They say the best things in life are free, but we would loudly argue that a dollar can go a long way, too. It all depends on what you do with it. When [lonesoulsurfer] saw this busted-up handheld racing game at the junk store, he fell in love with the lines of the case and gladly forked over a buck in order to give it a new life as a wicked little sound-bending machine with dancing LEDs.
Here’s how it works: [lonesoulsurfer] records a few seconds of whatever into the mic with the looping function switched off, then turns it back on to start the fun. He can vary the pitch with the speed controller pot, or add in some echo and reverb. Once the sound is dialed in, he works the pause button on the left to make melodies by stopping and restarting the loop, or just pausing it momentarily depending on the switch setting.
The electronics are a mashup of modules mixed with a custom PCB that combines the recording module with an LM386 amplifier and holds the coolest part of this build — those LEDs that dance to the music behind the toy’s original lenticular screen. Like most of [lonesoulsurfer]’s builds, it’s powered by an old cell phone battery that’s buck-boosted to 5 V. Check out the build and bleep-bloop video after the break.
Lenticular lenses are all kinds of fun. Get one that’s big enough, and you can use it to disappear for a while.
Continue reading “Racing Game Crashes Into Its Next Life As A Sound Bender” →
We all have handfuls of thumb drives lying around with only a vague idea of what’s on most of them, right? So why not dust one off, back it up somewhere, and give it a new purpose? That’s exactly what [Cher_Guevara] did to make this portable Raspberry Pi video looper. The hardest part of recreating this one might be coming up with such a good candidate mini CRT TV.
Once powered on, the Pi Zero W stuffed inside this baby Magnavox waits for a thumb drive to be inserted and says as much in nice green text on the screen. Then it displays the number of video files found on the drive and gives a little countdown before looping them all endlessly.
We love how flawlessly [Cher] was able to integrate the USB port and a flush-mounted shutdown button for the Pi into the TV’s control panel on the top. It’s like a portable from another timeline.
[Cher] got lucky because this TV happens to have a video-in jack for connecting up the Pi. If yours doesn’t have one, you might be able to use an RCA to RF converter if the antenna is removable. We’ve got the demo video waiting for you after these messages.
Okay, that’s one thumb drive repurposed. Now find another and experiment with adding USB OtG to it.
Continue reading “Portable Video Looper Is Easy As Pi” →
If you’re into electronic music, chances are good that you like to roll your own. While step one is usually to build something, anything that makes sound, a natural step two is to build a looping device to extend and play with those sounds.
[Cutlasses] has finished version one of his Teensy-based Eurorack-style looper. He plugs in a thing, records some tunes, and the resulting loop gets divvied up into eight equal pieces. He can cut the loop together live using the eight buttons to jump around between sections. It supports unlimited overdubs, although too many will cause clipping. But hey, that just means free derivative sounds.
The looper records its audio to an SD card. Since this is typically a slow endeavor, [Cutlasses] used two circular buffers. One reads audio, and the other writes it. This took a lot of trial and error, which he may have to repeat with future SD cards.
[Cutlasses]’ plans for future versions include a separate audio CODEC for better sound, CV control, and a pedal option for hands-free operation. We’d love to hear some sweet Theremin loopage, wouldn’t you? Jog past the break to watch [Cutlasses] demo his looper with a kalimba and a DIY noise box that uses a string bow to make metal tines sing.
Feeling out of the music-making loop? There are (slightly) easier ways. Check out this LEGO looper or this multiplayer Pi-ano.
Continue reading “DIY Teensy Looper Multiplies Music” →
[Mario] wrote us with his synthesizer project that’s currently up on Kickstarter. It looks like a good amount of fun to play with, as you can see in the video on the Kickstarter page. But it’s also built to be easily hackable.
On the hardware front, it’s a tiny four-layer board that’s crammed with parts. At the core is an STM32F4 microcontroller and a DAC. Indeed, the build was inspired by other folks’ work on the STM32F4 Discovery dev kit that has been used to make some pretty interesting synthesizer devices. [Mario]’s version adds two stereo headphone outputs, two microphone inputs, two IR reflective distance sensors used as control inputs, some buttons, and a ton of LEDs. And then it makes good use of all of them.
The firmware isn’t open source yet (poke! poke!) but it looks like it’s going to be. On his blog, [Mario] works through an example of adding a drum machine into the existing firmware, so it looks like it’ll be hackable.
Squeezing a lot of DSP functionality out of a single microcontroller is a feat. On a similar chip from a different manufacturer, [Paul Stoffregen]’s Teensy Audio Library could also be made to do a lot of the same things. But the real beauty of the Gecho project is that it has some interesting hardware features already built in and ready to go. It wouldn’t be a bad launching pad for your own musical or audio explorations.
No, Hackaday hasn’t started advertising shoes, this is [Matlek’s] foot controller for Ableton Live.
Matlek plays guitar and needed an easy way to control Ableton Live, which he uses as a looper. Ableton normally expects keyboard input, so that’s exactly what he gave it.
An old dell keyboard was gutted down to its controller board. This exposes the leads the keyboard uses to scan the key matrix. From there it is simply trial and error connecting different pins together and seeing which keys are printed on the PC screen (A text editor works well for this). Only 8 characters are needed to control the looper, so [Matlek] chose digits 1-8.
Since some of the wires are going to be sharing pins, a small piece of stripboard comes in handy between the buttons and the keyboard controller. [Maltek] used basic momentary push buttons for his mini key matrix, though we think that box looks sturdy enough to support some larger stomp box style buttons.
Everything comes together inside a sturdy shoebox, which also serves to insulate the exposed keyboard PCB from shorting out.
The only major downside to the project is that the box is light enough that it slides easily on the floor when recording or triggering loops. Adding some heavy items (or dare we say, some shoes) would solve this problem. Self adhesive rubber feet on the bottom of the box would help too.
Continue reading “USB Ableton Foot Controller Reuses Old Keyboard” →
Quite often, we see project boxes that seem to be constructed more as an afterthought than anything else. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with stuffing your latest creation into a nondescript black box, or even cardboard if it happens to fit your needs. Sometimes however, an enclosure embodies the spirit of a project, making it all that much cooler.
[Adam] recently picked up a copy of Make magazine and decided to build their “Luna Mod”, a sound effects generator and looper based on a PICAXE-08M. Aside from the micro controller the Luna Mod includes a couple of pots, a switch, and a few LEDs – nothing incredibly striking. Once he had everything assembled on a strip of protoboard, he started working on his enclosure.
The enclosure is made from an old record, which after some trial and error, [Adam] got just right. The record was heated and cut, then bent into shape. While it’s not necessarily a hack, we think it looks pretty slick. It really fits the theme of the Luna Mod and is far more attractive than a plain plastic box.
Stick around to see his sound generator in action.
Continue reading “Making The Case For Cool Project Enclosures” →