Autonomous Bassline Generator

We’ve been watching this project ever since [Dann] emailed us about the first prototype back in September. This bassline generator has a lot of functions we like, such as an adjustable melody seed, light-sensitive controls, and device interactivity. Line up a row of them and they’ll sync up the beat, building layers of sound on top of each other (see the first video after the break).

The system is built around an ATtiny84, putting its pulse width modulation channels to work for sound generation. [Dann] has some kits available but he’s also posted everything – the schematics, PCB layout, and code – if you want to throw one together on a breadboard.

Two units grooving in time with each other.

The second Handmade Music Austin, 11/15/2009


  1. bencoder says:

    This is so awesome! This has to be one of my favourite music projects. Great job [Dann]

  2. Benny M says:

    Oh my god that is so WIN!

    Well DONE.

  3. R says:

    Really cool with so little. Imagine how tiny you could make this using surface mount…

  4. Hannes says:

    If anybody in Europe is able to built it ? Ill give you money. Please contakt me via skype: peter-ist-lustig please.

  5. Johannesburgel says:

    Funny idea, but the sound gets quite monotonic after some time.

  6. Fallen says:

    I love it!
    I want one so bad!
    I think I’ll try doing this with a PIC.

  7. sneakypoo says:

    While I like the project I have to ask: can anyone really stand listening to that horrible noise more than a couple of minutes? My skin was starting to crawl after watching through all the vids.

  8. Nick says:

    Um, wow.

  9. Doug says:

    as a bassist i am insulted :(

  10. samurai says:

    @Doug — Pessimist!

    That was incredible. Ultra super duper bonus points for selling a kit! I’m buying one NOW.

  11. Toshibi says:

    I’m with Doug. I’m not so much insulted as possibly obsolete. Wait a second…let’s hear this thing play some funk first.

  12. NXK says:

    These are great, I’ll definitely be buying a kit or two. I do wish MIDI sync was built in, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to add.

    @Bassists: We’ve had synthesized bass sounds for nearly four decades, in which time the emulation of electric and acoustic bass (and other instruments*) has only improved. I’m not sure why glitch style bass synthesis makes you think you will soon be obsolete…

    *Don’t go throwing away your bassoons just yet…

  13. Dann Green says:

    MIDI sync is possible using Nathan Wooster’s MIDI-IR device:

  14. eric archer says:

    here’s a video of the Autonomous Bassline Generator playing in sync with its companions, Mk mini analog drum machines:

  15. Doug says:

    @ eric archer

    Egads, we’re all obsolete!

  16. octel says:

    It would be great to hack a CV/Gate output to this thing. Hook it into a x0xb0x or an SH-101 and go to town!

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