Musical instruments are a great hobby for many, yet it often takes time and money to master such devices. Hyve Touch Synth is an expressive musical instrument that anyone can make, hack, and play. Users only have to slide their fingers across the surface of this touch synthesizer to explore new ways of creating sound.
The 60-voice polyphonic analog synthesizer is controlled by pressure via horizontal, and vertical movements of each finger on the surface. To play the device, users simply plug in the power source and headphones. They then touch the surface, slide, and explore.
It might look complicated but notes on the Hyve are organized to be easy to use. The bottom half is arranged like a piano keyboard with each key sensing pressure, for the vertical and horizontal position. When users move vertically, they can sweep through octaves and combine them into evolving tones. Horizontal movements push the sound left and right in stereo. Touching the bottom row causes a pressure-controlled pitch bend.
The top half of the touch synthesizer uses a hexagon so that grid notes which sound good together are next to each other. Each adjacent space is designed so that users can play a chord and slide to the next chord in a song. Each hexagon is built to sense pressure and horizontal position as the bottom half does.
The Hyve Touch Synth is designed for all ages, made without a fragile glass screen, and a 40-hour battery life. It comes in three different models shells to fit different needs. For example, the Hyve Synth Premium is made by woodworker Jeff Nardoni to develop a handcrafted hardwood enclosure. The premium edition has a walnut back, and comes ready to play and requires no assembly or tuning.
The second model. Hyve Maker comes fully working and requires no soldering or DIY experience. Users only need to tune the notes and assemble the legs to start playing. Users have the option to make their own back for the device using wood, cork, cardboard, or they can 3D print one at their local marketplace. Lastly, there’s Hyve Hacker which is the basic circuit board which users can build or hack. No components are included in this version – only the circuit board and touch interface. It’s intended for experienced circuit builders only. Using the device users can learn surface mount soldering, hack their own touch instrument invention, or hang it on the wall as art.
The Hyve kits are sized 6” x 5” x 0.5”, is equipped with a 60 note polyphony, and 10 SOIC ICs, 24 1206 resistors, 18 1206 Capacitors, 1 1206 diode, 12 trimpots, and 2 connectors.The makers of Hyve Touch Synth raised over $105,000 via crowdfunding with an estimated shipping date as early as September 2017. The Hyve Hacker at $79, while the Hyve Maker sells for $149. The Hyve Premium sells for $299.
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