mardi 28 février 2012

Arduino midi Speak and Spell code release.

Finally i released the code.
It is a very basic version but a working one. You can find schematics and code at :

I've also a few PCB left if someone is interested, drop me a mail.

vendredi 10 février 2012

Midi Speak and Spell/Read recap

Time for a quick recap of the project.

This project was created to connect the speak and X to a midi device enabling control over midi of the speak and x.
The result id  not to be able to make it speak my own word, but more to create some bending like sounds, similar to the already existing highly liquid kit.

Why i wanted to recreate the wheel ? just because I've tried a highly liquid midi modified speak and spell and i wanted to add more midi controlled function to it, or be able to map on a midi keyboard all preferred sounds (without changing banks for ex.)
There is a second reason : because it's possible. As someone already achieved this, i should try myself and provide the infos to the DIY community.

Current project status : the autoshutdown problem as been resolved. now everything seems to be working fine,
will clean all debug crap in the code and release it ..

Quick test of ableton controling the speak and read. (noizy)

noizeinabox speak and read midi test with ableton by noizeInaBox

jeudi 9 février 2012

Arduino Speak and Sell midi interface pinout

Here is the pinout of the Arduino Speak and Sell midi interface Shield.

The code will be, as promised, provided, but i need before releasing it to solve this autoshutdown issue, which seems to be software based an not hardware.(after each midi note it should simulate a "erase button keypress to
reset the autoshutdown counter of the speak and spell)

I plan to sell few PCB or kit if someone is interested.

Speak and Spell Arduino New PCB testing

Finally i soldered and tested my new PCB, (v0.8) and it's working fine..  Great News.
I also tested the functionality to power the arduino with Speak and Spell, it's working as well.
I got some prob with the autoshutdown feature, after 3 min, the speak and spell still shut down. Need to verify the code.

Here some pictures.

As you can see a lot of component are on socket or not soldered, the reason : it is the first soldered test of the new PCB, i prefer to put socket to recovers the component if the PCB was not working, that's it.

Here is some sound, not a track or anything musical, only some sound to listen few different sound of a Speak and Read connected to this arduino speak and spell shield :
Test the Arduino midi Speak and Spell interface 1 by noizeInaBox

mercredi 1 février 2012

Roland MC-09 overdrive upgrade

MC-09 sounds great (i know ,not like a real one) but in the DSP 303 simulation they forgot some effects : the OVERDRIVE (which is not on the original 303)

It's possible to add a overdrive plugged on output but not funny enought. I want to add a overdrive inside the box with a Jack plug output.
Connecting  the overdrive on the RCA output (but internaly) will not allow to get the overdrive on the headphone plug.

for my point of view it's better to add overdrive after the DAC,  (and before the volume button)so you will get the overdrive on each output (and headphone) but without a  schematic i need to search inside the box.
I saw that the MC-909 got several similarities in the IC used(especially the dac and op amp), and the MC-909 service manual can be found on the net. Will investigate this way.

Update :
I've found where to connect this  please the pictures :

 Here is a quick schematics on how it is organized , i plan to add the Overdrive on the red trace.

The different opamps and the pint where you should find audio. (white and red)

The different opamps and the pint where you should find audio. (white and red.
the point marked  1 are after the volume amp.
the point marked 2 are after the headphone amp.
the point marked 3 are before the volume pot, we should replace the 2 caps by the overdrive.

Roland Mc-09 PhraseLab Teardown

As Dave (EEVblog) would say : Don't turn it on, take it apart!

See some picture of a Roland MC-09 inside .. :

The Panel  outside and inside

The main board [Bottom]

The Main Board [Top]

Detailed Views
          - Power Parts

          -Audio out/in Parts
               Headphone plug
 audio in/out

               -DSP/ uC /RAM /Flash
uController  (only for smartmedia??)
 The DSP
 the Flash
 RAM 1 (maybe for external sample)
 Ram 2

   -the DAC (for in and out) the small chip near the RAM

      -   the sliders

   - smartmedia connector

Mainboard with chip placement

Some References, datasheet, chip list of the one i've found (only the identified component)

RAM x1

1,048,576 WORDS x 16 BIT

LC324260BJ-60    (4Meg)
Fast Page Mode Dynamic RAM
256K x  16

Flash x1

8M (1M ´ 8/512K ´ 16) BIT

uC x1

16bit microcomputer
Renesas 16-Bit Single-Chip Microcomputer

 Dual low-noise operational amplifiers

AD/DA Converter x1
3V 96Khz 24bit

DSP x1
R02231767 RA0A-101 (TC223C080AF-101)
Same as MC-909 or DR-880


Standard 78 series, 3-pin regulator

Other Logic ICs

VHC 32

Dual D-Type Flip-Flop with Preset and Clear

VHC 08
Quad 2-Input AND Gate


Octal Bus Transceivers With 3-State Outputs

New toy, Roland PhraseLab Mc-09

I've got a new toy, the Roland PhraseLab Mc-09.
I was not planning to get this, i just fell on this auction on a website like ebay (but only for switzerland) and i got this for less than 100 US dollars. So, i thought why not .. looks funny

Quick description of the device (taken on Roland website) :

The MC-09 PhraseLab is an all-in-one production tool combining a DSP synth, step sequencer, four-part audio looper and effects processor. With this single instrument, musicians can create fat analog synth and rhythm sounds which can be sequenced and then sampled (along with phrases taken from external sources) using the four-part audio looper. An onboard effects processor and cool functions like Chop make the PhraseLab a killer remix machine.
  • - Tabletop synth/audio looper with onboard sequencing and effects
  • - DSP monosynth creates fat synth lead, bass and rhythm sounds
  • - Audio looper plays back 4 monaural phrases up to 6 sec. each
  • - Onboard step sequencer with easy programming including TR-REC method
  • - Easy automatic looping using BPM and measures
  • - Loop Control function for controlling loop playback via step sequencer
  • - 4 built-in effects: Filter, Isolator, Phaser and Slicer
  • - SmartMedia slot for pattern/audio storage; MIDI In/Out

Before getting a lot of people who hate this device put comments on this post i will express my opinion.
- you don't find a lot of these on the net .. so why not getting one..
- i know that the Drum part sound crappy
- the Audio looper (4 samples) compress the sound and is a bit noisy.
- the DSP TB-303 emulator is not the same sound as a real 303, but sounds correct (especially for the price) ..
- Effect are not the most interesting ones
- the Sequencer is okay ..
- it's between a toy and a musical instrument.
- I would not buy this  for the price of a new

Personally  i found it quite funny to play with, it's simple, small, you don't need to use 10 different devices to do some sounds..  and he got some interesting possibilities ..

Finally why putting this "review" of the Mc-09 here on a electronic blog, simply because the one i bought was so dirty that it need a severe cleaning .. and to clean it correctly you need to take it apart.
I found always interesting to see what's inside, and searching the net, there is not that much info on this device .. so why not adding this info myself.

Teardown on the next post

Side project : Monome/Arduinome

Here is a side project i have, Buliding a monome (or arduinome).
I got the PCBs, MCU, silicon buttons for some time ago but didn't get the time to build it.
Finally i started to solder this stuff.
It is based on a biboboard, sparkfun buttons. for the "intelligence" board, i've got  some unsped board (for Arduinome) or a clone of the 40h monome.

 I don't know yet which one i will use for the monome/arduinome. will try both.

Here  some picture of the ongoing build. I won't comment that much the building process as many blog or website already have extensive documentation on this.

Diodes, diodes diodes ...

Soldering Diodes .. 

Finally all diodes soldered.

Starting to solders Leds .. 

 More and more leds.

Led Closeup 

Ouf .. finished the led soldering ..

Looks good .. :)

Still no big news ...

No this project is not abandonned ..  and  i know that i didn't put many updates on this blog for a while .. so it's time  for a project status :
I've received the new PCB (only few days ago) but didn't get the time to solder it.

I will also put on this blog some side projects or new toys teardown.
So what's next (i hope this week) :
- Solder and test the new PCB (v0.8)
- Finish and test correctly the Speak Spell Library (basic functions)
- Release the Library code.

A quick picture of the new PCB

If you look at the picture, you can see a Midi in and Out, the Speak Spell won't be able to send midi messages. So midi out is not directly used by the speak and spell., but as the project is open source and driven by a Arduino, you will be able to adapt the code to do send midi messages for anything (add midi nutton, sliders,etc..)
The Speak and Spell Shield is also a Midi shield and all connection between Arduino and Speak and spell bus driver can be removed (with the 10x jumpers) so you can disable all the speak and spell electronics and use it as a pure Arduino midi shield for any projects.