remain calm

want: line6 tcddk!

August 15th, 2008

line6 tcddk

line6 are releasing a dsp guitar stomp box devkit! i can’t wait til this thing launches, i’m already getting crazy ideas.

(also: i move into a new flat in about two weeks, regular development work is going to start up again pretty soon after that, sorry about the delay on everything…)

update: apparently there’s this thing as well that looks interesting: openstomp

update2: more awesome stuff i want to play with:

update3: some more info on the tonecore ddk, scrounged from the freescale website: (giant pdf thing) – short version, there’s 4Mb+ of onboard RAM (8 banks of 512kb plus whatever’s onboard the DSP), and it’s rated at about 100Mips. 24 bit. doesn’t look like there’s any FPU onboard, bah.

another dsmcu progress report

July 4th, 2008

these screenshots are both from the same .nds file, just with different skins (everything you see is functional except the knobs on the 303).

dsmcu preview dsmcu preview

at the moment it’s running at 30fps – i’ll set it up so that it’ll run at 60fps in single-screen mode soon.

dsmcu – quick update for end of june

June 29th, 2008

work is continuing on dsmcu. here’s what is in the new version so far:

  • now requires dldi patching.
  • the entire application is fully skinnable using text files (maybe xml) csv text files and png graphics. *DONE*
  • skinning extends to the midi commands (midi data sent or monitored for feedback) supported – this should allow the device to be used as a generic midi controller. there will be a number of basic control types available.
  • support for multiple layouts, selectable from L/R triggers. *DONE* (memory limits on how many backgrounds can be loaded, though)
  • layouts supported will include: standard mcu control, simplified/expanded mcu control (e.g. big transport), generic MIDI kaoss style touch pad or multi-kaoss (any number of pad zones on the same page), MIDI keyboard interface, MIDI drum pad interface, generic vsti synth control (faders for cutoff, resonance, etc), and combination of those elements…(MIDI and mcu controls possibly won’t be usable at the same time due to host limitations)

no estimate on when it’ll be ready – i’m going to be moving house soon so that might slow me down a bit. but what’s there is working really well so far.

if anyone has gotten the beta working under leopard, can they let me know? cheers.

solo music package #2 – start waiting

June 28th, 2008

i think this is #2, anyway. should start getting pretty interesting by #5 or so.

these date back to 2005-2006.

1: please wait
[audio:daniel arena – please wait.mp3]

2: keep starting (a collaboration w/ rachel holmshaw, cheers!)
[audio:daniel arena – keep starting.mp3]

3: scissors
[audio:daniel arena – scissors.mp3]

(i’ve given up on picking a catchy name to release this stuff under, i figure my actual one will do for the time being)

list of ds music apps

June 24th, 2008

i’ve put together a list of homebrew ds music apps. pretty sure i’ve gotten most of the main ones but if i’ve left anything off let me know via the comments and i’ll update it.

edit: added heaps more, thanks for the submissions!

dsmcu (ds wireless mix controller) video clip

June 15th, 2008

here is a short video of dsmcu in use

dsmcu is a wireless mix controller for reaper (and possibly other applications if they tolerate my abuse of the particular midi control spec i’m using).

click here for more info

(song download link HERE)

note: i haven’t had much of a chance to work on this lately and my ds is a bit sad, i’m only really posting this in the hope someone will donate a pink ds with a properly working touchscreen (black is also fine)

dsmcu – nds mix controller [preview!]

May 23rd, 2008

dsmcu is a nintendo-ds based emulator of the MCU control surface protocol. it talks to your audio workstation over wifi via dsmi.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD (beta software, please exercise care, no warranties expressed or implied, and you’ll need the readme file to get it working)


requirements: a homebrew-capable ds (which can connect to your computer over wifi), compatible audio workstation software (like ‘reaper‘) and dsmi correctly set up on your computer. more details in the download link.


tested on: reaper; (primary testing platform, works great), samplitude V8 SE (works but no VU display).

does not work with pro tools or logic yet, but support is planned

the following subset of the mcu protocol is supported:

  • fader send, receive
  • vu display
  • track select, mute, arm and solo (w/ feedback)
  • bank up/down
  • scrub
  • more coming soon…

possible applications include: a wireless rec/arm remote or end-user monitor mix interface for tracking, touch-sensitive automation recorder during mixdown, multi-user mixing, ‘left-hand’ level control while tweaking VSTs…

lots more planned, more info soon.

some user interface elements have been taken from Reaper – BIG THANKS to White Tie and the Reaper posse for granting permission for use of this and helping out with design/layout. cheers again to tobw for the dsmi library. also uses palib and devkitpro/libnds, yay.

dsmcu – setup instructions

May 23rd, 2008


Note: in theory this stuff all works on Linux and OSX but you’re on your own, let me know if you get it working!

Maybe print this out before you start.

  • Obtain a Nintendo DS and a cartridge that will let you run homebrew (I use an R4DS – – works great). If you get stuck here, hit up Google.
  • You need a wireless router or something else that will let you connect your DS to the network your computer is on. Make sure that you can connect to the Nintendo WFC online services. If you get stuck here, hit up Google.
  • Go to and download MIDI Yoke NT 1.75 (163K 09-23-07) (NOT the manual install). Run it. You might need to reboot.
  • Go to and download the DSMIDIWiFi Server for Windows. Extract and run it.
    • Set input to “IN FROM MIDI YOKE PORT 1”
    • Set output to “OUT TO MIDI YOKE PORT 2”

setup dsmi

  • Download the dsmcu.nds file and get it onto your DS flash card (i.e. R4DS, whatever). You don’t need to patch this file or do anything weird with it, just put it on there.
  • Boot your DS and run the dsmcu.nds file. If it locks up with a faint “MIDI: ?” message on the bottom screen, that means it can’t connect to your network. If you can play DS Tetris on the internet and this still doesn’t work, contact me.
  • If dsmcu can connect to the internet, the screen will fill with faders. This is good.
  • Download and run Reaper. Go to options/preferences and select the Control Surfaces section (near the bottom). Click Add to add a new control surface.
    • Set: Control surface mode: Mackie Control Universal,
    • MIDI Output: OUT TO MIDI YOKE 1,
    • Leave everything else at default settings.
    • When you click OK, everything should work.

setup reaper

If it’s doesn’t work, try setting the DSMI output to Microsoft GS Wavetable Synth and seeing if noise is made when you click on the transport buttons on dsmcu.

fun with lychees

May 11th, 2008

band pic - go/no-go

get a nice big tin of lychees in syrup (this may possibly work with rambutans as well)

» cocktail #1:
all the lychee syrup
150mL stolichnaya or 42 below vodka (or whatever)
rose flavouring? i guess if you have some handy that could work.

throw it in a cocktail shaker; shake and serve in a martini glass (maybe with a tiny chunk of turkish delight?)

» cocktail #2:
all the remaining lychees
150mL vodka
lots of ice

blend until slushy and drink

bliptracker video clip

May 4th, 2008

here’s a short clip of bliptracker in-use.

note that this doesn’t show the dsmi MIDI integration, only uses one of the default sample sets, doesn’t show any of the randomization functions, and there’s no theremin. i’ll post a better quality clip with some more fun stuff when i get a bit of spare time.

bliptracker download page

solo music package #1 – starry starry dub

May 2nd, 2008

now that i’ve got some more space on the server, i should probably start posting some of these tracks i’ve had lying around for aeons.


just a tidy little dub, built up on the spot in a couple of layers using a headrush loop pedal.

the first in a potentially long sequence of dodgy cocktail recipes

April 26th, 2008

2 medium-sized pears
200mL of apple cider or sparkling apple juice or something
150mL of zubrowka (bison) vodka
50mL of medos (honey) vodka
big handful of ice

blend until it looks like a daiquiri. optionally layer with a tiny bit of fresh cream and then top with cinnamon power. serve in whatever you have handy.

the fossil record

April 25th, 2008

thought it was finally time i got around to re-posting a party mix i did at the beginning of the year:


(~45 songs in 40 minutes!)

reaper – tonegate js effect

April 24th, 2008

i’ve recently started using reaper as my main audio software. one of the best things about this thing is that it comes with a built-in plugin programming language. it’s pretty basic but you can do some cool stuff with it, and it’s way easier than futzing about with compilers and vst frameworks and garbage like that.

i’ve just released my first effect for this environment, called tonegate. it’s based on a number of other effects supplied with reaper – it’s really just a basic tone generator triggered off a gate, mainly to add sin, square or noise tones to kick or snare hits. tone type/pitch is configurable (the pitch can optionally raise or drop during tone decay), there’s a simple low pass filter and wet/dry mix.

this is a quick audio demo of the effect in action – first part is dry kick and snare tracks, second part has some (not-so) subtle sin and noise added to kick and snare, last one is way over the top. with enough of these you can do all sorts of weird nintendo-y sounding stuff:


bliptracker – nds drum machine

April 24th, 2008


click here to download BLIPTRACKER v1.0c

bliptracker is my free (and open-source) nintendo ds-based drum machine, synth and sequencer, intended for live performance.

bliptracker is stable, runs happily on most nintendo ds flash cards (tested working on R4DS and supercard), and supports custom sounds (up to four sets of six samples per ‘sample-set’).

as with any homebrew please backup your flash card before installation or use.


  • unzip to flash card. make sure the bliptracker folder unzips to the root of the card, so you have a folder called \bliptracker\samples – bliptracker.nds can go anywhere, though.
  • DLDI PATCH the BLIPTRACKER.NDS file – go HERE and look for “dldi win32 right click”
  • default sounds are provided, but can be replace by 16 bit 11kHz-32kHz mono wave files named bd.wav, sn.wav, hh.wav, xx.wav, yy.wav, zz.wav. keep samples small for best performance.
  • operating instructions are on top screen. basic instructions: select and start are stop/start, use the bottom screen to fire beats manually and directional pad and buttons to control sequencer.

made with and developer tools. Source code (GPL) – requires devkitpro r20, libdsmi, most recent palib + some minor tweaks to get it to compile against r20 (check the palib formums or mail me).

known issues: tempo doesn’t stay synced – need to disconnect audio from video refresh | tap tempo is a bit weird | max. 15 files in file dialogs | bad wav files can crash bliptracker


April 19th, 2008

everything is broken! and new! but that’s okay. i’ll get around to cleaning up this layout properly at some point.

things from the old page are still kinda here: nds has the nintendo homebrew software ‘bliptracker’, there’s a flash game i helped with at oldgame.html, and some music and stuff up at mshopper and bsc, along with my new band which has a temporary home at myspace.

good. good? good.