Category: Casing

Summer update

It’s been a while since we did an update here. So here it goes.

First off: we’ve now shipped practically all of the GR-1 pre-orders from last year. The last of the December pre-orders are now waiting for their future owners. If you are one of these guys, and haven’t received your unit yet, please check your mail box for our “finalization” email. Inside are payment instructions and a request for your postal address. Once the parcel is sent you’ll receive a track & trace email.

Secondly, and not unimportant… Many of our users have said to be very happy with their new machines, praising the GR-1’s power and ease-of-use! Thank you guys. It’s so good to hear we have lived up to expectations and have correctly realized our vision.

You may have noticed in our schedule, that we’ve got a quiet summer. Indeed we’ve been set back a good month due to one of our suppliers moving their factory to a new address during these summer months, and another supplier suffering their own set of delays. Please rest assured that we are _totally_ committed to the GR-1 project and to improving both this synth itself, and our service. Hence, we are professionalizing and building up as many new supplier relations as we have to, in order to streamline future production. Demand for the GR-1 remains high, and we’ll be busy with fulfilment of preorders for the remainder of 2018. We’ll keep the schedule updated regularly.

In case you haven’t noticed, in the last months we’ve released several GR-1 instruction videos, and a new one today. More will be coming up, we still haven’t explained all the features of the latest 1.4 firmware..

You can subscribe to our Youtube channel if you haven’t already: youtube.com/tastychips.

ST4 silkscreens, and the year 2016

Traditionally, there is good news, and there is bad news. This is no exception. So..

Good news, people: the first silkscreen painted casing arrived. See below (click to enlarge). And yes, the power switch is in the Tasty Chips logo ūüôā

The first ST4 with silkscreens.

The first ST4 with silkscreens.

Bad news, people: the silkscreen quality isn’t high enough.¬†And this means the delivery will be postponed to next year.

To explain. The silkscreen is spotty and varies in thickness over the plate. We’ll¬†need another iteration to perfect things.¬†Sorry, we just can’t choose to rush this. Especially not on a synth of this class. Which is to say, we will clear this up. No matter the cost!

Now that that’s out of the way. Other news!

Superbooth 2017: April 20..22, Berlin. The most interesting synth fair in Europe. We’re there to demonstrate all our stuff, including formerly classified projects!

In the meantime we’ll keep working on our projects. The ST4 still needs to support more USB keyboard languages ūüėČ

ST4 September update, DIY kits

Just to keep you informed, another ST4 progress update. In the last weeks we’ve tested the sample casing and we’ve requested another one. Two PCB’s didn’t fit correctly, the other 7 did just fine. This will take until early October.

In the meantime all the presets have been added, the DIY manual has been updated with better tables, and we’re ironing out all the firmware bugs. ..And.. we’re finally compiling all the DIY kits. Still, that’s not too much work. The casing is the only real work that’s left. We strive for November, but the planning is now in the hands of the casing factory.. At least you’ll be getting your gear when you spend most of your time indoors. It makes sense ūüėČ

The current collection of kit bags (half of it, actually).

The current collection of kit bags (half of it, actually).

In the meantime we did a minor Sawbench hardware revision (to protect against wrong AC/DC converters) and we’re looking forward to test the 1.2 firmware with its improved VCA/VCF envelopes and improved MIDI support.

Kit bag, with spiffy new label. ;)

Kit bag, with spiffy new label. ūüėČ

When the final casings arrive we’ll start shipping out the kits ASAP! This is done in first-come-first-served order:

1. Kickstarter DIY backers first to last
2. Kickstarter assembled version backers first to last
3. Pre-order list DIY first to last
4. Pre-order list assembled version backers first to last

Today we’ll send out a questionnaire to ask you guys which version you want: rackmount or desktop.. and to ask you for your postal address.

Casing, boxes, and plugged holes

Dear ST4 backers,

This is not the post you’ve been waiting for.. not yet. But we’re close. Very very close.

Today the sample casing was completed.. and it’s on its way here. The casing is without silkscreen paint, but all the metal and powder coating is there. It comes furnished with metal impact standoffs to easily and reliably fit all the electronics. And as you can see the rear electronics can be fitted in two ways, for either:
– rack mount
– desktop

Powdercoated ST4 sample casing.

Powdercoated ST4 sample casing.

Just like we promised. In desktop form the holes on the bottom plate can be plugged. Cover caps are supplied for this. Note that we will ask whether you want the rack or desktop version when the time arrives. And yes, you can still easily switch from rack to desktop or vice versa.

Furthermore, the cardboard boxes were also delivered to our office!

Behold, the box. Behold the official ST4 logo!

Behold, the box. Behold, the official ST4 logo!

Firmware 1.0 is as good as finished. As planned, we succeeded in making LFO and modulation settings per instrument. We’ve included the option to sort 100+ long sample file names. We’ve hit a point where new features just eat a bit too much CPU and/or memory and that means we _have_ to finish up. We’re just doing testing right now, and adding presets!

No telling when the big moment will be there. November seems pessimistic, while mid september seems optimistic. It all depends on if the electronics fit in right away, or we need to move some bits around. The silkscreen paint jobs _seem_ trivial right now, but with the Sawbench, for instance, the color was a big issue for the previous factory. Digital printing turned into silkscreen and in the end that delayed things by 4 weeks.. But we choose quality!

We’re sorry for the delay. We especially underestimated the casings. This is not a small or simple device like the Sawbench, so logically there are more questions, more things to discuss, and more price and feature negotiations. We just didn’t know how much more, exactly. Thank you for your understanding.

ST4 – Electronics production done

All electronics for the ST4 kickstarter have been completed!

All electronics for the ST4 Kickstarter have been completed!

Take a good look. Yes, all those PCB’s have been assembled. And over half of them in-house. That means we just have to hook it all up and test it.

On other fronts: the firmware¬†has progressed nicely. Apple USB keyboards are now supported, German keyboard layout is supported, and it looks like UK is up next. If you have a kayboard layout¬†you want to see supported, you can send it to us and we’ll code it! tastychipselectronics@gmail.com.

USB hubs are (somewhat) supported, which opens doors to new¬†avenues like USB MIDI controllers. The tracker now features half and double speed options. The display has the feature to show multiple controls (up to 4) at the same time, and controls have set points. Huge amounts of features to control the¬†signal path¬†have been added: LFO sync, LFO cross modulation, frequency controllable LFO random noise, channels may be bundled¬†in one big group (for instance, set cutoff for all channels with a single pot). Poly and mono (non-)legato modes are available. There’s now a PWM mode and LFO¬†modulation can control¬†it. That’s not all, LFO can also control¬†bit crusher parameters!

We’re currently negotiating the casing with a number of factories. This is a lot time consuming as previously thought. The ST4 casing is multi-functional (desktop and 19″ rackmount), has a display and this involves a lot of details and choices to be made. When we’ve invested months and months in electronics and software, we’d like to do the same for the casing.¬†We’ll see which ones comes out best. The cardboard box design now also has been done. The DIY manual is 95% finished and the user’s manual is about 70% complete.

In the meantime we’ll continue making the firmware better and better. Most features will be¬†made available through the two onboard rotary encoders, not only through the USB keyboard. The goal is to have everything except sequencing and typing in names possible with on-board controls.

In short, it’s primarily casing stuff and firmware polishing from here on. Late august does seem somewhat feasible.

ST4 Production

In recent weeks the ST4 electronics production has kicked off. Many of the simpler boards have now been produced and are ready to be built into the ST4 units. These were handmade right here at Tasty Chips labs in The Netherlands, just like the Sawbench synth was.

A stash of assembled ST4 VV boards.

A stash of assembled ST4 VV boards.

The more complex boards (exp, vcf, vca) are being assembled by machine in a fab nearby and should be done by the end of the month. Concerning the manual labor, we still have to do the voice and the mod boards. The DIY manual has also seen some major progress and many of the board pages are supplied with photos of all the soldering steps: ST4 DIY resource. More and more detailed information will appear on this DIY resource in the coming weeks.

In parallel, the firmware is still being worked on. Some news:
– Poly mode now works fine and is intelligent enough to allow 3 finger chords + solo.
– The ST4 tracker can now send MIDI out clock signals.
– The ST4 tracker accepts MIDI clock input (preliminary).
– Samples can now be tuned.
– Sample looping can be turned on or off individually per instrument.

The casing (graphic) design is ongoing. We’ve got an excellent graphics artist on board to help us with the silkscreens. The details of the fabrication are being negotiated at the moment.

Last but not least. We’ve had multiple requests whether the ST4 will become available to the public after Kickstarter. The answer is YES! Also, we are taking pre-orders. These are completely free of charge and the interested party is not obliged to buy in any way. Just send your name, postal address, and the version you want (kit, or built unit) to tastychipselectronics@gmail.com. Price for built unit will be 850 eur, 550 for the kit. Units are shipped out on a first-come-first-served basis.

Kickstarter finally over. Sawbench now in the webshop!

The last sawbenches have now shipped. This also includes the custom edition (with better components and custom artwork), as shown in the picture!

Custom unit for Benjamin Bacon's Dogma Lab. Logo's were CNC milled and filled with nailpolish.

Custom unit for Benjamin Bacon’s Dogma Lab. Logo’s were CNC milled and filled with nailpolish.

And.. The Sawbench is now finally available from the shop: Sawbench product link !!

The near future: we’ll keep selling the Sawbench (as long as our stocks last) and naturally we’ll support all of the buyers and Kickstarter backers. In the next days the kit products will also become available in our webshop. We’ll also put the firmware sources online and a firmware update might also be coming up soon.

Stay tuned!

 

Sawbench update: 120x PCB’s, casing, planning

The electronics

This week the 100 analog and 100 digital sawbench PCB’s finally arrived. We already had 20 before and these are now fully soldered and tested. The PCB’s seem fine: the silkscreens are now DIY-proof (all values are printed).

There’s one set back: the snap-in holes of the potentiometers aren’t big enough. In the past it’s been hit or miss. Either they are just right or too small. The supplier seems unable to tell us what’s up with that. Our guess is, it’s not a very accurate process. Not as critical as the rest of the PCB. The holes in the EAGLE drawings are small too. Seems like a lucky accident that they sometimes end up being bigger.. Oh well, next time we’ll change the diameters. For now, it’s manually re-drilling 1200 holes (!!!). This is a day of work, so nothing to worry about, except a sore thumb. ūüėČ

100 analog and 100 digital boards.. arrived yesterday.

100 analog and 100 digital boards.. arrived yesterday.

The casing

The casing design will be finalized today. And we can say it looks fantastic! An early version:

Preview of the frontplate graphics.

Preview of the frontplate graphics (pots and buttons are not shown here).

The graphics will be inverse. The background will be aluminium and the font and drawings in blue. The best news is that the colour will be integrated into the aluminium skin, making it scratch-proof and solvent-proof!

Honestly, we cannot wait to get our hands on these casings, but it will have to wait for a bit. Read on..

The planning

There have been some questions about the delivery schedule..

First of all, Kickstarter informs us of a 14 day period to collect all the pledges. This would (ideally) mean we’ll have the money by April 16th.. and can then start paying for casing fabrication.

The way it looks now the bare bones kits will be able to ship this month (April). We have enough PCB’s and a small batch of potentiometers should arrive in a few days.

Casing production (of 200 units) will take 4 weeks in total, and can only start when the Kickstarter money is in: it’s the most expensive part of the product.. We’re trying to get the first 100 casings before the end of the month, but we don’t know yet if this is possible. We’ll update this post when we know more.. Worst case estimate is that we can start assembling the full units from May 14th onwards.

  • April 15th: barebones kits start shipping
  • April 15th: first batch of potentiometers should arrive
  • April 16th: Kickstarter money should be transferred
  • April 16th: start of casing production
  • April 30th: (POSSIBLY) first casings should be available
  • April 30th: (POSSIBLY) the first 10 cased units may be shipped out!
  • May 8th: final batch of potentiometer knobs should arrive
  • May 14th: casing production done
  • May 19th: final batch of potentiometers should arrive
  • May 20th: shipping of kit+casing and full unit should commence

Synths in casings + new synth!

Last weekend the first fully cased Tasty Chips synths were demonstrated!

The Super Piggy, an experimental follow-up of the Piggy, was cased by Matthijs, allowing all the potentiometers to come out while safely housing both the Arduino and the Superpiggy. Next to this there were the first attempts at display modules using super-sharp and vibrant OLED displays.

This sets the general direction for Tasty Chips: Synthesizers usable out-of-the box. Fully cased and ready to be played and of course, loads of parameters hands-on available.

In this vain, the new prototype was also designed. The TCE-1M is a monophonic analog synth with the VCO and VCA sections of the Superpiggy, combined with a multi-mode VCF + loads of features.

From top-left to bottom-right in the picture:

  • Saw and rectangle VCO with adjustable duty cycle
  • Loopable ADSR envelope
  • LFO (0.05 Hz -> 50 Hz) with Pitch and VCF cut-off integration + 3 waveforms
  • Multi-mode VCF (low, band, hi) which multiple modes selectable at the same time
  • Filter sweep profiles, speeds and directions, and of course keyboard tracking

The TCE-1M is definitely the future for us. It was demonstrated and subsequently experimented on with great interest from the public. Hence, the choice was made to slowly move away from the Piggyback devices in favor of the more hands-on controllable powerful synths.. even more powerful than the TCE-1M..

Check out some photos below:

TCE-1M Monophonic Analog

TCE-1M Monophonic Analog in aluminium fronted casing.

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Superpiggy in its own special casing + a little OLED display (photographed in its natural habitat, obviously)

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