ECE 476 Project -- Spring 2005

By Siew Im Low and Zheshen Zhuang






Results & Conclusions




We successfully made the MIDI drum-pads. The MIDI drum-pads are able to send MIDI messages to the RS-70 keyboard to play the respective drum sounds. We can play all 4 drums simultaneously.

We were able to offer the user a wide selection of drum types and instruments not only specified by the GM specifications, but also additional types native to the Roland RS-70 keyboard. We also allow for either hardware or software volume control for each drum-pad. When using hardware volume control, our MIDI drum-pad offer 3 volume levels, a feature common to most drum machines. We can selectively mute a drum-pad by setting its software volume control to 1.

Our program code had to send out the MIDI messages with an accuracy of +/- 1 kbps or the RS-70 Sound Synthesizer would not have recognized the MIDI messages. Safety is enforced in the design by following the hardware recommendations by the MIDI Manufacturers Association as not to spoil the RS-70 keyboard.

We regret not being able to implement the record and playback feature due to time constrain.

Intellectual Property

The internet has a lot of information on MIDI. We found out we can use USART from the MIDI synthesizer project on the 476 project website of Spring 2003. We use the information to output the right MIDI messages but we came out with our own coding. A list of references we used for schematics and the MIDI protocol can be found at the REFERENCE section.

We have to reverse engineer the MIDI protocol on the Roland RS-70 Keyboard to make sure the device recognizes our MIDI message. The Roland RS-70 Owner Manual is a great source with specific directions and format given for interfacing external MIDI devices to the keyboard.

Ethical Considerations

1. To accept responsibility in making engineering decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment

We followed specifications for interfacing MIDI with our hardware when designing our project so as no one will be injured by any hazards.

3. To be honest and realistic in stating claims or estimates based on available data

We have made realistic claims on the extent of the usability of our MIDI drum-pads and disclosed the limitations of our drum-pads in comparison to using the keyboard for playing drum sounds.

4. To reject bribery in all its forms.

We did not receive any bribes for points for working on this project. We were motivated to pass the class and completed our project in the allotted time.

5. To improve the understanding of technology, its appropriate application, and potential consequences.

Both of us were not familiar with MIDI but we took it up as a challenge to provide a more fun alternative for playing drums.

8. To treat fairly all persons regardless of such factors as race, religion, gender, disability, age, or national origin.

Our project does not discriminate against anyone. Any person can play our MIDI drum-pads to produce creative rhythms.


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Copyright @2005 Siew Im & Zheshen