goto:      vcovcfvca     sdiy main site


The Soundlab is a small synthesiser designed by Ray Wilson of Music From Outer Space. It has become quite well known and is available either as a circuit board only, a kit or even ready made in certain instances. I purchased mine as a kit from Elby Designs in 2006 which I built and housed in a small plastic case. It runs on two 9 volt batteries and features:

Makes a good learning synth for kids or those just getting into synthesis, as well as a quick and intuitive sound source for audio experimentalists. Despite its apparent "toy like" appearance and features, this is a well thought out and designed little machine with a lot of personality and capabilities that enable it to create many of the classic analogue synth effects from long drones to bubbling filter sounds, raging wind storms to shreaking sirens, along with percusive noises and reasonable (though limited) bass and lead sounds. Its untamed output often reminds me of very early Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream in their more minimalist/experimental phases.

All in all a fun and handy portable analogue synth for all occasions!  

I have added an external audio input to mine so that the filter and VCA can process other audio sources and a 5 way switch to alter the LFO range (it now runs quite slow when required and well into the audio range for some nice spattery and metallic FM sounds).  I have also added some patch points for direct output of the VCOs, Noise, LFO and EG so that I can use the Soundlab as an auxillary sound and modulation source for my Eurorack Modular. I've considered converting the Soundlab into a rack mount, fully patchable synth that runs on a +/-12 volt power supply (making it completely compatible with my modular), but then it would no longer be a nifty little self-contained unit. Hmm... Perhaps I should get a 2nd one....?

There are many more modifications out there on the internet along with some really interesting case and frontpanel designs. There's also a dedicated forum over at Electro-Music.


1. The Soundlab front panel. Labelling was done with a 2nd hand label maker I purchased years ago.
Soundlab Front Panel

2. On the work bench.
Work bench

3. Front panel close-ups.

4. Surfing with the Alien.


Some quick and nasty demos recorded shortly after construction in mid 2006. Both contain several tracks of Soundlab with a simple guitar pedal delay effect (Boss DM3). No other instruments. They are in Ogg Vorbis format. A good media player that handles ogg files is VLC. Beware: these demos really ain't pretty!

  1. Chaotica. Kind of like Raymond Scott jamming with the Krell after being abducted and force fed some bad alien narcotics. Uses only the "manual gate" switch to trigger sounds. My apologies to Raymond and Louis and Bebe Barron!
  2. Ebb. An uneasy drone piece. Perhaps a throwback to Klaus Schulze's Cyborg ...Or maybe even a regurgitation caused by a nasty stomach bug!