Auduino (Lo-fi Synth for Arduino)




Introduction: Auduino (Lo-fi Synth for Arduino)

About: Im 16 and love electronics! I love music; writing music and playing piano. I have fun with microcontrollers and playing with other stuff too. There's always new things to learn.
Hello again. Today I'd like to show you the Auduino. That's right, the Auduino is a Lo-fi Granular Synth that works on arduino. It uses some analog pins and a digital pin. I had loads of fun making and playing with it so I'd love to show you how to make it.
Sketch created by Peter Knight,
For more information please visit the website.

I hope you are already familiarized with the arduino environment, if not get an arduino and check for more information at

Step 1: Materials

For making this synth you will need:
  • X5 5K Potentiometer
  • A breadboard.
  • An 8 Ohm speaker or a jack.

This you'll probably have laying around and will be needed:
  • Various jumpers
  • X1 Arduino (I am using Arduino Uno R2) 

  • X5 Knob (For the Pots) 

Step 2: The Pots

So the potentiometers go on the breadboard, I couldn't find the best stop for them because their back part wouldn't fit. But I managed to  squeeze them in at the last row and I flexed the breadboard as shown in the picture. 

Basically all there positive leads are connected to 5V and all there negatives are going to ground. And the pots middle lead goes to an analog pin on the arduino.

Pot 1 goes to analog 4.
Pot 2 goes to analog 3.
Pot 3 goes to analog 2.
Pot 4 goes to analog 1.
Pot 5 goes to analog 0.

The pictures show how to connect the jumpers very clear. 

Step 3: The Speaker

I used a speaker but you can use a jack and connect it to the same arduino pins.

Speaker must go connect to digital 3 on the arduino. And negative to ground...

Step 4: The Code

You can download the sketch here or you can just paste the code below on your arduino program and start to upload.

// Auduino, the Lo-Fi granular synthesiser
// by Peter Knight,
// Help:
// More help:
// Analog in 0: Grain 1 pitch
// Analog in 1: Grain 2 decay
// Analog in 2: Grain 1 decay
// Analog in 3: Grain 2 pitch
// Analog in 4: Grain repetition frequency
// Digital 3: Audio out (Digital 11 on ATmega8)
// Changelog:
// 19 Nov 2008: Added support for ATmega8 boards
// 21 Mar 2009: Added support for ATmega328 boards
// 7 Apr 2009: Fixed interrupt vector for ATmega328 boards
// 8 Apr 2009: Added support for ATmega1280 boards (Arduino Mega)

#include <avr/io.h>
#include <avr/interrupt.h>

uint16_t syncPhaseAcc;
uint16_t syncPhaseInc;
uint16_t grainPhaseAcc;
uint16_t grainPhaseInc;
uint16_t grainAmp;
uint8_t grainDecay;
uint16_t grain2PhaseAcc;
uint16_t grain2PhaseInc;
uint16_t grain2Amp;
uint8_t grain2Decay;

// Map Analogue channels
#define SYNC_CONTROL         (4)
#define GRAIN_FREQ_CONTROL   (0)
#define GRAIN2_FREQ_CONTROL  (3)

// Changing these will also requires rewriting audioOn()

#if defined(__AVR_ATmega8__)
// On old ATmega8 boards.
//    Output is on pin 11
#define LED_PIN       13
#define LED_PORT      PORTB
#define LED_BIT       5
#define PWM_PIN       11
#define PWM_VALUE     OCR2
#elif defined(__AVR_ATmega1280__)
// On the Arduino Mega
//    Output is on pin 3
#define LED_PIN       13
#define LED_PORT      PORTB
#define LED_BIT       7
#define PWM_PIN       3
#define PWM_VALUE     OCR3C
// For modern ATmega168 and ATmega328 boards
//    Output is on pin 3
#define PWM_PIN       3
#define PWM_VALUE     OCR2B
#define LED_PIN       13
#define LED_PORT      PORTB
#define LED_BIT       5

// Smooth logarithmic mapping
uint16_t antilogTable[] = {
uint16_t mapPhaseInc(uint16_t input) {
  return (antilogTable[input & 0x3f]) >> (input >> 6);

// Stepped chromatic mapping
uint16_t midiTable[] = {
uint16_t mapMidi(uint16_t input) {
  return (midiTable[(1023-input) >> 3]);

// Stepped Pentatonic mapping
uint16_t pentatonicTable[54] = {

uint16_t mapPentatonic(uint16_t input) {
  uint8_t value = (1023-input) / (1024/53);
  return (pentatonicTable[value]);

void audioOn() {
#if defined(__AVR_ATmega8__)
  // ATmega8 has different registers
  TCCR2 = _BV(WGM20) | _BV(COM21) | _BV(CS20);
#elif defined(__AVR_ATmega1280__)
  TCCR3A = _BV(COM3C1) | _BV(WGM30);
  TCCR3B = _BV(CS30);
  TIMSK3 = _BV(TOIE3);
  // Set up PWM to 31.25kHz, phase accurate
  TCCR2A = _BV(COM2B1) | _BV(WGM20);
  TCCR2B = _BV(CS20);
  TIMSK2 = _BV(TOIE2);

void setup() {

void loop() {
  // The loop is pretty simple - it just updates the parameters for the oscillators.
  // Avoid using any functions that make extensive use of interrupts, or turn interrupts off.
  // They will cause clicks and poops in the audio.
  // Smooth frequency mapping
  //syncPhaseInc = mapPhaseInc(analogRead(SYNC_CONTROL)) / 4;
  // Stepped mapping to MIDI notes: C, Db, D, Eb, E, F...
  //syncPhaseInc = mapMidi(analogRead(SYNC_CONTROL));
  // Stepped pentatonic mapping: D, E, G, A, B
  syncPhaseInc = mapPentatonic(analogRead(SYNC_CONTROL));

  grainPhaseInc  = mapPhaseInc(analogRead(GRAIN_FREQ_CONTROL)) / 2;
  grainDecay     = analogRead(GRAIN_DECAY_CONTROL) / 8;
  grain2PhaseInc = mapPhaseInc(analogRead(GRAIN2_FREQ_CONTROL)) / 2;
  grain2Decay    = analogRead(GRAIN2_DECAY_CONTROL) / 4;

  uint8_t value;
  uint16_t output;

  syncPhaseAcc += syncPhaseInc;
  if (syncPhaseAcc < syncPhaseInc) {
    // Time to start the next grain
    grainPhaseAcc = 0;
    grainAmp = 0x7fff;
    grain2PhaseAcc = 0;
    grain2Amp = 0x7fff;
    LED_PORT ^= 1 << LED_BIT; // Faster than using digitalWrite
  // Increment the phase of the grain oscillators
  grainPhaseAcc += grainPhaseInc;
  grain2PhaseAcc += grain2PhaseInc;

  // Convert phase into a triangle wave
  value = (grainPhaseAcc >> 7) & 0xff;
  if (grainPhaseAcc & 0x8000) value = ~value;
  // Multiply by current grain amplitude to get sample
  output = value * (grainAmp >> 8);

  // Repeat for second grain
  value = (grain2PhaseAcc >> 7) & 0xff;
  if (grain2PhaseAcc & 0x8000) value = ~value;
  output += value * (grain2Amp >> 8);

  // Make the grain amplitudes decay by a factor every sample (exponential decay)
  grainAmp -= (grainAmp >> 8) * grainDecay;
  grain2Amp -= (grain2Amp >> 8) * grain2Decay;

  // Scale output to the available range, clipping if necessary
  output >>= 9;
  if (output > 255) output = 255;

  // Output to PWM (this is faster than using analogWrite) 
  PWM_VALUE = output;

Step 5: Wrap Up

So after uploading you should have a fine synth!
Some extras would be adding knobs. :)
 Any progress or anything for the style, I will write down here. 

  Write in the comments what you did or if you have any questions.

Plus a video I made so you can listen to the sounds of this synth:

Try to make a shield version! :)



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30 Discussions

can anyone plzzzz HELP!! From the moment i connect the last pot to GND and 5v my arduino just stops working, no power, NOTHING!!! ... i really have no clue what can be wrong :/

Hi ! pots going in serial or parallel ? only works 1 at time.

Apologies I'm a noob whatsingnal are you sending to the ardunio from you compute?


I could use a potentiometer of 10k instead of 5k (it's just that I have here)?

2 replies

From the man himself:!topic/auduino/Da...

Anything between 1K and 50K. I've built two of these and the only difference the resistance makes is the range of control. 5K to 10K is a pretty good level of control. Any higher and you'll find yourself making tiny little movements and skipping over large chunks of the scale. I may try one of those multi-turn pots in the future if I'm ever bored enough.

For some reason I can only get one knob to do anythin of the 4, anyone else with this issue?

1 reply

Same issue. I can only get the frequency swipe but none of the others work or seem to do anything. I've tried every wire combination but only one controls. Did you figure this out?

I have Arduino Leonardo and Arduino IDE 1.6.7 and i have following error:

'TCCR2A' was not declared in this scope (line 134)

1 reply

The Leonardo has no Timer2 so most sketches you find on the internet including this one that use this Timer won't work.


2 years ago

Huge fan of this project. Question though, if I wanted to upgrade the speaker, not really aiming for sound quality as much as volume, how would I go about doing so? As you can tell I'm quite new. Really appreciate any tips though.

Do you think this would work with 100k ohm pots?

my parts are coming soon!??

I love this project. It's one of the first things I built when I got my Arduino. I recently added basic vactrol based CV inputs so I could use the granular synth with my Lunetta CMOS based noise machine.

I entered my CV version of the Auduino in the Remix contest. I gave you all the credit for the original project of course.

Thanks- this really has become one of my favorite instruments. When my friend the synth snob heard it for the first time he said 'wow, it's about time you built a real analog synth'. When I opened the box and showed him the lone Arduino board he turned red.

My potentiometers don't fit into my breadboard, so atm i have them taped to the jumper wires, and the wires are plugged into the breadboard, is there a better way?

2 replies

You can just solder some wires/leads onto the pits too

You could buy trimmers, they are small ones which go on for pcb mount.

May be better to use a Due since the chip has 10-12-bit ADC/DAC's