Do you ever wish your Arduino was more musically talented? Or maybe your project could use some cool sound effects. The SparkFun Musical Instrument Shield is an easy way to add great sounding MIDI sound to your next Arduino project. This board is built around the VS1053 MP3 and MIDI codec IC, wired in MIDI mode. Simply connect a speaker/stereo/pair of headphones to the 1/8" stereo jack on the shied and pass the proper serial commands to the IC and you’ll be playing music in no time!
The VS1053 contains two large tonebanks including various piano, woodwinds, brass, synth, SFX and percussion sounds. The shield is also capable of playing several tones simultaneously (maximum polyphony of up to 31 sounds!). Take a look at our example code to get an idea of how easy it is to add musical zest to your next Arduino gadget.
In this version, we’re using a better regulator, corrected the speaker connectors, and have the reset pin pulled high. We’ve also included solder jumpers for pin 3 and 4 so they’re selectable.
This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.
Skill Level: Rookie - The number of pins increases, and you will have to determine polarity of components and some of the components might be a bit trickier or close together. You might need solder wick or flux.
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If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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This is a pretty easy to use board if you start from the example code and tutorial. The datasheet link on the tutorial is dead, but sparkfun has it hosted here (https://www.sparkfun.com/datasheets/Components/SMD/vs1053.pdf). The datasheet has the instrument list. The tutorial has methods of sustaining notes, changing banks, etc. I’ve used this board to create a piano-playing staircase. The IR proximity sensors make a great way to implement notes. Proximity can be used for the attack of the note. I’m currently building a digital keyboard.
Wow, I ordered this thing back in November 2013, and I’m finally getting around to hooking it up (it’s August 2016).
It’s pretty sweet!
Bonjour, Branchement très simple, mais les sons sont de qualités moyenne, avec un léger souffle. Cordialement, MP
[Hello, simple connection, but the sounds are average qualities, with a light breeze. Regards, MP]
Based on the statement “We’ve also included solder jumpers for pins 3 and 4 so they’re selectable.” one could assume that other digital pins could be used instead. I had 10 pcb’s made up with pins 8 & 9 as the MIDI-In & Reset. But the shield has no way to hook them up! Each of the 13 digital pins should have a trace to pads .2" inward AND the solder jumpers should be regular sized (not surface mount sized) to make it simple to wire the traces to the desired shield holes. The speaker pads should have the ground pad in the middle so that some sound is guaranteed in each speaker if you misconnect. The shield is too long and hits the two connectors on the Arduino is you try to push it down for minimum height. The Reset Button should be moved so that the IOREF pin on a Mega can pass on through. The shield layout needs to be redone!
Sorry to hear about the issues with the shield.
I’ve passed on your input towards our review team for them to check out for the next revision..
It worked just from the beginning. It’s got many features and possible uses. I’m very satisfied with the quality of samples and the sound this shield produces!
One problem is that the M.I.S. (DEV-10587) uses UNO Pins D3 and D4 for RX and RESET. The SparkFun MIDI Shield (DEV-12898) uses these pins for switch inputs (if installed). This means that piggybacking both shields can result in the switches shorting the data output lines to ground – not good!
One option is to open up SJ1 and SJ2, and re-route the signals to other pins – but there are no convenient pads to do this with.
A better workaround is the following: cut header pins 2, 3, 4 on the 12898, jumper the switches to unused i/o lines, e.g., D10, D11, D12, then stack the 12898 above 10587.
BTW – Not clear which shield came first, but the latter should have paid attention to this.