Category: New products

GR-1 production schedule and additional information

Dear customers,

After a few months of silence in the mailing list, here’s an update.

You may have been aware of our GR-1 production schedule On this page our GR-1 production schedule can be found along with all additional information concerning payment and delivery. The good news is that we we’re very much on track and didn’t have to change it for almost 4 months. We’ve received a large amount of casings and foresee no obstacles for the rest of the year.

IMPORTANT: if you have pre-ordered the GR-1 and your unit is ready, you’ll be mailed by us with a payment request. If the payment is not received within 30 days your unit will go on to the next in line. We’ve made exceptions in the past, but really cannot do so anymore since the waiting list is quite large. We expect it to shrink from 6 months down to 4 months, in the future, though.

GR-1 Firmware has been out for a while now. This is a stable version of 1.5 and can be found on our downloads page 1.5 includes grain window modulation and note pile-up, to get the best out of the engine’s polyphony: truly a very useful feature for which a lot of users had been waiting. Loads of improvements were made as well: MPE and MIDI clocking support is more complete, the menu’s are more user-friendly, LFO’s can be quantized, slowed down to periods of many hours with a high degree of accuracy (ambient overlay galore).

Furthermore, we’re proud to say we’ve started work on an hardware expansion for the GR-1. The features will have to remain secret for a while, but we can already say that some features from the menus will be directly accessible through this device. This will function to make the GR-1 experience even more intuitive and prolong its market life.

To our patient and loyal customers we’d like to extend our gratitude, also for their suggested features and bug reports.


Tasty Chips Electronics

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!

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: Power up!

Last update reported on the ST4 power problems. The European government basically killed off the AC/AC power bricks on which the ST4 depended. So we were forced to take a step back to redesign. You’ll be pleased to hear this was successful and with that the electronics are complete! Finally!

The new PSU design is not only more “eco”, but it’s especially better for the user as now only a standard 12VDC PSU is necessary. Easy to find and replace, and equally cheap. And, as promised, such a power brick will be shipped along with the ST4! 🙂

Not only this, but we’ve already moved ahead and started assembling the first ST4 systems. In the coming days (weeks) the DIY manual will be put online. A start can already be found here!

The casing development has made good progress. The technical drawings of the front, back, and bottom plates are almost completely finished and we already made a test run on our C&C with this to good effect. What’s more the graphic design has made similar progress. But we’re not going to spoil it this post.

New front plate test.

Fresh from the CNC: the new test front plate.

So, what’s left to do:
– The casing
– DIY manual
– Hardware production
– Firmware 1.0

The good news is that most of these activities can be done in parallel.

Mid july sounds like a realistic release date.

The last of the piggies.

With the year coming to its conclusion, it seems an amusing coincidence that the last Piggy now finally got sold. 🙂 The Piggy was our first synth, a simple and affordable shield that turns your Arduino into an MIDI-driven analog bass synth.

The Arduino Piggyback Synthesizer

The Arduino Piggyback Synthesizer and its host system, the Arduino Uno.

We might do another batch.. The filter would need to be revised (dual gang potentiometers are getting rare!), maybe even changed into the Sawbench VCF.. But we need to know if there is enough demand. The usual address applies Either this or post on Tasty Chips on Facebook or Tasty Chips Forum.

Looking at what’s in store for 2016:

– The ST4. This beast of a synth/tracker has got its own page here: ST4 info page. As said, the Kickstarter will take place in january!

ST4 in its prototype steel casing

ST4 in its prototype steel casing

– The Sawbench mod board: modify the Sawbench to accept external CV for VCF and use and external input signal (If there is enough interest).

– Sawbench firmware update 1.2: including synced LFO, tighter envelopes and possibly exponential envelopes too (If there is enough interest).

– A big analog Eurorack sequencer with 2×16 steps and loaded with features.

– Sawbench VCF/VCA Eurorack module.

– The next polyphonic beast. This will be less channel-driven than the ST4, but will have more channels (yes, that does make sense 😉 ). The focus will be on polyphonic harmonic sculpting..

– The MIDI sequencer (“tracker”) taken from the ST4 released stand-alone, with more controls geared towards pure sequencing.

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