If anyone has been struggling to hold on to a 3.5 ″ floppy drive lately, we wonder why we’ve got a formula – see, the powerful floppotron 3.0 [Paweł Zadrożniak.] With complete bonkers 512 floppy drives, four flatbed scanners and sixteen hard disks of various sizes, the FlopPotron 3.0 MIDI Synthesizer is probably the largest retro hardware synthesizer ever. Since every part of the system is motor-based, no one would be surprised to find that the show is quite an initiative, requiring about twenty switched-mode PSU modules to keep pace with demand, an average of 300W but a peak of 1.2kW!
A complete custom MIDI-to-RS485 gateway that communicates around the nRF52xx series MCU Collection of instrument controllers. These controllers are generic enough to take RS485 input and control an array of floppy drives (up to 192), an array of hard drives, or a dedicated driver for a handful of scanners. The way floppy drives are grouped is pretty neat. Instead of using each drive to create a specific tone, the software uses a whole column for each note. By changing the number of drives running simultaneously over time, the volume of the sound changes, the note mimics the envelope and gives a richer sound. Multiple columns running in parallel give the system a 16-note polyphony. Floppy covers the lower notes, four flatbed scanners cover the higher notes. The sounds of the MIDI drum are mapped to the hard disk, working in a good, percussive manner, giving unique sound to different case sizes. Even firmware can be updated via MIDI! So, check out the demo video after the break for a sweet presentation of Czech composer Julius Fuchs’s well-known “Entry of the Gladiator”.
If you think this sounds familiar, you’re not mistaken, we’ve covered a previous floppotron before, but we think no one has tried it yet with your old eight-inch drive!
Thanks [electronoob] And [Ruhan van der Berg] For the tip!