Synth Cube Update

Work continues on the K-DSC-1 synth cube. I’ve settled on a microcontroller. This cube’s going to run an ARM processor, which is going to provide lots of processor overhead for a sweet well-featured sequencer. We’re planning some cool features. There will be a USB port, a standard MIDI jack, and the K-Connect jack for hooking cubes together. What’s really going to make this awesome though will be the interface. We’ve put some good thought into the button operation, but the killer will be the accelerometer tilt action. I’m really excited about how it’s going to turn out.

I’ve been learning quite a bit about working with ARM processors and open source tools for developing with them. Stay tuned for some technical posts about what I’ve found.

Posted in K-DSC-1, Uncategorized.


  1. Congratulations 🙂 Which ARM chip did you decide on? I’ve started working with the STM32 chips lately. Instead of open source tools (what did you find that works with ARM?) I went with the MikroElektronika stuff.

    • STM32 it is. It doesn’t seem like you can beat them for sheer variety of packages, memory sizes, and cost. I was talking with the local ST rep the other day and figured they must save a bunch of money not developing in house compilers and IDEs. I looked at MikroElektronika and was scared away by the proprietary libraries. I ended up with Eclipse/G++. Getting it working was a borderline nightmare though. I was crying for Atmel Studio during the process, but AVR micros are substantially more expensive than STs.

      • I wasn’t aware that there was a version of gcc that worked with the STM chips. Keil was the one some folks recommended, but what scared me there was the “call for quote” on anything but the most basic limited version. (turns out it’s a 4 digit price, which I assumed anyway). What I don’t like about MikroE is they don’t do C++. What I don’t like about Eclipse is after numerous security holes, I’ve purged Java from my systems forever 🙂

        I do like AVR Studio. I may be biased, but you can’t be Visual Studio (which is what AVR Studio builds on).

        • There’s the G++ ARM version of GCC that works with STM32 or any ARM processor. Keil costs many thousands of dollars. From what I hear, it’s a fantastic product, supported by a highly skilled army of engineers. The MikroE secret libraries scared me off. Most of what I’ve done has been is standard C, but I’m trying to push myself to do more C++. I remember you saying that you were ditching Java. It’s not the best, but I run Eclipse in VMWare Fusion on my Mac and that Windows has no access to the outside world, so I’m not too worried about security in that environment.

  2. Really looking forward to this! How easy would it be to operate a cube? Any idea about the price range it’s gonna end up in?

    • We think it’s going to be able to be a one-handed affair, index finger clicking on buttons followed by tilting. It will be in the $100-$200 range in retail. This is going to be a real deal product with a real case and everthing. No more acrylic.

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