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Modular Frequency-Modulation (FM) Music Synthesizer

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SYNƎTH modular FM music synthesizer.

Short Description

Frequency-modulation (FM) synthesis with Yamaha's DX7 digital music synthesizer completely transformed music production in the 80s. Virtually all existing FM synthesizers have a fixed set of "operators," which describe how various (typically 4-to-8) oscillators and envelope generators interact with each other. This project will develop the first *modular* FM synthesis ASIC that provides a large number of freely programmable operators resulting in endless sound-design possibilities compared to existing FM synthesizers.

The goals of this project are as follows: First, the student(s) will develop a modular FM synthesis framework along with a syntax to describe the connections and interactions between oscillators, envelopes, filters, etc. Second, the student(s) will develop a VLSI architecture that interprets the syntax in real time to produce multi-voice FM signals (possibly 16 or 32 simultaneous voices). Third, the student(s) will implement the architecture in a modern CMOS process and send the modular FM synthesis ASIC to fabrication.

Status: Available

Looking for 1-2 Semester/Bachelor/Master students
Contact: Christoph Studer


Strong interest in music and audio signal processing
VLSI 2 (recommended but not mandatory)


20% Syntax specification
40% Algorithm development
40% VLSI design


Christoph Studer

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Detailed Task Description


Practical Details



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