How to make a ‘Synth in a Book’ with MeeBlip synthesizer kit

If you wish to get a synthesizer for yourself, then why not make one for you rather than searching the market frantically? MeeBlip gives the opportunity to have such a Synth in a Book concept which is an affordable digital synthesizer with its improved sound quality and hands on control operations. This unique synthesizer is playable both with MIDI hardware and software and gives the user the freedom to open and modify the sound setup as per requirement. This MeeBlip hackable synthesizer is the perfect specimen of homemade digital synthesizer with astounding functions and unparalleled performance. Make one for yourself too.

Synth in a Book with MeeBlip synthesizer

Difficulty Level:

Moderate (Requires basic knowledge)

Resources required

1. A circuit board and all its components

2. A plastic case

3. Open source virtual analog (so digital, but analog-sounding) monophonic synthesizer

4. Knobs and switches

5. An old book

6. A wall adapter with 9V power

Estimated Cost

The cost of the project can be in a range between US$39.95 to US$139.95. The synthesizer that comes with a micro Kit but without any case, switches of knobs is priced lower while the one with an accessible SE Quick Build Kit is priced higher.

Instructions

1. Concentrate on the switches of the synthesizer first

Right at the beginning of your project, you must have already realized that the knobs are the most attractive parts of your musical instrument. Therefore, get hold of the expensive toggle switches that you have arranged for your synthesizer. Now, prepare the base for inserting these toggle switches. Thus, replace all the switches of the MeeBlip board that it already had.

2. Create the insert slots of the toggle switches and set the board

With a rod like instrument, create circular holes all around the front panel of your synthesizer. From among these holes, some will accommodate your toggle switches. Thus, ensure that toggle switches are of similar height so that they lie in equal level when they are inserted inside the circular slots created by you. In order to ensure that your device is durable and functional, put six supporting bars in the space between the front column and the MeeBlip board. Now, insert screws on the topside of the panel and glue the page of the book over it so that it sets uniformly without any crease.

3. Allow the device to receive signals

When the exoskeleton of your musical instrument is made, allow it to be functionally effective too. Thus, connect a multi-touch controller application to a computer or an iPod and direct it to send MIDI signals from Ableton Live Installation software to the newly handcrafted Synth in a Book. As for general information, you can get hold of Konkeet Lab’s Performer as your multi-touch controller application.

4. Activate the MeeBlip

Now you must activate the MeeBlip, which is the virtual analog monophonic device of your DIY digital synthesizer. It is set at the core of your synthesizer. Connect the already provided eight knobs on the board together with the sixteen slider switches. Further install the MIDI hardware or the software on the MeeBlip along with other gears that you prefer. But you must always be careful about the available space in your board before installing any additional gears.

5. Your synth is ready

This is the stage when your digital synthesizer will be finally ready. Pitch the MeeBlip as per your choice and set the device to work. The availability of the option of soldering makes the synthesizer even more customizable for the hack loving users.

Frequently asked questions

Is it necessary to connect new sets of pots and switches?

Not at all. The MIDI controller does it all for you with its sequencing tool. Still if you feel that you need to have a knob for filter cut off functions, you can always go ahead for one which is bigger than the MIDI.

Can I increase the number of inputs to sixteen instead of eight, as stared in the instruction?

You can use sixteen inputs instead of eight but that will only make your board too clumsy. The MeeBlip uses features inputs that use space of 4 x 4 switch matrix with 16 diodes. There is hardly any space left in the board after this.

Can I get hold of any instruction manual for the work?

Definitely yes. The MIDI documentation is probably available by now that contains a detailed tutorial on the whole project along with the reviews and comments of other users who have already worked on the project.

Quick tips

1. Although it is very easy to construct the MeeBlip but the face of the front panel that is the page of the book, is difficult to cast. So, get hold on really strong and good quality gum.

2. The great advantage of MeeBlip is that it can be reprogrammed. Thus, you can experience radically different sound output with every reprogramming.

3. The MeeBlip assembling kit is also available as Quick Build Kit. Hence, you can always get hold of that if you find the process of assembling confusing and complex for you.

4. Those who are interested in making the Syth in the Book even more customizable must use MeeBlip as the base of their project and get hold of the kit that allows some soldering as per your specification.

Things to watch out for

1. Make your plan before you arrange for the board of your synthesizer. If you think that you will install your own board available with you using the pots and switches that are already supplied with the MeeBlip, then you must abandon the thought of mounting USB, MIDI and audio connectors on the same board as you will inevitable run out of available space. In case you wish to install the extended functions get hold of a bigger board.

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