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Synthino XM Polyphonic Synthesizer Now Available for ALL

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After a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, the Synthino XM is finally available to the whole world.
The Synthino XM is by far the most sophisticated device we’ve design here at nootropic design. We had a lot of help from our partner in this project, GetLoFi.
Visit our sister site synthino.com to order this awesome synth for $139. If you like making music or just noise, you won’t find a synth with this many features for this price.

  • 5-note polyphony for superb playability
  • 12 waveforms, 5 drum samples (kick, snare, hi-hat, tom, clap), and noise generator
  • 12-bit audio at 25KHz output rate
  • 4 MIDI channels, each with separate waveform and ADSR envelope settings
  • MIDI over 5-pin MIDI jack or USB
  • MIDI over USB works with DAW software on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android
  • low pass filter with cutoff frequency and resonance controls
  • 2 independent low frequency oscillators (LFOs): pitch and filter
  • selectable waveform for LFOs
  • 1V p-p audio output voltage with enough current to drive headphones
  • arpeggiator mode, up to 16 notes
  • 4 arpeggiator patterns: up, down, up-down, random
  • 4 built-in arpeggiator chords or use MIDI to specify up to 16 notes
  • arpeggiator pitch transposition control
  • tempo control with MIDI clock input
  • 16-step live performance “groovebox” sequencer
  • save/load patches and sequences in EEPROM
  • pitch fine-tuning adjustment
  • programmable/upgradable over USB

Lots more info at synthino.com, including audio tracks, videos and more!

I’m Featured in the New Book “Maker Pro”!

I’m so happy to be one of the authors of the new book Maker Pro edited by John Baichtal. Maker Pro is a collection of essays by makers who have gone pro by starting their own businesses. Last year John asked me to write an essay about my experiences, and I happily penned a piece called “The Power of Constraints”. In the essay I talk about how I got started making and how the technical limitations and constraints of microcontroller programming were the fuel that fed my fire. It’s a great book, so consider buying it on Amazon. I’m truly honored to be among some great hardware hackers and makers.

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Synthino Arduino-based Synthesizer

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The year 2014 has been the year of synthesizer design for nootropic design! After releasing the Audio Hacker Arduino shield last year, I continued to get more interested in audio processing. I started designing audio synthesis software for the Arduino, and by collaborating with my good friend Alex at GetLoFi, eventually came up with a completely standalone version called the Synthino. The Synthino has lots of great features and we think it’s going to be so big it has its own website: synthino.com. A small number area being sold by Foxtone Music on eBay. Sign up on the synthino.com mailing list to get updates about when more will be available. The next generation Synthino is already in the works and will feature a much more powerful ATxmega microcontroller (stay tuned!).

The coolest thing that happened while developing the Synthino is that the 80’s synth band Information Society got connected with us (long story) and asked us to design a special version of the Synthino for their deluxe box set to be released with their new album _hello world. I worked with lead singer Kurt Harland to choose waveforms that would provide the sound he wanted. We also used colored buttons to match the Information Society logo and created custom laser-cut acrylic with the band logo on the bottom. Over the summer, we manufactured Synthino units at a furious pace in the GetLoFi garage in south Minneapolis. It was a fun project, and Information Society sold out of deluxe box sets immediately.

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Image courtesy of Information Society



Using a Relay Trigger with the Defusable Clock

Many of our Defusable Clock customers use the device in Airsoft competitions where participants must find the device and defuse it before the timer expires. A great thing to do in these games is to trigger a loud siren or smoke grenade when the timer reaches 00:00. The new version V2 of the clock has a connections for such a trigger and we are now selling relay modules in the nootropic design store.

Below is a picture that shows how to connect a relay. The red wire is 5V and if you have an older kit it needs to be soldered to the output pin of the voltage regulator. It then connects to the 5V red wire on the relay module. The 5V output is the rightmost pin of the voltage regulator when looking at the front of the board. The green wire is the trigger connection and goes to the green wire on the relay module. The trigger ground connection is the black wire going to the relay module.

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UPDATE: there is now a 5V pad next to the trigger and ground pads that you can use:
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To send 9V to your destination device like a siren or smoke grenade, connect a wire to the + connection near the power connector, and a ground wire to the – connection. These are shown as yellow and black wires in the picture. This assumes you have a 9V input voltage to the clock. If you are using a different voltage like 12V or a 7.4V lipo battery, that’s fine. This is the voltage available on the + connection.

The black ground wire connects directly to your device. The positive voltage (yellow wire) connects to the relay module terminal marked “COM” (for “common”). The gray wire in the picture is connected to the relay terminal marked “NO” (for “normally open”) and this wire is the positive voltage to your siren or smoke grenade or whatever.

When the countdown reaches 00:00, the trigger voltage (green wire) will cause the relay to close and connect the 9V yellow wire to the gray wire, thus providing 9V to your external device for a duration of about 2.5 seconds while the clock goes through the “detonation” sequence. If you want power to be disconnected when the countdown reaches 00:00, connect the gray wire to the terminal marked “NC” (“normally closed”) instead.

Have fun, and as always, stay out of trouble!