When I first started working with DIY electronics and synthesis I seemed to get the same advice everywhere I went. Every forum, blog and site I visited recommended the same project, The Atari Punk Console, and after building a few I can understand why. The Atari Punk Console (APC) is a simple yet rewarding project for beginners. With fairly limited parts it functions as a very basic standalone sound synthesizer but also has the capacity to be modified and controlled in a variety of interesting ways. This project is a great way to develop more experience soldering and circuit building and will serve as a platform as we begin to explore control voltage modules.
Before we start building strange noise makers or outlandish guitar effects we are going to need something to use to play them. If you have a background in music you may have an amplifier or two lying around but I like to have something small and low powered I can keep on my workbench for testing and playing around with new devices before I roll out my admittedly oversized guitar amplifier. This is where the LM386 Power Amplifier comes in.
The LM386 is a popular little power amplifier chip which can be very easily turned into a versatile DIY desktop amplifier. This lightweight amplifier is easy to build and can be run on a 9V battery making it simple, portable and perfect for beginners to audio DIY. It also features options to control the amplifier gain and add bass boost functionality allowing you to customize your circuit and output the sound that best suits your application.