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

  • Elburz Sorkhabi

    Is there anyway we can sign up to get into the 10 spots? Or is it first come first server when you get there? Would love to come out, make one and say hi!

  • @Elburz – Give InterAccess a shout to reserve a spot in the workshop:

  • Elburz Sorkhabi

    @James – Awesome, thanks so much! See you guys there! 

  • DBM


    Is it based on meeblip or se ?

    In the meeblip store soon ? 

  • It's based on the se firmware. We may make a few layout changes based on feedback from the upcoming workshop. It'll hit the MeeBlip store in October.

  • DBM

    Cool . 

    BTW – Is usb host ever in the horizon for the Meeblip world …would be very useful ! 

  • deb

    sweet! down the street from me. my day is full up but i will try and make the partay….

  • Peter Kirn

    @DBM: For now, we chose USB programmability over USB host, as doing both is non-trivial. Because the MIDI interface can be easily connected to any number of cheap USB-to-MIDI adapters (many of which double as cables), the sacrifice there isn't as great — we really want, though, for firmware upgrades to be able to be uploaded via USB.

  • Sasa Rasa

    Count me in when the MeeBlip micro kits are ready for selling. Having built a MeeBlip myself, I always thought it would be nice to remove the knobs and make use of the countless midi controllers we all have here and there. And if you can make the price $39 as hinted above that would be an instant hit. Want it now.

  • Peter Kirn

    $39 is a special for this batch of prototype, non-final boards. It's an early-adopter price. But I think you'll like our final pricing.

  • DBM

    @ Kirn . Thant's cool ( as JG got me bacl on the forum ) , but I was talking about USB Host for controllers like the MPK mini and all the small korg micros that require a host port ….the " any number of cheap USB-to-MIDI adapters (many of which double as cables) " do not work the other way around .

    I figured the current hardware is a no go . just a thought for hardware add on upgrade/or MKIII versions down the road .   

  • Peter Kirn

    Oh, *host* … yeah, I have to look into that. That's, um, kinda their problem for scratching their MIDI ports, but suffice to say, this is a problem that interests us, as well. 😉

    I'm passionate about getting live rigs you can drop in an overnight bag, so believe me, I'm interested.

  • DBM

    Yeah I agree . Din should not have been dropped so fast by these companies …as some of us do in fact use midi *gasp* without computers ! However I can see usb becoming the norm and din going the way of pata one day not far off to , but yeah adding a host port ( and the code to support it ) would be a god send these days ….along with a good ol'5pin din 😉 

  • Peter Kirn

    I wouldn't worry about it — I think DIN's here to stay. If you look at the products that have dropped it, they just happen to have a small form factor or at least a very low price target (or both); the rest still have DIN. (It's why I like S-Video as a compact replacement for MIDI DIN ports, with a custom cable.)

    We have no immediate plans to do host mode development, but if it's something someone else would like to take on, we'll take great interest and support that. The code / chip might be something that'd benefit a number of projects, not just MeeBlip, which is definitely in the spirit of open source music hardware.

    And obviously, that kind of development is something of great interest to CDM. I don't know, there may already be a project out there that does something like that for anyone who (hint, hint) wants to go look.

  • Jonah

    Are you working on some kinda loopback software with a computer as a hub, so you can use the knoby version to control the micro(s)?

  • steve

    So there seems to be no follow up to this. I would find the information that was presented very useful.

  • steve

    So there seems to be no follow up to this. I would find the information that was presented very useful.

  • steve

    So there seems to be no follow up to this. I would find the information that was presented very useful.