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Chiptune Tech: Ep.6 – DMG-01 and Chiptune Music

Category : Blogs, Chiptune Tech, Mods · Comments · by Aug 5th, 2017

How’s it going everyone? In episode 6 of Chiptune Tech, Anthony talks about the pros and cons of the DMG-01 for making chiptune music. He will talk about the sound, ease of modifying, and the CPU limitations. Welcome to a new episode of Chiptune Tech!

Links
NeX’s Megatron DMG-01: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6y3_B2kH7dY
Installing a Gameboy Pocket Screen in a DMG-01: http://chipmusic.org/forums/topic/14000/solved-pocket-lcd-in-dmg/
Lithium Ion Battery
Kitsch-Bent: http://store.kitsch-bent.com
Nonfinite Electronics: http://nonelectronics.com
Retro Modding: https://www.retromodding.com
CM.o Forum: http://chipmusic.org
Contact us: mikee@ohmnohmnohm.com

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Chiptune Tech: Ep.5 – Getting Started in LSDj

Category : Blogs, Chiptune Tech · Comments · by Feb 8th, 2017

How’s it going everyone. Sorry for the long delay. We are proud to present episode 5 of Chiptune Tech. In this episode, Anthony talks about how to get started with LSDj. How to get the ROM and effective ways of dipping your toes in the water without breaking the bank. Bonus: For anyone attending Square Sounds Festival 2017 in Melbourne on March 3-4, come out and say hi! Anthony will be attending and is down to hang out.

Links: Ohm Nohm Nohm website: http://www.ohmnohmnohm.com
Little Sound Dj: http://www.littlesounddj.com/lsd/
BGB Emulator: http://bgb.bircd.org
Diedrik’s FAQ on BGB: http://chipmusic.org/forums/topic/12730/bgb-gameboy-emulator-faq-thread/
Kitsch Bent: http://store.kitsch-bent.com
Nonfinite: http://nonelectronics.com
BennVenn: https://bennvenn.myshopify.com
Raphnet Adapters: http://raphnet.com

Contact us: mikee@ohmnohmnohm.com

Please leave us a comment on this video. Like this video if you enjoyed it, hit dislike if you did not. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified when new episodes are uploaded!

Biography – Anthony Hom

Category : Blogs, Mods · Comments · by Feb 25th, 2016

I wanted to add this as an post as we’re hoping to be working with Anthony in the future. He’s been modding since 2011 and has already made some excellent contributions to the chiptune and modding scene.

My name is Anthony Hom and I am U.S. chiptune modder from Southern California. I first got into the chiptune scene after watching the documentary “Reformat the Planet” in early 2011.  After being blown away by the work of 2 Player Productions, I dug through my old shipping boxes from Japan for his old soldering iron, ordered a DMG from eStarland.com, an 1/8” prosound kit from Nonfinite Electronics and never looked back.

 

I had to open and re-mod my first DMG six times in order to get my first prosound mod to work properly. The Gameboy shell didn’t even close properly. I showed all my friends at school and I didn’t even know how to use LSDj.

 

I remember back when you could still browse forums at 8BC and order Bleep Bloop carts with flashing LEDs in the cartridge case from Nonfinite. Backlight kits with 2 LEDs were still available for anyone to purchase. At that time the commercially available backlight kits weren’t the “slim-type” which all backlight kits are now. You had to snip off tiny component legs sticking out of the PCB from behind the Gameboy LCD to keep them from making pressure points on the screen when you closed everything up. Backlights were much thicker, didn’t run any built-in resistors that were optimized for different colors, and had metal legs sticking out of them from the LEDs. The backlights weren’t evenly lit, you had pressure points in the corners and it was really hard for perfectionist modders to deal with.

 

Back in 2011 Thetris and Capcomposer were still painting console cases, TVDeathSquad was still active on the forums, NeX was still modding Gameboys. NeX is my biggest inspiration as a modder. He’s a really humble guy and his work just blew my mind. I poured over his blog, photos and build posts just drooling at everything he was able to shove into a DMG, GBP, GBC and GBA SP. It was insane.

 

For a few months my only exposure to the chiptune scene was strictly via online forums. I posted on 8BC, a once active forum where chiptune musicians and enthusiasts worldwide would log into, and asked if there were any chiptune artists in San Diego. Jesse Escobar (Auburn Kitsune) informed me that Mike Charak (Bleeds) and Patrick Trinh (Space Town) were based in San Diego. Soon after finding them on social media, Mike contacted and invited me to a local artists show at the Che Café at University of California San Diego.

 

That night I met a group of people who would turn out to be some of my best friends and friends for life. Mike and Patrick played chiptune sets and I was floored listening to sounds that were coming from Gameboys and being spit out through PA speakers. If you ask them about that show, I’m pretty sure they’ll tell you that it wasn’t the highlight performance of their lives, but I was entranced and blown away. You always remember your first chiptune show and how exciting it was listening to something so different and so familiar.

 

I remember back in the day there were very few and obscure resources online when it came to modding Gameboys and accessories. A webpage that I frequented for reference was http://blog.xero.nu/gameboy_prosound_mod for prosounding a DMG.  Michael J. Moffit’s (Bibin), NeX’s, and Low-Gain’s blogs were also resources I used for information on how to mod different types of Gameboys. Those were some of the only resources we had, and a lot of the tutorials weren’t fleshed out or explained completely. There was a lot of time for innovation back then. I wish I took a few pictures of some of my prototype accessories. I had made an external prosound attachment with link capabilities housed inside a Gameboy Advance Wireless Adapter. I was also making an ultimate DMG inspired by NeX that housed a Mega Memory Card coupled with an N64 Transfer Pack connector inside a DMG.

 

I had started a youtube page a number of years ago with the purpose of showing how I do my mods and educating others. It has since not been updated since I have moved overseas. The link is www.youtube.com/willworkforric3.

 

            When I started modding, I wanted it to be a side gig where I could earn a little extra money. One December I made US$1400 in sales from buying/modding/selling Gameboys on eBay. After being in chiptune scene and meeting the people, I changed how I looked at modding. I started modding for cost of parts and I didn’t charge for labor. I felt that if I really wanted to contribute to the scene positively and if I really believed in what chiptune stood for, I needed to get these Gameboys into the hands of up and coming chiptune artists. I started taking commissions from 8BC and CM.o and I only charged for parts and shipping.

 

I went through 3 different revisions of what wires to use and 4 different revisions of what audio jacks to use. The chiptune scene is full of people who use Gameboys to make music. I saw sellers on eBay trying to sell backlit and 1/8” prosound DMGs for US$140+. It was ridiculous and I felt that these people were trying to make a buck off of decent people. I fought back with giving high quality mods and equipment back to the scene at cost. I have modded Gameboys for Bleeds, Space Town (Savior), Wizwars, Dasid, Computeher, Jiffypop23, chiptuners in South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I felt that during the time that I was very active modding for the scene, that I did contribute positively to it.

 

My Chiptune Modder Senpais include NeX, Bibin, Trash80, Xero, Low-Gain and Simon Schäfer. Thank you for paving the way and inspiring me with your innovations to chiptune and encouraging me for my own modding journey. Please notice me.

 

I currently work as an English teacher in Taiwan. There really isn’t much of a retro gaming scene here for a number of reasons, but I will get to that in a future article. Trying to find a good condition Gameboy at a local 2nd hand store here is as hard as trying to find a Gameboy Micro at a Goodwill back in the USA. Due to the lack of access to Gameboys and a non-existent chiptune scene here in Taiwan, I have since stopped modding actively. I do mod Gameboys from time to time for friends who are local to me, but it has all but come to a grinding halt. I am currently focusing on composing LSDj tracks, going under the name of Bananasan, and contributing to Mikee’s and Max’s project. I have a number of tech articles I am planning on writing for this site. Stay tuned.

 

You can find me on CM.o under the screen name katsumbhong, and I have made Gameboy related posts around the internet as soondubu, bananasan, willworkforice or willworkforic3.

You can find this Biography in our Wiki here.

LSDJ Pitch Control – Interview with gwEm

Category : Blogs, Music · Comments · by Jun 10th, 2015

I was cruising Facebook the other day and stumbled across 2xAA’s video of a pitch control that stepped neatly instead of speeding or slowing an ungodly amount. Mind blown! Asking 2xAA about it, gwEm was the creator and it had existed a long time. Naturally, I wanted to know more about, because presumably you all want to know more about it. So I asked him. With my brain words.

MT: Hallo! Thanks for agreeing to do an interview.

g: Hi Mike! No problem, I thought it would be fun.

First off. I was pretty stoked to see this in action. People have been talking about such a thing for a long time. Then to hear you have built it back in 2003 blew my mind a bit! How did you come to the conclusion to build one and what was the catalyst? Who was involved?

When I first got started with electronic music it was as a drum’n’bass DJ using 12″ vinyls. I wanted a way of mixing in my own 8bit effects into the set, the Gameboy was a nice a portable platform.

Previously I’d designed a similar device for MIDI and Roland Sync24. I’d also done a basic LSDJ MIDI interface. I could see it would be pretty easy to combine and simplify the two projects and get what I wanted.

I did all the work on it myself and used the lab equipment at the University where I was studying.

 


How did you go about building the device and what experience do you have in electronics?

Johan Kotlinski, the creator of LSDJ, was a mate of mine and had already explained the tempo protocol used over the gamelink cable for LSDJ. Since it was very simple – just a constant stream of zeros I just needed a clock with variable rate. After doing some maths, I put together a basic 555 timer circuit with coarse and fine adjustments to make it possible to get a wide range of tempos and precise adjustment. If you’ve ever tried beat matching a drum machine with a tempo control you’ll know its tricky. Once I had the prototype built from veroboard I tweaked the values of some components to improve the usability a bit.

I have two degrees in electronics – a Masters and a PhD, plus my day job is the leader of a microchip design team.

Have you used this in any specific tracks?

Yes, but none of them have been released. In fact I sold much of my Gameboy rig to concentrate on my Atari ST projects. I used it in a few live performances in 2003/2004, including the one where I met Malcolm McLaren(!).

How much roughly would it cost to build one myself, on estimate?

Always in these projects the most expensive parts are the case and the knobs. If you can improvise these yourself then you can really save money. If not, all the components are available in Maplins or eBay. You can build one for less than £20. Getting the 6 wire gamelink cable can be a pain in the arse.

Are you interested in making a revamped one?

Yes, I’d like to add switches for push and pull similar to a CDJ. It should be very simple to do. They aren’t strictly needed for beat matching, but they would make things alot easier.   

Instructions for the LSDJ Pitch Control are here.

Xmas Update

Category : Blogs, Mods · Comments · by Dec 8th, 2014

We’ve been a long time updating, so I’ll fill you in.

We’ve been sat long term on a large project. That is, Scott and I have gone back and forth sourcing components for something special, exciting and affordable.

Scott has had a few components he built that we wanted to spend time packaging and creating a tutorial. As we want to lower the barrier of entry of modifying Gameboys, we spent time trying to create tutorials for some of the products. Because I’m not very au fait with electronics. (I’m more of a, you-hum-it-I’ll-play-it kinda guy) I asked 2xAA (Sam Wray) to help out and what a job he did! Check it out here. Forgive the formatting, that’s still a task we need to get onto. For now, we’re pleases as punch with the quality of the images.

The quality of both the images and the build of the mod are perfect. Everything is in high-res and we’ve worked to make sure the mod is nice and simple to follow. Check out the HLK_CLK kit here. Note that this kit completely replaces the original oscillator on the board, meaning that when you use the half clock, it remains in tune still.

In addition we have our own Silicone buttons made by Kitsch that we’ll make available once we’ve used them for something exclusive.

We’re going to try to branch out the Wiki in 2015, with artists and more complete mods. We’re mostly working on our own thing at the moment, so if you want to help, get in touch with us on our Facebook page.

Happy Holidays.

Update: No news is good

Category : Blogs · Comments · by Oct 18th, 2014

So we’ve been quiet for a bit here at ONN. There’s a reason for this. Our large project has hit a stumbling block in that we are trying to get a custom drill piece created so that we can manually repeat precise drill locations over several beta devices that we’re testing. Unfortunately, Scott has been trying to get a metal jig cut in California and is hitting a wall on each turn. The problem is that we need a small and quick job performed: a small metal shape drilled for us so that we can use it as a template. Unfortunately, likely due to the nature of fabrication, nobody wants to make the device, because it’s a single item. Most workshops are modernised and are kitted out to make thousands of products so won’t touch it, even though we’re hiking up the money we’re willing to pay. A machine shop in Canada declined because ‘it would cost more to mail than make’ – which sounds quite a lot like an excuse for ‘we can’t be bothered’

Not having out own workshop is a pain and so far acquiring components when we’re in different locations has been pretty simple so far. Once we get the jig fabricated, we can get the betas complete alongside packaging and get them tested so that we can write the instructions for the full-fat released products.

The Gameboy Pocket That’s Big On Content

Category : All, Blogs, Mods · Comments · by Jun 9th, 2014

The Raspberry Pi has quickly gained a cult following over the past few years, and this mod is not the first to squeeze the board into a Gameboy case. What really sets this mod apart is the fact that it is crammed into a Gameboy Pocket case and is an excellent compromise between aesthetics and function.

Original Pocket on left, modified shell with Raspberry Pi on the right

Original Pocket on left, modified shell with Raspberry Pi and other components on the right

The build, created by Travis Brown, features original Gameboy Pocket buttons driven by a Teensy 2.0 board to output button presses as if it were a QWERTY keyboard which interfaces with the Rasp Pi. The 2.5″ backlit color screen is suitable for emulating many consoles (NES, Gameboy Color, Master System, and Game Gear) and even playing games such as DOOM. Other aesthetics carried over include using the original headphone jack and AC adapter, as well as the volume potentiometer and power switch. Borrowing from its younger brother the Gameboy Advance (SP), the power indicator LED is two-colored to indicate charge level and charging status. The mod uses very little original code, just what was written for the Teensy to work with Gameboy buttons. Otherwise, everything made use of existing code created by the Rasp Pi community. The rechargeable battery provides about 3 hours of uptime per charge, but it can also be played while charging, extending its playability considerably. A brilliant application of thoughtful design and resourceful repurposement of parts that easily could have been discarded, this mod can be bragged on for authenticity as well as innovation. Check out the full build log here, and to see a the beginnings of a Raspberry Pi – Gameboy build in progress by OhmNohmNohm’s very own Michael Television, check out this post.

Overall, this thing looks really really good. I have a passion for hobby programming and retro games, and the pair of broken Gameboy Pockets in my closet make attempting such a project myself look very feasible. In the build log linked above, the parts list helps prove just how possible it is to do this mod on a tight budget. Perhaps one could be for gaming, the other a portable pirate box or music station. Let me know what you think! Please like, comment, or share!

Expect to be hearing more from me in the near future.
Max

Shifts in Making: Alex McClay

Category : All, Art, Blogs, Photography, Uncategorized · Comments · by May 21st, 2014

I met Alex McClay during our sophomore year of college in a special studio class, awarded to outgoing freshman the previous year for exemplary work. We gravitated towards each other because we follow a similar philosophy when it comes to creating– we are both very passionate photographers. Alex just graduated recently from the University of Cincinnati with a BFA and a minor in Psychology. In her work, she focuses in book-making, sculpture, and photography and uses her knowledge from all three to create dialogues between traditional and contemporary formats and aesthetics, as well as  between “objects” and “art objects” .

When it comes to the shift towards the digital era of technology and creativity, an artist must ask themselves why they choose the material or medium in which they work. Sometimes we may find ourselves magnetized by the appeal of digital formats, moreso because the artist can make a prolific amount of work. Alex is a very talented book maker; in fact, she traveled to Italy this past year to perfect the craft of hand-bounded books. This is a very “analog” and traditional method in crafting a book and lends an insane amount of detail to the final piece. Alex explains that although this task may be tedious and often difficult, the long and intense process is very meditative for her.

Bound - Alex McClay Bound - detail - Alex McClay

However, she asked herself what more could be done to a book. What could show the shift in how a book is made or what a book is made out of? Or more importantly, how we interact with books now that digital media has eclipsed how we even relate to a book. Alex answers these questions in her plexiglas book sculpture series by using her traditional knowledge of book-binding and a Rapid Prototyping Machine. The machine cuts the design into the plexi-glass and Alex binds them together in order to emulate the traditional idea of a book, yet still giving it a new context to exist. The result is an uncanny version of a book, still tangible yet transcendent from “object” to “art-object.” It may have pages, but the way in which we read the text has changed entirely: it is difficult and sometimes impossible to read these books, lending them useless in the traditional context. This could be interpreted as a commentary towards how we relate to reading in an almost purely digital-only format; therefore rendering making bound books useless.

Safe Footsteps - Alex McClay   Safe Footsteps - detail - Alex McClay

 

Oh See of Course I Didn't - Alex McClay Jacobs Ladder - detail - Alex McClay

The constant upward curve of technological advances indeed makes aspects in our lives easier through communication, documentation, and even creating. But what it also does is propel a movement back to the old school, but not out of spite: to breathe life into something that may be considered “kitsch” to most and make it new. Traditional and old methods can now live in a new context within our technologically-centered society, rendering them somehow both ironic and sentimental. Nostalgia is not just for geeks, but for people who simply enjoy resurrecting the obsolete in a world where easy can be redundant.

 

To see more of Alex’s works, including her newest series featuring obsolete machines “In Media Res,” check out her website.

If you would like to purchase a one-of a kind artwork from Alex, you may reach her on Facebook .

 

Behold the Tannin!

Category : All, Blogs, Mods, Music · Comments · by May 18th, 2014

“A tannin is an astringent, bitter plant polyphenolic compound that binds to and precipitates proteins and various other organic compounds including amino acids and alkaloids.” (Wiki)

Tannin

Behold the Tannin! An awesome Midi controller that is made from a grip of potentiometers, buttons, LED’s and an arduino! The project was released on Hackaday.io and the project can be found HERE. The Tannin midi controller demo can be viewed HERE.

Testing Facebook (Tell us your secret plans)

Category : All, Blogs · Comments · by Apr 29th, 2014

Hello! I’m just tying up the loose ends for launch and seeing if you are getting these blogs on Facebook. Are you? Brilliant! What projects are you guys working on at the moment? Art! Design! Electronics! Music! Record Store Day seemed to pass by without a peep. Talk to me you lovely people. Either in the Facebook comments below, or back on our Facebook page. If you liked us yesterday, thangyeverymuch. We’re super pleased about the sort of things we have coming up.