Electrosmith's Daisy Brings the STM32 to Bear on the World of Electronic Music, STEM Education

The Feather-like Daisy packs 64MB of RAM and 8MB of flash, offering a lot of power for a very low price to electronic musicians.

Gareth Halfacree
3 years agoMusic / HW101

San Diego-based musical maker collective Electrosmith is crowdfunding for Daisy, an embedded platform designed specifically for electronic music — based on the STMicro STM32 with 64MB of SDRAM and 8MB of flash memory.

"Daisy is an embedded platform for music. It features everything you need for creating high fidelity audio hardware devices," explains Electrosmith's Michael Corell. "Just plug in a USB cable and start making sound! No soldering required. The possibilities for Daisy are endless! Create ambient audio installations, sonify data from sensors, or even make an esoteric effects pedal, all with a single platform."

The breadboard-friendly, Feather-style board itself is built around the STM32, running at 480MHz, connected to 64MB of external SDRAM and 8MB of flash storage - both considerably higher than you'd normally see on an STM32 board. The design includes two channels of line-level audio input and output offering up to 24-bit 192kHz operation, with additional channels supported via standard protocols including TDM, I2S, PDM, and S/PDIF. The Daisy also supports MIDI input and output, both via its micro-USB port and through USB pins on the header or via UART.

Electrosmith claims the 64MB of SDRAM is enough to operate a ten-minute audio buffer, while the 8MB of flash can be used both as space for firmware and for permanent storage of samples or other audio files. The design includes USB OTG Host and Device operation, 32 GPIO pins with 12 offering 16-bit analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) and 2 offering 12-bit digital-to-analog conversion (DAC), and can be powered from micro-USB or through a VIN pin supporting anything from 4V to 17V.

"We have been working on the Daisy project for more than three years. Over the course of the project, Daisy has seen many different forms," writes Corell. "We have since gotten closer to our final product, and are well underway on the accompanying software. But the journey from one prototype to the next wasn't always so smooth. Sometimes, the first time you plug in a new prototype.....nothing happens, and that's worse than needing to use the fire extinguisher!"

The Daisy boards themselves are priced at $29, with a selection of higher tiers offering kit bundles: The $79 Pod includes a daisy and a breakout board with 3.5mm jacks, a built-in headphone amplifier, two buttons, two RGB LEDs, a rotary encoder, SD card slot, and secondary micro-USB port; the $299 Petal turns a Daisy into a programmable guitar pedal with four footswitches, six knobs, and three toggle switches; the Patch is a Eurorack module kit offering quad audio IO; the Field is a $399 desktop synth kit; and the Garden offers all the kits together for $999.

More information on Daisy is available on the project's Kickstarter campaign page.

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