XIAO Project Gallery#1: A Cost-effective Module in Eurorack, Empowering MIDI Keyboard and More!

It is thrilled to share that we are going to release a series of blogs to collect, classify and showcase XIAO’s projects in different vertical areas. XIAO’s possibilities in various vertical application scenarios have been explored, including smart gardening, asset tracking, DIY keyboard, and home automation to name a few. We have fully realized its potential in becoming a ready-to-use module in diverse industries after witnessing so many fantastic and creative projects coming out.

In order to make these projects presented in a more organized and clear way, we decided to open a series of blogs to document the projects of XIAO and classify them according to different topics,  you can quickly pinpoint which topic is most relevant to you. XIAO is a product series we attach great expectations to and we are looking forward to seeing its project gallery to bring some inspiration to real-world solutions. 

The first collection we’d like to introduce is Musical! We are also surprised that there are so many artists, synthesizer DIYers, and self-made instrument enthusiasts adopting XIAO in their projects. Thanks to our beloved folk HAGIWO/ハギヲ, who is interested in self-made musical instruments and ultra-low-cost modular synthesizers, shows us the huge potential of XIAO in this aspect.

[ $8 ] DIY eurorack modular synth Sample drum with Seeed studio XIAO ESP32C3

In his 56th original eurorack modular synth DIY project, he built a 1-shot sample drum module with a Seeed XIAO ESP32C3 development board with 48 samples storage,  48kHz sample rate, and 10-bit output. 

XIAO ESP32C3 is cheap, has 4Mbytes of storage, and can be developed on an Arduino. Samples are stored in the flash memory of the ESP32C3 MCU.

quote by HAGIWO/ハギヲ in his video 

[ $9 ] DIY eurorack modular synth CHORD VCO v2 with Seeed XIAO RP2040 

In his 61st original eurorack modular synth DIY project, he built an XIAO RP2040-based 5 polyphonic CHORD VCO, easy-to-play chord progression, with built-in quantizer and autoharmonics.

The MCU board uses Seeed XIAO RP2040. It is smaller than the Raspberry Pico and costs $5.4

quote by HAGIWO/ハギヲ in his video

Background Information

Eurorack is a form of modular synthesis. With a synthesizer, you can modify everything that’s in an enclosed unit that you can’t modify, everything that’s already connected inside the circuit board. Eurorack allows you to build a synth that meets your needs exactly and allows you to forever expand and modify your instrument. 

Eurorack embodies an open-source and DIY spirit. It gives electronic music creation more flexibility and freedom. Though there is a variety of ready-to-use hardware and software in the market to enable you to generate or process sounds, some people still want to choose a more personalized, original, and flexible way to process sounds. 

A eurorack module can cost at least tens to hundreds of dollars. Maybe with the DIY module coming out, people can have more freedom in musical creation from now on. 

Portami: Battery-powered polyphonic synth designed to be a companion to small Midi keyboards

Portami is a portable, battery-powered polyphonic synth built around an XIAO SAMD21 microcontroller by Turi. It’s designed to be a companion to small Midi keyboards. His implementation focuses on USB Midi communication (Midi-in through the onboard USB-C port) and features a push button to cycle between wave types (sine, saw, square, pulse, triangle, and noise). An RGB led inside the button changes color according to the current wave type. Other than the onboard speaker driven by an LM386 amplifier, Portami has a 3.5″ mini-jack port to plug a pair of headphones. The audio socket has a switching mechanism, disconnecting the speaker when in use. The whole setup is powered by a 3.7V, 1100mAh Li-ion battery, recharged, and protected by a TP4056 USB-C charger module. A regulator boosts the voltage to 5V, providing power to the Midi keyboard.

multi – MIDI controller/filter/router, sound generator

multi is an open hardware circuit board hosting a Seeeduino XIAO SAMD21, 6 pots, 2 pushbuttons, 2 Midi DIN connectors, and audio output. The Seeeduino XIAO SAMD21 board carries a powerful ATSAMD21G18A-MU which is a low-power microcontroller and has 14 GPIO PINs, a DAC output, and one UART interface. To avoid grounding loops the MIDI input is properly optoisolated, as required by official specifications. You can program multi as you need, using the Arduino IDE. On the MIDI side, possible use includes advanced midi controlling, filtering, and remapping as well as algorithmic arpeggiators and aleatoric patch generators.


A FM Oscillator on XIAO SAMD21

We are looking forward to more details about this project…

We are really surprised at how creative the community is, we are looking forward to seeing more applications in the future. As an IoT hardware partner for digital innovators, we hope to empower not only makers but enterprises to build their products or services. If you have any questions about XIAO’s application in this aspect, please contact: [email protected]

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January 2023