Oskitone celebrates the engineering of its open-source Poly555 synthesizer, exposing the inner workings instead of hiding them.
For the Poly555 synthesizer, the maker Tommy Marshall, who calls himself Tommy for short, has thought of something special: With the help of a window, the inventor lets you look right into the technical heart of the open-source instrument and proudly presents the 20 555 timer chips that give it its name and serve as sound generators. Compared to its predecessors, the OKAY synthesizers, here each 555 is connected to a single keyboard key. This makes the Poly555 a polyphonic instrument, because all keys work simultaneously. The sound is output via a built-in speaker including volume control. A 9V battery supplies the small device with power.
Easy to get started
The Poly555 is available in the Oskitone store and as open source. Tommy tries to simplify the entry into his project and therefore offers the Poly555 in several versions. For those who prefer playing music to soldering, there will soon be a “ready to go” version in the Oskitone store, which will be shipped fully assembled and tested. Alternatively, he offers the electronics and the housing as individual parts or kits. If you want to get started right away and print, build, solder and customize the Poly555 yourself from scratch, you can download all the construction and circuit diagrams on Github as open source free of charge. The 3D printing data has also been available for a few days on printables.com.
The Man Behind the Machine
Those who want to take a look behind the scenes and are interested in the creation process can learn interesting details about the design and operation of the synthesizer on Tommy’s blog, such as how he childproofed the Poly555 after a Maker Faire stress test or which ideas were discarded in the course of its creation.
The Poly555 is a fun instrument. Tommy uses it to invite Makers, musicians and the curious to try it out and learn. His other instruments look like fun, too, and are worth a look.