A MIDI-Ready Nintendo Game Boy, with Help From Arduino

Arduinoboy mGB from trash80 on Vimeo. Lovers of the sound of the original Nintendo Game Boy, the Minimoog of game systems with its distinctive, rich 8-bit sound, this may be the best solution for integrating it with other music gear. Our friend trash80, aka Timothy, has completed a project with open-source code for the affordable, easily-programmable Arduino electronics platform. To make it work, he’s built his own custom cartridge, adding standard MIDI communication with other devices. An 1/8” minijack plugs into your Game Boy cart, but you get standard MIDI DIN on the other end for connecting to keyboards, computers, …

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How-to Videos: Digital Wall Harp, Pipe Organ Chair

MyHome 2.0 is a promotional site for Verizon FIOS that’s enlisted some very talented DIYers. They’ve got a couple of pretty impressive interactive music projects — this is not the sort of stuff most people would take on. The Pipe Organ Chair isn’t a digital project per se, but we all love sound here, and who’s to say you couldn’t integrate bellows into your next digital instrument? The basic idea is to force air through pipes using butt-powered bellows, requiring, of course, a fair bit of assembly. How 2.0: Pipe Organ Chair from My Home 2.0 DIY on Vimeo. Pipe …

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Easier DIY Controllers: MachineCollective in Beta, Shipping Next Month

There’s a growing appetite for using custom controllers or creating DIY controllers from scratch. Why not, after all, get exactly the number of knobs and sliders you want, in just the layout you want? Where a lot of these projects stumble, though, is in the enclosure. That’s what made the appearance of machinecollective, an polished-looking modular system of just the kinds of enclosures you’d want, so exciting when we saw it last month. Well, here’s some good news: Machinecollective may be coming to you very soon. The site has launched in beta, and prototypes are scheduled for shipping early next …

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Sourcing Synths: Resources for x0xb0x

We got a couple of good notes on how to source your own x0xb0x synth kit. In general, I wouldn’t recommend the x0xb0x as a first synth project, but that said, there are some good resources out there if you decide you want to give this synth a try. Likewise, the resources on Lady Ada’s site are worth a look even if you don’t intend to build a x0xb0x — there’s a treasure trove of parts info there that could be useful for other projects, too. Video: “wyllytesla Live Acid – a 303, 909 and x0xb0x pounding out hard techno”

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Wanted: Experiences Self-Sourcing the x0xb0x

Retraction: I reported earlier today that the x0xb0x has been “discontinued.” Actual status: the x0xb0x is still being made, but the waiting list is long enough that even some people already on the list may never see one, let alone new additions. Whatever happens, that means if you want a x0xb0x, you probably want to build your own. And you can do that, because it is fully open-sourced hardware. You just have to track down all the parts. So that leads to my next question: has anyone tried sourcing the x0xb0x themselves? Anyone thinking of embarking on it now who …

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Weather Report: Multi-Touch + Surface Temperature = Music on Earth

For an increasing number of artists, data is becoming the raw material for creative work. Most of this has focused on visual media, but in the digital space, you can just as easily use sound. Sometimes the results are aesthetic only; sometimes they tell you something about the numbers being sonified. But either way, sound is a powerful medium. “Weather Report” is a multi-touch instrument that makes music out of surface temperature data. The results feel a bit like US weather agency NOAA gone IDM. Fire up the multi-touch table, and you can “read” temperature data as sound. Co-creator Jordan …

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How to Build a Mic Flag and Look Like a Real Broadcaster

We’ve all seen newspeople interviewing the “average guy on the street” with this sort of device affixed to the handle of their mic: Ever wanted to add a veneer of professionalism to your otherwise ameteurish audio/video production? It’s easy! Here’s how:

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Felt + Circuits, for Sound and Enjoyment, From Happy Sheep

Felt + circuits = sustainable musical goodness. Powered by USB, this felt calculator can squeeze and squeak to make noise. Plastic, aluminum, wood … why not felt? Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, co-creators of the open source Monome multimedia controller, have long had an interest in alternative, sustainable materials for music and multimedia. They recently shared some of those ideas at a felt + circuits workshop in Los Angeles. (You may have seen the felt calculator synth show up on Music thing.) Brian explains to CDM what the workshop was about, with a glimpse of why felt and copper-etched circuits …

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FM Synth in a Cigar Box, with Critter Board DIY Board

Wish you could build your own music devices? Our friend Jason Kramer points to the Critter Board, a “hardware platform for creating self-contained electronic music devices.” The board looks great: it’s based on the 32-bit 58 MHz ARM microcontroller and programmed in C, like some other boards, but features a unique setup perfect for making musical toys: 21 I/O connections for adding knobs, sensors, LEDs, and the like, flash memory support for storing sounds, and a line out jack. Of course, all of that is meaningless if you don’t already know how to build electronics projects. Fortunately, there’s a growing …

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