Turi transformed a lackluster toy keyboard into a musical powerhouse by completely overhauling its internals. Discarding the original controller board, Turi retained only the keys, buttons, case, speaker, and a fragment of the original enclosure. The brain of the revamped instrument is now a Raspberry Pi Pico, enabling the use of Ryo Ishigaki’s pico_synth_ex synthesizer and the addition of MIDI out via USB-C.
A Raspberry Pi Pico breathes new life into the Picophonica, granting it capabilities beyond its original design limitations. Unlike its monophonic predecessor, the revitalized instrument boasts newfound versatility. The fourteen white buttons now manipulate parameters such as sustain, cutoff, LFO rate, decay, and more. The result is a remarkable improvement in sound quality and functionality, offering a vastly expanded range of musical expression.
Notably, the Picophonica’s metamorphosis is not confined to theoretical enhancements; it is a practical achievement demonstrated in a brief build video. Strikingly, the entire soundtrack, excluding drums, was composed entirely using the revitalized Picophonica, showcasing the extent of Turi’s ingenuity in breathing new life into an otherwise modest toy keyboard.
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