The Home Stretch

A project log for OPL Studio - OPL2 / OPL3 MIDI Synthesizer

The ultimate dual OPL3 MIDI syntesizer with touch screen

maarten-janssenMaarten Janssen 05/19/2024 at 12:470 Comments

Right now I'm putting together the first production units of the new OPL Studio. It's the final step and it can sometimes be frustrating since I'm extremely happy that finally units are working well and I'm almost able to share them with the rest of the world, but also it's where I find all the little problems that I want to fix before putting the new all-in-one OPL Studios in my Tindie store. 

Now is the time when I figure out what is the best way to assemble each unit, what to look out for during assembly, what to test, and how to fix the inevitable mistaks that I'm going to make during assembly.

Some parts turn out to be easier than expected. The ZIF connector for the LCD with all of its tiny pins was the most nerve wracking component at first. But after surprisingly few times I got the hang of soldering it and now I no longer break a sweat. 

On the other hand, for the enclosure I've found lots of little mistakes that I needed to fix. I ended up redesigning most of the enclusure over the past couple of weeks. This resulted in an enclosure that's simpler to 3D print and wich is much sturdier than the design I had before. The LCD bezel was the final pice of the enclosure puzzle that I needed to solve, as it was too easy to come loose. It now clamps into the LCD mount so it won't come loose so easilly anymore.

For now I'm putting together a small stock pile of units and awaiting a few more components that I ordered too few of, but then after a very, very long time the new all-in-one OPL Studio will be available!

OPL Studio Software v2.0

With the new hardware also comes new software. The OPL Studio software v2.0 is the first release to support the all-in-one as well as the existing kit versions of OPL Studio. No changes are needed, the software detects the hardware during start up and fully supports both models. 

Support for the new hardware is not the only new thing in the 2.0 software. In this release all of the OPL3 synthesizer code has been rewritten. It no longer relies on my Arduino OPL2 library and that makes it much more flexible toward the future.

This was a huge undertaking that I really underestimated. It has taken me several months and from a feature perspective the 2.0 software may look like nothing new has been added, but it lays the ground work for some very exciting new things coming soon!

The new software is already available on GitHub. The OPL Studio website I will update next week.