$50 Gakken Synth Kit Meets MIDI, Ableton Live

Via Collin Cunningham at MAKE, MrBook has a lovely rig with a modified Gakken SX-150, the synth kit that sells for US$50 in the States and has even been seen as a free add-in with Japanese magazines. He’s added MIDI control and a digital audio converter, and put it into a housing, which makes for a quite-playable instrument. Really terrific work! Of course, a few thoughts: We need an OSC-compatible synth. (Anyone out there?) I love you, Live, but this looks like a perfect job for Numerology (for its modular sequencing) or Renoise (for tracking). Looks like more controls would …

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Wireless MIDI Hack: XBee + MIDI Hardware = No Wires

Interested in experimenting with MIDI, minus the wires? Why not try a DIY hack yourself? Limor Fried aka Lady Ada of Adafruit Industries has posted a detailed tutorial on transmitting MIDI over the inexpensive and relatively friendly XBee wireless module. It’s a bit of a hack – you force the XBee to communicate at MIDI baud rate, and on Windows, at least, you have to fool the OS into using MIDI’s non-standard baud rate for serial communications. But it seems to work. That’s where you come in: Limor’s got some folks testing this, but we could use some additional real-world …

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Handmade Music March Noise and Mayhem Recap; Call for Stuff Next Thursday

Wonderful things happen when you invite lovers of noise together in a room. Musicians and non-musicians, electronics geeks and first-timers, folks pick up a soldering iron — often for the first time — and cause utter mayhem. So we again had a fantastic time at Handmade Music last month. I’ve just gotten the photos in, so decided to share. We’re looking for folks to bring stuff to Handmade Music on 4/16 – see the bottom of the article and give us a shout if you have software or hardware creations to share. They don’t even have to work, entirely – …

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Make:TV Meets Stanford Musical Inventors, Feedback Piano

Maker Profile – Computer Making Music on Make: television from make magazine on Vimeo. Make:Television has done a really lovely piece on CCRMA, the research center at Stanford University that works on problems ranging from acoustics and sound to musical instrument design. CCRMA is really just one microcosm of the whole music tech making scene around the world – a lot of increasingly beyond the walls of academia. But what a microcosm it is: I don’t think it’s understatement to say this is just the kind of institution a lot of us dream of. Among the highlights from the MAKE …

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DIY Step Sequencer, Coming Soon as a Kit?

Here’s something I’d very much like to see: a hackable, kit step sequencer. nostromo tips us off to a blog item on his site on the project. The creation of Monowave maker Paul Maddox, the 8-step sequencer is based on an Atmel Mega16 micro chip. The whole thing is looking very compact, which could make a nice little unit or might integrate well with other projects (like a synth). The other good news to me: new DIY hardware could be a great way to run clock into software. Previously, that job has fallen to somewhat dull consumer drum machines. With …

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A MIDI-Ready Nintendo Game Boy, with Help From Arduino

Arduinoboy mGB from trash80 on Vimeo. Lovers of the sound of the original Nintendo Game Boy, the Minimoog of game systems with its distinctive, rich 8-bit sound, this may be the best solution for integrating it with other music gear. Our friend trash80, aka Timothy, has completed a project with open-source code for the affordable, easily-programmable Arduino electronics platform. To make it work, he’s built his own custom cartridge, adding standard MIDI communication with other devices. An 1/8” minijack plugs into your Game Boy cart, but you get standard MIDI DIN on the other end for connecting to keyboards, computers, …

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Visual Space Music: Generative Audiovisualizer with Surround Projection in Jitter

mememamo writes in with his audio visual synthesizer exploration project, Visual Space Music. Visual Space Music is an interactive audio visual installation created in Max/MSP and Ableton Live. It explores the possibilities of space based audio arrangement and mixing. The user navigates through the virtual space, moving through and manipulating audio/visual synthesis objects, creating anything from abstract virtual soundscapes to precise rhythmic space music. Using a joystick and knob/fader based midi controller, the user navigates through the virtual space, while moving knobs manipulates each synthesis object, controlling how the object sounds and looks in realtime. Movement in the space can …

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An Attentive Flock of Mirrors, Built in OpenFrameWorks

Audience from Chris O’Shea on Vimeo. Chris O’Shea and rAndom International have completed a lovely installation at the Royal Opera House (UK). 64 mirrors move, each distinctively, to follow moving attendees who catch their “attention.” The installation is powered by Chris’ custom code and rAndom’s hardware and circuits, build on C++, OpenFrameWorks, and Intel’s ubiquitous open source computer vision library OpenCV. I really enjoy how elegant the resulting design is, and the way it fragments the faces of viewers in a sea of mirrors, bobbing around with simulated intelligence. Audience for Deloitte Ignite Festival [Project Page, Chris O’Shea] I expect …

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How-to Videos: Digital Wall Harp, Pipe Organ Chair

MyHome 2.0 is a promotional site for Verizon FIOS that’s enlisted some very talented DIYers. They’ve got a couple of pretty impressive interactive music projects — this is not the sort of stuff most people would take on. The Pipe Organ Chair isn’t a digital project per se, but we all love sound here, and who’s to say you couldn’t integrate bellows into your next digital instrument? The basic idea is to force air through pipes using butt-powered bellows, requiring, of course, a fair bit of assembly. How 2.0: Pipe Organ Chair from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo. Pipe …

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