In Toronto this Friday, we’ll be connecting with InterAccess Gallery in a celebration of DIY, adventurous music making, and blipping synthesizers. It’ll also be the first public debut of the new MeeBlip micro, a pocket-sized version of our MeeBlip open source hardware synth. Part of why I’m excited to be hacking away with the fine folks of Toronto is that we’ll be able to document that new design and what you might make with it for everybody else. The MeeBlip micro and revised MeeBlip se will be coming very soon to everyone.

What’s the MeeBlip micro? It’s the brains of the monophonic, MIDI-capable, hackable virtual analog MeeBlip synth, without the knobs and switches. It does still have MIDI and USB, so you can program it by connecting to a computer, and transmit MIDI over standard cables. It also has analog and digital pinouts so you can use it to try out novel sensors or build it into a sound art installation or wearable Kilt of Synthesis. We’ll be making the first-ever micros in the workshop and starting to play with them. (See the spy photo below for a look.)

If you are in Toronto, here are the details on the workshop (complete with a MeeBlip micro to take home) and the Handmade Music party and lineup later on. Stay on CDM for coverage for everyone in the world.

The Workshop

Hackable Synth Workshop: Meet the MeeBlip

When: Friday, September 23, 2011, 7-10pm

Instructor: Peter Kirn

$39 MeeBlip micro (special!) + $30 course fee non-members
$39 MeeBlip micro (special!) + $20 course fee members
(10 spots total)

Build the simple, inexpensive new MeeBlip micro – a bare-bones version of our open source, playable, friendly MeeBlip synthesizer – and then learn a little about how it works, even if you’re new to electronics and code. Walk home with an instrument you can add to your studio with MIDI, and make – not only blips and bleeps, but something resembling music. (That is, assuming you can play!)

We’ll assemble the MeeBlip micro board, which contains all the synthesis guts of our full-featured MeeBlip synthesizer, including MIDI implementation, but lacks switches, knobs, and housing. You’ll get to assemble it yourself with some fairly easy soldering.

Next, learn a bit about how the MeeBlip works. We’ll take a look at how the circuit functions, and a bit of the Assembly code that makes it tick (as well as seeing why “Assembly code” isn’t as scary as you probably think). We’ll see how to make a simple modification to the MeeBlip code, even if you haven’t coded before.

Finally, since the MeeBlip micro includes MIDI but no switches or knobs to customize your sounds, we’ll learn the basics of using the free visual modular environment Pure Data (Pd) to send MIDI messages and sequences to your MeeBlip, so you can interactively control sounds and make patterns, via a crash course in Pd MIDI patching.

It’s an open source music-making extravaganza, leaving you with a powerful virtual analog monophonic synth you can play!

Previous experience required: some basic knowledge of synthesis and occasional soldering should prove useful, but are not strictly required. Non-coders very, very much welcome!

To sign up for the workshop, please contact / visit InterAccess’ contact page.

Handmade Music: Live Performances + Party

After the workshop, a wide, eclectic set of music, all mixed up for your listening pleasure, curated by Handmade Music Toronto and our friends at InterAccess.

10 pm – late
Pay What You Can, suggested $5 donation. 19+
Friday, September 23

~Island Dweller
Experimental Ambient Sounds [Ed.: that groove, too]

Red-skies-remix by island dweller

Noise and Visuals

~Colin Bergh
Deep House

Tech-House, Electro, Dubstep, AwesomeCore

Jittery Fingers by TheAlphaNerd

Raven Chacon
Noise art

and your editor, Creating Digital Music
~Peter Kirn
Keys and synths and ambient things