MIDIVampire – The $34 MIDI Powered Mini-Synth

midivampireThe MIDIVampire is a $34 4-voice polyphonic mini-synthesizer that doesn’t need any batteries, because it draws its power directly from its MIDI connection.

The MIDIVampire has 16 different wavetables, AM, FM, attack, decay, reverb, and a slew of other parameters  all controlled by MIDI CC messages.

There’s also a MIDIVampire II – a 4-voice drum machine that is powered from the MIDI data line. It offers snare, hi-hat, cymbal, and bass drum sounds, or you can build your own percussion sounds with MIDI CC messages.

Cheap and cool – but how do you adjust the MIDIVampire’s settings, without any knobs? 

This video demonstrates one approach – using an iPad with TouchOSC:

MIDIvamp is a template for TouchOSC that lets you control all the parameters for the MIDIvamps. It can be downloaded from the openmusiclabs wiki. See the Open Music Labs site for more on the MidiVampire series.

Check it out and let us know what you think of it!

20 thoughts on “MIDIVampire – The $34 MIDI Powered Mini-Synth

  1. I wonder if , with a Thru unit, you could have enough juice to power them both?

    I am tempted to hook one up to my EMU Launchpad (not THE launchpad)….would make a good stabalone synth with its 5 cc values and keys etc.

    1. the most obvious advantage is no cpu usage…

      but other than that, hardware synths usually have a unique sound character, and thats true even for digital units.. especially lo-fi devices like this

      doesnt mean hardware is “better” but it certainly is “different”.. its not “just 1s and 0s”, even in terms of digital synths.. there is much more to the equation than that

    2. Its cheaper than most softsynths I have on PC and unlike my softies, this works when my Windows stops working or softies stop getting updates(which cost money).

      This is super cool.

      Another cool project that they might be able to make happen could be an Oasys like project, a module that has no space restrictions and has probably even unnecessarily strong starting point hardware wise, but the software side would be built a little by little. A handful of analog filters and a processor that has head room for expanding forever and a price that keeps people coming when updates have reached a point where its an offer they can’t refuse. Like 500€ box that is controlled with software(or separately bought knob platform).

  2. “its not “just 1s and 0s”, even in terms of digital synths.. there is much more to the equation than that”

    What, like 2’s, or even 3’s ??

  3. Perhaps with these lo-fi DDIY (didn’t do it yourself) contraptions there is something appealing about the limitations of it. In the boundless world of software synths there is a feeling of almost dizzying complexity and options. When you are given a device that has it’s own weird sound, it’s own weird place in your hardware chain, well it’s just refreshing. And unlike the more expensive (but crazy cool) offerings from mutable, et al. these cheap boxes won’t make you lose sleep over buying them. For me, the appeal is similar to a raspberry pi: small, cheap, quirky– maybe a little foolish?

      1. I think you mean any device that sends MIDI messages. This seems like any other MIDI expander, except it costs $34 which is a good price.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *