Tag Archives: MIDI

Convert an old cassette player into a synthesizer

via Arduino Blog

Cassettes (if you remember those) are normally used to play back music and other audio, but what about using an old Walkman-style tape player as the instrument itself? That’s exactly what this project by Zack Scholl allows you to do, varying the playback speed to modify pitch output.

It’s a very simple setup, requiring one to hook up wires that enable an Arduino Uno and MCP4725 DAC to adjust the speed using a voltage input. A drone sound is recorded on the tape, which may also involve some hacking depending on your equipment.

The Walkman then emits this recorded sound, which the Arduino — here using a keyboard and computer browser-based MIDI interface — modulates by increasing or decreasing the playback speed.

This maker turned an antique typewriter into a MIDI drum machine

via Arduino Blog

Vintage typewriters are truly amazing pieces of technology, but unlike modern keyboards, they are decidedly one-purpose machines. William Sun Petrus, however, had other ideas for his 1920s-era Remington Portable typewriter, augmenting hammers with wires as inputs to an Arduino Mega.

Input signals are produced when each key strikes a metallic “live plate” in the center, completing a circuit. This info is passed along as MIDI signals to a computer running Ableton digital audio software, allowing him to create the excellent beat seen in the video below. 

Typewriter code is available on GitHub, where you’ll certainly notice the lines from Green Eggs and Ham that are output on an LCD screen at the base of the almost 100-year-old device.