ECE4893A: Electronics for Music Synthesis (Spring 2010)

ECE4893A: Electronics for Music Synthesis (Spring 2010)

Chris Garyet testing his voltage-controlled wah circuit
Office: Centergy 5212 (but I’m almost never there)
Phone: 404-385-2548 (but I almost never answer it)
E-mail: (by far
the best way to reach me; please include “EMS” somewhere in the subject of class-related
e-mail so I can find it quickly)
Course website:
Prerequisites: ECE3040 and ECE3041 (with concurrency allowed,
i.e. you can
be taking ECE3041 this semester and be OK). Basically, I need some
familiarity with op amps, diodes, and transistors, and I need to make sure that
you have had some experience using a scope by
the time you will to use one in EMS. (Oscilloscopes are
introduced pretty early in ECE3041, which is
what makes the “concurrency” part OK)
Website for previous offering:
EMS (Spring 2008)
will help give you a feel for what the class is like

The photo: Chris Garyet testing his voltage-contolled “wah” circuit
(from Spring 2006)


(Note: I often abbreviate the class title as “EMS.” This usage of “EMS”
should not be confused with
“EMS” as in Electronic Music
, the makers of many classic synthesizers such as the Synthis.)

Grades will be based on a series of written homeworks and possibly a few
lab assignments, an in-class quiz given about 2/3 of the way through the
semester that
will be weighted the same as a homework, and the quality of a final project in
which you will design and build a module for a modular synthesizer.
I consider the project to be the most important thing in the class;
hence, your course grade will max out at whatever your project grade is,
e.g., if you do B work on the homeworks, etc., but turn in an A project,
you might get an A for the class, or you might get a B;
but if you do A work on everything else but turn in B level project,
your grade won’t be an A.

Aaron’s SDIY Pages



Dear readers from outside the class:
If you find these
lectures useful, please consider making a small donation (maybe $25 or
thereabouts, although any amount is appreciated)
to the Georgia Tech Foundation earmarked to go towards
my synthesizer research; the funds will go towards parts and equipment
for student projects.
are instructions on how to donate.

Since this is a lecture/lab class, I will only lecture for 2/3 of the class
periods, and that lecturing will be “front loaded,” i.e. I will lecture for
the first 2/3 of the class, and the last 1/3 of the class you will be just
working on your final projects, with me dropping by the lab to help out as
much as I can.

If you look at the lectures from the
Spring 2008 version
the course, you will get a pretty good idea of what we will cover in the


We will draw material from numerous sources: book, articles, patents,
and particularly schematics and descriptions posted on websites. Think of
google as the main class text. Here’s some
good ones: