66% or better

Stylophone 5 – modernizing the best of the 1968 hardware

We love looking in on [Simon Inns'] projects, and this must be one of his very best. This is the fifth version of his MIDI-capable stylophone. The gist of the control system is that a conductive keyboard (made of a tinned PCB) is played by making a connection with the tip of a wired stylus — hence the name. The idea comes from the original 1968 Dubreq Stylophone hardware, but [Simon's] not just using the idea. He has his own working original and used it to reverse engineer the circuit design.

When it first came out, the Stylophone had three flavors for Bass, Standard, and Treble audio ranges. They differed only in the choices of passive components used in the circuit. [Simon] built the variations into his design so that they are selectable on one unit. This most recent version connects via USB, allowing you to control MIDI software. But unlike his first four iterations, this also offers MIDI-In capabilities. This makes it possible to control tuning, vibrato, and to drive the Stylophone circuitry from the computer interface. Get a good look at that, and a nostalgic Portal moment, by watching the clip after the break.

If you’re looking for an easier build, you might try this analog standalone version of the Stylophone.

Comments

  1. Yann says:

    This totally rocks (literally and figuratively :)

  2. asphyxiate says:

    Very clean build, looks as good as it sounds. A few extra respect points for preserving the integrity of the original hardware. Well done Sir.

  3. jadon says:

    oh the portal 1 end song is so appropriate

  4. EccentricElectron says:

    We had great fun with a stylophone as a kid (thanks Rolf!) – then the attraction was very much the pick-up-and-play element, which seems to be lost in tethering by a short cable? anyway, great hack and long live the stylophone – must ask my sister to bring ours along at Christmas

  5. Josh says:

    Hi there,
    I guess Rolf Harris is looking at doing some Techno i-’Tunes’ then.

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