Thursday, December 26, 2013

StompShields from Open Music Labs!

The StompShields I ordered from Open Music Labs arrived pretty darn fast!

I just got them at home right now hahha!  

I can't play with them right away, b/c....

I am in the midst of modularizing the mixer code in the Bass Stick...

Guess what else arrived at the same time?  My Owl programmable stomp pedal with the stm32f4 in it!  I'm soaked in stm32f4 music instruments :)

The pedal is neat and whatnot, but I'm preferring original instruments at this time :)  They do look like they have a decent cross-platform development system though!  I would love to be able to interoperate with it!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

3-D Printed MIDI Controller from ADAFruit

I think this is pretty neat!  It combines an instrument housing with a microcontroller and LEDs.  The result is a decent-looking instrument.

Of course, I would rather see it made in wood and include its own synthesizer!  But things like this are going to be good first steps toward lutheir-quality digital music instruments.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Building Horn Speakers

Recently, there was an excellent thread on digi_instruments with lots of great examples of people building their own horn speakers!

Here are my favorite links from that thread:

If you never knew, horn speakers, can be extremely efficient.

That extra efficiency often means your speakers sound louder with same amount of power.

But you're an audiophile, not an ecologist, right, so who cares?!

Well, the amplifiers don't get pushed into distortion regions as easily, so the sound quality can be improved.

Horn loudspeakers fell out fashion many years ago, but slowly people are waking up to them again.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pushpin MIDI Interface for Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance

This project from Brian Whitman and I has been running for many years!
It is very exciting to see that there is still interest in it.
For those curious, I have gathered up a number of important links that show different ways you can build and use this interface to turn a GBC or GBA into a MIDI-controlled music instrument.

Example song:  "The Matrix"

Monday, September 23, 2013

AMZ-FX Guitar Effects Blog

This looks like nice site with LOTS of updates:

It's a got few real gems and also lots of analog guitar pedal effects and circuits that accompany them...  A great place to pick up steam learning about various example audio circuits!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Guitars with Built-In Speakers


Monday, September 9, 2013

Euro Instruments

European DIY Music Instruments!

In Germany, the word for DIY Music Instruments is "Selbstgebaute Musikinstrumente"

Translation of a Comment is not so appreciative!!!

 This video originates from Spain.  Youtube is not known for its generous comments, but one writer has this to say:

"Die klingen ja wie scheiße haha aber top viedeo danke für's posten."




Expert: David Kusek

Monday, August 26, 2013

Instrument Playlist

 I love finding epic playlists on youtube.  This is surely one of the all-time greatlest playlists of any I've ever found! Hats of to Käyttäjän peterhil kanava for making it.  I highly recommend you subscribe to his channel, because he is likely to produce some more interesting playlists.

Now I'll show you some of my favorites and why:


126 string Zither


Tromba Marina (Trompette Marine)

Crystal glasses





Anglo Saxon Lyre

Chinese Guzheng

38 String Kantele



Fluid Piano




(Zendrum Cover)





























Monday, July 29, 2013

Expert: Keith McMillen

Keith McMillen is a contemporary music instrument interface designer.  His designs feature bright, colored LEDs and soft, pressure-sensitive controllers. 

You can find an extensive bio him on his company's staff page.  His work resonates especially well with DIYDSP because of his concise goal statement:

"how to play live interactive music in an ensemble using extended instruments moderated by computer intelligence"

DIYDSP has the same goals, except that we are focused on creating the entire music instrument.  The work on Keith's website focuses on instrument controllers. Perhaps soon, some collaborations will be possible.  Keith's interfaces are based on standard protocols like USB and MIDI interfaces, so the compatibility is possible.  

 "If anyone walks the line between Steve Jobs and Bob Moog, it's Keith McMillen." - H. Haynes"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ukelele in Carbon Fiber - Music Instrument Design

Design and Manufacture of a Carbon Fiber Ukelele


This video shows some amazing details in step-by-step for making small instruments out of carbon fiber!  You can do this at home with the right kind of glue and scissors!  If you don't believe, see the video below the bonus video.

And here is a second bonus video!

The Carbon Fiber Ukelele Project

Carbon Fiber Part Making Example/Demo/How-To

See!  I promised I'd show you a video that shows you how to make your own carbon fiber parts.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Envelope Follower Arduino

btw, get parts you need to do this kind of stuff at DIYDSP Kits and Parts store!


The song by Queen!


See Envelope Detector voltages in Numeric Form

Narrator, science fair project
LCD Oscilloscope


See Enevelope Detector on an Oscilloscope!

Clap test
Voice detection module

Random Chiptunes Loop

Smooth Jazz! 

iphone connected to microphone connected to Arduino connected to Processing


btw, get parts you need to do this kind of stuff at DIYDSP Kits and Parts store!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Single Line C Digital Music Instruments

This One-Line Music Program in C started off the small craze:

A large number of interesting variations percolated in one place.  I put a few into a CERB40 and can play them as if they were an octave-wide instrument through a pressure-sensors.    No time for a video right now, but if you had been at AtParty2013, you would have seen it.

A world of brief, tingling 8-bit songs

People on this blog in particular  >>> Counter Complex Blog <<< really acted inspired, writing additional one-line songs just by tweaking the algorithm a number of different ways and listening until it sounded good.  I was able to type up some of them and put them into an STM32F4 processor, but more about that later :)

The author returned with a second, delicious-sounding one-line C program which I eventually turned into a music instrument:

A Smartphone App

The speed of the world shocked me when I discovered nowadays, you can buy a smartphone app that lets you type in formulas and hear the results and even play them out through the screen on your cell phone.  I would love to rig that up to some larger, more formal instrument.

Repeating it with an Arduino

Nowadays, you can do this kind of thing with an Arduino:

Although I saw if you're going to go that right, get a quality CPU, like the Leaflabs Maple or Maple Mini:

The Maple -- STM32 ARM Cortex version of Arduino

While we're on topic of Arduino Instruments, here's another cool one, using a real keyboard:

Recalling Ancient Wisdom

One of the posters on that forum included this link in particular, which I found extremely interesting because it contains a curated set of ethereal sound programs just waiting to be unleashed:

Algorithmic Music Synthesis

To me, the original inventor of the DSP Music Box is Ethan Bordeaux. 
  • Since his work in the 1990s, creating a DSP Music Box is still a rare and special thing....    Although, somehow, there is an actual lecture on it.  Who knew!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

SpinCAD Designer - a Graphical User Interface for the FV-1!

SpinCAD Designer GUI for FV-1 from SpinSemi

This has been long-awaited!  Now that I have tried it out, I am confident it will breathe a breath of fresh air into this already outdelivering DSP chip.

Everyone knows the only problem with the FV-1 is that it's been hard to program...  until now!  Gary Worshman's new GUI makes it very easy to initiate otherwise complex and tedious programs for the FV-1!\

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Caspar Electronics Performance in Brookline, MA

Caspar Electronics At Cafe Fixe, Brookline, MA June 9th, 2013

Pete Edwards is an electronic music instrument designer.  He has been working on some new synthesizer designs during his research at STEIM.  We are very fortunate to learn that he will be giving a performance right here on the East Coast during his brief time in the U.S.  We are looking forward to hearing his music and picking his brain in person about music instrument design. 

A few years ago, Pete mentioned that he was introducing in focusing on the rhythm in his music.  He mentioned to me on the phone a few weeks ago that he was researching unifying voltage levels in digital, analog and modular synthesizers.  You can read a recent article on him and Phillip Stearns over at Synthtopia

Let's see what he's up to this Tuesday night in Brookline.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Designing Low-Noise Analog Power Supplies

Recently, I was in the position that I needed to design a board with low noise on the analog inputs.  I looked around for information and these were the best sources I could find.

I have shared the six best files I could find.  There is one article from each of the several major electronics manufacturers you're already familiar with.  If you want to know low-noise electronics, begin by diving deep into these PDF files!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My Basement is a ***** - Free documentary on DIY Music Scene!

I am curious how music scenes form :)  So I bookmarked this documentary.
Finally I got to watch it tonight!  It's only about 20 minutes long, but I'm a busy person!

My favorite quote comes in the middle.  One of the musicians says something like,

"I don't like playing on a stage as much.  I like playing on the floor in front of people.  It's like it's more intimate."   

It was also fascinating how the scenes get stale when it's the same bands playing over and over again for the same audiences.  So keep that in mind if you want to grow the scene in your area! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Antony Smith Building and Modifying a Bass Fuzz Pedal

In this cool video, Antony Smith shows you how simple, yet how awesome it can be, to build your own Bass Fuzz circuit.  It has a crispy sound!  This video nicely shows the atmosphere of listening, creativity and handiwork that go together when designing your own electronic music instruments.  He makes some modifications to the circuit in between playing and you can hear the differences!  Also, he plays well:

If you want to make a similar one and mount it into a roadworthy metal package, find parts like Hammond cases on the store.

For example, there is a shelf full of the colorful metal Hammond cases, which are sturdy: In fact tour-quality.  Stomp switches are on the same shelf.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Selected Electronic Music Instrument Parts from Sparkfun

Q: What do you do when you want to build a musical instrument and don't have time to build a MIDI interface and knob controllers as well as the rest of the synthesizer?

A: You get two knobs, three buttons and MIDI In/Out on this MIDI Shield.  Then connect its output to the microcontroller of your choice.  Wow!  Control of your synthesizer or effect program.

That's on the DIYDSP store shelves next to the Danger Shield, which approaches controller design differently:  It has long sliders and a small LED display instead of MIDI.

BTW, I'm going to save the delightful details for another blog post, but there are some more good-to-know-about items for electronic instrument designers behind that 'shelves' link above :)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

DIY Kits for Building Electronic Instruments

Attention parties of people wanting to build their own musical instruments:

This bulletin is to announce the updating of the DIYDSP Store Homepage, where I have elected one kit for each major type of instrument family.

If you were to organize musical instrument kits into groups, would that  arrangement seem to be the best way?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

FV-1 Development Tools

What is the latest news about the FV-1?

The FV-1 is a very convenient audio-processing chip developed by Keith Phipps before he passed away.

When it was first released, it had solid tools, but they were in 100% Assembly.

Since then, a Java development platform was designed.  This simplified things a great deal. It even included a simulator.

Recently, a graphical synth module editor was designed for the FV-1.  It outputs Assembly language automatically.  This is an important step because it allows people to make effect modules without having to program, as well as speed up the process greatly for developers who already do know the Assembly.

The FV-1 has been a favorite effects platform of DIYDSP for a few years now.  Now that ElmGen makes it so much easier to develop one, this is a really good time to finally get yourself one and protect it with a Centurion case.