Different kinds of Intstruments

I’ve never been a big electronics geek, but I’ve always wanted to learn more about the basics of how electrical engineering (is that the term?) works. My problem has been that I haven’t had a very good reason to actually get the gear and start to build something. There’s never been a ‘project’ interesting and necessary enough to warrant the investment in time and money.

MultimeterAs a person who learns best through a goal oriented combination of academic (theory) study and practical doing, that lack of a clear goal has always put me off. However (tada!) as I’ve started to learn more about how the synthesis process works in physical hardware it has become apparent to me that it would be very useful to understand better how the actual HW turns current and signals into sound. Also, with all the gear that I’m accumulating (yes, I’m a gear junkie…), some of which requires actual assembly, I found my self yesterday in the need of a multimeter. (The details of why I needed a multimeter will be revealed in a later post…)

What I would really like to do is spend some time to build a simple MIDI sequencer based on an Arduino board. As you know I’ve been looking for a solution that would allow me to play a MIDI note sequence on a keyboard into a small device that could record the sequence and then loop it back at variable speed. A friend suggested I build it myself based on some very simple schematics for MIDI on Arduino, and that would actually be a great starting point for a project. Perhaps that will be the entry point in the world of hardware hacking?

Do you agree that understanding the actual hardware and engineering foundations of sound synthesis is necessary to create good electronic music, or do software instruments and other virtual ‘interfaces’ abstract that away to a point where you can do without it?

What do you think?

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