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DIY Drum Module

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  • DIY Drum Module

    It has been a while since I've posted here mainly because my conversion kit was sold some months ago.

    Since I started the edrum diy journey I had the main purpose to build a diy module but not only a simple TMI because that's pretty simple and there are many diy projects around the web (in that matter, if interested take a look at microdrum that uses a simple Arduino and some cheap components). Because I have almost zero experience with electronics and basic experience with micro-controllers I've been doing some research to get my head around main concepts related to this area. I am a software developer so I do believe that with some effort I might be able to pull this off!

    After researching for material related to audio generation, mp3 playback, Digital-Analog-Converter units on micro-controllers and how I would be able to "cook" something to solve my problem I ended up finding a link to this website: http://dream.fr/devices.html#S3 this guys have an IC that does some pretty nice things, take a look at SAM3816!

    What actually excited me the most was their e-drum firmware and a software that they built that allows you to create and upload your audio samples to the chip BUT looking at the evaluation board and development prices took a big part of the excitement from me, although not everything is lost!

    This is the evaluation board for the high-end IC that they have http://www.profusionplc.com/pro/gex/...tno=SAM3816-EK and yeah, the price is out of the range of a mere diy project...but the IC alone costs 26dollars (http://www.profusionplc.com/pro/gex/pcatdtl0) , ofc there's a need for more hardware namely an uC for the TMI part, a dedicated DAC for good audio quality, SRAM and probably more that I'm not aware right now.

    The more important parts in this type of project is that the microcontroller/microprocessor is capable of playing more than one audio sample at the "same time" (polyphony?) so my question is, do any of you know any uC/uP or any chip that has the ability to do that?

    For example, would it be possible to have something like the VS1053 (http://www.vlsi.fi/en/products/vs1053.html) paired with a uC/uP and play multiple audio samples that are store in a sdcard?

    Probably this isn't the best place to ask this type of questions but maybe, and probably, someone here works or has some experience on this area and can advise me..it can even be a simple advise like : "Oh poor boy, just let go of that, that's a lot for you!"

    Regards!
    Last edited by Chuckytuh; 01-07-14, 10:33 PM.
    Making my way into diy edrums and failing to resist GAS!
    Kit: Alesis Trigger IO + DIY Acrilic Cymbals + FSR Hihat Controller
    Kit Pics here!

  • #2
    Frankly...I have no idea what you are talking about...but when I read this "Raspberry Pi" came to mind.

    http://www.raspberrypi.org/

    I have no idea if it helps...but...it is what it is.
    8 piece DIY Acrylic, 2x2Box DrumIt5, Gen16 4xDCP, DIY Acrylic&Gen16 Conversions, Sleishman Twin-QuadSteele hybrid, Gibraltar&DrumFrame rack, DW9502LB, Midi Knights Pro Lighting
    http://www.airbrushartists.org/DreamscapeAirbrushRealm

    Comment


    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Daniel, thank you for the response. I am aware of many linux based dev boards namely the raspberry pi. Actually there's a person already working and making some tests with the raspberry pi and thats the author of microdrum. What I wanted to accomplish is total freedom of a PC or even an external monitor. Of course a linux based solution would be a lot simpler and easier. Actually I have a solution that resembles that but I'm still waiting for my Teensy 3.1 board to come so that I can start do some experiments so I wont elaborate much more for now. Or maybe I could share something..how would you guys like to have a drum module on your android/iphone device?

    • fulrmr(Daniel)
      fulrmr(Daniel) commented
      Editing a comment
      There's been discussion of an app like that...but it's the DIY friendly pad interface that seems a bit sketchy to me when the phone/tablet subject comes up. Good luck though. Seems to be an interesting adventure you've been on. Have fun.

    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Well there's always many ways to circumvent that problem, there can be pre-made pcb, even fully assembled ones to sell but my main purpose isn't to profit with this project, it is to give back to the community that gave me so much!

  • #3
    Chuckytuh, you have done some real nice research here! The sam3816 + a couple of DA seems to be able to do the trick. I got almost tempted to buy the profusionplc card...

    angr77
    Last edited by angr77; 01-08-14, 04:29 PM.
    Pearl CrystalBeat and Sonor Safari, Roland CY-14/13R/15R/12CR,RT-10/30,BT-1,VH-11/12/13 & KD-10, Dingbat,Triggera D14, D11, ATV AD-h14, PCY-155, 120MHz MD with PS board, 2box 3/5/5MKII, dd4SE, Yamaha DTX502, Addictive Drums 2.1.19. All ADpaks, Microsoft Surface PRO, Macbook, Pearl Throne Thumper, Zourman HH & Ride Conv Kit www.zourman.com

    Comment


    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you very much. I've contacted Dream and the response I got wasn't the one I was looking for. They have two boards for their ICs, the EK (evalutaion kit) and the PDK (program development kit?) and both of them are paid... The thing I was looking for was their libraries and a compiler and a way of programming the IC but that only happens if I pay, which I don't want to because the aim of the project is to have something easy and cheap for DIY.

      Nonetheless this boards are pretty awesome, even you guys with the megadrum could feed the board with the midi output of the megadrum and get some sound samples from the board and if you want to pay more you have access to their software that allows you to create your samples on a computer and upload them to the IC.

      Truth must be said that I haven't heard the sounds because I can't find that anywhere.

  • #4
    Originally posted by Chuckytuh View Post
    ... Because I have almost zero experience with electronics and basic experience with micro-controllers I've been doing some research to get my head around main concepts related to this area. I am a software developer so I do believe that with some effort I might be able to pull this off!
    ...
    Probably this isn't the best place to ask this type of questions but maybe, and probably, someone here works or has some experience on this area and can advise me..it can even be a simple advise like : "Oh poor boy, just let go of that, that's a lot for you!"
    Speaking as an electrical engineering professor and audio software developer, I think you may be underestimating the hardware side. I'm not sure what sort of software you develop but if you're not familiar with real time systems and DSP, that bit could be problematic, too. For starters, just consider that your Dream IC is fine pitch surface mount. You're not going to be successful putting that together with a 15 watt pencil iron. Granted, you could farm out the PCB layout and prototyping but if even the eval board is out of your proce range then that will be as well.

    I'm not one to discourage people but if you're not willing to pop for an eval board then I'd have to say "Oh poor boy, just let go of that, that's a lot for you!"

    Comment


    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Jim, I am truly aware of the need for quality boards when it comes to signal processing and that bit is mostly the cause of high hardware prices and devboards!

      The Dream IC is part of the "research" I've been doing in the past week and I wouldn't surely stick by the first solution I've found. My aim is to be able to develop something that is "low cost" and somehow easy to DIY, probably that wont be 100% doable and I'm ok with that, at least I'm learning something
      If the purpose of this project was to have a comercial product it would be totally different, ofc..

      Another important variable is that I, beside being a dreamer, I do have my feet on the ground. I'm a BSc software engineering finalist student and will attend (hopefully) an MSc in EE this year and the DSP area is a complex area by itself...I'm not that naive And of course I don't plan on doing this project in less that 6 months, I know I'm incapable of that lol

      Nowadays there are tons of dev boards with ARM MCUs and they are quite cheap, for example the STM32F Discovery or even the Teensy 3.1, probably the latest wont be able to get the job done, or maybe it does...I've opened a similar thread on the teensy forums and the creator, Paul, was interested on this because he/they(?) is/are developing an audio library capable of simultaneous wav files playback. The STM32FDiscovery already has an audio output connector and the MCU is quite powerful!

      This via surely wont translate in a top notch hifi drum module but they might give a low/medium quality solution for those who dont have the money to buy a full fledged drum module with high quality drum samples and this module can also be used as a simple USB TMI if you want to use VSTs

      Nonetheless I do, and I really mean it, appreciate your feedback given the fact your knowledge! Thank you very much!

  • #5
    Another linux alternative in case you weren't aware - these are quite interesting and cheap, and dwarf the raspberry pi as far as performance is concerned: http://www.hardkernel.com/main/shop/...st.php?lang=en
    There is a custom ubuntu-based audio-oriented distro for it too, with the possibility of overclocking it to 1.92 Ghz. Stick one of these inside the enclosure of your megadrum/microdrum/whatever (it's really small), install a vst (e.g. addictive drums) with Wine, and you have a standalone drum module that can also do (almost) anything a PC does. You could control it with a smartphone/tablet over vnc or you could hook up a screen to it...

    If I ordered one of these now the missus would see to it that I needed emergency surgery to get it extracted from, er, inside me, but otherwise I'd be sure to order one.
    Megadrum module, DIY A2E pads, DIY 2 & 3-zone cymbals, DIY hall-effect 3-zone hi-hat, El Cheapo buttkicker, DIY trigger beaters on DIY longboard/direct drive modded pedals. DIY IEMs. Some kit pics/history.

    Comment


    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the link. I actually already knew that board and yes, it is quite amazing what it offers for the price! It might be one solution but I wish I could simply avoid unnecessary bits like a fully working OS and the need to use an external (expensive) monitor and / or keyboard, etc.

      If, in the end, I don't manage to pull something out I guess I'll just follow this path because it is just simpler

  • #6
    • the trigger input side is already covered by the Megadrum projects.. Not much to worry there, it seems.
    • the area of 'playing back a sample' (not sound-synthesys) has also be explored, by alot of freeware developers. I could imagine there's at least some experience that could be shared there.
    • hardware-components like hard-drives, LCD screens, processors, ICs and whatever, are available. At a steep price for quality components, it appears, but they are there!


    The tricky part (or more precicely, the part that *I* am guessing to be the most tricky of all) will be a drum-oriented GUI *and* Operating System. You definitively want something that is tailored towards 'drumming application', and not a 'General OS" for playing games, printing documents, calculating spreadsheets, otherwise, you might just go with your 'regular' Laptop, and OSX/Win/whatever operating system. I'm exaggerating a fair bit, but you hopefully get where I am trying to go.

    The more tasks an OS has to fulfill, and the more complex that OS is programmed, the more likely it is to run into stability issues. That's one of the main reasons I feel a drum-module is more reliable than a laptop: Its' OS is 'limited' to the purpose of playing drum-sounds!


    I dont know what processors drum-related gear is based-off currently; if these are something like ARM processors or SHARC DSP's. Anyone want to open up their 2box module and take a look?
    Last edited by hairmetal-81; 01-09-14, 02:23 PM.


    "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

    http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

    Comment


    • Chuckytuh
      Chuckytuh commented
      Editing a comment
      Exactly, that's my way of thinking, why use a full OS in a small device if we could simply just use what we already have? Plus, as you said, and IMO correctly, a software/firmware tailored only for one purpose has less space for problems.

      Originally posted by hairmetal-81 View Post
      I dont know what processors drum-related gear is based-off currently; if these are something like ARM processors or SHARC DSP's. Anyone want to open up their 2box module and take a look?
      That's something I would like to take a look too but sadly don't have any module nor know anyone that has lol. It would be great if someone could upload some high res photos from the inside of a 2box

  • #7
    I've wanted to do this as well, but it is beyond me. My other thought was to 'hot rod' an existing module. Perhaps an older D4 or DM5 that could be bought for $100 and then upgrade the memory to store more sounds and then be able to upload my own sounds.... Illegal as well, but if it was just for me...


    Comment


    • #8
      Originally posted by latzanimal View Post
      I've wanted to do this as well, but it is beyond me. My other thought was to 'hot rod' an existing module. Perhaps an older D4 or DM5 that could be bought for $100 and then upgrade the memory to store more sounds and then be able to upload my own sounds.... Illegal as well, but if it was just for me...
      See? I was so damn sure I'm not the only one having these 'visions'

      Hot-rodding....Yes, please! ...but then that's what the 2boxers already did - from 4 to 32!



      (Next up: From 32 to 256 solid-state-drive! Who's first? )
      Last edited by hairmetal-81; 01-10-14, 08:45 AM.


      "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

      http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

      Comment


      • #9
        Chuckytuh, like I said, I don't like to discourage people but I think you need to consider "DIY for me" vs. "DIY for the common person". Most of the application-specific high end ICs that would be useful for projects like this are going to be fine pitch surface mount. Unless you want to get into the business of selling people populated boards, the average person will be way out of their league. The other obvious option is to base the design on an existing dev board and packaging the added hardware around it. It simplifies things for DIYer but raises the cost.

        Finally, please don't take this the wrong way but I am curious about two things you said which don't make sense to me together. First, you said that you "have almost zero experience with electronics" and then later you said that you hope to get into a Masters EE program. What MSEE program would allow you in with almost no experience with electronics in spite of having a BS in software engineering? It seems very odd unless the MSEE program is extremely focused on software solutions and ignores hardware (in which case I'd argue that it's mislabeled). Again, I am in no way denigrating you, your abilities, or soon to be obtained software engineering degree; it's just that from my perspective as a college professor, it seems very strange.

        Comment


        • Chuckytuh
          Chuckytuh commented
          Editing a comment
          Hm there are many projects that started as DIY projects and they still are DIY projects despite their complexity..lets look at megadrum as an example. Or even those 3D printers that we can find all around the web, nonetheless people are building them if they can, or have someone to help them..DIY isn't just something that every single person with any given experience can build..if it is then that's perfect.

          As I believe I said I'm just doing some research and studying what possibilities are out there, today I can tell that it is harder than I thought it could be to have a solution that's built from ground up, selecting what ICs to use, etc..probably I will end up with a mixed solution, something like a linux dev board as mentioned here, or even based on Android/Iphone devices + a TMI part, I don't know, just studying

          Related to the MSc, here in Portugal you have some college courses that are 2 in 1 meaning that you start as a BS student but end with a Master degree and it's a continuous process. There's also some independent BSc and MSc and you can try to enter on a MSc as long as you have BS Degree. Also, even though the MSc in question is 2 years long, nothing stops me from taking 5 years to end it lol. What I want to say is, as long as I am accepted on the MS it is my responsibility to end it as long as I pay the tuition fees.

          Before my actual BS I attended an BS on EE but due to a disease on a family member I was "forced" to post-pone my studies and when I went back I choose a different area but while I was there I've learned the principles of EE...I guess you would agree with me that a fresh student on a EE knows almost zero of electronics, right?

      • #10
        What do we talk about, price-wise, for such a dev board?

        Do I get this correct that, in order to develop such a DIY module, in essence you would best need two guys: a software engineer, and a hardware engineer?

        And then maybe a 'product designer' that takes care of the outer casing (...if this isn't done by the hardware engineer) or the look and feel of the user-interface (...if the software engineer don't handles this already).


        So, a team of two to three men or women? (...it just seems alot of work to do for a single person. You'd need a very broad knowledge to pull this all off...)


        "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

        http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

        Comment


        • #11
          Real-world products like this are generally created by a team of several people including electrical engineers who would do the hardware and possibly the software depending on what it entailed, possibly programmers/software engineers if it's software heavy, particularly user interface stuff, an industrial designer for the case and what not, possibly a mechanical engineer if there's a lot to do with the case/hardware and of course, marketing people to sell the thing and business admin to take credit for it and get the largest salary.

          Dev boards/kits can run from as little as tens of dollars to hundreds of dollars.

          Comment


          • #12
            Thanks Jim!

            So leaving aside the cheap ten-dollar boards, the pice to start for someone to create their own e-drum module, is somewhere between a DTX-502 and a 2box module (...or the like...)

            I don't know now, if I should say 'Good!', or rather 'Ouch!'

            Pessimistically assuming that this project is failing at some point, and factoring in all the additional costs for casing, jacks, pots, a sound-source to take samples from, ecetera ecetera.... I think that's a clear 'Ouch!'



            "My best friends' name is J-SON. They used to call him 'Mr. Parse.' He has an 'Error'..!"

            http://www.vdrums.com/forum/core/cus...ar33631_4.jpeg

            Comment

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