Saturday, March 01, 2014

ADDAC210 Open Heart Surgery, Thoughts and FreqTalk Dreams

ADDAC210 Open Heart Surgery - Eurorack & Arduino Development Board
I'm still stoked about last weeks' ADDAC210 specifications announcement that i just had to write an extra blogpost about it.
At least 5 people already decided to pre-order this new Eurorack and Arduino Development Board, so the module will definitely be taken into production by ADDAC, a Portuguese company that has produced many more other innovative modules (100s Series!)over the last couple of years.

Although the idea is not completely new (see BeavisBoard), this is the first time that it is integrated in a 36HP wide Eurorack module with pre-mounted knobs, switches and mini-jacks.
Reading the comments about the ADDAC210 all over the web, the overall thought of most people seems to be "what can i do with it?"
The BeavisBoard-website has some nice examples that will also be interesting for synth-enthusiasts, but possibilities are almost limitless...

If you're a Eurorack fan, into synth DIY, and familiar with breadboards you instantly see this as an exciting and challenging module.
This must be the ultimate way to design, create and prototype your wildest synth ideas... and it will make bread-boarding so much easier!

The ADDAC210 comes with a 1 meter flat-cable and four 5.5cm. stands, so you can also keep it on your desk outside of your Eurorack while you are working on it.
The breadboards will be screwed to the front panel to allow "pre-patched" breadboards to be interchanged too. 

The knobs and the inputs on the bottom of the module will make designing new Eurorack synths/controllers feel very intuitive.
Now you can start experimenting, you will only have to get your hands on a (classic) cool (synth)-chips or other small electronics and then you can have so much fun with this... 
Expand your project on this breadboard by adding adding your favorite filter circuits and stuff... so exciting...
This module will bring Eurorack-patching to a micro-level with tiny jumper wires, resistors, diodes, microchips and more.
I'm already looking forward to the first creative online video examples...

A few random ideas:
Random spare parts
- experiment with your old chips that were always somewhere hidden on the bottom of your DIY-case
(maybe leftovers from other (old) synths, or old radio-parts)


- With an added Arduino shield/board there are multiple sequencing/ timing / mathemetical- related functions that would be possible... (and even sampling !)

- How cool would it be to install various sensors on it? Adding a light-sensor/photo-resistor can turn this into a theremin-like module... but also think of a pressure-, heat-, or... lets say a humidity-sensor or Anemometer (a device used for measuring wind speed (vid)? It might sound weird now, but who knows what voltages you can use and what effect it can have on sound...

- Try to build your own Brian May treble booster; a single medium-gain transistor with low-value caps on the input boost the treble part of the signal. The original used a BC182L transistor but the 2N5087 works just the same. This circuit is very close to the original Dallas Rangemaster. (via the BeavisAudio-site)

- My ultimate wet dream would be (re-)creating something like the FreqTalk (see below) or some kind of Flame Talking Synth-clone (and HERE) with the use of one or two Magnevation SpeakJet (or other) speech-chips.
The FreqTalk is based on an Arduino board and 2 SpeakJet chips and I have a feeling that the ADDAC210 will make a speech synthesis synth like this possible, and probably quite easy too IMO.

Video 1: FreqTalk Introduction
" Narrated introduction to the FreqTalk synthesizer."

Video 2: FreqTalk freestyle demo

" FreqTalk synth playing through AdrenaLinn effects.Cameo appearance by E-Mu PX-7 drum machine.
(c) 2010 Andy Hutson"

In the comments Andy writes:
"... the SpeakJets basically cover 3 octaves (B0 to B3), but since the tuning is integer-based, and musical tuning isn't, many of the notes are slightly sharp or flat, but it's close enough for techno, so to speak. The chips are worth getting...they're a lot of fun to play with in Arduino applications. Easy serial communications, minimal wiring required."
"... It took several weeks of evenings, but I didn't keep track of all the hours. Thankfully for the new model, most of the code was a direct cut-n-paste, and I just have to add code to drive the sequencers and LCD screen. Hope to have it done and new videos posted before the end of the year.
"... I don't see mass producing these anytime soon, but the thought has crossed my mind. If I find the time, I'll post news on this channel. Currently, I am working on a new model...same sounds, but better interface, with an LCD screen and built-in step sequencer... SpeakJet chips are basically triggered via serial messages, but in conjunction with an Arduino, you can wire them up to accept almost any kind of signal to trigger them."

Videos uploaded and comments by lamatronix

I understand that you do have to have a bit of knowledge about electronics and probably about Arduino programming, but this module is ideal for anyone who wants to start realizing their own Eurorack synth or controller.
Still a great module for enthusiastic beginners...
Feel free to leave your ideas/suggestions below in the comments! (I might add more of them to this blogpost later)

Find my earlier ADDAC210 blogpost (with full specifications) at http://patchpierre.blogspot.nl/2014/02/addac210-open-heart-surgery-announced.html
Also keep an eye on the ADDAC210 Open Heart Surgery-thread on MuffWiggler  for the latest updates.

ADDAC210 website: http://www.addacsystem.com/product/addac200-series/addac210