, have their own threads where you can get advice and guidance. My favourite thread on Muffwiggler is Music Tech DIY where both beginners and experienced wigglers exchange knowledge, schematics and PCBs to everyone’s pleasure.
Another great, but less active forum is Electro-Music which has many talented Synth DIY guys and on this website you can also buy and get help for PCBs to exceptionally exciting modules. Two very talented guys who are associated with Electro-music is, Scott Stites and Henry Thomas, who is behind several amazing modules and plenty of open information and knowledge. Many of their designs, you can read more about on their website the Birth of A Synth.
I moved from purchase modules to DIY to save some money, but it is the meeting with all the other synth geeks in the world that is the reason Synth DIY has become such a great part my spare time. It’s exciting and challenging to be part of the many projects in the two forums and even if you are unable to start a project, you can participate or be helping by finance production. There was crowed sourcing in Synth DIY long before Indiegogo and Kickstarter.