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Open-source hardware projects for the electronic artist
August 12, 2006 1:06 PM   Subscribe

To work around the proprietary whims of digital audio software developers and laptop processor limitations during the mid- and late-1990s, a small band of technically-minded people, including the electronic musician Blitter, pulled together in the late 1990s to engineer the open-source OPEN DSP EZ-Kit platform, a 16-bit computer designed entirely with a focus on low cost and extensible control and DSP arithmetic capabilities. While this project and similar commercial offerings never seemed to gain the critical mass needed to sustain long-term interest, perhaps the new Arduino hardware project from MIT's Processing hardware group may gain a foothold with Processing and Pure Data audio software hobbyists and artists alike, allowing the creative community to extend, enhance and share inventive uses of new technology. Arduino's use has already begun in fascinating museum installations around the world, and has become a part of this year's SONAR and Ars Electronica festivals.
posted by Blazecock Pileon (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
The EZ-Kit guys formed as the DSP Music Syndicate (Noah Vawter / Shifty, Brian Whitman / Blitter, Ben Recht / Localfields and Ethan Bordeaux) to make Chiclet using the same chip as the EZ-Kit but in a smaller package. (Chiclet was v2 of Noah's "Death Synth" linked above, without all the Palm Pilot front end stuff that Brian and Noah made.) Their only 'album' was Concrete Music, a 30-year song in a concrete brick.

The Arduino hardware looks specwise very similar to Noah's 1-bit Groove Box. Noah has also gone on to gain fame as one of the original PSP music hackers, another great platform for hardware portable music.
posted by neustile at 1:40 PM on August 12, 2006 [2 favorites]


Crap fixed Concrete Music link.
posted by neustile at 1:40 PM on August 12, 2006


Whoa. Awesome post. Please, if you have any more links about these sorts of things, plie 'em on. I'll throw some in there myself when I get a chance!
posted by chasing at 3:28 PM on August 12, 2006


So, as a beginner interested in synthy stuff, but without the time or skills to build much in the way of electronic gadgets - are there any inexpensive wholly pre-made synth gadgets out there?
posted by stenseng at 3:34 PM on August 12, 2006


"inexpensive" and "pre-made synth" are usually mutually exclusive.
posted by afx114 at 4:00 PM on August 12, 2006


which bums me out. Then I go back to hooking goodwill casio keyboards up to guitar amp modeling boxes...
posted by stenseng at 6:10 PM on August 12, 2006


"which bums me out. Then I go back to hooking goodwill casio keyboards up to guitar amp modeling boxes.."

Hey, bum not, my friend! Plenty of good sounds to be gotten that way! Anyhow, it all depends on what you do with the sounds anyway, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:38 PM on August 12, 2006


stenseng, I'm a little confused by the need.. Maybe it is my total lack of any artistic instinct whatsoever, but it seems to me that you have a PC, so use it..

In general though, I am really interested in the concept of open source hardware.
posted by Chuckles at 5:18 AM on August 13, 2006


Oh sure - I've got VSTs coming out the yingyang, but real physical analog hardware just sounds different. And it can be a lot more fun to play with.
posted by stenseng at 10:56 AM on August 13, 2006


Okay, I can see wanting all analog effects, but that isn't what the post is talking about (unless I'm really missing something)..

I bet there is room to make an open source platform that would allow plugging of analog effects modules. A lot of the cost is audio grade power supply, RCA jacks, chassis, etc.
posted by Chuckles at 11:56 AM on August 13, 2006


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