Fathom

Audio synthesis

 

Four oscillators, five waveforms, analog controlled. And no keyboard to get in the way!

 

A four voice wavetable synthesizer

 

The Fathom is a hardware synthesizer – multiple musical knobs that invite the user to physically interact with sound. Controlling the waveform, pitch, duration, & modulation of four separate oscillators allows the user to create unique and interesting sounds – all in real time.

Basic idea of layout, shape, size, etc

 

2mm aluminum was kind of overkill – it was really tough to bend!

Bending

 

The gable ends are 10mm walnut. The layout is printed on adhesive vinyl.

Assembly

 

The body

 

Most of the pots are wired to a multiplexer. This allows the Arduino Uno to read more than its standard six analog inputs.

Under the hood: pots are wired to the Arduino via multiplexer

 

The 6.35mm jack provides a line out/headphones connection, while the USB jack powers the Fathom and can also be used to update the code.

Line out and power

 

The layout is mostly self-explanatory. The control/random switch has 3 positions. “Control”: full control with the knobs. “Random”: the knobs do nothing – the synth picks a random value of the corresponding parameter (i.e. frequency, length, modulation) and generates audio. The third position (unlabeled): in the middle of these extremes is a “controlled random” – the performer selects the range of random with the associated knob.
The 2 position switches (between the frequency pots) are for slaving the frequency on the right side to the frequency on the left side. When activated, the slave knob provides an offset (positive or negative) in relation to the master. This can be useful when combining 2 or more oscillators with different waveforms to generate a massive sound.
The delay pot adjusts the tempo of the sounds – remember, there is no note on/note off – so if the operator does not want an infinite sound, the delay pot is useful. The option and mode pots are assignable for future use. Many possibilities!

Twist the knobs

 

This synthesizer is all over the place on futureVolt’s “The futureVolt is NOW!” album. Check it out: Hear here!