News

ST4 Electronics complete!

Another post in a long line of ST4 updates.. This is a good one. The current hardware turns out to perform very well. The previously tested CV generator circuit is now embedded on the so-called “expansion” PCB, which functions as the central hub between all other PCBs and the Arduino Due.

We gave the system several listening tests and it sounds very clean indeed! No 50Hz, no whining, and very little white noise (only at very high volumes). The CV’s are now also at 5V, so this should make it a bit more hackable for modular fanatics as well! 😉

The new envelope section with the sliders was implemented in the firmware is very intuitively usable, like was intended. A big step forward!

ST4 Qualification Model hardware.  Highest performance yet! Top left: VCF board. Right of that is the VCA board (through-hole version). Right of that is the IO board for MIDI/USB. Center: expansion board. Center-right: VCA board SMD version. Bottom: all the control boards. The one in the center has the new envelope sliders and led buttons..

ST4 Qualification Model hardware. Highest performance yet! Top left: VCF board. Right of that is the VCA board (through-hole version). Right of that is the IO board for MIDI/USB. Center: expansion board. Center-right: VCA board SMD version. Bottom: all the control boards. The one in the center has the new envelope sliders and led buttons..

We’ve been in discussion with some factories and have worked out a decent price for the casing.

There’s also some bad news, however. The original AC/AC supply was killed off by European rules and regulations. Don’t ask! It has something to do with bogus safety or environment bs. So, that’s us over there, redesigning that power supply! What we have chosen now is an external regulated AC/DC (mains -> 12V DC) supply, with an internal switching DC converter (12V -> -12V). Don’t worry. It will be filtered, and the external supply will be region independent!

ST4 Qualification Model control boards. Note the left one with the envelope slilders and led buttons (to select channels and vco/vca/vcf/aux)

ST4 Qualification Model control boards. Note the left one with the envelope slilders and led buttons (to select channels and vco/vca/vcf/aux)

Another thing is the analog audio PCB’s. SMD is cheaper, and also saves space. We’ve already made the VCA board into SMD, but it still needs an extra development cycle. Same for the VCF.

What still needs to be done:

  • Final PCB development
    • Final silkscreen adjustments for the DIYers!
    • SMD version of VCF and VCA
  • PSU redesign
  • Casing design and production
    • Silkscreen designs
    • Styrofoam and box design
    • Fabrication
  • Completion of firmware v1.0

Estimate we’re still on track, except for the PSU business. But early summer still sounds feasible..

 

ST4 / Post-kickstarter update

First of all, 20 Sawbench rewards have now shipped out. That means all except the ones in the combined (ST4+Sawbench) rewards. The combined rewards will be sent out as soon as the ST4 is ready. This saves work and postage costs (which are very high). The webshop will start selling Sawbenches again at some point. But we’re running out of stock we’ll probably make a follow-up.

The ST4 development has reached another milestone as earlier on this week the new PCB’s arrived. See the picture below:

– top: IO board (MIDI/USB)
– center left: expansion board (power distribution, DAC’s, SRAM, display, connection with all other boards)
– center right: SD board
– bottom left: mod+env board
– bottom right: vcf/vca controls board

The new ST4 PCB's

The new ST4 PCB’s

Note that the mod board has got sliders for ADSR and ledbuttons to quickly select channel and function (VCO/VCA/VCF/AUX).

Assembly and test will start today. As mentioned before the SMD will be 0805 and SOIC, so relatively big and hence suited for DIY. We like the SMD because it’s cheaper, smaller, and we feel easier to solder than through-hole. However, all control and interface components (pots, sliders, sockets) will remain through-hole, since this is much sturdier!

Furthermore, we’ve contacted the factory for PCBA (PCB Assembly by machine).. Especially for the VCA (~100 components) and VCF boards (200+ components).

Some work on the software has been done. The most glaring bugs were fixed and it seems there are no more crashes now.. But a lot of features need to be implemented, still. After some deliberation it was decided to go ahead with MIDI OUT stuff like unlimited polyphony and cc’s. However, they won’t be there in the first release. More like v1.1 or 1.2. The GUI needs to be completely redesigned (piano roll for the poly stuff and some crazy stacks for the cc’s).

In recent days we also contacted a new designer to do the front plate  and back panel graphics. We’re thinking of a multi-color scheme, if the budget will allow. We’ve also contacted the casing factory about this..

In closing, a lot of activities. But it looks like it’s all coming together.

 

Rewards and ST4 development

For all the Kickstarter backers and people interested in the ST4.

Last week we sent the first rewards to the backers (first-come first-served): 5 Sawbench kits and 5 assembled ones. This week we made a similar amount and they will hopefully be tested and shipped over the weekend.

Also, for the DIYers, the manual has been enhanced with pictures and tables, which can be used (also by us) to verify if all components are in the bags! Just overlay your stuff to check!

Sawbench_D_R_mech_

Some good news about the ST4: the noise issues seem solved! The numbers: SNR is now better than 80 dB, in some cases better than 90 (but it should not be more than that, bleh! :)). Even better, the periodic noise issues are completely gone! The entire guts needed to be replaced (going from PWM CV to a multi-channel DAC), but it was worth it.

The envelope section has been redesigned and the new components are already in-house. The new design for the control PCB’s (with envelope controls and such) is almost ready to be taped out. We hope to send those off to the factory in the next week. The new multi-channel CV DAC design will also be taped out at the same time.

When the new control board design is finalized we can also start redesign of the new front plate and contact the factory. We’re currently in discussion with a potential US distributor.

Overall, things seem to be ahead of schedule. We expect to send out all the rewards early summer.

ST4 Kickstarter Campaign & Webshop

Hi guys, I guess you know we’re hella busy with the ST4 Kickstarter. The Sawbench is also a reward for this Kickstarter.. For this reason we temporarily removed the Sawbench (assembled and full kit) from the webshop.

If you want to buy a Sawbench please consider buying it via the Kickstarter.

Sales will restart 17 Feb. Thanks for your understanding.

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.

Cross Browser Compatible

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit elit sed diam ultrices hendrerit. Vestibulum feugiat, urna eget ullamcorper tristique, est erat egestas diam, ac imperdiet libero neque sed velit. Curabitur fringilla tortor vitae nisi mattis, dignissim faucibus purus dictum. Sed vel volutpat sapien. Morbi quis tristique dolor. Fusce nec mattis diam. Duis rutrum vitae erat vel fringilla.

Continue reading

Video Post Example

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit elit sed diam ultrices hendrerit. Vestibulum feugiat, urna eget ullamcorper tristique, est erat egestas diam, ac imperdiet libero neque sed velit. Curabitur fringilla tortor vitae nisi mattis, dignissim faucibus purus dictum. Sed vel volutpat sapien. Morbi quis tristique dolor. Fusce nec mattis diam. Duis rutrum vitae erat vel fringilla.

Continue reading

Gallery Post Example

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut suscipit elit sed diam ultrices hendrerit. Vestibulum feugiat, urna eget ullamcorper tristique, est erat egestas diam, ac imperdiet libero neque sed velit. Curabitur fringilla tortor vitae nisi mattis, dignissim faucibus purus dictum. Sed vel volutpat sapien. Morbi quis tristique dolor. Fusce nec mattis diam. Duis rutrum vitae erat vel fringilla.

Continue reading

Scroll to top