PreenFM

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vozs
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PreenFM

Post by vozs » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:35 pm

https://sites.google.com/site/preenfm/

Anyone built one? Satisfied? Not satisfied?

Looks nice, neat features but i got somewhat disappointed when i
saw 11 bit 32khz wave reproduction, but i could perhaps do a hack
for a proper 16bit string restiors Dac!? Well i dont know, im to lacy
.#2....well....dunno... Perhaps i should go buy one anyway? Or not?
Or yes? Or well... not...or? :hmm:

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mOBiTh
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Post by mOBiTh » Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:40 pm

i have one that i built last christmas (i think)

built a sammich sid at the same time that i havent flashed with the firmware yet

preen sounded good from what i remember but it didn't respond to my main midi keyboard correctly - i forget the reason - perhaps it only listened for midi note off messages and not midi velocity-zero messages or vice versa?

i imagine this has been fixed since though

i have a load of these little perspex midi monosynths on a rack tray gathering dust. the shruthis also sound great but alas they're not as much fun to play with as euro/analogue stuff imo cos i hate menus. i need to build a massive 1:1 midi control surface for them all...

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mxmxmx
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Post by mxmxmx » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:43 pm

fyi. nothing to do w/ modular really, but looks as if there's preenfm2 pcbs available now.

Image

a bit too unwieldy (well, unmodular) to put behind a panel, but i had a fez cerb40 laying around, so i got one anyways. on the other hand, i won't be a big deal, i figure, to bring it up to 10vpp; and who knows, if one were to use/find a mcu capable of doing usb host, .. it wouldn't be a big deal to come up with a little cv-to-midi daughterboard.

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Altitude909
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Post by Altitude909 » Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:56 pm

yep, mine is in the mail :) DX7 sysex import also, should be fun

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vurma
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Post by vurma » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:29 am

Same here.. One of the main reasons i have beens staying away form the schruti is the extensive use of LCD menus. Its 2013 and we shouldnt have to navigate menus with knobs when we have invested houndres of dewllars in gear that should be able to do that for us.

The DX7 import is attractive! With some CV input this project would be in my rack asap.
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mxmxmx
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Post by mxmxmx » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:35 am

vurma wrote: The DX7 import is attractive! With some CV input this project would be in my rack asap.
i haven't looked at the schematic yet, but the specs now say "Pins available for expansion". depending on what those pins are, it might even be possible to do w/o CV->midi.

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Post by flts » Sun Nov 10, 2013 5:38 am

mOBiTh wrote:i have a load of these little perspex midi monosynths on a rack tray gathering dust. the shruthis also sound great but alas they're not as much fun to play with as euro/analogue stuff imo cos i hate menus. i need to build a massive 1:1 midi control surface for them all...
hear hear. i've built, borrowed and owned a couple of the "ponoko case, 4 knobs, a few buttons and a lcd" type synths (sammichsid, shruthis, etc.). while it's pretty fantastic how easy, flexible and cool sounding diy projects they make, i rarely actually end up using them. for example, the sammichsid sounded excellent but the fact that it was such a bitch to navigate and edit made me sell it quite quickly.
Warm thank you to everyone for the past 10 years. I'm not active here anymore for personal reasons, so for those I've had the pleasure of dealing with please send an e-mail instead of PM if you wish to get in touch.

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mxmxmx
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Post by mxmxmx » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:19 am

mOBiTh wrote:little perspex midi monosynths on a rack tray gathering dust
true that. weird how many (all) of these digital diy things invariably seem to end up in some toy-on-your-desk (well, in-some-drawer) format ... so much wasted talent.

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ucacjbs
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Post by ucacjbs » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:16 am

I expect there are many people who get a lot out of them, but equally I expect that those fans are unlikely to be found amongst us knob and layout obsessed modular types.

I imagine the menu-driven interfaces are cost-driven - the price would go way up with a knob-per-function interface, its supporting circuitry and enclosure.

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Post by flts » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:39 am

ucacjbs wrote:I expect there are many people who get a lot out of them, but equally I expect that those fans are unlikely to be found amongst us knob and layout obsessed modular types.
I have to add here, though, that I don't know if I quite fall into that stereotype. I do love twiddling with modulars and one-knob-per-function synths too, but big part of my music is still with software and somewhat menu-driven multifunction UIs such as the Octatrack and I don't really mind that at all. I even find quite a few of the DSI Evolver / Waldorf matrix style edit UIs pretty pleasing to use.

It's just that 1 to 4 knobs, a few buttons and a not-very-user-friendly menu interface gets too minimal and confusing when there's dozens of parameters. Something like a MeeBlip SE survives fine with the bunch of pots and switches it has because it has just the right amount of complexity vs control, but one pot and a few buttons for programming SammichSID is just too much - you really need to find a software editor or have the patience of a saint.
I imagine the menu-driven interfaces are cost-driven - the price would go way up with a knob-per-function interface, its supporting circuitry and enclosure.
Exactly, the panel and panel components are a _huge_ part of the cost. Another angle is that they are also quite a lot of work - I put together the SammichSID really fast, but if it had had a proper big control surface, it would have meant more evenings building it and possibly some additional troubleshooting as well. And more money, of course.

DIY kit and inexpensive synth designers don't make "4 knobs and a Ponoko case" style designs because they're incompetent or mean or stupid - it's just that that kind of design enables really quick and newbie-friendly builds... there's minimal amount of hardware to install and minimal amount of wires to run.

I've just found that it's usually really hard to treat that kind of boxes as anything but nifty little preset machines in my music, no matter how brilliant they sound like, so that's a compromise I've learnt to try to avoid nowadays.
Warm thank you to everyone for the past 10 years. I'm not active here anymore for personal reasons, so for those I've had the pleasure of dealing with please send an e-mail instead of PM if you wish to get in touch.

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Post by jonbstevens » Sun Nov 10, 2013 7:04 pm

I dont agree at all about the shruthi. Not onyl does it sound great but i think the UI is really easy. I was aprehensive at first because of the lack labeling on the front panel, but after an hour with it it became really intuitive.

I also have a diy modular too made out of cgs, mfos and fonik circuits. The shruthi's a great compliment to that, and the fact thats its on my desktop means i reach for it as much as the modular.

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Post by Randy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:52 am

In the case of the Shruthi, it is possible to build a knob-laden interface for it. I have 5 Shruthis and two are XT versions with knobs, one of which I built myself. and I'm in the process of building another. Since you can control a standard version with a knob version, you can end up with some quite powerful boxes relatively inexpensively.

I have the first Preen, not sure if I can justify a second version. The sound is unusual, which is a good thing, but more controls would be nice. of course, for FM, the knob interface could end up being as difficult to use as the minimal version.

If someone comes up with a knob-laden panel for the new Preen, I will certainly get one.

Randy

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Post by Jaytee » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:00 am

jonbstevens wrote:I dont agree at all about the shruthi. Not onyl does it sound great but i think the UI is really easy. I was aprehensive at first because of the lack labeling on the front panel, but after an hour with it it became really intuitive.

I also have a diy modular too made out of cgs, mfos and fonik circuits. The shruthi's a great compliment to that, and the fact thats its on my desktop means i reach for it as much as the modular.
I kind of agree with regards to the SammichSID. There's a helluva lot of synth trapped in there, so yeah, there's gotta be some menu-diving, but given a bit of time with the manual and the unit sitting in front of you, it all makes sense.

I may yet still try to come up with a decent programming interface on the ipad, but that is gonna be some serious work.

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Post by mxmxmx » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:39 am

i've just had a look at the preenFM2 schematic, and looks as if 4 ADC and 4 digital pins are brought out on the pcb. so adding a few knobs/CV inputs and triggers at least wouldn't mean messing around too much. not sure where one might actually take this, though. i guess assign the CV channels to some parameter via the menu? [edit: a quick look a the code tells me the preenfm2 is implemented as an usb OTG device, so there should be plenty of options.]

on a different note, i'd thought the whole "gathering dust" story was simply referring to the relative lack of high(er) quality digital audio DIY modular projects; ie compared to other "formats".

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fate
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Post by fate » Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:07 am

Anyone have a mouser bom cart for the pfm2?

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Post by newgreyarea » Fri Apr 11, 2014 7:40 pm

Just stumbled upon this thing. I've been thinking about grabbing an old FM synth but this thing looks cool. I'd love to hear some decent demos or tracks if you guys have them laying around. Links to Soundcloud or whatever.

-b

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Post by ashleym » Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:42 pm

vurma wrote:Same here.. One of the main reasons i have beens staying away form the schruti is the extensive use of LCD menus. Its 2013 and we shouldnt have to navigate menus with knobs when we have invested houndres of dewllars in gear that should be able to do that for us.

The DX7 import is attractive! With some CV input this project would be in my rack asap.
Isn't there also a problem with the number of pins you can actually attach controls to? If you have a lot and have to scan them then the processor has a lot to do each cycle and this uses up time when you want the code and processing to be lean. (Sorry if I am using some wrong terms, its been years since I did any of this in anger)

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mxmxmx
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Post by mxmxmx » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:49 am

file under: things i'm unlikely to finish.

[video][/video]

anyways, so far so good. now comes the tricky part.

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Post by pld » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:45 pm

That's awesome -- I started DIY with a preenfm2 kit and there's some of my code in the firmware, but then I got distracted by modular :)

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Post by sammy123 » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:52 pm

Nice Max. I'd be into that.

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Post by mxmxmx » Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:15 am

pld wrote:That's awesome -- I started DIY with a preenfm2 kit and there's some of my code in the firmware, ...
seen that ...

not quite sure though yet how awesome this is -- adapting the firmware is still a long way off. mostly the display stuff is going to be a nightmare, it looks like.

also this board still has some issues, so i'll have to redo a few things (i've used two mcp4822 DACs in this case but a codec would be better, i suppose, or at least cheaper) and probably ditch the cerb40, too (edit. removed misinformation. will probably ditch the cerb40 anyways).

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Post by pld » Wed Jun 17, 2015 9:05 am

There's a f4discovery port that uses a codec so that should work.
The UI is pretty tailored to the hardware, but IIRC it might boil down to replacing clear/setcursor/print from LiquidCrystal.cpp (?). I take it you're targeting the same SPI oled as your other boards?

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Post by SoundPool » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:31 am

I haven't heard anything from this stand alone that has made me want to build one, but I can see it suddenly becoming quite useful if I had it in a euro module for more convenient interfacing with other parts of my system. If you develop it further I would be interested.

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Post by mxmxmx » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:35 pm

pld wrote:There's a f4discovery port that uses a codec so that should work.
yeah, i've only discovered that after i had sent off the board to the fab; but then i had a few mcp4822 to use up ... but that's good.

The UI is pretty tailored to the hardware, but IIRC it might boil down to replacing clear/setcursor/print from LiquidCrystal.cpp (?). I take it you're targeting the same SPI oled as your other boards?
that was what i was hoping, let's see. anyways, yes, for now, that's the same 128x64 SPI display -- identical panel layout actually, only a little wider than the other boards.

i've already almost compiled it into preenfm2 firmware and it's basically working ... except for some funny glitches:

Image

i have ordered some TFT ILI9341 ones too to try out, which are a bit larger, but not so large (ie not so large as the one on the preenFM2 box.)

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Post by windspirit » Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:02 am

Looking good mxmxmx. How do you have the time to just whip out all of these projects?

Thinking of building one of these but I'd rather buy a full kit than hunt down the parts, it will make it more likely for me to actually finish it.

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