Toronto, Ontario, Canada

tag "environment"

Green modular, part 5: Behind the scenes

In this final part to the green modular series I'll talk about environmental and related issues associated with the modular business, going beyond the manufacturing of the modules themselves. We began this series with RoHS and there may be a temptation to end it there as well: if the actual products are free of a short list of toxic chemicals, they're environmentally friendly, right? Someone who really cares about the environmental impact of buying and using modules should be looking at the whole business. READ MORE

Green modular, part 4: Wood, and toxic waste

In this part of the Green Modular series, I'd like to talk about wood, and toxic waste. Part 1 focused mostly on saving energy; in parts 2 and 3 I wrote about metals, and some of the environmental issues related to metals are caused by their toxicity during waste disposal. But there are also other kinds of toxic substances relevant to synthesizers, and those become important during manufacturing rather than at the end of the product's life. READ MORE

Green modular, part 3: More metal

The RoHS "big three" metals I talked about last time occupy a lot of attention of synthesizer manufacturers because we have specific legal obligations we must meet regarding those metals; but many other metals are also used in building synths, and are also relevant to the environmental footprint of making and owning a synth. Let's look at some more of those. READ MORE

Green modular, part 2: the big three metals of RoHS

In this second part of the series on modular and the environment, I'm going to look at metals. Modular synthesizers are made of many different materials including wood, plastic, and glass, but a significant part of the mass of a synth (or any electronic device) is in metals. Even though metals are often used in small amounts, they often make up a disproportionate fraction of the environmental impact of electronics manufacturing because of all the energy that goes into mining and processing them. There are also unique issues for specific metals: some are toxic, some are rare, some have important social consequences, and so on. I had planned to have just one posting on metals in this series, but it became too long, so I'm going to cover just the "big three" forbidden by RoHS here, and talk about the others in one or more future postings. There's a lot to say about metals. READ MORE

Green modular, part 1: Energy, carbon, and power supply regulators

I'm sometimes asked about the environmental consequences of modular synthesizers. It's an interesting question with a lot of ramifications, and there's a lot of misinformation circulated. That may be inevitable given the nature of this business: synthesizers combine engineering, where hard facts rule, with music, where subjective aesthetics are the order of the day, and it's very easy for someone to start from one bad guess or wrong idea and then follow it into constructing an entire unfounded theory. There's also an unfortunate overlap between the synthesizer hobby and the whole morass of audiophile woo. READ MORE

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