audiojar_iphone_800

Fab Speakers: Open Source Portable Speakers, Online and in Glass Jars [Gallery]

From top: Sarah Pease’s glass jar portable speaker design, and the David A. Mellis open source creation that inspired it. audioJar image courtesy Sarah Pease; all other images (CC-BY) David A. Mellis. Who says you can’t make your own consumer electronics? David A. Mellis, a co-creator of Arduino who now is starting a PhD in Leah Buechley’s group, High-Low Tech, at the MIT Media Lab, has shared his Fab Speakers, an open source, portable speaker project: These portable speakers are made from laser-cut wood, fabric, veneer, and electronics. They are powered by three AAA batteries and compatible with any standard …

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meeblipse_angle

MeeBlip SE: Making Our Open Synth Hardware Better, More Available, Starting Now

The original vision of the MeeBlip was to make something affordable, something open and hackable, something anyone could get, something that could tell a story, and something we’d use to make some music. And since those are all goals of Create Digital Music, too, it’s a perfect physical compliment to what we do. For me, personally, it means putting my money where my (blogging) mouth is. It’s a chance to learn. So that makes this a really special week. It hasn’t been easy getting here, but now the MeeBlip begins its second chapter. This week, we’re announcing availability of the …

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Thanksgiving Open Thread, Delivering in Beta

On US soil today, it’s Thanksgiving. I’m over 3600 miles away, myself, from the place that began as home this year in New York, but ready to celebrate a day off anyway as I take in Eindhoven’s STRP Festival and prepare for performing on Saturday back in Berlin. But whether you’re in the US or in one of the many other parts of the world where we count readers, let’s pause to consider what makes us thankful. I’m immensely thankful to have the opportunity to make music. I find it’s always worth reminding myself of that, and reminding to fight …

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opensourcehardware

Open Source Music Hardware: Got Gear? Fill Out Our Survey as We Look at the Landscape

If you do want to get religious about this, you may want to wear this around your neck: Open Source Hardware logo as jewelry! Photo (CC-BY-SA) MAKE’s Becky Stern. We’ve followed open source hardware – and generally hardware that is more open to user customization and modification – on this site since the beginning. As I prepare for a talk on the MeeBlip at Berlin’s Create Art & Technology Conference, though, I think it’s time to do a proper survey of the hardware that’s out there. The ability to modify music gear is something that’s important to a lot of …

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tkrworksmixer

New Open Grid Gear: DJ Mixer Meets monome Grid in MIDI + OSC Controller

It had to happen — button triggering, as popularized by the monome, here meets a conventional two-channel DJ mixer. But the layout I must say is quite spare and lovely, the work of the Japanese-based PICnome project. Furthermore, it’s Open Source Hardware, covered as I have recommended by a ShareAlike Creative Commons license (with no commercial restrictions) and GPL v3. (The creator prefers the term “Free Hardware,” which I love theoretically but have avoided for fear of people demanding we mail them MeeBlips by sending us a self-addressed, stamped box.) With clean, subtle markings and a nicely-composed layout, it’s hardware …

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Open-Source Rockit 8-bit Synth Kit Coming

Chicago-based hacker and synthesist Matt Heins is working on an open source synth kit. As a co-creator of the MeeBlip open source-synth hardware, I’m biased — I want more open synth hardware! So this is looking like some great company. The instrument is 8-bit, with analog filter circuitry, coded in C. The specs: Fully Open Source Hardware and Well-Commented C Software Design Digital Analog Hybrid Circuitry 2 Digital Oscillators with 16 waveshapes, updateable to more 2 Low Frequency Modulation Oscillators with 10 destinations Innovative Digitally-Controlled Analog Filter with Low-Pass, Band-Pass, and High-Pass with Envelope Control and External Audio Input Analog …

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Sociable Music Gadgets: Networked Android + Arduino Sequencer in a “Hack of Concept”

Yesterday, we saw a bit of the idea of making mobile gadgets more sociable with each other. The idea is, through network/wireless and cabled connectivity, you extend possibilities for expression, control, and collaboration with yourself and others. It’s the same thing that makes a recording studio useful: tools work together to let people work together to create music. It’s absolutely not a new idea; the engineering question is just making it work well on new platforms. On iOS, we’re already seeing some of this: apart from MIDI connectivity, developer like KORG have even tried using wireless features intended largely for …

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Androidcontrollerism: Hardware Options on Android, in Detail; Android Player Piano

Adding hardware to tablets, as it has with decades of computing technology, can open up new worlds for software and music. It can animate a conventional piano, or provide new physical interfaces for touching music. But let’s not wait for it to happen; let’s get hacking. Following on today’s line of thinking about hardware-augmented touch, I’d like to look a bit at the recently-transformed landscape on Android. iOS users can connect to external hardware via the Core MIDI protocol or, via official channels, through the Apple Dock Connector. That’s not a perfect situation, however. Hardware developers have to be approved …

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ipad_midi

Touch, Plus Tactile: In Gaming as in Research, Physical Controls Augment Touchscreens

The gaming industry has made their bet, and it’s that touchscreens go better with tactile controls. Might digital musicians reach the same conclusion? A funny thing has happened on the way to the touch era. The vision of a device like the iPad is minimalist to the extreme: an uninterrupted, impossibly-slim metal slate, as impenetrable as some sort of found alien scifi object. The notion is that by reducing physical controls, the software itself comes to the fore. It’s beautiful conceptually … and then you find yourself tapping and stroking a piece of undifferentiated glass. For navigating interfaces – and …

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hardwaresoftware

Android Adds USB Host + Audio, Open Hardware ADK with Arduino; Good News for Mobile Music

Android just got a whole lot more interesting for hardware development. We can already run music apps and tools like Processing and (via libpd) Pure Data patches on Android. Now, you should soon be able to plug in joysticks, custom hardware, sensors, and other devices and make Android a go-anywhere live music and visual platform. Updated: USB audio class is in fact supported; awaiting other details. The new hardware APIs allow anyone to develop hardware accessories for Android, from individual DIYers all the way to brands. You don’t have to sign an NDA, and you don’t need a special hardware …

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