Back at EM2013 , I acquired a Teensy 3.0 micro-controller and two Wii NunChuck controllers (pictured above) courtesy of Gordon Good. It’s a nice collection of gadgets. Gordon asked participants to make a blog post about their Teensy adventures in return for these items, so this is my attempt to get started and make good on that promise.
You can read all about the board on Adafruit’s site, but I just wanted to note a few basic things here. The VS1053 was easy to put together, and since I got version 2 with the built-in 220uF stereo blocking capacitors, I had even less work to do to get up and running.
Here’s the first test of the playback sketch, on Flickr…
It will take a LONG TIME to explore this board. The documentation for the board is extensive, and you may want to print some sections for reference. However, it does not go into detail about the specs of the SD card. Most boards I’ve tried have an upper limit of 1 or 2 GB, but the VS1053 worked with an 8GB card with no problem. I still find SD cards a bit finicky when it comes to formatting them, and almost always have to use my Mac to do it right.
The second test I performed was for basic MIDI playback. Again, this board is deep and I can see a lot of uses for the MIDI capability, including interfacing with the Percussa Audiocubes, but that will have to wait for another time. Here it is on on Flickr.
The VS1053 also records, so that will be the next installment, possibly later this weekend.
Jenny Luna – vocals, percussion
Adam Good – ud
Eylem Basaldi – violin
Rami ElAasser – percussion
Here’s my photo album from the night.
This year, Bert Schiettecatte, creator of the cubes, has upgraded them to include wireless capability, further enhancing their usefulness for live performance, and increasing the “wow” factor in terms of fun and potential for audience interaction. Improvements in configuration options also make the cubes even more fun to use now.
To continue my exploration, I returned to Mark Mosher’s 9box method, which demonstrates the cubes’ potential quite well. The next step of course is to remap my current projects to take advantage of this, and write new material that takes into consideration the new found portability of the cubes.
Below is a quick demo experiment recorded live.
Here’s a little video showing how these look in person.
Highlights included dueling theremins, triple Eigenharp performances and large analog modulars. Attendees ranged from all over the US, and as far away as England and Belgium.
My first performance at the festival was with collaborator Robert Dorschel from Syracuse, NY. We performed a piece based on a composition Rob created called “Empty Nest”, inspired by his son’s journey off to college.
The next day I participated in the Zero Input Mixer Collaboration that included Adam Holquist, Dale Parson, Joo Won Park, and Bill Manganaro. Zero Input Mixer is a concept that involves creating sound simply with feedback loops within a mixer, then sending those sounds through effects. I’ve posted our performance. Warning: This is not for everyone, but it was tons of fun, and I’d love to do it again.
3/6/13 Rugged Audio Shield – Session 1
The Rugged Audio Shield can function as both a sound generator, and a recording/playback device, with an advertised 44.1 khz/16 bit output. It includes both a line input and microphone input, along with stereo output with a volume control that can be mapped to other parameters (like pitch in the case of sound generation).
The board arrived quickly from the manufacturer, and the test sketches loaded fine with no errors. However, audio recording using my 1 GB micro SD and 8 GB micro SDHD cards failed, as did audio playback at both 32 Khz and 44.1 Khz (16 bit). Since my goal is WAV playback, I didn’t try MP3. The recording instructions indicate that a serial action is required to initiate record, but there weren’t clear instructions on how to set that up. I was getting strange character output on the serial monitor. See Session 2 for more.
This little project has been a lot of fun. While I have played around with reel-to-reel recorders before, this is the first one I have had to work on by myself. Our friends Julia and Dan were moving to LA and had to get rid of some of their possessions before the long drive cross country. So I acquired this unit (and a few Waylon Jennings tapes) for free. It needed some work though. Namely a new drive belt and some basic adjustments. Otherwise, it’s in immaculate condition, and a real joy to have around now.
Read and see more on my Flickr page dedicated to the project.