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Topic: The '960duino' - an Arduino-powered, analogue-style, MIDI step sequencer (Read 4870 times) previous topic - next topic

How_do_I_know

May 20, 2014, 04:45 pm Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 04:51 pm by How_do_I_know Reason: 1
Hi

I would like to introduce the 960duino - my analogue-style MIDI step sequencer, built around an Arduino MEGA. It is a 'clone' of the famous Moog 960 sequential controller, and its modern counterpart, the synthesizers.com q960.

I have always had a passion for electronic music, specifically 70's-style Berlin School sequencer music, a la Tangerine Dream. Seeing more modern groups, like rmi, Free System Projekt, Airsculpture, but particularly Redshift (http://redshift2.bandcamp.com/) really made me want to get a big modular! I knew realistically this would not happen, so I started looking at some DIY options.

I particularly wanted a much cheaper version of the real sequencer module, which would be a stand-alone MIDI module, as I enjoyed 'noodling' on computer VSTs, but missed the feeling of a connection to the instrument. After a lot of web research I stumbled on the Arduino platform, but it took me many months (on and off, as these things go) trying different sketches, to come up with a working version.

Ultimately, it was unsatisfying just as a box attached to the PC. I then had the opportunity to buy a proper modular system, and this gave me the push to finally finish it.

The 960duino is in the bottom left as we look at the whole modular.



and in close-up



The front panel is 3 mm plastic sheeting, covered with a laser-printed decal. Unfortunately it was not as good as I had hoped, but I did not want to spend a lot of money on a proper panel, when I did not know if the thing would actually work. It is a bit rough-looking now, but I might get around to a proper one at some time!

I am too embarrassed to show you the hardware! As a complete novice I used ready-made jumper wires for all the connections, which has resulted in an absolute jungle of wiring. I am not into spending hours on a wiring diagram, so here is a brief description:

The LEDs for the sequencer are directly driven from the digital pins. In the original versions I used shift registers, which worked well, but the later sketches became too big for my initial Uno board, so I got the MEGA which meant I could simplify the sketch and wiring. The potentiometers, rotary and momentary switches are all read as analogue inputs, via 5 multiplexors.  The middle contact of the pots was read, the switches are connected to the live feed on one side, the other to the mux, which was also grounded at the point of contact with the mux. Again, I am ashamed to admit, that I have used only breadboards for the building - again not wanting to invest in the pcb, and even a strip-board was too much to bother with. The following sites were invaluable to me:

IT Labs Mux example http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/Tutorials/Multiplexer
Muxing Around With The CD74HC4067 + Arduino - http://bildr.org/2011/02/cd74hc4067-arduino

The unit has an on-off switch, with an 'on' LED. There are three sequencer runs of 8 stages, selected by the small switch at the bottom. The switch on the right (mid-way up) selects forward/forward&reverse/reverse. The rocker switch on the bottom right selects '3rd row control of timing' - a 4th mode where there are 16 steps, control of the note timing by the 3rd row. Using the sequencer selection switch, you can also get a step with individual note and cc for each step, and finally a 24-step sequence. (Note I have not fully implemented this yet)

On each end of each sequencer run is a start and stop knob, this controls the starting and finishing step of the sequence.

I'll post the code if anyone is interested?

Thanks for looking

Daniel

2thick4uni


How_do_I_know

#2
May 21, 2014, 08:51 am Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 08:59 am by How_do_I_know Reason: 1
Hi

The code is too large to post here, so I've attached it as a zip.

Daniel

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