Andrew Crawford's MIDI Goblin Wants to Offer a Flexible Box of Tricks for Music and More

Packing in the features and boasting an open source firmware for those wanting more, the MIDI Goblin aims to ship this October.

Gareth Halfacree
1 month agoMusic / HW101

Maker Andrew Crawford wants to put a goblin to work on your next music project — a MIDI Goblin, specifically, a hackable patch bank with user-definable device functionality and the ability to act as an arpeggiator, a sequencer, a chord generator, and more.

"The MIDI Goblin can be used as a patch bank for synthesizers and MIDI controllers that lack the ability to save patches locally but have the ability to receive MIDI CC messages," Crawford explains of his creation. "[Thus] allowing you to load your settings anywhere, any time, without having to lug around a computer or laptop."

The Espressif ESP32-powered MIDI Goblin aims to deliver a multi-functional MIDI box for musicians and more. (📹: Andrew Crawford)

Built around an Espressif ESP32 microcontroller programmed with the Arduino IDE, the MIDI Goblin has more tricks up its sleeve than that. The device can be used with gadgets lacking MIDI output as a man-in-the-middle device, can act as an arpeggiator, sequencer, chord generator, MIDI CC re-mapper, MIDI CC LFO, and can play scales, all controlled using its on-board display and button-based interface.

If that's not enough, Crawford promises to make the project's source code available under an unspecified open source license. "If you want to add a feature to MIDI Goblin, you can," he says. "If you want to use it for something entirely different, you can. There will be multiple I/O [Input/Output] pins available (some of which will include PWM [Pulse Width Modulation] support) so if you want to add components to MIDI Goblin, this is also possible."

The MIDI Goblin includes a wealth of features beyond acting as a patch bank, with hackable source code for those wanting even more. (📹: Andrew Crawford)

"This isn't just a device for musicians," Crawford continues, "it can be used as a platform for creating your own software that requires MIDI five-pin connections, microSD Card readers, OLED screens, buttons and encoders. MIDI Goblin uses a 32-pin [Espressif] ESP32 microcontroller that you can remove and use in your own projects if needed as well."

The MIDI Goblin is funding on Kickstarter now, starting at CA$80 (around $58); all hardware is expected to ship in October this year, Crawford says.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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