OWL Programmable Effects Pedal Is Open Source + Open Hardware

owl-programmable-effects-pedalThe OWL is an open source, open hardware, reprogrammable effects pedal designed for musicians, coders, and hackers.

With some coding and DSP knowledge, the OWL can become any kind of audio effect that you can imagine. Effects can be combined in any number of ways by chaining or switching between them.

Key Features:

  • For musicians:
    • Load patches from your computer via USB
    • Collection of sample patches available and growing
    • Standard guitar pedal inputs/outputs
  • For developers:
    • Write code for a hardware DSP architecture in plain C/C++
    • no hardware specific coding required
    • Open source platform and tool chain
    • Access to all low level ARM functions

Here’s the project intro video: Continue reading

Antiquity Music WheelHarp Kickstarter

wheelharpAntiquity Music has announced a Kickstarter project to fund development of the Wheelharp – a new electromechanical keyboard.

Antiquity Music is seeking to raise $50,000 in order to launch the Wheelharp, a musical instrument that gives you the ability to bow a full chromatic set of real strings using a keyboard.

The Wheelharp is designed to put the actual sound of multiple bowed string instruments at the player’s fingertips.  According to the company, “the Wheelharp gives its player a rich sound palette of actual bowed strings that cannot be matched by synthesis or sampling.”

Here’s the official Kickstarter video: Continue reading

Keith McMillen On Kickstarting A Music Controller Revolution

keith-mcmillenKeith McMillen (right) has been exploring new ideas for electronic music instruments for nearly 35 years, starting in 1979 with his company Zeta Music and more recently with Keith McMillen Instruments. His most recent creations are the QuNeo and QuNexus controllers, both developed using a ‘crowdfunding’ approach.

Synthtopia’s Elisabeth Lewin talked with McMillen about new instrument design, new music and how they intersect.

Synthtopia: Over the last 35 years, you’ve designed new electronic stringed instruments, MIDI mixers, created high-tech violin bows,  MIDI foot pedals, a pad controller and now the QuNexus keyboard controller. Why focus on new instruments?

Keith McMillen: Being able to transition from amplified acoustic instruments into a new era of music where the computer is an interactive participant in a performance is significant.

Pretty much everything is organized around the theme of being able to play live computer music in an ensemble. It’s a complicated request that requires many components. And I’ve been chipping away at it for 30+ years. The vision gets clearer as I get closer to the goal.

Synthtopia: It seems, with Moore’s law, that what is possible grows exponentially each passing year. Does your vision of an electronic music ensemble broaden or narrow as the technology gets better? Continue reading

Devobots Combines Virtual Robots With A Devo Synthesizer

Developer Kit Robot & DEVO have announced a kickstarter project to create Devobots – a strange app that combines a software synthesizer with a virtual robot builder:

DevoBots is a digital robot assembly kit and it is also a music synthesizer. The user can create millions of robots out of the box using DevoBot assets to build their very own DEVO, mimicking the bands outfits and personas from the past 40 years. And Devobots is also a modular synthesizer where the user can play, mix and record their very own music and sounds by using and manipulating original, unreleased DEVO sounds and music from banks of sounds stored within the app.

Here’s the official project intro video:

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SYNTHBOY+ Turns Nintendo GameBoy Into 8-Bit Sound Machine

Readers Chris Blarsky and Josh Felice sent word about their new project, Synthboy+, a dock that turns a vintage GameBoy into a MIDI synth.

Here’s what they’ve got to say about the project:

Dust off that first gen Gameboy as we have a very cool interface dock that converts the handheld gaming system into a state of the art 8 bit sound machine. There is a growing community of musicians and audio artists that are using these old gaming system sounds.

We have used some of the achievements from the 8 bit community and created the SYNTHBOY+. Easy to plug into your mixer or home stereo with all of the various outputs. Midi IN/OUT makes it easy to connect to almost any keyboard.

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gTar iPhone Guitar Has Three Levels Of Difficulty + USB/MIDI

Incident Technologies has introduced the gTar, a hybrid iPhone dock + music controller guitar that’s described as ‘the first guitar that anybody can play’.

The gTar uses digital sensors to sense your finger position and then the iPhone is used for sound generation.

The guitar offers three levels of difficulty/playability:

  • If you’ve never played the guitar before, start with Easy, where you only need to play the open strings. This gives you the chance to start playing your favorite songs right away while getting a hands on feel for the strings. SmartPlay is in effect here, so if you hit the wrong string, you won’t hear anything.
  • When you’ve graduated from Easy, you can move up to Medium and start playing the frets and strings at the same time. Smart Play is still in effect, so you can continue to play without the fear of messing up.
  • When you’ve mastered a song and want to take it to the next level, try playing in Hard. Here, the gTar will continue to display the correct notes, but allows you to play whatever you want. SmartPlay stops working here, so every note you play will ring out.

Several aspects of the gTar may make it interesting for electronic musicians:

  • The gTar is USB-MIDI compliant. Incident says that they’ll “be releasing some tutorials and hacks soon!”, if you’re interested in hacking the gTar to create/perform music.
  • They also plan to offer an SDK in the future, for people that are interested in building apps for the gTar.

Continue reading

New Nintendo Cartridge, Chip Maestro, Turns NES Into A MIDI Synthesizer

Developer Jarek Lupinski is working on a new NES cartridge, Chip Maestro, that turns a Nintendo Entertainment System into a MIDI synthesizer.

Here’s what he has to say about Chip Maestro:

The cartridge will accept a MIDI input from any instrument, and by passing the MIDI notes through the NES, the cartridge will make the NES synthesize 8-bits of awesome in true NES squarewavey goodness. See the video for more details!

Most chiptune artists today use ‘software synths’ to try and recreate the sound we grew to love. By providing artists with a low-cost and easy to use hardware solution, they can use a real NES to compose their music, and even play it live on stage! And if you don’t have a MIDI instrument, don’t worry; you can use your PC with an inexpensive USB-MIDI converter, or create your own instrument using Arduinos or other microcontrollers that can output MIDI, so you can turn anything into an 8-bit instrument!

Lupinski is currently raising funds to produce the cartridge at Kickstarter.

via SonikTech, matrixsynth