Auto Tuning For A Vintage Stereo

In 1984 there weren’t many ways to listen to high-quality music, so an FM tuner was an essential part of any home hi-fi system. The Pioneer TX-950 picked up by [The Curious Lorenz] would have been someone’s pride and joy, with its then-cutting-edge microprocessor control, digital PLL tuning, and seven-segment displays. Astoundingly it doesn’t have an auto-tuning function though, so some work to implement the feature using an ATtiny85 was called for.

A modern FM tuner would be quite likely to use an all-in-one tuner chip using SDR technology under the hood, but this device from another era appears to be a very conventional analog tuner to which the PLL and microprocessor have been grafted. There are simple “Up” and “Down” buttons and a “Station tuned” light. One might imagine that given these the original processor could have done autotune. At least the original designers were kind enough to provide the ATtiny with the interfaces it needs. Pressing either button causes it to keep strobing its line until the “Station tuned” line goes high, at which point it stops. It’s an extremely simple yet effective upgrade, and since the ATtiny is so small it’s easily placed on top of the original PCB. The result is an ultra-modern tuner from 1984, that’s just that little bit more modern than it used to be.

If you don’t have a vintage FM radio, you can always build its modern equivalent.

The T-Pain Toy Is Now A Guitar Effect

T-Pain is rapper hailing from Florida, who made his name through creative use of the Autotune effect. Nobody quite does it like T-Pain to this day, but kids the world over got the chance with the release of the “I Am T-Pain” microphone, which puts effects on the user’s vocal to make them sound as fly as possible, batteries not included. In the spirit of musical exploration, [Simon] decided it would be interesting to turn the effect into a guitar pedal.

Initial plans were to wire the microphone to an input jack, and the speaker to an output jack, but things didn’t remain so simple. The toy comes with a line-in and a headphone jack already, but the wiring scheme is strange and one of the inputs can also act as an output under certain conditions. [Simon] took the kitchen sink approach, throwing a bunch of jacks at the circuit and putting it all in a pedal case with some knobs to twiddle some parameters.

The final result is a warbly, lo-fi vibrato when a guitar signal is fed in. It’s quite different from how the original toy sounds, but recalls us somewhat of the Anti-nautilus pedal when used in conjunction with a looper. Video after the break.  Continue reading “The T-Pain Toy Is Now A Guitar Effect”