Eye of the Tiger — As played by a Dot Matrix Printer

Do you have a big hackathon coming up? Need to start a training montage like Rocky? We don’t think you can get any more awesome than this Dot Matrix Printer that can play music!

The hack makes use of an old 24-pin dot matrix printer, which is now a MIDI compatible sound generator. It uses an Atmega8 and an FPGA connected to different parts of the original printer’s circuit board. The Atmega8 takes the incoming MIDI data and communicates it to the FPGA while driving the stepper motors for both the paper feed and print head. The FPGA on the other hand is responsible for the PWM to drive the individual printer pins. This means the printer can play up to 21 notes simultaneously, and it’s capable of taking in up to 16 MIDI channels, all with individual volume, pitch, and key velocity!

[MIDIDesaster] has several other musical examples of their printer in action, including the Duke Nukem theme, Hysteria by Muse (one of our favorites), and even the Wallace and Gromit theme!

It’s a similar project to this printer synth we shared almost 9 years ago! Stick around to get pumped up with Eye of the Tiger! But if you’re wearing headphones… turn the volume down.

[via Reddit]

38 thoughts on “Eye of the Tiger — As played by a Dot Matrix Printer

    1. I especially like the reverse boustrophedon movement. That’s somehow really elegant to me, like continuous bowing on a string instrument. Good job! Reminds me of the polyphonic hard disk speakers I used to hear about ten years ago.

      I am hoping to get kids to do the same on my 3d printer.

  1. He loses points for calling “Yakety Sax” by Spider Rich and Boots Randolph the “Benny Hill Theme.” Otherwise, nicely done.

    1. Sometimes you just have to call things by their common names, though, because it’s what people associate certain things with.

      1. ‘common name’ indeed – I had no clue what to expect when the title said Benny Hill theme… if it had said Yakety Sax I would’ve recognized it.

    2. I suppose you’re going to tell me that the Sanford and Son Theme is also known as The Streetbeater by Quincy Jones. On its LP release it was called both.

  2. SMILE – SMILE – SMILE – LAUGH!
    This is simple amazing to hear – and I agree on the reverse direction printing – constant bowing – circular breathing technique of the good ol’ dot matrix. Bravo/

  3. I’m sorry, I just have to leave another message~
    It just cracks me up to be watching a dot matrix head slowly make it’s way across the page, and “singing” while it’s traveling! Ha ha ha! SO low key and understated…

    1. Oh gods, a whole OFFICE full of people who’ve never seen a dot-matrix printer working… what’s the world coming to? At least tell me it’s some sort of remedial office for 5-year-olds.

      1. I am an IT Administrator for a large college. no remedial office for 5 year old’s here. there are people here around my office who have not fathomed the idea that a printer would be able to imitate sounds composed together to sound like a song.
        P.S. to Greenaum… the internet has enough trolls like you…piss off

  4. Reverse boustrophedon! But the notes aren’t backwards. :)
    I’d like to see it done on a thermal printer. Imagine as your receipt is printed hearing Pink Floyd’s Money.
    Big high 5 anyway ringtone potential.

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