An ARM-Based DSP Modelling Synth

synth

The great analog synths of Moog, Oberheim, Sequential Circuits, and more modern version from Doepfer are renouned for their sound, the sheer majesty of a rack full of knobs and plugs, and of course the price. Analog synths are simply expensive to build, and given that aficionados even scoff at digitally controlled oscillators, require a lot of engineering to build. [Jan]‘s DSP-G1 isn’t like those analog synths – it uses microcontrollers and DSP to generate its bleeps and boops. It is, however, extremely cheap and sounds close enough to the real thing that it could easily find a home between a few euroracks and CV keyboards.

plugThe heart of the DSP-G1 is a micro from NXP modeling an analog synthesizer with 15 digitally controlled oscillators with Sine, Triangle, Pulse and Saw outputs, a low frequency oscillator, two envelope filters, and a low pass filter, or about the same accouterments you would find in a MiniMoog or other vintage synth from the 70s. Since this is basically a synth on an NXP LPC-810, [Jan] has packaged it in something akin to a MIDI to 3.5mm cable adapter: Plug a MIDI keyboard into one end, an amp into the other, and you have a synth smaller than the MIDI Vampire, an already impossibly small music creation tool.

[Jan] has a few more versions of his little DSP device with varying amounts of knobs available on his indiegogo campaign. The DSP-Gplug is the star of the show, though, provided you already have a MIDI keyboard with a few knobs for the required CC messages. Videos and sound demos below.

Comments

  1. Ijon_Tichi says:

    AWESOME!!!

  2. Wow that is really small I love it!

  3. BillBrasskey says:

    Very cool and not price prohibitive. The smallness is amazing to me even in this day and age of tiny things. Nice work! I will be tossing my money in the hat (after I clear it with the wife). It would make gigging a breeze – you just pocket the dongle and walk up to the bar after the show. Nice! One of the better thought out and executed projects I have seen in a while. Kudos.

  4. Jay Vaughan says:

    Great form factor – about time someone pulled off this “synth in a MIDI plug” idea, its definitely an idea whose time has come. I’ll be signing up for a bunch of them – nice work, Jan!

  5. OpenglMan says:

    Can I see the source code, please ?

    • janostman says:

      No, you cant.
      The software is the dsp-G1, the soul of it.
      The software is what I’m selling.

      If I put that out it could be run on any platform and I would have nothing to sell?

  6. fake-name says:

    Why the hell is it flexible funding?

    Has the guy running it never looked at ANY other indiegogo anything?

    99% of the time, flexible-funding = Scam.

    • janostman says:

      I can assure you its not a scam.

      If you run it as fixed funding and don’t reach the goal no one is getting anything except their money back.

      This way at least some of the synthesizers gets delivered.

      • John says:

        The purpose of these sites is to raise enough money to start production. If you can make them without raising capital to start production, why not use a web store? If you had done this, I would have bought one. With flexible funding on indegogo, you can take the money and not deliver a product. So I agree with fake-name, flexible-funding = Scam.

        • rewolff says:

          Most of the projects on Indiegogo / kickstarter seem to be VERY far along. Not much development needs to be done. Some have “high” getting-into-production costs and use the crowdfunding site to “pre-sell” enough stuff to warrant the tooling costs for a production run. But you could do that on your own website as well. Offer the product with a later delivery date and let people preorder!

          Sometimes the company doing the kickstarter already has the ability to do small production runs. And they can handle a smaller volume than what they are asking for in the campaign. Maybe they are fine with selling the “leftovers” at a leasurely pace later on.

          But in both cases, it is a marketing tool. You get exposure. You get noticed. And that’s worth a lot.

        • janostman says:

          I have spent the entire winter programming, building and putting this together.t
          Three words from you “It’s a scam” crashes all of that work in seconds.

          Why do you do this?

          It’s not an unbelievable router with a screen that routers don’t need.
          It’s just a simple synthesizer?

          I bet every time you get a parking ticket is a scam?

          Just let me do my project and no one will get scammed.

    • rasz_pl says:

      100% agree
      Flexible works for me ONLY if its someone already established I can trust.

  7. echodelta says:

    Only one LFO? That’s where the complexity comes from.

  8. oltresguardo says:

    when people talk about modelling synth usualy they mean physical modelling synths. You can have an example of modeling synth looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_modelling_synthesis for some theory and to https://www.applied-acoustics.com/ user manuals to read about some examples. I would not call this one a modelling synth, maybe a functional modeling synth but the correct technique to describe this is additive sinthesys .

  9. janostman says:

    I don’t like when people start screaming scam.
    This is my baby and I have spent 6 months making it real.

    I love playing it and will depart from each unit with great love.

    Hope that you are one of those that are fortunate to receive one.

    • just passing says:

      Unfortunately, the internet has given a voice to hundreds of people who, realising that they’ll never achieve anything themselves, have instantly set about trying to punish anyone who looks as though they might.

      Good luck to you! It’s not my cup of tea, but it does look nifty :)

      • zingzing says:

        janost,

        You’re probably about to get a great education in the science of product development and marketing. People are skeptical because most products die at the 98% complete stage.
        It’s why VCs don’t like to give start-up founders “living expenses”…

        This is usually because the guy putting “his baby” together runs out of steam with the first almost working prototype. Sometimes it’s because a hacker doesn’t realize that (most of the time) getting a project built is only about 30% of the work required to convert it into an income stream. It’s very similar to a programmer saying his code project is 98% complete.

        Good Luck! Big Fan of the Juno series btw. Black Leather Monster for the win!

  10. janostman says:

    I spent a long time making it sound like the juno-106.
    Every part of it is modeled after the juno.

    Does it sound like a juno?
    Yes, sort of. Along the way it got it’s own soul and sound.

    But it’s still the dsp-G1.
    Sounds analog.

  11. janostman says:

    NXP provided me with the platform.

    Comparing the ATmega with an ARM LPC is like comparing a Skoda with a Ferrari.
    It doesn’t compare.

    And the LPC is a great musical platform.

  12. schobi says:

    wow – I really love the idea of the plug form factor! I believe that a tiny product like this is feasible and absolutely possible. The magic is in the algorithms and implementations.

    However, the currently shown “plug” version looks like it might be a stock photo of an existing regular plug or photoshoped? I can understand people crying “scam!” because because the HaD post makes it look like this is the final product already. I think this plug is rather in the stage of “concept art” (but it is not clearly labled as such!).

    I’d guess he’d get more credibility if he showed the current status (PCB demo) actually playing. The posts only show plastic boxes with knobs – and the video shows someone playing a keyboard…

    • janostman says:

      The proto board for the dsp-Gplug synthesizer.
      Used for developing and programming of the plug.

    • janostman says:

      The plug in the picture is actually a hacked connector converter.

      The delivered synth plug will look a bit different to show that it’s a synth and not just a connector plug.

      It must also host the MIDI activity LED and the plug in the picture cant do that.

  13. janostman says:

    You can now buy the chip kit here and build your own.
    It’s only 5 components.

    http://www.hackster.io/janost/the-analog-modeling-midi-synth-kit

  14. Harvie.CZ says:

    I don’t get how you set the synth parameters (like attack, decay, envelope, etc…) when the plug does not have any controls itself. You have fixed preprogrammed sounds on various MIDI channels? Or you have to program it using computer before each use to get desired sound? And finaly… What is this?:

    It does not look as plug synth. it is some device used to program it? or it is completely different synth? How it’s related to plug synth?

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