Arduino – Getting Started

Arduino Midi

When I show off my strange circuit bent devices and synthesizers to musicians and friends of mine I often hear the same thing, “That’s awesome! … But how would you play it live?” This can be a vexing question, Some advanced or complex builds can be played in a live environment but especially as a beginner most of your devices will lack the versatility, reliability or control to be feasible as a live instrument. For this reason many Circuit benders and synth DIY enthusiasts rely on a process of recording and sampling the noises they create and using a sampler or MIDI controller to play them back with a reliable and easy to control interface. This is what I’d like to start exploring today.

Now I want to preface this project by saying that prior to beginning my research and experimentation for this build I had no experience working with the computerized side of music production. I have no background in coding outside of some rudimentary VB and HTML and though with my bands I have gone through the process of recording I have never been responsible for working with recording or mixing programs during this process. But I have an Arduino, and I’ve been led to believe that’s all anyone really needs in this crazy old world.

My goal is to start from the ground up over a series of articles looking at the various parts of this process and developing my own skills with the Arduino, Audio Mixing, MIDI and Recording as always with a strong focus on open source and DIY. Anyone could go out and spend a few grand to set up a recording studio and playback devices but that’s not what I’m about. I want to do it myself, on the cheap and I want to bring you along for the ride. Hopefully by the end we’ll all have a better understanding of how to capture and playback our strange creations.

I’ll still be circuit bending and building DIY synths but keep an eye out for upcoming articles on ways to incorporate the Arduino and software into our music creation process.


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