Hot from the workshop of coffee-obsessed Zeppelin Design Labs comes a little Stylophone-style synthesizer. The Macchiato Mini Synth is a little Arduino-based digital synthesizer that’s ready to go or you can build it yourself.
Macchiato Mini Synth
It’s got all 8 bits, a 13-note capacitive touch keyboard and 2 notes of polyphony. It’s also got 9 knobs covering wave shape, envelope, LFO and filter. You’ve a choice of 4 of the usual waveforms, attack and release, 4 LFO shapes and cutoff frequency. There’s an onboard speaker, audio output and MIDI input. It can run from a 9V battery or a wall wart.
The case, or cabinet as they like to call it, is made from either cardboard or super “sleek” black plastic. The cardboard version actually only comes as a template to use on a cereal box – that’s ggr-r-reat! And you get some stickers to recreate the Macchiato front panel.
The Macchiato software is open source and available for modification.
They reckon the kit can be built by a 13 year old in an evening, although the time-lapse video looks pretty hardcore to me, especially with the state of a 13 years old’s soldering.
I have to say I’m really enjoying the current crop of synth kits. We’ve had the Tiny TS credit card sized one, the Soulsby MiniAtmegatron which is also Arduino based, and the Modal CRAFTsynth which probably sets the benchmark for this sort of thing. However, the Macchiato is cheaper than the Soulsby and Modal, has more controls and a larger range on the keyboard and more knobs to twiddle. It’s genuinely DIY because it involves actual soldering rather than just clicking boards together. And it looks pretty groovy to me.
Price ranges from $39-$96 depending on how much you want done for you and more information can be found on the Zeppelin Design Labs website.