Learn to Build Modular Synths

Robotspeak offers monthly workshops

San Francisco's Robotspeak specializes in the sale of computer music gear and training, but the small shop has also become the city's center for reviving a lost art of building analog modular synthesizers invented by former Bay Area resident Serge Tcherepnin in the 1970s.

Beginning in February, Robotspeak will begin a regular schedule of free, daylong Serge synthesizer workshops. Participants of all skill levels are encouraged to learn or perfect their craft of wiring and patching these versatile instruments that can be housed in a wide variety of containers. Instructor Dmitri Ponce is fond of using found or thrifted objects such as suitcases and started this series out of a desire to show that modular synths can be built for a small fraction of what's now an astronomical cost on collector sites such as eBay. Ponce offers an array of synth-building kits ($150-1500) as building blocks but encourages original ideas.

The first workshop takes place on February 16 and continues on the third Saturday of each month. Call Robotspeak at 415-554-1977 to sign up.

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