MMXX T-APE is a "granular bytebeat" pocket synthesizer with 10 capacitive keys, two encoders, two light sensors and a headphones output.Designed by mayojaster in Ireland
What is it? This instrument's sound engine works like a granular sampler, however instead of manipulating bits and pieces from a sampled sound, it uses mathematically generated "bytebeat". A very int…Read More…
This instrument's sound engine works like a granular sampler, however instead of manipulating bits and pieces from a sampled sound, it uses mathematically generated "bytebeat". A very interesting thing on its own, a kind of fractal where complex structures emerge from a very simple formula. T-ape allows you to hear it, browse, zoom, cut and mangle its most interesting pieces and arrange them into sequences, arpeggios or just play directly using eight touch-sensitive keys. There are two light sensors too, adding a kind of Theremin-like functionality.
To avoid any confusion, as the word "granular" usually evokes "sampler": there is no microphone or line input. The base for these sounds is bytebeat, a sonic fractal, which can generate really wide spectrum of sounds. Some of them may sound similar to fm, wavetable or sample based synthesis - with short enough grains the difference fades, it all becomes almost the same thing. Here the pitch is lifted by merely shortening the grain, not by manipulating the waveform by a pitch-shifting algorithm.
This results in metallic sounding timbres and often ends up sounding quite melodic in faster running arpeggios or sequences. On the other end of the sonic spectrum there is an infinity of droning or, rather harsh sounding noises. By manipulating bit-rate of calculation you can explore the bytebeat at different resolution and reveal new patterns hidden inside.
There are 2 more sound engines implemented in the T-APE, they run on so called higher layers, as this allows to overlay more sounds together. One of them is based on wavetable synthesis with sine, square, triangle and noise waves (good for percussive sounds), the other sound engine can replay samples stored in Flash memory and slice them in a similar manner to how the bytebeat is manipulated. Your T-APE comes preloaded with 500kB of animal sounds, while 2MB space is available in total. For uploading custom samples you will need micro USB cable and a python script (available as a part of ESP-IDF toolchain).
I find the bytebeat fascinating, complex patterns emerging from very simple formulas. There are many great little synths that already use it (Glitch Storm is my favourite), but I wanted to make something with more direct control, playable and programmable.
People love the retro look and say that it is much fun to play with!
Demos and reviews: http://phonicbloom.com/tape/#demos
For more information, please visit the website: http://phonicbloom.com/tape/
POWERING: the T-APE runs on USB power (cable not included, but you only need a standard micro USB). There is a Li-Po connector inside, so you can install a 3.7V cell as mentioned here: http://phonicbloom.com/tape/manual/#precautions. The power switch only works if battery is installed, it does not disconnect USB power.
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