Sony Walkman-Sequenced Gakken Synth, by Gijs Gieskes

WalkSX from Gijs on Vimeo. As the Sony Walkman turns 30, many of the mobile cassette’s fans wax nostalgic. But it takes Gijs Gieskes to wire up a new Rube Goldberg-style musical instrument based on the Walkman’s simple tape playback. Follow along carefully through the signal flow of this unusual instrument: 1. The Walkman has audio on the tape itself, sampled from a Roland TR-808 drum machine. 2. Because a compact cassette has two tracks (left and right, for stereo), one track is dedicated to the drums, another to the rim shot. 3. The rim shot track is fed as …

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Mod the $50 SX-150 for MIDI: Instructions + Code

Photo via Flickr courtesy (C) MrBook aka heurtubia aka Hector Urtubia. A $50 synth that makes neat noises is fun. But a $50 synth that has a proper housing, audio jacks, and can be MIDI controlled — that’s a whole lot better. So readers were wowed last week as we saw the work MrBook did with his Gakken SX-150. Now, by popular demand, MrBook shares his techniques with specs, instructions, and code. This isn’t a bad project to get started with if you’ve been thinking of doing something on these lines. The basic ingredients and process: Find the connections on …

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$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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