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c:\paul_slocum\qotile.net

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MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

sir sampleton (iOS)

cynthcart (C64)

synthcart (atari 2600)

seq. kit (atari 2600)

loopcart (atari 2600)

dot matrix synth

looper (win)

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pi house generator

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> tree wave

> softoft techech ep

older music

MORE ATARI 2600

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game music hacks

homestar rpg (RIP)

> Atari 2600
programming guide


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The original intent for the printer was just to create a mellotron-like instrument using cassette tape wrapped around the printer's paper roller. I had just planned to wire a switch to the Line Feed button to keep it rolling. But when I removed the print head, the printer detected a malfunction on boot up and wouldn't run anymore. That's when I started hacking the software on the printer's EPROM.

The first iteration of the printer synth included two ways to generate sound: It could play simple sequenced patterns by firing the print head, and also had the tape/walkman mellotron.

The printer mellotron runs off cassette tape. I recorded different notes from a synthesizer onto cassette tape on all four tracks (by recording the tones on both sides of the tape.) Afterwards, I pulled the tape out of the cassette and glued it to the paper roller on the printer, then wrote code for the printer to turn the paper roller at a constant speed.

To "read" the tape on the roller, I use a modified walkman. I removed the play head from the walkman and remounted it on the outside, so pressing the head against the tape on the roller allows you to hear the tones. Placing the head against different pieces of tape allows you to selectively play different notes. This setup introduces a lot of random variance that affects the pitch, tone, and stereo image of the playback, making the sound very complex and interesting.













This is a sample using both the print head and the tape/walkman setup.This was recorded live with the printer head playing a sequence I wrote and me playing the walkman/tape setup. The printer head was recorded with a microphone and the walkman was plugged into the mixer directly (in stereo.) I put a light reverb on it, but if you want to hear a dry version listen here.

dotmatrix_rev.mp3 (800K)

This is a sample of just the tape based part of the instrument recorded directly from the walkman.

dotmatrix.mp3 (800K)

This is a sample of the first sequence I got playing on the printer head. The sample is recorded from a microphone placed near the print head. The audio clip makes it seem that the print head is rather quiet, but it's actually pretty loud.

matrixhead.mp3 (800K)


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