DIY scratch controller

There’s something viscerally pleasing about simple solutions. [Kip] came up with one in the form of a scratch controller. The spindle from an optical drive is used to hold a CD in place, which acts as the LP for scratching. The sensor from an optical mouse is mounted upside down below the CD and detects the rotation of the disc. From there it’s just a matter of setting up your software to get the reading from that mouse. He’s had some trouble finding disc surfaces that the mouse sensor will read reliably.  We’d recommend trying some of those stick-on inkjet CD labels.

This is similar to a scratch controller we saw in 2008. That one was actually repurposing the IR encoding from inside of a mouse. We’re not sure which method would work better, but either controller will make a nice addition to a Flexi Knob setup.

Generating MIDI with Ruby

[Giles Bowkett] has been working on a music library for Ruby called Archaeopteryx. He describes it as a “Ruby MIDI DJing/live-coding thing“. In the video above, He’s using it to generate and then morph rhythms. The Ruby code is directly controlling the step sequencer in Reason. It’s an interesting approach to music development. The video above gives a full intro to the probability approach to generation. To really get a feel for the library, we suggest you watch his presentation from RubyFringe. It shows him playing music by editing a live block of code. Check out his Vimeo feed for many more demo videos.

[via CDM]

Aurora mixer now available


It’s been a long time coming but that highly sought after open source mixer, the aurora224 is now available for purchase on the company’s website. The aurora mixer is a fully programmable USB mixer complete with 24 back lit knobs, 2 faders, and a single crossfader.

While the instructions on how to assemble your own mixer from scratch have been available for sometime now, many wanted a kit complete with everything needed to avoid having to source the parts themselves.

The aurora mixer is available in 2 versions, a fully assembled turn key deck and a DIY kit that requires the use of a soldering iron and the ability to follow directions.

So, if you’ve wanted to build your own aurora mixer but never knew where to start, this may be your lucky day. Don’t wait too long as you have until September 1st to get your order in.

SyncMaster, home made modular midi controller.


[D.St-Amand] is designing the SyncMaster, a compact modular midi controller, from scratch. The design focuses on a modular build where you can swap out pieces like the one pictured above to achieve different layouts. Not only is it modular, but its very compact. Shown next to some common competitors, it looks very sleek.

Development seems to be moving forward, the pictures have been updated frequently. Lets hope to see a fully functional demo some time soon. Some more detailed information on the build might be nice as well. This may remind you of our story on MachineCollective. While there are similarities in that they’re modular, SyncMaster appears to be a much more polished and portable product. Keep us updated [D.St-Amand].

Optical DJ controller


[Adrian] sent in this sweet little optical DJ controller. The ‘turntable’ was made from a CD and an encoder wheel created with a laser printed transparent overhead sheet. You can score some optical gear from a spare mouse, or just buy the parts. A PIC18F452 encodes everything into a midi signal. You can find a good photo of the schematics here. And you can hit the demo video after the break.

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Aurora open source hardware mixer


We’ve seen some fairly impressive mixer projects this year, and the Aurora mixer is no exception. It is a dual channel USB-powered mixer with two linear faders, one crossfader, eight backlit buttons and 24 potentiometers, all built around a PIC 18LF4525 microcontroller. That’s all pretty typical for a mixer, but this one is very visually attractive, featuring a clean and stylish form factor and controllable lighting both under the board and in the LEDs backlighting the buttons and knobs.

Whether you want to buy one now or build one yourself, the Aurora team has made both possible. You can contact them for pricing if you are ready to buy. If you prefer to build, this is an open source project with full assembly instructions, schematics, drivers, patches and all other source code and information you should need available here. See more photos of the Aurora mixer here, or see it in action after the break.

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Physical value of sound


The Royal College of Art in London recently hosted its annual graduate summer show, where postgrad students exhibit some of their artistic and musical projects. Among those featured this year were several vinyl record and turntable mods by [Yuri Suzuki].

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