Can $130 buy you more versatile digital musical studio hardware than (bizarrely) a Nintendo DS loaded with homebrew software? The software keeps rolling in.

The wonderful cellular automation synth glitchDS has just gotten its 1.3 update, with per-sound volume, a tap-able “pad play” page for triggering samples, quick snapshot saving, and other improvements.

Better still, the author has created a new tool, demoed in the video above. repeaterDS lets you draw on the DS screen to play a looped sample, with the Y axis impacting repeat length and X axis controlling playback offset.


(Thanks, foosnark!)

dsmcu is an in-progress wireless mix controller, focused on wireless control of the mixer in the affordable Windows production app Reaper. (Eventually Pro Tools, Logic, and other DAW support is planned.) Right now, it works with the mcu protocol to support two-way fader control, VU meters (handily displayed on the top screen), track controls, banks, and scrubbing. Dan warns it’s a little tricky going getting it set up, but it looks well worth it for the brave:

Project page / getting started

Author Dan has also created a drum machine, synth, and sequencer program called bliptracker

If you’re having keeping track of all this goodness, Dan has put together a little list of the best music tools for DS:
DS music apps

And if you like wireless MIDI, be sure to check out DSMI, on which the other wireless implementations are generally based.

Finally, the Korg DS-10 DS cartridge got its launch in the UK last week, although there’s not really any news to report from the launch event and we’re mostly still waiting to get one. In the meantime, though, the 1UP Show has picked up the DS-10 in this video:

Hope to have CDM’s DS-10 hands-on soon, once I can get my hands on a DS-10!

  • spinner

    Puts a new twist on the old "two guys are sitting in a bar" joke.

    Got to get me one of those, that looks hella fun!

  • Here's another one: dsSynth

    The dsSynth will let you play the Nintendo DS like you would with any hardware synthesizer/sampler. The software allows the user to draw in a wave form on the touch screen, use one of the embedded sounds, or load one of their own samples off of their flash memory card. The dsSynth is designed to be used with an external sequencer, keyboard, etc., which will be in control of all the 16 channels of audio on DS by sending MIDI data to the NDS. The way that the MIDI is sent is by using the DSMI DS Music Interface. The protocol is stable and fast from all the testing that I have done. The MIDI data is able to control pitch and volume (note data) along with other elements of the sound.

    Source code is available as well.

  • gbsr

    you know, that korg does sound very very good.

    i should get me one of those. anywhere you meet someone with a ds and this cartridge is a potentional on the fly jam partner. that just waters my mouth.

  • dead_red_eyes

    Hahaha, I love it that Masanao gets all embarrassed for having a metallic pink DS. I can't wait to pick up the DS-10, been really excited about this for a while now. Any news on when it's going to be released stateside Peter?

  • Funny, last night I just made a comment in the previous ProtienScratch post to ask a question (zombie posting, i know i know).

    I just got a homebrew card a couple days ago, M3 Real (+4gig sdhc card). I was excited to start diving in to homebrew audio app heaven, but things aren't so easy. Don't know why, but GlitchDS, RepeaterDS, and ProtienScratch don't work. I've been trouble shooting here and there with a little progress- but no working apps yet. Glitch and Repeater now start up, but forever hang on the 'loading…' screen.

    Word of warning to all the potential homebrewers out there- buy a card for high compatibility, not the features. I got the M3 Real because it supported sdhc- but it's not any good if it can't run the sweet stuff featured here. It seems there's alot of quirks with different kinds of cards, and the 'R4' seems to be the most stable. I'm sure I'll get this stuff running eventually (fingers crossed), but it's a pain in the ass that it hasn't worked as easy as drag+drop.

    If any more knowledgeable DS'er would be merciful enough to help me out, I'd be thankful. Googling into the DShb scene has resulted in alot of dead ends and dead links.

  • dan

    newmiracle, are you 'dldi patching' those programs before using them?

    most homebrew apps need to be patched so that they know what kind of homebrew card you're using. anything that needs to be patched will usually start up okay but fail on file access. there are full instructions on how to get started here:

    it's really easy once you get the right programs setup – you just double-click the .nds file and it's ready to go.

  • dan

    hmm – just noticed the m3 real is meant to support autopatching, so that shouldn't be required.

    are you using the most recent m3 real firmware? (google for it, usually it's just a couple of files you copy onto your sd card)

  • I have an M3 Real. So far, every compatibility problem I've encountered (including GlitchDS/RepeaterDS) has been solved by running DSOrganize, and launching the troublesome apps from its browser instead of directly from the M3 OS.

  • I am really yearning to get me one of these.

    The fact that it enables non-musicians to access these new virtual instruments in an intuitive way just drives me wild.

    Thanks, foosnark!

  • Al Magnifico

    I wonder if it is possible to synch some of them via wifi. This is a basic condition to perform together with others. A ds-10 solo performance with 2 mono voices and 4 drum sounds is not really that much exciting, I'm afraid. But imagine a DS-10 Band: 4 of those little beasts played via Guitar Amps + outboard effects…

  • vack

    al magnifico,

    "Exchange sounds and songs and play multiple units simultaneously through a wireless communications link"

    So yes, you can do just that. Check out one of the official demo videos where the guy plays 4 of them simultaneously in sync…

  • Al Magnifico,

    I'll be working on wifi-midi-sync for glitchDS and repeaterDS very soon. It's at the top of my list. I agree that it's very important, specially since the BPM on both applications is only approximate and will drift out of sync after about 30 seconds.

    – Bret

  • Michalis

    DS10 is out in the UK?! Any ideas where I can get me one?

  • foosnark, thanks for the heads up. I saw people saying on forums that DSOrganize helped, but after you emphasized it's importance I went out and found the M3Real specific files to make it work better. It worked before, but wasn't loading nds files properly. More googling turned up the proper fix.

    I'm able to load them, but it says that it can't find the "/sound" folder (for both apps). It also says this for Protein Scratch. I was thinking perhaps that I need to put the folders in the root directory of the card, so I'm gonna try that out when I get home from work.

    I'm really hoping it works. I'm blown away by the caliber of work being put into the projects, and am excited to start glitching out during my daily commute.

  • dan

    > I was thinking perhaps that I need to put the folders in the root directory of the card, so I’m gonna try that out when I get home from work.

    yep, most of these programs are pretty sensitive where you put the files.

    i'd say there's a strong possibility you'll be able to get the ds-10 to talk to other apps (or your pc!) once the devs work out the protocol that's being used.

  • virgil990

    As far as compatibility and performance go, can anyone recommend either the R4 or DSX over the other? I don't mind spending the extra money for the DSX I just want to make sure it's gonna work. Any help will be appreciated greatly.



  • dan

    In my experience the R4DS (or M3 Simply, which are basically the same hardware) are the best devices for homebrew compatibility.

  • WOO! Thank all that is holy! Got this stuff working!

    I'm saying this now for anyone who may have this problem in the future:

    DSOrganize needs special stuff to optimize it for the M3Real,

    DLDI patching isn't necessary alot but have the utilities just in case,

    and yes… putting stuff in the root directory matters alot.

    Now let the search engine spiders go forth and spread out this information to those with homebrew troubles.

  • BirdFLU

    virgil, I have a DSX and it works, but their customer support and OS updates are terrible and not as advertised. Since the DSX came out, other cards have caught up and surpassed it. Check the forums for the various cards to see how they stack up or check the forums for the homebrew you want to used and see what cards they say work.

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  • Dri

    Im happy with the R4DS. Works with everything CDM has listed and then some. A couple of the DS audio apps need some specialist config but most are drag and drop.

    Grabbed two R4's from Gameyeeah in Hong Kong i believe and they were express posted to Australia very quickly. Def check the R4's out.

  • I been looking for something like this for a long time for a pocketpc. If there is any way you could hook up a usb/midi keyboard controller, instead of using the on board sequencer then you have an unstoppable cheap synthesis for musicians. Still it a very cool app and I'm glad they are emulating the MS-10 synthesizer.

  • Robman84

    You can hook up a midi keyboard to a DS using DSerial, but I think you need to make it yourself. Also I doubt Nintendo would allow this to be integrated with an official software release! You can also hook up a midi keyboard to the DS using Wifi via DSMidiWifi, but again I doubt the support is there!

    Michalis: My heart also skipped a beat when I read this as the DS10 was already out in the UK! Still, I've got plenty of other DS progs to play with (GlitchDS) until it gets launched. Doubt I can wait for a UK release though if it will be long after the Japan release – I'll be importing definitely!

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  • RRR

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