Modular Music Box

I’m currently researching how to make and control sound with an Arduino as well as sourcing possible components for the mooted Monomatic Modular Music Box for the “Analogue is the new Digital” exhibition as part of AND Festival in October.


With a total budget of £400 solutions and parts need to be cheap & cheerful – yet do the job…

I started by looking at some of the inbuilt and abstracted Arduino sound libraries…

But for more sophisticated audio generation from the Arduino… current best options seems to be:

  • Smapler v2


Blushing Boy’s Smapler v2“a shield for Arduino and compatible platforms… aimed for people that want to build generative music instruments, small samplers, SID instruments or digital synths.” – £43 a kit – with an Arduino Diecimila –

Other research
Via Arduino:Playground

  • Generating polyphonic sound with Arduino“I have developed a method, using simple voltage-controlled oscillators and the AD5206 digital pot, that allows generation of very nice-sounding musical tones from an Arduino, using a very small number of digital outputs, and requiring very little CPU overhead.”
    While this does look interesting and has been developed into a series of physical synth projects I’m not sure the development is open source? Needs more research…


  • Wave Shield for Arduino – “…play uncompressed WAV files from an SD card. The files can be recorded in different qualities (8 or 16bits, up to 22KHz).”

A search for “audio” on turns up:


  • VMusic2 on Arduino – post on the Vinculum VMUSIC2 “This module takes a standard USB Flash drive for storage, can playback MP3 files, is controlled with a rich set of commands over a serial connection, and costs 41 from Mouser”.


Best options from NexTagUK search for “flat panel speakers”…


(customers also buy Sony ACU50A.CEK AC to USB 5V power Adaptor – price for both £24.39) reviews it as 89/100 – very good

  • or possibly deconstruct the Lava iPod Travel Speaker – which comes with PSU but also uses batteries and has AUX line-in – £24.99 from Dixons

Other resources
Typically all this googling led me to other useful resources – such as Fritzing“an open-source initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software and website in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, developing a tool that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a classroom, and to create a pcb layout for professional manufacturing.”
The Electronic Toolbox app on my iPhone is also proving a useful resource… “Electronic Toolbox combines electronic reference material with calculation and conversion tools in one handy app. Whether a professional or hobbyist, the app gives users a collection of the most important electrical information right at their fingertips.”


One Response to “Modular Music Box”

  1. All things Arduino | Prodical's Blog says:

    […] Prodical’s Blog Musings on music, sound, art and technology « Modular Music Box […]

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