Arduino based synthesizer

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[Jacob] is working on his final project for the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.  Based around Arduino, the quality and quantity of his build notes make this a fascinating read and there are several examples to listen to.

The project features a brilliant idea for input:  He uses a 1/8″ TRS connector (mini-jack) whose tip is the input to the DAC of the Arduino. There are conductive pads in the shape of a keyboard that you touch the tip of the connector to in order to complete the circuit. Alternatively, the other two conductors on the connector deliver power and ground for easy interface with external controllers. He built an example controller that uses an LED and photoresistor to alter the signal returning to the Arduino. Put your hand in front of the light and the sound changes.

[via Arduino: blog]

11 thoughts on “Arduino based synthesizer

  1. @lekernel: He probably used an Arduino (and the arduino environment) to program the chip, then removed it from the socket and installed it on the board.

    I must admit, I’d prefer touching the keys with my fingers rather than a stylus. It would have been cheap to add a capacitive touch sensor to accomplish just that.

  2. @jeff-o: gotta agree on the capacitive touch idea – that’s exactly what came to mind when i first saw the pic.

    for the sake of usefulness, i’m thinking guitar tuner.

  3. There was also a diy Stylophone many years ago (probably Electronics Today International, Everyday Electronics or Practical Electronics as these were the magazines I used to read) which also used a mini jack as the stylus.

    The downside is you’re forever having to brasso the pads and stylus or it sounds scratchy. As this is software based it should be possible to debounce unlike the original.

    I also had one of the big Stylophones which had wah-wah and different voices (well waveforms anyway)….cutting edge then.

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