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FDD choir (or What to do with FDDs of the 2000's)

per

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Jan 21, 2008
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This is just a little pet-project of mine.



Last year I built the first cluster, but 10 drives* was not enough to cover the tones of an average song. Now I've upgraded with a second cluster, and now you can finally start to get a grasp on what's playing!

(* several drives are used for higher-pitched tones to compensate for lower audible output power)
 

GiGaBiTe

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You wouldn't need so many drives if you removed the metal covers and placed them side by side.

I've seen great results using just 8 drives in two rows of four, the sound output was plenty loud.
 

per

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You wouldn't need so many drives if you removed the metal covers and placed them side by side.

I've seen great results using just 8 drives in two rows of four, the sound output was plenty loud.
That varies greatly from model to model, even down to what motor is used for samples of the same model. The majority of drives I came about were very quiet, even with cover off. It also varies a lot just over the pitch range, which has to be compensated for by using more drives in the upper range.

Most examples on the net do a lot of stuff in post production, like using a proper recording made with close-up microphones for example, or eventually equalization/compression/etc... This one is, in comparison, intended to be played live or with regular midi-files as a showpiece in front of an audience.

Go to youtube and look up the floppotron.
I know, where do you think the inspiration came from ;D He uses a 8:1 drive to tone arrangement though, while the one I have made can do 1:1.
 

per

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Next part is to tune it. Got the algorithm down, so now I only have to have each cluster-controller generate the tuning frequency.

For technical details: every drive has its own Attiny85 serving as a tone generator, and each cluster of 10 drives has a controller (Atmega8 series) which takes in MIDI over UART and routes the tones to the individual tone generators. Several clusters can be daisy-chained together.
 
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