I'm Mike, cheif designer and owner of Artisan Electronic Music. I've been building synthesizers and since I was 14...that was over 4 decades ago now.
Like many, I started with Radio Shack, Jameco and PAIA. Thank you John Simonton and Craig Anderson. My very first electronic music machine was built for 7h grade Music Class. While most kids brought in "bull-roarers" or "Cigar box Guitars", I brought in a 1.5 octave "Electronic Organ" using cross-modulation JFET oscillators as the core. Of course, I didn't know what cross modulation meant back then, but hacking around in my basement workshop, I stumbled upon something that sounded cool. I was hooked
Then, in 1976 my friend and I bought all the PAIA DIY build manuals. We could not even afford to buy the kits. So we laid out our own PCB and etched them, stuffing them with parts ordered from Jameco and Digikey. I built the Ring Modulator first. So cool.
Then I built this..
It was a 2 Oscillator beast. I plugged into a custom made speaker/amp stand that was "so modern". Next Year Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out. I toured the local schools with our Orchestra and played those famous 5 notes. What a thrill.
I went to college at Penn State to get my degree in Electrical Engineering while building my a huge modular with digital scanned keyboard that would allow duo-phonic playing ... then the whole US synth industry collapsed, thanks to the DX-7. My dreams of being hired to design cool analog synths was dashed...
But that dream never quite died. Some die-hards kept the analog synthesizer world alive, quietly at first. Then Eurorack broke loose and exploded on the scene, revitalizing the interest in "real synthesizers" (sorry digital guys, I mean you no harm :)
And that flamed back to life my love of the craft. So in 2010, I started working on my first hybrid synth all-on one board. , adding patch memory ( I learned assembly and C coding along the way) and building a few prototypes before launching the Ottava at Knob Con 2017.
I've enjoyed building custom synths for my clients and delving into Eurorack. Now it is full steam ahead for our next venture, the Nucleus, which will bring us full bore into Eurorack, desktop and full polyphonic keyboard synthesizers!