Turn A Cassette Tape Player Into A Musical Instrument #MusicMonday

Zach Scholl has turned a cassette  player into a MIDI-controlled synthesizer. With some code and an Adruino, Zack’s cassette synthesizer works by modulating playback speed to pitch a pre-recorded tone. The result is a very analog sound similar to the Mellotron. Here’s more from Zack:

The neat thing about this synthesizer is that it has a very “analog” quality to the changing of notes – the pitch often slides between notes in a neat way (i.e. lots of portamento). It also is versatile because you can record any sound to the tape and use that as your synthesizer.

To make one of these things is actually really easy. I found a great video from Analog Industries showing exactly how to hack a cassette player to add voltage control to the cassette player. I followed that and then wrote a simple MIDI controller in the browser to modulate the voltage to specific notes.

See and hear more!

Zach Scholl

 


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