Making a mixtape was never this much fun!
Mixtape Alpha is the smallest synthesizer we could make without a prescription. It has a stylophone style input for continuous note generation, and 6 buttons for discrete notes. With 4 voices, 4 effects, and 5 note polyphony there is quite a range of expression. But, the best part is, you can record the songs you make, and trade mixtapes with your friends! Perhaps even better, it’s based on the ATmega328p, and can be hacked to make even crazier sounds than we came up with.
If you want to dig into the guts of this 8-bit synth, check out the wiki page. There you will find all the schematics and code, and we even have a Pure Data patch for making your own wavetables. Mixtape Alpha even comes in its own cassette case, with instructions!
Mixtape Alpha was done in collaboration with Jie Qi from the High-Low Tech group at the MIT Media Lab. It’s an attempt to break down the barriers between people and electronics: To get them comfortable touching PCBs, and change expectations about how electronics should look. To this end, there are resistive touch pads, and all the trace routing took aesthetics into consideration as well. These are ideas very familiar to circiut benders, and we’re hoping they catch on with other folks as well.