Back in December, I visited Nicolas Collins at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and got to see one of the latest creations that he is using in class. The beautiful traces wind their way into the classic LM386 audio amp for an expressive overdriven effect:
Nicolas Collins is well known for having written Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking:
… provides a long-needed, practical, and engaging introduction to the craft of making – as well as creatively cannibalizing – electronic circuits for artistic purposes. With a sense of adventure and no prior knowledge, the reader can subvert the intentions designed into devices such as radios and toys to discover a new sonic world. At a time when computers dominate music production, this book offers a rare glimpse into the core technology of early live electronic music, as well as more recent developments at the hands of emerging artists. In addition to advice on hacking found electronics, the reader learns how to make contact microphones, pickups for electromagnetic fields, oscillators, distortion boxes, and unusual signal processors cheaply and quickly.
Miasma is a pure analog oscillator module based on the Curtis CEM3340 chips used in legendary ’80s synths, with new & innovative signal patching:
We designed the Miasma Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO) to bring that classic ’80s synthesizer sound back to Eurorack modular systems. We just couldn’t find any currently available oscillators with the sound textures and capabilities that we wanted, so we had to design our own; and now you get to own one as well.
There are many unique capabilities built into Miasma that you won’t find in any other oscillator module, like the built-in patching and cross modulation structures that make Miasma so flexible in your rack. However, it’s all about the sound – so let’s start with some Miasma audio samples, before we go into the technical details of how we make that sound possible (best listening with Headphones!)
Jeremy S Cook writes on the Tindie blog:
Take a look at Tindie’s thriving sound section and you’ll see there is no shortage of people making their own electronic music. These devices take many forms, and one interesting take on sound creation is the OKAY 2 Synth DIY Kit. At face value it features 2 octaves of keys, a built-in amplifier along with a 1/4″ line out, and knobs to select the octaves that you’d like to play — but it gets more interesting under the hood.
Oskitone OKAY 2 from oskitone on Vimeo.
What makes it unique by today’s standards is that it doesn’t use any sort of computer or microcontroller, but instead produces sound using an LM555 timer along with other discreet components for monophonic sound. Given its small size, you could use two at once, perhaps combining them via the line out to be further modified in your synth setup!
In case you’re wondering, the original—or nearly so as it’s version 1.1.1—OKAY is also available. It works largely the same as the OKAY 2, but features only a single octave of keys, and doesn’t have an audio output jack.
From Sven Gregori on Hackaday.io:
the USB MIDI keyboard dedicated to play all the four chord songs, from Adele via Green Day and Red Hot Chilli Peppers to U2 and Weezer. Thanks to MIDI, you can be any instrument – and all of them at once. Yay!
Built around an AVR ATmega328 and Objective Development’s V-USB library
, 4chord MIDI acts as a regular USB MIDI instrument. It supports playback in every key and five different playback modes:
- simple triad chord (root, third, fifth)
- triad chord + third + fifth + third as quarter notes
- triad chord + third + fifth + octave as quarter notes
- root note + third + fifth + third as quarter notes
- root note + third + fifth + octave as quarter notes
The playback tempo can be set between 60 and 240 bpm.
Here is the board in action:
The design files and source code are available on GitHub:
What’s an ADSR envelope generator? If you are a big music hacker, you probably know. If you are like the rest of us, you might need to read [Mich’s] post to find out that it is an attack-decay-sustain-release (ADSR) envelope generator. Still confused? It is a circuit used in music synthesis. You can see a…
via The Sound of (Synthesized) Music — Hackaday
Alexander Ryzhkov created a small 555 timer-based piano:
Main goal of this project has been creating pretty designed 555 based piano in small form-factor. Many 555 piano are using 9V battery for supply. I use CMOS timer and for timer need only 3V supply.
The design files are available on GitHub:
Here is a video of the board in action:
has shared the board on OSH Park:
[Ross Fish], [Darcy Neal], [Ben Davis], and [Paul Stoffregen] created “the Monolith”, an interactive synth sculpture designed to showcase capabilities of the Teensy 3.6 microcontroller. The Monolith consists of a clear acrylic box covered in LED-lit arcade buttons. The forty buttons in front serve as an 8-step sequencer with five different voices, while touch sensors on the left…
via The Monolith Brings the Boom to Maker Faire — Hackaday