What is DROID-3?
It is a small sound device / synthesizer module that you play using MIDI and it sounds rough, noisy and very unique. DROID-3 can make crazy digital sci-fi sound effects as well as rough bass sounds, leads, arpeggios and much more. It can play only one note at the time but has two oscillators / tone generators. You can make your own sounds using its dial and buttons or a MIDI editor (DroidEdit). It can not store patches internally, so presets sounds, therefore, come in SMF (*.mid) and DroidEdit format.
How do I play it?
You need a MIDI output from a computer, a sequencer or a keyboard. This MIDI output must be connected to DROID-3 with a MIDI cable. When DROID-3 receives notes via MIDI, it will play these notes through its mono line output (jack). You can change the sound of DROID-3 by sending special MIDI data to it.
Can I order now?
We're out of stock :( - but we'll help you find a used one. Contact us on facebook.
Why "3"? - why not DROID-1?
The DROID project started in 1997 and was originally meant as a birthday present. It quickly evolved beyond that, since we all were quite surprised with what could be achieved with such simple hardware. Also we were excited about what could be achieved by a hardware update and a redesign of the software. This would allow for a much more complex synthesizer at the level of today's synths but with some new special one-of-a-kind features. In this development process both DROID-1 and 2 was dumped and since a lot of people wanted to buy a DROID-1 already at the very beginning of the project we decided to finish DROID-3 with proper casing etc.
How big is it?
The unit itself is approx. the size of four CD covers stacked flat on top of each other (12 [W] * 12,8 [D] * 4,2 [H] cm) and weighs slightly over half a kilo.
How do I program it?
You can make your own sounds using the on board dial and buttons. Via this simple interface you will be able to go trough the various menus on the LCD and change all the parameters.
DROID-3 has a lot of the typical synth parameters and some very unique ones. One of its special features is that instead of a static value for each parameter, you can interconnect most of the internal in- and outputs and modulate things like the waveform number with a DCO in real-time. All the parameters can be set via MIDI and since the unit itself can not store the sounds made using only the on board interface, you might want to use a MIDI editor for even easier access and the possibility to save your sounds on a computer.
How come there are two ENTER and ESCAPE buttons?
The two pairs are identical. We chose to put two buttons symmetrically at each side of the dial simply to let the sound programmer use either hand.
What about Linux, BeOS/Zeta, Amiga or even Buzz tracker support?
DROID-3 is compatible with any software or hardware MIDI sequencer, but for controlling, editing and storing sounds on other platforms a specially designed MIDI editor is required. There are already full functioning editors for Windows™ and MacOS9 as well as an editing / real-time control environment for the Logic™ MIDI sequencer (for both Mac and PC) available in the FILES section.
We would certainly like to offer MIDI controllers / editors for other platforms as well and depending on the feedback and interest, we might focus more on that issue.
What is the matrix?
Matrix modulation is a concept invented back in the 60ies where synthesizers were "programmed" using patch cords. Some manufacturers such as EMS (VCS3) started to arrange the in- and outputs in a matrix (a grid) for easier access and the term matrix modulation was created. Today most synths are custom made with features that are impressive but only capable of doing the one thing they were meant for; LFOs controlling pitch, envelopes controlling amplitude or filters, pitch wheel controlling pitch etc.
In the old days the sound programmer could interconnect everything and have e.g. the oscillator control the filter even though it was not really meant to do that. This is what the term matrix modulation means to us and that is what we tried to do with DROID-3; bring back the long lost freedom and creativity in a healthy balance with a simple user interface.
How much does it weigh?
DROID-3, without power supply, weighs slightly over half a kilo.
How does it sound?
Our preset programmer: "Its overall sound defines its personality. The homemade 8 bit D/A converter runs at mere 10500 Hz (in normal mode) and gives DROID-3 a full thrust, uncensored and dark kind of tone. "Dark" doesn't mean that it's dull at all - but actually rather analoguesque. You can always gain the high end to get the desired treble (it's dirty, but it's there)."
Will firmware upgrades be possible?
No - not as a download. We have thought about that and decided against it. Thus, it was left out in the hardware design. DROID-3, originally being merely a "hobby" synth, has been enhanced far more than was ever the plan. Also, the chip has been pushed to the limit with the current firmware and practically everything is optimized.
If we are ever to put more work into this project it would be to make a DROID-4 or a software version but that is, of course, pure speculation :)
How the h... did you do it?
We just took it one step at the time. No planning - that's the secret! :) - ah well - we tried to allocate the work to more than just a few people. That way the individual person would not be flooded with work, but be part of a team where there would always be somebody working on something; The development kept going - this was an important factor for the motivation.