Instructables
Picture of Sidstick: Pocket Chiptunes Player
100,000 SID songs in your pocket!

The SIDstick is a pocket-sized chiptunes player featuring:
  • removable storage supporting microSD cards
  • 20+ hour battery life
  • Super Hi-Quality hardware-based playback at 31kHz sample rate, >16 bit resolution
  • Completely Open, hardware design and sourcecode are available under the MIT license
  • Upgradable with connections on the board.
Kits and PCB's are available on www.gadgetgangster.com.  Here's a demo:



And a few more Chiptunes favorites

Ocean Loader:


A few more good ones:


 
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Step 1: FAQ

Picture of FAQ
What are Chiptunes?
To quote wikipedia, "music written in sound formats where all the sounds are synthesized in real time by a computer or video game console sound chip, instead of using sample-based synthesis."

A lot of chiptunes are ripped from classic videogames, and some are new works. The SIDstick plays the most common variety of chiptunes, music written for playback on a SID chip.  Probably the biggest collection of SID music is the High Voltage SID Collection, which has 36,000 SID tunes, free to download.

How long do the batteries last?
Depending on the type of batteries you use, you'll get about 20 hours of playback.  I suggest you use rechargeable batteries, but alkalines will work, too.

How many songs can I store?
All of them. A 2gb microSD card will store 20,000 - 30,000 songs, depending on filesize. That's about 60 days of unique tunes.

Is it hard to put together?
No, it's pretty easy - there aren't a lot of components on the SIDstick, most of the magic happens within the microcontroller. The microSD card slot comes pre-assembled, so you don't need to do any surface mount soldering.

I want technical details!
That's not actually a question, but here are the details of SIDcog, the core audio processor;
  • 31kHz sample rate
  • >16bit resolution
  • Full filter support - any combination of Lowpass, Bandpass and Highpass filter
  • Full envelope support with a logarithmic release/decay curve. ( uses the same logarithmic approximation as a real SID)
  • Supports all 4 waveform types
  • 16 steps main volume
  • Waveform reset bit works. (many Rob Hubbard tunes relies on this exact behaviour)
  • Ring modulation
  • Oscillator synchronization
SIDcog runs on a Parallax Propeller, an 8-core, 80MHz microcontroller, and can be reprogrammed with a PropPlug, connectors are on the board.

The SIDstick is the product of a group effort - Johannes Ahlebrand did the SIDcog core & desktop app, Jeff Ledger did the SD card interface and track / volume control. I did the circuit board layout. Thanks also to James Long from Lil' Brother SMT Assembly  for the microSD board design and assembly services.


h1web1 year ago
Is there another site this kit and be purchased from? gangstergadget shows it's out of stock. I'd really like to try make this.

Thanks.
Terranan2 years ago
was that secong song in the first vid the theme for bionic commando?
I have some real 6581 SID chips. Can I substitute with this project?
When will this be in stock again?
Frogz4 years ago
any way to make it play midis?
i have been looking for a portable midi player for years
i used to have nearly 300,000 midis in my collection before my hdd died
Gadget Gangster (author)  Frogz4 years ago
The Propeller microcontroller will play midi (see the Parallax forums), but it will require re-programming the Prop with a PropPlug.
Do you have a schematic?
Gadget Gangster (author)  blinkyblinky3 years ago
PDF and dch versions of the schematic are on the project page, just scroll down to the 'resources' section.
Can I use the Gadget Gangster board or no?
Gadget Gangster (author)  blinkyblinky3 years ago
Yep, it will work just fine on a Propeller Platform USB.
How did you know I had the USB? You must be like... physic or something.

Anyways, is there a way to use the DMX IO shield with the USB?
wakojako3 years ago
Ahem, wheres comic bakery and commando.
Only joking, nice ible.
aekara3 years ago
man try puting a title in i didnt know what i was looking at :P
Flashflint4 years ago
What happens if you try to play non chiptune music off of it?
Gadget Gangster (author)  Flashflint4 years ago
Ha! Yeah- this is a dedicated player, optimized just to play chiptunes.  You can copy other filetypes to the uSD card, but the SIDstick will skip past them.
 Nothing at all.
ARVash ARVash4 years ago
 Well actually there might be a brief moment of disappointment.