4 voice FM synthesizer in a cigar box

Music Technology

Owen writes –

“The instrument is a cigar box synthesizer. It is made out of a Critter Board, a small audio amp, and some other components we had kicking around. Since it is a synthesizer, we use the version of the Critter Board with on-board flash (no card socket).

The project utilizes all the features that make the Critter Board unique, such as the volume control header, the sound output header (you can listen on the speaker, or plug it in to a bigger amp), and most of the I/O lines.

After digging up a 12 key key-pad, we thought it would be nice to make a 1 octave synthesizer. We then added another button above the keypad as a register button. If it is held down before pressing any of the 12 keys, the key will play an octave higher. So it is really a 2 octave synth.”Link & video.

Also, check out their Video Critter –

“The video critter is an open-source audio/video platform that may be used with most any TV (any TV with composite video input).

It is a one stop solution, providing audio/video output and proccessing for your applications. Just add some buttons, knobs, or joysticks, and you’re ready to go. It is useful for a variety of embedded applications”Link.


  • Critter Board, a hardware platform for creating self-contained electronic music devices – Link.
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