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MintySynth | MintySynth


MintySynth is an Arduino-compatible synthesizer/sequencer/audio experiment kit that fits neatly in an Altoids® tin. It is intended to be an educational tool as well as a fun toy, and is a great way to learn about electronics, programming, and music. It’s open source and hackable! Soldering is required, but assembly is straightforward and generally takes one to two hours. You supply the Altoids® tin. You can either assemble the kit and use it with the preloaded synth software, or you can program it yourself as you would an Arduino.

MintySynth 2.0 is a major revision and has a simplified power supply and many other improvements:

10X longer battery life (150 hours!)
Lower cost
Fewer parts and faster/easier assembly
Additional of a photocell (light sensor)
The device can now be powered by an FTDI cable when the switch is in the "Off" position.
Many software improvements, including improved LED functionality, additional waveforms, the ability to improvise using the light sensor, and a "Laser Tripwire" mode, which triggers music/sound effects when a beam of light is blocked (Why? Because we can!).

MintySynth is designed around the Atmega328P microcontroller, the same one that’s used in the Arduino Uno. To reduce cost and power consumption there is no onboard USB, so if you want to program it yourself you’ll need an FTDI cable, available at Sparkfun or Adafruit. The device has auto-reset so you easily upload sketches just like you would to an Arduino Uno/Genuino. It has five thumbwheels, five buttons, two LEDs, an 1/8" audio line out, and runs on two AAA batteries.

MintySynth was designed to be compatible with a variety of Arduino sketches and libraries, and a jumper is used to select audio output on digital pin 3, 6, or 9, so you can use either of the 3 available timers.

While the user is encouraged to experiment with your own sketches, the preloaded MintySynth software can provide many hours of fun with no need for programming or a music background. It’s a 4-voice polyphonic 16-step wavetable sequencer (8 bit, 20 Khz). The beauty of this type of synthesis is that have great control over the sounds that you produce, and you can imitate many types of instruments or "craft" your own. You can set the voice for four different instruments and program 16-note loops (“songs”) using all four instruments. There’s control of tempo and “swing”, and you can select any key and choose from several different scales (modes). Once you’ve created a song you can enter “Live Mode”, where you can change the pitch and voice of one of the instruments in real time so you can “jam” along with the other three instruments. You can save up to four 16-note songs and then reload them individually or loop them consecutively, creating songs of up to 64 notes.
Engine TypeDigital
Voices (max)4
Engine Detailed1 WT, Pulse, Saw Up, Sine, Square, White Noise
Envelope (VCA)1 ADSR
Sequencer4 Voice poly 16 step
Key typeN/A
Extra infoDIY
Legend: Obvious Y: Yes, N: No, N/A: Not Applicable
VCO Voltage Controlled Oscillator DCO Digital Controlled Oscillator
LFO Low Frequency Oscillator Sub Sub Oscillator
VCF Voltage Controlled Filter VCA Voltage Controlled Amplifier
Velocity As with a piano, the harder you hit a key, the louder the sound, unlike most organs which always produce the same loudness no matter how hard you hit a key. Aftertouch Pressing a key after you activated it. Channel Aftertouch, no matter which key, it will send a Channel message. Poly Aftertouch, sends the pressure per key instead of the whole channel.
Values for OSC, LFO, Filter, Envelope are per voice unless stated otherwise.


If you like to discuss or talk about synths in all forms (including VST and modular), you are welcome to join the Facebook group "The Hard, The Soft and The Modular".

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