MK.OSS | Mitch Kelly | Contemporary Music

Mitch Kelly (he/him), Contemporary MusicMitch is wearing a navy blue shirt and is making a funny face while holding a bowl on top of his head like a helmet. He is backlit by a blue lamp and is holding a towel in his right hand.


Project Description
An open source, polyphonic synthesizer project with an emphasis on accessibility and intuitive user experience. Four analog voices, each with an independent low-pass filter, two envelopes, three LFOs, and MIDI to Control Voltage converter.

What Form will your Final Project Take?
Creative project / instrument.

Who was supporting you in with work?
Danielle Goldman.

How has this project has been impactful or transformative — for you personally or for those this work has impacted:
This project has illuminated the difficulties and challenges present in research and design of a unique circuit. I’ve learned a ton about testing procedures and designing with foresight, and with understanding datasheets and component information. Through constantly encountering challenges and unforeseen problems, my troubleshooting capabilities have grown tremendously.

What would you do differently? How would you advise a student who is going to do something similar?
I only wish I had more time, I was only able to complete a rough prototype within the timeline of the project. For a student aiming to do something like this, spend a lot of time planning absolutely everything one may need to make something. Tools, test equipment, components, auxiliary equipment, a proper workspace, everything. I find that workflow is paramount, so having a space that is conducive to creativity and one’s process will make everything move much smoother, if possible.

Are you going to publish or print your work? If so, where?
Once it is complete I’ll rebuild an old website of mine to host the work and the files.

Depicted is the prototype of the synthesizer. It is a square made up of white breadboards on the bottom and left side and green circuitboards in the middle and right sides. There are many different chips and other components with many colored wires connecting everything. A screenshot of a work in progress mock up of the synthesizer circuit boards. There are many components laid out on a black background utilizing CAD software.A screenshot of the work in progress synthesizer circuit schematic. There are multiple sections for each portion of the synthesizer; 4 voices, the midi to cv circuit, the control interface, various connectors, the LFOs, output, and power.

Short summary
It was really enlightening. I know so much more about circuit design and most importantly design integration. Making everything work together has been a huge challenge and while I haven’t fixed everything, the process has pushed my capabilities bounds ahead. Overall, really inspiring.

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