AutoSave for NI Maschine

Today Maschine crashed on me again.. ugh! It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s usually a colossal let down. You know the scenario; you are totally in the pocket and  just recorded a killer bass line. It’s completely unquantized and totally grooves. Then,  without warning, boom… Maschine explodes in to a steaming pile of “KERN_PROTECTION_FAILUR” taking your bass line with it. Well that is precisely what happened to me, but no more. I have come up with  a solution to this problem.
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Here is a modular video for all the synth geeks. The patch is pretty crazy, but I’ll explain it below. It morphed into the iteration it is in in the video over a few days of patching and playing after work. Hopefully you enjoy and continue reading for a writeup on how the patch works.

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'Video' Post | By on May 19, 2012

Adafruit ISP Programmer Tweaks

Modded Adafruit AVR ISP Programmer shield

Adafruit AVR ISP Programmer shield modded to allow re-configuration for different AVRs

Burning the Arduino bootloader to an AVR uC can be very useful and maybe even fun, but also a bit tricky. With that said, let me start with a little background; I recently built a couple kits from Bleep Labs, namely the HSS3i and the Nebulophone. Both the HSS3i and the Nebulophone use an ATMega 328p with an Arduino bootloader to get the job done. Dr. Bleep and Gieskes have also both been nice enough to post the source for these projects. Obviously this means we need to play with the source and make these devices do new stuff. This is all great news, but there is a problem. The Nebulophone is a very compact device and doesn’t have a programming header on it. The HSS3i does have a programming header on it, but that doesn’t help me with the Nebulophone. After realizing this I decided to put my modding on the back-burnner and move forward with making both wonderful and horrendous sounds and visuals with my new toys.

After spending copious amounts of time playing with my new toys I decided it was time to give the modding a bit more thought. Like any respectable hacker should I consulted the inter-webs for a solution to my problem, what I found was the Adafruit AVR ISP Shield Kit. This kit would allow me to buy ATMega328ps and burn the Arduino bootloader to them. I also found a link on the Adafruit site that had a few mods to allow you to turn the shield along with an Arduino into a stand-alone programmer, bonus!

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A slowly evolving, almost trance inducing modular patch that I cooked up late at night. This is a snippet of what was recorded live into Live. Except for the fade in and out in that I added in Ableton, it is all live modular goodness, no multi-tracking, etc.

Continue reading 2 A.M Modular

'Audio' Post | By on December 31, 2011

Pitfall Generator Prototype

Here is the prototype of my latest project, the Pitfall Generator. The current version, housed in a Pac-Man ghost tin, is pretty much an Atari Punk Console with voltage control added to it. Below are a few paragraphs explaining how I got to this point in the project.

The APC, or Atari Punk Console is really just a square wave generator with a freaky pulse width control. On it’s own it is great fun twiddling the knobs and it makes some cool sounds, but  it’s pretty limited in the range of sounds that can be achieved by just turning those knobs. That said, with its (almost) square wave and super adjustable pulse width it is capable of some great 8-bit video game FX noises, which I love. Still… I knew that I could get more out if it.

Pitfall Generator Prototype 1

Fisheye shot of the PFG prototype on Rene

Since I wanted to expand the functionality of my APC I figured the best place to start was to take a better look at the 556 timer & how it works in the APC. The 556 timer, essentially two 555 timers rolled into one, is the heart of the APC. One of the two timers is configured as a monostable oscillator and it is driving the other, which is configured as an astable oscillator. Now that I had a better understanding of how the APC worked, I decided to take a closer look at the 556 data sheet. While reading the data sheet I realized that both cores of the 556 have control voltage inputs! What better place to start than to add voltage control to the APC so I can use it with my modular synth.

After finding out that there were control voltage pins on the 556, I grabbed a couple of IC hooks, connected them to pins 3 & 11 (the CV pins) on the 556, hooked it up to an LFO and success! The APC’s pitch started wobbling along in the shape of  the the sine wave coming from the LFO. I found that the audio would cut out if the CV was too high, but that is easily remedied by attenuating the voltage. Testing the second control voltage input pin revealed similar results. Next I soldered some jacks to the CV pins, drilled some holes and mounted them to the case so I had permanent inputs to play with.

Adding the CV mods to my APC got me to thinking… wouldn’t it be a good idea to continue my experiments with the final goal of producing a Eurorack format Atari Punk Console? I couldn’t think of a good reason not to, so that is the current plan. Also, Since I plan on making several mods to the original APC circuit I decided my project needs it’s own name. After a bit of deliberation I decided to call it the Pitfall Generator or TVHR-PFG01. I think it’s pretty clever, it still pays homage to the original while having it’s own identity at the same time.

I’ll be recording the development of the project here (along with my other projects.) I’ve also included an audio demo of what the PFG is currently capable of below. There are also a few more pics after the break so make sure you click the link to keep reading.

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