Favorite extra modules to use with the Synth Kit

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What are your favorite modules to add to your melodies?

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I am particularly fond of the Latch module. It is basically a flip flop that switches whenever the voltage goes high at its input. Normally, you’d use it to press a button to switch something on and have it stay on until you press the button again.

Because it switches once for very two times it is triggered, it makes a handy clock divider so you can have one synth voice triggering at half the tempo of your sequencer clock. Here is an example: vimeo.com/97028344

If you add the latch after an oscillator, the tone will be down one octave so it creates a fat sub bass sound without carefully tuning two oscillators.

If you have the microphone module, you can use it as a guitar octave divider too (works better with distorted guitar because the waveform is more square).

The microphone module is the one I’d buy first though, as it opens up a universe of fun processing live instruments and other audio signals.

Rod.

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I bought the Latch and Inverter bits to be able to do a 8-step sequencer (https://littlebits.cc/projects/8-step-sequencer) and I’ve been having a lot of fun with the Inverter bit in this context and others!

I realized that it can act as a cheap bitcrush/distortion module on soundwaves since it appears to make everything binary (as well as inverting it), so I’ve used it to make crunchy drum snares and distorted synths.
Also using it on a clock signal makes it offbeat, which can be used to do 8 steps for a given sequence, but in general makes the timing of song elements more interesting.

The Arduino Bit is my favorite to use with the Synth Kit. It enables me to send MIDI to the Synth Kit from my iPad and iPhone.

I picked up an extra oscillator and random, plus the XOR. Now I really need to order another Mixer, and a couple wires to use in home-brew set ups.

Totally looking forward to the new Synth bits this winter: USB Audio, MIDI, and CV!

David

Tip of the day: the Mix bit is expensive, so most people will not have as many as they would like. Try using various logic bits to combine signals instead.

Awesome Input! Have you verified the logic bits concepts yourself?

Hi MR_STEAM,

I don’t have all the logic bits yet, but I plan to do a write-up with what I have. For me, it is a learning-by-doing process so I am not sure what to expect in cases other that what I have run.

David

Great!

Definitely looking forward to your new discoveries with the logic bits!

Hi MR_STEAM,

I spent some time experimenting over the weekend. I tried substituting the XOR bit, which is the only logic bit I have at the moment, for the Mix bit. I used two Oscillators and the Random + Sequencer for a rhythm track. I originally picked up the XOR bit to try ring modulation (demonstrated in one of the projects on the website). My test results showed that using the XOR instead of Mix works, but not quite like the Mix. The level is quieter with XOR than with Mix. With two Oscillators there is a noticeable ring-mod sound; with Random+Sequencer and one Oscillator the ring effect is less noticeable.

I am hoping to sell some things on eBay this month so I can pick up the Logic Bundle and try more bits. My LittleBits money this month went for the HDK and a Mix bit. :slight_smile:

David

Awesome news!

Glad you had a chance to observe the results! I’ll definitely test this out and view how it operates myself! Great work!

Surely looking forward to the awesome inventions you build!

Does anyone know if the Light Sensor module could be used as a photo-theremin with the synth kit? It seems like it should work, but I’m not 100% electronics savvy.

Hey @mpLockwood!

Please check this awesome project out! http://littlebits.cc/projects/optical-theremin. The Community Pro Leader @JackANDJude created this awesome theremin project with light sensors! Check it out and let us know if it helps your creation!

renaudbedard,

“[the inverter] can act as a cheap bitcrush/distortion module on soundwaves since it appears to make everything binary”

Could you possibly provide an audio demonstration of this bitcrushing effect? I am particularly interested in how it would affect filtered noise. This would be very helpful to me, personally.

@Seymour_Clufley If you put an @ symbol in front of a user name, that user will likely get an email notification of your question. It does depend on their notifications settings. It’s especially handy for responding to an older post.

I’m also curious to hear a sound sample with the inverter, @renaudbedard

Question: Can the Pulse bit be used as an oscillator, to create an audible Pulse wave? This would be an additional waveform in addition to the square and saw that the regular oscillator bit produces. I also wonder if it could be slapped on the front of an oscillator or filter for a bit of PWM fun?

@synthpopalooza : Is this what you mean? http://youtu.be/a382OBiSfUc

Yes, I think that answers my question. Very cool. :slight_smile: Another bit to add to the wishlist

Hiya @JackANDJude and @Seymour_Clufley!

Here’s a really, really loud & distorted tune I had fun with this evening : https://soundcloud.com/rbedard/littlebits-jam-of-the-day-2014-12-14

I used an inverter bit just before the mix for the “lead” and the snare drum (envelope + random). Interestingly enough the bassdrum did not need any more distortion/saturation, it was already maxing out and adding an inverter gave almost no effect.
That’d be one example of what I mean by using it as a cheap distortion/compressor. For instance the lead synth has a filter and an envelope, but it never really goes to low levels, it always either plays full volume or does not at all… which can sound pretty badass if that’s your kinda thing. :slight_smile:
Also of note : I used a delay bit on the lead synth before the inverter, which means there’s a full-volume echo that trails after the sequence and then nothing else, and makes it sound like it’s trilling two notes for each sequence beat.

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Regarding the inverter, I saw a project on here where someone used an inverter to make a hi-pass filter. The circuit layout went something like this:

Power - keyboard - oscillator - split - filter - mix - envelope - speaker
…\-- inverter -/

Works pretty well, my question is, if you put a second filter in just before the inverter, would you then have something like a bandpass (or band reject) filter? I’m almost curious enough to buy a second filter just to try this out!

Just to provide more input on the Latch, it would be nice to have a dedicated octave changer bit. The Latch does this way better than setting two oscillators on an octave interval, but it can only output digital signals. So basically if you try to use it with a sawtooth Oscillator, it morphs into a square wave when you just wanted to change the pitch.

Anyway, I’d definitely add more Inverters to the kit. I use it with a sawtooth Oscillator -> Filter (with medium peak) -> Inverter to get a cheap fuzz sound effect on the output. But it doesn’t work so well with a square oscillator, so I guess it’s something related to the saw shape. I’m actually dying for the Oscilloscope to come out to check what the sound shape that this circuit produces. :smile:

There’s also something really weird with the above circuit. If you place a slide dimmer on the “freq in” connection and try moving the knob while playing, you get a really nice Wah-wah pedal effect!