Now available for immediate shipping, the MeeBlip micro fits the brains of the MeeBlip into a smaller, project-ready space – all for just US$39.95.
The MeeBlip micro kit requires assembly: you get a full board and all the parts you need, but you’ll have to solder them in place. Once you do, you get all of the features of the MeeBlip without the knobs and switches. That includes the 9V power connection (for a wall adapter or battery), MIDI input jack (for connecting keyboards and the like), 16-bit, hackable sound engine, and audio output. And you get all the goodness of the MeeBlip, with two-oscillator, virtual analog direct digital synthesis, LFO, 4-pole digital filter, and more.
Size: 4.5″ x 2.5″ (115mm x 64mm)
And like the MeeBlip, it’s all fully open source, and you can easily modify the firmware to suit your needs. (An inexpensive programmer is required; see our instructions. And watch for some tutorials on firmware soon.)
In place of the knobs and switches, you’ll find 8 analog inputs and 8 digital inputs. There’s no enclosure, but this would also be a good project on which to build your first enclosure, because it’s simple.
Who it’s for:
You’ll want a MeeBlip micro if you want:
A compact sound module to connect to a keyboard or other MIDI input. Built the micro, add an enclosure, and you’ve got a small, lightweight synth with MIDI input. If you’ve got a keyboard with 16 knobs on it, for instance, you can simply use those controls to play the MeeBlip micro in place of the usual front panel switches and pots. We know some of you want to do this, because you’ve told us!
A custom synth with your own control layout. Don’t like having the switches and knobs in rows? Want them in a big circle, for instance? MeeBlippers have already made some pretty amazing case designs, but with the full-sized MeeBlip board, you’re confined to our layout. With the micro, you can choose your own: you just connect the pots to the analog ins and the switches to the digital ins.
A great synth for a DIY project or installation. You don’t have to stop with knobs and switches. You could add IR distance sensors or knit an entire front panel out of conductive thread, for instance. Like the Arduino, the MeeBlip is at its heart a little computer with open-ended inputs; whereas the Arduino is a general-purpose board, the MeeBlip is uniquely suited to projects that want to add sound. You could even put a MeeBlip into an art installation or digitally-augmented dress. We’ll be looking at some of those possibilities over the coming months; your ideas and questions are welcome.
Why you might want the full-sized MeeBlip instead: The coming MeeBlip SE has a rugged, custom plastic case, and knobs and switches – plus preset storage buttons – make for a more tactile playing experience. The SE is also much easier to get started using; it requires only that you add some screws to a case. The micro assumes some experience with soldering. Manufacturing defects prompted us to restart the manufacture of the SE. We’ll have an update on that – and what we’re doing to make manufacturing and shipping more prompt in 2012 – very soon. (The handful of people who did buy that model have been offered a refund.)
So, I’m going to need to connect a bunch of pots and switches, right? Nope, not necessarily. You can control everything via MIDI. So if you just want one giant knob for filter cutoff, you could only connect that. You could control everything via MIDI from a sequencing tool (Ableton, a tracker, vintage sequencer hardware), or just use a keyboard that has knobs on it. (If it lacks switches, you can simply send values from knobs.)
Why only eight switch inputs, not sixteen? Simple: To allow input from its sixteen switches, the full-sized MeeBlip uses eight inputs as a 4×4 switch matrix with 16 diodes. Those 16 diodes would crowd the board, so we stick with eight inputs to eliminate the need for diodes. Because you modify switch function in firmware and duplicate the function of those additional eight switches with MIDI, it’s not a big problem.
Hey, where’s the documentation to work out how to …? We’ll have MIDI documentation very soon, to be followed by more narrative tutorials – based on feedback we get from users – over coming weeks.
How to get it:
You can buy the micro directly from our store, for US$39.95 plus shipping.
We’re shipping these now from our operations in Calgary, Canada. They’re sitting in stock – lots of them. That means they’ll ship within 48 hours.