Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sneak-Thief: Building a DIY Hardware Sequencer

LivePA artist Sneak-Thief is quite the custom DIY hardware guru. He has built several custom machines including an ASM-2 modular synth and a Nord Micro Modular inside a Yamaha RS7000.

Well this time he is out to build a custom hardware midi sequencer based off of the Midibox specifications, but using a custom OS which will allow up to 256 measure patterns. Sneak plans to put up a building journal so I will post information to that when it is avaliable. Below is the info.

Basically, I need something lighter to replace my ageing RM1x. To recap, I currently use the RM1x to sequence Kontakt 2 which is loaded with 6gb of my home-made loops and samples. The pots control various effects and scripts in Kontakt.
I'm in the process of developing a very simple pattern sequencer that supports up to 256-measure long tracks. I'm going to use the Midibox as my platform and write everything in C (no I can't use the Midibox Sequencer because it's much easier to start from scratch)

Here are the specifications:
1. 2 independent sequencers, one of which can be slaved to the other.
2. Each sequencer will be able to load one "song" at a time. A song is chosen by the push-button rotary encoder.
3. 16 sections per song
4. 6 tracks per section that can be muted or unmuted with the track-mute buttons (more than 6 tracks could be implemented, but that's all I need)
5. 256 measures per track - this is where this really differs from the Midibox Seq
4. Components

Midibox modules:
2x Cores
2x AIN
2x DIN

The total cost is roughly 180 euro (~$235 US). You can save 20 euro by getting LCD's instead of PLED's - but PLED's look so fucking nice. I've already ordered everything and the hardware should be finished next month. Then comes the hard part I'll be posting build pics next month.


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