MATRIXSYNTH: The toy keyboard mod - stand along synthesizer

Sunday, October 03, 2021

The toy keyboard mod - stand along synthesizer

video upload by Michael Nolan

"Recently - as a response to the pandemic I followed my dreams to skill back up in electronics, software development. I went through a lot of projects - a huge number and started to talk but today I'm sharing a really big step up in my work. Many firsts had to be worked through to design, make and then develop the software and hardware user interface for this full working keyboard and digital synth (that simulates analogue sounds to a great extent).

This is a fork of the original code from Marcel License
I wrote a lot of the parts for physical controls, the display, the arpeggio functionality and more. Without the code from Marcel though I wouldn't be anywhere as far making music. Initially it was a steep learning curve but this is about the 3rd object for making music I've made and i'm starting more projects. Eventually I hope to have a suite of different keyboards that do different things or work in different ways."

Additional details via github:


This is for someone who wants to wire up from a toy keyboard and pots, buttons to play the synth in a self contained unit. That is why I forked from Marcel Licence who has developed a number of modular synth projects and shared.

I made a thread where I started to list new features.

This project is moving along as a fork of basic synth. I've made my own knobs, banks of parameters physical interface in this self contained unit. I am milking this code for all I can to develop something I have a good deal of control.

Ran into a lot of little electronics building issues with physically making it stable and wiring it. My projects are kind of semi-wired and semi-wires into temporary pin-connectors like you have on a test arduino where I soldered some connectors to the ESP32 dev module. Getting it to be stable and using the right wire and lengths so I can keep opening it up and improving it without breaking some connection takes experience.

Issues I am starting to look more at the modules I was just using at how the work and learn from that. Had some weird DAC issues when i had a floating local SCLK instead of earthing it. Sometimes I get a bit of clipping with the sinewave or the current use causes it to lose it's stability until I had the wiring done right. Started to use my on AWG22 solid core breadboard style wires cut from a spool so I could make things stable.

Feature upgrades I like my display setup - i have 8 sectors and a routing for showing the set levels. I need a button I think to put it into edit or not edit so that I can change sets of parameters without overwriting things.

New Features to be started I need to make a patch write/read or at least read out a list of numbers to save as presets. I need to make a physical 5 pin DIN midi in/out so I can slave or master out the keys."

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