MIDI Control Platform: One Open Box, Any Notes, Harmonies, and Rhythms [Gallery]

What if you just had a box that crunched MIDI data? In the realm of DIY hardware, ideas tossed aside by the bigger music tech market thrive. And so, we have the MIDI Control Platform, a poplar wood and lasercut-aluminum box with basic controls and a graphic display. It’s a box that does … well, stuff. Via software modules and that screen, it can turn into any MIDI-processing tool you desire. This idea has been seen in boutique hardware before – I loved the Ruin & Wesen MiniCommand, but sadly that device and its MidiDuino library never caught on. The …

READ MORE →
3-way-rand-seq

A New Sequencer Module, Open Hardware from Music Thing, Crowd-sources Manufacture

Sometimes, when you want something, you have to make it yourself – literally. The blog Music Thing, back in the day, was a favorite reason for any music tech lover to fire up the browser. Now, Tom Whitwell – whose day job at The Times of London keeps him plenty busy – is back, with open source modular hardware. The Music Thing Random Sequencer is an analog module you can examine and modify, one with completely open source licensing, inspired by classics like Don Buchla’s 266 Source of Uncertainty module. If you want one for yourself, though, the process is …

READ MORE →
shruthi1_wolf

Open Shruthi-1 Synth Evolves Deep Sound Capabilities, New 4-Pole Filter, Ice-White Case

Inside this compact white box lurks a lot of sonic power and technical prowess. Perhaps that explains why the newest version of the open source Shruthi-1 now sports a crazy-badass wolf dog cartoon with glowing eyes. Since its launch, the Shruthi-1 has gradually evolved new features, with a fairly sophisticated combination of hardware and extensive software. At its core, it’s a “hybrid” synth with digital/virtual analog oscillators and real-analog filter. The digital oscillators allow it to change character, for classic virtual analog subtractive, or wavetable, FM, phase distortion, and vowel synthesis. The big news with the filter is that the …

READ MORE →
audiojar_iphone_800

Fab Speakers: Open Source Portable Speakers, Online and in Glass Jars [Gallery]

From top: Sarah Pease’s glass jar portable speaker design, and the David A. Mellis open source creation that inspired it. audioJar image courtesy Sarah Pease; all other images (CC-BY) David A. Mellis. Who says you can’t make your own consumer electronics? David A. Mellis, a co-creator of Arduino who now is starting a PhD in Leah Buechley’s group, High-Low Tech, at the MIT Media Lab, has shared his Fab Speakers, an open source, portable speaker project: These portable speakers are made from laser-cut wood, fabric, veneer, and electronics. They are powered by three AAA batteries and compatible with any standard …

READ MORE →
meeblipse_angle

MeeBlip SE: Making Our Open Synth Hardware Better, More Available, Starting Now

The original vision of the MeeBlip was to make something affordable, something open and hackable, something anyone could get, something that could tell a story, and something we’d use to make some music. And since those are all goals of Create Digital Music, too, it’s a perfect physical compliment to what we do. For me, personally, it means putting my money where my (blogging) mouth is. It’s a chance to learn. So that makes this a really special week. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but now the MeeBlip begins its second chapter. This week, we’re announcing availability of the …

READ MORE →

Thanksgiving Open Thread, Delivering in Beta

On US soil today, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m over 3600 miles away, myself, from the place that began as home this year in New York, but ready to celebrate a day off anyway as I take in Eindhoven’s STRP Festival and prepare for performing on Saturday back in Berlin. But whether you’re in the US or in one of the many other parts of the world where we count readers, let’s pause to consider what makes us thankful. I’m immensely thankful to have the opportunity to make music. I find it’s always worth reminding myself of that, and reminding to fight …

READ MORE →
opensourcehardware

Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear? Fill Out Our Survey as We Look at the Landscape

If you do want to get religious about this, you may want to wear this around your neck: Open Source Hardware logo as jewelry! Photo (CC-BY-SA) MAKE’s Becky Stern. We’ve followed open source hardware – and generally hardware that is more open to user customization and modification – on this site since the beginning. As I prepare for a talk on the MeeBlip at Berlin’s Create Art & Technology Conference, though, I think it’s time to do a proper survey of the hardware that’s out there. The ability to modify music gear is something that’s important to a lot of …

READ MORE →

Open Source Motion Control: camSlider Hardware is a Pocket Dolly for Stop Motion, Effects

It’s a DIY, open source slider. A “pocket dolly.” Motion control hardware, ready for your next DIY special effect or stop motion animation, made free, open, and hackable. The work of Stefan Kohler, camSlider is in self-described “alpha” phase, but already looking wildly promising for a new generation of animators and creators. Doing an open version not only makes these techniques wildly more accessible to those artists, but also helps them get directly involved in how they’re made – without needing an apprenticeship with a big effects firm. Based in Traunstein, Germany (near Munich), Stefan himself is one of those …

READ MORE →
tkrworksmixer

New Open Grid Gear: DJ Mixer Meets monome Grid in MIDI + OSC Controller

It had to happen — button triggering, as popularized by the monome, here meets a conventional two-channel DJ mixer. But the layout I must say is quite spare and lovely, the work of the Japanese-based PICnome project. Furthermore, it’s Open Source Hardware, covered as I have recommended by a ShareAlike Creative Commons license (with no commercial restrictions) and GPL v3. (The creator prefers the term “Free Hardware,” which I love theoretically but have avoided for fear of people demanding we mail them MeeBlips by sending us a self-addressed, stamped box.) With clean, subtle markings and a nicely-composed layout, it’s hardware …

READ MORE →

Open-Source Rockit 8-bit Synth Kit Coming

Chicago-based hacker and synthesist Matt Heins is working on an open source synth kit. As a co-creator of the MeeBlip open source-synth hardware, I’m biased — I want more open synth hardware! So this is looking like some great company. The instrument is 8-bit, with analog filter circuitry, coded in C. The specs: Fully Open Source Hardware and Well-Commented C Software Design Digital Analog Hybrid Circuitry 2 Digital Oscillators with 16 waveshapes, updateable to more 2 Low Frequency Modulation Oscillators with 10 destinations Innovative Digitally-Controlled Analog Filter with Low-Pass, Band-Pass, and High-Pass with Envelope Control and External Audio Input Analog …

READ MORE →