pictures by Brendon Cassidy
What is that thing?
This is 16n. It is a bank of 16 faders. It is designed for controlling electronic musical instruments and devices.
What does it do?
You move faders on it. It emits output.
It has a number of outputs:
- it sends MIDI data over USB; by default, a different continuous controller for each fader.
- it sends MIDI data over a 3.5mm stereo (TRS) jack, which you can break out using any available converter. There is a switch to toggle between the two standards for this (so it’ll work with both Korg/Makenoise and Arturia/Novation products and converters directly). This can be the same CCs as the MIDI over USB, or different ones, if you’d like.
- it sends 0-5V CV out of sixteen jacks, one for each fader.
- it sends data over I2C, using a TRS jack: either as a master device, which could connect directly to (e.g.) an ER-301, or as a bus device for a monome Teletype
All outputs are sent simultaneously.
16n is built around a Teensy microcontroller. You’ll be able to customise the software yourself, if you’d like.
16n will eventually be open source: code, schematics, etc.
How do I get one?
16n is nearly finished!
The first release will be entirely open source: all the files to make the case, circuit boards, and firmware, for your own version. You’ll have to source all the parts yourself. If you know what an “Ornament and Crime” synth module is: it’s a bit like that. And of course, you’ll be able to make your own modifications and customisations.
There’s a plan that one day you’ll be able to buy a built 16n. It’ll be totally assembled and ready to use, with all the firmware installed. It will have an aluminium top and bottom, and be a hair smaller than the prototypes you may have seen. This is likely - but not for sure - to be a limited run.
There may be other options in the future.
But I have seen it on the internet, on somebody’s Instagram or on Youtube?
You may well have done. A few people - Tom, Sean, Brendon, and some friends and colleagues - have prototypes. The versions they are using are very much prototypes. The final version may not look the same or be made of the same materials.
How much is it going to be?
We don’t know yet. We have an idea, but we’re not going to share a price until we know it’s the price you’ll pay.
Can you give me some examples of what people are doing with it?
16n fader bank controlling the ER301 directly via i2c communication || all sounds ER301 || personally I feel this is where music making is headed, a hybrid playground between the old & new, exciting times 🙌 - . . #16n #er301 #orthogonaldevices #eurorack #modularsynth #teensy #arduino #synth #electronicmusic #music #sound #fm #fmsynthesis #glitch
Who’s making this?
So far: Brian Crabtree, Sean Hellfritsch, Tom Armitage, Brendon Cassidy.
This is a community project that emerges from the Lines forum. Brian Crabtree and Sean Hellfritsch made the first version. Tom Armitage redesigned the electronics, primarily adding CV and MIDI outs; Tom and Brendon Cassidy extended the firmware; Brendon’s contributions to the I2C code must be noted in particular.
Where can I find out more?
There’s not a mailing list or anything yet. There is, however, this sprawling thread on lines, where you can follow the story so far.