The Tannin DIY MIDI Controller

tannin-ctlr

[Shantea] needed a DJ controller. While there are commercial controllers out there, none of them fit what he was looking for. He solved the problem by building the Tannin DIY MIDI controller. Tannin features 19 buttons, 16 potentiometers, and 4 LEDs. Buttons can send different MIDI messages for short presses and long presses. Pots can send 6 note on/off messages as well as MIDI control messages depending on their position. The LEDs blink in beat with the MIDI in clock. Everything is programmable and can be mapped thousands of different ways. The heart of the system is an Arduino Nano. [Shantea] used the hairless-midi library to convert MIDI to serial. The Arduino interfaces to a PC via serial over USB. On the host PC side, he ran loopbe30 to create a virtual MIDI cable to Traktor, his DJ software.

We love a build that looks just as good on the inside as on the outside, and Tannin doesn’t fail to impress in this respect. The frame is MDF, and the control panel is laser etched plastic on 3mm of Plexiglass. We really like Tannin’s flavone flair. Inside the case, wiring is kept organized and neat by zip ties and strips of wood below the button grid. [Shantea] had some noise issues connecting pots to flying wires, so he used a custom printed circuit board with a ground plane to gang the pots into 2 banks of 8. The results are something any controllerist would be proud of. Click past the break to see Tannin in action.

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This Party Jukebox is Bigger on the Inside

tardis

In honor of the recent 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, [David Prouty] decided to build a 1/3rd scale replica of the Tardis. He also decided to give it a few extra features on the inside… Introducing the Recycled Tardis Jukebox! 

It was constructed primarily out of recycled cardboard boxes (pizza, FedEx, UHaul, etc) and [David] has done an amazing job painting and detailing it!

Since it’s so big, [David] wanted it to be functional too, so he’s added Bluetooth speakers, sound activated lights, disco balls, and even a fog machine on the inside. It’s all controlled wirelessly by remote, and it’s sure to be a hit at any party he decides to throw.

Stick around for the videos showing it in action — and of course, making our favorite sound VWORRRRRP VWRORRRP VWORRRP!

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

eye

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.

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Under Water Record Player is Very Mesmerizing

underwater

Once in a while we get a really awesome tip about a technical art installation — there sometimes isn’t much info behind it, but the idea and concept behind it alone sparks our curiosity. That is most definitely the case for this submerged record player.

Artist [Evan Holm] has created this awesome installation which features a black pool of water — with a built-in record player. He’s somehow waterproofed the player itself, and integrated the controls and needle into a tree, which is part of the installation.

He has a very long and artsy description about the meaning of it, how it represents loss and mystery, and the collective subconscious of the human race… We just see it as a really cool hack. There’s also a full documentary about how he sets up the installation at various shows.

We’ve included both videos following the break — it is very tempting to try recreating something similar!

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The Ottoman Empire

ottomon empire

Remember the good old days in the 60′s and 70′s when stereos were built right into the furniture? No? Well, that’s where the inspiration for this project comes from. Introducing the Ottoman Empire — a pun so bad we’re not even going to repeat it here.

[Alec] was inspired by Blaupunkt, which is a German manufacturer of electronics who used to make a line of very nice cabinet stereos (examples) which blended furniture and electronics quite exquisitely.

He had recently finished off a rather cool 8-track data backup system, and was left with a spare BSR record player – or as he likes to call it, the “Ford Pinto of record players.” He decided to turn it into something useful by integrating it into a Naugahyde Ottoman that he picked up from a local vintage store. The problem with old furniture like that? No structural elements — it was actually just packed full of shredded wood! He cleaned it all out though and then proceeded to make his own wooden frame to support the BSR — he’s done a great job modifying it to fit, and even hiding all the electronics to make it very presentable.

Now all he needs to do is add a pressure switch in the top so when he kicks back to relax it starts playing some Chopin.

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Musician On A Budget MIDI Bass Pedals

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Organ pedal boards have been around forever — they’re an easy way to multitask while playing the piano, organ, or even the guitar. [Ville] plays the electric guitar and wanted to give bass pedals a shot — the only problem is, the commercial versions are pretty pricey. So he decided to make his own temporary solution using an old MIDI keyboard he had lying around.

The beauty of this hack is it’s completely non-destructive — although you might find you like it so much you won’t want to take it apart! [Ville] started by marking out spacer keys using green cardboard. He then grouped together other sets of keys using tape and polystyrene sheets, which he recycled from a plastic waste bin. He then marked off each set of keys with the range of notes to program into the MIDI receiver — on a 49 key keyboard you get just a bit more than an octave of bass pedal keys! It’ll certainly do until you get your hands on a proper organ pedal unit.

From there it was just a matter of re-mapping the keys on the software end of things, and disabling the other unused keys. He offers a few different methods of doing this, including using VST plugins, and Pure Data — to which he’s provided a patch he made to simplify the process.

To see it in action, stick around after the break and hear [Ville] play One Hour Backwards on electric guitar.

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Pan Flute Hero

panflutehero

The latest creation in the never-ending collection of “____ Hero” instruments is this Raspi-infused pan flute, built by [Sven Andersson] and his team at the 2013 WOW Hackathon. The flute itself consists of varying lengths of bamboo from a local flower shop, cut short enough to be hand-held while still hiding the Pi from the front side. In the spirit of other ‘Hero’ instruments, the pan flute has no real musical functionality. Each pipe houses what appears to be an electret microphone breakout board, which they kept in place by sealing off the end of the pipe with glue.

The sensors connect to the GPIO connector on the Raspi, which communicates to a local TCP/IP server the team ran as a controller hub. The game is also their original creation, written entirely in LUA. They turned to Spotify to find suitable material for the player to experience, creating playlists with actual pan flute songs and using the libspotify SDK to access the music. You can see the end result of the project in a short demo video below.

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