Author Topic: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report  (Read 5200 times)

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Taylor

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WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« on: August 30, 2010, 08:00:29 PM »
I just built a Where's the Party At? sampler/looper. Since this is not as well known in the stompbox DIY community, I thought I'd introduce you guys to it and post a built report.





(thumbnails, click for full size)

This is an 8 bit looper, as the title says. So it sounds a bit crunchy, not like a regular pedal looper. It's not pristine. But if you set levels properly, it does actually sound pretty clean if  you want it to. I have some clicking, but this has a lot to do with the way I routed my wires.

It does what no other DIY looper does: overdubbing, which alone makes it worth the price of admission. But it does so much more than any commercial looper does. You can record a loop, then automatically split it up into a variable number of slices, which get randomly shifted around. With large grain size, it just reorders your chords/melodic line. As the you go towards smaller grains, you get into glitchy, "clicks and cuts" territory.

It also does reverse and half time like most commercial loopers, and continuously variable sample rate, which changes playback or record speed and pitch. It has 2 separate banks, which can be independently edited without editing the other, and these 2 banks can be the same length or different lengths entirely. It actually has no facility for sync'ing the 2 banks, which might bug some people who are looking for a safer experience.

It lets you slice down the playback to just a certain window within the loop, and then continuously shift the window around. I made mine with an expression jack for the effects knob so I can shift the window around (and do all kinds of other fun stuff) with an exp. pedal. You can also vary the bit depth, down to 1 bit, which is very distorted and has no dynamics.

So you can use this as a fairly normal looper if that's what you want. I'd recommend tacking a 2-pole lowpass filter on the end to cut the aliasing, but you'd be good to go. But it really shines for people who are into weirdness.

Todd at narrat1ve no longer has kits of the first version, but since we here are manly men, we need no kits. He sells the bare boards and programmed microcontrollers on his site. The guy really knows his stuff. A version 2 of this will be coming out in the next few months apparently, which you may decide to wait for, but I'm not sure if that will be kit-only, or if he'll have boards.

Anyway, I recommend this project heartily. It's the only DIY project that does anything like this, and it's actually the only thing period that does some of what it does. It's not exactly as easy to build as a fuzz pedal, especially if you decide to do all the pots, switches, and LEDs offboard as I did (you'll have to do at least some of that to make it stompable), but not that difficult and hugely rewarding.

snufkin

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2010, 08:29:00 PM »
Tod is a very talented designer always wanted a V1  kit but I'm gonna hold on for a V2

he's gonna be coming out with some other surprises you can read about here http://www.narrat1ve.com/forum/
easyface,phase 90,many fuzz faces,feedback looper,tremulus lune and so on soon to be ADA!

kupfer_m

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2010, 10:46:20 PM »
That looks very interesting, because I'm more into noisemaking than guitarplaying...
I took a look a the narrat1ve forum and just like Snufkin I'm going to wait for V2.
Any idea of the cost?

Rectangular

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 11:28:52 PM »
I really like that WTPA sampler.  FYI, there are a few japanese samplers from the 1980s that perform most of the functions you mention, only they exists as kind of anachronistic curiosities from the days when people weren't 100% sure what features to include in a digital sampler/delay. its true that eventually, most loopers didn't include all of the fun variables that us experimental musicians prefer.

whats your estimate on the build cost (parts + PCBs)  ?

frequencycentral

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Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2010, 11:37:36 PM »
Todd at narrat1ve no longer has kits of the first version, but since we here are manly men, we need no kits.

Grrrr! Where's the macho smiley?

Nice ambitious build Taylor. Got any soundclips for us manly men?

Taylor

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Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2010, 12:03:34 AM »
I really like that WTPA sampler.  FYI, there are a few japanese samplers from the 1980s that perform most of the functions you mention, only they exists as kind of anachronistic curiosities from the days when people weren't 100% sure what features to include in a digital sampler/delay. its true that eventually, most loopers didn't include all of the fun variables that us experimental musicians prefer.

I forgot to mention some of the really weird stuff: you can multiply the 2 banks together(like ring modulation), or bitwise AND them together or bitwise XOR. Although I was born in 1986 and can't claim to be familiar with a lot of the obscure 80s samplers, I suspect they didn't have those features. But for the most part you're right, for sure. I was mainly comparing this with the stuff on the market today.

Quote
whats your estimate on the build cost (parts + PCBs)  ?

Hm, not positive really. I had a lot of the stuff lying around. The PCB and chip are $35 shipped. My Mouser bill for this was around $20, then add pots, jacks, and switches.


Grrrr! Where's the macho smiley?

Nice ambitious build Taylor. Got any soundclips for us manly men?

Thanks! I will definitely try to make some sound clips in the next few days.

caress

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2010, 03:16:12 AM »
Tod is a very talented designer always wanted a V1  kit but I'm gonna hold on for a V2

same here

Strategy

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2010, 04:40:56 AM »
Alas my WTPA was functional but now not. Haven't had time yet to trouble shoot but I expect it's something I can hopefully fix...

Strategy

Taylor

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Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2010, 10:47:49 AM »
Well, there's not much in electronics that can't be fixed. I guess it's more about whether it would be more work to fix it or build a new one. If it was working at one point, the problem can't be huge.

Earthscum

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2010, 01:42:36 PM »
Jeez, Taylor! The guys at EH are probably jealous of the size! I love it! :icon_biggrin:
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Taylor

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Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2010, 06:05:34 PM »
Jeez, Taylor! The guys at EH are probably jealous of the size! I love it! :icon_biggrin:

 :icon_smile: It's actually only slightly bigger than the EHX 2880 I had, and smaller than the 2880 and footswitch combined. I do miss the longer recording time of the 2880 - although I'd never use several minutes, it's nice to never have to worry about going over the RAM limit. All the weirdness that the WTPA can do completely makes up for that though...

...and, I have another board+chip! So there will be another one. But I think I'll chicken out and do everything onboard this time, as that wiring is a nightmare. I can't believe it worked on first power up. I'm often not so lucky even with simple fuzzes.

cloudscapes

Re: WTPA?: 8 Bit Sampler/Looper/Glitch machine build report
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2010, 02:13:19 PM »
nice job! I've been keeping a close eye on this, studyign the schematic, etc.
it's sort of what I want to achieve with my own looper, but done "my way"
the window-shifting is great! the timefactor has that too.
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