Turin-based Fase Lunare has designed an expandable DIY drum machine built around a Teensy 3.6 USB development board that allows you to add additional components to create custom sounds and effects. Known as the Shapeshifter, the platform is open source, giving you the options of using different firmware and hardware as you see fit, and includes an integrated breadboard to encourage prototyping and the development of expansion boards.
Using the Shapeshifter’s basic firmware, you get four drum voices with 16 samples for each, as well as the ability to swap between four different patterns that have independent length. It also features a low-pass filter knob, BPM knob, and Bitcrusher knob that you can adjust to dial-in desired beats and tone.
On the hardware end, the Shapeshifter is outfitted with a 32-bit 180MHz Arm Cortex-M4 processor (courtesy of the Teensy), 16 step keys, four track buttons, a function key, and a play/stop button. It even sports 22 LEDs for all the keys and buttons, three assignable knobs, an audio-out port, a 170-point breadboard, and an expansion slot for connecting different add-on boards. Being a DIY platform, the Shapeshifter was conceived for use with THT components and does require some soldering to build.
Fase Lunare is currently working on second version of the drum machine, which is reported to have the same 22-button layout, but with only two potentiometers (instead of three), a single encoder, 32 RGB LEDs, two programmable outputs, clock in/clock out/reset options, and a four-trigger out for connection options with modular Eurorack modules.
According to Fase Lunare, “The initial firmware version will have four tracks with samples and four trigger tracks, and the ability to save and load presets and patterns from the SD card. From the software point of view, the user can indulge himself by creating new synthesis engines, adding tracks, combinations; associating each function with a different LED color … the limit is imagination!”