[sdiy] Chameleon

Jay Vaughan jv at access-music.de
Thu Aug 8 12:00:51 CEST 2002


1. You have a PC.
2. You make music.
3. You're used to buying stuff for around $600.
4. You're interested in programming/hacking your own music device.

(A lot of music-bar members fit all 4 points, I know)


Buy a Chameleon.  Right now.  I mean it.

Timo and I spent the evening last night hacking away at it, and it 
really is a very well made product.  The various API's are easy to 
get your head around, and there's a *LOT* of instrument functionality 
that you can do - real, honest-to-goodness instrument functionality - 
that *DOESN'T* require DSP knowledge.

All of the control stuff, for example, can be written in plain C or 
C++.  This means that you can fully program how you want things to be 
controlled - not just the generation side of things (that's all DSP), 
but control.

Fire up the monosynth DSP program as your simple tone generator, for 
example, but control it using monster code you wrote on the host 
processor side of things, and I'm pretty sure you can come up with 
some seriously interesting new synth designs - or at least, synthesis 
control designs.  The monosynth design allows for all kinds of wacky 
control and routing flexibility.

Want to do your own hardware step sequencer?  Well, the MidiShare API 
makes it *easy* to do ... and since you can drive the monosynth with 

In short, do not let the DSP nature of Chameleon frighten you off. 
You can do a lot on the Chameleon, and I mean a lot, without needing 
to focus on DSP.

And the included monosynth sample is not terribly difficult to 
understand - actually, its good.  We added a BitReducer module to it 
fairly easily last night, for example, and it'd be really easy to 
work on new filters for it, new OSC designs, etc.  It sounds pretty 
basic, and it is - but you've got all the code, and it's not 
difficult to make changes to it.

And also, the way things are designed on the Chameleon, its not so 
hard for ... say ... a budding DSP hacker to put together some DSP 
code that he then lets someone *else* do all the control (MIDI 
implementation, sysex, front panel interface, etc) for ... I could 
see this being the case within 3 to 6 months from here.

Honestly folks, I wouldn't be saying this if I didn't think this is a 
worthwhile product to get behind - after all, check my .sig.  I don't 
work for SoundArt.

Not to mention that the new Australis synth is pretty damned nice. 
If there are 2 other synths like this released for the Chameleon 
soon, then it will have been a success...


Jay Vaughan
jv at access-music.de
Access Music Electronics
     |>> music technology:synthesizers    http://www.access-music.de/

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