Arduino TRE powered guitar amp built into a Powermac case with spectrum analyzer on Manga Screen

Similar projects worth following
Amplificent is a guitar amplifier built into a Power Mac G5 case with an Arduino TRE powered spectrum analyzer shown on a Manga Screen.

The Arduinoe TRE has the same System on Chip as BeagleBone Black (am3358), but it also includes an audio chip with ADC/DAC and thus audio input/output which makes it an ideal board for processing audio in real time.

Add to that a couple of mono blocks ( and a Manga Screen ( , and put the whole shebang in a super fancy cabinet (, and you have maybe the worlds most awesomest guitar amp!

The Spectrum analyzer that I have found to work the best is really just a terminal block thingy, almost like an ASCII art speectrum analyzer:

Speaking of real time, the ideal way to handle real time audio on Linux is by using the Jack framework, but I have been unable to get that working correctly with sending an audio stream to the output AND to a spectrum analyzer. You can do one or the other, but not both. The problem appears to be buffer underflow and the most likely solution is to use a real time kernel. Since the Arduino TRE is not generally available (I have a beta testing edition) the config/source/patches for a new kernel have not been made available as far as I can tell.

But here's the kicker! Javascript has recently become a very fast scripting language, even faster than Python in some regards, and some folks have developed a guitar effect library written in JS: Support for JS is very good out of the box on Arduino TRE, and it even comes with a web interface for scripting stuff directly (same as BBB). Now the next logical step is to place the pedalboard.js library on the TRE board, use a web interface for setting up individual effects and fine tuning while using the Manga Screen to handle simple effects selections during a concert etc. In effect you could replace your whole guitar rig with a fully open source version where all effects are downloadable. Take it one step further (since the Arduino TRE is already an internet connected device) and you have the option to share and collaborate on guitar effects setups.

Jeezes, someone should definitely make this!

  • 1 × Arduino TRE A Soon to become available 1 GHz Arduino
  • 1 × Manga Screen a 4.3" HDMI compatible capacitive touch screen powered by USB.
  • 1 × Power Mac G5 Case
  • 2 × 45 W guitar amplifier block
  • 2 × Power supply for the amplifier block

  • 1
    Step 1

    Rip out all the crap from the Power Mac G5! Really, all of it! In the bottom of the G5 is the PSU in a detachable box. Take the box out and remove the contents except the power connector. Drill a couple of holes in it and bolt the two ring core trafos to the bottom. Connect the input to the trafos in parallel to the power connector. There should be some holes in the PSU case that the output of the trafos can go through, so stick them out there and re-mount the PSU box in the G5 case. See pictures.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Assemble the amplifier circuit boards. This is beyond the scope of this guide for now. (Really 'cos I assembled them ages ago and never took any pictues :( ) But have a look at the ashematics and layout for the PCBs:

  • 3
    Step 3

    On the top of the PSU box, mount the amplifiers. Make sure you use spacers to get the PCBs off the metal sheet.

View all 4 instructions

Enjoy this project?



Øystein wrote 12/06/2016 at 09:24 point

Stilig prosjekt! Fikk plutselig lyst til å bruke nattbordet (altså en g5) til noe mer kreativt.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Ryan Shill wrote 01/15/2015 at 20:46 point

Does it go to 11?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Elias Bakken wrote 01/15/2015 at 21:06 point

Oh, this baby goes all the way!

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 01/15/2015 at 12:19 point

brilliant case choice!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Elias Bakken wrote 01/15/2015 at 21:07 point

Thank you! It was too nice to throw away : )

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates