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]


  1. VintagePC says:

    Is that a C64 serial port I spy on the back of that printer in video 2? ;)

  2. APBurner says:

    OMG I want more. My geek jumped up and started dancing.

  3. strider_mt2k says:

    So cool!

  4. Will Lyon says:

    The win is strong with this one…

  5. Will says:

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

  6. Phil says:

    I wonder if it could produce speech? A talking printer!

  7. Galane says:

    Duke Nukem and Wallace & Grommit themes sound the best.

  8. rue_mohr says:

    nothing like a singing hack to finish the evening with.
    good show.

  9. Eric Parker says:

    And then I cracked a huge grin. This is awesome.

  10. nixieguy says:

    It sounds way better than I expected!
    Take that, Floppy music!

  11. Jeannie says:

    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/

  12. Jeannie says:

    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…

  13. rdmilligan says:

    Brilliant. I so wanted it to start spooling out paper in time to The Eye Of The Tiger guitar chords.

  14. smilr says:

    Wonder what Guile’s theme would sound like rendered on this thing.

  15. Eirinn says:

    Now have a light sensor read the output of the dot matrix printer and translate it into MIDI – Full circle!

  16. Martin says:

    i would definitely go to that concert

  17. Über sweet….. my whole office heard this and no one believed it was the printer producing the sounds.
    i had to show them the floppy drives doing ghostbusters

    • Greenaum says:

      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.

      • 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

  18. hefto says:

    EPIC. I love that one!

  19. Tim says:

    All printers should play happy tunes as they print, albeit short tunes nowadays.

  20. Andrew says:

    I try to not say too much, but this is just BRILLIANT.

    Top marks.

  21. Duckmysick says:

    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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