Heavy Tonic ( po-32 mod as large format drum machine)

William Sharkey458 views4 posts
  • William Sharkey

    I love the po-32. Such a powerful and reliable drum synth engine tucked away into the TE workflow.

    It is a marvel of engineering choices and trade offs. No doubt much love, creativity and knowledge from Magnus to get the system to perform.

    I am interested in using a stock po-32 and modifying the form factor. Taking inspiration from organs with nice ergonomics, expression pedals, and arcade machines, I would like to make my tonic a heavy machine.

    The idea is to place it into a comfortable cabinet like an organ or piano, to replace the buttons with arcade style buttons or other type of button, the two resistor knobs with expression petals, and also switchable bank of tunable pots.

    Other possibilities include putting a latch on the record button in addition to the momentary one.

    I am curious if there are any undocumented features that could be tapped into, or any suggestions.

    If you could directly, in real time, modify synth engine parameters instead of transferring via microphone, that would be amazing - however I doubt there is a reasonable way to do this. One could store presets in a second chip that's only job is to play pre recorded data sequences and remove the mic element and directly wire that in, however that is still with challenges as one would need to put it into receive mode.

    It would also be possible to add midi in, if using a system similar to how people put midi into old casios. That to me isn't a priority because you may as well use the software microtonic.

    Some integrated large speakers would be lovely as well.

  • Coolout

    There's already a commercial product that hardware hacks the PO button presses into midi in/out. It is some impressive engineering, but it's ugly and takes most of the compactness and portability away. It basically turns a PO into a desktop midi module.


  • William Sharkey

    The pogo pins are interesting/new to me. I had been wondering about doing something similar, good to know there is experience in the wild of this.

    "Pogo pins are located on the top PCB board and make direct contact with the exposed button pads on the PO. When assembled with 3D printed adapter and bottom PCB board, it can simulate buttons press with electrical signals. The main advantage is of this adapter is the fact that you don't need to solder anything on the PO to make it work and it is easily removable."

    In the end I may choose not to go this route. The project involves enough work to justify ripping apart a po-32 and leaving it in an otherwise unusable state, and I am worried that pogo pins might lead to unreliable resistive loads - if wiggling it changes the contact properties. Prob best to solder.

    Thanks for sharing Coolout!

  • david wilkinson

    I had tried to plant the seed in both Sonic Charge's and Novation's Email boxes as well as tagging them on social media to work together to do a port of uTonic into the Circuit Rhythm for one of their famously Amazing Firmware updates. Form Factor and UI seams perfect IMHO , and if a CPU meant for Washing machines (PO) can run a form of the Tonic Voice Code , I'm sure the DSP/CPU in the Circuit could .
    Probably go nowhere , but one can dream .

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