MIDI to CV/Gate The Easy Way

Let’s say you’ve got a modular synthesizer. You’re probably a pretty cool person. But all your cool laptop DJ friends keep showing off their MIDI-controlled hardware, and you’re getting jealous. Well, [little-scale] has the build for you.

The Teensy 3.6 is the current top-of-the-line Teensy from PJRC, and it’s [little-scale]’s weapon of choice here. With USB-MIDI and two 12-bit DACs on board, it’s made creating an interface between the worlds of analog and digital music into a remarkably simple job. Control voltages for pitch and velocity are pushed out over the analog pins, while pin 29 is used for gate signals.

It’s a testament to the amount of development that has gone into the Teensy platform that such projects can be built with virtually no off-board components. The build is a further step forward in simplicity from [little-scale]’s previous work, using a Teensy 2 with an offboard DAC to generate the output voltages.

Here at Hackaday, we’ve always been big fans of adding computer control to analog hardware. This CNC mod to a guitar pickup winding machine is a great example.

6 thoughts on “MIDI to CV/Gate The Easy Way

  1. Ha. I just finished a midi-to-Pearl-Drum-X converter for our hackerspace synth meetup today. I used a pro micro and some resistors and elco’s to shape the pulseform so I can use velocity. Next week I might do a writup on it. Next step: making the drum parameters midi controllable…

    1. Hi Mac I would be interested to read it. The pulseform for velocity sounds cool. Kudos :)

      Also: this was a cool article. I need to take another look at teensy and see what is new. Thanks little-scale and Lewin :)

  2. Funny because this is exactly what I’m facing on a current project. I am using a Teensy-LC which also has a 12-bit DAC on board, but I need 5V CV output, and the Teensy uses a 3.3V controller. My initial attempts scaling the voltage with an opamp have been no fun at all and quite clunky, anyone know an elegant way to do this without introducing an external DAC?

    1. The opamp scaling probably is the best way. It is tricky to get right, especially choosing the right opamp and giving it the power it needs.

      If you’d like some help, post about your issues on the Teensy forum. Put a photo or good diagram of what you’ve actually built in your message. Be specific about exactly which parts you’ve used. I an others have answered lots of opamp questions on the forum. We can probably help you get it working….

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