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The Peeps Adventures

DIY Synthesizers

In 2019 I tried to make my own mini synthesizer after I found a great project called "Axoloti-core". I had never soldered before, but I bought an Axoloti and I took my time to learn my first visual programmation language and understand the basics of electronic. When I finished this project, I posted a video on Youtube, and then I recived dozens of emails from every country, asking for orders. So I said okay, let's be a synthesizer maker !

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The Peeps Synth

The Peeps Synth was a 6 voices polyphonic synthesizer inspired by the deep saw-wave of a Prophet, with a wonderful emulated tape delay, a reverb from Mutable Instrument, and a drone oscillator. All of this was battery powered and packed in a really small size. With midi in & out, USB port to control the synth from a DAW. And also an audio input to use the effects for external gears.

10 copies exists + the ugly original one that I still have.

The Peeps Music Box

After my first experience, I decided to go further.
I always wanted a Buchla Music Easel, but as a young unknown musician, it was way too expensive. So I said I'll make mine. I used again an Axoloti-core as the synth engine, but this time I had to learn Arduino code to make more controllers and a touch plate keyboard. And make my own printed circuit board to make these units solid and professional.

31 copies exists, I don't have any of them.

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Designing synths was a fun part of my life, but building them in series destroyed everything around me.

I lost many things doing this and I regret a lot.

I'm still involved into research to build new digital synthesizers, but at my own pace, and not in the same way to get lost on it and watch everything I love going away forever.

But wait. You still want one of these instrument ?
DO IT YOURSELF, IT'S OPEN SOURCE !!!

Build your own Peeps Synth :

- First of all, you need to buy an Axoloti-core. And it will be probably the trickiest part of the process...
Johannes Taelman made this amazing project alone and the success of his idea make it hard to buy. On the Axoloti forum you'll find sometimes great second hand.

- This is a list of everything you'll need to buy.

- Download  the file to upload on your SD card and then the axoloti will run my program. Simply unzip the file and place everything on the microSD card (yes, even the empty folder, it's important).

- This is the file I was printing to properly drill the wooden

front panel to place the 15 potentiometers.

 

- I've not used exact mesure to cut the wood but I was also using this printed patron to make the case. This is absolutely not perfect, as I remember you'll need to adjust many things by yourself.

 

- One funny step is that you'll need to find an Akai LPK25 and litteraly cut it in the middle with a hand saw. Don't be afraid, it will still work pretty well with only one octave and his PCB cutted in two part. I recommend to find a used Akai LPK25.  

- This is how you need to solder the analog input of the axoloti-core in the right order. 

- And at the end, this is the user manual.

- Well done, you made a Peeps Synth. Please send me pictures of your design to s8jfou@gmail.com and I'll post them here !

I'm sorry but I have to say that you'll need to be patient and autonomous. Because I will try my best to read my emails and reply, but emails and digital communication in general makes me anxious. I keep myself away from that as much as possible. Arduino is tricky, especially because I've used MIDIUSB & MPR121 library. You'll have to find these library on the builtin browser of Teensyduino. Last time I oppened this software was more than a year ago and I don't want to go again on that cold and dark space, where you compile your code and in the same red color of this words here it says "error no such file or directory"

Build your own Peeps Music Box :

- First of all, you need to buy an Axoloti-core. And it will be probably the trickiest part of the process...
Johannes Taelman made this amazing project alone and the success of his idea make it hard to buy. On the Axoloti forum you'll find sometimes great second hand.

- You'll also need to buy a Teensy 3.2 and download Teensyduino.

- And you'll need an MPR121 capacitive touch sensor to make the touch sensitive keyboard.

- This is a list of everything you'll need to buy.

- Download  the file to upload on your SD card and then the axoloti will run my program. Simply unzip the file and place everything on the microSD card (yes, even the empty folder, it's important).
(the patch is available on the Axoloti forum if you are familiar with axoloti-patcher and want to use it)

- Download the code to open with teensyduino and flash your teensy 3.2 (be careful to find and download the exact same library on the browser)

- This is the file I've designed for printing the PCB. I made it with JLCPCB you just have to send the zip file, select a color, choose how many of them you want, and then you pay and wait for it.

- This is the CNC router files I've used for cutting the front pannel and also for the metal touch plates. The first file have to be drill trough the wood, unlike the second one which need to be just deep as your metal thickness. I've used 3mm plywood for this. And then you can use the same file for cutting your metal plates.

Assembly the metal into the wood without breaking little part of wood was one of the horrible step of this synth for me. Prepare yourself. I've personnaly sanded every inside edges of every single metal plates of every 31 units by hand to make them fit perfectly. It means 558 piece of metal...

- This is a PDF I made for the Full soldering manual.

- And at the end, This is the user manual.

- Well done, you made a Peeps Music Box. Please send me pictures of your design to s8jfou@gmail.com And I'll post them here !

You can say & ask anything here