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Analogue Synth/Sampler/Sequencer DIY

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#1 TheBellows

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 18:50

I made this thread because i recently started working on a DIY project that i thought i should share with you. The goal is to make a useful sampler sequencer using easy methods and cheap parts. 

Here is the basic idea for the main unit:

 

S63hGGn.jpg

 

This is just the core idea so far. The final unit should have several preamplification stages with tone controls, possibly a tube preamp for the final stage, reverb/echo/delay in some form, ring modulator and a robot/pitch/vibrato voice modulator.

It should have the possibility to record from the arduino, through a microphone and a line in jack. Maybe i'll add a theremin if i can make it work or gets room for it in my box.

 

Not yet decided on the casing, but i have a wooden box from IKEA that might do the job.

I'll keep you updated on the project when i have something interesting.


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#2 TheBellows

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 22:44

Hmm..double post.


Edited by TheBellows, 11 September 2017 - 23:04.

 

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#3 TheBellows

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 22:45

Let's start off with a modification of the ISD1820 module:

 

bjrgem9.jpg

 

AP9VAwQ.jpg

 

PJwFO3O.jpg

 

EDIT: I just noticed it was not a 2K2, but a 100K resistor and that's quite a difference. 2K2 is too low and will result in awful quality recordings.


Edited by TheBellows, 11 September 2017 - 22:49.

 

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#4 Renoised

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 16:51

You are quite magical, Bellows, being able to change your audio recording board to the same one as mine just like that!

It makes learning a lot easier as well :D


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#5 TheBellows

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 18:19

Yeah i'm not shure wat happened there? :P

 

I got my Rpi some days ago and i have done a little bit of research and checked out what's possible, but screen resolution is low, so it's a bit limited for games and such. Raspbian worked well after fixing the screen res, which is a bit odd 800x480. Windows 10 for Rpi is basically just an empty shell, so will only be useful for developers.

I read about a way to use the rpi pwm output and use that as a control voltage. The signal is not good for other uses as it's duty cycles aren't consistent, but i think it can work as a on off clock signal for syncing the sequencer.

 

I have ran out of terminal connector cables, so i'm waiting for refreshments and can't really do much without those. So far i have mounted another module on the back of the above module, so that i got two in one. I also found a temporary box for this module and also added a voltage regulator module so it's pretty much self contained. I have the pots and switches i need, but i need the cables and also some suitable drill bits for the mounting. 

I basically need to make 4 of these boxes and one for the sequencer. I'm considering to drop the Rpi and make it use other analogue sources and microphone or whatever. I hope i get the AM radio kits soon, then i'll be able to see if this '3 AM Radio Theremin' thingy works. Also i hope to get room for the synth chips i ordered a short while ago. It has noise and sine output, so it should work well for some percussive sounds, though it doesn't appear to have a built in filter.

When i come to think of it i rather want my pi as a standalone unit with possibilities to add functions as i'm learning. Maybe i can turn it into its very own audio mixer, fx box, oscilloscope

or whatever. :)

I imagine latency would suck pretty bad though, but the pwm can be controlled in realtime so i can probably still use it for syncing different future projects.

 


 

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#6 TheBellows

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 18:19

hmm, double post it seems....


Edited by TheBellows, 21 September 2017 - 18:21.

 

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#7 Renoised

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 00:17

The RPi is the least interesting aspect of this for me, I'm much more interested in seeing what you come up with regards the sound modules, synth chips, and radio stuff.  Haven't thought about it too much, but if I were going to use a development board in a project like this, personally I would have gone for the Arduino cause it means there's no OS to get in the way of what you program, and the pin connectors.


Edited by Renoised, 22 September 2017 - 00:18.


#8 TheBellows

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:18

The Rpi can be used for a lot more though, i can run apps on it and program directly on the device. It should be possible to install dosbox on it too, so i'm hoping i can run some old trackers on it.

I can also hook it up with an arduino later and program the arduino from the Rpi.


Edited by TheBellows, 23 September 2017 - 11:20.

 

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#9 TheBellows

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Posted 30 October 2017 - 18:38

Sorry for the late updates, i've been waiting for some parts and most has arrived now, though i see i need more cables, switches and pot meters. Ah, i have gotten so many small packages of stuff and completely lost count and now my soldering iron needs a new tip. Finally today my 3 radios came in my hands after post office had lost the package for a while.

So now i'm off turning them into a theremin. :)


 

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#10 Renoised

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 01:33

Haven't even tried those boards yet, or the ICs I bought, I've been waiting for you to cook something up first :D

Your project idea got me thinking about trying my hand at some sort of electromechanical thing for making sound, a sort of monophonic electromechanical synth.  It's something I normally wouldn't have much interest in, but for some reason I really like the idea of it now.  It's also an excuse to try my hand at an analogue spring reverb, which I suppose is also classed as electromechanical.



#11 TheBellows

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Posted 31 October 2017 - 18:10

I have also thought about adding some acoustic elements. Piezo elements are nice for that, as they only pick up the vibrations and not the surrounding sound like a microphone.  You could also turn it into a switch to turn on a sample from the recording modules or whatever.

 

The radios are just as good as what one could expect for $2.7 per piece. When i opened the battery cover of one, it just broke in two from barely touching it. They are completely uncalibrated, volume sliders have different volumes on all 3, one is louder on the mid setting than turned all the way up and they're all crackly and unstable. So are the variable capacitors, they're impossible to fine tune and one does only crackle like crazy half of the AM range. I can't get them to silence each other out in AM mode, though i can do it in FM mode, but that doesn't help me as this is only supposed to work with AM. Not shure if i can fix them, but i have some new vari caps and pots i can replace with.


 

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#12 Renoised

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 11:34

I was going to suggest those pre-soldered radio boards with handy solder points on them, but they're all FM if I recall.

I hear you on the poor quality of stuff you can pick up.  Absolutely everything I've purchsed on eBay that was no good was "Made in China".  In my opinion, China is the garbage-manufacturing capital of the world.  The amount of resources China must consume producing unfit for purpose junk that ends up in landfill, must be immeasurable.  Basically, China floods the world marketplace with everything from Apple products to bargain-basement death-traps that should never be allowed on to the market.  People often blame the consumer for this, but I disagree.  If the prices were higher, we'd simply be paying more for the same junk they're flooding the world with right now.

Anyway, looking forward to seeing your Theremin thingy :)

 


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#13 TheBellows

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Posted 01 November 2017 - 16:26

Anyway, looking forward to seeing your Theremin thingy :)

 

I guess i'll have to make it work some day, in the meantime if you're interested, here is my last 'theremin' project that works with IR instead of induction:

 

It's actually pretty easy to build, i made mine with a function generator IC. All you need to do really is to create a function generator circuit, then instead of using a potentiometer you instead use a IR Phototransistor. This phototransistor has a filter so it basically just picks up IR light. Now you only need an IR LED to emit light that your hand can reflect it and send it to the IR phototransistor which then changes the resistency just like if you turned a potentiometer.

It also contains an echo/delay circuit made from the PT2399 chip.

 

 

It's true that there's a lot of crap being made in China, but they make just about everything, so what can we expect when they sell radios for 2 dollars included shipping and are still able to make money out of it?

I've have quite often been surprised the other way around actually, that i got something better than i expected. Those 2 dollar radios didn't impress me much though, but i still have a hard time to understand how the hell they can make money from selling me this crap...

If i bought only the variable capacitor in Norway, that is a single part of the radio, then it would have costed me more than the whole Radio from China.


Edited by TheBellows, 01 November 2017 - 17:11.

 

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#14 Renoised

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Posted 04 November 2017 - 21:44

Cool stuff, Bellows, sounds great and even kinda human in parts :walkman:
I like the look of it as well, I'm a sucker for that raw look.

The delay really makes the difference, and I'm aware of that chip, but honestly can't remember whether I bought any or not :unsure:
I'll have to dig around some boxes'n'stuff!


Regards the crap from China, lol, true, it's not all bad, there's some great stuff to be had as well - totally agree.