GetLoFi has found a real gem in the form of the Flame talking MIDI synth. Hacking Speak ‘n Spell’s? Totally last year. This synth is homebrewed from the ground up, using an IC (integrated circuit) that specializes in speech synthesis. GetLoFi says that chip is permanently on backorder … why am I not surprised? The chip offers “2 speech elements (allophones), 43 sound effects, and 12 DTM touch tones.”

Flame-The MIDI Talking Synth [GetLoFi]
MIDI Talking Synth [Analogue Haven sale page]
Flame on Analog Damage months ago, while I wasn’t paying attention (sorry, Chris — still interested in tips on using this IC, though!)

There’s a microcontroller in there, as well, translating joystick and MIDI inputs to serial for the speech ICs (dual SpeakJets, in this case). This is already a great achievement. But is anyone else imagining an open sourced version of this, particularly given the possibility of features?

And might the current circuit bending trend ultimately give way to a bigger “build your own music hardware” trend? Part of what I admire about bending is its interest in chance and re-appropriating existing hardware. But I see potential for the growth of instrument construction culture, as well.