Archive for January 2008

Lily Turntable b2

Lily Turntable is a Lily implementation of the aforementioned QT Turntable of old. It’s main function in life is to give you fine pitch control over audio file playback… which can be any kind of time that quicktime understands. Short audio loops seem to work ok. Long audio clips are great. It’s *possible* to use this to DJ with as a standin for a turntable. You’ll still need a mixer and another audio source, but that’s how QTTurntable came into existence, so maybe you will use it for that, or maybe you will use it for something weirder.

And I realize how “0.2 beta” this looks at this time. ) My intention is to dive more into Lily and make this patch do more…


Download Lily Turntable Version 0.2b

Installation instructions:

short and sweet

* download the lily app
* drag the file into firefox
* restart firefox once it’s done installing
* look for the new app in the Tools -> menu.

Longer, but still super easy

  • Download the .XPI file to your desktop or where ever you normally would. Just make sure you can locate the file once it’s downloaded.
  • Make sure Firefox is running. If not, launch it.
  • Make sure Firefox has a browser window open. If not, open a new one.
  • Find the .XPI file you downloaded on your computer.
  • Drag the .XPI file into the open Firefox browser window.
  • There will be an unusual prompt asking if it’s OK to install the file you dragged into the browser window. Hit yes and it will do it’s job.
  • Once the file is installed, it will tell you that you need to restart Firefox. Go ahead and hit the “restart” button.
  • Now that Firefox is restarted, look for the new application in the Tools-> menu.
  • Done! Enjoy!

Known issues:

  • there’s another slider below what I’m showing you in this screenshot. It doesn’t do anything yet. I’m working on it.
  • the loop button doesn’t reset when you load a new file. I think I know how to fix that.
  • the pitch sliders work. they’re compounding on themselves, so for instance if you have the +-10 slider at the top, it’s set to be -10% of the pitch speed. Then you can add an additional -2% by setting the other slider to the top. I think the +-2 pitch slider should reset to the center if you change the main pitch speed at all. I’m working on that too.

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SHARE San Jose, 2nd meeting, Wednesday @ 7:30pm, Orchard Valley Coffee, Campbell

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night we’re going to have the second meeting of SHARE San Jose (see for more info). Unlike the first meeting (which was a jam/talk session) this one will be talk/show, at a coffee shop in Campbell. It will be fairly informal - there will be opportunity for people to introduce themselves, talk about how our next jam session will be organized (which will be at Anno Domini), and talk/show whatever people bring to talk/show about. Details:

Wednesday Jan 23, 7:30pm (coffee shop closes at 10pm)
Orchard Valley coffee shop
349 E. Campbell Ave.
Campbell, CA 95008

Feel free to being laptops to show/demo things. Headphones & splitters may come in handy.


Be there!

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DIY electronic drum triggers, part 3: the control box

I had a much smaller box that I was working with, originally, and then I discovered how insane it was to try to cram all the stuff in there I needed to… I found these project boxes at Halted for $0.25 each. Ha ha! Normally these kinds of cases are somewhere in an unreasonable $12-25 range. So what if they have a few extra holes in them that I won’t be using. Meh. I know a bargain when I see one.

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so I have a few things going on here… I have two rocker switches. One is for power, and one is for a persistent toggle. I’m not even sure what I’ll end up using the black rocker switch for yet, I figured it would be a good idea. Maybe I’ll use it to toggle between two different sets of midi notes to send out from the pads. Something useful like that.

Next to the black rocker in the back are 4 pushbuttons. Like the black rocker, those red buttons are all hooked to digital-in pins on the arduino. This will let me trigger drum sounds from directly on the box if I like…

I left all 6 of the PWM pins unattached to anything at this time. I think I’ll probably put an LED on each one to correspond to each of the 6 analog in pins… sort of a visual feedback for each of the possible drum pads.

There’s a hole towards the left side of the front side of the box. This is open for FTDI Serial->USB cable pins on the freeduino board I’m using from Modern Devices..

The silver port in the foreground is the midi port, which I figured out and have fully functional now. (woot)…

the 8-port bank of RCA jacks are what I’ll be plugging the drum pad sensors in to. That leaves two ports empty, so I’m planning on wiring up an LED to an RCA jack, then using one to indicate power, and the other to indicate MIDI data being sent from the box (from the TX pin).

And theeeen we open up the box.

Img 0221
Oof. And I’m not even done getting everything wired up yet. Now I can see where those flat-flex cables (FFC) would come in handy. I guess I should trim down the midi port cable, now that I know where it’s going to live. Then I suppose I can use some cable ties to organize things once everything is wired and verified to be working. I’m putting in one of my two 3V->5V battery packs to power the box, so that means I’ll need to get into this box to replace batteries, so having the cables tidy and repeatably positionable is important.

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Double triggering piezo sensors

I’m trying to figure out what’s going on with the double or triple trigging notes from my implementation of Tod E. Kurt’s piezo sensor arduino MIDI project. Near as I can tell, the resonance of the piezo seems to be almost as hard as the initial strike to the sensor. I can’t figure out what else would be causing double triggering at every level of threshold I set for the analog in pin.

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I’m just stabbing at science on this. Derek said it best just a few minutes ago:

were’s an oscilloscope when you need one?

So a few things that I’m wondering about. One is to keep the analog pin open for a static amount of time instead of the dynamic period of time that the Todbot code prescribes… Two is to make sure that the current going into the analog pin is only flowing one way with the help of a zener diode… Thirdly, it could be is that the surface I have the sensor attached to may be *too* resonant, and is compounding the problem.

so I’m going to try some of these things tonight…

I was very glad to see the Ardrumo project, and in such a timely fashion, too. While I had limited success with it, I wouldn’t chalk it up to anything but my own system and setup. I should try it again and see if it works now that I have my electronics side in much better shape.

Here’s a diagram I made of the setups I’ve tried and am working on… These are your options if you’re on a mac…

Data Flow Slide

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DIY kick pedal drum trigger, part 2


Things are progressing nicely! After mocking up a proof of concept model, I realized that the position of the pedal is crucial to it working correctly. I then consulted my local Guitar Center’s drummer section to get some more insights into how the “real” pedals work. Turns out my original sketchup drawing wasn’t too far off the mark. I made a couple of minor adjustments to accommodate the materials I’m using, but overall it’s turning out how I envisioned it. Not having blocks of metal to work with made me realize how inadequate wood is for some of the heartier mechanical parts. the hardwood “spring block” serves two functions. One is to bind the mallet’s axel to a predictable orientation, and secondly to attach to the springs. Essentially I’m using a too-long 8/32 bolt as a set screw. After grinding down a flat spot on the axel, I torqued down on the set screw, and it snapped the wood along the grain. I recut this piece with a different grain orientation and it still the the same thing… so I ran two smaller bolts along side the set screw to reinforce the wood perpendicular to the grain, and now it’s solid as a rock.

All of the instructions I’ve seen for these DIY drumpads say to epoxy the sensor onto whatever underlaying material you’re going to use as the drum head, but I used double sided carpet tape…. mostly because it’s wicked strong, thin, and I already had it at arm’s reach when I was working on that part.

the mallet itself is a 4″ x 3/8″ bolt or something similar… with a cut piece of doubled over mousepad, wound as tightly around the head of the bolt as I could get it and then taped over… I found a handful of sample mousepads at work and figured they’d come in handy… I didn’t really have a plan for the mallet, but this worked out really nicely.

I think I can improve on the spring situation by buying one proper spring instead of using two chained together. Like all good DIY projects, my main and primary goal is to spend as little money as possible.

I’m having a harder time getting the software and MIDI to all work… Mostly the midi. The arduino software seems to be working nicely. So hopefully next update will show me happily banging on my fully functional midi drum trigger.

Anyway, I *really* love fabricating these kinds of things. Gotta love that bandsaw. ) It’s a pain in the ass to change the blade, but I’m back from a 1″ to a 1/4″ blade so it’s back to being more of a versatile tool.

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