Production update - May

Gecho v2 production update - May

During the past three weeks we were busy (apart from shipping whales), with designing, testing and planning the production of new lizards.

Silicone buttons

The production samples have arrived. Ain't they beautiful? :)

Three colours for now - translucent, sunflower yellow and bordeaux violet. We may add more later. Lime green or neon green has been suggested, only we cannot agree on an exact shade, please help!

Preorders are now open!

Dear followers of the project!

Everything is explained in the preorders page, but long story short: designing is done and we started ordering production samples. To avoid surprises, we are staying with our trusted manufacturing partners.

More photos and demos will be posted during May, as individual elements come in place. The next few weeks will also be used to work on the software - as the firmware for Glo (the Polyphonic Whale) is now done, there is capacity to fully focus on Gecho.

As the design is more modular, there are some new options - wider variety of DIY kits, some that do not even require any soldering. Also the complete unit is now fully self-contained and works without the box; however, the wooden box of the version 1 has been very much appreciated by owners and is nice to have also because of how it influences the sound.

Gecho v2 prototyping is done

The final Gecho v2 prototype

Since the previous update about v2 that was posted in August last year, it took 3 more revisions to get here. Although the first prototype of Gecho v2 has been completed, blueprints verified by our skilled hobbyist friends who hand-assembled their own boards, and it even passed CE/FCC testing with flying colours, so we could go ahead with the production - it was just not good enough. It needed a small upgrade or two. And, things tend to turn more complicated than they appear :)

Thanks to everyone for encouraging comments, questions and feedback during the past few months, it has been very helpful and contributed a lot to shaping the new model.

Demo Videos

Demo Videos

Curious how to use Gecho and get the most out of it's FX powers, either in stand-alone mode or with external signal source is connected? The manual is great to have at hand but there are videos too:

V2 Prototype #001

First v2 Prototype Assembled!

No sound, just a quick video to show it is alive and kicking. Proper demo coming soon!

 

One firmware to support both models

The plan is that as new functions are added, they will be available to both v1 and v2 owners (with the exception of things that cannot work in v1 because the hardware is not there - e.g. a complete unit without MIDI extension). I am updating the firmware so it detects which board it runs on, and behaves accordingly. At the same time this allows to verify that every sub-system of new model is functional.

So far, everything that has been tested works as expected:

Granular Sampler

Granular Sampler

We are going to demonstrate how to implement a new, completely different type of synthesis (or maybe better called a sound processing as the sound is not really synthesized). You can control parameters interactively (start, length of grain and number of voices), and replace the grain source material (or part of it) in real time. In result, this creates very interesting sounds and is a lot of fun to play.

The hardware is capable of sampling up to 1 second of stereophonic sound, and playing pieces of it back in parallel, as up to 40 grains per ear. The rest of the memory is reserved for echo/loop buffer, if that's not required, sampling time can be increased.

Drum Sequencer

Drum Sequencer

The channel #234 has been printed on the quick-start sticker, but left to be implemented later, as I thought it will give excellent opportunity to demonstrate how can you expand Gecho's functionality. It is relatively easy to do and a lot of fun!

Basic Operation

The goal here is to make a channel where you can create and play back sequences, using the four built-in drums (at least for starters). You will learn how to play back a sample stored in MCU's FLASH memory, detect triggering of proximity sensors, and control LED lights. The whole operation could be described in one sentence: Drive individual drums by four sensors, store these events into memory and play back on the next loop.

Acoustic Location

Where is that sound coming from?

For a while now I was wondering how hard is it to find out. Smart speakers are doing it with arrays of microphones and sophisticated DSP algorightms, but how complicated is it really? Is Gecho's hardware and CPU power enough to get at least some meaningful results? How complex code do we need?

In Theory...

Sound travels at around 343 m/s in the air at 20 degrees celsius (this speed varies with the temperature rather than atmoshperic pressure, here is a handy calculator). In other units that are easier for us to imagine, this is about 1235 kilometres or 767 miles per hour. Or, the other way around: what time it takes for sound to travel for example 10cm? It is 0.1 / 343 = 0.00029 seconds, or 290 microseconds. Is that too short? Perhaps our processors operate at that scale. Let's see.

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