Olivier has delivered and here are the details:

Shruti-1 is small, cheap (around $100 in parts), can be easily assembled even by a beginner (uses only through-hole components), software hacker friendly (GPL firmware written in clean, readable C++ can be compiled using the avr-gcc toolchain distributed with the arduino),hardware hacker friendly (some CV ins are available to plug your own controllers, cc-by-sa schematics, PCB autoroutable by the free version of Eagle if you really want to mess up with the board…).

However, it doesn’t play in the same league as the army of cheap chip-sound/circuit bending/lo-fi noise-makers available: it has a complete synthesis model:

  • 2 oscillators + sub-osc with diverse waveforms/algorithms – most waveforms being reasonably aliasing-free
  • 2 tempo/MIDI-syncable LFOs,
  • 2 envelopes,
  • 14 modulation routes,
  • Step sequencer and arpeggiator),
  • Speak’n’spell-style vowel synthesis,
  • Wavetable sweep,
  • Support for some arabic and indian scales),
  • A thorough MIDI implementation,
  • Patch memory,
  • A simple user interface (6 knobs, 5 switches, LCD display),
  • Tons of sound parameters to tweak.

While the design is minimalistic and based on lo-tech components (8-bits AVR microcontroller, analog signal processing chip), it isn’t typically lo-fi or 8 bits or bleepy – but has a sound more characteristic of early digital/analog hybrid synths. I’ve put in this project the same dedication as in Bhajis Loops and tried to adhere to the same values – simple, feature-rich, true. This is not an “in-your-face” thing. Given that I write, for a living, software that runs on large clusters of computers and routinely process terabytes of data, I thought that the limitations of something small, low-tech, but extremely functional would be stimulating.

Now all we have to do is wait for the kits to become available!

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  1. Nothing “delivered” at the moment. A proto successfully built, electrical design and firmware finalized, but still a couple of things can go wrong.

    Hopefully there won't be any flaw in the main PCB I'll receive in a couple of days… and there won't be any bad surprise when trying to fit the fully assembled boards in a small case.

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