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ST4 Kickstarter online

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/844778849/st4-hybrid-synthesizer-tracker that’s the link you need to see! It contains a trailer video of which Stu & Erhalder having been sweating over for 5 days or so.. And the result is pretty damn sweet if we may say so ourselves.

The trailer in HD (since the KS video’s are always compressed to a pulp):

If you want to see this product turn into an actual real-life physical breathing and belching synth, please support us! The early bird price is a special offer and is a full 100 euros under the webshop price. Just so you know.

There is also room for a DIY kit reward.. _if_ there is enough interest. Just leave replies in the Kickstarter comment section or via tastychipselectronics@gmail.com.

Once again a nice pic of the prototype:

ST4 depth of field + some wood

ST4 depth of field + some wood

Details and more photos:

Official ST4 product page

Kickoff t-minus 4 days

The last days we’ve been working feverishly on the ST4 Kickstarter campaign preparations. We’ve already completed a feature-by-feature demonstration last week. This week we’re focussed on making a trailer video, much like the Sawbench one from last year:

But the ST4 more than 4 times as complex as the Sawbench. The feature list is enormous and it’s impossible to even list all features in a minute-long video. So we just have to make the best possible music with the thing..

That ain’t easy, though. We discovered:

* Renoise on Mac exports signed 8 bit WAV, should be unsigned.

* We need way better lighting in the studio to make decent film.

* The ST4 prototype firmware refused to reload the samples from its song.

* Hooking up a full-blown MIDI setup takes time.

Studio demonstration of the ST4.

Studio demonstration of the ST4.

Anyway, we’re good at what we do, and we’re big boys. We’ll manage 😉

Edit: we did, thanks to 20k of filmstudio equipment and professional help!

Developing for the old woodboard, a new screen to display the full LFO MOD matrix.

Developing for the old woodboard, a new screen to display the full LFO MOD matrix.

The coming days we’ll also output some extra video’s: jam sessions and feature-by-feature explanations. There might also be a documentary about STU’s synth/chip history.

STay tuned!

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 tastychipselectronics@gmail.com. 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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ST4 casing

The ST4 synthesizer development has made several steps forward. The electronics are now as good as complete: performance seems ok, and software is getting mature. Below you can see it in action.

The ST4 wood board being operated.

The ST4 wood board model being operated.

Now.. we have a question for you guys out there. What kind of casing would you like to see? We’ve already made preparations and we already know it’s going to be a high quality metal enclosure (similar to quality of the Sawbench synth). But the exact form is still an unknown:

a) 19″ rack mountable

b) desktop model

c) both

See the ST4 casing poll on our forum if you want to give your voice! Cheers 🙂

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ST4 woodboard

It’s been a while since anything was mentioned about the upcoming ST4 synth. So, here’s a little post to show the progress of the last months.

The ST4 wood board being operated.

The ST4 wood board being operated.

For those of you not in the know, the ST4 is a multi-channel synth that specializes in rhythm. It’s a hybrid digital/analog system that offers direct control over each track and has a powerful built-in step sequencer. It can do sampling with its on-board mic or from an external source. Samples can be manipulated into arbitrary waveforms, but also standard saw, square and sine waveforms may be used. Noise generators, a wealth of envelopes and per-channel multi-mode filters allow for powerful percussive sculpting.

Our goal is to make this as much a stand-alone system as possible. There’s the usual MIDI connectivity, but there’s also the built-in step sequencer on a large display with full USB keyboard and mass storage support. This makes the ST4 a unique device and as much a studio work horse as something you can take along to your friends or use on stage. The analog VCFs and VCAs give it a warm finish. It’s a Tasty Chips synth: high character and fun to use. 🙂

The current prototype is nailed to a wood board for stability and now has its own AC/DC converter PCB. Almost everything is now on PCB’s (8 in total) and the display is fully integrated into the system. TODO: photo

The GUI is getting more mature by the day. There are little animations for when knobs are turned, the editor allows block functions for copy/paste, transpose, panning, etc. There’s still a lot to be done, but progress is rapid. TODO: anim gif

In terms of performance we can say that the audio quality is as it should be. Also the graphics performance was radically boosted (basically an optimized and specialized version of the UTFT library), and the USB Host driver was completely turned into statemachines, to allow decent multitasking without blocking waits. If anybody is interested in such code for the Arduino Due, just mail us!

There is one performance issue left, however. The potentiometers are spiky, which causes all kinds of glitches in the system. There are ways to reduce this, but we probably need some more weeks to clean this all up. Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) is a huge can of worms!

To summarize, the ST4 looks like it’s going to be a great product. We aim to release it before Christmas and we might do a Kickstarter before that time.

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