Hardware from scratch

Does anyone else ever dream up new gear? Please don’t laugh, because I really know absolutely nothing about building or designing music hardware, but I have always thought that a straight forward, loop launch style product that didn’t require a computer would be awesome. Something that you could dump your four track files from the op-1 tape onto (or any 4 audio tracks from any hardware/software), and just go to town on, easily switching between loops and muting/soloing, etc. remixing and experimenting all while being in total control. You could have 16 loops per song, and the amount of songs would only be limited to the size of the sd card it all streams from. Is that even possible?

I sort of already do this with my ehx45000, but you cant jump from one loop to another mid loop. You have to wait until the end of the first loop before moving on to the second, which is kind of… lame.

Who can build this? Lol

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maybe not exactly but octatrack is pretty much this.
and what about that bluebox thing? or even blackbox could prolly get close too.

ps i also routinely dream up devices i think its perfectly natural
is pretty much exactly why i eventually got into making gear.

imhe youre never gunna get a device that does exactly what u want
(not that thats what you’re asking at all)
unless u make it yourself, and even then its very hard
b/c u are still limited by what u can accomplish, the tools that u have at your disposal
and the limits of the hardware // software u have chosen. nothing is unlimited processing power.
soldering skills, coding skills, PCB skills, crafting skills, CADing skills etc etc.
most likely u are gunna end up being forced to make concessions at many points in the development or choose to abandon the project all together


@KOHLBERG i’ve been here so i’ll articulate some things i’ve realized about making hardware.

imo there are multiple levels to making instruments / interfaces to instruments.

the “hardware from scratch” is definitely the hardest. it requires a lot of electronics know-how and a lot of money to get a really nice end-product. however, its easy to get started here though so its definitely worth checking out (there are loads of diy synths you can get started with) since the basics are not too complicated. however, after the basics, its pretty tricky to get something fancy from scratch.

one step down is to go something like teensy - it is a little microcontroller that you can hook up all your knobs and buttons to. it even has a drag-and-drop style audio library you can put into it with great effects and synthesis capabilities: https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_Audio.html if you are a beginner in hardware, i would go this route - it will facilitate a lot of the boring stuff.

but to get one level down from that - there is the norns which consider to be basically a box with three knobs, three buttons that you can program to do what you want. its is a computer (but most hardware synths have computers now), buts specially optimized for audio and encased in a hardware-like interface with a simple screen and knobs+buttons. the best part is that it uses supercollider in the backend which allows you to do all sorts of things (there is a norns “script” that basically runs every basic guitar pedal at the same time). in fact, the looping system described up above is similar to some things i’ve made for it. so if you are looking to just “manifest musical ideas” then this might be a good route.

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Yeah, I immediately thought about norns too…

The problem about doing your own HW stuff from scratch is the amount of time (and money) you need to sink for it to become really good.

Btw, one alternative not mentioned above is to create a mobile device app.

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Thank you all for replying. This gives me something to chew on…

I’m pretty sure Andrew Huangs Flip app does much of what you described, line out from your device to idevice

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