My interest in Arduino came as a result of me getting back into modular synthesis and sound design after a hiatus of over thirty years.
Normally, a reentry into the modular would have been an expensive proposition. But a few years ago, music industry giant Behringer began recreating modules from classic synths such as Moog, Arp, and Roland, and releasing them in Eurorack format at a far more affordable price point (about $100 per module) than anything else that was out there at the time. And while $100 isn't exactly pocket change since you'd need on the average of five modules to do anything musically useful, it was still a far cry from other module builder's prices which were well north of that.
So I began researching, designing, and building out my own synth mainly based on classic Moog System 55 and Roland System 100 inspired modules. (That's a whole separate story I won't go into here.) This is where it was at several months ago. Those empty spaces have since been filled in and my modules have now spilled over into an additional rack.Arduino anyone?
After awhile, I began wondering if there would be a (hopefully) less expensive and more interesting way to create some of my own modules without getting too involved in the esoterica of analog audio circuits. Besides, DIY is a lot more fun than just buying everything off the shelf. That led me to the Arduino and me wondering how well it'd suit music applications. A little research showed me there are projects for entire synths and multi-effects units being built around an Arduino core. And most of the code being used by such projects is open source.
My programming and computer tech skills are far more advanced than my electronics knowledge when it comes to analog circuitry. And fortunately, the Arduino seems to fit the bill quite well when it comes to interfacing with and controlling real world hardware. So despite being a neophyte to the Arduino, I'm getting up to speed pretty fast.
The language is about as dead simple as you could ask for. Simple C-like syntax. Small but very useful command vocabulary. Even easier to get your head around than Python IMO. And if you can't get a handle on Python, then coding probably isn't going to be for you.
The board I'm mainly using is called a Ruggeduino
from Rugged Circuits. Basically it's an Arduino with additional circuitry to provide better protection against overvoltages, excessive current draw, and reversed electric polarity that would fry the standard Arduino board. They also offer versions ruggedized
(is that a word?)against environmental conditions so it's more suitable for industrial control applications.
It's been an interesting journey so far despite me not being all that far from where I started out yet. Looking forward to where it leads me. New places and new things are always worth seeking out.